Spin's 50 Best Albums of 2013

Spin's 50 Best Albums of 2013

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50. Drake - Nothing Was the Same

September 24, 2013
Critic Score
76
27 reviews

A steely affair that finds Drake and longtime producer Noah "40" Shebib pulling their sound and worldview further inward to increasingly murky results.

49. Queens of the Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork

June 4, 2013
Critic Score
82
32 reviews

This is tension, then more tension, then even more tension on the chorus until your subconscious has been thoroughly scrambled; only then does release come, usually in the form of a gnarled guitar solo.

48. Body/Head - Coming Apart

September 10, 2013
Critic Score
74
14 reviews

At no other time in her career has Gordon been so forceful, so in her own power. 

47. Neko Case - The Worse Things Get ...

September 3, 2013
Critic Score
80
24 reviews

Her voice is a bear hug in the literal sense; succumbing to it is like being carjacked by Patsy Cline.

46. Pusha T - My Name Is My Name

October 8, 2013
Critic Score
78
21 reviews

Kanye and all the production cosigns he can bring to this thing make this record too ambitious to fail; Pusha T, forever an outlier even when he had clubby crack-rap hits, has finally made a solo project that isn't totally beneath him, even if parts of it still are.

45. Superchunk - I Hate Music

August 20, 2013
Critic Score
80
18 reviews

Now, less shy about their place in the world and shot through with adult resignation, the band's anthems play as a sort of mortality blues. But with I Hate Music, Superchunk prove that we were weren't wrong to believe.

44. William Tyler - Impossible Truth

William Tyler - Impossible Truth
March 19, 2013
Critic Score
81
12 reviews

Although he's stretching traditional, time-tested folk templates culled from around the world and back again, Tyler's vision is both distinctly American and deeply modern. 

42. James Holden - The Inheritors

June 17, 2013
Critic Score
83
16 reviews

41. Colin Stetson - New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light

April 30, 2013
Critic Score
81
16 reviews

Like most free jazz, it's music of the moment, a work of granular epiphanies that accrete, finally, into a magnificent whole.

40. Bill Callahan - Dream River

September 17, 2013
Critic Score
79
23 reviews

39. My Bloody Valentine - m b v

February 3, 2013
Critic Score
88
34 reviews

m b v seems like both the "logical next step" after Loveless (as if bands were subject to teleological pressures) and utterly contemporary.

38. Janelle Monáe - The Electric Lady

September 10, 2013
Critic Score
82
31 reviews

It is possible to love The Electric Lady, even if deep listening may be required to seal the deal. She certainly works hard for our devotion.

37. Arcade Fire - Reflektor

October 29, 2013
Critic Score
78
41 reviews

Reflektor is long and weird and indulgent and deeply committed. It has three to five genuinely great songs; it also wanders off into the filler hinterlands for 20 minutes or so (out of 70). 

36. Kelela - Cut 4 Me

October 1, 2013
Critic Score
80
7 reviews

34. Kvelertak - Meir

March 25, 2013
Critic Score
79
8 reviews

Restraint is the order of the day: While their debut had enough meatballs-to-the-wall ragers to fill a fjord, this one highlights the group's songwriting skills. 

33. Laura Marling - Once I Was an Eagle

May 27, 2013
Critic Score
85
32 reviews

Marling has always trafficked in understated elegance, but she's firmly in attack mode here. Mostly against herself.

32. Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience

March 19, 2013
Critic Score
74
30 reviews

Much has been made of the album's length, but Timberlake and Timbaland prove to have more than enough ingenuity to make it worth our while.

31. Earl Sweatshirt - Doris

August 20, 2013
Critic Score
79
27 reviews

Enamored with language itself, Doris is a celebration of syntax, a yoga pose pushing the limits of the MC's flexibility

30. 2 Chainz - B.O.A.T.S. II #METIME

September 10, 2013
Critic Score
64
11 reviews

B.O.A.T.S II ups the production values like a true sequel should. Whereas his last album felt at times like a mixtape in expensive packaging, the beats here are full and gleaming with the fruits of success

29. Rudimental - Home

April 29, 2013
Critic Score
68
12 reviews

At its best, Home is a sumptuous, thrilling experience on a purely sonic level. There are absolutely zero boring moments here, and the details are often transcendent

28. Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP 2

November 5, 2013
Critic Score
69
25 reviews

This, the "sequel" (or whatever) to his landmark 2000 LP, is little more than a rapsploitation vehicle where practically every line is gratuitous, beyond ridiculous, an effortless and almost empty display of showboating, a carnival trick.

27. Migos - Young Rich Niggas

June 13, 2013
Critic Score
77
2 reviews

26. Rhye - Woman

March 5, 2013
Critic Score
77
21 reviews

Not only does this come across as a feminist statement, but it also plays like a declaration of Sapphic love: an unlikely achievement from two dudes expressing hetero desire.

25. Caitlin Rose - The Stand-In

February 25, 2013
Critic Score
78
19 reviews

Mostly, it's the wilting pedal steel, warm analog tubes, and lush heartbreak flourishes of "When I'm Gone" that distinguish Rose from the merchants of new country's jingles.

