The top 10 albums of 2013: The Gentlemen’s Edition (#5-1)
And so we enter the final stretch of our top 10 Gentlemen’s albums of the year, highlighting all of the greats of 2013 and crowning our 2013 Gentlemen’s Album of the Year. A quick spoiler in case you are wondering, it is not Miley Cyrus. If you missed part one with albums 10-6 then click here now.
5. James Blake – Overgrown
25 year old British phenom returned in 2013 with his second studio album, Overgrown, a follow up to his self titled album released in 2011. Overgrown boasted improved production with the inclusion of glistering synthesisers and also featured his trademark grainy synths that were sporadically painted all over his debut album. Overgrown is more of what we’ve come to expect from Blake, but in a far more polished format. Taking inspiration from hip-hop and its soulful influences gives the album depth, with a lot of the feeling coming from the warm pianos and deep baselines. Overgrown balances more serious, heartfelt tracks with youthful party moments, making this album perfect for the day to day living of a mid to late twenty something gent.
4. Janelle Monae – The Electric Lady
So far the top 10 has been a list of gentlemen, for gentlemen, however Janelle Monae’s The Electric Lady is in fourth to add a much needed female touch and is simply too good to ignore. Most popular female artists are subjected to making music for pre-teen girls, and that’s why an album like The Electric Lady is such a breath of fresh air. In a less psychedelic and more toned down attempt than her previous albums, The Electric Lady succeeds in all the aspects where one would predict failure. By losing some of the wackiness that Janelle is renowned for, she manages to deliver soulful moments that make personal connections to her listeners, rather than taking them to a circus. Janelle is still able to produce ample amounts of fun as she splices different genres of Soul and Rock with her overall quirkiness. Include a feature from Prince himself and you have a real highlight from 2013. As gentlemen, being open to new and exciting experiences is in our nature, so we would certainly recommend exploring the unmatched artistry of the electric lady that is Janelle Monae.
3. Queens Of The Stone Age – …Like Clockwork
Queens Of The Stone Age returned with their sixth studio album, …Like Clockwork, an album stemmed from darkness and depression after founder and last original band member, Josh Homme, recovered from a life threatening injury. The album features a handful of collaborations from Trent Reznor, Jake Shears, Alex Turner and Elton John that seamlessly weave their contributions into the fabric of this gritty album. With rich electric guitars and head knocking drums, this album is soaked in attitude that is only matched by the Homme’s vocal performances. The hard edge feel remains throughout the album but also has frequent moments of glamorous instrumentation that add a further depth to this masterpiece. The album is a fantastic listen from start to finish, with songs to match every emotion and leaving the listener feeling like they just witnessed a rock opera. A perfect album for the gent who is not afraid to explore his own emotions.
2. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
With the emergence of electronic music’s growing popularity over the last decade, the iconic French duo’s summer album made a complete 180 degree turn on the genre which they help build. Random Access Memories is more recognisable as the soulful records Daft Punk are known for sampling from, rather than the songs they are known for creating from these samples. Daft Punk have created a throwback to the funktifed 70’s on Random Access Memories, teaming up with Nile Rogers (the man responsible for many of the hits produced in that era) and Pharrell Williams (the man responsible for many of the hits produced now). Random Access Memories is Daft Punk’s bravest and most ambitious album to date and doesn’t fall short of spectacular; fusing together ambient sounds and funky baselines from the 70’s and 80’s with trademark Daft Punk arpeggiators and the timeless vocoder that Daft Punk have reinvented. The pair was able to remain fresh and innovative whilst remaining true to their core fans; a truly difficult achievement. An album for all gentlemen to enjoy, it has the nostalgic moments for the older gentlemen and a glimpse into the disco era for the younger gentlemen.
1. Arctic Monkeys – AM
It’s safe to say that 5 albums in, the Arctic Monkeys are not the same band they once were. AM sees the Arctic Monkeys take a mellower and less ‘in your face approach’ that we had come to expect from their younger years. AM features solid song writing touching on the turmoil that can occur in modern relationships. The tracks are straight to the point and don’t overstay their welcome but not before laying intricate guitar riffs and soft falsettos, creating a pleasant listening experience from start to finish with strong replay value. The band remain quintessentially English with the odd slang word and thick Sheffield accent, however their move to Los Angeles makes its presence felt through the stylish and glamorous delivery. With lyrics that will be sure to have ladies blushing over the sexy rock instrumentals, this album sums up everything that makes a modern gentleman what he is… effortlessly cool. This is why AM is our Gentlemen’s Album Of The Year or GAOTY if you will.
Well there you have it, our first GAOTY list, how does our list compare to yours?
Do feel there are some albums that have no place on this list or did we get it right?
Are there any albums that didn’t make the list that should have?
Leave a comment and let us know how you feel.