Monday, April 20, 2015



So in my last post, I presented my choices for the Best Albums of the Year for 2014 (see post here: )
And I thought it was a pretty good post so I decided to do it again but this time for 2013 and I may go back a few more years and present my picks for albums that I found to be really good during those years.

But for now, here are the outstanding albums of 2013:

Best Contemporary Christian Album of the Year

Well, here we hit a snag.
I didn't think there was a Christian album that stood out this year but one album that I would point out is Glorious Unfolding by Steven Curtis Chapman.  Chapman is a mainstay of CCM and one of its most important artists (and I have every one of his albums) but often his albums (which tend to be rather long, at least 12 tracks most of the time) become monotonous and the songs lose any distinctiveness and all the songs begin to sound just alike.  However, the title track is really good and the best track on the album.
Here is the video of the song:

Best Pop Album of the Year
More Than Just a Dream - Fitz & the Tantrums

Whoa!!!  Now here is a pop album!!!  Wow!!!  This is probably one of the best pop albums I have ever heard!!! 
Amazingly, there is not a bad track on this album and many of the tracks are pure gold.
This album kind of flew under the radar and didn't get recognized as it should have but it is head and shoulders above any pop album I've heard in a long time.
I mentioned this album in a post of mine a few months ago with the video of the track, Out of My League.  See it here:

Best Christmas Album of the Year
Wrapped in Red - Kelly Clarkson

What a great pic of Kelly Clarkson.  Kelly Clarkson is one of the best pop vocalists out there (as long as she contains the shouting and actually sings) and in 2013 she released her first Christmas album, Wrapped in Red and it turned out to be the outstanding holiday offering of the season.  Consisting of many previously recorded songs (naturally) there were a couple of original tracks such as the title track that highlighted Kelly's vocal abilities to the utmost.
Here is the video of the title track:

Best Classical Crossover Album of the Year
Lindsey Stirling - Lindsey Stirling

What a terrible pic of Lindsey Stirling.  However, the girl has talent.  Real talent.  I've put this album under the Classical Crossover category because of its instrumental nature but it doesn't feature any classical tracks and it could actually be classified more as classical pop or even electro-classical as it consists mostly of Lindsey on violin playing original tunes to beat-box accompaniment and electronic backing.  And that being said, this album comes off as a breath of fresh air and an exciting genre-bending listening experience.
Here is the video of one of the outstanding tracks from this album called Transcendence:

Best Jazz Album of the Year
Say That to Say This - Trombone Shorty

Now I'm not a huge jazz fan but this album caught my attention and it is all good.  Trombone Shorty's third studio album does it on all levels.  It's not just a great jazz album, it is a great album all the way around.  And what a talented artist.  He plays the trombone (obviously) but he also plays the trumpet and sings lead vocals on this album.  It is a tour de force from an artist that has reached his creative maturity.
Here is the video of the more funky than jazzy track, Fire and Brimstone:

Best Score Album of the Year
The Book Thief - John Williams

John Williams.  He is the maestro of film music.  Not only was this the best score of 2013, it was also the best film of 2013 and one of the best films of this decade.  This score was pure Williams with orchestration and themes that no one composing today can match.  He is simply the best and anytime he scores a movie, attention must be paid.
Just give a listen to the following suite from the score and marvel at the magnificence that is John Williams.

And before I get to the Best Album of the Year, here are a couple of honorable mentions (including the aforementioned Glorious Unfolding by Steven Curtis Chapman).  I didn't single out a Best Adult Contemporary Album for 2013 but there were a few albums that fit into that category that were good but not great.  Il Divo released A Musical Affair consisting of tracks from the Broadway stage with almost every track being a collaboration of some kind.  Now normally I would be all over this album (and I did buy it on cd) but the inclusion of foreign language usage on these mostly English songs just didn't really do it for me.  Surprisingly, Josh Groban and Michael Buble both put albums out in 2013 but both were a bit lesser efforts than they had previously put out so even though both were Adult Contemporary albums, neither merit the title of Best to me.

Best Album of the Year
Random Access Memories - Daft Punk

This is the Best Album of the Year.
What can I say about this album?  It is a masterpiece.
Daft Punk is generally considered an electronic group but this album delves into symphonic, funk, disco, and melds it all together into a listening experience that is incredible.
No wonder it won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year because it is the Best Album of the Year.
I can't really say more, you just have to listen to understand so here are a couple of videos of the two of the best tracks but all the tracks are good so do yourself a favor and go buy this album.
Here is Get Lucky (featuring Pharrell Willaims and Niles Rodgers):

And here is Instant Crush (featuring Julian Casablancas):

And that's just a sampling from this incredible album.  All the tracks on this album are unique and quality.  Random Access Memories is an album that just keeps going and is good all the way to the end.
The Best Album of the Year.

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