If you’re on Rdio and don’t feel like reading all of these words, I made a playlist of my faves from these albums.
Paramore – Paramore
This is an almost perfect album and I listened to it more than anything else this year. There’s straight-ahead pop-punk, but also ukulele interludes and a closing track that ventures into Explosions in the Sky territory. And then there’s “Ain’t It Fun,” the #1 song of 2013, hands down. It all fits together, somehow, into a cohesive package. Throw out your preconceptions of Paramore and listen to this album. You’ll be missing out otherwise.
Waxahatchee – Cerulean Salt
This album gives me all the feels. I want to marry this album. It sounds like the lady-fronted alt-rock heyday of the 90s, but without sounding dated. Blue Pt. II is the best, but there isn’t a weak track on here.
Foxing – The Albatross
I saw Foxing play to like 20 people in the basement of a house earlier this year, after which I waited very impatiently for new music. The way everyone is talking about an emo revival is pretty stupid, but whatever you want to call it is producing some amazing albums. “Rory” became an immediate fan favourite – it’s the best track on the album – and they released the video for it on my birthday, which was pretty nice.
Shad – Flying Colours
No one else even comes close to writing lyrics like Shad. No one. It’s ridiculous.
Lorde – Pure Heroine
This album is catchy as hell. So many people had their underwear in a bunch about authenticity, complaining about how she worked with a producer to shape the tracks. #1 – Literally everyone does that – punk bands, metal bands, pop singers. Get over it. #2 – Everyone peed their pants when it was announced James Murphy was producing for Arcade Fire. So if you’re an indie rock band working with a producer it’s like the second coming of Jesus but if you’re a 16 year old girl, it’s a sign that you don’t actually have any talent of your own.
Chvrches – The Bones of What You Believe
On the surface it sounds like bright, shiny synth-pop, but then the lyrics are like “Hmmm, what’s going on here? This all seems a bit creepy.”
Beyonce – Beyonce
Disco (“Blow”), Burial-esque click clacks (“Haunted”), weird electronic spoken word (“Ghost”), a feminist hip-hop anthem (“Flawless”) and, of course, epic pop tracks (“Pretty Hurts”). Beyonce put all of my favourite things into one album and then gave me 17 videos to go along with it. I don’t know if I will ever love anything again as much as I love the “Flawless” video.
(Also, as a former record label employee, I can’t stop thinking about the logistics of it all. Getting an album like this recorded and delivered to iTunes – with all the videos – is an undertaking. Even with the most bare-bones team possible, there are still quite a few people who have to know about it. The fact that it stayed a secret is amazing. Plus, just how much did all those videos cost?!?!)
The World is a Beautiful Places and I am No Longer Afraid To Die – Whenever, If Ever
Just please listen to “Getting Sodas.”
Owen – L’Ami du Peuple
Mike Kinsella has been in about 18,000 bands and they’re all super solid. At this very moment, I think he’s in 3 or 4. I don’t even understand how it’s possible. He makes acoustic guitar songs not-boring, which is another substantial feat.
Angel Haze – Dirty Gold
Angel Haze released this album, previously announced for March 2014, on her SoundCloud just as I was writing this list. It was accompanied by an excellent statement about why. Then it disappeared when I was halfway through.