I think the album as a concept is a dying art. Which is unfortunate.These days an album is considered a collection of singles pillow-cased with a lot of filler. A lot.
So I take such great relish in finding an album that encapsulates so much for me. Raw emotion. Pure exaltation. Emancipation from the day to day. And a cohesion found rarely, mostly in classics of the past.
I was happy to stumble upon a few this year. These transported me like few others in the previous 11 1/2 months. So may I introduce you to part three in my best of year rewind, the 5 albums that for me defined 2013.
5. Poliça, Shulamith
From Minneapolis, nu new wavers Poliça bring dark and sinister to Synth-hop. With grooves that harken back to Portishead, Lamb and Sneaker Pimps, it’s a pretty spectacular trip.
Chain My Name
Tiff (feat. Justin Vernon)
4. Fuck Buttons, Slow Focus
Ah, the happy meeting of stoner music and electronica. This album aches of dirges and those acid-trip sounds that would bring a tear to David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti’s eye. It’s a dark disc, but well composed and beautiful listening.
The Red Wing
3. Phoenix, Bankrupt!
My favorite Frenchies kicked out the most cohesive and genius album of their career, a pure power pop sugar snack. It’s glamorous, moody and infectious.
2. My Bloody Valentine, mbv
In any lesser year, this 22+ year in-the-making follow up to one of the most amazing albums of the 1990’s would have topped my list. And that’s not to say this is a throw away. It’s always intriguing to hear what has been going on in the mind of Kevin Shields, and mbv certainly didn’t disappoint. The kings of the shoegazer movement has reignited and upped the game after their hiatus. I just hope there won’t be another 22 years until their next work.
In another way
if I am
1. Arcade Fire, Reflektor
I’m still trying to pin point what so quickly propelled this top the top of my year end list in such a short time, and it started with the comparison to other long standing albums that stand the test of time for me. Depeche Mode’s Violator. U2’s Achtung Baby. My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless. Radiohead’s Ok Computer. Dove’s The Last Broadcast. LCD Soundsystem’s This Is Happening. M83’s Hurry Up, We Are Dreaming. All of these, and now Reflektor, represent turning point in the artist career. Coincide with a pivot in my life. A perfect marriage twixt the two that resulted in an epiphany. A touch of each of the albums I just mentioned. A Supersymmetry (sorry, it was there).
Prostrating to and personal analogies aside, in short, it’s fucking brilliant.
It’s easily the Canadian outfit’s finest hour, surpassing a well deserved recognition of masterwork for their debut Funeral and the Grammy winning the Suburbs. It’s tight and fast yet loose. Grounded in history with cosmic reach. A mythological romp of a concept album, centered around the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice. And so cathartic. It doesn’t hurt that LCD Soundsystem mastermind James Murphy helped produce a massive share of the disc. And while Regine does not sing lead on any of the tracks, her presence is immense and layered well throughout, tying things quite well back to her/their Haitian-French roots.
Here Comes The Nightime
It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus)
Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)