I thought about rounding up my favourite albums from 2013, but you can go on a million other sites and read much more comprehensive lists than I’m about to put together. Instead, I decided to list which albums from last year I’ll listen to well into this new one. With such a huge amount of music coming out these days, it’s rare for an album to hold my attention for longer than a few weeks, but these are the ones that have some staying power on my iPod.
1. Kanye West – Yeezus
I’ll admit: I hated this album when I first heard it. I took one listen and after how much I had loved MBDTF, I felt disappointed at Kanye for what at first seemed like a paltry 10 tracks and sub-par effort overall, in production, raps, package design – everything! I tossed Yeezus aside in favour of J. Cole’s Born Sinner in the battle of the June 18, 2013 rap releases, and listened to Born Sinner for much of the summer. However, as the weather got colder and the days got shorter, I revisted Yeezus in the fall and for some reason, the music started resonating with me. It was raw and off-putting; something clicked and I finally “got” it. Seeing his much-acclaimed Yeezus Tour live in New York in November was the final nail in my Kanye-Stan coffin. To me, this is some of Kanye’s best work to date
2. Chance The Rapper – Acid Rap
I just love this mixtape…..so……much. It’s nearly flawless in my mind – great storytelling, great rapping, catchy tunes and smart beat selection. It’s emotional and serious, yet pleasing to listen to; laidback and loose yet impressively cohesive. And best of all? It’s funny! I can’t say enough good things about it or the extremely talented man behind it. What excites me most is that Chance is just 20 years old and his best is surely yet to come.
3. Childish Gambino – Because The Internet
This may have been helped onto my list by being released so late in the year, but I can’t seem to get enough of the second studio album from one of my fav modern day Renaissance Men Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino. Produced almost exclusively by Gambino himself, the production is varied enough to hold my attention, spanning pop, R&B, underground rap and club. His aptitude as a rapper has, in my opinion, come a long way from what it was on his previous release Camp. Overall I find the album interesting, complicated without being inaccessible and just random enough for my tastes.
4. Ariana Grande – Yours Truly
Don’t dismiss this pick too quickly – Ariana Grande has some real deal vocal chops and at just 20 years old put out one of the best pop albums I’ve heard in years. A throwback to the R&B music of the 90s that we all know and love (think Whitney, Mariah and Christina Aguilera) with production by that dude Babyface (you may have heard of him), this album is legit and one that I will gladly take for a spin every time I need a pick-me-up.
5. Beyonce – Beyonce
Okay, like Because The Internet, this might be cheating a bit since it came out when there was only 18 days left in 2013, but can you really blame me?! Now that I’ve gotten over the initial novelty of the visual component of the album, I’m really enjoying listening to the tracks and think this definitely has a few more months of play time.
What albums from last year will you leave on rotation? Let me know in the comments!