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Top 5 Albums of 2013

Honorable mention: The Weeknd – Kiss Land

5. City and Colour – The Hurry And The Harm
Dallas Green doesn’t reinvent anything lyrically on his fourth solo album, The Hurry And The Harm. He navigates through familiar themes, like loneliness, heartbreaks and death. But who would want him to do anything else? This is what he excels in. Green is, to me, one of the greatest contemporary singer-songwriter, and The Hurry And The Harm is as captivating as everything he’s done before. Shades of Little Hell are present throughout the album, with a sound that would qualify in the indie/folk-rock genre more than in the acoustic category. But what once again stands out the most from this album is the vocal performance. If God exists, I’m not even sure his voice is as fascinating as Green’s.
Best Track: Two Coins

4. Woodkid – The Golden Age
Multidisciplinary artist Yoann Lemoine, aka Woodkid, has proven himself as a masterful music video director and graphic designer. His debut as a singer-songwriter was highly anticipated, and the frenchman showed everyone that he will most likely succeed in everything he sets his mind to. The Golden Age is an alternative album that could actually serve as an entire film score. The tracks scale to epic proportions, with orchestral arrangements complementing Lemoine’s deep voice marvellously. This is the type of album that will give you the urge to go out and save the world in your superhero costume.
Best Track: Run Boy Run

3. Kanye West – Yeezus
Like him or not, no one can deny the level of creativity that Kanye West has brought to the music industry. Yeezus is Kanye pursuing his adventures into genre mixing, and his experiences with whatever sound he feels like working with. With the help of Daft Punk, Rick Rubin, and a bunch of other collaborators, Kanye was able to create a unique album that blends rap, electro, dancehall (and the list goes on…) brilliantly. Many times on the album, West travels so far away from the usual paths, that the songs seem destined to fail. How can an industrial beat like the one on I’m In It work with a rap verse, an Assassin verse, and a hook by Justin Vernon? Kanye seems to have found the way to put those pieces together perfectly, with flawless production. Yeezus is his Kid A, his Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Best Track: Black Skinhead

2. Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience
Few artists have been able to orchestrate a comeback as big as Justin Timberlake did. JT needed a perfect pole vault jump to reach the height at which he set the bar in 2006 with FutureSex/LoveSounds, and he nailed that jump perfectly. The 20/20 Experience was a big gamble, because it ventured out of the easy pop/R&B route that it was expected to take. Timberlake and Timbaland could’ve easily composed a compilation of radio singles and hit a home run with it. Instead, they experimented with new styles, mixing crooner-like melodies with post-modern synth sounds, to create something completely unique. The 20/20 Experience must have been a letdown for a lot of 15-year-old girls, but it was the album that JT needed to solidify his status as one of the most defining stars of his generation. And the 2 million copies it sold also proved it was the best move he could do.
Best Track: Blue Ocean Floor

1. Chvrches – The Bones of What You Believe
Just like Gossamer was last year, The Bones of What You Believe is an album that might seem incredibly shallow at first, due to its synth-pop melodies and anthem-like choruses. It’s only after a few listens that the subtleties will surface and that you will come to understand the depth and the complexity of this 12-track record that the Glasgow trio created. What is even more surprising is the way Lauren Mayberry is able to deliver powerful lyrics with a voice as soothing as hers. A debut album like this one can lead to two things; constant disappointment for future releases, or the beginning of a band that will highly influence its genre. Let’s hope Chvrches take the later road.
Best Track: Lies

Disappointment of the year: Eminem – MMLP2

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