JG2’s Top Ten Albums & Singles Of 2013 (Annotated Edition)

Here they be, the same exact lists I submitted to Village Voice for their 2013 Pazz & Jop poll, expanded with my useless piddling thoughts on each entry. You should still wade through Pazz & Jop when The Voice posts it, though, for my point breakdown (yes, they force us to assign our album selections a specific point grade, because life is one big knuckle-chewing exam).

I hereby dedicate this year’s best of balderdash to the late Bonnie Franklin (pictured above). We lost this small screen pioneer way too soon. Bonnie was Iggy to Roseanne’s J. Rotten; on top of that, she seemed like a real together person offscreen. Respect and rest in peace, Bon.

JG2’s TOP TEN ALBUMS OF 2013

1. Ghostface Killah/Adrian Younge – Twelve Reasons To Die

I’m sure Robert Rodriguez is going to waste the next year of his life working on Machete Kills One More Time With Feeling but he really should be trying to adapt this taught, soulful comic book concept album for the silver screen. Not that he could actually improve upon Ghostface/Adrian’s grit-streaked narrative—I just want to see the phrase “BASED ON THE GHOSTFACE KILLAH ALBUM” blown up for IMAX 3-D.

2. Superchunk – I Hate Music

Speaking of movie trailer talk, James Greene, Jr. of Orlando Weekly gives Superchunk’s I Hate Music four stars, calling it “gorgeous [and] liberating…indie rock candy” and the “perfect soundtrack for any spontaneous new adventure.” Hope to see that printed on future editions of IHM.

3. Kanye West – Yeezus

In the words of R. Nixon, “Do you want to make a point or do you want to make a change? Do you want to get something off your chest or do you want to get something done?” Kanye’s never had an answer for these questions, which is why his music is so consistently electrifying. Is it also overblown and self-indulgent? Totes, but no more so than anything U2’s ever done—and Kanye cracks wise way better than Bono.

4. Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels

This album pretends to hit you and then gives you two for flinching. Dirty, loose, threatening, thrilling…Run The Jewels is the playground bully you secretly want as your BFF. Sure as Pepperidge Farm remembers a bunch of corny Norman Rockwell shit, RTJ remembers when rap was a distilled menace, a simpler time when being from “the streets” carried no irony.

5. Bloodlights – Stand or Die

It’s hard rock, it’s pop, it’s a bruised apple of both genres boasting no worms but plenty of heaving hooks. Bloodlights are more cohesive here than the band we saw on 2010’s Simple Pleasures; the new muscle is appreciated, especially when that middle eight kicks in on the sour “Time to Kill.”

6. The Stooges – Ready to Die

James Williamson returns to the fold after dog knows how long to produce, co-write, and play killer guitar on the most exciting thing Iggy Pop’s put his name on since 2001’s Beat ‘Em Up. Is it really the Stooges? Look, I know people who think Raw Power isn’t really the Stooges. All I know is Ready to Die is more crisp, sexy, and fun than it has any right to be, and I sure ain’t mad this fucker is now in the same lineage as Fun House.

7. GWAR – Battle Maximus

Never mind all the foam rubber, these guys can groove. Shades of classic era White Zombie color GWAR’s lucky thirteen studio release and I’ll be a maggot-sucking space zombie if “Madness At The Core Of Time” isn’t the best rock album opener of the year. My teeth are still clenched.

8. Future of the Left – How To Stop Your Brain In An Accident

Feels like a band-aid slowly peeled from a very hair patch of flesh, or “How To Orgasm Through Rug Burn” starring your favorite sulphuric post punk misanthropes. Nobody puts a musical button on cynicism quite like Future of the Left. A pox on any who previously called for their disbandment.

9. Melt-Banana – Fetch

This furious and spastic platter is what people mean when they say “taste the colors.” And yet, Melt-Banana’s been at their brain-bending game of rock disintegration for so long it felt comforting when Fetch dropped. What a treat for us to get this synapse pounding!

10. The Lonely Island – The Wack Album

The Wack Album deflates the tag of “joke rap” by cushioning its yuks with some of the most invigorating, inventive beats of 2013. If I said “‘Saturday Night Live’ rap album” to you in 1991 you would have laughed for very different reasons. Be glad someone can bankroll this reality.

JG2’s TOP TEN SINGLES OF 2013

1. Babymetal – “Ijime, Dame, Zettai”

Metal grinding swirled with J-pop continues to be ultramodern chocolate and peanut butter. May these sweet children never stop.

2. Kanye West – “Bound 2”

Profane and anti-romance, yet still romantic. Honesty is the best policy (at least for Kanye).

3. Britney Spears – “Work Bitch”

No one parodies Britney more deftly than herself. I don’t want to spend any time debating whether that’s intentional or not, I just want to bathe in this glorious stupidity and let its subliminal messages amuse me.

4. The Adolescents – “Forever Summer”

It can be July in Orange County whenever/where ever you are, brah.

5. The Oath – “Black Rainbow”

The voice of Johanna Sadonis floats like a benevolent angel over the most turgid and spine-tingling of Sabbathy reinterpretations. Trad metal lives thanks to this Euro quartet. What are you wearing to the black mass?

6. GWAR – “Madness At The Core Of Time”

Sure, it’s cheese metal, but a fine gruyere. Listen to how that chorus bounces around like a tennis ball between two excited golden retrievers!

7. Sleigh Bells – “Bitter Rivals”

The frenemies anthem that needs to be in the next direct-to-vid Mean Girls sequel/reboot.

8. The Lonely Island – “Diaper Money”

Everything you could want in a club banger—throbbing bass, throbbing exuberance, and coffin jokes. “Wobblty wobblty drop / into my grave plot” gets my vote for lyrical couplet of the year.

9. Kid Cudi – “Unfuckwittable”

Denser than dark matter, a blurry bleary drug trip that doubles as an empowerment anthem. Kanye would have created this if he had more confidence.

10. Run The Jewels – “Banana Clipper”

“Surprise, bitch,” Ice Cube’s 1993 attitude said as it walked through the door. “I bet you thought you’d seen the last of me.”

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