When we began compiling our Best Albums of 2013 list, there were many differing opinions, and after briefly toying with the idea of pitting all our staff against one another in a Hunger Games fight-to-the-death scenario against the backdrop of Times Square, we conceded that the most diplomatic and least murderous thing to do would be to each submit our own list. You know, in the name of preserving a civil work environment and whatnot (not to mention our longstanding policy of avoiding contact with the human resources department). So while we didn’t battle it out in a conference room or some such nonsense, each one of us faced an internal battle — choosing our favorite albums of the year.
As far as consensus is concerned, there were 39 LPs that appeared on multiple ballots, but only 10 that appeared on five or more lists:
- Beyoncé‘s BEYONCÉ, HAIM‘s Days Are Gone and Kanye West‘s Yeezus (9 ballots each)
- Lorde, Pure Heroine (8 ballots)
- Disclosure‘s Settle (7 ballots)
- Daft Punk‘s Random Access Memories and Vampire Weekend‘s Modern Vampires Of The City (6 ballots each)
- Drake‘s Nothing Was The Same, Justin Timberlake‘s The 20/20 Collection Pt. 1 and Tegan & Sara‘s Heartthrob (5 ballots each)
Now, on with the show!
VH1 STAFF PICKS FOR THE BEST ALBUM OF 2013
Toro Y Moi, Anything In Return — Anything In Return was an early 2013 entry, but it was too amazing to be forgotten by year’s end. Toro Y Moi, also known as Chaz Bundick, had been known for pioneering the chillwave scene of the late aughts, but he expanded on his production skills on his third LP. Heavily evoking 80s synth R&B, Anything In Return is a funky ride through love’s sometimes murky territory.
James Blake, Overgrown — In a year where we heard hits that harkened back to the sounds of yesteryear (“Get Lucky,” anyone?), James Blake hurtled us toward a future landscape that was sonically sparse yet emotionally rich. However, the dubstep wunderkind wasn’t completely moody on his second LP. He did manage to add a little bounce to keep our heads nodding.
Laura Mvula, Sing To The Moon — If harmony is your thing, Laura Mvula’s Sing To The Moon has it in abundance. The British singer’s vocals feel empowering on certain tracks and haunting on others. Many of the album’s compositions feel almost orchestral, encompassing listeners and allowing you to lose yourself in the beautiful melodies.
Kanye West, Yeezus — Okay, we all know that Kanye was in total braggadocious mode all year, but we can’t really hate on Yeezus, the rapper’s sixth studio LP. You can totally feel that Kanye wanted to break hip-hop out of its comfort zone, with songs tinged with electronic and rock motifs.
Hiatus Kaiyote, Tawk Tomahawk — Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, Hiatus Kaiyote made their mark this year with their soulful debut album. Tawk Tomahawk blends hip-hop, funk, and R&B in a way that can serve as the perfect soundtrack to any low-key house party.
SANDY ALOUETE, SVP Music & Talent Relations
1. HAIM, Days Are Gone
2. Johnny Marr, The Messenger
3. Lorde, Pure Heroine
4. Various Artists, Teen Beach Movie Soundtrack
5. Daft Punk, Random Access Memories
6. The Civil Wars, The Civil Wars
7. Disclosure, Settle