When it comes to albums, 2013 could be known as the year that Adele took a holiday and the mega-album died. Discs from bankable artists, such as Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, sold poorly relative to the superstars’ track records, and reflected a further decline in album sales in general.
Not all was bleak, however. Justin Timberlake put on a suit and tie and got back to work with The 20/20 Experience, a commercially successful followup to his stellar FutureSex/LoveSounds from 2006. The disc, despite lukewarm reviews, debuted atop the Billboard 200 chart with nearly a million copies sold in its first week.
It’s not all about the cash box, though. The album form thrives artistically, as the following dozen show. These works, my favourites of the year, represent breakthroughs, innovation, vision, fun and remarkable listenability.
Arcade Fire: Reflektor
Chance the Rapper: Acid Rap
Daft Punk: Random Access Memories
Elton John: The Diving Board
Janelle Monáe: The Electric Lady
Jason Isbell: Southeastern
Jonathan Wilson: Fanfare
Kacey Musgraves: Same Trailer Different Park
Kanye West: Yeezus
Queens of the Stone Age: … Like Clockwork
Valerie June: Pushin’ Against a Stone
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