Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Top 30 Albums of 2013

The time has come when all the year's major album releases have taken place. I now present to you the 30 best albums throughout all genres. The placements have been awarded points by the percentage of the album that was good (10 points for each 1%) and 1 point per last.fm play. The total point value decided its placement. Ties were broken by author's preference.

30. Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience - The Complete Experience
 
Justin drops his most obnoxiously boring entry into the music world this year. The major flaws of this album include the lack of upbeat, at least somewhat exciting music and the fact that every song is unnecessarily long. It'd be different if the track stayed fresh for the entire duration (In example, Taylor Swift's Dear John which times in at 6:44), but the songs all fall flat and get repetitive. Honestly, I ended up giving this album more credit here than I expected to.
Tracks: 8/25 – 32% - 320 points
Plays: 149 points
Total: 469 points
Top Tracks: Suit & Tie, Mirrors, Tunnel Vision, Murder, Gimme What I Don’t Know (I Want), TKO, Take Back the Night, Body Count
Skip: The rest of the boring, dragged out songs.

29. Ellie Goulding - Halcyon Days
 Ellie adds to her 2012 album Halcyon with Halcyon Days. The album is a bit of an improvement over the first part, but I still just can't get into her that fully.
Tracks: 4/10 – 40% - 400 points
Plays:  79 points
Total: 479 points
Top Tracks: Burn, Hearts Without Chains, Flashlight, How Long Will I Love You
Skip:Midas Touch, Tessellate

28. Celine Dion - Loved Me Back to Life
 To be completely honest, Celine is never my cup of tea on a full album basis. Usually she delivers one or two good songs and the rest are dismissible, so this album making the countdown is actually a big deal. Celine delivered one of her most solid albums this year. If you like Celine's work as a whole, this might be a grower, not an instant like. However, you should give it the proper attention.
Tracks: 6/15 – 40% - 400 points
Plays: 85 points
Total: 485 points
Top Tracks: Loved Me Back to Life, Somebody Loves Somebody, Water and a Flame, Unfinished Songs, Always Be Your Girl, Didn’t Know Love
Skip:Incredible, At Seventeen, How Do You Keep the Music Playing, Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)

27. Sara Bareilles - The Blessed Unrest
Sara Bareilles never fails to deliver at least a few excellent tracks. Brave was an instant smash in my books and really hyped me up for this album. This is her most solid album since her debut album. Make sure to check out Brave if you haven't and Islands.
Tracks: 6/15 – 40% - 400 points
Plays: 100 points
Total:  500 points
Top Tracks: Brave, Islands, Eden, 1000 Times, Chasing the Sun, Parking Lot
Skip: Manhattan, Hercules
 
26. Cassadee Pope - Frame By Frame

I became enthralled with Cassadee during her run on The Voice. Turns out that I never her a few years ago when she was the lead singer of Hey Monday too. Her solo debut gets a little bland when you try to listen to the entire thing, but I found 4 tracks that stood out and remain as keepers.
Tracks: 4/11 – 46% - 460 points
Plays: 61 points
Total: 521 points
Top Tracks: Wasting All These Tears, I Wish I Could Break Your Heart, Proved You Wrong, One Song Away

 25. Icona Pop - This Is... Icona Pop
 Newcomers Icona Pop took the world by storm with I Love It (feat. Charli XCX) and blew up from there. While they haven't snatched a second radio hit yet, they caught my attention with the standout tracks that I have listed below.
Tracks: 5/11 – 45% - 450 points
Plays: 75 points
Total: 525 points
Top Tracks: I Love It, All Night, In the Stars, Girlfriend, Just Another Night

24. Fall Out Boy - Save Rock & Roll
 This album was the first of Fall Out Boy's albums to really capture my interest since 2007's Infinity on High. The second release of this year PAX AM Days was terrible, but this album had some stellar tracks like the Elton John assisted Save Rock & Roll or the anthem The Phoenix. 
Tracks: 5/11 – 45% - 450 points
Plays: 107 points
Total: 557 points
Top Tracks: Save Rock & Roll, Miss Missing You, The Phoenix, My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up), Better Than This (Rat a Tat) (feat. Courtney Love)

23. Lorde - Pure Heroine
 Lorde virtually came out of nowhere and exploded with her lead single Royals. I find her intriguing as a person and her music is badass, while being mature and relatively mellow. She has a style that is all her own and I predict she will be around a long time.


