Best Albums of 2013: #30-26
TOTALLY UNAPOLOGETIC presents the Best Albums of 2013
Numbers 30 thru 26
30. Trouble Will Find Me – The National
While The National don’t progress or indeed offer anything new to outstanding cynics, they instead rejoice in their strengths of detailing life and all its sorry baggage in the most beautiful of ways.
-This is Fake DIY
“If I stay here, trouble will find me” says lead singer Matt Berninger in the fifth track “Sea of Love” on their latest LP. Even after releasing more than a decade of material, the leading man of the Cincinnati based band can’t shake his demons. Trouble Will Find Me is another record led by a great bag of emotions. It’s an album that, for the most part, doesn’t even attempt to drop the “sad-sack dad rock” that critics have always seemed to categorize it as. While that seems to come off at as a bad thing, it really isn’t. The album continues to prosper despite it’s depressive themes because it hits the heart. Particularly, the hearts of the sad sackers that pessimists like to condemn.
29. The Next Day – David Bowie
It demands that you listen to it in this moment, not that you give it an easy ride because this is the man who made ‘Heroes’; and its songs more than live up to the demand.
It’s been ten freaking years since we last heard from the thin white duke and the man has not lost his touch. In his twenty fourth studio album, David Bowie still sounds like David Bowie, which is great news for everybody. His songwriting is still sharp and he’s still coming up with fresh new ideas in order to progress himself while holding onto the qualities that made him a legend. And even at age 66, just when you think he’s got nothing left to prove he shows that he’s still got something left in the tank. The instrumentation is electric, full of rapid drumming, infectious basslines and bold guitar riffs. Bowie is urgent, provocative, brooding, and as imaginative of a man as deep into game as he is can possibly be. And I have to ask, does anyone else love participating in all the “Ya Ya Ya Yaaaaa”-ing when listening to the track “How Does the Grass Grow?” or am I the only one? It’s this never settling artistry that Bowie displays in his latest effort that deserves a serious amount of credit. The Next Day best serves as a reflection of the timeless legend that David Bowie is.
28. Doris – Earl Sweatshirt
He’s struggling to reconcile the unease of his past with the confusion of his present, but Doris proves that Earl’s future is secure.
“Grandma’s passing, but I’m too busy to get this fuckin’ album crackin to see her, so I apologize in advance if anything should happen” mutters a determined 19 year old Earl Sweatshirt on the second track of his debut studio album, Doris. The Odd Future rapper seems to be more personal than he’d like to admit on this record. It seems like Earl has made progress as a human being as well as a rapper since his last output, the independently released mixtape/album, Earl. Despite that, he still manages to team up with fellow Odd Future member and frequent collaborator Tyler the Creator on some tracks that are what we’ve come to love or hate about the group. Speaking of features, the other guests on the album seem to fit pretty nicely. Frank Ocean, Vince Staples and Casey Veggies all donate solid verses that complement Earl’s pretty nicely. With complex rhyme schemes, potent lyrics and a wide array of gritty instrumentals, Doris is an album that doesn’t necessarily break new ground in Hip Hop but it most certainly leaves one interested in where Earl heads to next.
27. Sleeper – Ty Segall
Sleeper is a large, though not radical, departure from the bulk of Segall’s catalog. But in dialing down the fuzz and eschewing girls-and-partying songs to dig deep into his own personal demons, Segall shows marked maturity as a songwriter.
Returning from last years list with yet another solo output is Ty Segall with his new album Sleeper. It lacks the punch of his early material but still he leaves something to be invested in. Unlike his 2012 effort, Twins, his new record is a much more of a gentle effort than anything else. The tracks are stripped down completely. Segall plays acoustic guitar on every track but we see little snippets of keyboard and electric guitar. The reason for the stripped down, raw and emotional direction derives from the loss of Segall’s adopted father as well as a few other family issues that he had been going through during the recording process. Still, he finds a way to bring out the garage rocker that we know and love in the form of a solo on the track “The Man Man”. The album’s promotional slogan had urged people to come dream with Segall and after listening to this album you understand that Mr. Segall’s “dreams” are borderline nightmares.
26. Old – Danny Brown
While each song has a solid musical backbone, it’s Brown’s narratives that make the most profound impact, and move the album forward.
Following his universally acclaimed album XXX, the Detroit MC takes us further into his troubled world. The lyrics are very, very personal. Danny Brown explores his current place in his hometown of Detroit and how his ambitions differ from the ones his peers have expected from him. Brown often times finds himself flipping back and forth between the “old” Danny that is often brought up by his fellow Detroit natives and the man that he is today. This dosage of old and new Danny keeps the album afloat. The production is deeply rooted in underground hip hop as well as trap music. He balances the two influences like he does his two personas and flow. But even as successful as he’s been, Brown can’t quite seem to outrun the struggle, whether it be the old him, who sold dope to keep a roof over his head or the man he is today, indulging in drugs to forget the old Danny that so many remind him about. The struggle for Danny is real, but like he says in the closing track, sometimes you just gotta “float on”.
BEST ALBUMS OF 2013