Thursday, January 09, 2014

Top Albums of 2013 Survey (Part 2)

Carrying on with my analysis of Top Album polls for 2013, if I assign a value of 50 to a 1st place finish, 49 for a 2nd, etc, here are the Top 54 albums of 2013 (all were mentioned in at least 3 of the  polls):
Vampire Weekend Modern Vampires of the City
Kanye West Yeezus
Daft Punk Random Access Memories
Arcade Fire Reflecktor
Disclosure Settle
My Bloody Valentine mbv
Haim Days Are Gone
Kurt Vile Wakin on a Pretty Daze
Savages Silence Yourself
The National Trouble Will Find Me
Chvrches The Bones of What You Believe
The Knife Shaking the Habitual
Chance the Rapper Acid Rap
Danny Brown Old
Waxahatchee Cerulean Salt
Queens of the Stone Age ...Like Clockwork
Janelle Monae The Electric Lady
Deerhunter Monomania
Arctic Monkeys AM
Run The Jewels Run The Jewels
Phosphorescent Muchacho
Deafheaven Sunbather
Bill Callahan Dream River
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Push The Sky Away
David Bowie The Next Day
Laura Marling Once I Was An Eagle
Tegan & Sara Heartthrob
Earl Sweatshirt Doris
Mikal Cronin MCII
Kacey Musgraves Same Trailer Different Park
Drake Nothing Was The Same
Neko Case The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight
M.I.A. Matangi
Sky Ferreira Night Time, My Time
Oneohtrix Point Never R Plus Seven
Parquet Courts Light Up Gold
Nine Inch Nails Hesitation Marks
Jon Hopkins Immunity
Jason Isbell Southeastern
Okkervil River The Silver Gymnasium
Tim Hecker Virgins
Autre Ne Veut Anxiety
The Haxan Cloak Excavation
Ashley Monroe Like A Rose
Volcano Choir Repave
James Blake Overgrown
Darkside Psychic
Julia Holter Loud City Song
Pusha T My Name is My Name
Rhye Woman
Lorde Pure Heroine
Speedy Ortiz Major Arcana
Blood Orange Cupid Deluxe
Majical Cloudz Impersonator

Looking at individual polls, I suppose it's no surprise that the Rolling Stone poll was the only one to include Beck, Sir Elton, Franz Ferdinand, John Fogerty (!), Keith Urban, Miley Cyrus (!!) and Pearl Jam.  And while 2 polls included The Cute Beatle's latest, Rolling Stone had it as the number 4 album of the year.  They really are all in their 70s, aren't they?  (Not that there's anything wrong with that, Mom.)

All polls had a number of entries that were unique to their poll, with Mojo leading the way at 20 performers that showed up only in their poll.  However, there were only 4 acts that showed up only in the two major British polls and nowhere else (Cate le Bon, Factory Floor, Primal Scream and These New Puritans).

There were two acts that managed to get a Top 5 mention in one poll but were totally left out of all the others - The Foals' Holy Fire was 4 in NME's poll and John Grant's Pale Green Ghost was number 5 in Mojo's but neither showed at all anywhere else.

Fun exercise!  While I'd have gotten around to buying the Bowie and Neko Case albums eventually, there are a lot of people here I've never heard of.  And certainly there's a hell of a lot of terrific music that didn't show up on any of these lists, because of lack of promotion or distribution or whatever, but it's a good place to start - time to get sampling!


Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Top Albums of 2013 Survey (Part 1)

As I said in a Facebook post today, I realized as the end of year best-of lists started coming out that I somehow missed most new music from 2013.  Yeah, I knew Justin Timberlake had an album that people said didn't suck and Miley Cyrus had an album out that apparently passed an extremely low bar of not completely horribleness and David Bowie actually put out something new that was worth listening to (and yes I know it's quaint to talk about "albums" but that still the way I think), but beyond that I have no idea what is new and interesting.  So in order to narrow the sampling down, I decided to compile a bunch of those year-end lists.  I stuck to the usual suspects, including the old farts at Rolling Stones and the hipsters at Pitchfork and a few others (see list below).  I rejected user polls like Slicing Up Eyeballs (their readers would have just invented new Cure releases to vote for) and I rejected polls with fewer than 50 albums (for ease of math) and I didn't pull in polls from general news sources, preferring to stick with music/entertainment-oriented media.  In the end, I chose the following:

Rolling Stone
Consequence of Sound

All had Top 50 lists except for Popmatters which had something like 70+ in theirs (including local band Mount Moriah's release at number 51, meaning it didn't count for my purposes).  In the end, there were 181 releases mentioned from 180 performers/bands (DJ Rashad getting a double entry for his Double Cup album in one poll and his I Don't Give a Fuck EP in another one).

There were only 6 albums that showed up in all nine polls (and oddly enough Neko Case's wasn't one of them):

Arcade Fire - Reflektor
Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
Haim - Days Are Gone
Kanye West - Yeezus
My Bloody Valentine - mbv
Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City (I guess they ARE still around!)

Two more were in 8 out of the 9 polls:

Disclosure - Settle (ignored by Paste)
Waxahatchee - Cerulean Salt (left off by Mojo)

And 9 releases made it into 7 of 9 (see what I did there, Star Trek fans?):

Chvrches - The Bones of What You Believe
Earl Sweatshirt - Doris
Janelle Monae - The Electric Lady
Kurt Vile - Wakin on a Pretty Daze
Pusha T - My Name is My Name
Queens of the Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork
Savages - Silence Yourself
The Knife - Shaking the Habitual
The National - Trouble Will Find Me

In all there were 54 albums that were mentioned in at least 3 polls, making them a good place to start listening. 

The obvious critical darlings were Vampire Weekend and Kanye (does every middle-aged white music critic HAVE to say he likes Kanye?  Is it some kind of rule?).  Vampire Weekend finished number 1 in 3 of the polls and only finished outside of the top 10 once.  Kanye also had 3 number 1s but was considerably lower in a couple of the polls.  No one else was number 1 in more than one poll.

I'll do a further breakdown in a follow-up post along with some interesting (well, I think they're interesting) anomalies and oddities.