Shane BarnhillMonday,30 December 2013

The Snap:

There was a lot of really good (and really bad) music released in 2013. Long-awaited albums from bands like The National, Vampire Weekend, Arcade Fire and MGMT sold well and thrilled fans of alternative and indie music. But there were also some under-the-radar gems in 2013 from the likes of Jake Bugg, Parquet CourtsMidlake, and The Mouth of Ghosts; these releases may not have sold millions of copies, but they’re each highly-recommended by our team here at TSD.

The Download:

TSD’s readers clearly enjoyed our coverage of music and entertainment in 2013. In fact, many of our most-read articles — including two of the top five — were in our “Music + Entertainment” vertical. Surprisingly, however, three of the top articles in this category weren’t about artists or albums at all; instead, they were about access to online music and other content. So, without further ado, here are our top ten most-read music and entertainment posts of 2013. Enjoy.

10. Edwards Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros Releases “Better Days”“It’s an unconventional love song – simple in structure but poignant. Edward Sharpe’s lyrics have never been on par with undeniable poetry that some artists concoct.” Ahead of the release of their self-titled album, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros released “Better Days” to mixed reviews, but our Leigh Michael gave it a big thumbs up.

9. American Authors Tell Stories Through Music. “When you get into the drab repetition of hearing popular-band after popular-band like most stations play, a quality song from a near-unknown group tends to stand out.” This review by Joe Gransinger was actually posted in December 2012, but the article had staying power through 2013, as American Authors went mainstream.

8. Of Monsters and Men Perform a Takeaway Show. “The Takeaway Show is really fun because it showcases the the band away from television ads and shopping mall speakers. Even if you feel like you’ve heard ‘Little Talks’ one time too many, this will remind you why this group is so damn lovable. And talented.” As Leigh alludes, “Little Talks” may be one of the more overplayed songs of the past couple years, but there’s nothing like a live show to help you appreciate a good song/band once again.

7. Camera Obscura Releases a Single. “Every once in a while, the saying ‘you can’t have too much of a good thing’ rings true. It describes the relationship these guys have with their fans beautifully. Five albums and countless listens later, Camera Obscura still holds its spell over me.” After four years, Camera Obscura finally released some new material, and fortunately, it was worth the wait.

6. Time Travelers Release Stormalong, and Here’s Why You Should Listen to It. “Every song is an intoxicating blend of elegantly memorable lyrics coupled with beautifully complementary instrumentals. These are the types of songs that elicit a spectrum of emotions in a matter of two minutes.” Brooklyn-based Time Travelers was a new find in 2013; most readers probably hadn’t heard of them before this article. If you missed this post, you should check it (and the band) out.

5. Catching Up to the Porn Industry“The thought that everything on the web has to be free and information should be free are coming to an end, as they should. Welcome to the new world where there will be a mix of free and paid content,” writes Matt Healey, as he posits that “the rest of the web” will move to pay-per-view, paywalled models for premium content.

4. Phoenix Releases Bankrupt. “Bankrupt! was stale. It felt like they were trying to create something explosive, but only succeeded in duplicating their past four albums. This latest one was four years in the making… but it leaves the audience feeling like they haven’t really been missing much.” In a blunt assessment that embodies the raw honesty we strive for here at TSD, Leigh tears apart the latest release from Phoenix.

3. Nine Inch Nails: New Album, New Single, New Tour, New Sound?: “This isn’t the traditional guitar-heavy music that NIN generally pumps out, and it’s quite refreshing to get something different. Of course, the heavily-distorted instruments are still present; it’s just that the instruments are now keyboards and synthesizers instead of guitars and basses,” notes Joe, as he dives into the new sound from Nine Inch Nails. There was obviously a lot of interest in NIИ’s latest album, given that this was TSD’s most-read review of the year (the top 2 below are about access to music).

2. When Will Modern Vampires of the City Be Available on Spotify? “A delayed release on Spotify may be imperfect, but it beats the type of indefinite block that the Black Keys, by contrast, have taken with their last album, El Camino (which I won’t even bother linking to — those selfish bastards).” Vampire Weekend’s new album, Modern Vampires of the City, was released on May 13th. However, the album wasn’t immediately available on streaming services such as Spotify and Rdio, causing fans to wonder whether they would need to abandon their subscription services in order to access the new album.

1. Google Joins The Party With New Streaming Music Service. “Right from the beginning, it’s a pain in the ass to join because you have to agree to their recurring monthly subscription just to try it. Which means that if you forget to cancel it after your free 30-day trial, you’re credit card is getting charged. Does that sound familiar? No? Good, because nobody does that shit anymore. Shame on you, Google.” When Google released its new streaming music service earlier this year, Joe was one of the first to sign up. While Joe wasn’t impressed with the service’s user interface, this article’s popularity indicates how hungry music lovers are for good streaming services.

So there you have it — our top music and entertainment posts of 2013. If you missed any of them, take a moment and read them now. It’s particularly interesting to see the enthusiasm for streaming services, as evidenced by the two most-read articles of the past year. But be sure to check out the music reviews, because there is some great music to be found in them. Let’s hope 2014 proves to be an equally good year for music.

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  1. […] irritate me. Also there tends to be a lot of year in review stuff going on. Shane has done his “best of” Series, Adrienne covered This year in Jackassery: 2013 (Side note, you have to read any post […]

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