24. DJ Rashad - I Don't Give a Fuck

DJ Rashad - I Don't Give a Fuck
July 22, 2013
Critic Score
75
6 reviews

23. Oneohtrix Point Never - R Plus Seven

October 1, 2013
Critic Score
80
25 reviews

Nothing lingers long on Seven, but you can hear just how quickly OPN gobbles up EDM's bass frequencies, the Max-DSP moves of Fennesz, Ryuichi Sakamoto's synthetic silkiness, even the frenetic arpeggios of Glassworks and sampler chops of footwork.

22. Deafheaven - Sunbather

June 11, 2013
Critic Score
90
18 reviews

Sunbather comes laced with post-rock grace and a pop-like accessibility. Nor are those elements sequestered from the black-metal bombardment: They are part of it, or, depending upon your perspective, it is part of them. 

21. Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels

June 26, 2013
Critic Score
84
24 reviews

This quick, free joint project is comparatively frizzy, and doesn't leave a bruising stain of forced mind expansion -- just a pleasant memory of good times had by reclaiming “jewels” from the corporate overlords of mainstream rap

20. Waxahatchee - Cerulean Salt

March 5, 2013
Critic Score
76
22 reviews

The recordings are dry and vérité, which they have to be to help Crutchfield make her point: Namely, that these are honest songs about real people being hammered out in the basements and garages of unromantic places.

19. Daft Punk - Random Access Memories

May 21, 2013
Critic Score
83
37 reviews

If Daft Punk's Random Access Memories sounds like a new Broadway musical, that's because it might as well be.

16. Omar Souleyman - Wenu Wenu

October 22, 2013
Critic Score
78
20 reviews

15. Nine Inch Nails - Hesitation Marks

September 3, 2013
Critic Score
79
28 reviews

Through his own twisted K-hole, #ARTPOP icon Reznor is once again one of the most vital artists working today, coming back haunted, breaking the habitual. 

14. The Haxan Cloak - Excavation

April 15, 2013
Critic Score
85
16 reviews

Ultimately, what makes Excavation such an awesome and absorbing listen is precisely its indifference to the listener. There are no half-measures, no fallbacks, no guideposts.

13. Tegan and Sara - Heartthrob

January 29, 2013
Critic Score
77
22 reviews

Bright, busy, and unapologetically direct, Heartthrob nonetheless makes everything Tegan and Sara did before seem perversely obscure.

12. Danny Brown - OLD

October 8, 2013
Critic Score
84
24 reviews

Old is XXX without that fun first half. It isn't traditionally enjoyable, and it isn't supposed to be. But for Danny Brown, the pill-popping, pussy-eating squawk-box, it's the most daring record he could've made.

11. M.I.A. - Matangi

November 5, 2013
Critic Score
75
33 reviews

Like its creator, Matangi is flawed, frustrating, and occasionally confusing, but it's also intermittently brilliant and completely unique.

10. Kurt Vile - Wakin on a Pretty Daze

April 9, 2013
Critic Score
82
32 reviews

Wakin on a Pretty Daze, Vile's fifth album, is the product of both thought and effort. That it feels like it took neither thought nor effort is a product of talent.

9. The Knife - Shaking the Habitual

April 8, 2013
Critic Score
84
33 reviews

They've never sounded more in tune with the materiality of sound or the sonorousness of the physical world.

8. KA - The Night's Gambit

July 13, 2013
Critic Score
82
7 reviews

The Night's Gambit is the best example yet of Ka's take-it-or-leave-it rap-auteurist style. Content-wise, it's hindsight-fraught, regret-filled hip-hop from a man, now in his early forties, who better understands his past transgressions now, even if he doesn't feel any better about them.

7. Boards of Canada - Tomorrow's Harvest

June 11, 2013
Critic Score
82
37 reviews

It still sounds unmistakably like Boards of Canada, even if their telltale tropes are now scattered across Harvest rather than made to define each of its 17 tracks.

6. Tim Hecker - Virgins

October 14, 2013
Critic Score
84
24 reviews

It convulses with a sense of limitless possibility; it rolls up everything Hecker has done before this and, as is his wont, pulverizes it into a fine mash. What's new is the thing he molds from the dampened ashes.

5. Disclosure - Settle

June 3, 2013
Critic Score
77
29 reviews

Fortunately, Settle doesn't settle; each new track finds them testing their own formulas. 

4. HAIM - Days Are Gone

September 30, 2013
Critic Score
77
30 reviews

Freakily poised but never cloying, Days Are Gone is an album that will fade blissfully into your local Urban Outfitters/vintage shop/American gathering, where, like some kind of mollifying drug, people exposed to it will be happier without either knowing or caring why.

3. Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City

May 14, 2013
Critic Score
83
36 reviews

Like art, Vampires is dense; like pop, it seems to float in effortlessly from some place you're sure you've been, but by some trick of déjà vu eludes your conscious brain.

2. Chance The Rapper - Acid Rap

April 30, 2013
Critic Score
82
15 reviews

At just 19, aspiring to compete with such ambitious rap visionaries, and mostly succeeding, is an impressive feat.

1. Kanye West - Yeezus

June 18, 2013
Critic Score
85
38 reviews

Yeezus ranks as more than a glorified placeholder in West's catalogue, but one can't help feeling that parenthood will compel his muse to even more Olympian levels of bombast and grandiosity.

Original Source: http://www.spin.com/articles/best-albums-2013/
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