Revisiting 2013

If you know anything about me at all, you know I’m obsessed with comparing and contrasting different years based on their music. How does one year compare with the next? How does my top 10 records from one year compare to the top 10 of another year? I’m also often deeply immersed in nostalgic feelings during the comparison process, as most of the records I organize by year bring me right back to the environment when I was listening to them heavily. This feeling is not unique to me in any way, but I seem to have a very intense memory when it comes to these things. Probably because I’m so motivated to listen to things from the current year, so I often don’t go back to things from the past unless I’m either looking for a nostalgia trip or something really sticks with me.

I wanted to start a series of revisiting years to see how they’ve aged, just in case I’ve found some new, rich flavors that I didn’t pick up on at the time, or found some rotten eggs, stinking up the catalog of that year. I’m starting off with 2013, because over the past few years it’s taken on an interesting legacy in my mind and I’d like to expand on it more.

At the time, 2013 was like heaven on Earth for a music fan like myself. New albums from legendary artists like Boards Of Canada, The Knife, Daft Punk, My Bloody Valentine, Arcade Fire, The Flaming Lips, Kanye West, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Deerhunter, The National and Yo La Tengo? You gotta be kidding me. I was in bliss, feverishly soaking up all these albums the best I could and deeming all of them instant classics. After waiting so long for follow-up albums from these bands, I was certain that they were flawless and that 2013 was the best year in music that I’ll see in a long time. I was even tweeting that hyperbole in March, before most of the really good stuff came out.

There were plenty of new favorites for me this year as well, the main leader of the pack being Arca and everything he touched along with it. His mixtape &&&&& is one of my most-listened to records of all time and his production on is the reason FKA Twigs’ EP2 isn’t far behind that. Other than that, I discovered Kelela, Fear Of Men, Grave Babies, Postiljonen, Ovlov, Speedy Ortiz, Infinity Shred, and a few others. Pretty good finds that have offered me a bit of dividends later on, but I feel like didn’t make as much of a mark as other years’ new artists.

Below you’ll find my Top 50 records from 2013 as I ranked them that year.

  1. Daft PunkRandom Access Memories
  2. The KnifeShaking The Habitual
  3. Boards Of CanadaTomorrow’s Harvest
  4. Jai PaulJai Paul
  5. Tim HeckerVirgins
  6. My Bloody ValentineMBV
  7. Vampire WeekendModern Vampires Of The City
  8. The Flaming LipsThe Terror
  9. Beach FossilsClash The Truth
  10. DeafheavenSunbather
  11. Julianna BarwickNepenthe
  12. Fear Of MenEarly Fragments
  13. DisclosureSettle
  14. Chelsea WolfePain Is Beauty
  15. IceageYou’re Nothing
  16. Run The JewelsRun The Jewels
  17. Julia HolterLoud City Song
  18. Mikal CroninMcii
  19. James BlakeOvergrown
  20. AnamanaguchiEndless Fantasy
  21. Pity SexFeast Of Love
  22. Grave BabiesCrusher
  23. Arcade FireReflektor
  24. Death GripsGovernment Plates
  25. OvlovAM
  26. Crystal AntlersNothing Is Real
  27. BombinoNomad
  28. Colin StetsonNew History Warfare Vol.3: To See More Light
  29. Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquireKismet
  30. MerchandiseTotale Nite
  31. DeerhunterMonomania
  32. King Krule6 Feet Beneath The Moon
  33. MachinedrumVapor City
  34. Kurt VileWakin’ On A Pretty Daze
  35. PostiljonenSkyer
  36. Majical CloudzImpersonator
  37. Cut CopyFree Your Mind
  38. Sam AmidonBright Sunny South
  39. Ty SegallSleeper
  40. AlunageorgeBody Music
  41. Laura CorteseInto The Dark
  42. Young FathersTape Two
  43. Infinity ShredSanctuary
  44. KelelaCut 4 Me
  45. Russain CirclesMemorial
  46. FuzzFuzz
  47. Joanna GruesomeWeird Sister
  48. Speedy OrtizMajor Arcana
  49. Blank BansheeBlank Banshee1
  50. GrouperThe Man Who Died In His Boat

That is a fine and good list. Very top-loaded with star-studded artists, but still good. I thought it would be interesting and fun to try and re-rank my favorite albums from 2013 in the year 2017, so here it is.

