The Telescope presents: the top albums of 2013. We gathered best-of lists from staff and contributors, crunched some numbers and came up with twelve records that unanimously wowed us this year.
Kanye West doesn’t release albums, he releases roller coasters. Yeezus is no exception—a thrill-ride from front to end.
When Kanye tweeted a release date for his new album to his ten million plus followers, early in 2013, everyone prepared to watch him fall on his face. So what does Kanye do? He releases another groundbreaking, near-perfect record, packed with creativity and originality. When things go fast, they go really fast, and he hits with straight-to-the-point, right-on-beat reflections. When things go slow, they get dark (really dark).
Folks will keep flogging a dead horse over what Kanye’s saying, but if you want to know the reason why he makes it to the top of most year-end lists, look no further than his albums’ production. He enlisted an army of producers for this one, including Daft Punk, and at no point does Yeezus ever get boring. It’s a never-ending onslaught of brilliant hooks, riffs, and grooves, where Kanye challenges himself by incorporating post punk, acid house and industrial influences (specifically fuzzes and hisses) into the respect he has for hip-hop structuring.
In a strong year for hip-hop, where we saw great albums like Danny Brown’s Old, Run The Jewels’ self-titled record and A$AP Rocky’s LONG.LIVE.A$AP, there’s still no avoiding the fact that Yeezy stands head and shoulders above the crowd.
The beauty of that SNL clip up above, is that it doesn’t matter who you are, you get it: he has an album called Yeezus; there is a spotlight on his face. He tries to walk the razor’s edge with the censors, sometimes resorting to mumbling to fly under their radar, sometimes just surrendering to the temptation altogether. You can’t help thinking that it’s gonna be heading to a ‘Please stand by’ graphic at any moment.