*Well, we’re not going to lie and say that a late-breaking event didn’t go ahead and completely throw a wrench into our plans to list the five best albums of 2013. We guess, though, when you’re .. you know, Beyonce, than you can go ahead and not give one good damn about our lists. All the more power to you, Queen B – and we’re going to make sure you’re on this list. What a coup, huh!
5. BEYONCE, Beyonce – Whoa, what a Christmas present! With no warning at all, Bey goes all James Bond on us less than two weeks before X-Mas, giving us another wild and compelling collection of future chart-topping singles. She’s at her absolute best here – and we should all recognize just what kind of icon she truly is. We’ll be telling our grandkids about her one day, folks.
4. Magna Carta Holy Grail, Jay-Z – It’s not Jay-Z’s greatest album, but very good Jay-Z is still great enough to get #4 on this list. “Holy Grail” makes fine use of his cohort Justin Timberlake, and “Tom Ford” is flashy and compelling enough for any best-single-of-the-year list. It’s certainly a lot better than Timberlake’s output this year, the disappoiting “20/20 Experience.”
3. Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, Kendrick Lamar – Rich and gritty with all of those urban themes that were thought to have disappeared from the R&B scene, Lamar’s newest is a deeply personal and profound album. He’s only 26, too; we’re going to have an all-time great career on our hands here.
2. Random Access Memories, Daft Punk – We might have no idea what those two helmeted gentlemen in Daft Punk might look like under there, but boy, can they put together some amazing sounds. Adding in the vocals of Pharell Williams and some sly guitar work from Nile Rodgers – playing as well as he ever has – and you’ve got a record just dripping with cool. Forget “Blurred Lines” – “Get Lucky” was the best track this year. Hands down.
1. Yeezus, Kanye West – You can say all you want about Kanye – and he’s deserving of most of his scorn. However, there’s no doubt he’s one of the most talented artists that’s ever landed on this planet, and “Yeezus” is an unbridled masterpiece. Dark, experimental, off-the-wall crazy … it’s got all of the cool stuff and awesome sounds that helps remind us of why we put up with him. It’s almost transcendent. Almost.