Part 2 of our Top 20 Favourite Albums of 2013 feature. You can find part 1 HERE. Remember, these are just our personal favourite albums of the year, in no particular order. Let us know if you think we missed anything!
10. John Legend – Love in the Future
Remember John Legend’s first album? Well, this is absolutely nothing like that. For a start, it’s executive-produced by Kanye West and features songwriting collaborations with Rick Ross. It’s unashamedly sexy, dramatic and soulful, and even manages to make schmaltz sound cool.‘All Of Me’ is a pop ballad in the truest sense, and wouldn’t sound out of place being sung by One Direction. It’s a polarising point on the album, but Legend’s smooth soul flows throughout, and he’s incredibly good at it.
Read John’s own thoughts on the album inside FAULT Issue 13. Excerpts from our interview (and some shots from inside the issue) are available here and our behind the scenes video from our shoot can be found here
John Legend – ‘All Of Me’:
9. Haim – Days are Gone
2013 was undeniably Haim’s year. They’ve been universally praised by the likes of The Line of Best Fit and The Guardian as well as garnering extensive airplay on Radio 1. Instant classics like ‘Falling’ and ‘Don’t Save Me’ secured their debut’s position as one of the most anthemic and memorable records of the year.
We spoke to the sibling trio in FAULT Issue 15 while they were recording Days Are Gone, in which they told us what to expect from the album (needless to say, it didn’t disappoint): “Be prepared to have some fun! We had a lot of fun making it, so I hope it sounds fun. There are a bunch of new songs as well as songs that we released before.”
Haim – ‘Falling’:
8. Bass Drum of Death – Bass Drum of Death
While Black Lips fans await their next album, they’ll probably be filling the gap with Bass Drum of Death. The Mississippi outfit’s honest, fuzzy garage-rock may not be particularly pioneering, but they demonstrate an excellent grasp of the genre in their second full-length offering, with infectious melodies and a purposefully under-produced sound. They also really, really like reverb. Who doesn’t?
Bass Drum Of Death – ‘Crawling After You’:
7. Charli XCX – True Romance
She’s had a fantastic 2013 by anyone’s standards – the past year has seen Charli XCX tour with other FAULT Featured artists Ellie Goulding and Marina and the Diamonds, as well as Paramore. She’s gone from underground sensation (her first album, ‘14’ was an acclaimed underground hit in 2008, but never commercially released) to the potential ‘next big thing’ of leftfield quirky-pop. Her vocal tone is strikingly similar to Marina Diamandis but her songwriting and grasp of melodic devices is phenomenal for her 21 years.
In her recent interview for FAULT Issue 16, Charli revealed that she “always see[s her] music in colours. , my first record, was purple, whereas this [upcoming] album is going to be red. I’m inspired visually by red lips, blazers and things that blow up!…It’s going to be much more alive than True Romance.”
Charli XCX – ‘You’re The One’:
6. SUUNS – Images du Futur
Slightly freaky but wholly compelling, ‘Images du Futur’ really is something of a masterpiece, juxtaposing the heady sound of electro-indie (think Holy Ghost, Cut Copy) with what can only be described as futuristic lo-fi garage. FAULT Favourites SUUNS are carving their way through multiple genres with this impressive second album, and as a result, saw themselves nominated for the 2013 Polaris Music Prize.
Check out our interview with the Montreal four-piece in full on FAULT Online here
SUUNS – ‘Edie’s Dream’:
5. Jessica Sanchez – Me, You and the Music
The American Idol runner-up showed she’s not just a pretty face with her impressive debut album. After a stint on Glee, it would have been easy for her to continue down the squeaky-clean teen pop route, but she shakes off any preconceptions with the R’n’B-influenced ‘Me, You and the Music’, which includes a collaboration with Ne-Yo and songs co-written by Tom Petty and Sia.
Read Jessica’s own thoughts on the album inside FAULT Issue 16. Excerpts from our interview (and some images from inside the issue) are available here, along with our exclusive behind the scenes video. Get the whole story in FAULT Issue 16, available from here.
Jessica Sanchez – ‘Tonight’:
4.Big Sean – Hall of Fame
If you miss Notorious B.I.G as much as we do., Big Sean is there to fill the void. His unashamedly retro hip-hop, with song titles like ‘MILF’ and ‘Freaky’ borders on being a pastiche without crossing the line into ‘Trapped In The Closet’ territory. Collaborations with Li’l Wayne, Nicki Minaj and 2 Chainz make this one of the most noticeable new hip-hop releases, and Sean’s lyrics segue between the humorous and the filthy with ease.
Big Sean told us in FAULT Issue 15 that Hall of Fame featured ”the best music [he'd] ever made”. Read more from the interview, and see more shots, here – or get the full story in FAULT Issue 15 – available from here.
Big Sean – ‘Guap’:
3. The Black Angels – Indigo Meadow
Not only did they use some seriously Sixties cover art for ‘Indigo Meadow’, they also showed that they’re still one of the American underground rock scene’s forerunners with an album that’s as melodic, lyrically dark and introspective as you’d expect from the Texan five-piece.
Read our interview with the psych-rockers in full on FAULT Online here
The Black Angels – ‘Indigo Meadow’:
2. Beyonce – Beyonce
One morning, we all awoke to a new Beyonce album. No media fanfare or indeed any clues at all preceded the release of Beyonce’s self-titled fifth album, which began as an iTunes exclusive. Following the release, she announced that she ‘sees’ music, explaining the fact that each track came with its own music video. Throughout the course of the album’s accompanying visuals, she portrays an exploited pageant queen (‘Pretty Hurts’, which is co-written by Sia), a happy theme-park goer (‘XO’) and sings an entire song about having sex with Jay Z (‘Drunk In Love’).
Beyonce – ‘Drunk In Love’:
1. Mac Miller – Watching Movies with the Sound Off
Mac Miller described his second album as ‘introspective’ and he certainly lived up to that promise with ‘Watching Movies with the Sound Off’. His previous style of playful party anthems has been shelved in favour of deeper lyrical content and a clear desire to make music for no-one other than himself – although the lead single is officially ‘Somebody Do Something’ (abbreviated to S.D.S) there is no particular standout track. Taking this approach is a risk, but one that’s paid off for Miller.
Look out for more of Mac Miller in FAULT Issue 17 – more info announced this Friday 10th January!
Mac Miller – ‘S.D.S.’:
Read the rest of our Top 20 FAULT Favourite Albums of 2013 feature: