16 December, 2013@8:45 am
2013 finally saw this generation of dance and electronic music make the transition from being a singles driven market to an album driven one, with many releases from a crop of artists we’re used to only seeing on a track-by-track basis. Here are WeAllHitPlay.Com’s picks for the best albums of 2013.
10. Dirty South – Speed Of Life
Dirty South has a long string of hits that have preceded and post-dated his debut album, Speed Of Life, whether it be “Sorry”, “Walking Alone”, or “City Of Dreams”, none of which are included here. Frankly, he doesn’t need them, as the merits of Speed Of Life stand on their own, from anthemic tunes like “Until The End” and “Your Heart”, to the album’s more mellow selections like “Sunrise” and “Sunset”. Speed of Life showed Dirty South’s range, and cements him as much more than a producer with a few hits under his belt.
9. The Bloody Beetroots – Hide
Classically trained musician, Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo, aka The Bloody Beetroots, put his talents to good use with the release of Hide, an album that showed both range as a producer and an impressive guest list. While Bob’s opus came with the requisite electro bangers we know him for, he also reached far outside the box, tapping names like Paul McCartney and Peter Frampton for collaborations, and of course delivered the bittersweet hit with Greta Svabo Bach, “Chronicales Of A Fallen Love”. Undoubtedly one of the most experimental, but still wildly fun and complete releases of the year.
8. Sub Focus - Torus
2013 was a strong year for the UK scene, which also saw Rudimental and Disclosure deliver impressive releases. Although not mentioned quite as often among them is Sub Focus, who may change that this coming year after the release of 2013′s Torus. Sub Focus delivered an amazingly coherent LP that played with drum & bass, dubstep, hip-hop, classic house, and other sounds, tapping great vocal collaborations with Alex Clare, MNEK, and others, making this the spirtual successor to Rudimental’s Home.
7. Kaskade – Atmosphere
Kaskade is no stranger to full-length releases, as Atmosphere is his eighth, making him the elder statesman to everyone else on this list. Yet Atmosphere was his most high profile release to date, led by its hit title track. As per usual, America’s #1 DJ concentrated less on big room sounds and more on airy, ethereal vocals, which would come to fruition via his trademark mashups and remixes at his live shows. Atmosphere proved that Kaskade doesn’t follow the trends of the dance scene, they follow him.
6. Major Lazer – Free The Universe
Major Lazer’s Free The Universe is second only to Disclosure’s Settle as the-album-you-heard-all-year-but-didn’t-know-it. Prior to its release, we saw tracks like “Jah No Partial”, “Bumaye (Watch Out For This)”, and “Get Free” permeate dancefloors across the globe, while the album itself spawned one of the most played hip-hop tracks of the year, “Bubble Butt”. Diplo and company have firmly planted themselves as coolest dudes in the scene, and Free The Universe had enough memorable moments to justify such an epithet. Get Free.
5. Avicii – True
Prior to the release of True, Avicii was haunted by the “Le7els” spectre. The endorsement-ready tune had become the go-to-track, popping up everywhere from beer commercials to Paris Hilton’s ill-fated debut as a DJ, until the point where it had become a running joke. While we will likely look back on “Le7els” as a genre defining classic, Avicii made us forget all about it with the release of True. He threw us a curveball earlier in the year by debuting tracks from True at Ultra, alongside live musicians and vocalists, to a stunned audience. This came to fruition with the release of True, an album that toys with multiple sounds and styles, and produced some of the biggest hits of the year with “Wake Me Up” and “Hey Brother”. While many were quick to try to crucify Avicii for his success, True proved he deserves every bit of it.
4. Empire Of The Sun – Ice On The Dune
Empire Of The Sun’s debut album, Walking On A Dream, preceded the “EDM” explosion, yet found its title track remixed countless times, inserted into the sets of many of the world’s top DJ’s. Ice On The Dune was a timely follow-up, one that showed that despite a five-year absence, they haven’t missed a step. Among hits like “Alive”, “DNA”, and “Celebrate”, the album found the duo channeling some of the 80′s best (Bowie, The Cars, The Police), yet with their own, modernized sound for today’s electronic music scene.
3. Disclosure – Settle
Disclosure’s Settle was the critical darling of the year, and for good reason. The multi-grammy nominated LP and overall album of the year contender showed a fresh take on british pop with deep house undertones, via two fresh faced brothers that make up the group. Songs like “Latch” and “You and Me” were everywhere, while the album’s deeper cuts like “Fire Starts To Burn” and “Grab Her” offered a much more subdued take on the big build-ups and sick drops we’ve seen out of the house scene over the last couple of years.
2. Rudimental – Home
Yes, we’re quite aware that as far as UK house goes, Disclosure took many of the accolades for 2013. But for some reason, Rudimental’s Home resonated with us on a much greater scale. Bringing the best out of vocalists like Alex Clare and John Newman, the album produced incredible hits like “Feel The Love” and “Not Giving In”, and was on the pulse of about-to-break-through acts like Foxes and Emile Sande on each “Right Here” and “More Than Anything”. The group also found a way to incorporate drum-and-bass into their soulful production, giving new life to an otherwise dead sound. Incredibly soulful, and brilliantly produced, this album has so many great moments, it’s hard to pick its best.
1. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
When Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories dropped, it was quite a polarizing release. The duo chose to abandon their dance music foundations and go back to their respective childhoods, paying homage to artists like Nile Rodgers, Paul Williams, and Giorgio Moroder – each of whom are collaborators here. Not only did this album produce perhaps the biggest song of the year, “Get Lucky”, it completely defied expectation by drawing a blueprint of Daft Punk’s musical influences. Sure, it is no Discovery – this is in a class of its own.
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