01 January 2014

My 2013 "The Hell With It, I Get To Make A List, Too" List

Well, here it is.  I decided I'd make a list this year.  These are a few of my favorite things from this year.  It's going to be mostly music, as usual - I do co-write two music blogs (Wicked Guilty Pleasures and Totally Covered), so it makes sense - but we'll pepper other stuff in.

Album of The Year - Charli XCX, True Romance. Every single song can stand alone - and several have as singles - but the sum of all the parts - a dark pop gem that teeters between love and heartbreak - is so much greater. There's a lot of great promise here, and since her 2nd album drops in June, I think we will see it coming in 2014.  

And until December, that choice wasn't even close, until I heard.......

Album of The Year, Runner Up - Sky Ferreira, Night Time, My Time. There are so many great pop singles on this album, it's almost an embarrassment of riches.  Lyrically, it's deeper than what is playing on standard pop radio nowadays, reflecting a maturity far beyond Ms. Ferreira's years. It's dark pop gem-dom almost made me declare a tie in this category.

Why I Didn't Declare A Tie - As good as Night Time, My Time is, I keep going back to True Romance.  Both are going to be in heavy rotation for years to come, though.  That, I have no doubt about.

Single of The Year - RAC, "Let Go" (feat. Kele and MNDR). Remix Artist Collective, a.k.a. André Allen Anjos, finally took the CSS route this year and made his own music.  For this great single, from the EP Don't Talk To, Kele from Bloc Party was tapped for lead vocals, with MNDR handling the chorus.  It's a dark year for music, and this single is no exception.  Still, it's a really cool, laid-back electronic gem, with Kele and MNDR both getting excellent highlights.

Single of The Year, Runner Up - Lorde, "Royals".  Perhaps the sparsest song to ever hit #1 in the US, with a lot of sharp rich cultural references, Lorde has crafted a cool, memorable song that speaks to those of us who do not keep our tigers on gold leashes.  Incidentally, this was the first US #1 song by a New Zealander, so good for New Zealand.

Single of The Year Finalists (in No Particular Order)

Icona Pop feat. Charli XCX - "I Love It (I Don't Care)"
Charli XCX - "You (Ha Ha Ha)"
Charli XCX - "Superlove"
Sky Ferreira - "You're Not The One"
HAIM - "The Wire"
Kacey Musgraves - "Follow Your Arrow"
Kacey Musgraves - "Blowin' Smoke"
Mala Rodríguez - "33"
Ylvis - "The Fox"
Miley Cyrus - "Wrecking Ball" (you know I'm right about this one)
Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams and Nile Rogers - "Get Lucky"
Robin Thicke feat. Pharrell Willams and T.I. - "Blurred Lines"
The Primitives - "Lose The Reason"

I could have written paragraphs about each of these songs.  For sure.

Artist of the Year - Charli XCX.  Don't act like you're surprised. Not only did she release a great album (see above), but she wrote and performed on one of my finalists for single of the year, "I Love It (I Don't Care)" by Icona Pop (the songwriting credit went to her real name, Charlotte Aitchison, in case you want to fact-check this).  Listen to the song.  That British accent you hear on this Swedish group's single... that's Charli. 

Best New Artist Not Named Charlotte Aitchison - Sky Ferreira. 

Best New Artist Not Featured Prominently on This V Magazine Cover - Kacey Musgraves.  Truly the future of country music, a toiling songwriter for years, she finally got her big break album and Grammy nominations this year. 

Speaking of that V Magazine Cover, Best Album of 2012 that I didn't hear until 2013 - Grimes, Visions.  I don't know how I missed her in 2012. This album is brilliant.

Comeback of the Year - My Bloody Valentine.  mbv was one of the best albums in 2013, especially out of a band who hadn't made one in the 22 years prior. Believe me when I say you NEED to check this one out.  Now.

Biggest Disappointment of the Year - Karmin, "Acapella".  It didn't grab me at first, because it wasn't really the in-your-face style I expected from these two.  Then I noticed that the song wasn't actually done acapella.  All it all, it was a chart flop, a poor follow up to the promise of their Hello EP, and a song that probably deserved about as little attention as it got.

Best Television Show, New or Otherwise - Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  The character development on this show, centered around the presumed-dead-in-The-Avengers Phil Coulson, is pure magic.  It's also nice to see Ming-Na back on TV.  (For that matter, since Clack Gregg has been missing since the early days of Law and Order, it's nice to see him, too) I'm not usually a fan of Josh Whedon's work, but he crafted a gem here.  It's not just about superheroes.

So, I guess that's a good start.  How do you feel about it?

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