Following the lead of my friend and ministry buddy (and fellow clergy member of the Anglican Diocese of the Great Lakes) Joshua Toepper, I’m putting my five favorite albums of 2013 in a list for you to read, comment on, critique, and then ultimately accept as truth.
Panic! at the Disco – Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!
This album is surprisingly good, especially based upon their earlier works. I really like the breadth of the music on it, especially the way they have finally achieved vocal goodness on this album. That said, there are some dud tracks. “Girls/Girls/Boys” is a terrible track. It wouldn’t even merit radio play.
Lady Gaga – ARTPop
I love Gaga and really want to love this album. It’s close to awesome, but like PatD above, it has a couple of duds that make it a solid collection of singles with a few bad ones. Not top five, but close.
My official top five
5. Five Iron Frenzy – Engine of a Million Plots
After 10 years away, this is an incredible new album. It’s got hints of vintage FIF with a lot of growth and development as a band. I think their lyric-writing process finally makes sense and even their humor is less goofy and more sarcastic which fits them well. It’s an album that is a very easy front-to-back listen.
4. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Live from KCRW
This one just popped on my radar in the last few weeks and I’m having trouble putting it down. The depth of the vocals on this live album are great, plus the raw, scaled-down sound of the instrumentations are brilliant. It’s a chills-inducing album at times.
3. The Civil Wars – (self-titled)
The fact that they can generate a live quality in a studio album is great. The fact that they produced this quality of an album with all of the personal/professional drama is even better. The fact that this album will be great ten years from now absolutely seals the deal. It’s a top album.
2. Casey Black – Lay it in the Loam
You’ve probably never heard of Casey unless you’ve seen him on tour, but this album is a top notch record. Casey’s got a country style that’s very classy and mature, and the depth of his lyrics is soul stirring. I’d be willing to venture that his album is too classy for pop-country radio, but that’s what makes it incredible. Listening to “Flowers” makes you want to share a bottle of bourbon with him and walk around rural Tennessee. It’s a beautiful album .
1. CHVRCHES – The Bones of What You Believe
I don’t know what the genre of this album is supposed to be, but somebody said “Scottish Electronic.” Regardless of that categorizing, the album is absolutely incredible. Vocals are beautiful. The instrumentation and programming makes the record danceable or good for background music. I play it at school a lot and have had several students write down the name so they could buy it. It seems to transcend genre and generation, so you know it’s got something awesome going for it.