Favorite 13 Albums of 2013

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Image courtesy Live Nation

Image courtesy Live Nation

Totally excited to jump right into 2014, but it’s definitely a must to grab Doc Brown’s Flux Capacitor for a sec and take a quick trip back to revisit some of the amazing music that the pop gods and goddesses delivered unto us in 2013!  It was a quite a year of divas, highly-anticipated albums, epic surprises… and MORE divas!!  I had to scroll every corner of my iTunes library to make sure I didn’t leave anyone out because there was so much musical goodness!!

Here are several of my favorite albums that helped provide the soundtrack to my year — and yours!  Got gift cards from Christmas burning a hole in your tablet?  Here are some ideas for digital downloads! (FYI:  These are in absolutely NO order whatsoever!  I was going to try to do that, but it was just too hard!  They’re all great, but very different!  And disclaimer — these are all my own thoughts and opinions!)

Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience (Parts 1 and 2) 
After years of shenanigans on the big screen (and being hilariously awesome on SNL), Justin FINALLY got his hot butt back into the recording studio and gave us not one but TWO albums last year!!!  Well technically, it was all one album simply split into two parts; one released in the spring and one in the fall.  His return to the pop music scene was highly anticipated and long overdue!  Thank you, Justin!  You definitely brought sexy back — again.  OMG, YOU GUYS!
Tracks On Repeat:  (Part 1) Mirrors, Pusher Love Girl, Let the Groove Get In – (Part 2) Drink You Away, Cabaret, TKO, Amnesia 

Britney Spears – Britney Jean 
Yeah, so maybe her eighth studio album didn’t sell as many as her past ones.  Okayyy, so whateverbigdeal – I adore her and I’ll buy anything she releases!  And Britney says this is her most personal album (i.e. a MUST for any Britney fan to have in their collection!)  Her residency in Las Vegas also kicked off right before the New Year and the response has been great!!  Britney is definitely a “put on a show kinda girl” and I’m SO DYING to get to Sin City to see this visually stimulating and super fun show — yup, lip syncing and all!  Work, B***h!
Tracks On Repeat:  Perfume, Work B***h, Passenger, Tik Tik Boom, Now That I Found You

Fall Out Boy – Save Rock and Roll
The band had taken a break for several years to work on their own projects (and do whatever else bands do when they take time off — LOL), but they secretly recorded a whole new album without telling anyone!  They announced and dropped their single “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” as a complete surprise early last year and then released this amazing album soon after!  Fans went WILD!  And I can honestly tell you that there aren’t any tracks on this album that I don’t like!!  It’s loaded with catchy hooks, playful lyrics, cool collaborations (Sir Elton, Courtney Love!!), and songs that get stuck in your head when you’re trying to fall asleep.  But that’s a good thing!
Tracks On Repeat:  Young Volcanoes, Save Rock & Roll, Miss Missing You, Just One Yesterday (I could seriously write all of them, but if I HAD to pick a few faves…)

Demi Lovato – Demi 
Another album which I legit LOVE every single song!  The X-Factor judge and Glee guest star has certainly grown up since her Disney days, both generally and musically.  Demi is a blend of empowering and upbeat (grown-up) girly anthems and softer ballads that really showcase her incredible vocal abilities.  If you have a lot of [what the kids on Tumblr call] “feels,” you should check out this album!  You’ll find something that resonates with your inner pop star… or relationship dilemmas.
Tracks On Repeat: Really Don’t Care, Fire Starter, Neon Lights, In Case, Heart Attack 

Avicii – True
Before we first set our ears upon the fun twang-dance hybrid of “Wake Me Up” on 96.5 TIC, Swedish DJ/Producer Avicii was best known here in the states for his 2011 song “Levels.”  And True further proves his insane talent!!  I mean, really!  This guy took a twangy Mumford-y sound, mixed it with a contemporary dance beat, some pensive lyrics, and laid Aloe Blacc’s soulful vocal on that aforementioned first single!  The whole album displays a beautiful hodgepodge of different sounds and features some incredible vocals such as Adam Lambert belting out Nile Rodgers’ bass-laced track, “Lay Me Down.”  If you need some upbeat music to accompany you to the gym–per your resolution to work out more–check out True!
Tracks On Repeat:  Lay Me Down, Wake Me Up, Liar Liar, Dear Boy, Addicted To You

Ariana Grande – Yours Truly
A perfect pop album without gimmicks!!  If you aren’t sure who Ariana is, ask your tween daughter/niece/cousin, etc.  Chances are she’ll get you up to speed on her Nickelodeon shows.  Ariana is ADORABLE!!!  You’d never know she’s already 20-years-old, as she exudes a youthful joy with her sweet smile and bright doe-eyes.  And her voice?  Mini Mariah!!!!
Tracks On Repeat:  Piano, Right There, Lovin’ It, You’ll Never Know 