Tracks: 5/10 – 50% - 500 points
Plays:  100 plays
Total: 600 points
Top Tracks: Royals, Team, 400 Lux, Glory and Gore, Tennis Court
Misses: Ribs, Buzzcut Season, White Teeth Teens

22. Eve - Lip Lock
 Eve breaks her 11 year hiatus with her album Lip Lock, that had been in talks since 2007. She delivers a solid hip hop album, but only a few of the tracks stood the test of time.
Tracks: 5/11 – 45% - 450 points
Plays: 156 points
Total: 606 points
Top Tracks: Zero Below, She Bad Bad, Make It Out This Town (feat. Gabe Saporta of Cobra Starship), Eve (feat. Miss Kitty), Never Gone (feat. Chrisette Michele)

21. Gary Allan - Set You Free
   One of 2013's earliest releases delivered completely. Gary provides some attitude, some sorrow, and some good ol' country music on his latest installment of his very long career.
Tracks: 6/12 – 50% - 500 points
Plays: 108 points
Total: 608 points
Top Tracks: Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain), Bones, You Without Me, Pieces, Tough Goodbye, Sand in My Soul
Skip: Drop, Good As New, It Ain’t the Whiskey

20. Britney Spears - Britney Jean
Britney Jean is a huge step backwards in every direction for Britney. It feels completely uninspired, the cover feels cheap, and the era has been handled so poorly. Work Bitch was a terrible choice for lead single. However, there are some tracks that still should be checked out.
Tracks: 7/13 – 54% - 540 points
Plays: 132 points
Total: 672 points
Top Tracks: Alien, Perfume, Work Bitch, Passenger, Til It’s Gone, Don’t Cry, Tik Tik Boom
Skip: It Should Be Easy, Body Ache, Brightest Morning Star, Hold On Tight

19. Daughtry - Baptized

I was a bit frightened when I read that this album was supposed to be more pop and that they would be working with assorted pop producers, surprisingly including Rock Mafia. However, Daughtry ended up delivering their most solid album since their self-titled debut. Definitely one of the best rock albums of the year.
Tracks: 8/14 – 57% - 570 points
Plays: 109 points
Total:  679 points
Top Tracks: Undefeated, Baptized, Waiting for Superman, 18 Years, I’ll Fight, Wild Heart, Long Live Rock & Roll
Skip: Battleships, The World We Knew, High Above the Ground, Cinderella

 18. Danielle Bradbery - Danielle Bradbery
I was routing for Danielle from her audition on The Voice. She is just an absolutely talented young woman who is so endearing. She's impossible not to like and Carrie Underwood better keep an eye on her, because I anticipate Danielle could one day exceed her.
Tracks: 9/15 – 60% - 600 points
Plays: 105 points
Total: 705 points
Top Tracks: Never Like This, Young In America, The Heart of Dixie, I Will Never Forget You, My Day
Skip: The bonus tracks...they're all covers.

17. Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP 2
 Eminem continues to impress me more and more with every album. To be honest, when I tallied the points, I was sad to see this rank so low. It takes a certain mood to listen to most of the tracks on this album, but they are deep and brilliant for the most part.
Tracks: 12/21 – 57% - 570 points
Plays: 175 points
Total: 745 points
Top Tracks: The Monster (feat. Rihanna), Berzerk, Rhyme or Reason, Rap God, Beautiful Pain (feat. Sia), Survival, Stronger Than I Was, Headlights (feat. Nate Ruess)
Skip: Brainless, Asshole (feat. Skylar Grey), So Much Better

16. Skylar Grey - Don't Look Down
Skylar Grey presents a long awaited debut album that is incredibly solid. While there are some tracks that could have been cut off, the majority is good. She delivers the hardest on her ballads. Don't miss Tower (Don't Look Down) or White Suburban.

Tracks: 9/14 – 64% - 640 points
Plays: 153 points
Total: 793 points
Top Tracks: Tower (Don’t Look Down), White Suburban, Final Warning, Religion, Sunshine, Glow in the Dark, C’mon Let Me Ride, Shit, Man, Wear Me Out
Skip: Pulse, Beautiful Nightmare, Back from the Dead

  
15. The Band Perry - Pioneer
 The Band Perry delivered quite an impressive sophomore album this year. This album was chocked full of country smashes. The deluxe version is amazing, but the boring and forgettable deluxe tracks are what drug this album down.

