Originally posted on Under the Gun Review
Let’s talk about moments.
Around 5:00 PM on June 8, 2013, I watched Spitalfield play “Stolen From Some Great Writer” to an empty theater. This was a band I never thought I would have the chance to see live soundchecking for a ten-year anniversary performance of Remember Right Now, a record that had a huge impact on me as a musician and as a person in my early teens. It was intensely personal and universal at the same time, one of those moments that made me feel like a part of something bigger than myself while also acting as stepping stone in my own life.
Great records make for those kind of moments, and there were some seriously great records released this year.
A band I play in likes to cover “Passing Through a Screen Door” by The Wonder Years. I’m always wary about playing it because it’s still a fairly new song, but every time we break into that first verse and people actually jump and sing along instead of rolling their eyes, I understand the weight and significance that song carries for myself and my peers, both as individuals and as a community. We may not be twenty-six yet, but we still feel the same uncertainty about our choices and our futures, and if screaming those lyrics along with a room of five or fifty or seven hundred people does just a little bit to alleviate that uncertainty, then that song has accomplished more than I can express here.
I could say something similar about every album on this list, but I’ll save time and get to the point. I had an easier time picking my top ten albums this year than I have in the past. It wasn’t for a lack of quantity: I listened to more new records than ever in 2013, and there were thirty-five or so in contention for this list. It wasn’t for a lack of quality either. Allison Weiss, Vampire Weekend, Polar Bear Club, The Airborne Toxic Event and a bunch of other bands all released albums that were just below the cut, but ones that did end up making it stuck with me in a way that nothing else did. These were the records that got under my skin and resonated with me in the most important moments of 2013. These records were the soundtrack to a year of growth and rebuilding, a year of my friends and I trying to figure out our post-college plans, a year of drives to Kansas and Chicago and across town with a van full of guitars and amps and friends to play a local show that probably didn’t mean much to anyone but us.
But it’s what this music means to us that really matters. Whether it’s an international radio hit or a local band in a basement, music has the power to be meaningful on a deeper level than almost anything else. Every year, I find proof of that in something new, and this list is my best attempt at drawing a map to those places.
This has been my 2013.
My Top Ten Albums of 2013
- The Front Bottoms – Talon of the Hawk
- The Wonder Years – The Greatest Generation
- Into It. Over It. – Intersections
- Jason Isbell – Southeastern
- Laura Stevenson – Wheel
- Jimmy Eat World – Damage
- Mixtapes – Ordinary Silence
- Frank Turner – Tape Deck Heart
- The Swellers – The Light Under Closed Doors
- The World Is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid To Die – Whenever, If Ever
My Top Five EPs of 2013
- You, Me, and Everyone We Know – I Wish More People Gave a Shit
- Some Stranger – Some Stranger
- Pet Symmetry – Two Songs About Cars. Two Songs With Long Titles
- Pentimento – Inside the Sea
- Ghost Key – Winter