Picking up from last time, it’s time to name the remaining fav. albums of 2013. Writing about music is tough. I want to convey my enthusiasm for the music without sounding so up-my-own-ass. Gonna try to be a little more candid this time around. Let’s do it!
2013 was a real groovy year. That’s really the best way I can describe Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories. It brought a new kind of nostalgia into popular music. I don’t know what other people to listen to, but I generally gravitate towards music that tries to sound like the 80’s, but this album forced me to recognize another era, another style of music. It’s still got the ostentatious, playful, electro side of Daft Punk, while introducing da funk. You know? It just grooves from start to back. When ‘Get Lucky’ hit the airwaves, it was the type of song you would listen to, and still be tapping your foot 5 minutes after it ended. The whole album felt like one long Summer Night, which is almost always a great thing.
Palma Violets was originally described to me as “English Punk.” And yeah, that’s pretty much true. I think it sounds like a very classic form of “English Punk”, like early Clash (and dudes, early Clash is the best Clash). Apart from the classic, bratty punk-rock attitude, it’s sort of dressed up and proper too. And it’s sweet. The employment of, I dunno, is it an organ? A theremin? It gives the album a wholly warm and fuzzy feeling. To me it’s just honest and nice. I saw these guys back in April in my favorite venue, and it was my first time jumping on stage at a show! Do I remember much of it? Nooooope, but any band that brings out that kind of confidence is doing something right.
I’ve been anywhere from a moderate-to-serious Franz fan since 2005, making it pretty much the only band I still like, still listen to regularly, still get stoked about, since High School (with a maybe exception of Coldplay but that’s another blog post, probably). I’m not sure why they’re not way bigger, because their albums are just always solid. Could be their obscure influences like Josef K and Orange Juice, and that I guess they’re just a little weird? Who knows. I will admit that this album didn’t click the first time I listened to it, but the more I did, the more it just made me happy. It’s just a happy, poppy, summery record that has exactly what I’ve always loved about them. They’ve found a good niche for themselves and I like that they can make good music and have star appeal and I can still see them in a medium-sized venue and be close to them and jump around and dance dance dance.
A few times I’ve had to describe Cults to friends, and I usually go with “60’s girl group meets goth.” because it fits. Sometimes it’s a little spooky and dark, but with Madeline Follin’s high-pitched bubblegum princess voice, it just gives this interesting balance. Static picks up right where their debut left off. It’s addictive pop music all the way through. Cults would be at home at a 50’s high school dance with “Always Forever” or at the end of Sgt. Pepper with “I Can Hardly Make You Mine.” Just, keep making this music please.
I’ll be honest with this one, I’m pretty sure I’ve listened to this whole thing, but I can’t quite remember it. I nearly wrote CHVRCHES off early this year. Radio singles “Recover” and “The Mother We Share” were just way too much for me. I found them annoying and repetitive. BUT, in the spirit of fairness I gave them a listen anyway, because you know, that’s what I did this year. I was hooked right in the middle of “Tether” which almost seemed to have creep up from behind me. I sat at my desk at work slightly slack-jawed, and I was a believer. “Tether” and “Lies” back-to-back could just be the whole album and I’d love it. So that’s why it’s on the list.
Favorite Song of 2013:
I could take or leave Monomania from Deerhunter (I seem to recall not getting into it), but I could literally listen to this song forever. It’s catchy, it’s hook-y, it’s energetic, and it has hands-down the best guitar interlude EVAH. From the first time I heard it, maybe April? I was hooked. Bam. Favorite song.
Thanks for bearing with me as I went super-indulgent like I’m the NME or Pitchfork or whatever.