Tracks: 8/16 – 50% - 500 points
Plays: 306 points
Total: 806 points
Top Tracks: DONE., Back to Me Without You, Better Dig Two, Don't Let Me Be Lonely, Forever Mine Nevermind, Pioneer, End of Time
Skip: The deluxe tracks

14. Kelly Rowland - Talk a Good Game
Kelly Rowland almost had her year to shine that is long overdue. However, this era was completely mismanaged and the ball dropped. There are some pop and R&B classics here that can't be missed. Freak should have easily been a single.
Tracks: 9/15 – 60% - 600 points
Plays: 262 points
Total: 862 points
Top Tracks: Kisses Down Low, Freak, Dirty Laundry, You Changed
Skip: Put Your Name On It, Skywalker, Street Life, Stand In Front of Me, Red Wine, Talk a Good Game


13. Ciara - Ciara
 This album should have blasted Ciara back to the stardom she received with her first album. With two Nicki Minaj assisted tracks, she delivers an album full of bangers and R&B slams. The best thing she did for this album was cut Sweat. However, Got Me Good and Sorry should have made the cut! It's quite embarrassing that she featured herself on a song...

Tracks: 8/13 – 62% - 620 points
Plays: 242 plays
Total: 862 points
Top Tracks: I'm Out (feat. Nicki Minaj), Body Party, Overdose, One Night With You, Livin' It Up (feat. Nicki Minaj), Super Turnt Up
Skip: DUI, Sophomore

12. Kelly Clarkson - Wrapped In Red
Kelly Clarkson delivers the best Christmas album since Mariah Carey dropped her first Christmas album back in the 90s. It's solid and it's so good that I've been listening to it since it dropped in October...and I'm the type who refuses to listen to Christmas music until December.

Tracks: 11/16 – 69% - 690 points

Plays: 172 points

Total: 862 points
Top Tracks: Underneath the Tree, Wrapped in Red, Run Run Rudolph, White Christmas
Skip: Please Come Home for Christmas, Winter Dreams (Brandon's Song), Just For Now

11. Jessie J - Alive
 Jessie J delivers a disappointing follow up to 2011's Who You Are. Despite having 16 tracks, the album feels incomplete. The tracks are good, but there's a lack of cohesion. Hopefully, it will be better when they revamp it for release in the US.

Tracks: 10/16 – 63% - 630 points
Plays: 277 points
Total: 907 points
Top Tracks: It’s My Party, Wild, Gold, Breathe, Thunder
Skip: Magnetic, Unite, Hero


 10. Lady GaGa - ARTPOP
 GaGa hyped this album for so long that it was disappointing when she finally released it. Is the album bad? No. Could it have been better? Yes. Her gimmicks and over the top antics have ruined her. The commercial failure is setting in. It took quite a few listens for it to grow on me...and I have to say it, if Gypsy isn't a single, I'll be so angry!

Tracks: 10/15 – 66% - 660 points

Plays: 248 points
Total: 908 points
Top Tracks: Dope, Gypsy, Applause, Venus, Aura, Do What U Want, MANiCURE, Sexxx Dreams, Swine, Donatella
Skip: G.U.Y., Mary Jane Holland, Fashion!, Jewels n’ Drugs, ARTPOP
 

9. Natalia Kills - Trouble
 When she premiered her debut album, I predicted she would be the new GaGa. She may not be yet in terms of success, but every time she drops an album, it always outpowers GaGa's. She goes in a different direction here and delivers one of the best albums of the year. Whether it's the crass Rabbit Hole or the ballad Marlboro Lights, Natalia puts her own touches on things and it is magic.

Tracks: 10/13 – 77% - 770 points

Plays: 141 points
Total: 911 points
Top Tracks: Trouble, Television, Marlboro Lights, Rabbit Hole, Devils Don't Fly, Boys Don't Cry
Skip: Watching You, Stop Me, Problem
 

8. Avril Lavigne - Avril Lavigne
   While it may not be her best album, Avril comes back with a bang and goes back to her roots for the most part. Pop rock isn't dead, but Avril also hasn't forgotten her softer side she showed us in Goodbye Lullaby. The mixture makes the album feel a little sporatic, but I still love this album.

Tracks: 9/15 – 60% - 600 points
Plays: 315 points
Total: 915 points
Top Tracks: Rock N Roll, Here's to Never Growing Up, Hush Hush, 17, Bitchin' Summer, Hello Kitty, Sippin' on Sunshine, Let Me Go (feat. Chad Kroeger)
Skip: Hello Heartache, How You Remind Me, Bad Girl (feat. Marilyn Manson)

7. Selena Gomez - Stars Dance
Selena drops her band this year to provide us with some dance music that is quite reminiscent of Britney Spears' Blackout era. While a lot of the songs are really good, it lost it's appeal as better releases hit the shelves this year. It did a good job of killing the dry spell during the summer though.
Tracks: 9/13 – 69% - 690 points
Plays: 274 points
Total: 964 points
Top Tracks: Slow Down, Come & Get It, Birthday, B.E.A.T., Write Your Name, Undercover, Love Will Remember, Nobody Does It Like You, Save the Day
Skip: Like A Champion, Stars Dance, Music Feels Better, Forget Forever

