Posted by: markfender | December 31, 2013

2013 in Music

It’s that time of year again – when I dismiss all the things you like and complain about the state of music. Like a crotchety old person.

music-for-new-year-2013-3dThis list obviously isn’t exhaustive. The 20/20 Experience may have been an awesome album and “Blurred Lines” may have been everywhere over the summer, but I didn’t like them and so I won’t mention them. But I might mention an obscure band you’ve never heard of. Like this one…

Bye-Bye Borderline
It’s been exactly 10 years since Zeromancer’s last good album. That trend continues.

My Bloody Valentine
m b v
All the music critics will tell you that Loveless is one of the best albums of all time. Fewer of them will tell you the same about 18-years-in-the-delaying m b v. Probably because it’s 18 years too late.

How to Destroy Angels
Welcome Oblivion
How to Destroy Angel’s full-length debut is ruined by Trent Reznor’s voice. Their self-named EP featured Mariqueen Maandig exclusively on vocals, but this album adds Reznor and he pretty much ruins every song he’s on. This track, for instance, has excellent instrumentation and soulful verses. And then the chorus sucks, because of Trent. The Fragile was pretty much the last time I liked his singing. Which is really a shame, since How to Destroy Angel’s EP was excellent and the instrumentation on this album still has a lot to like. If he sticks to instruments, I’m down. But stay away from the microphone.

Charli XCX
True Romance
I am the wrong age for this type of music, and yet I liked this one. There’s far too much pausing in the middle of a song to speak in a lilting British accent (and there’s the terrible duet with one of those female chav rappers that is utterly abysmal), but overall I liked it.

Rob Zombie
Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor
Seriously, go back to making shitty movies. And be sure to put your wife in them.

Ms Mr
Secondhand Rapture
The Florence & The Machine influence is strong in this one. Still, quite a good song and a decent album (and their cover of LCD Soundsystem’s “Dance Yrself Clean” is not bad either).

Thirty Seconds to Mars
Love, Lust, Faith & Dreams
This album is very bad. Which is sad, because I’ve liked all their previous stuff. Kudos for continuing to do something new. Shame something new wasn’t good.

Black Sabbath
This album was better than it had any right to be. Granted, it sounds pretty much like it came directly from 1978, but, if you need an album from that time period, it fits right in. So I guess that’s good?

Sigur Ros
Sigur Ros is always the band you play in the background until you realize that you’ve either fallen asleep or you’ve cycled through their entire catalog and never noticed. But this album added some weird noise elements and emerged as one of their better efforts. I guess those members that left the band were holding them back or something.

Who We Are

I’m not sure releasing a live EP of your old songs with your new lead singer was a good idea. Unless you wanted negative comparisons to Paramore.

The Civil Wars
The Civil Wars

I do not like country. So I was unaware of their first album. However, after hearing this album, I went back and picked up their previous stuff. Which is startingly good, moving, and generally everything that country should do but never manages to. For a band that broke up, they’ve managed to release two albums this year, which is a bit odd.

Nine Inch Nails
Hesitation Marks

See previous comments on How to Destroy Angels

Sheryl Crow
Feels Like Home

See previous comments about country.

Days Are Gone

This managed to make everyone’s best of list. I didn’t realize everyone liked The Eagle’s “Heartache Tonight” so much. No, seriously, these guys are okay. Their syncopated style sort of annoys me after about two songs, but “The Wire” isn’t terrible.

The Naked and the Famous
In Rolling Waves

This was my most anticipated album of the year, since I heart them. This album was a slight disappointment. It’s much more ethereal and dreamlike than their previous work. That’s not an unprecedented sound from them, but there’s usually some bass or drums or something to break that up. Many of the songs on this album blend into the next, creating a nice whole. Unfortunately, that whole is a bit more laid-back than I was expecting. It’s not bad, but didn’t quite meet expectations. However, “Hearts Like Ours” is fucking epic and you should own it.

Pure Heroine

Well, that escalated quickly. I’m not all that fond of most of this album, but “Tennis Court” is strangely addicting.

Sleigh Bells
Bitter Rivals

Just stop.

Sky Ferreira
Night Time, My Time

This album is kind of spotty, but the good songs remind you of the best of the ’80s. So that’s fun.

Surprising no one, my favs from this year all feature female vocalists.



  1. You forgot about “What does the fox say?” I hear that song constantly. Its very popular with the first grade crowd.

    • Norway’s answer to “Weird Al” Yankovic is a terrible question to ask.

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