(Quite the departure from 2010’s Head First. Alison Goldfrapp’s career has gone in many directions. 2013 sees the band focus on their softer sounds similar to that of their début Felt Mountain and their 2008 release Seventh Tree. Tales Of Us is an album where I don’t neccasarily listen to the words. The material is soothing, quiet music, good to put on, when you want to wind down and relax, and forget time and place.
Some listeners may find it boring, unmemorable and samey, but to me an atmospheric album that is incredibly geared towards my senses. Tough to pick out obvious highlights, since it’s all of the same standard, but especially the first half of the album impressed me. I’ve read it’s a cinematic-inspired album that will be accompanied by a 30 min short directed by Lisa Gunning)
(The best opening guitar riff of any album from 2013? I think so. A long disc at 74 minutes, with plenty of strong tracks. The sort of album that was getting put out on a regular basis in the 70s and 80s, and we see so rarely in the 2010s)
Get Lucky (feat. Pharrell Williams)
Give Life Back to Music
Giorgio By Moroder
Doin’ It Right (feat. Panda Bear)
Lose Yourself To Dance (feat. Pharrell Williams)
Instant Crush (feat. Julian Casablancas)
(An album that underwhelmed at first, but has grown on me with each listen. A killer opening single. As you’d expect for a double album, there are weaker moments, and in this case, to me, the middle part was not the best. I think it starts and finishes really strongly. Several of the tracks do go on a bit too long, though, if I’m being critical.)
(Was my favorite album for the first months of the year. The lyrics per usual are well-written, and I even got my parents into this release. Gone is the rockier sound of earlier recordings, and it feels more accessible to a wider audience than his darker albums.)
(As with 2010’s High Violet, it mostly continues the mellower approach, and to me is equally as good. The three opening tracks are powerful, on an album with few weaknesses. What struck me is the remarkable honesty of the writing, which is also somehow universal.)
(Debut album I had no expectations for, and turned out to be my favorite unknown artist of 2013. Underrated album you should give a listen, if you like synthpop/dreampop. Good tracks from beginning to end.)
(David Bowie is an artist who sticks out, always transforming and experimenting. There’s a mystique surrounding him, you can’t separate Bowie the man, and Bowie the music. While I’m not one of his biggest fans, and it’s not as good as his 70s work, his comeback after a 10 year hiatus was a welcome return. He still has it at the age of 66.
I’ve heard the album sleeve contains a mirror inside, which is kind of cool, and plays out thematically in his songs: Where Are We Now?, If You Can See Me, & Heat.)
(It hardly featured on other year-end lists, which is a shame, because the recordings are beautiful. It’s been 17 years since their last album, and nothing has really changed about Hope Sandoval’s style, continuing that dream pop/folk mix. If you liked the band’s earlier work, this new collection will probably appeal to you. Some may find it boring, so it’s not for everyone)
(Fifth full-length studio release for the French rock band. A pretty strong comeback, with what has been described as “a peachy, fun vibe”, even though the production occasionally is familiar to past records by the group.
As another reviewer notes, perhaps the lyrics “tell a tale of the lonesome feelings of making it to the top and the conflicting emotions of stardom.” )
(I’ve listened to a bunch of soundtracks this year, and my gut instinct tells me this is the disc I can listen to, and enjoy all the tracks. I often get bored with instrumental soundtracks, not so with this ambient album, which I can have on repeat. Film scores sometimes don’t work outside the movie experience, I feel the Upstream Color score does. Fun fact: Every song title is a quote from Walden by Henry David Thoreau, which is a book that also features in the movie.)
Are you a fan of any of the albums above? What did you think of them? Which are your favorite albums of 2013? As always, comments are welcome.
For albums 11-35 go to amazon listmania