6. Miley Cyrus - Bangerz
  Miley owned this year with her over the top antics and crazy gimmicks. It rocketed her into the spotlight and helped her successfully shed that Disney light. The difference between Miley and GaGa's antics? Miley doesn't take herself seriously and makes it more fun. The media was watching her every move and her best song to date, Wrecking Ball, finally grabbed Miley a #1 single!
Tracks: 10/16 – 63% - 630 points
Plays: 356 points
Total: 986 points
Top Tracks: Wrecking Ball, We Can't Stop, 4x4 (feat. Nelly), Drive, On My Own, Someone Else, Do My Thang
Skip: Hands in the Air (feat. Ludacris), Rooting For My Baby, Adore You, FU, Adore You, My Darlin’

5. BEYONCE - Beyonce
  Beyonce literally dropped this album overnight and out of nowhere. The buzz about the wait for her album did the promo itself and Beyonce played on it to deliver one of the top selling albums of the year and one of the best pop albums. Not only did she capsize ARTPOP in sales, but she took GaGa's idea of a visual albums and did it. This album is going to be slaying hard into 2014.
Tracks: 11/14 – 79% - 790 points
Plays: 226 points
Total: 1,016 points
Top Tracks: XO, Partition, Haunted, Pretty Hurts, Mine (feat. Drake), Blow, Jealous, Heaven
Skip: Blue, Superpower (feat. Frank Ocean), Rocket

4. Spitfire - LeAnn Rimes
LeAnn Rimes opens up about her affair and the public scrutiny that followed in her last record on her deal with Curb Records. They assisted her with no promo and only offer a physical copy at Walmart. This released in the UK two months prior to its US release. With all these things working against her, the content of this album still shined as LeAnn delivers the most stellar country album of the year. It serves almost as an independent record with its lack of promotion, proper music videos, and proper single releases, but yet is probably the best entry into her discography.
Tracks: 10/13 – 77% - 770 points
Plays: 356 points
Total: 1,126 points
Top Tracks: Borrowed, Spitfire, Where I Stood, I Do Now, God Takes Care of Your Kind, Who You Really Are, Gasoline and Matches
Skip: You Ain’t Right, Just a Girl Like You, A Waste is a Terrible Thing to Mind

3. Katy Perry - Prism
  Katy Perry had a lot of hype to live up to solely based off of her success from Teenage Dream. Prism took a very different turn from the "f**king dark" music she promised. However, this proved to be one of the best albums of the year. This was a hard feat for the predominantly mid-tempo album to pull off, but she did it. The album takes on a more mature sound and it shows us a new side of Katy. If you haven't done so yet, check it out.
Tracks: 13/16 – 81% - 810 points
Plays: 414 points
Total: 1,224 points
Top Tracks :Roar, Birthday, Unconditionally, This is How We Do, Dark Horse (feat. Juicy J), Legendary Lovers, Ghost, Choose Your Battles, This Moment, Walking on Air
Skip: Love Me, Double Rainbow, Spiritual

2. Demi - Demi Lovato
  Demi Lovato drops her follow up to 2011's Unbroken this year. It doesn't depart much from the sound of Unbroken, but she brings us a lot more music that is touching and easy to relate to. Her vocals are at an all time record and this album was a complete delivery.
Tracks: 12/14 – 86% - 860 points
Plays: 458 points
Total: 1,318 points
Top Tracks: Heart Attack, Never Been Hurt, Warrior, Nightingale, Fire Starter, Two Pieces, Something That We're Not
Skip: Neon Lights, Without the Love

1. Closer to the Truth - Cher
  Cher stages the best comeback in the past few years. Generally, people returning from a long hiatus (No Doubt, Matchbox 20, etc) have had some disappointing albums. Cher's voice is stronger than ever and, unlike Madonna, Cher instills quality into her album, even if she's mostly focusing on a tour. There are club bangers, teary ballads, and banjo-slamming foot-stomping P!nk-written anthems too! What's not to love?

Tracks: 13/15 – 87% - 870 points
Plays: 649 points
Total: 1,519 points
Top Tracks: I Hope You Find It, Lie to Me, I Walk Alone, Woman's World, Sirens, Favorite Scars, You Haven't Seen the Last of Me
Skip: Lovers Forever, Pride

And there it is, the top 30 albums of 2013. Overall, it's been a decent year in music, but let's hope we get a lot of great albums from big names again in 2014!

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