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Best Pop and Rock Albums of 2013

I gotta be honest—I had a hard time finding a whole lot to love about this year’s pop and rock offerings.  I gave some good reviews to albums in both genres, but even then, I often based it on respect for the work more than personal enjoyment. However, when I liked something—I found I really liked it. There were a few from newer or current acts, but interestingly, a number of these came from established pop/rock icons who were making a return to music.  This is definitely a subjective list, but in no particular order, here are some records I felt were standouts in 2013.

 

One Direction Midnight MemoriesOne Direction, Midnight Memories

The surprise of the year for me, One Direction really grew up on this album, venturing away from some of the earlier gimmicky bubble-gum work and producing some music that made me take them seriously. Take a listen—you might be surprised.

 

 

Katy Perry PRISMKaty Perry, PRISM

I have to admit that I’ve not been much of a Katy Perry fan up to now, but this record really won me over. Full of hooks and hits, but still having substance and honesty. I personally feel this is Katy Perry’s best work to date.

 

 

Sky Ferreira Night Time My TimeSky Ferreira, Night Time My Time

In my review of this record, I found I had to eat my words from earlier reports about Sky Ferreira. It took way longer than it should have, and was surrounded by some negative publicity—but at the end of the day, Ferreira yielded an album that is worth the wait and does her justice as an emerging artist.

 

David Bowie The Next DayDavid Bowie, The Next Day

Call this one the “comeback album of the year.” At age 66, David Bowie came out of retirement, surprising us all with a record that is every bit as creative and powerful as his earlier efforts. A late classic.

 

 

Paul McCartney NewPaul McCartney, New
Another established icon who by most accounts should be retired by now, Paul McCartney shows no signs of slowing down. New is a near-perfect blend of innovation and tradition, and stands up well alongside Sir Paul’s already-stellar discography.

 

 

 

Arcade Fire ReflektorArcade Fire, Reflektor

An exceedingly ambitious double album from an already-ambitious band, I felt upon listening to Reflektor that I was listening to a magnum opus. I think history will show that this album was a defining moment in their career.


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About the Author

on MUSIC IS MY OXYGEN WEEKLY.

Tim Ferrar's interest in pop and rock started as a child, listening to Top-40 radio for hours on end while playing air guitar in his bedroom. Eventually air guitar led to electric guitar, and Tim began playing in bands and writing his own songs. With an admitted weakness for "a great hook or a great guitar riff," Tim's musical tastes are broad and varied, ranging from Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga on the pop side to Bon Jovi and Foo Fighters on the rock side- making him the ideal guy to cover our Rock and Pop categories. By day, Tim is a mild-mannered accountant in Chicago. By night, he rocks out on electric guitar in a cover band in various clubs around town- much to the surprise of some of his clients.

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