2013 was a big year for me. I went through a lot of changes and music really helped me get through everything. Normally I listen to about 150 new albums each year, but this year I found myself clinging to a lot of the same albums over and over. I still managed to listen to about 100 new albums, but I didn’t feel compelled to make my usual top 50 list. Instead, here are the 12 that stuck with me most.
12. Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork
I spent a lot of time listening to old favorites from the 90s this year. …Like Clockwork was one of the few rock albums from this year that could keep pace.
11. Hebronix – Unreal
I was sad to see Daniel Blumberg leave Yuck after only one album, but his solo debut is magnificent. Opening track “Unliving” was one of my favorite of the year.
10. Blue Hawaii – Untogether
My favorite electronic album of the year. The production of these disjointed beats somehow melds it into something listenable and beautiful.
9. Haim – Days Are Gone
Imagine if Miley Cyrus could sing well and write and play her own music. Haim is what you would get. This album is poppy, danceable, and a lot of fun.
8. Julia Holter – Loud City Song
Musically, this is the best album of the year. It’s jazzy, sexy, and intimate. It’s perfect.
7. Still Corners – Strange Pleasures
Fun, warm indie pop. Great for a summer drive. Even better for driving through the snow and wishing it was warm out.
6. Pure X – Crawling Up the Stairs
Definitely the darkest album on the list, this is the type of music you listen to in the basement and emerge somehow feeling better.
5. Local Natives – Hummingbird
Deeply emotional music that makes you really explore your relationships.
4. Daughter – If You Leave
Gorgeous, soaring music. This is what Sigur Ros would sound like if they were women singing in English. It gets a special boost for me because the singer’s name is Elena, just like my daughter.
3. Sigur Ros – Kveikur
More aggressive but just as beautiful as any other Sigur Ros album. An instant classic.
2. Chvrches – The Bones of What You Believe
This is what they should play on the radio. It’s catchy, memorable, fun, and uplifting. This album has been perfect for stressful car rides and dark moods.
1. The National – Trouble Will Find Me
On the surface, this is just another album by The National. It doesn’t do anything drastically different, and some people might write it off as just another solid album. However, for me, it is a deeply personal album that was much needed in a year of difficult transition. This album helped me make it through a year of big changes where I left a lot behind. It also helps that it’s my daughter’s favorite music, and we sing “Pink Rabbits” and “Graceless” together every morning on the way to school. This is one of those special albums that has already made its way into my top 5 of all time.