2013 Edition: Four Albums Everyone Should Listen to (and One You Should Look Out For)

Image created by Author Album covers taken from amazon.com

Image created by Author
Album covers taken from amazon.com

Do you know anyone who doesn’t enjoy at least one genre of music? It’s really hard to think of someone who dislikes all music; everyone’s born with a rhythm, good or bad, but a rhythm. While younger generations come out with new genres, new sounds and new trends, you will always find those who value the art of listening to music from before their time. If not, you will most likely find a parent or uncle out there who shows you the sound of The Beatles, Elvis, Black Sabbath or James Brown. These are just some of many artists who in some way or another have influenced today’s musicians and modern sound. While every decade has some powerful genre that takes all the attention, the rest of the genres still release amazing material. As of today, EDM (electronic dance music) is probably the most popular genre out there. That sound is not only exclusive to DJs and bedroom producers now, but pop, hip hop and rock artists are finding inspiration through the world of electronic instrumentation. However, EDM may be hot right now, but other genres have released A-level albums this year. Whether you have heard them or not, or if you need new music for your commute or the gym, here’s a list of five 2013 albums that you should check out:

Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City

New York indie rockers have always been praised by their sound, but criticized because of their “preppy rich kid” image, which can be heard on the lyrics and instruments/influences used on their music. This is merely their third album and it could be considered their best yet, which is a lot to say since the first 2 albums were very well received. Modern Vampires of the City is an ode to life in the Big Apple, a challenge to religious beliefs and representation of what it means to grow up in this era. If you haven’t heard of this band before, I assure you their sound is like nothing else on the radio. Surf rock inspired Diane Young has gotten important radio airplay and even a nomination for the VMAs. Tracks like Ya Hey, Obvious Bicycle, Unbelievers and Everlasting Arms will definitely entertain you. If you like rock that is not all about screaming or complicated guitar solos or just based on simple melodies and arrangements, give this album a listen. It’s best to listen to it from start to finish (without stopping) for the most ideal experience.

James Blake – Overgrown

British electronic producer released his debut album in 2011 to great reviews. His sophomore effort is even better, even managing to beat out David Bowie and favorites Arctic Monkeys and Disclosure in this year’s Mercury Prize. While electronic in essence, James Blake doesn’t really fit the EDM stereotype. His music is personal, dark and not full of distorted bass drops or amazing synth lines like the rest of the EDM tunes out there. This album will sound weird to you if you haven’t heard him before, but you might end up appreciating that weirdness. You can use this LP for a rainy day or maybe for a quiet romantic dinner. I Am Sold, Retrograde, Life Round Here, Take a Fall for Me and the title track Overgrown are very strong productions, but the full album is exceptional. If you’re in the mood for something different and out of your comfort zone, James Blake is your go-to guy.

Queens Of The Stone Age – …Like Clockwork

QOTSA is not a band for the masses, but it’s certainly something of an acquired taste. With collaborations with Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters, Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys, Jake Shears from Scissor Sisters, Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails and the mighty Elton John, this album has a little bit of something for every alternative rock fan. Lead singer Josh Homme suffered complications during a knee surgery in 2010 and says he felt “dead” for a few moments. Following this incident, he was confined to bed rest for three months, which is what inspired most of the album’s lyrical themes. Opening track Keep Your Eyes Peeled, lead single My God is the Sun and groovy Smooth Sailing are some of the highlights. Save this album for an angry day, a road trip or maybe a chill night at home with your friends.

Lorde – Pure Heroine

This 16 year-old girl hails from New Zealand and she is pop music’s artist to watch. The lead single Royals has been getting extensive airplay since the beginning of the year. On top of that, the single has gotten live covers from artists like Selena Gomez, tributes on shows like The X Factor and even a remix from The Weeknd. Her voice sounds something like the combination between Adele and Lana Del Rey, very soulful and wise despite her young age. This album is fun and dark at the same time. More pop-oriented than James Blake’s Overgrown, but still with an edge. Her melodies are catchy and the lyrics are sure to stick with you for quite some time. This album is recommended for all women out there, but men shouldn’t stay away from it (we know it’s impossible to resist a good female artist when she’s this good.)

Keep an eye out for: Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP 2

You either love or hate this man, but you should at least respect his talent in a genre that has always been dominated by African-American artists. At age 41, Em doesn’t intend to slow down and showed the world a sneak peek of the lead single Berzerk during music’s biggest night of the year, the VMAs. Leaving behind his “rebirth” and clean phase of the previous album “Recovery,” Eminem is sure to bring back melodies and lyrical themes that made him one of the most hated men in America. While it’s hard to say this album will be better than Part 1, a 13-year difference is definitely enough to give Em enough time to bring out his best, funniest and darkest material. Album hits stores on November 5th.

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