I’m a huge music junkie, and I have to say, 2013 introduced me to some amazing music all around. Here are the albums that I bumped for weeks on end during this past year, in no particular order!
(1) Nothing Was the Same (2013): Drake
As once mentioned on my blog, this album was ridiculous. I won’t get into it too much since I wrote a speech about my adoration for almost all the songs on this album. Though many are quick to call him a ‘cheesy’ rapper, Drake is fantastic story-teller, and has a talent for drawing his fans into the narratives within his songs. After bumping this album for weeks on end, I felt like I had a better idea of who Drake is as a person – what his dreams, fears, and hopes are. It also doesn’t hurt that his producers created some disgusting beats (erm, Pound Cake anybody?)
Favorite tracks: Furthest Thing, Own it, Worst Behaviour, From Time, Too Much, Pound Cake, Come Thru, and the Motion.
(2) Body Music (2012): Alunageorge
I was first introduced to Alunageorge (a duo from the UK) this summer, while working at my dreaded summer job. The only upside to my 2 1/2 hour commute to work 5 days a week? Endless time to immerse myself in new music. Needless to say, this album GREW on me like crazy. Aluna has this very soft/futuristic-sounding voice you could listen to forever, and George ties everything together with his crazy beats. I also loved the lyricism on the album, especially on one of my favorite songs, Friends to Lovers. Overall, such a solid pop album, these Brits are killing it these days!
Note: The only downside to this album – it was a tad bit too long at a stunning 19 tracks! (I’m sure they could’ve killed it with 15 alone)
Favorite tracks: Outlines, You Know You Like It, Your Drums; Your Love, Kaleidoscope Love, Bad Idea, Diver, Best Be Believing, Superstar, Friends to Lovers, This is How we Do it, Indestructible, We are Chosen
(3) Is Your Love Big Enough? (2012): Lianne la Havas
I discovered the beautiful talent that is Ms. Lianne la Havas when I went to New York last June. Let me tell you guys, trips are the best time to discover new music with long flights/train + bus rides. Point being, I pretty much have an epic girl-crush on Lianne – mainly because she’s pretty much amazing. Her VOICE! It’s so raspy, but at the same time so clear. Her lyrics are also ridiculous, Gone makes me cry almost every time I listen to it. I don’t want to get extra here, but she may well be the Jill Scott of our generation.
Note: I’m quite literally dying to see her live!
Favorite tracks: Is Your Love Big Enough?, No Room for Doubt, Forget, Elusive, Gone, He Loves Me (Jill Scott cover)
(4) Legend (1984): Bob Marley and the Wailers
So, it should first be mentioned that I was basically raised on Bob Marley. My mom is a die-hard fan, and has been bumping his tunes since she was in Somalia! However, I never really actively listened to Bob Marley until this past June, and I must admit: I fell in love. Wooooh, liking Bob Marley has now become a pre-requisite for all my friendships – the man is a MUSICAL GENIUS. The timelessness of his voice, melodies, and lyrics will forever kill me.
Favorite tracks: Is this Love?, No Woman no Cry, Could You Be Loved, Buffalo Solider, Stir it Up, Get up Stand up, I Shot the Sheriff, Jamming, Waiting in Vain
(5) The Gifted (2013): Wale
I got into Wale because of my homegirl/soul-sister, Nellie. Wale is quite the talent, and his style of rap completely took me by surprise. For some reason, I was always under the impression he was a ‘hard-core’/JAY Z style rapper. Instead, he incorporates a lot of melody into his tracks, which was a pleasant change! I also love the social commentary on this album – Wale calls out the fakes and the haters, along with the US police and government policies. All in all, love me some Wale!
Favorite tracks: LoveHate Thing, Sunshine, Heaven’s Afternoon, Gullible, Bad
(6) Beyonce (2013): Beyonce
Just last month, Beyonce caused worldwide heart palpitations with a secret-release of a brand-new full-length visual album, aptly titled, Beyonce. Daaamn, B almost caused the Internet to crash down (cause that just how B rolls). Needless to say, as a die-hard Bey groupie, I was among those screaming in frustration, happiness, and joy when news of the album reached me. Musically, Bey brought endless amounts of SWAG to this album. It’s full of hard-hitting beats that just make you wanna two-step in place. However, as a result of the swag-infused nature of this album, I don’t think it has the same timeless quality as past Bey releases, such as 4 and Sasha Fierce. Unsurprisingly, I only bumped this album for 2 1/2 weeks or so before I kinda got over it. But during the time I was obsessed, it really did make me happy, hence why it made the cut!
