David Bowie - The Next Day, one of our 100 best albums of 2013 The Next Day… Take a Bow

100 best albums of 2013 countdown: 10-1

Published on January 6th, 2014 | Jonny Abrams

Yes, yes, the top 10 of our 100 best albums of 2013 includes David Bowie and My Bloody Valentine. We like those albums. What were we supposed to do, leave them out to save face?

Neither claimed our top spot, however. Read on to find out who did…

10. O Emperor – Vitreous

What we said…

A sprawling, psychedelic pop odyssey and a masterpiece of self-recording… Rocksucker’s attention has not been not so much grabbed as swiped off comedically by the neck with one of those cartoon crooks. “Yoink.”

Read our review of Vitreous in full!

9. The Flaming Lips – The Terror

What we said…

There is an oddly un-Lips-like consistency of mood and sound across the duration of The Terror… Wayne Coyne’s cracked affability and Steven Drozd’s sweet choirboy voice peep out amidst the shimmering waves of electronic desolation and infuse them with warmth… These sparse, chirruping wildernesses house melodies which in isolation might even sound sweet.

Read our review of The Terror in full!

8. My Bloody Valentine – m b v

What we said…

There is a mellowness to their maturity that floats by agreeably yet still insists on having those pupil-dilating whirlwinds of guitar swarming around it… A tumultuous rhythm section propels the heavenwards ascent of bewildering psychedelic noise-pop, pop being very much the least operative word, into a particularly otherworldly state of bliss.

Read our review of m b v in full!

7. Bilal – A Love Surreal

What we said…

Sticky, rubbery rhythm sections, smooth harmonies, a Stevie Wonder-esque way with weaving melodies in between keys, a dash of Andre 3000 sass… “Slipping Away” drapes Bilal’s falsetto over a wintry sort of melancholy and nuzzles the whole lot towards proggy bends of lead guitar, it’s pretty darn excellent.

Read our review of A Love Surreal in full!

6. Laura Mvula – Sing to the Moon

What we said…

Beautiful, eccentric, technicolour, in love with the world, lush with harmonies and quite unlike anything else out there at the moment. A bastion of true, spiritual musicality on a pop landscape founded largely on artifice and clinical industry produce.

Read our review of Sing to the Moon in full!

5. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II

What we said…

They’re from Portland and New Zealand, which sounds about right: there’s the DIY psychedelia characteristic of the former, and the fuzzy sunshine textures attendant with the latter… “So Good at Being in Trouble” is an instant hit with its chorus like some blissful soul classic, its lazily enraptured bass and Big Star guitar riff… High-quality psychedelic pop backed up by satisfying grooves.

Read our review of II in full!

4. David Bowie – The Next Day

What we said…

For all strengths of its opening tracks, it’s the second half of The Next Day that elevates it to the realms of ‘great Bowie album’…. The propulsive, soaring and downright strange “If You Can See Me” is perhaps the pick of the bunch, while also drawing attention to the abundance across the record of uncharacteristic and not immediately obvious melodic simplicity.

Read our review of The Next Day in full!

3. Cian Ciarán – They Are Nothing Without Us

What we said…

Dabbles with all sorts and comes out smelling of roses at every turn, all the while pining for that rosy scent to permeate the world that we as a species are trashing to within an inch of its life… Fit to rival Super Furry Animals classics Rings Around the World and Phantom Power as a genuinely great modern protest album.

Read our review of They Are Nothing Without Us in full!

2. Julia Holter – Loud City Song

What we said…

Transports us into a realm where Fall Out Boy and Maroon 5 are but figments of someone’s unfounded dread… Field recordings, unusual rhythmic punctuation and exotic instrumentation frame Holter’s extraordinarily captivating voice, one that could lure seafaring explorers to their doom and conceivably has.

Read our review of Loud City Song in full!

1. Tyler, The Creator – Wolf

What we said…

The excessive darkness of the lyrical themes ‘explored’ on 2011 predecessor Goblin is not replicated so much on Wolf; they’re not absent altogether, naturally, but they often make way for – and through counterbalance serve to enhance the impact of – softer moments… If you can withstand the coarseness then the combination of beautiful, blissed-out jazz and rough, choppy beats that frequently lights up the album makes it not just perversely listenable but addictively dreamy… If South Park created a psychotic young rapper with an almost Brian Wilson-like knack for composition, Tyler, The Creator would be it.

Read our review of Wolf in full!

Previously on our 100 best albums of 2013 countdown: 100-9190-8180-7170-6160-5150-4140-3130-2120-11

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About the Author

Editor of Rocksucker and the website's founder, Jonny is passionate about the music he listens to, both good and bad, as well as interviewing his favourite musicians.