It’s my turn to reminisce a little bit and re-rank my Top Albums of 2013. Looking back, I spent hours upon hours compiling my original list. I wrote several drafts, pined over placement, and kept adding and crossing out albums until I thought my list was absolutely perfect. Honestly, I had not looked back at it until I sat down to write my Throwback Thursday post. That probably was a good thing because, ultimately, I messed up. I don’t agree with the majority of it now. I am going to blame it on my inexperience with actually reviewing music and putting my thought to paper. At the time, I was extremely new to writing for a site and to the music industry as whole. Now that I am over a year older, a year wiser, and a lot more opinionated, I am revamping my list to highlight the albums that have withheld the test of time. Out with the old and in with the “just as old but a lot better”.
Madison’s Top 10 Albums of 2013 (as of February 26, 2015)
Knocked out of my Top 10 –
Silverstein – This is How the Wind Shifts // (Last Year – #9; Now – #15ish)
Jimmy Eat World – Damaged // (Last Year – #8; Now – would not make list)
Letlive. – The Blackest Beautiful // (Last Year – #7; Now – just out of Top 10)
The Dangerous Summer – The Golden Record // (Last Year – #4; Now – just out of Top 10)
Fall Out Boy – Save Rock and Roll // (Last Year – #1; Now – #20ish)
10. Defeater – Letters Home (Last year – #5)
This album is still absolutely ridiculous. From the first song, the heavy sound hits you like a brick wall and maintains the high level of frantic turmoil through nearly every track. Letters Home jumped five spots in my list solely due to the addition of a few albums I had not considered in 2013 and my ability to relate to those albums. While this is still my go-to when I am looking for some pissed off yelling or something to run to at the gym, my mood cannot always handle the amount of chaos Defeater brings to the table.
9. Turnover – Magnolia (Last year – unranked)
Remember that time everyone told me that I would love Turnover and I didn’t bother to listen? Yeah, me too. After listening to the singles from Blue Dream that dropped towards the end of 2014, I went back to listen to Magnolia. Needless to say, I regretted not having this album around earlier. During a time in my life where I feel like I am outgrowing most of the popular pop-punk bands, Turnover writes relatable lyrics for those who aren’t 16 years old anymore while still remaining true to the genre I grew up listening too.
8. Born Without Borns – Baby (Last year – unranked)
This album has one of the best sad songs of 2013. The closing track “Baby” consists only of a guitar, vocals, and a tambourine, which mimics the opening 10 seconds of the opening track “Rough Terrain.” The album plays on the contrast between the stripped down instrumentals with soft crooning vocals and a rich, full-band sound with lots of symbols. Along with apparent emo, folk, and even jazz influences, the versatility of Scott Ayotte’s vocals from murmured verses to screaming choruses and bridges make this a really interesting and underrated album.
7. Citizen – Youth (Last year – #18)
The front half of Youth is solely responsible for the 11 spot jump on my list. The “Roam the Room” – “The Night I Drove Alone” stretch is flawless. I simply did not spend enough time listening to this record when it was released and threw it on my list without too much thought. However, judging from the amount of plays the album has on my iTunes and the amount of times I’ve seen this band play in the last, I appreciate it a lot more.
6. Have Mercy – The Earth Pushed Back (Last Year – Honorable Mention)
In my defense, I did really like The Earth Pushed Back in 2013 and tried on multiple occasions to get my co-hosts Donald and Craig to listen. We actually played “The Ancient West” right before our year-end show. Yet, less confident in my opinions on albums, I thought I must have been overhyping it since the release was not popping up on any year-end lists, that of my friends or from any sites that I read. Turns out, I should have trusted my gut because Have Mercy continues to kill it on everything from this album on out.
5. The Front Bottoms – Talon of the Hawk (Last year – #6)
The Front Bottoms tour Europe with Brand New after this album was released. That is all.
4. Touché Amore – Is Survived By . . . (Last year – #10)
Touché Amore was teetering on being one of my favorite bands before this release. Is Survived By . . . toppled them over the edge and solidified Jeremy Bolm’s spot as one of my favorite vocalists ever. With “Blue Angels” being my most listened to song of 2014, I’ve gained a deeper appreciation for the incredible writing throughout this album.
3. The Wonder Years – The Greatest Generation (Last year – #2)
One of my favorite things about The Wonder Years is that their music matured as I did. The Upsides came out when I was 14 and Suburbia dropped as I finished up my junior year of high school. Each release coincided with where I was and how I was thinking at that point in my life. Fast forward to the end of my freshman year of college, The Wonder Years continued to be that band that wrote incredible songs that were all too relatable. After each album, I sat there thinking “Okay, this is awesome and can’t get any better.” And then it does. The Greatest Generation extended and strengthened The Wonder Years reign as the best pop-punk band around.
2. Foxing – The Albatross (Last year – unranked)
There was actually a lot of talk as to whether we would include The Albatross on our 2014 lists due to the rerelease or just accept that I missed the boat on one of the best emo albums of the 2000’s. With signing to Triple Crown Records and a year of seemingly non-stop touring, Foxing splashed onto the radar and became an instant favorite. With violins, a trumpet, and beautiful group harmonies, The Albatross is strikingly heartbreaking from start to finish. While songs like “Rory” and “The Medic” get the most attention, the “Bloodhound” – “Inuit” stretch has some of my favorite lyrics. According to Foxing’s social media, they’ve hunkered down and are writing their next release.
1. Balance and Composure – The Things We Think We’re Missing (Last year – #2)
The Things We Think We’re Missing withstood the test of time. Over a year after its Fall 2013 release, this album is still interesting and dynamic. Front start to finish, Balance and Composure kills every track. I loved this album from the first time I heard it and continued to love it with each subsequent listen. I say this time and time again: Balance and Composure is an important band and will only continue to push the boundaries.