Soundtrack to 2013

I’m no music geek, but taking time out to listen to music is quite important to my mental health.  At the beginning of 2013, I felt that my collection had stagnated a bit and decided to try and listen to a wider range of artists.  I remembered my account and made myself use the “mix radio” option.

One of the first new discoveries of the year was Anais Mitchell. I love her album Young Man in America (2012) and her gorgeous traditional folk collaboration with Jefferson Hamer, Child Ballads (2013).  In 2014 I hope to get to know Hadestown.  Santigold was another new find for me in 2013. Her fusion of pop, rock, hip hop and reggae creates a glorious sound. Bat for Lashes grew on me – Natasha Kahn’s slightly eerie melodies didn’t appeal at first, but they crept up on me and I’ve now  got three of her albums.

I began to soften towards Joseph Arthur after listening to The Graduation Ceremony (2011) and came around to Feist via her album Metals (2011). I started listening to Emiliana Torrini  and finally got into the Cocteau Twins and Mazzy Star – only about 20 years late! Then there was Stevie Nicks’s solo work. I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to listen to her properly, especially since she’s influenced so many of my favourites. Speaking of influential female artists, I really liked Yoko Ono’s collaborative album Yes, I’m a Witch (2007). 

I decided to try and listen to more pop music in 2013. I enjoyed Lana Del Ray’s Born to Die (2012), but I preferred the even bigger sound of Kyla La Grange’s Ashes (2012). I do like a bit of melodrama. 

People whose work I’d like to explore more in 2014 include the astoundingly talented R&B artist Janelle Monae and the intriguingly strange Anna Calvi.

The Albums

Cat Power, Sun (2012)
Stunning electonica album from Chan Marshall

Anais Mitchell, Young Man in America (2012)
Fierce album full of stories and characters

Sharon Van Ettan, Tramp (2012)
Intense songs and what an amazing voice

Santigold, Master of my Make Believe (2012)
So fresh and exciting. Hopefully heralds one of the directions 21st century music will take

Joseph Arthur, The Graduation Ceremony (2011)
Melodic, emotional tunes

Patti Smith, Banga (2012)
Still as political and authentic as ever

Feist, Metals (2011)
Makes me feel like I’m somewhere ancient and cold and rocky

Lana Del Ray, Born to Die (2012)
Melancholy retro pop

Kyla La Grange, Ashes (2012)
Even more melodramatic pop

Bruce Springsteen, Wrecking Ball (2012)
Passionate, angry, anthemic and brilliant as ever 

Marianne Faithful, Vagabond Ways (1999) & Kissin’ Time (2002)
Sad, but defiant

Kate Bush, 50 Words for Snow (2011)
Absolutely gorgeous. I’m completely converted to Bush’s shift into more ambient territory.

The 2013 Mix Tape

These are the songs that will always remind me of 2013

Anais Mitchell, Young Man in America
Nick Cave, To Be By Your Side
Martha Wainright, Proserpina
Fever Ray, Keep the Streets Empy for Me
Santigold, The Riot’s Gone
Siouxsie and the Banshees, One Mile Below
Low, La la la Song
Robert Plant, Shine it all Around
Bruce Springsteen, We Take Care of Our Own
Sharon van Ettan, Peace Signs
Joseph Arthur, Call
Billy Bragg, There will be a Reckoning
Feist, The Bad in Each Other
Bat for Lashes, Trophy
Kate Bush, Aerial
Kyla La Grange, Been Better
Lana Del Ray, Summertime Sadness
Janelle Monae, Cold War
Yoko Ono, Everyman Everywoman
Marnie Stern, Building a Body
Emiliana Torrini, Fingertips
Cocteau Twins, Lorelei
Sinead O’ Connor, Troy
Sleater Kinney, The Last Song
Stevie Nicks, Edge of Seventeen

1 thought on “Soundtrack to 2013

  1. It’s inspiring to discover other people’s relation with music, especially because I’m familiar with your list. More interesting than music “critic”. Thanks for sharing your 2013’s O.S.
    I’ve just find again the Cocteau Twins album I was listening to a long time ago, Tiny Dynamine, a that song

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