I’ll be the first to admit I probably haven’t been as tuned into new music this year as I was last year. I’m not sure what to blame, really, but I will say that the albums I loved this year have made up for it all with sheer quality. So, in keeping with the theme of sparseness (and because I totally want to be like Spin Magazine), I present to you my top seven albums of the year, summarized in 140 characters or less — perfect for the ever decreasing attention spans of today’s youth, who probably lost interest in Fiona Apple’s new album before finishing the full title.
1. Japandroids – Celebration Rock
Canadian duo Japandroids’ patented blend of driving catchy DIY riffs with subtle deep lyrics has single handedly restored my faith in rock.
Stand-out tracks: “Evil’s Sway”, “The Nights of Wine and Roses”
2. Metric – Synthetica
It sounds a lot like their last album, full of great synth hooks, jangly guitar, and Haines’ haunted ethereal vocals. That’s a good thing.
Stand-out tracks: “Speed the Collapse”, “Nothing but Time”
3. Sleigh Bells – Reign of Terror
Don’t call them a flash in the pan. Sleigh Bells return with a more mature and complex album, embracing a pop sound and new sonic textures.
Stand-out tracks: “Comeback Kid”, “Demons”
4. Gotye – Making Mirrors
Forget the lead single. Gotye is a talented songwriter and transcends genre on his breakout debut, sounding like the second-coming of Beck.
Stand-out tracks: “Easy Way Out”, “I Feel Better”
5. Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel…
Challenging, sparse, and singular, Fiona Apple’s album is an entity unto itself that rewards listeners with unparalleled depth of emotion.
Stand-out tracks: “Every Single Night”, “Werewolf”
6. Of Monsters and Men – My Head is an Animal
Folksy, layered debut glows with shades of Arcade Fire and Edward Sharpe but in the end offers something wholly unique and undeniably great.
Stand-out tracks: “Little Talks”, “King and Lionheart”
7. Lana del Rey – Born to Die
Controversy be damned. Lana del Rey’s voice is sultry, the beats haunting, and the lyrics dark. I’ll take this pop over Katy Perry any day.
Stand-out tracks: “Born to Die”, “Off to the Races”
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