Favorite tracks: Drunk in Love, Blow, Yonce/Partition, Rocket, Mine, XO, Superpower, Blue, Flawless
(7) Flying Colours (2013): Shad
Had an entire post on this album, so I’m not gonna get into the details. Main takeaway point = Shad is the shit!
(8) Treble and Reverb (2012): Aaradhna
Ah, Aaradhna. This lovely lady had me running in circles trying to find her album. Hailing from the Land of Kiwis, aka New Zealand, Aaradhna has a gorgeous old-school motown voice that is so incredibly rich! When I first heard her voice, all I could think was, “But HOW are you not super-famous yet!?” Treble and Reverb is a wonderful album, chock full of tunes that make you wanna get up off your feet, grab a mic, and belt your heart out! I sincerely hope she gets more exposure to an international audience this upcoming year, as she sure as hell deserves it!
Favorite tracks: Wake Up, Lorena Bobbitt, Great Man, Keep my Cool, Bob’s Your Uncle
(9) Acid Rap (2013): Chance the Rapper
Nanananananana! Chance the Rapper was yet another artist I was introduced to this summer. When I first heard Acid Rap, I immediately thought, “This is some weird shit…but I kinda like it.” Chance’s style of rap is unlike what you’re likely to have heard before. His flow borders on incomprehensible, with a slew of words thrown into sentences with no break for taking a breath. Yet, for some reason, it makes for incredible music. Chance isn’t the strongest lyrically, but he has a talent for making the senseless make sense. Plus, the album comes so CLUTCH with the beats, making it thoroughly enjoyable to listen to!
Favorite tracks: Good Ass Intro, Pusha Man, Juice, Favorite Song, Chain Smoker, Everything’s Good
(10) Settle (2013): Disclosure
Oof, Disclosure. Composed of two brothers hailing from the UK, Disclosure has put out some of the best EDM I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. These boys understand the concept of groove, and inject so much funk and fun into their music, you can’t help but sing along. I had the chance to see them live this week, and I must admit, they are just as amazing live, mixing tracks on the spot. Get into it!
Favorite tracks: When a Fire Starts to Burn, Latch, F for You, You and Me, Boiling, Confess to Me, Control, Voices, White Noise, January, Help Me Lose my Mind
(11) Days are Gone (2013): Haim
My obsession with Haim began in 2012, when they only had 1 or 2 songs out. Their style of music is a bit hard to describe, it’s pop, heavily infused with indie and funk. Basically, it’s a little bit of everything, and its amazing. It’s so refreshing to have a female band back on my musical radar. It also helps that the 3 sisters composing Haim are incredibly likable sand hilarious in all their interviews. I had the chance to see their set at Governor’s Ball last year (so dope!), and I’d love to attend one of their shows!
Favorite tracks: Forever, The Wire, Honey and I, Don’t Save Me, Days are Gone, Go Slow, Falling
(12) Perfectly Imperfect (2012): Elle Varner
Oof, I love me some Elle Varner. First introduced to her through my best friend, leading me to bump Refill (a single off the album) for weeks. Elle has a gorgeous voice, with riffs that’ll leave you with goosebumps. More importanly, Elle is an amazing lyricist; many of her songs resonated with me personally, making them even more timeless in my mind. Love Elle, and absolutely abused this album during the past year.
Favorite tracks: Only Wanna Give It To You, Refill, Sound-Proof Room, I Don’t Care, Not Tonight, Welcome Home, Damn Good Friends, So Fly
Honorable mentions: these albums were fantastic, but didn’t slay me the way I wanted them to
– Electric Lady (2013): Janelle Monae
– London (2013): Banks
– Magna Carta…Holy Grail (2013): JAY Z