For some reason 2013 was not a very adventurous year for me. Of the albums that I ended up clinging to, most were from artists that I had already established tastes. I tend to be late to the parade, so I’ll probably make a few discoveries in 2014.
5. Neko Case, The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight…
Neko has been pretty reliable over the years. You know you are going to get deep, heartfelt, melodic tunes with a powerfully soothing voice. This one felt like Neko at her most open, vulnerable and occasionally shocking. “Man” was a nice foray into alt-pop, and could easily be a strong New Pornographers tune. Other standouts are “Night Still Comes” and “Calling Cards.”
4. Kurt Vile, Wakin on a Pretty Daze
This is a more polished effort, but still has the same chilled vibe. The opening title track is a standout, with a longer than average running time that doesn’t wear out it’s welcome. It’s as long as the song needs to be.
3. Kanye West, Yeezus
This seems to be a divisive record. There’s a ton of praise, and a ton more hate. I’m a big fan of Kanye as an artist. He has popularity and could easily cater to the lowest common denominator, but I like that he makes unique, creative music. Now he just needs to learn the difference between Spartans and Trojans.
2. The National, Trouble Will Find Me
I’ve found myself disliking just about every National on the first listen or second listen, but they have a way of growing on me. I liked this one a little more out of the gates, thanks to a slightly more accessible and poppy sound, but that turned out to be a good thing.
1. My Bloody Valentine, MBV
Was the long wait worth it? Honestly, no, but it’s easy to forget after such a fantastic follow-up. This one came with a pleasant memory, as they released it at midnight, crashed their servers, and pissed off the entire internet. I waited through it and will never forget the first listen, late at night with the volume turned up, drowned in sound. It was a little bit of Loveless and a little bit of something new.