Caught Up ~ John Legend

A lot of big names in the music industry released highly publicized albums this year (or surprise visual albums in the case of Beyonce). Very few of these albums impressed me. Some of them outright disappointed me. 

My top albums of 2013? 

Love in the Future ~ John Legend 
Easily, my favorite album of 2013 was Love in the Future by John Legend. Possibly one of my favorites of all time as well. So solid. It is one of the few albums to come out in the past few years where I can just press play and let it go. No skipping needed. And then when I get to the end of the album, I start it all over again. It’s an albums that plays best when you play it from beginning to end in track listing order. I don’t like to listen to it on shuffle, it weakens the experience. The only song I am not overly fond of is “We Loved It” featuring Seal. And mostly, that is because I am not a huge fan of Seal. Highlights for me include, "The Beginning..." and "Wanna Be Loved."  The album is a little more produced than you would expect for a John Legend project, but makes sense considering that Kanye West* has an executive producer credit on this album. I recently heard John Legend perform two of the tracks from this album on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series and was struck by how different (but equally amazing) they sound when featuring nothing but John Legend and a piano. It made me salivate for John Legend to tour with this album or at the very least, release a live album. 

*Shocking that he helped produce one of my favorite albums of the year when I wouldn't go near the album he released this year with a ten foot pole. 


Same Trailer Different Park ~ Kacey Musgraves 
You can read my thoughts on this album here


The 20/20 Experience (Parts 1 and 2)  ~ Justin Timberlake 
Although I had some initial apathetic responses to this album, subsequent listens awakened my deep and abiding affection for all things JT.  Part of my initial resistance was due to how boring I find "Suit & Tie" to be, but tracks like "Pusher Love Girl," "Strawberry Bubblegum," and "Dress On," from Part 1 easily outweigh the general "meh" effect of "Suit & Tie." Once again Justin Timberlake homogenizes R&B, hip hop, and pop just the way I like it. Also, he is good looking and funny and a surprisingly good actor. What can I say? I am a sucker for Justin Timberlake. He is my age group's Justin Bieber except, you know, 5 million times more talented and 5 million times less obnoxious. So basically, he is nothing like Justin Bieber at all. All the more reason to listen and love. 

Trouble Will Find Me ~ The National 
I love lead vocalist, Matt Berninger, and his baritone voice. I love the moody lyrics. I love that the album as a whole somehow is not depressing. I don't understand how The National accomplishes such a feat with tracks like "I Need My Girl" and "I Should Live in Salt," but somehow they do. 



A brief list of albums that were released in 2012, that I wish were released in 2013 so that I could put them on this list: 

Kaleidescope Dream ~ Miguel
Life Is Good ~ Nas 
Red ~ Taylor Swift 
Girl on Fire ~ Alicia Keys


The exhaustive list of albums that I did not give a chance in 2013 because when I previewed them on iTunes, I was not impressed: 

Prism ~ Katy Perry
Reflektor ~ Arcade Fire
Mechanical Bull ~ Kings of Leon
Paradise Valley ~ John Mayer
Three Kings ~ TGT
Nothing Was the Same ~ Drake 
Modern Vampires of the City ~ Vampire Weekend 
Paramore ~ Paramore 

Any of these albums deserve more of a chance? Let me know in the comments below!