My Top 10 Albums of 2013 by hmv's Tom Goodwyn
For every day of December, we're going to be bringing out the Top 10 albums or films of the year by someone we think has excellent taste to show off. Today it's the turn of one of our Editors: Tom picks his Top 10 for 2013.
Biffy Clyro - Opposites
"Double albums are normally bad news. They're largely the sound of a band disappearing up their own backside. So when Biffy announced this and told us all they'd been messing about with bagpipes, I feared the absolute worst. I shouldn't have done, this is remarkably consistent rock record, with some of the band's best songs to date. Everyone who has watched Biffy grow from pubs to festival headliners cracked a smile when they stepped out to headline Reading and Leeds this year, it felt like a victory for doing things in the right way, a win for a band who've really grafted. This is a total triumph."
Deaf Havana - Old Souls
"If their last album Fools And Worthless Liars was exceptional, then this is incredible. I feel like they have a completely unique take on very mundane topics and somehow manage to wring these heart-warming songs out of lyrical subjects that have been done to death. Musically, they've taken the best bits of Bruce Springsteen, The Gaslight Anthem and Neil Young and remoulded them superbly. A great record."
Kanye West - Yeezus
"It's not his best work, but he's still operating on a different level to everybody else. The production is so different this time around, so many of the tracks feel like sandpaper. I feel like Kanye demands more and more from the listener as his albums get darker and weirder. I've still played it to death though…"
Arcane Roots - Blood & Chemistry
"If you've not checked these guys out, you really should. They sound like Biffy Clyro (without all the early days indie trappings) mixed with vintage Mars Volta. The songs build and build and all become incredible. They're incredible live too. I can't wait to hear what they do next."
The Wonder Years - The Greatest Generation
"This is a ridiculously intense, but utterly captivating album. Full of gorgeous melodies, growling riffs and shout-along choruses, it's a great listen right from the first bars. Melancholy and mid-life crisis have never sounded quite so affecting."
letlive. - The Blackest Beautiful
"I was expecting the success of their last record Fake History to push them more towards the mainstream, but they've done the opposite and this album is all the better for it. It's such a raw, aggressive hardcore record, but mixed with all the funk and soul that Jason Butler brings to everything he sings on. Tracks like Pheremone Cvlt and Younger are so powerfully delivered, it's everything that's brilliant about hardcore punk and what it can be when done properly."
Arctic Monkeys - AM
"Like everyone else in the entire world, I've fallen in love with this album. I've been a fan since the early days, but I don't think I, or anyone else, thought they'd ever produce a record like this. It's so consistently good, the playing is so tight and Alex Turner proves that he's still one of the best there is when it comes to lyrics. They're a proper national treasure; we're lucky to have them."
Paramore - Paramore
"My expectations for this album were pretty low. They'd just lost one of their main songwriters and I was expecting an angry, hackneyed pop punk record. They've done the polar opposite of that, this is an album full of experimentation, really interesting songs, considered lyrics and, most importantly, lots of big, big tunes."
Bring Me The Horizon - Sempiternal
"This was my Number One until the beginning of December, but just fell away at the last minute. It's an incredible record, it's so forward thinking in its use of electronics and how the songs are constructed, the melodies and the riffs are amazing too. It's been incredible to watch them grow from this scrappy little deathcore band into genuine arena headliners."
The 1975 - The 1975
"Even as recently as October, I'd not given this album a moment's thought. I'd dismissed them as a singles band, the kind of band who have a couple of minor hits and disappear, I was so, so wrong.
This album is wonderful, every second of it. It combines the best moments of all those brilliant John Hughes movie soundtracks with the sharpest melodies and the most hummable choruses I've heard in a long time. It feels like they've come from nowhere, they weren't hotly tipped at the beginning of the year or lauded in any poll.
People have heard the songs on the radio, bought the record, clearly fallen in love with it and bought tickets to see them live (hence they've sold out three nights at Brixton Academy).
A proper word of mouth success story, full of amazing songs, it's easily my favourite record this year."