What a year we’ve had in music. Returns from the greats such as Beyoncé, Queens of the Stone Age and Eminem plus the passing of a legend in Lou Reed. As the end of 2013 looms we take a look at a handful of albums that defined the amazing year of music we have been gifted with thanks to these wonderful artists.
Beyoncé – Beyoncé
Queen B dropped her fifth album (13 December 2013) completely by surprise, so there’s no argument that Beyoncé’s latest release is the best of the year.
The album offers a darker side to the ‘Independent Woman’ that we all know covering an aspect of areas within the 14-tracks, mainly about sex and insecurities. The Queen of RnB’s visual offering features a number of special guests including hubby Jay Z and is arguably one of her better albums released.
Trust Bey to crash iTunes without any publicity.
Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork
One of the ultimate rock bands around, their latest release …Like Clockwork has had the best UK response of QOSA’s career.
An album filled with the who’s who of guest appearances: Elton John, that guy from Artic Monkeys everyone raves on about…oh yeah, Alex Turner, Nick Oliveri and a return of Foo Fighter himself, Mr Dave Grohl it has to be the slickest album released from Josh Homme and co.
2013 showed us all why Queens of the Stone Age are one of the greatest rock bands amongst us mere mortals.
Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP2
The Real Slim Shady is back and aren’t we happy about it? Returning with The Marshall Mathers LP2, Eminem’s first release since 2010s not so great Recovery, producer Rick Rubin has helped bring the bleached haired Detroit rapper back to his best.
A multitude of stars appear on the album making the sequel to 2000s The Marshall Mathers LP bursting with talent and showcases the apologetic, humorous and mature lyricist the self confessed ‘Rap God’ is.
Eminem is not afraid of saying what he thinks and some controversy has risen due to homophobic slurs but we have to remember Shady hasn’t always been the most PC of guys.
Artic Monkeys – AM
Those Monkeys are back again and they have produced by far the greatest album of their career, opening the door to even better albums to come, from their fifth studio album AM.
Another album this year featuring the crème de la crème of the music industry AM has moved the Artic Monkeys from an indie rock band into a band that we should truly take notice of.
The lyrics alone, forgetting the sheer brilliant instrumental performances, have put Alex Turner into a new league and it’s not hard to see why Artic Monkey fans are going crazy for this release.
Haim – Days are Gone
Probably one of the biggest bands of the year the sister trio of Haim, Este, Danielle and Alana already had a reputation for out there gigs but the rock and roll life wasn’t embedded into the album.
The 11-track album infused a mixture of pop and rock into the tales of love and heartbreak with a hair-tastic twist on their brand of music.
A more pop feel hasn’t affected the energy that is in place at every Haim gig and a collection of well-written and catchy songs has helped launch these girls to new heights.
CHVRCHES – The Bones of What You Believe
Glasgow based trio CHVRCHES released their debut album of electro synth pop in September and what a debut it was!
An album of stellar tracks, not one filler, that welcomes a play into the early hours of the morning with strong singles in ‘Lies’ and ‘The Mother We Share’ all feature a story that draws the listener in.
Recording the album independently and avoiding the A&R men of the music industry CHVRCHES aim to do the same with album number two and the beastly offering of The Bones… leaves us sitting at the edge of our seats for the next offering.
Kanye West – Yeezus
The biggest ego in the industry Mr West, or shall we call him Yeezus graced our ears with possibly his best album to date.
Yeezus is a tight album with some humour from Kanye and questionable ‘did he actually just say that?’ moments throughout the record but we can’t deny the fact the ego is quite possibly there for a reason: the album is what we want and expect from Kanye powerful, controversial and in your face.
But do we dare mention that music video with his baby mama?
The 1975 – The 1975
After a mesmerising cover of One Direction’s ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ The 1975 have had great success this year thanks to their self-titled debut album.
An album filled with songs about gangsters, in a less than threatening manner, drugs and sex the Manchester four piece ultimately do well with their first offering of pop with instruments but they should probably avoid slower numbers on album number two, or at least make sure they’re not as bland as ‘Pressure’.
Jay Z – Magna Carta Holy Grail
One of the biggest rappers in the world to date releases yet another rap fueled album; but the most fun we had this year was watching Jay Z and Yeezus try to out do the other.
Holy Grail is not one of the best Jay Z albums but a man who has been in the industry as long as he has it is not a bad album, more an album giving die hard fans more new songs to listen to but it doesn’t really compare with Watch the Throne, but Beyoncé makes an appearance…who would have thought?
Maybe Jay should get back in touch with Yeezus.
Jake Bugg – Shangri La
The seldom-smiling Nottingham teenager returned this year with his hotly anticipated second album Shangri La, produced by none other than Beastie Boys legend, Rick Rubin.
Differing completely from his debut Bugg has definitely been ‘Rubin-ed’ with more polished and rockier songs on offer. The fast paced beats in singles ‘Slumville Sunrise’ and ‘What Doesn’t Kill You’ make you appreciate the simpler and softer songs on offer in the album with a nod to his acoustic folk background in ‘Pine Trees’.
It has always been said the second album is the hardest but Bugg proves it isn’t that hard.
Various – Teenage Dirtbags
A compilation album featuring some of the Noughties greatest pop-punk anthems from the likes of Papa Roach, New Found Glory, Sum 41 and Less than Jake this two disk, 45-track album has everything on it to bring back the ‘Boys of Summer’.
Featuring some questionable artists, Metro Station anyone? Teenage Dirtbags is there for all the skater kids who grew up but want to relive their younger days at the skate park pretending to be the fourth member of Blink 182.
The Fratellis – We Need Medicine
After a five year hiatus when Here We Stand flopped The Fratellis needed an album that could out shine or be on a similar peg of Costello Music.
The 14-track album is filled with catchy songs and lyrics reminding us why we fell in love with the Scottish trio in the first place but We Need Medicine shows the band are still trying to find their distinct sound but no matter what they release next nothing will ever be as good as ‘Chelsea Dagger’.
What was your album of the year?