The Year in Music – 2013

[vc_row padding_top=”350px” padding_bottom=”20px” border=”none” bg_color=”rgba(0,0,0,0.1)” bg_image=”2455″ parallax=”true”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_row_inner padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none” bg_color=”rgba(255,255,255,0.9)” inner_container=”true”][vc_column_inner width=”1/1″][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h1″ looks_like=”h1″]Year in Music 2013[/custom_headline][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row inner_container=”true” padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none”][vc_column width=”1/2″][text_output]Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss. It was quite a year for the some of the fathers of rock to step up and take the stage again. McCartney, Dylan, Jeff Lynne, the Traveling Wilburys. Though there is a fair share of some new artists as well. Standard disclosure: this is a review of what was new to my collection for the past year, not my review of what was new to the world. So, whatever’s new to me is fair game for this review.[/text_output][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][text_output][/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row inner_container=”true” padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none”][vc_column width=”1/1″][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h1″ looks_like=”h1″]Best Album[/custom_headline][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h3″ looks_like=”h3″]The Who – Who’s Next[/custom_headline][image type=”none” float=”right” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”2458″ alt=”The Who – Who’s Next” lightbox_caption=”The Who – Who’s Next” style=”width:300px;”][text_output]I did not expect an album from 1971 to beat out some great new releases, but goddammit, I can’t stop being impressed by this album.

I’ve always liked The Who, but for whatever reason, have only settled for a few Greatest Hits compilations. I caught an episode of some “Greatest Albums” documentary TV series, and watched the episode about this album. The album cover is a tantamount staple to Houses of the Holy or Abbey Road on record store walls. I knew a good number of the songs. Why didn’t I own this?

