Sunday, January 5, 2014

Top 25 Albums of 2013 3 - Numbers 15 to 11

Here are the next 5 albums in our countdown of the top 25 albums of 2013.

Rank Artist Album Source
15 Arcade Fire Reflektor Critics
14 Taylor Swift Red Sales
13 Run the Jewels  Run the Jewels  Fans
12 Justin Timberlake The 20/20 Experience Sales
11 Sigur Rós  Kveikur  Fans

Arcade Fire - Reflektor
My spirits sank when I saw this was a double CD. But they lifted with the first track, Reflektor, which is a killer dance number. I first listened to it in a single sitting and by the end, however, I was thinking, "Is this ever going to end?" There are a bunch of great tracks here and some not so great. This could have been truly outstanding if it had been edited down to vinyl LP length - say 45 mins. A quick scan of other reviews shows I'm not the first to criticise the length and inconsistency. Maybe history will view this as Arcade Fire's White Album.

Taylor Swift - Red
It's six years since the release of her first album, so I was hoping for more. It's quite pleasant when the production backs off and her natural voice is given a chance to breath. But most of the time her voice is subject to gratuitous and egregious processing - presumably to help it "cut through" on radio and computer speakers. That and the over produced, over compressed, over dense backing tracks make it a really hard listen for me.

Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels
And now for something completely album that isn't even on iTunes or Spotify at the time of writing. No worries, it was available as a free download from the artist. Probably as good an example of the state of hard core hip hop as you'll find anywhere. 

Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience
Contemporary R&B done right!! The true heir of MJ? Ok, well not quite that catchy, but you get the drift.

Sigur Rós - Kveikur
In isolation a good and interesting album that probably deserves a position in the chart. But from the perspective of their previous output, doesn't advance the ball. 

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