Thursday, 5 December 2013

Albums of the Year 2013

For the next 15 blog posts, we’ll be taking a look over our shoulder as we reveal our favourite albums of 2013.

Unlike blogs and websites that feature 50 or more albums in a consensus formed list, Breaking More Waves will be considering only the 15 albums that we have engaged with most over the past year. They're the choices of just one individual, not a committee.

We firmly believe that the best albums are something to be treasured in the longer term. Single tracks and EP’s can often be the equivalent of a drunk f*ck up against the wall with someone you’ve only just met or a few weeks or months of flowers and chocolates as romance blossoms. Albums however are different.

Albums are things that are to be treasured with a deeper love in the long term. When the musical sex lessens and the flowers and chocolates aren’t as regular, the best albums continue to offer more depth and joy for years on end; it’s why we keep our album list relatively short – because it’s simply impossible to have any depth of relationship with 50 albums in a year.

That’s not to say however that we’ll still be playing our top 15 albums from this year in 2023.  Sometimes no matter how brilliant love seems, how impossible it is to envisage things changing for the worse, they do. Sometimes relationships develop in unusual ways – the long term friend that sticks around? Yes, suddenly you realise you’re in love with them. It’s the same with music – the old adage about a record being a grower can often be true.

"Why Post Your Albums Of The Year When The Year Hasn't Ended?"

Some people ask why we publish our favourite albums of the year when it’s not even the end of the year. What if we heard a new record tomorrow that blew our mind and made us question everything else we’ve heard this year? The answer is simple, a month is still the honeymoon period with any long-player and so for this reason our albums of the year list only includes records released from January through till November. We could wait till the end of January to publish the list but practical real life issues away from the blog prevent us from doing that. If however we do find anything brilliant in December (unlikely as we won't be listening to many if any new albums this month), we’ll let you know about it next year. Ok? If you really disagree with this argument go and do your own list on New Years Eve whilst we're out having fun.

How We Decide On Our Lps Of The Year - The Number Of Times We've Played An Lp Is Important! Can It Really Be An Album You Love If You've Only Played It Twice?

So now onto some technical matters – because love is as much about sorting out the practicalities as it is the rush of chemicals. Love is an emotion and therefore quite abstract. We can’t scientifically quantify it and so rating a bunch of records into a numeric list of preference is highly subjective. In attempt to remove some of the subjectivity (albeit only a small part) a few years ago we developed a top secret spreadsheet which calculates our favourite records of the year. Yes we realise this is a deeply anal thing to do, but this is our list not yours, so let us do it our way? Ok? How does the spreadsheet work? Using three simple factors:

1. The number of times we’ve played an album in full this year (yes we have kept records) divided by the number of months that we’ve owned it. This isn’t subjective, it’s fact – the idea being that if we really like a record we’re likely to have played it lots.

2. Our ‘critical’ perception of how good or bad the album is.

3. A fan factor – effectively adding further bias to the spreadsheet by giving each artist a rating before we even heard the album based on how much of a fan we thought we were of the band (this factor has been reduced by 75% this year  from last year– after all our critical perception is likely to be biased anyway).

To each of these factors various calculations and formulas are applied, the end result being a score for the record, which gives us our top 15. In previous years we have only run a top 10 list, but this year 5 records all scored exactly the same score and so we’ve included them in positions 15 to 11, but each could have occupied any of those positions.

This List Is 100% Correct As It's About Taste - Ours Not Yours 

So visit Breaking More Waves from later today to see if they match at all starting at 6.00pm GMT as we begin our countdown of our favourite records of the year, (after today each choice will be posted at 8.30am GMT) with our top record being revealed on December 19th. Will any of our Ones to Watch for 2013 who released albums (Chvrches, Haim (streaming below with the new Giorgio Moroder mix of Forever) , Savages, Gabrielle Aplin, Laura Mvula etc) this year feature? Will the likes of The National, James Blake, Hurts or Laura Marling, who have all appeared on previous album of the year lists make it on to 2013's? And what did we really think of those blockbuster / hype albums by the likes of David Bowie, Daft Punk, Arcade Fire and Kanye West? Will any of those make it into our Top 15?

We suspect the forthcoming list contains some records that will feature on many end of year polls and some that won’t. There might even be the odd ‘WTF’ choice, because ultimately this is about taste, not some attempt to have the coolest list on the planet, and our taste probably isn’t identical to yours. Warning if you don't like pop music, if you're the earnest chin stroking muso type who loves the Rough Trade Top 100 you probably won't find that much on our list you'll like (but we are prone to a little bit of chin stroking as well so bear with us).

See you later today as we begin the countdown, until then, here’s our previous #1 albums of the year.

2008 Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

2009 Blue Roses – Blue Roses

2010 The National – High Violet

2011 The Unthanks – Last

2012 Lana Del Rey – Born To Die

We've seen Haim live loads of times, we've posted lots of their tracks - but what did we think of the album? Was it one we could really take to our heart? Oh gosh, it's such a tease, you'll just have to wait to find out.

Haim - Forever (Giorgio  Moroder Remix)

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