I love Frank Ocean. I love Kendrick. I love Grimes. I love Tame Impala. I love a lot of the artists featured on the top artists, albums, songs, and lists on various websites. But I’m also tired of reading the top lists from last year. They're repetitive, arbitrary, and sometimes boring. So I'm spreading thanks and gratitude to the underdogs: the music artists that made it an interesting and worthwhile year and should gain more recognition and respect in 2013.
If there is anyone who know the in’s and out’s of the music industry it’s these guys. They all boast an impressive and notorious repertoire of too many blunts, too many inebriated late nights, too many Grammy nominations, and too many countless albums. They all have treaded on questionable relevance for the past years and still make over-galvanizing tunes. But there’s always something honorable when artists that aim straight for the heart.
I have hoped for many years that rock will truly make a glorious comeback. It still hasn’t really happened, but I’ll never give up hope. I haven’t really stumbled any amazing rock bands nowadays and it seems that other people haven’t either as the Rolling Stone named Bruce Springsteen’s Wrecking Ball album of the year. When I’m over stimulated with booming synths and extremely emotive songs, it’s nice to sit back and just jam to casual and careless rock tunes. I want to be taken to a teenage wasteland with bombastic taste for destruction, and unpretentious rock bands help me get there.
Perhaps this hellacious producer and collective voice of a generation isn’t truly underrated, but I’ll mention him anyway. He’s been apart of nearly every good album from last year: Frank Ocean, Rick Ross, and Kendrick Lamar. Don’t even get me started as to who first really changed the game of hiphop because it sure wasn’t Kanye; It was Pharrel and his collective N.E.R.D. Pharrel’s influence and presence in hiphop is insurmountable. So many artists have sought him out for his production of slinky chord progressions and simplistic confections. The incredible Pharrel just needs to keep doing his thing.
I still don’t really like them and probably never will. Granted “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” is undeniably catchy and the Biebz has stolen the hearts of every pre-pubescent and pro-pubescent girl; but both still have talent. T- Swift and J Biebz bring me back to my nostalgic middle school days of idolizing over Destiny’s Child as I sang in the highest of falsettos to “Say My Name” or obsessive fangirling over the boy bands Backstreet Boys, Nsync, or Justin Timberlake. Hell, I still listen to Future Love Sex Sounds every now and then and bust out in a karaoke session with my roommates to Millenium.
I’m not going to lie; these ubiquitous producers and festival headliners know how to throw a party and make extremely great workout music. So many people tramp on these EDM producers for their inauthentic production skills of just pressing buttons or cheap sync of Mp3 tracks. But I’ve always been extremely excited about the rave revivalism despite its naivety of scantly dressed duds, and funny PLUR life outlook. It’s been the year of the bass as Deadmau5 and Skrillex have gloriously sat on their coveted thrones. It’s fun music and it’s great to dance to, so what’s wrong with that?
I had his BBC essential mix on repeat for the longest time. Skrillex and Flux Pavillion are a cheap ragers compared to this underappreciated DJ. His essential remix was two hours of pure sonic overload. It’s varies from metallic skyrocketing synths, to burbling and ground shaking bass, all accompanied with his R&B and hiphop staple touch. It’s definitely not a rave fantasy but it has some oddball charisma. It could be synonymous to a psychedelic trip of druggy confections filled with trap drops and thick synths.
This is probably more of a personal mention since I’m an avid fan of blues music. I grew up listening to Howlin’ Wolf, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Robert Johnson with my dad, so it’s only obvious as to why I would mention this guy. The Austinite is one of only a few artists who keep the dying genre alive. Wailing and moaning guitar solos, thunderous barrages of drums, crooning and skyrocketing falsettos spiked with R&B and hiphop fervor is the trademark of his debut Blak and Blu. As long as he’s here, the blues is here to stay.
They both have feral energy and impeccable delivery that could be compared to the top modern hiphop cacophonies of Odd Future. Yeah, they may destroy their careers with how much shit they talk about other artists, but they still make booty shaking, slinky, and bombastic songs that appeal to my inner drrty girl. They may not be as classy or appealing as the fierce Beyone, but they sure are divas in their own right.
Flying Lotus released Until the Quiet Comes, Thundercat released Golden Age of the Apocalypse, and Robert Glasper released Black Radio and Black Radio Recovered: The Remix EP. All albums were crème de la crème jazz and compositional masterpieces that didn’t receive nearly as much recognition as they deserved. They all fuse honey sweet chords and dulcet harmonies that coalesce into explosive moments or melodic exhortations. Their chording is the best in modern electronic jazz music that can start as R&B tributes to a sordid funeral processionals or acid induced comas.
This list was really long, oh well. Here’s to 2013.