02 January 2014

My Favorite Music of 2013

I don't any longer presume to be a music critic (I once considered myself one, strangely enough). What follows is my list of the best music I OWNED FOR THE FIRST TIME in 2013. Some of these might not be 2013-proper albums, but I bought them in 2013, for instance.

This list is not exhaustive, just the favorites of what I have in my library. "Buy it" links are the cheapest options.

FIVE:
KINGS & QUEENS: AUDIO ADRENALINE
I've always loved Kevin Max's voice but I have to admit I was skeptical that he would be a good fit for a re-vamped Audio Adrenaline (a band I was never a big fan of in the '90s-'00s). This album, however, is as solid as pop-rock comes. Kevin Max seems to have had a re-birth of sorts and I can't wait for more from AA.

Buy it.





FOUR:
DIVIDED & UNITED: THE SONGS OF THE CIVIL WAR: VARIOUS ARTISTS
This collection of Civil War-era songs re-imagined by modern artists fascinated me when I first read about it months ago. However, I didn't think I'd buy it. But, after repeated listenings on Spotify, I fell in love with it. There's a mournful quality to songs that were written during a very dark period in our nation's history. I'm not sure what it is about this one, but it's great listening on a cloudy day.

Buy it.



THREE:
CITIZENS: CITIZENS
This debut of original material from a Mars Hill band is a welcome change for church music. More and more churches are writing their own material and singing what they are learning as an individual body. No church has had quite the impact Mars Hill has and they've certainly influenced what I do as a music minister. This one has a throwback feel in some ways but it's certainly not mire in Seattle-ness like other Mars Hill music releases have been (not always a bad thing, just an observation).

Buy it.


TWO:
THE WAY LIFE GOES: TOM KEIFER
Cinderella frontman Tom Keifer has one of those voices you either love or sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard. I've always enjoyed Cinderella to a point but can't do long-term listens to them. This album was a gamble purchase (bought it with Father's Day iTunes money) and it tunred out to be one I didn't take out of the CD player (I burn CDs still) for weeks. Straight-ahead rock 'n roll goodness and hooks. The voice has changed, but the songwriting quality remains.

Buy it.



ONE:
FORTRESS: ALTER BRIDGE
Alter Bridge, formed from the ashes of Creed, is the best hard rock band around today. A million times better than Creed, the band's albums are big favorites in our house. Fortress is the band saying they don't care about radio hits or demographics or anything else, just writing what they want. Parts epic and parts brutal, AB has outdone itself on this album. With each album, I continue to ask why they aren't the biggest rock band in the world. I'm not sure, but I love this album.

Buy it.


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HONORABLE MENTIONS (ALBUMS):
Mechanical Bull: Kings Of Leon

Evening: Morning: The Digital Age


HONORABLE MENTIONS (SONGS):
Sirens: Pearl Jam (if the whole album was as good as this track, "Lightning Bolt" would've been my #1).

Bring On The Music: Gov't Mule (you'll have to buy the album as this one is an 11-minute song).

Pictures Of You: Bon Jovi (if you know me, you know this is my favorite band - for better or worse. However, their 2013 release, "What About Now," was a pretty disappointing album and the band seems to be fraying at the edges with Richie Sambora sitting out most of the last tour. Hopefully, they'll re-group in a few years and make another awesome album. This track, however, was pretty cool).

Roar: Katy Perry (Yes, really. I love it. Forget labels, this is an awesome song).

3 comments:

Matthew said...

Roar is cool but I am rocking out to Timber by Pit Bull (you can flog me later). Also, listen to Roar and then listen to Sara Bareilles' song "Brave." Hmm, sounds pretty similar don't you think.

Daniel said...

They definitely have some similarities in feel and theme and chord changes but the melodies are far enough apart not be charged with plagiarism, IMO.

Matthew said...

I don't have the ear for it personally, but I enjoy both songs. I will check out some of the music you listed on here as well.