Now that’s what I call 2013...so far
Why wait for those end-of-year lists, here’s the best albums and songs – until now
Autre Ne Veut
The modern fondness for lists has given us many commendable wastes of time. Between online citadels built entirely on the foundations of numbered features like 57 Cute Dog Photos To See Before You Die or 17 Reasons Why We Love the Irish Summer to publications dedicated to distilling entire cultural histories into Top 100s, lists are truly everywhere. There has never been a better time for fans of systems consisting of ranking cultural stuff from one to 50 and beyond.
Pop music has embraced this enthusiasm for lists with brio and gusto. You’d expect nothing less, of course, from an art form which popularised weekly sales charts. And music is eminently suitable for lists, rankings and the ensuing arguments over who made the cut and who didn’t.
But music’s preference for lists has gone into overdrive of late. A mere end-of-year round-up of the albums and tunes which matter to punters and pundits no longer suffices. Now, like the new car registration system with its 13 1 and 13 2 numberplates, we have the half-year round-up to wrap up the first six months of any year. The quarterly round-up can only be months away.
But hold your scepticism right there. This actually makes a lot of sense for several reasons. While gauging the quality of music is hugely subjective, no-one can deny that the quantity of albums and tracks on release increases in volume with every passing week.
There’s not a record store on earth with the ability to house all these weekly new releases in addition to all their other stock. Heading to Spotify or its peers to check it all out usually ends in confusion and the abundance of choice probably drives most casual listeners back to the comfort of their hair metal playlists. Or, worse, Abba.
The lists, then, serve as a filter. It means someone else has gone to the trouble of checking out all these new albums and tunes and has ranked them for you. If you trust what that person has recommended in the past, and if they haven’t led you astray too much, you’ll be happy to check out what they have to say. It’s like a personal recommendation service – and yeah, there should be an app for that.
What you’ll find below then are the 30 albums and 30 tunes from 2013 so far which this writer reckons you should check out. Yes, there are albums and tunes missing from the list, simply because there’s no way on earth to get the 46,811 albums and 3.6 million tunes released so far in 2013 into a Top 30.
Trust me, there’s even more to come in the next six months before we reach the end of the year. Albums from AlunaGeorge, Arcade Fire, Janelle Monae, Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, Ciara, Jay-Z and Waxahatchee may well figure in the end-of-year lists. There’s also a new Kings Of Leon album due, but we won’t mention that if you don’t.