We know, we know. It's already New Year's Eve, so what do you want with another year-end list? To be honest, Laurie and I meant to do this weeks ago, but the traditional list-making season fell smack in the middle of our traditional February/March print deadline, so you can guess what took precedence. But think of all the things you can do with this appropriately timed year-end list: Play it tonight at your New Year's house party! Listen to it in its entirety tomorrow on your day off! Blast it at the gym next week when you're trying to keep your short-lived resolutions!
Laurie and I, to put it mildly, have extremely different tastes. She absolutely loathes modern country but loves everything "from the '90s," while I only enjoy moody, atmospheric dance music, according to my old roommate. This usually helps diversify the music section (except when it comes to chillwave--we both hate chillwave), so we decided to join forces here and give you five of each of our favorite records of 2013. We did not discuss our picks beforehand, but correctly predicted that there would be zero overlap between us. Happy new year, and here's to more great records in 2014!
Okay, this was technically released prior to 2013 in the band's native Australia, but it didn't hit our shores until this past spring, at which point we just about flipped our wigs. Comparisons to Amy Winehouse abound and still hold true, but Clairy is in a class by herself. All hail this soulful queen.
Probably the best heavy rock band of the century, Josh Homme's QOTSA never disappoint. A near-death experience inspired the slow burn of the songs on this haunting rager, which we will continue spinning well into 2014 and beyond.
I predict that newcomer Lizzo will be a big star, and in my dreams, Missy Elliott will produce her next record! This rapper's got chops, serious dance moves, and is a hell of a performer. As a jaded oldster, I was thrilled to catch her perform live this year. Keep an eye out for Lizzo and get her album, stat. (Eliza would also like to note that Laurie never likes much hip-hop, so if she put this as her number one, it must be really good.)
Seattle's La Luz is an all-girl band with a knack for making surf-y rock sound current, as well as totally gorgeous and a little spooky. This album flew way too far under the radar this year, so let's change that in 2014 and get La Luz in the headphones of the masses.
As a person originally from the South, I spend a lot of time defending the merits of country music, but Pistol Annies aside, very little has come out in recent years that I actually like. Brandy Clark, though, is fantastic. She sounds like Loretta Lynn, if she wore a lot of leather and could drink you under the table every night.
I spent the first half of the fall thinking Haim and Chvrches made the best pop records this year, and I still love those, but then two days ago I only spent $26 of my hard-earned Christmas money on one limited-edition green vinyl LP, and it was Night Time, My Time. "You're Not the One" is one of the greatest songs ever for dancing in the mirror while getting ready for work. You guys do that too, right?
Neko Case can never, ever do any wrong. The first time I heard "Nearly Midnight, Honolulu," I actually cried, in public, on a plane. Every song here is amazing, but especially "Man," "Night Still Comes," and "Where Did I Leave That Fire."
I love this album so much that I really wanted to put it in all of my top-five spots, and I might have done so if it weren't for the stupid Drake song and that extremely questionable rap by Jay Z on "Drunk in Love." Those minor flaws aside, this record is otherwise--ahem--flawless. Beyoncé explicitly declared herself a feminist, gave us some good songs for doin' it (or at least thinking about doin' it while dancing), and was basically a wizard when it came to making 17 whole new videos, each of which I have watched more times than I should be comfortable with. This GIF just about sums it up.