10. Citizen – Youth
9. I The Might – Satori
8. The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die – Whenever, If Ever
7. Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience
6. Balance And Composure – The Things We Think We’re Missing
Dark. Abrasive. Harsh. Sinister. Yeezus is all of these and much, much more. As the follow up to the incredibly grandiose My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye created its antithesis. Yeezus is a moody, concise record that employs a minimalist approach to Kanye’s naturally maximalist attitude. The entire record is filled to the brim with a simmering tension, building and building until the final cathartic moments of closer “Bound 2” bring to an end the hellish nightmare that is Yeezus. It can be hard to listen to and digest, but the uneasiness it delivers only makes it more enticing and enthralling.
Listening to this record is the musical equivalent of putting your heart in a vice. It’s a heavy-hearted, earth shattering record that tugs at all the right strings. It’s a gorgeous, dark album that hits like a ton of bricks, while maintaining a catchiness that makes it special. Sonically, it fluctuates seamlessly between quiet and loud, soft and aggressive, and its gloomy sensibilities meld with the astonishing songwriting to create as powerful a record as was released this year.
With this album, Touché Amoré fine-tuned the chaotic stylings of their previous records ever so slightly and the result is overwhelming. Crushing waves of frantic hardcore hit the listener over the head right off the bat and don’t let up. Vocalist Jeremy Bolm’s performance is a tour de force, and makes …Is Survived By a devastating explosion of pure emotion.
You can say what you want about Drake. You can make fun of him all you want (real talk, “Drake’s The Kinda Guy” might be my favorite thing on the internet ever). But here’s the truth: Drake made a nearly perfect record in 2013. The ebb and flow of the tracks creates a dark aura around them, even at their brightest moments. Ideas from one song bleed into other songs, and that aspect ties the entire thing into one cohesive work, one that strikes an ideal balance between Drake’s smooth R&B and his growing bravado as a rapper. Nothing Was The Same is a stunning record that straddles the line between pop and hip hop flawlessly.
The Wonder Years did something really special with The Greatest Generation. While my personal attachment to The Upsides has cemented it as my favorite release of theirs, the difference between the band that made that record and the band that made The Greatest Generation is immeasurable. From the slow burning tension of opener “There, There” to the emotional pummeling of closer “I Just Want To Sell Out My Funeral”, The Wonder Years successfully created a masterful snapshot of all the highlights of what they can be. Whether it be the more straight forward pop-punk moments like the blistering “We Could Die Like This” or the more dynamic cuts such as the mellow piano ballad turned barn-burner “The Devil In My Bloodstream”, The Wonder Years bring a sheer power to every facet of the record, and it is evident that this is a band at their very best. The Greatest Generation is a juggernaut in every sense of the word.
Most Anticipated: Brand New