Lady Gaga – ARTPOP
Completely the opposite of Ariana’s album as Mother Monster loves a great gimmick!  ARTPOP didn’t click with me as instantly as did The Fame and The Fame Monster, but I’ve always got my paws up for Gaga!  And let’s be real — gimmicks have always been her thing, so it wouldn’t be her work without one!  Might take a few listens to warm up to it, but pretty soon you’ll be putting your hands up and making them touch with that applause she lives for.
Tracks On Repeat:  Gypsy, Manicure, Applause, Swine

Katy Perry – PRISM
Katy Perry is my spirit animal!!!  She doesn’t take herself too seriously.  She embraces everything she does with elements of fun and frivolity.  And she’s a crazy cat lady!  (We’d SO be besties!)  The first single off PRISM was the anthemic hit “Roar” that you’ve heard a lot on 96.5 TIC!  This song makes you feel like, “Yeah!  I can shake off that setback!  I got this!!”  There are a couple of other lighthearted tracks on PRISM, but quite a few lyrically emotional mid-tempo songs as well.  Katy definitely poured out her heart and soul when putting together this album.  And I want to give her a hug!
Tracks On Repeat:  Roar, Birthday, Dark Horse, Walking On Air 

Selena Gomez – Stars Dance
Selena is sweet, classy, adorable and talented.  Like Demi Lovato’s, this album shows that she’s grown from Disney tween to full fledged pop stardom!  (And she doesn’t need that certain ex-boyfriend to prove it, either!)  This album directs you straight to the dance floor with some killer beats and sweet production!  Selena shines!  
Tracks On Repeat: Slow Down, Stars Dance, Come & Get It, Save the Day. 

Miley Cyrus – Bangerz
Whether you love her or loathe her, all eyes were on Miley in 2013!  Timelines all over social media were filled with rants about “twerking.”  But you know what?  Miley sold records.  Miley made headlines.  Miley stole the show at the MTV VMAs.  I know some people may disagree, but I’m happy for her that she’s taking risks and they’re working for her.  She’s doing her thing and she doesn’t care what people think.  Big high five to her for that — with a foam finger!  Plus, Bangerz really is a very solid album!
Tracks On Repeat: SMS (Bangerz), Wrecking Ball, On My Own, Drive, We Can’t Stop 

One Direction – Midnight Memories
I love me some One Direction and I have no flips to give!!!  They are so cute and European and they have accents and OMG!!!  Boy band five-part harmonies get me every time.  Plus Harry’s dimples.  Zayn’s hair.  I mean… what’s not to love??  Fangirl on.  Even if you’re old enough to (or do!) have a daughter who adores them.  It’s whatever.
Tracks On Repeat:  Story of My Life, Happily, Don’t Forget Where You Belong, Why Don’t We Go There

Backstreet Boys – In a World Like This
Backstreet’s back, alright?!?!  They put on a GREAT live show — as you know if you were at 96.5 TIC’s All Star Christmas Concert!  Another simple pop album with delicious five-part harmonies!  And yes, they’re still cute!!!!!
Tracks On Repeat:  In a World Like This, Show ‘Em (What You’re Made Of), Make Believe, Permanent Stain

Beyonce – Beyonce (The Visual Album)
Beyonce totally ended the year with a major [stiletto heel] footprint in the music biz!!  Similar to what Fall Out Boy did, she recorded a whole album and didn’t tell anyone!  But unlike FOB, she didn’t announce it or even release a single!!!  She just dropped the album quietly on iTunes one night in mid-December while the Beyhive were nestled all snug in their beds having visions of the pop diva snatching wigs off of heads!!  And when this album was discovered, social media began trending about one thing only — Queen Bey!!  There was so much buzz about this album–complete with videos for every track–that it went platinum in two weeks!!  This was HUGE on so many levels — proving that social media matters these days and that people DO still buy music!  Oh and that Beyonce is the Queen, obvi!!
Tracks On Repeat:  Pretty Hurts, Blow, Yonce/Partition, Mine

So there you have it — my favorites from 2013!  And there is always new music to discover!!!  I’m sure there are TONS more I could add to this list!  Music is fun, personal, subjective, a way to work out your feelings, and connect with people.  After all, your love of music brought you to 96.5 TIC and it was a great year!  Crank it up and enjoy!

– Lisa Gold, 96.5 TIC

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