#1 . HAIM – Days Are Gone
HAIM were hailed the BBC’s Sound of 2013 back in January, so the stakes were already high. Don’t Save Me, Falling, Forever and The Wire were all released before the album dropped, it was all sounding really great. In a period where I was continuously disappointed by albums released in the around the time (Janelle Monae, Drake, Lorde) etc, Days Are Gone was released and the world suddenly seemed right again. From beginning to end Days Are Gone is inventive, exciting and catchy.
Favourite: My Song 5
Kanye West – Yeezus
West returns with his ego even more inflated than before, Yeezus. An amalgamation of Kanye’s pseudonym Yeezy, and Jesus. No artwork, no promo single, no pre-order. Yeezus was a brave move, one that only West (and apparently Beyonce) could pull off. I’ve enjoyed everything West has put out thus far, and Yeezus is no exception. Up there as one of my favourites from him.
Favourite song: On Sight
I was about 30 seconds into the song ‘She’ and I knew straight away that Laura Mvula was something special. Her talented band of musicians also consists of her brother and sister. Sing to the Moon is a glorious, emotive album, filled with luscious string-instrument segments and Laura’s soothing voice. Some may find it soporific, but to me, its musical bliss. Deservedly nominated for last years Mercury Prize.
Favourite song: Sing to the Moon
Woodkid – The Golden Age
That book you see is in fact the Limited Deluxe Edition of The Golden Age. I recently received my copy, and I have to say it is utterly gorgeous. Over 100 pages of narrative and beautiful illustrations, plus a lyrics and credits section. All lined with gold. It sounds cheesy, but the music makes you feel like a hero. It’s thunderous crisp beats, soft quirky vocals fused with incredible orchestral sections are a surefire recipe for success.
Favourite song: Iron and I Love You
Tawiah – Freedom Drop
There’s a very strong chance you haven’t heard of Tawiah, London born and breed artist used to be a back-up singer for Corinne Bailey Rae and The Guillemots. I first came across Tawiah back in 2008 when song ‘With Every Step’ from her debut EP ‘In Jodi’s Bedroom’ was free on iTunes, a fantastic EP. Freedom Drop, in my opinion is even better and has easily made the cut of one of my favourites of 2013. Varied, funky, soulful, touching and bleeds together really well. Her voice is arresting, this chick deserves the recognition.
Oh and you can download it for free: http://tawiahmusic.com/
Favourite song: Open Your Eyes
#1: Drake – Nothing Was the Same
I can’t believe how awful this album is. Considering Take Care was one of my highlights of 2011, this is an epic fail follow-up. Literally the only song I like is lead single ‘Hold On, We’re Coming Home’. Everything else is a such an uninspired bore-fest.
#2: Janelle Monáe – The Electric Lady
This was a really difficult decision for me to place this here, but I was and still continued to be disappointed by Electric Lady. It’s not a bad album by any standard, it’s just that The Archandroid is my favourite album of all-time. On first listen I wasn’t impressed, and after tons of listening, I’m still not impressed. Her vocals are on point, but the magic is lost and the diversity is lacking. I still very much believe in her as an artist however.
#3: Lorde – Pure Heroine
Royals, Tennis Court were great tunes…. from the respective EPs. Unfortunately those are the only tunes I care about on the album. The rest of the album is very very samey.