Thursday, December 26, 2013

Best of 2013: index, etc.

To recap, here are:

My 10 favorite albums of 2013, all genres in play.

My 10 favorite jazz albums of 2013, plus one honorable mention and a list of fave live shows.

My 10 favorite metal albums of 2013, plus three honorable mentions and a list of fave live shows.

Here, via Pitchfork, is a Year in Music post, which puts a personal spin on some of the above, and also includes a list of my 10 favorite tracks of 2013, plus a shout-out re: a new-to-me old album that blew my mind this year. Originally, I had more Haim, RVIVR and Diarrhea Planet on the songs countdown, but I decided to limit myself to one track per band so as to yield a broader assortment and rep for some names I didn't include on the albums list. My No. 11, incidentally, would undoubtedly be Drake's "Hold On, We're Going Home." Just heard that for the umpteenth time while out and about earlier this week, and found its smoothness newly undeniable.


There was one band not featured in any of the above reckonings that was nevertheless a big part of my musical year, and that band is Pearl Jam. I think Lightning Bolt is a very good album. If the second half were as good as the first half, and did not—in my opinion—nosedive into tepid meandering, it would be a great album and very likely would've made my overall top 10. As I wrote in TONY, this LP is not going to change anyone's mind about Pearl Jam, but for lapsed fans such as myself—I love albums 1 through 5 pretty much unequivocally but have only heard bits and pieces of the four full-lengths in between those and Lightning Bolt—this is a great place to get back on board. I'd say that at least four of the songs in the playlist below are insta-canonical PJ, with the other two lagging only slightly behind. My favorites are probably "My Father's Son" and "Sirens." If the latter doesn't move you, even just a little, we probably have pretty different tastes. Eddie Vedder is in roaring form on all these. Again, if you can't at least admit to that—well, you know the rest.


One other thing: The Fleetwood Mac show at MSG in April was excellent. Anyone who cares about the coexistence of raw performance intensity and widely accessible songs needs to see Lindsey Buckingham live. The 2011 solo show I saw was outstanding; it was totally different, and equally spellbinding, to hear him in the company of what he's dubbed the Big Machine.

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