411 Music Ten Deep 1.23.14: The Year in Music 2013
Posted by Sean Walker on 01.23.2014
From the rise in Miley Cyrus and many surprise albums to the year's comebacks, Kanye West vs Jay Z and more, 411's Sean Walker looks back at music in 2013!
Hello everyone! Welcome to the first edition of the Music Ten Deep of 2014. I'm Sean, your lovable sarcastic, pretentious hipster douche-bag. How was everyone's new year? It was most likely better than mine, because I had an awful closure to 2013, and a shitty beginning to 2014. My first defining statement of the year? Go fuck yourself, Phil Robertson. You racist, illiterate embarrassment to Louisiana. But more on that red neck later.
It was an eventful year for music, that's for sure. There are some that were prestigious and helpful to the music industry. There were some that were trashy and low brow. I'm going to go over said events and people, in this week's column of the Ten Deep. So pull out your Pepsi Floats, and join me as I recap the year in music. Also, this week the column will be unranked. I was going to do a top ten albums column, but I felt that would be overkill. So for those wondering, here are my top 15 albums of the year.
1. The Diving Board - Elton John
2. Yeezus - Kanye West
3. ... Like Clockwork - Queens of the Stone age
4. The Next Day - David Bowie
5. Hesitation Marks - Nine Inch Nails
6. Random Access Memories - Daft Punk
7. Beyoncé - Beyoncé
8. The Electric Lady - Janelle Monáe
9. The 20/20 Experience Part 1 - Justin Timberlake
10. Pure Heroine - Lorde
11. Kiss land - The Weeknd
12. ARTPOP - Lady Gaga
13. Don't Look Down - Skylar Grey
14. The Marshall Mathers LP 2 - Eminem
15. Heartthrob - Tegan & Sara
The Year in Music 2013
Let's start off with the big elephant in the room:
Nah, I'm kidding. I don't cover politics. Miley Cyrus is the first topic that will be discussed today. Based on the "controversy" she caused this year, I feel that she earned her her own topic. She juked and jived her way into the liver of many conservative moms and dads who just don't know how to change the channel. Or, put a damn blocker on MTV.
It's these same conservative moms and dads who will eagerly turn into A&E (art and entertainment my ass) to watch a family of retards shoot some ducks because they represent "wholesome family values". I'd like to point out that they do not represent how the state of Louisiana is actually like.
Anyways, the Miley Cyrus fiasco started when she chopped her brown mane off in an act of independence and female empowerment. She proceeded to release "We Can't Stop", a hip pop song that foreshadowed what sound she was taking her music in. She promoted this single by performing at the VMA's. Of course, if you don't know what happened, she proceeded to stink up the joint. She came in with a bear wanzi (is that spelled right?), and left with nothing but a skin tight, skin colored bikini. Also, she rubbed her crotch with a foam finger, raped Robin Thicke with said finger, and was viciously side-eyed by Rihanna, One Direction, Lady Gaga and the Smiths of all people.
Without anyone realizing, Miley has sold MILLIONS of records from acting like this a ghetto girl gone viral. Her "Wrecking Ball" video caused the song to rocket straight to number one while many scoffed at the nudity. Miley is a genius.
Kanye West vs Jay Z
The summer saw an odd rivalry for hip hop. Kanye West and Jay Z were releasing albums around the same time, so naturally they were going to be compared. What was odd was how each album was marketed and produced.
While Jay Z went for the conventional route and promoted his album through television commercials and a deal that had it shipped with a million Samsung phones. Kanye however promoted his album by projecting New Slaves to in 66 different locations, and performing two songs at Saturday Night Live. That was it. He let social media and word of mouth promote it.
Jay Z 's album was met with largely mixed to negative reviews for having half assed rhymes and the usual rap beats. His album sold 500k in the first week. Kanye West chose to try something different and unusual for mainstream rap. Although the lyrics were OK, the production is some of the best I've heard in a while. His album would start with 300k in the first week, which is his lowest start ever. So who won? You tell me 411 readers.
Comebacks, Comebacks Everywhere
Let's talk about comebacks. David Bowie started the year off returning with a new album for the first time in ten years shocking the world. The album was a critical and commercial success, reaching number one in many charts worldwide. Justin Timberlake released his first album in six years in The 20/20 Experience. It became the best selling album of 2013. Black Sabbath reunited and released their first album in almost 10 years and achieved their first number one album in the United States. My Bloody Valentine announced a new album and then proceeded to release it four days afterwards. Fall Out Boy reunited and released their lead single to their next album in the same day. I feel that the greatest comeback went to Beyoncé. She dropped an album WITHOUT any marketing whatsoever in the middle of the night on iTunes. It then proceeded to become the fastest selling in iTunes history. That's amazing.
