The 20 Best Albums of 2013

12/18/2013 4:00 AM |


==== 20 ====
Born Ruffians
Birthmarks

 

The Canadian kids wrap their fourth full-length in high-gloss production, emphasizing the band’s razor-sharp precision and resulting in propulsive Phoenix-esque pop. But unlike their French elders’ 2013 album, Birthmarks feels unmistakably human, thanks to frontman Luke Lalonde’s high-flung, idiosyncratic cadences. Key Track: “Needle”  — Lauren Beck

==== 19 ====
M.I.A.
Matangi

 

Maya’s rep as a futurist was weirdly validated by MAYA bombing in 2010—smuggling bloody Suicide beats into your hip-hop, it turned out, was very 2013. This follow up is no smug victory tour through broken ground. Matangi is happy, not harsh, as sleek, composed and, most crucially, fun, as she’s been in years. Key Track: “Bad Girls”  — Jeff Klingman


==== 18 ====
The Feeling of Love
Reward Your Grace

 

The Feeling of Love’s third full-length is full of shogaze-laced garage rock that flirts with the anthemic. Frenchman Guillaume Marietta’s quivering vocals sync with the album’s Thee-Oh-Sees-covering-My-Bloody-Valentine template, reinforcing the subversive sweetness at every corner. It’s an unsettling listen but difficult to turn down. Key Track: “I Could Be Better Than You But I Don’t Want to Change”  — LB

==== 17 ====
Kevin Morby
Harlem River

 

On his first album working outside of The Babies and Woods, Morby hones his craft of making small songs say big things, this time in the 60s nomadic singer-songwriter tradition. Tracks are softened around the edges, then, so the bittersweet melodies can run deep, providing the soundtrack to an adult life spent alternating between lost and found. Key track: “Reign”   — LB

 

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