2013: The Best Year for Music?

2013: The Best Year for Music?

Will Butler questions whether 2013 has been the best year for music or if ithas peaked too soon.

Back in June, Queens of the Stone Age released their fifth LP …Like Clockwork. Armed to the teeth with fuzzed out guitar lines, haunting grooves and desert bite, within the first listen I was convinced it was the best 2013 had to offer; I still do. With the Mercurys having just fleeted by and the bleak winter climate descending, now is the time that music obsessive nerds spend time relentlessly scouring their iTunes and CD collections concocting ‘the list to top all lists’ of the best albums of the year.

2013 has been an outstanding year for music solely based on the abundance of anticipated releases. It marks the return of Arctic Monkeys, Arcade Fire, The Strokes, Pixies, Kanye West, Jay-Z and many more, most of which have produced excellent records (Bar Jay-Z, Holy Grail was a bit of a wash). Although I say it every year, the true champions of 2023/12/13 as a year of music are the recently established up-and-comers. This year has been crammed to the brim with exciting and innovative debut acts. Whether it’s the post-infant pop queen Lorde or the rag tag swag of Birmingham’s Peace.

We’ve seen an interesting shift in genre paradigm this year. This has allowed for a more expansive fluctuation of influences for new artists rather than the rigid echo chambers some artists have been operating within in previous years. That said, there has still been an influx of 1975s and Bastilles on top of the anticipated avalanche of vacuous and underwhelming releases within the sphere of the top 40, but that can’t be helped, and if that’s what the masses hunger for then who am I to tell them differently? Suffice it to say, no classics have been conceived this year.

The word ‘best’ is trifling, clumsy and ambiguous. 2013 had some memorable moments but is far from ‘the best’. Maybe music peaked in the 60s and we’re doomed to listen to rehashed ideas for eternity. Or maybe the best is yet to come, we’re going have to wait and see.


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