So I got it, grabbed some headphones and listened to all nine songs of it. The whole album is so unfathomably greater than the sum of it’s parts. Any band worth their salt would be ecstactic to know they made these songs over the course of a career. To do it on one album is uncomprehendingly astounding. There are a couple of remasters and rereleases of Who’s Next with additional songs (many of which are good additions), but as an album that you can sit down with and listen to with headphones top to bottom, these nine songs as a body of work purely excel.[/text_output][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h2″]Runner Up[/custom_headline][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h3″ looks_like=”h3″]Paul McCartney – New[/custom_headline][image type=”none” float=”right” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”2452″ alt=”Paul McCartney – New” lightbox_caption=”Paul McCartney – New”][text_output]It’s kind of hard to compile a great album with four different producers. So there is some standard McCartney faire, and then there are some great tracks. I was initially disappointed, because I heard Mark Ronson was producing the “album”, which would have been brilliant, but he only produced two tracks (“Queenie Eye” and “New”), both of which seem surprisingly un-Ronsonesque. I kind of think Ronson was a little too precious with McCartney and didn’t drive like he normally does. However, once I abandoned expectations and let the songs be, I now like them. On the other end of the spectrum is the brilliant (if overlooked) track “Appreciate”, produced by Giles (son of George) Martin. All in all, it’s an interesting collection of songs, and as it happens, each of the four producers represents in my favorite tracks.[/text_output][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h1″ looks_like=”h2″]Best Trendy NPR Fan-Base Album[/custom_headline][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h3″ looks_like=”h3″]The National – Trouble Will Find Me[/custom_headline][image type=”none” float=”right” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”2448″ alt=”The National – Trouble Will Find Me” lightbox_caption=”The National – Trouble Will Find Me”][text_output]All told, it’s a beautiful, well composed, produced and performed album. The only thing that keeps it from competing is that it seems to like to live on a shelf, in the back, hidden behind all the albums. Every time Iisten to it, I’m frankly surprised at how well done it is. Problem is, I never find myself saying, “Slap me in the nuts! I have to listen to Trouble Will Find Me!” Even if I could remember the name of the album, I wouldn’t say that. It’s always “the new National album”. If it didn’t have a few tempo changes, it would make Best Hangover Album.[/text_output][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h1″ looks_like=”h2″]Best Hangover Album & Best Cocteau Twins Homage[/custom_headline][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h3″ looks_like=”h3″]Goldfrapp – Tales of Us[/custom_headline][image type=”none” float=”right” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”2450″ alt=”Goldfrapp – Tales of Us” lightbox_caption=”Goldfrapp – Tales of Us”][text_output]I do not use Best Hangover Album sardonically or lightly. When the condition strikes, and you don’t have a good hangover album, it can be worse than the hangover itself. Play this, and it can actually help remedy the situation. Top to bottom, it’s gorgeous, melodic, haunting. I wasn’t surprised when I read that the duo was inspired by “the works of David Lynch, Ingmar Bergman, and Michelangelo Antonioni.” And fans of the Cocteau Twins’ Treasure will be sure to appreciate the track titles. Well worth the listen.[/text_output][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h2″]Best Hangover Album Runners-Up[/custom_headline][text_output]What can I say? It was the year of the hangover album. Along with the aforementioned National were serious contenders, in no particular order:[/text_output][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][image type=”none” float=”none” link=”true” info=”popover” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”2457″ alt=”The XX – Coexist” lightbox_caption=”The XX – Coexist” title=”The XX – Coexist”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][image type=”none” float=”none” link=”true” info=”popover” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”2447″ alt=”Daughter – If You Leave” lightbox_caption=”Daughter – If You Leave” title=”Daughter – If You Leave”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][image type=”none” float=”none” link=”true” info=”popover” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”2445″ alt=”Alt-J – Awesome Wave” lightbox_caption=”Alt-J – Awesome Wave” title=”Alt-J – Awesome Wave”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h1″ looks_like=”h1″]Best Rediscovery[/custom_headline][vc_row_inner no_margin=”true” padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none”][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h3″ looks_like=”h3″]The Traveling Wilburys[/custom_headline][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”2/3″][image type=”none” float=”none” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”2453″ alt=”The Traveling Wilburys” lightbox_caption=”The Traveling Wilburys” style=”width:100%;”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner no_margin=”true” padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none”][vc_column_inner width=”2/3″][text_output]This actually started when I started looking at what Jeff Lynne had done. That alone is an education (just check out his producer credits.) Naturally, this evolved into, “wait a second. This is the one cat that no one recognized in the Traveling Wilburys. The Wilburys came around before I really had a firm hold on the merits of all it’s individual members. I knew of those guys (except Lynne), but it seemed like a cheeky little novelty thing. It was the late 80’s. I was in eigth grade. I was listening to Steppenwolf and The Beatles. This wasn’t real music. So I got Volumes 1 and 3, plus some bootlegs. Turns out, this is some good fucking music. I mean, some of it is just them jamming around, but for fuck sake, it’s Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and George Harrison. It might be the best goofing-around-in-a-studio band in history. Give them a fair listen.[/text_output][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][text_output]
[/text_output][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h2″]Worth Mentioning[/custom_headline][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h3″ looks_like=”h4″]Laura Marling – A Creature I Don’t Know[/custom_headline][vc_row_inner no_margin=”true” padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none”][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][image type=”none” float=”left” link=”true” info=”popover” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”2451″ alt=”Laura Marling – A Creature I Don’t Know” lightbox_caption=”Laura Marling – A Creature I Don’t Know”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”2/3″][text_output]I mentioned her last year, so she’s already been recommended. But she deserves nods for the year. Still a great album I keep coming back to. Oh, and what do you know? Ethan Johns produced it: one of the four who produced on McCartney’s New (check out “Early Days”.) I literally just realized that.[/text_output][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h3″ looks_like=”h4″]Bob Dylan – Tempest[/custom_headline][vc_row_inner no_margin=”true” padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none”][vc_column_inner width=”2/3″][text_output]I really should listen to this album more, but you only need one listen to know this is the kind of album you want someone like Dylan to make. It’s classic Dylan, anew. It was initially recommended to me as the best album he’s done since Blonde on Blonde. I’m not enough of a Dylan fan to attest to that, but it came from someone who is. It’s certainly worth owning.[/text_output][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][image type=”none” float=”right” link=”true” info=”popover” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”2449″ alt=”Bob Dylan – Tempest” lightbox_caption=”Bob Dylan – Tempest”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h3″ looks_like=”h4″]Jack White – Blunderbuss[/custom_headline][vc_row_inner no_margin=”true” padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none”][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][image type=”none” float=”left” link=”true” info=”popover” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”2454″ alt=”Jack White – Blunderbuss” lightbox_caption=”Jack White – Blunderbuss”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”2/3″][text_output]Another one I should listen to more than I have. While I respect Jack White, I’ve never actually owned anything he’s done. This is a damn good start.[/text_output][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][clear][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h2″]Let Downs & Disappointments[/custom_headline][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h3″ looks_like=”h4″]Ben Folds Five – The Sound of the Life of the Mind
Ben Folds Five – Live[/custom_headline][image type=”none” float=”right” link=”true” info=”popover” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”2446″ alt=”Ben Folds Five – The Sound of the Life of the Mind” lightbox_caption=”Ben Folds Five – The Sound of the Life of the Mind”][text_output]Two great albums that go ho-hum together. The first studio album since they broke up kind of picked up with their last one: The Unauthorized Biography Of Reinhold Messner. Not bad, but certainly not their best. There are some good tracks, and I certainly don’t want to shit all over it. But overall, its a bit underwhelming. I’m a fan of both Folds with and without the Five. Even after I got over the expectations, there just wasn’t anything about it that grabbed me. And I’ve heard/seen Folds live to know what those three are capable of live, and still, meh. It’s all good… if you’re not familiar with their other stuff, and it’s kind of hard to not compare them against their prior work. All that said, however, props to drummer Darren Jessee for composing “Sky High,” a beautiful stand out on both albums.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][text_output]

Image Sources

All images sourced from Amazon, except the following:
Who Fi Traveling Wilburys[/text_output][lightbox selector=”.x-img-link” opacity=”0.875″ prev_scale=”0.75″ prev_opacity=”0.75″ next_scale=”0.75″ next_opacity=”0.75″ orientation=”horizontal”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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