I am a bit of a music snob.
Meaning, I regularly turn my nose up at popular music, preferring instead to listen to the tunes that inspire rather than the blather played on the radio or on the charts. The thing is, in 2013, those lines were blurred, and not in a rape-y, Robin Thicke sort of way.
I not only gorged on my usual obscure, artsy music, but I happened to fall in love with some of the hottest albums released on 2013. Here are the 10 albums I listened to obsessively in 2013 and will continue to bump in 2014. If you haven’t heard of the band or the album, click the links, check out the videos and give ’em a listen.
I hope you will find something on this eclectic list that catches your fancy.
The Collectiva Diva
1) Born to Die the Paradise Edition by Lana Del Rey
Released in November 2012, The Paradise Edition of Born to Die is a double album with 8 extra songs in addition to the original Born to Die discography. Lana’s voice is ethereal and her lyrics are hardcore. She is a perfect mixture of a Lolita seductress and a ride or die chick. The singer reminds me of that bad ass party girl I know from the streets of Hollywood; as comfortable piss drunk at a house party in burbs of West Covina as she is lounging by the roof top pool at The Standard. Interested in watching a 27 minute short film set to the tune of Paradise? Check out Tropico, starring Lana Del Rey as Eve, a stripper and other archetypal roles she’s bloody good at playing.
2) Night Visions by Imagine Dragons
I murdered this album in 2013. I downloaded the Night Visions UK Deluxe Version and proceeded to listen to only this record for a month straight. Released September 2012, the 20 song, Across-the-Pond edition has 8 extra tunes, but “Demons” is still my favorite. Also, for some reason, this is the album I ship Destiel to. Seriously. “Radioactive” and Castiel will always go extremely well together.
3) Babel by Mumford & Sons
Oh man, I love me some folk music. I enjoy Mumford’s fist album, Sigh No More, but I adore the september 2012 release, Babel. Each song is different and tells a story in a distinct and simple way. The musicianship in this group in excellent, their harmonies are brilliant and I don’t think I will ever get sick of hearing Winston Marshall play the banjo. Plus, their video for “Hopeless Wander”, which doesn’t feature any of the artists but a parody of them instead, is hilarious. Oh, and Idris Elba is in the viddy below.
“Lover of the Light”
4) A Church That Fits Our Needs by Lost in the Trees
I have a bit of a type, if you can guess it. I love string instruments, ethereal singers and odd lyrics. What I love about the sophomore release of Lost in the Trees, A Church That Fits Our Needs, is the rich sound of the orchestra, never overwhelming the simple vocals, only enhancing the otherworldly nature of the music. This album is a perfect one to keep on repeat in the background of your work computer; just soft enough to be easy on the ears but intense enough to enjoy with the headphones on for the full listening experience.
5) The Doctor Who Series 7 Original Television Soundtrack by Murray Gold
I write about Doctor Who A LOT for this blog, and I usually listen to Murray Gold for inspiration. The Series 7 Soundtrack will take the hardcore Whovian on an emotional rollercoaster. from the Ponds to River Song, Clara Oswald to Akhaten, this soundtrack is a lovely auditory representation of Matt Smith’s final season as the Doctor. Released in September 2013, only a few weeks before the 50th anniversary episode, the album has some of the classic Eleven and Pond themes along with new tunes reflecting new characters and situations. Some, such as “The Long Song,” one of the few songs on the album that has lyrics, encompass entire episode themes with haunting clarity.
**friendly note** Did you hear the theme from “Rings of Akhaten” during Eleven’s Christmas regeneration scene? I did!
“The Long Song”
6) Trouble Will Find Me by The National
Matt Beringer has the voice of a husky pat of butter I want to smear all over my morning biscuit. That being said, The National consistently has put out good music for the last twelve years, and the May 2013 release, Trouble Will Find Me, is just as melancholy and masterful as their previous records. If you’ve never listened to their stuff, check this one out and then go back through the discography, it will be worth your time.
7) 20/20 Vision by Justin Timberlake
I love me some JT. That boy is ridiculously fine and he can croon like nobody’s business. When Justin released 20/20 Vision in March 2013, I immediately picked my top 4 tracks on the album and then tended to skip over the rest. Timbaland beats are great, but I wish that JT would expand his repertoire a bit and work with other artists. That being said, when I listen to “Mirrors,” I imagine Justin singing it to Jessica Biel on their wedding day and that pretty much gets me in the feels every time.
8) Hesitation Marks by Nine Inch Nails
I will never not love this band. Trent Reznor has been my go-to artist since 1993 and that is a good twenty years of love that I have for his artistry. Hesitation Marks is classic NIN–the electronic beats, sinister melodies and dark lyrics epitomize the heart of this band. I know I was surprised when this album was released in August 2013, because Trent had explicitly stated the band wasn’t touring any longer and seemed to favor the idea of retirement. Luckily, he lied and if you’re a fan of industrial music or electronica, this album is a definite treat. The song below is my fave off the album, and can someone PLEASE buy me tickets to see these guys tour?!
“All Time Low”
9) Pure Heroine Extended Edition by Lorde
This is the album currently on repeat on my playlist. Lorde’s voice is a pure joy and her original lyrics continue to surprise me with their depth and intensity. Released in September 2013, Pure Heroine has a couple of top 40 hits singles in “Royals” and “Team”, but the underrated tunes, like “400 Lux” and “Ribs” really stand out as unique and fun. The haunting rhythms and sick harmony Lorde sings with HERSELF are worth spending the cash. Honestly though, I’m still not sick on the singles, and that, to me, constitutes a really great album.
“400 Lux” (fan made)
10) Because the Internet by Childish Gambino
I’m going to take a chance and say, even though I just recently discovered this album, it will be well played in 2014. The December release of Because the Internet surprised me. Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino of “Community” (yes, the TV show) fame is a funny dude, but I am not really into comedy albums. THIS IS NOT THAT. Homie has talent! His beats are sweet and his raps are intelligent and there is a modern, acid jazzy vibe that cuts through the usual hip hop sound. Admittedly, I heard mention of Kurt Vonnegut, and was hooked. I haven’t decided what my favorite song off the album is, but I am partial to a strong album opener.
“Crawl” (fan made)
- The Collectiva Diva’s Guide To Geek Chic Giving (acollectivemind.wordpress.com)