Bringing Up The Rear – Wallace’s Last Minute Best Of 2013
The worst thing about end of year polls is that they all come out in early December, which is hilarious because that means nobody got to talk about one of the best albums of the year. The Beyoncé album, called Beyoncé, was released with no fanfare, no reviews, and no warning. It then became one of the best-selling albums of the year even though the year was almost done. What that means, of course, is that Beyoncé doesn’t need critics, or expensive PR campaigns. She just needs a great album. Beyoncé doesn’t care if you approve and unlike Miley Cyrus she doesn’t need your disapproval. I held back on making a list because as soon as Beyoncé released an album I thought it might make the cut. Did it make my top ten? Simmer down, we’re almost there.
In 2013 I discovered what footwork was. Yes I’m behind the times, but if you need an introduction watch this helpful little video:
Will a footwork artist feature in my top ten? Yes. That’s why I posted the video. Here’s my top ten:
Mount Kimbie – Cold Spring Fault Less Youth
Flawless experimental pop.
Beyoncé – Beyoncé
Queen Bey. Bow down. An artist at the height of her powers.
James Blake – Overgrown
James Blake is a serious man. He’s also seriously good.
Thundercat – Apocalypse
So amazing that it made me buy a Jaco Pastorius album. Believe.
Janelle Monáe – The Electric Lady
An Afrofuturistic, retro-tinged celebration of black music and black femininity.
John Grant – Pale Green Ghosts
Tragedy and biting wit in one album. Sometimes in the same song. Sometimes in the same chorus.
DJ Rashad – Double Cup
Electronic soul stripped to its bare essentials, making this album essential.
Jon Hopkins – Immunity
Hypnotic, slow building, impenetrable electronic anthems.
King Krule – 6 Feet Beneath The Moon
Blurry, smoky, frisky, youthful, and utterly alive.
Laurel Halo – Chance Of Rain
Electronic music as a sonic canvas. Twenty years from now the Arcade Fire of the day will sound like this and it’ll be called adventurous.
Honourable mentions go to Kanye West – Yeezus, The Weeknd – Kiss Land, Julia Holter – Loud City Song, Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience, Disclosure – Settle, M.I.A. – Matangi, Austra – Olympia, and David Bowie – The Next Day.
While I loved ‘Get Lucky’, Random Access Memories by Daft Punk indicated that dance music was not above kitschy, Dukes of Stratosphear-esque self-celebratory recreations of the past, the kind rightfully attacked by Simon Reynolds in ‘Retromania’. Except Simon Reynolds loved Random Access Memories. Does dance music get a free pass because it’s less retro than rock?
Every time I see Arcade Fire or Haim or Vampire Weekend on a magazine cover I have to calm my anger by reminding myself that every generation has its villains, and for every villain there are five heroes. Greatness abounds. At the end of 2012 I couldn’t imagine the next year would come close in terms of great albums. I was wrong in every way. Now I can’t see how anything could top 2013. Prove me wrong 2014.