Best CDs of 2013, According to an Old Guy Who Bought Seven

Wesley Stace, Self-Titled

This man deserves to be selling zillions more albums. Someone see to it.

It’s that time of year again! The last time I summarized my year in music purchases, it was slightly longer than this year’s list, only because I bought a 2012 reissue that merited inclusion. I don’t limit myself to a maximum of seven CDs per year; the identical count is coincidental. Blame the music industry for largely boring or alienating me nowadays. As you can imagine, local commercial radio is no help.

The following, then, comprises every CD I acquired in 2013 that was also released in 2013. Back-catalog materials are forbidden from inclusion, though allow me to express in this singular clause that I wish I’d gotten Elvis Costello and the Attractions’ Live at Hollywood High much, much sooner.

On with the countdown, then — from least best to surprising favorite:

7. Childish Gambino, Because the Internet. The only other rap album I bought in the last five years was Donald Glover’s 2011 pseudonymous debut Camp — a killer mix of scathing satire and autobiography, laced with pop-culture references as cutting descriptors rather than random gags. Harsh language isn’t my thing anymore, but the Community-clever snark and wounded candor rose above. His sophomore effort, on the other hand, is a hodgepodge of half-finished tracks, electronic hooks in search of lyrics to stick to, verses that lead nowhere, Bone Thugs speed-rap for listeners who love rhyming words but hate complete sentences, and a general impenetrability that strings a velvet rope in front of us intruders who don’t Get It.

Sample track: The obligatory NSFW single “3005“, in which he sounds defensive about his insecurities and comforts himself with in-jokes. Or something. But it’s more or less a complete song in music-class terms. Points for English class completeness, I suppose.

This way for the other six…

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