From One Direction’s ‘Midnight Memories’ To Lady Gaga’s ‘ARTPOP’ – The Best Albums Of 2013 (POLL)
With everyone from Lady Gaga and Katy Perry to Drake and Eminem showcasing fresh albums, we want your help deciding which album deserves to be crowned the best release of 2013.
Take a look at the contenders below…
‘Midnight Memories’ is the fastest-selling album of 2013 (Twitter/One Direction)
One Direction – Midnight Memories
Released in November, 1D’s ‘Midnight Memories’ quickly became the UK’s fastest-selling album of 2013, shooting to the top of album charts in the UK and US and dominating sales worldwide. The hotly-anticipated release of Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik and Liam Payne’s third studio album was preceded by the huge seven-hour live online broadcast, 1D Day.
Directioners couldn’t wait to nab their copies of ‘Midnight Memories’ and downloaded individual tracks as they became available, leading to the lads having four songs in the top 40 at once. Top picks from the record include lead single ‘Best Song Ever’ and ‘Don’t Forget Where You Belong’, written by Niall with the McFly lads Tom Fletcher, Danny Jones and Dougie Poynter.
Drake’s album had two different artworks (Twitter/Drake)
Drake – Nothing Was The Same
Drake scored his third number one with his 2013 release ‘Nothing Was The Same’. After numerus delays, the long-awaited album was finally released in September, receiving praise from critics and clocking up first-week sales of over 500,000 in the US alone. After taking his time to make sure the record was perfect, the 27-year-old wasn’t happy with only producing one album cover, opting to go for two arty peices Californian painter Kadir Nelson.
‘Nothing Was The Same’ includes the gigantic anthems ‘Started From The Bottom’ and ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home’ alongside ‘Pound Cake’, a collaboration with hip-hop megastar Jay Z.
Justin Timberlake sold almost a million copies of The 20/20 Experience (Packshot)
Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience
Officially the US’ fastest-selling album of 2013, ‘The 20/20 Experience’ was the first part of JT’s 20/20 project. After making his long-awaited musical comeback with a knockout performance at the Grammys and Brit Awards in February, the ‘Suit & Tie’ singer took off around the world to promote the record – squeezing in a tour with Jay Z as well.
Huge promotional efforts saw the album plugged on social networking site MySpace – which 32-year-old Justin part owns – before the ‘Cry Me A River’ singer headlined an intimate gig at London’s Roundhouse as part of the iTunes Festival 2013. Produced in just 20 days by hitmaker Timbaland, ‘The 20/20 Experience’ included the instant hit ‘Mirrors’ and made sure JT returned to the music industry in style.
Arctic Monkeys fifth album broke records in the US and UK (Twitter/Arctic Monkeys)
Arctic Monkeys – AM
Following their award-winning headline set at Glastonbury Festival, the pressure was on for Alex Turner and his band to deliver an astonishing fifth album – and they didn’t disappoint. Golden moments include drummer Matt Helder’s high-pitched backing on ‘One For The Road’ and Alex’s sultry ‘No. 1 Party Anthem’ lyrics.
A UK tour – sadly punctuated by a bout of laryngitis for Alex and a few postponed gigs – proved the tracks as being capable of providing the framework for live sets, leading to the announcement of two gigantic Finsbury Park shows for 2014. The album was the band’s fifth consecutive UK number one and became their highest-charting release in the US, debuting at number six.
ARTPOP was accompanied by a unique app (Twitter/Lady Gaga)
Lady Gaga – ARTPOP
Never one to shy away from the eccentric and unusual, Lady Gaga delivered a plethora of hits in the form of her November album ‘ARTPOP.’ The ‘Born This Way’ singer hand-picked elements of ’80s pop, disco and ’90s R&B to create yet another original and innovative album.
With a sky-high budget Gaga and her team took the record’s promotion to the next level, releasing an app, allowing Little Monsters to stream the whole album and chat via a variety of in-app forums.
The hard-working New Yorker also set off on a mini-tour of the world, performing a new song in every country visited. ‘Do What U Want’ is a stand-out track, while Gaga’s performace of ‘Dope’ at the YouTube Music Awards deserves a special mention. ‘ARTPOP’ topped the charts in over ten different countries, including the UK and US.
Eminem was named Global Icon at the MTV EMAs earlier this year (Twitter/Eminem)
Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP 2
The sequel to his 2001 release ‘Marshall Mathers LP’, ‘MMLP2’ is a spell-binding offering from a self-proclaimed Rap God.
Despite stating that he never wanted to make a pop record, the album features a Rihanna collaboration ‘The Monster’ and the whole album charted at number one in the US Billboard 100. Eminem became the first US artist to ever manage seven consecutive chart-topping albums while in Australia it hit the top spot after just three days of sales.
