The most fun rap album of 2013 doesn’t have a single hands-in-the-air chorus. It doesn’t have a catchy ear worm or a parade of guest verses or even a sing-along hook.
I don’t think Win Butler ever smiles. Nine years after his band gave its earth-shattering debut, Funeral, Arcade Fire’s music hasn’t lost any of its urgency or grave sincerity.
Bethany Cosentino can’t understand why anyone would want to live without a view of the Pacific Ocean. The Cali-centric Cosentino made a name for herself by combining the sun of So-Cal beach rock with the brashness of L.A. girl groups to create chunks of fuzzy surf pop infused with the longing of a homesick 20-something girl from the City of Angels.
Remember when The Avett Brothers were an exciting band to listen to? Back when you didn’t know if they were going to play a rousing hoedown or a country folk ballad with equal parts emotion and intelligence?
By the genre’s standards, Pusha T is practically ancient at 36, but the coke-rap veteran’s long-awaited official solo debut, My Name Is My Name, leaves his identity frustratingly undecided.
Musically speaking, 2013 has been an embarrassment of riches and this summer we were treated to some brilliant albums spanning a wide breadth of genres.
San Francisco doesn’t need to answer to Coachella. The character of the Bay pushes brightly enough through the fog without having to borrow from its more popular SoCal sister and for one weekend in August, it’s San Francisco’s time to shine on the music stage and the city does so effortlessly.
Summer is traditionally the territory of the titanic pop song. Daft Punk’s instant classic throwback “Get Lucky” unofficially began the season when windows-down, sing-along anthems by Katy Perry and Black Eyed Peas rule the airwaves.
If you’re using a music subscription service these days, it’s hard not to feel like a pirate. Spotify and Rdio offer access to tens of millions of songs — everything from Alabama Shakes to Zulu Winter — for the cost of a Chipotle meal per month.
By all accounts, Matt Berninger is a happy man. He’s married with a daughter, and between all the interviews and Reddit AMAs leading up to the album release, The National seems to be content.