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Best Music 2013

We’ve done it again: another whole year zooming around the sun and another 365 days of music to reflect on. I think 2013 was a tremendous year for all genres of music, and this is probably my favorite time: the chance to think about my favorite songs and albums. I love sharing my picks and reading the lists from other authors. It’s a time of discovery just as much as nostalgia.

The process of assembling Best Songs and Best Albums lists is a fun hobby (I’ve been keeping notes since January in an effort to not forget things). In making final adjustments, I’ve realized that my musical taste has never been broader than in 2013. Stereotypical indie now sits comfortably alongside country, rap, bluegrass, electronic, semi-disco, power-pop, punk, and shoegaze. Not everything has a prominent guitar, and female singers populate more of the list than ever before. Old favorites came back with strong followups, and new faces warped my tastes (often for the better).

Of course, the internet makes this endeavor possible and I’m infinitely grateful to Spotify for making music discovery easier than ever. The streaming service has faced criticism this year, but the access it offers is unbelievable. Used as a partner or reference, Spotify turns suggestions into favorites with little delay. Pitchfork continues to provide great ideas, NPR’s outstanding All Songs Considered crew uncovers gems with every episode or blog post, Consequence of Sound gives essential weekly song updates, The AV Club dissects all aspects of art and culture, and PopMatters tells a story you won’t hear any other place. Take their suggestions, find them on Spotify, discover a back-catalog, learn their history, love a new band… It’s exhilarating.

For the second year in a row, the Best Album selection has been tricky. There is one release that managed to stand slightly taller than the rest, but there are probably 30-40 albums that I’d recommend without much hesitation. My list won’t be that long, though. A similar thing happened with individual songs: I made a preliminary list of 123 tracks on Spotify throughout the year and had a dozen or so others noted elsewhere (if you take a look at that link you can get a sampling of the final list). It was mayhem in the best way possible.

I hope you’ll join me my look back at the Best Music of 2013. Here’s the schedule for blog posts:

Best Songs 50-26: 1/8
Best Songs 25-11: 1/9
Best Songs 10-1: 1/10

Best Albums 20-11: 1/12
Best Albums 10-4: 1/13
Best Albums 3-1: 1/14

Best Live Show: 1/16

Thanks again for stopping to read my thoughts here and at The Hockey Writers over the past twelve months!