My picks for the best albums and songs of 2013.
The Suburbs, though not a “concept album” per se, is cohesive and literate in ways few albums are any more. Each of its 16 tracks (neatly divided into two 8-song halves) follows smoothly and deliberately from the previous one, with repeated words and phrases (and ideas) that tie things together.
I’ve been thinking back to “early summer” memories like Vacation Bible School, camping trips, mowing the grass twice a week, Memorial Day barbecues, the cold water of early summer pool swimming, seeing Coldplay at Red Rocks in 2003, driving up the Pacific Coast Highway with my parents last June, seeing Jurassic Park one humid afternoon in 1993 after a morning at Bill Self’s basketball camp. And the list goes on.
These songs alternate between a sort of shiftless urban malaise and a midwestern harvest-time sturdiness.