It’s mid-December, which means it’s time for me to share my favorite songs of the year. There are 75 here. That seemed like a manageable number. For variety’s sake, I only included artists once (unless they were featured on another artist’s song I liked, in which case I allowed them to be included again, because I like to make things complicated). I did include one cover – ‘Don’t Make Me Over’ – because I listened to it so much that I couldn’t resist. Also, there’s at least one song that was released in 2013 here. You can blame PC Music, which I became deeply obsessed with this spring, for that.
I feel like I can’t remember anything I’ve done during the past month-ish. It’s all a blur. I was mentally making a list of all of the things I liked during that time, but I seem to have forgotten it. So. Here we are.
I think these are five things I liked this week. Some of these are not new? I don’t know.
I started making this playlist a few weeks ago when it was snowing. It was going to be…a snow playlist, I guess. But then I started thinking about how January is always such a lonely month. Not in a bad way. I just find that, after the overwhelming togetherness of December and the holidays, I like to spend more of my time alone. So, this turned into more of a wintertime not-really-loneliness, more like alone-ness playlist. I don’t know. Listen to it. Just don’t put it on at a party or anything.
01 Vashti Bunyan, I Want To Be Alone
02 Julianna Barwick, One Half
03 Karen Dalton, Green Rocky Road
04 Neil Young, Sugar Mountain
05 Julie Doiron, Heavy Snow
06 Sharon Van Etten, A Crime
07 Galaxie 500, Ceremony
08 Sam Prekop, Something
09 Gram Parsons, $1000 Wedding
10 Grouper, Heavy Water/I’d Rather Be Sleeping
11 Broadcast, Tears In The Typing Pool
12 Jessica Pratt, Casper
13 Atlas Sound, Shelia
14 Sibylle Baier, Tonight
15 Young Marble Giants, Salad Days
16 Camera Obscura, Books Written For Girls
17 Magnetic Fields, Busby Berkeley Dreams
18 The Langley Schools Music Project, Desperado
19 Connie Converse, Roving Woman
20 Grateful Dead, I’ve Been All Around This World
21 Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Only In My Dreams
Earlier this week, I posted my favorite songs of 2013. Today, I’m posting my favorite albums. My choices shouldn’t really surprise you if you saw my list of favorite songs. (I really, really liked the albums that my most-listened-to songs were on!) Honestly, my choices shouldn’t surprise you in general, I guess, since I think everyone liked these albums?
This wasn’t a HUGE album-listening year for me. I was definitely more singles-focused. But there were a bunch of things I spent quite a bit of time with, enough that I feel pretty good calling them my ‘favorites’. I’m organizing them alphabetically because, well, I could rank them but honestly, it’s not as fun as ranking songs and I’m only posting 15 16 albums here anyway.
Here we go:
Ariana Grande, Yours Truly
So, I have not liked a straight up pop album this much in a really long time. I heard “The Way” this summer on the radio while driving somewhere with my siblings, who are much more pop music-savvy than I. “She sounds like Mariah Carey!” I said. My siblings were like, “Yeah, duh.” And then I listened to “Honeymoon Avenue” and “Baby I” shortly after her album came out and couldn’t stop listening to them and was like, “Oh my God, I have to listen to the whole album.” So I did and it was a very, very good decision because it has many more good songs.
A$AP Rocky, LONG.LIVE.A$AP
I almost forgot that this album came out this year. But then I remembered! I listened to this a lot at a certain point earlier in the year when I decided that I wasn’t listening to enough hip-hop in general. This is something I do every year, I guess, and then I end up going through a “hip-hop phase”. Anyway, this album stuck with me more than a lot of others.
Autre Ne Veut, Anxiety
Oh man. This was my big album of the first half of the year, for sure. (Duh, I related to an album titled ANXIETY.) It definitely makes me think of the winter, which means I’ve been rocking it a lot again now that it’s cold and snowing off and on here in New York.
Chance the Rapper, Acid Rap
I saw Chance the Rapper perform in June and it was one of the most fun concert experiences I had all year, even if the venue was full of underage bros. I actually didn’t listen to his mixtape, Acid Rap, until right before the show. I was really pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the whole thing. (You can download it here.)
CHVRCHES, The Bones of What You Believe
Late last year, I heard “The Mother We Share”, just in time to put it on my favorite songs of 2012 list. This album was one of my most anticipated of the year. I was held over by the singles “Recover” and “Gun”, but ended up being kind of late getting into the actual album because it came out around the same time as a bunch of other stuff. Anyway, it’s great!