‘Yeezus’ scored Kanye his fifth number one album (Packshot)
Kanye West – Yeezus
The dark and experimental ‘Yeezus’ includes references to Acid House and samples from Nina Simone. Described by the late Lou Reed as “inspiring and majestic”, Kanye’s sixth album is easily the best release of 2013 in terms of originality and stylistic innovation. His decision to release the record without album artwork and the insanely creative staging of the promotional tour have helped Kanye turn ‘Yeezus’ into a huge event rather than just another CD.
The on-going tour isn’t exactly going to plan and Kanye was forced to postpone a number of gigs when a 60ft LED screen was damaged beyond repair, but Kanye won’t let that stop him. Chart domination took less than a week on both sides of the Atlantic and we can’t not mention that ‘Bound 2’ video – which completely over-shadowed the sublime rendition of the track given on ‘Later…With Jools Holland’.
Miley released ‘Bangerz’ in October (Twitter/Miley Cyrus)
Miley Cyrus – Bangerz
In a year that saw Miley twerk her way through awards shows and make numerous comments about drug use, it’s easy to momentarily forget that she actually released a fantastic album. ‘Bangerz’ made it to number one in the charts and gave us the hits ‘Wrecking Ball’ – and its video – along with the party-inspired ‘We Can’t Stop.’
Collaborators aplenty made sure the album tracks weren’t to be skipped with ‘Do My Thang’ produced by Will.i.am and ‘Love Money Party’ featuring a star turn from Big Sean.
The ‘Prismatic’ Tour will take place in 2014 (Twitter/Katy Perry)
Katy Perry – Prism
The grown-up follow-up to her cotton-candy sweet ‘Teenage Dream’ showcases a serious side to the Californian singer. Post-divorce Katy does a lot less singing about the sweetness of young romance, giving us the stronger, powerful ‘Unconditionally’ instead.
‘Birthday’ and ‘International Smile’ have been labelled as “perfect” by critics, while ‘Roar’ is something of a manifesto for the reinvigorated Katy. As expected, ‘Prism’ topped charts worldwide and the upcoming promotional world tour is selling out fast.
Lorde’s debut rocketed the New Zealand singer to stardom (Instagram/Lorde)
Lorde – Pure Heroine
Teenager Lorde burst onto the music scene with her debut album ‘Pure Heroine’, showcasing haunting vocals and lyrics that are wise beyond her 17 years.
Her breath-taking voice made sure the album was record-breaking as well as chart-topping, with tracks ‘A World Alone’ and ‘Tennis Court’ seeming a million miles from her teen pop contemporaries.
Other gems from 2013:
While those 10 releases are the standout albums of 2013, there are a number of other records which definitely deserve a special mention. From high-charting efforts to albums with critical acclaim, it wouldn’t be fair to round-up the best of 2013 without mentioning these guys…
Daft Punk’s ‘Random Access Memories’ was set to be the fastest-selling record of 2013 before One Direction swooped in and stole the accolade. The french DJs employed the help of Pharrell and Giorgie Moroder on the record, before dissapointing fans worldwide by not touring the album.
Little Mix’s ‘Salute’ showcased the girls’ fresh take on urban pop, blending Destiny’s Child-esque R&B vibes with their own British eccentricity to create anthemic pop tunes. Other hot new releases from female artists include the solo efforts of Ariana Grande, with ‘Yours Truly’ and Demi Lovato. Demi’s self-titled release was more pop-rock while Ariana enlisted the help of Big Sean to create the single ‘Right There’ before joining up with boyfriend Nathan Sykes on ‘Almost Is Never Enough’.
Jay Z’s ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’ went double-platinum in the US before the ‘Tom Ford’ rapper went on tour with Justin Timberlake while rockers Arcade Fire failed to pull the wool over the eyes of observant fans with the ‘secret’ release of their 2013 ‘Reflektor’ and tour under the not-so-secret alias of ‘The Reflektors’.
Vampire Weekend’s ‘Modern Vampires Of The City’ saw the indie band come of age, playing with production styles and working with the team better known for working with Justin Bieber and Kylie Minogue. Sister act ‘Haim’ made their mark on 2013, touring the UK and giving a standout performance at Glastonbury before their debut ‘Through The Wire’ pipped Justin Timberlake to the number one spot in September.
Rudimental gave us their debut ‘Home’, providing hits ‘Waiting All Night’ and ‘Feel The Love’ while Disclosure gave them a run for their money in the race to soundtrack the summer with their debut album ‘Settle’.