Are you exhausted by the amount of EDM that was released this year? Apparently many others were too. Over saturation has caused its stock to fall rapidly. Gone are the days of cliché choruses and generic production (Will.I.am.a.dumb.ass.). Music listeners are looking for the next trend to follow. Personally, anything is better than the shitty EDM that has been released. Ultimately there were a couple of trends that popped up.
Hello...Ballads and Disco Funk?
Yep, this is what was filling the empty space that EDM left. Many hits like "Blurred Lines" and "Get Lucky" were mega popular this year because they were unlike the usual stuff that shows up on pop radio. It had an authentic feel to it.The only way I can describe the genre is disco funk. Maybe listeners were just tired of the over processed vocals that accompanied EDM. I can count the number of tolerable electronic songs that I find decent on my hand. The songs that only featured a piano and a voice were massive hits this year. Songs like Rihanna's "Stay" and Bruno Mars' "When I Was Your Man" made a huge wave throughout the year. That was a pleasant time.
Pop Females have a lackluster year
Let's look at some the biggest pop females' first week sales before I start discussing:
Beyonce - Beyonce (617,213 copies)
Katy Perry - Prism (286,000 copies)
Miley Cyrus -Bangerz (270,000 copies)
Lady Gaga - ARTPOP (258,000 copies)
Ariana Grande - Yours Truly (138,000 copies)
Demi Lovato -Demi (110,000 copies)
Britney Spears - Britney Jean (107,000 copies)
Selena Gomez - Stars Dance (97,000 copies)
Celine Dion - Loved Me Back To Life (77,000 copies)
Avril Lavigne - Avril Lavigne (44,000 copies)
Looking at that was really disappointing, considering the names involved. Avril Lavigne was a truly great pop rock album that had a lot of fun numbers on it. It flopped miserably. One thing about these albums is that they all incorporate some form of EDM in it, which as I stated earlier, faced a decline as well. Britney Spears hit a career low with her most "personal" album to date, proving that marketing tool doesn't work any more. I honestly expected Gaga and Katy to sell at least 500k each considering the promotion and the fan base they both have but they both debuted with underwhelming numbers. It seemed like the same group of people were buying the albums. Beyonce managed to sell more than the next three albums within three days. To be fair, she does have more markets and audiences than others including the urban market. ARTPOP was definitely my pop album of the year due to it's unique production and it's interesting look at Gaga's life.
Rock n Roll!
Rock had a strong year. Black Sabbath's 13 was a great album. There was something for everyone. Modern Vampires Of The City and Save Rock and Roll were great Pop Rock albums. The Arctic Monkeys' AM and Reflektor by Arcade Fire were enjoyable indie rock albums. Hesitation Marks proved that Nine Inch Nails still had a lot to sing about in the music world. What a damn fine album it was too. My personal rock album of the year was ...Like Clockwork. Every song on was enjoyable and a great listen. You should definitely give it a listen if you haven't.
You're Full of Shit!
To end this column on a strong note, I'd like to point out those who gave many music fans a rash. They were the thorn in the world's side. While some of these artists may be musically gifted, they just couldn't keep their big mouth shut.
Kanye West may be the greatest rapper/producer of our time. However that doesn't discount the fact that he is a massive narcissist. The public is becoming increasingly weary of Justin Bieber. Jesus Christ, where do I start? How about him proclaiming Anne Frank to be a belieber? First off, who the fuck do you think you are? Let's take the time to think about a young girl who was terrorized by Nazis and forced to live in a attic for years in fear of being taken to a concentration camp. Let's not forget that she was actually caught and taken to one where they did god knows what to her. He also forced his body guards to carry him on the Wall of China. Justin Timberlake didn't like the fact that many people weren't a fan of Part 2 to The 20/20 Experience. You release an album to the public and expect people to fall over and swoon over its' content. It doesn't work like that. Some people will end up not liking what's on the album. Chris Brown was, well, Chris Brown.
Last time, I asked readers what they thought was the worst song of the year. 411 reader Sam gave a great song in "Accidental Racist" by Brad Paisley. The song featured LL Cool J, but that didn't help this cringe-worthy masterpiece. Holy crap. How did I miss this one?
Well, that was 2013 in my point of view. Was there an event, or a moment that you remembered in 2013? Am I still a holier-than-thou Doritos eating douche-bag? Comment below, and I'll most likely respond with some kind of snark. Stay classy, Internet.