OK, sports fans, it’s another end of year list. You’re probably glossing over this part in order to get to the list itself, so I might as well throw it out there that I buried the body you are all looking for underneath the Barclay Center. He was looking at me funny. No other reason. Yup. Ended a human life because he looked at me weird. OK? Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let’s party! In no particular order (other than These Moments Were All Pretty Important), here’s the top moments in music.
Dude put out the best R&B album that you didn’t hear because you were too busy salivating all over Beyoncé’s morning breath or whatever. He’s done more good for Brooklyn hipsterdom than (insert Lena Dunham joke here). But really — Blood Orange’s “Cupid Deluxe” may just be the best album of the year. It channels early Prince without going overboard, infusing what is essentially an R&B album with enough indie kid sensibility to make it sound as if it’s somehow being played in the studio for you and you alone. And in keeping with the Beyoncé theme, Dev Hynes — the mastermind behind the project — is Solange Knowles’s producer. Blood Orange might not be on the tip of everyone’s tongues the same way Beyoncé is, but if Dev keeps it up, it just may be that way in a couple of years.
Every 10 years or so, just when you think it’s about to disappear from the music landscape, Chicago spits out some of the hardest shit this side of a PF Chang’s bathroom (poop joke #2 in this article, if you’re counting). Chief Keef, Chance the Rapper, and a veritable laundry list of other rappers are making some of the best hip-hop of the young decade.
Dude quit music in 2013. If you’ll excuse the crude analogy, this is sort of like poop returning into the butt from whence it came.
Queen Bey released a secret album, “secret” in as much as nobody knew it was being recorded until it was released. Was it good? You bet your ass it was. It was infinitely better than anything…
Lady Gaga / Katy Perry
… put out the entire year. Gaga’s album was bloated as all hell while Katy’s couldn’t have been more cloying if it was indeed a small child tugging at your waist and asking, “Daddy can I have tuppence for more candy” over and over again while batting its eyelashes. But then there was…
… whose album was critically acclaimed because a) she’s 16 and b) she wasn’t Katy Perry or Lady Gaga. A particularly solid pop album in a year where there really was no solid pop album, “Pure Heroine” was just weird enough for mainstream music critics to get little boners about how “in the know” they are. Although “Pure Heroine” didn’t falter, it didn’t exactly overwhelm with greatness. Beyoncé’s secret album really WAS the best pop album of the year. Lorde is a talent, there’s no denying that, but the collective ejaculation from the press said more about what they thought Lorde really stood for (NPR went as far as to call her “the next Nirvana”) than what Lorde actually stood for.
The OFWGKTA collective member, at just age 19 (and 18 when he recorded this), released possibly the best album of the year with “Doris.” It’s a slow, minimalist burn of an album that’s intensely personal without being overtly confessional, a balancing act if there ever was one. Considering that the dude is just 19 and is already spitting out some major league beats reminiscent of a sleepier and more physically agile Biggie, Earl is the rapper to watch in 2014 and beyond. “Chum” is the song of 2013.
Twerked on TV and people talked about it. Moving on…
Miley’s barely there jiggling got all the attention (largely in part to the contrarian half-right Slate-style articles about race and cultural appropriation and blah blah blah), but the real question on everyone’s lips should have been: where were you when R&B singer Miguel drop-kicked a fan in her head at the 2013 Billboard Awards? The fan is suing for brain damage, and rightfully so. Miguel kicked her in the head with a running head start on national television. It’s a pretty impressive feat regardless of how you slice it.
My Bloody Valentine
Their third album in 20 years proved to be their most difficult, and sometimes, their most rewarding. There’s three different sounds on this one album, which very well could have been split up into three EPs. It’s good. It’s not great. It will undoubtedly make dudes who still worship at the altar of guitar-based rock come collectively … but one album every seven years? That’s just being difficult.
Rock and Roll
Rock had a particularly abysmal year in 2013: nobody seemed to give two shits about guitar-based music. Faux-folk held sway for another year with awful shit-mongers Mumford & Sons doing, um, something with banjos and mandolins. Honestly, rock made almost zero impact this year.
My Chemical Romance
… broke up after 12 years together. Dudes who wear eyeliner and women who named their cat(s) “Bowie” and “Starshine” are wicked bummed.
Guitarist Jeff Hanneman from Slayer died from cirrhosis of the liver caused by a spider bite, which is probably the most metal way to go, ever, if you think about it.
Neutral Milk Hotel / Fall Out Boy / Black Flag
The three bands above have something in common. They all reunited in 2013. This may be a signal that “rock” might be getting better, or it may just be a symbol of the fact that we all need to pay the bills, so why not get the ol’ show on the road for a quick buck. Regardless of which, Neutral Milk Hotel’s intimate reunion tour left audiences across the U.S. in tears (really) due to the magic (read the reviews from their Baltimore show in a church basement to see just a glimpse of what I’m talking about) — so perhaps indie is alive and well, just in the shadows and waiting to unleash itself again as it did in the mid-’90s/mid-2000s. Or perhaps it’s just limbering along, like Fall Out Boy’s reunion tour. Who’s to know.