Music in 2013 was the best it’s been in a while.

I had or have or will have a lot of thoughts about this year in music, but those thoughts are just as narcissistic as this list. I will say that the Internet – especially Twitter – is destroying thoughtful music consumption (much less thoughtful music criticism) while simultaneously encouraging and enabling voracious music fans the opportunity to be excited about an unfathomable amount of high-quality music. Yes, this may be as contradictory as it is tautological, but whatever. It’s great and it will only get greater.

Just know this:  No music critics are ever right. None of them. All they – we, I guess if I were pretentious enough to still wear the hat – do is enunciate their prejudices and preferences in a contextual way so they – we – can make sense of them. Whether exceedingly optimistic (if occasionally cynical) or exceedingly cynical (if occasionally optimistic) or simply opting for the backstory-of-artist/description-of-sound/summation-of-quality blueprint (90% of the rest), all these folks are doing is trying to get you as excited (or as angry) about a particular piece of work as they are. Thanks to the Internet – but, again, especially Twitter – it’s so much easier for fans to aggregate that excitement (or anger) in a way that resonates the most. I am 100% sure that the Twitter Critics Cabal is responsible for why I got so excited about so much music this year. And so angry about so many stupid  things I really didn’t care about.

But there was lot of great music to hear this year. In fact, there were so many great albums that came out in 2013, I found myself listening to modern country music records … and then proselytizing about them as if I’d found a stick that could drive a car.

So remember that no matter which “BEST MUSIC OF 2013” list you’re reading, all you’re getting is the aggregated rundown of the music that a bunch of music fans really liked. Pasting the authoritative “BEST OF” is ridiculously self-aggrandizing, but it’s also true: This is the music that these people thought was the best. And you can disagree. And everyone can still be right.

Here are the 80 albums and four singles that I liked the most in 2013. Hilariously, I probably forgot some.

  • AlunaGeorge – Body Music
  • Ashrae Fax – Static Crash reissue
  • Austra – Olympia
  • Julianna Barwick – Nepenthe
  • Bettie Serveert – Oh, Mayhem!
  • Sanjay Leela Bhansali – Ram-Leela OST
  • Bitchin Bajas – Bitchitronics
  • Bleached – Ride Your Heart
  • Bombay Dub Orchestra – Tales from the Grand Bazaar
  • Bosnian Rainbows – Bosnian Rainbows
  • Boy – Mutual Friends
  • Califone – Stitches
  • Anna Calvi – One Breath
  • Charli XCX – True Romance
  • CHVRCHES – The Bones of What You Believe
  • Brandy Clark – 12 Stories
  • Coliseum – Sister Faith
  • Coma Cinema – Posthumous Release
  • Mikal Cronin – MCII
  • Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
  • Darkside – Psychic
  • Dead Gaze – Dead Gaze
  • Deafheaven – Sunbather
  • Deap Vally – Get Deap! EP
  • Dirty Beaches – Drifters/Love is the Devil
  • Disclosure – Settle
  • Fortune Howl – Earthbound
  • Frankie Rose – Herein Wild
  • Fuck Buttons – Slow Focus
  • Girls Against Boys – The Ghost List EP
  • Great Thunder – Strange Kicks EP
  • Haxan Cloak – Excavation
  • Heliotropes – A Constant Sea
  • IO Echo – Ministry of Love
  • Joanna Gruesome – Weird Sister
  • The Joy Formidable – Wolf’s Law
  • Kylesa – Ultraviolet
  • David Lang – Death Speaks
  • Lorde – Pure Heroine
  • Laura Marling – Once I Was An Eagle
  • M.I.A. – Matangi
  • Juana Molina – Wed 21
  • Ashley Monroe – Like A Rose
  • Mount Kimbie – Cold Spring Fault Less Youth
  • Kacey Musgraves – Same Trailer Different Park
  • My Bloody Valentine – m b v
  • Mykki Blanco – Betty Rubble: The Initiation
  • Palms – Palms
  • Paramore – Paramore
  • Pissed Jeans – Honeys
  • Pistol Annies – Annie Up
  • A Place To Bury Strangers – Strange Moon
  • Poliça – Shulamith
  • A. R. Rahman – Coke Studio India [live]
  • A. R. Rahman – Raanjhanaa OST
  • El Remolón – Boxeo Constitución
  • Dawn Richard – Goldenheart
  • Caitlin Rose – The Stand-In
  • Emeli Sandé – iTunes Session
  • Savages – Silence Yourself
  • Anoushka Shankar – Traces of You
  • Sigur Rós – Kveikur
  • Nadia Sirota – Baroque
  • Still Corners – Strange Pleasures
  • Survival – Survival
  • Swearin’ – Surfing Strange
  • The Thing – Boot!
  • Thundercat – Apocalypse
  • Trentemøller – Lost
  • William Tyler – Impossible Truth
  • Julieta Venegas – Los Momentos
  • Ventura – Ultima Necat
  • Jessie Ware – Devotion
  • Waxahatchee – Cerulean Salt
  • Widowspeak – Almanac
  • Dustin Wong – Meditation of Ecstatic Energy
  • Zomby – With Love
  • Various – Harafin So: Bollywood-Inspired Film Music from Hausa Nigeria
  • Various – Sub Pop 1000
  • Various – Yellow Loveless – Japan
  • Marina & the Diamonds + Charli XCX – “Just Desserts”
  • Prince – “Breakfast Can Wait”
  • Quantic & Anita Tijoux – “That Thing”
  • Anna Waronker – “Somebody’s Watching Me”
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