Danny Brown, Old
Even though I’d been hearing a lot about him for a while, I never really listened to Danny Brown until this year because I assumed that I wouldn’t like him? That was dumb. I love Danny Brown.
Eleanor Friedberger, Personal Record
Full disclosure: I am a person who had a Fiery Furnaces poster over their bed in college*. I’ve loved both of the solo albums Eleanor Friedberger has put out so far and I really did connect to the, ahem, personal nature of this record and, of course, her storytelling, which is really top-notch.
*Actually, it’s still hanging in my room – in a frame now – five years after graduation.
Haim, Days Are Gone
This ended up being my most-listened-to record of the year. I was never not listening to Haim at any point this year, especially in the weeks after this album came out, when they were the only music I listened to at all. So yeah, I really loved this one. I love every single song, even “My Song 5”, which I really hated for a while. That song is like an acquaintance who you see often enough at parties and they kind of annoy you from a far but then finally you chat and really connect and you’re like,
Julia Holter, Loud City Song
I listen to Julia Holter’s music the most during my mornings and weekends. I was surprised at how much I loved her last album, Ekstasis, and equally as surprised when I loved this year’s Loud City Song. While it didn’t have a song I liked as much as “In the Same Room” or “Moni Mon Amie”, I ended up listening to the record on repeat, almost not realizing that I was falling in love with the mood of the whole thing.
Kurt Vile, Wakin On A Pretty Daze
I didn’t listen to Kurt Vile until two years ago, sometime around the release of his last album. Since then, I’ve become a pretty enormous fan. I was actually nervous that this album wouldn’t be good and I only ever feel like that when I really, really like an artist. (This means that no one can even talk to me about Joanna Newsom until she releases another album and I’ve listened to it a few times because I’ve been anxious about it for years, at this point.) ANYWAY, this album. I liked it very much. I also saw Kurt Vile twice this year and enjoyed those experiences very much, even though the first show made me so tired that it led me to post this weird like, rant about going to concerts on weeknights.
Laura Marling, Once I Was An Eagle
As a mostly lazy person, I don’t understand Laura Marling. At 25, she’s already made several mature, beautiful albums and I’m more than a little bit jealous of how smart and accomplished she is. Once I Was An Eagle is easily my favorite album of hers so far.
Marnie Stern, The Chronicles of Marnia
Even if I didn’t like this album it would still be on this list because of its title. Lucky for all of us, it’s actually good. Well, lucky for me, really, since this was another one I was kinda nervous about not being good? I don’t know why. I’ve been a Marnie fan for a long, long time and she has never disappointed me.
My Bloody Valentine, mbv
I won’t be one of those people who’s like, “This album was worth waiting twenty years for.” A) I didn’t wait twenty years for it because I did not listen to MBV until maybe ten years ago and B) I will always, always like Loveless better than almost anything. HOWEVER, I listened to this a lot after it came out in February and I liked it a lot.
Sky Ferreira, Night Time, My Time
I saw Sky Ferreira on a subway platform this fall. (It was the Bedford L stop, natch.) I wanted to say something to her but I was too nervous slash I was pretty afraid it wasn’t her? I played “Everything Is Embarrassing” on repeat for the better part of a year, soooo I am kind of fan girl. This was shortly after Night Time, My Time came out, which has become one of my favorite-favorite things-in-general of this year. I love almost every song and am sure I’ll be playing this for…a while.
Waxahatchee, Cerulean Salt
This album made me feel things. Like, a lot of things. I guess it reminded me of the experience of connecting with an album as a teenager.
Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City
Oh, boy. I want to write a lot about this one, but maybe I’ll do that another time. I put off (closely) listening to this album until this summer, after the initial buzz had died down, and I’m glad I did. Somehow, it made the experience of listening more intimate? Anyway, I just think (most) everything about Modern Vampires of the City was really well done. Not that those dudes need me to tell them that. 😉
A few years ago, I decided to get in on the whole year end music list game. I mean “in on the game” in the sense that I wanted to make a list of my favorite songs, not that I wanted to compete with all of your favorite/least favorite music publications to name the “best” songs of the year.
So, here’s the list of my favorite songs of 2013. I had a lot of fun making the list this year. I ranked my top 50, even though I feel ranking gets kind of arbitrary, and linked to videos where possible. I also included 25 “Honorable Mention” songs because after #50 it got really hard for me to decide if I liked one song better than another.