Share This

2013 Year in Music

2013 musicSure, there were a ton of bad, disappointing, annoying, and just plain shite musical moments this past year, as there are every year – but why give those more undeserved press time?

Instead, we would like to present you with Pyxis Magazine’s 13 favourite music happenings of 2013, in no particular order – unless you count awesome to awesome.

___

Daft Punk had a b.i.g. several months starting with the May release of their Random Access Memories album and its accompanying earworm release, “Get Lucky,” which broke various streaming records. If you didn’t find yourself humming it at some point this summer, chances are you were living in an underground cave. We hope it was a nice underground cave.

Mumford and Sons had a remarkable year, most notably with the recovery of valued band member and friend Ted Dwane from brain surgery. After that obstacle was defeated, Marcus Mumford and crew – complete with Ted, of course – went on to headline this year’s Glastonbury and Lollapalooza festivals, after having snagged a Grammy Award for Album of the Year (for Babel) and a Brit Award for Best British Group. Next up, a break for the band over the holiday season, while frontman Mumford reaps accolades for his standout work on the soundtrack to Inside Llewyn Davis.

Best Of/Greatest Hits albums by the likes of Keane, The Killers, and Dido showed that “best of” can mean these are our best songs to date, not “that’s all, folks”… well, at least not for The Killers and Dido. We’re still a tad worried about what Keane’s doing, given their recently-announced break – sadface – but we hear singer Tom Chaplin has a solo album on the way, drummer Richard Hughes is championing bicycle causes, and brilliant songwriter Tim Rice-Oxley is sure to be in mad demand.

keane-the-best-of-keane

Justin Timberlake proved that pop stars can have a sense of humour without selling out by spending a hilarious week with Jimmy Fallon, the highlight of which were probably their impressive “History of Rap” song and dance numbers. As if that weren’t enough, they smashed it out of the park as the year drew to a close with their teamup on Saturday Night Live, on which they sang, bantered, and bromanced their way through one of the best episodes that the otherwise often dull SNL has had in years.

We learned What The Fox Said, and we found it danceable, singalongable, and remarkably G-rated – a cool example of how to be timely and funny without being foul.

TV series The Voice took all of the wind out of a tepid American Idol with its far more real approach to singing competitions, and far more entertaining coaches’ banter. In addition to the show actually managing to find some interesting talent (Tessanne Chin, James Wolpert, Will Champlin, Midas Whale, Judith Hill, Nicholas David, Terry McDermott, Garrett Gardner – we’re looking at you.)

The Voice was also well worth watching for the brotherly Adam Levine-Blake Shelton arguments, Cee Lo’s crazy outfits and Cee-Lo-isms, and the zany random proclamations of both Christina Aguilera and Shakira. Adding to the fun were the 2013 mentors Ryan Tedder, Pharrell Williams, and the smart (and somewhat cheerfully amused) Ed Sheeran.

Speaking of whom, the world finally figured out that Ed Sheeran is awesome, as the skillful singer-songwriter had many, many well-deserved moments in 2013, from his hit songs (“The A-Team,” “Lego House”) to his opening spot for Taylor Swift’s tour, to singing with Elton John (per John’s invite) at the Grammy Awards, to his selection as the songwriter for the closing credits of The Hobbit. Well done, Sheeran – now what was it the labels were saying about you being “too fat and too ginger” to be a successful musician a few years ago?

And speaking of Swift – as much as we hate to admit it – she’s managed to carry herself with dignity, class, and heart even as her success grew like crazy over the past year, and she continues to cross genres and fan bases. Swifty proves there’s still something to be said for pursuing a music career with strong songs and strong morals intact.

Also from The Proving Grounds – David Bowie (The Next Day) and Paul McCartney (New) showed once again this year that remarkable, relevant, on-point songwriting and sleek style are both ageless concepts.

 bowiemacca

A pair of Brit bands returned to the scene in a big way – first of all, The Stone Roses returned with the high points of their reunion (they’ve been inactive since 1996) – a trio of fan-full shows at the Isle of Wight, Coachella, and Glasgow Green, plus the release of their critically-acclaimed Shane Meadows-directed documentary, The Stone Roses: Made of Stone. And second, but no less stunning, was the drop of Travis‘ brand new album, Where You Stand, in August – their first set since 2008, and a beautifully-crafted collection of songs accompanied by an equally innovative and charming music video for first single “Moving.”

Beck returned with several stealthy singles before blasting fans with the announcement of a whole new full-length album, Morning Phase, that’s set to hit outlets in February, with another soon to follow later in the year.

Thom Yorke’s Atoms for Peace project gave his “other” band, Radiohead, a run for its money with an extensive European/North American/Japanese tour to promote their album, Amok, and gave music fans everywhere something to think about with Yorke’s rants against Spotify and for paying musicians for their work.

And finally, new music from the likes of Imagine Dragons, Lorde, The Lumineers, James Blake, The Killers, James Blunt, Imogen Heap, Franz Ferdinand, and more fought the good fight against the so-called Top 40 pop dreck that dominated radio, and the underground movement for solid, interesting indie-rock and pop continued to grow…

Ahoy, 2014! What’ve you got?