I've italicized albums that I'd consciously choose as my favourites. Give those a listen for sure.
Here are 2013 albums that made my top 50 but not the top 10:
- Fuck Buttons - Slow Focus: I never really "got" Fuck Buttons until this album. What sounds like inaccessible noise at first slowly reveals itself to have layers of gooey goodness inside.
- Black Sabbath - 13: Somehow, they've still got it.
- Morcheeba - Head Up High: They've come a long way from 90s trip-hop roots (unlike Tricky, who we'll see later), but this is a nice little pop album.
- Little Boots - Nocturnes: Little Boots' debut, Hands, is my 4th most listened-to album of all time. Nocturne isn't horrible, but feels bland in comparison.
- Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience: Speaking of bland, Justin Timberlake managed to put out two albums full of music that seems more concerned with promoting how cool and sexy he is than it is with actual music. Fuck Justin Timberlake.
- Britney Spears - Britney Jean: But Justin's ex is making pop that's exactly what it needs to be. The continued EDM influence is getting a bit old, but it still works.
- Lindsey Stirling - Lindsey Stirling: Finally, a full album of sweet sweet violin and dance music mushed together.
- Lorde - Pure Heroine: this:
I think this year, pop music is less about Katy, GaGa and Britney, and more about Haim, Chvrches, and Lorde.
— Mike (@phronk) November 14, 2013
- Pretty Lights - A Color Map of the Sun: Everything they do sounds the same, but it never gets old.
- Five Finger Death Punch - The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell: Two albums of pure angry cheese.
- The Weeknd - Kiss Land: It feels a bit less bold and more sleazy than his trio of amazing self-released albums, and, seriously? "Kiss Land"? But it's not a huge step backwards or anything, and well worth listening to.
- Capital Cities - In a Tidal Wave of Mystery: One of the top entries in the "hipster bullshit" category.
- Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP2: Better than anything he's done in a long time. It's not as shocking as it once was, but at least he's trying.
- Amaranthe - The Nexus: Not sure how I stumbled on this Swedish metal/pop/electronic, but I fucking love it in all its corny glory.
- Miley Cyrus - Bangerz: She played the shamelessly-attracting-attention game perfectly this year. Well done. And at least the music's not horrible.
- Classified - Classified: Between this, Shad, and k-os, it was a good year for Canadian hip hop.
- Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Mosquito: Sacrilege was one of my favourite songs of the year. The rest of the album is decent too.
- Avicii - TRUE: Successfully infuses dance music with a bunch of other influences. Nice. NICE.
- Katy Perry - PRISM: This sounds like a more mature album for Katy Perry, but I'm not convinced that's a good thing. Most tracks are snooze-inducing, aside from a few mild attempts at spurting some explicit sex references onto them. In the war between Katy and Gaga, I think the real winners are the other pop artists on this list who are doing something different instead of bland "maturing." [Apologies to Kitty Glitter, who probably strongly disagrees due to his love for Katy Perry]
- Rob Zombie - Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor: More of the same, but that's okay. I'm just fine with Rob Zombie doing his thing as a musician and filmmaker without bothering to vary it.
- k-os - BLack on BLonde: Yet another double album, with the nifty concept of jamming together a hip hop album and a rock album.
- Portugal. The Man - Evil Friends: This was produced by Danger Mouse, and it seems that everything he touches ends up sounding like Danger Mouse. But other collaborations, like Broken Bells and Electric Guest, have ended up near the top of my charts in previous years. I thought this one would be higher too; it's one of my favourite albums of the year, with its cross-genre bundle of weirdness.
- Skylar Grey - Don't Look Down: After fucking around with an endless list of other artists (Eminem, mostly notably), Skylar Grey finally released her own lovely album of dark pop.
- The Limousines - Hush: Here's something you would't have heard 10 years ago: The Limousines used Kickstarter to fund this album and release it without the help of a label, then I streamed it more than most other albums this year.
- The Neighbourhood - I Love You: Moody downtempo pop that I normally wouldn't be into, but it struck a (minor) chord with me for some reason.
- Patterns - Dangerous Intentions: If you distilled the neon-coloured parts of the 80s into a sonic beam, it would sound like this. The aesthetic has crept into a lot of pop music this year (perhaps because of the popularity of the Drive soundtrack), but it's at its purest here.
Come back tomorrow for the top ten.