Saturday, April 13, 2013

Taking On 2013: Top Albums (Q1 Quarterly Review)

Well, it was a futile attempt to try and squeeze in a few more albums before creating this post. Despite some I've been meaning to check out, I haven't carved out the Spotify time for them as I thrust myself in to a bit more relistens since taking a look at the year's best songs so far last week. Regardless, it's still been a kind of strong year for music at the top. Assuming some of the spots I want to fill in turn out to be as good as I hope. Or not. Who knows. There are some good albums, there are also bad ones. I'll probably write about five of them because it's still so early in the year and (hopefully) this list will radically change by the time we get to the end of June. Music.

5. Various Artists - Spring Breakers OST

Kind of cheating, but not really because there are original songs here. In my film post, and in my previous review, I will/have gush(ed) about Harmony Korine's most recent masterwork of horrifyingly captivating Americana. No small part of that has to do with both the literal score in the film, a perfect blend between Drive's Cliff Martinez and dubstep's Skrillex. There's a chill to the pulsating beats, broken up by enough trap rap to make me mostly forget that I was spending time listening to music without words. James Franco also raps on this OST. I guess some would call it the most striking score since The Master. I would call it that.

4. Tegan and Sara - Heartthrob

My unfamiliarity and ignorance of Tegan and Sara does not only serve to remind that I have so much to listen to from years past, but also means that I can't speak to how pop heavy this one is compared to the rest of their discography. Still (despite 'pop' being a shitty over label for so many different kinds of music) I was mostly rendered powerless to the more synth driven sounds and melodious tracks that pack this album. With Charli XCX's debut forth coming and Demi Lovato's fourth album on the horizon I wouldn't be surprised if the end of year list is dominated by pop music. My heart of stone grows ever softer as I surrender.

3. Christopher Owens - Lysandre

While I'm a huge fan of Girls, I was never really a fan of Girls despite the acclaim they received before Owens left the group last year. Perhaps I need to go back and reassess my opinions because on his debut solo album Owens's songwriting is nothing short of striking. Like all great albums he weaves a cohesive tapestry that threads together enough ideas from one song to the next that it rewards multiple listens. Like with anything else on this list I doubt I've puzzled out all the intricacies, but I have little doubt that it will continue to open up to me as I fall back in to it throughout the rest of 2013.

2. kitty - D.A.I.S.Y. rage

On her most recent EP, kitty (formerly Kitty Pryde, but now not Kitty Pryde) comes out swinging while still retaining all the charm that made her previous works so engaging. I've recent fallen down a pretty deep hole, listening almost exclusively to the (currently) lean selection of downloadable EPs kitty has released. She's seemingly always had a unique style, but her writing on D.A.I.S.Y. rage is so much more intricate. Technically impressive, and that's a Hell of a foundation to build upon as the years move forward.

1. Youth Lagoon - Wondrous Beehive

I had anticipated that Youth Lagoon's latest album would be an early favorite for my favorite album of the year, and here we are. Though I believe I prefer his debut The Year of Hibernation more because of its insular qualities, the instrumentally expansive followup is still thrust over the top by Youth Lagoon's songwriting. He proved on the first album an ability to strike a nice balance between larger themes and incredibly personal writing, and luckily this has only grown between the two albums. While the sounds are much larger, it's this core that defines Youth Lagoon's power.

And, as usual, here is a growing list of everything I have listened to so far this year:
  1. Youth Lagoon – Wondrous Bughouse
  2. Kitty – D.A.I.S.Y. rage
  3. Christopher Owens – Lysandre
  4. Tegan and Sara – Heartthrob
  5. Various Artists – Spring Breakers OST
  6. Tyler, the Creator – Wolf
  7. Foxygen – We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace & Magic
  8. A$AP Rocky – LONG.LIVE.A$AP
  9. Lil B – Pink Flame
  10. Pusha-T – Wrath Of Caine
  11. My Bloody Valentine – m b v
  12. Yo La Tengo – Fade
  13. Dutch Uncles – Out Of Touch In The Wild
So what did I miss? What should I prioritize before June? Let me know in the comments and keep an eye out for a post dealing with the best films of the year so far!


Comments are welcome and, for anyone with a literary mind, I encourage checking out my poetry blog filled with all original works for your reading pleasure.

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© 2013 Richard James Thorne

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