BEST OF 2013:: 50 ALBUMS (2017 EDITION)

  1. Arca&&&&&
  2. Kanye WestYeezus
  3. Beach FossilsClash The Truth
  4. OvlovAM
  5. Julia HolterLoud City Song
  6. Fear Of MenEarly Fragments
  7. Jessy LanzaPull My Hair Back
  8. DisclosureSettle
  9. Julianna BarwickNepenthe
  10. GrouperThe Man Who Died In His Boat
  11. DeafheavenSunbather
  12. Grave BabiesCrusher
  13. Vampire WeekendModern Vampires Of The City
  14. Tim HeckerVirgins
  15. My Bloody Valentinembv
  16. KelelaCut 4 Me
  17. PorchesSlow Dance In The Cosmos
  18. Laurel HaloChance Of Rain
  19. Chelsea WolfePain Is Beauty
  20. MerchandiseTotale Nite
  21. Hiss Golden MessengerHaw
  22. Jai PaulJai Paul
  23. Majical CloudzImpersonator
  24. Nick Cave & The Bad SeedsPush The Sky Away
  25. Colin Stetson New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light
  26. The RangeNonfiction
  27. Yo La TengoFade
  28. DucktailsThe Flower Lane
  29. ClassixxHanging Gardens
  30. MachinedrumVapor City
  31. Boards Of CanadaTomorrow’s Harvest
  32. AnamanaguchiEndless Fantasy
  33. Jon HopkinsImmunity
  34. Oneohtrix Point NeverR Plus Seven
  35. Pity SexFeast Of Love
  36. Ty SegallSleeper
  37. Sam AmidonBright Sunny South
  38. PostiljonenSkyer
  39. PrurientThrough The Window
  40. Saint PepsiHit Vibes
  41. Blank BansheeBlank Banshee1
  42. Blood OrangeCupid Deluxe
  43. Infinity ShredSanctuary
  44. Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquireKismet
  45. Mutual BenefitLove’s Crushing Diamond
  46. Toro Y MoiAnything In Return
  47. WeekendJinx
  48. Fuck ButtonsSlow Focus
  49. Mikal CroninMcii
  50. YvetteProcess

So this is definitely a flawed list. For one, this is four years removed from 2013. It’s a loose fit. Let’s take a look at how things developed over the past four years. The disgraced Random Access Memories has fallen off the list entirely. At the time I looked past its flaws like its pacing, among other things, and just put it #1. “Doin’ It Right” is still so good, though. There’s plenty still good overall about this album, it just hasn’t aged well at all. There are other records I held to high regard at the time like The Terror and Shaking The Habitual that are missing as well. They haven’t pulled me back since 2013, despite locking in so much of my enthusiasm at the time. They’re still very striking and powerful records, but I just don’t have the patience for them as full albums in 2017.

Going into the new additions, I notched the new #1 as &&&&& by Arca. It’s technically a mix that I initially placed at the top of my favorite EPs of that year, but the heck with it – it’d be my favorite piece of music in any 2013 category. It’s just that good. Speaking of Arca and EPs, if FKA Twigs’ EP2 wasn’t so clearly an EP, it would have been in the Top 5 of this list.

Coming in both as #2 and as a big surprise to me is Yeezus. As I was considering the order for this, nothing besides &&&&& seemed appropriate to put in front of this. Sure the lyrics are as bad as ever, but it’s just so fun and unique. I also think the lackluster The Life Of Pablo helped me appreciate Yeezus a lot more. In 2013 I thought it was so mindlessly indulgent, a distraction to the incredible beats. I’ve come to love it all now.

