starlady: headphones on top of colorful buttons (music (makes the people))
[personal profile] starlady
[personal profile] rilina asked about a song or album that I've loved recently.

Well, this is both easy and hard. 2013 wound up being a phenomenal year for the kind of music I like, and so I'm going to take this opportunity to list my favorite albums of 2013, in no particular order.

# Vienna Teng, Aims - I got introduced to Vienna Teng through fandom, essentially, and she is so, so amazing. She's a pianist and songwriter who's from the Bay Area, and since she released a new album this year, I finally got to see her live; she's amazing! The musicianship of her and her trio is really mind-blowing, and I love her music, and her voice. The album, Aims, is phenomenal--it's totally her, and it's also a really interesting evolution of her sound, and I will see her as often as I can until the day I die. My two favorite tracks are "In the 99" and "Never Look Away."

# Janelle Monáe, The Electric Lady - I've written before about how much I love Janelle Monáe. I think she may be the single best musician under 50 working right now. (I say that because otherwise I'd have to put her above Bruce Springsteen, and I'm just not emotionally equipped to do that about anyone.) Her music spans genres, but always stays true to her Atlanta and scifi roots. The Electric Lady is her most personal album yet, and though it didn't hook me as immediately as did The ArchAndroid, I saw her live in November and it was one of the best shows of my life--she's gotten even better at owning the stage, and she was already phenomenal. My favorite track is probably "Electric Lady," but there's so many amazing ones, it's hard to choose.

# Fall Out Boy, Save Rock and Roll - I'm always in bandom years late, I think; I didn't even listen to this album until after I'd seen FOB touring for it, but holy shit, it's amazing. Patrick Stump is phenomenal, and the band sounds ridiculously good. My favorite tracks are "The Phoenix," "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark," and "Young Volcanoes," but the whole thing's awesome.

# Fitz and the Tantrums, More Than Just A Dream - I heard "6am" on the Current and went to download the album immediately. They're an LA-based neo-soul group, and though this is by no means normally my thing, this album, their second, is pretty phenomenal.

# Dessa, Parts of Speech - I love all of Dessa's music; her songs are so interesting, and so intelligent, and so knowing. I got to see her in June finally and she's wonderful.

# Darcy James Argue's Secret Society, Brooklyn Babylon - This is the follow-up album to Infernal Machines, the soundtrack for a Fritz Lang-esque art installation parable about a steampunk city after the apocalypse and the role of Art and Work in Society. I don't know a ton about jazz, but this album is amazing.

# Chvrches, The Bones of What You Believe - Scottish electronica. I saw them live in November and they're still proto-stage performers, really, but the music is more than enough to carry them until they fully grow into their personas.

# Arcade Fire, Reflektor - I love Arcade Fire with all of my heart and soul and I will see them as often as I can until the day I die. When I heard that this album was coming out in October I said, "Well, now I can die happy," and it's true. It's not quite as immediately transcendently obviously wonderful as The Suburbs was, to my mind, but it grows on you after approximately one play; it's another masterpiece. I cannot wait to see them in July.

Honorable mentions go to Beyoncé's self-titled album Beyoncé, which I have not had a chance to listen to all the way through yet. I also just got The Indelicates' new album, Diseases of England--they're another group I heard about through fandom, and I adore their acid wit and their overeducated name-dropping and their deep liberal cynicism and the fact that they are a British guitar pop duo with amazing harmonies. I fully expect to love this album too. The first thing I do when I get a real job is going to be paying them to play a house show at my house, wherever I am. I've seriously thought of doing it on y grad student stipend, which I cannot actually afford to do, but I've seriously thought about it all the same.
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