2013 has been a crazy year for me, lots of ups and downs, especially in my personal life. But it has also been a great year for music! Here is my list of Top 5 Albums of 2013:
5) CHVRCHES - The Bones Of What You Believe
"The Mother We Share" was a song that needed to grow on me. Not sure why, as I find it brilliant now, but the first few months, I was skeptical. But then I discovered their Recover EP with "Now Is Not The Time" and that solidified my new found love for this Scottish band. Seeing them live on Jimmy Kimmel confirmed my new obsession and I found vocalist Lauren Mayberry a great female role model when she posted her public letter that she will not accept online misogyny. After hearing "Tether" and "Gun," I rushed to download their full studio album and now it's my getting-ready-to-go-out soundtrack.
4) The Naked And Famous - In Rolling Waves
I have been a fan of this NZ band since I first heard their single "Young Blood"; I even had the chance to see them do a few songs acoustic at The Blank Club and was blown away by them. "Punching In A Dream" came out next and it had the same power as the first single, so I knew this band was going places. Anxious to hear more music, I was stoked when they released Passive Me, Aggressive You, especially diggin' the songs "No Way" and "Girls Like You." When I heard they were releasing a new album this year, I was ecstatic and their first single "Hearts Like Ours" did not disappoint. "The Mess" and "I Kill Giants" are two of my favorite tracks on the album. Thom and Alisa's chemistry on stage is undeniable, plus I love how they harmonize and play off each other's lines.
3) Bastille - Bad Blood
"Pompeii" is one of those songs that sticks in her head the first time you hear it. The chanting hymns grab your attention and then Dan's heavenly voice comes in and you're hooked. I couldn't get enough of it and went searching for more songs online, which led me to find their a capella version at the British Museum, as well as a capella version of "Overjoyed" at the gardens of Copped Hall. Both of these blew me away; they really show off how talented each member of this fabulous band is! With only the single and it's b-side "Poet" to keep me occupied for many months, I eagerly anticipated their full album, and now I can't stop listening to it. Plus I had the pleasure of seeing them live twice, and they are amazing, really capturing their talent, essence, and musicianship!
2) Lorde - Pure Heroine
Sometime in February I read about five artists under 18 to look out for and Lorde was on that list. I remember listening to "Royals" and finding it the most unique, brilliant song I've heard in a long time. I just loved her voice and the lyrics were right up my alley. I started posting about the song regularly, calling it my anthem due to the line "you can call me queen b" -- yet is seemed like no one was paying attention. I appreciated the mystery behind her as there were no photos, just some cartoon with The Love Club EP on Soundcloud, a sign that it was about the music, not the image. All of a sudden this summer, the song was everywhere, even on every type of radio station, and people were taking about this 16-year old from New Zealand (finally!). Then she released her follow-up single "Team," proving she wasn't a one hit wonder. Ella Yelish-O'Connor is just amazing, a true artist with a unique blend of haunting vocals over electro-pop beats, that's full of teen angst, but with a sense of maturity. Her studio album is phenomenal and thought-provoking, from the beginning notes of "Tennis Court" to the dramatic end with "A World Alone." I'm not surprised she's the youngest act to top the Billboard Hot 100 as it's well deserved. I wish there were more artists and success stories in the music industry like this!
1) Imagine Dragons - Night Visions
This was the band that took my heart by storm last year when I heard "It's Time" on the radio. Right away I knew this band and I would have a long relationship, they were right up the lines of my 80's new wave passion, yet with a modern twist. When they opened Live105's BFD, I was in awe; Dan Reynolds is the quintessential frontman, which is rare for such a young band. I loved his energy and how he had his own big bass drum to pummel on, adding to the dynamic and sound. A few weeks later the band blew up on radio and their Continued Silence EP came out, which played repeatedly in my car. Hits like "Radioactive," "Demons" and "On Top Of The World" warmed my heart and I couldn't wait to see them live again. My dream came true last Fall, with a tremendous performance at the Great American Music Hall; the whole audience connected with this talented Las Vegas band. Night Visions technically came out Sept 2012, but it's the album that's had the most play in my life this year. Songs like "Bleeding Out" and "Nothing Left To Say" just convey so much emotion, I feel what they feel and they get me through the hard times. I even went on an extensive search for their previous EP's after seeing a live version of "Cover Up" on Bronson Island, which is still one of my favorite songs by them, plus I discovered "I Need A Minute" on their 2009 self-titled EP. And let's not forget their incredible show at America's Cup Pavilion -- one of the BEST concerts I've ever seen!