Other lovely newcomers to the Top 50 include Jessy Lanza, Porches, Laurel Halo, Hiss Golden Messenger, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, The Range, Yo La Tengo, Ducktails, Classixx, Jon Hopkins, Prurient, Oneohtrix Point Never, Saint Pepsi, Blood Orange, Mutual Benefit, Toro Y Moi, Weekend, Fuck Buttons and Yvette. Many of these artists were either on my “Leftfield Records” or “Honorable Mentions” lists.


Let’s move onto what I was listening to most in 2013 and what records from that year I’ve listened to most in the present.

MOST LISTENED-TO IN 2013:

  1. Arca – &&&&&
  2. Beach Fossils – Clash The Truth
  3. Anamanaguchi – Endless Fantasy
  4. Daft PunkRandom Access Memories
  5. Grave BabiesCrusher
  6. Fear Of MenEarly Fragments
  7. Vampire WeekendModern Vampires Of The City
  8. Julianna BarwickNepenthe
  9. DisclosureSettle
  10. CryingGet Olde
  11. Pity SexFeast Of Love
  12. Slow Warm DeathSlow Warm Death
  13. Blank BansheeBlank Banshee1
  14. Boards Of CanadaTomorrow’s Harvest
  15. Chelsea WolfePain Is Beauty

My most-listened to stats are not surprising. My favorite project, &&&&&, is a ~30-minute mix that got broken into 14 different tracks, some lasting under around 30 seconds. This racked up countless plays and remains near the top of my all-time most listened to records, according to my last.fm. Same goes with Beach Fossils: there are many songs on it, they’re all pretty short, and I started listening to the album very early in the year. Endless Fantasy also has a lot of tracks on it, but “Planet” in particular kept a hold on my ears from the summer onward. Everything else is pretty in line with what my favorites were for the year. Notice how the ones I listened to more in that year moved past those that may have been higher on the initial list but are behind in the 2017 list.

MOST LISTENED-TO SINCE 2013:

  1. Arca&&&&& [-]
  2. Beach FossilsClash The Truth [-]
  3. The RangeNonfiction [BIG ups]
  4. AnamanaguchiEndless Fantasy [-1]
  5. Julianna BarwickNepenthe [+3]
  6. KelelaCut 4 Me [BIG ups]
  7. Fear Of MenEarly Fragments [-1]
  8. Daft PunkRandom Access Memories [-4]
  9. DisclosureSettle [-]
  10. Kanye WestYeezus [BIG ups]
  11. Grave BabiesCrusher [-6]
  12. Blank BansheeBlank Banshee1 [+1]
  13. Vampire WeekendModern Vampires Of The City [-6]
  14. OvlovAM [BIG ups]
  15. PorchesSlow Dancing In The Cosmos [BIG ups]

The results since 2013 initially start with a bit of deja vu, with &&&&& and Clash The Truth returning as my top 2. Both records are comfortably in my Top 10 most listened to of all time and don’t look to be dethroned any time soon. After that though, The Range’s Nonfiction smashes all the way up the rankings, unseating Anamanaguchi as #3. I found that Nonfiction is just so easy to listen to, especially tracks like “Jamie” and “Telescope.”  Other newcomers for this list include Kelela, Kanye West, Ovlov and Porches, all records I thought were pretty good in 2013 but clearly stuck with me more than many other things I apparently enjoyed more from that year.


So overall: what do I think of 2013 now? Looking back, it’s clear to me that it definitely wasn’t all that I hyped it up to me. There were a few great records in there, but looking at both Top 50 lists that I made, I don’t feel like it adequately compares to some of the others from the 10s. But hey, I could revisit some other years and see how I think about those, but that’s for another time. I gotta say though, 2012, 2014 and 2015 were blessed years for music. Just truly magical times. 2013 did not have the super duper magic, but that’s alright. For the most part, it’s good for what it is. There are just a few records that have grown stinky with age and not in a good, cheese kind of way.

About Very Warm

Usually cool dude stuff.
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