Best of 2013: Editors' Picks

Share with your friends Facebook Twitter
Having collated our list of the top 100 of the most acclaimed albums of 2013, we wanted to highlight a few albums we particularly enjoyed listening to. Here the Amazon Music UK editors share their personal favourites.
Jungle Revolution Congo Natty
Congo Natty

Congo Natty (aka Rebel MC) has created a visceral triumph of Junglist beats, drawing on influences from the Abyssinians and King Tubby realised through an adherence to early 90’s Jungle tenets, late 90’s Drum & Bass drops and modern day grime. Stand out tracks include “UK Allstars” which features a who’s who of the UK’s pre-eminent soundsystem virtuosos, and “Revolution” with enamel-cracking sub-bass overlaid with proclamations of religious fervor. This music evokes a sense of ultimate freedom, wild abandon even, and yet a slavish addiction to the beat. In his own words "The message of reggae is Ras Tafari and Ras Tafari is love. They sang about love but they was also prophesying and talking about the system. I saw jungle as being that same music, where we were going to spread a message." Congo Natty has refined, distilled and packaged that message into this splendid record, one of 2013's best, so rewind my selecta.--Otto

CD ( £12.26) | MP3 ( £7.99) | Vinyl ( £20.90) | More from Congo Natty
Random Access Memories Daft Punk
Daft Punk

Having loved "Get Lucky" I was intrigued to hear the rest of the album, and I was hooked. I am a new fan and felt obliged to invest in older albums I had missed first time around only to realise I already knew half the tracks! Random Access Memories amalgamates a mixture of styles, and fast and slow tracks making it a great album to run or relax to. "Giorgio by Moroder" is my favourite track. It was definitely my soundtrack of the summer. --Nicky

CD ( £7.75) | MP3 ( £7.59) | Vinyl ( £15.80) | More from Daft Punk
Holy Fire Foals
Foals

No longer just another indie rock band, Holy Fire signals the arrival of the Foals to the mainstream. A more polished offering than either of their Antidotes or Total Life Forever, this loses none of the dynamic melodies or rearing riffs we have come to expect while still remaining true to their origins. During recording the producers secretly recorded what the band thought were demo sessions using many of these rather than the final takes on the album. And from South by South West to the Royal Albert Hall audiences the world over delight in a band so adept in their craft they look like they’ve just turned up and started playing.--Andy

CD ( £4.99) | MP3 ( £5.99) | Vinyl ( £18.72) | More from Foals
Wonky Kavinsky
Kavinsky

Following the release of a number of EPs, contributing music to numerous video games and providing the track "Nightcall" for the critically acclaimed Drive soundtrack, French DJ Kavinsky finally treats us to a full length studio album. And it was certainly worth waiting for. I seem to have soft spot for French electronic musicians, being a fan of Daft Punk and Justice among others. It’s no surprise when they take us on incredible journeys, pushing new ideas and making their works seem like soundtracks to films I really want to see!

NME attributes the album’s success to 'Kavinsky’s painstaking production and his dark vision of the place where rock and electro meet', and guitars and dance beats are top ingredients for me. It’s fair to say that Outrun has become for me, a daily play, and still I find it intriguing.--Frances

CD ( £7.40) | MP3 ( £5.99) | Vinyl ( £23.39) | More from Kavinsky
If You Wait London Grammar
London Grammar

In the old days, when we got home after raving we’d play records like this to soothe our heads before bed. If You Wait has a soul warming combination of intelligently assembled downtempo music, and the lead singer’s voice that recalls Carly Simon and possesses a calm, un-histrionic quality unlike many of today’s singers.--Patrick

CD ( £5.00) | MP3 ( £17.24) | Vinyl ( £17.24) | More from London Grammar
Muchacho Phosphorescent
Phosphorescent

Matthew Houck’s previous album under the Phosphorescent moniker, 2009’s Here’s To Taking it Easy, was one of my Americana highlights of recent years, and it was with a mixture of relief and delight that I found even more to love about his following sixth album, Muchacho.  It’s clear that he’s not at all “taking it easy” on this album, though: while the music is instantly recognisable as Phosphorescent, tracks are augmented variously by synths, horns and more to create epic but heartfelt songs of loss. It’s his most mature work to date, but, much like Houck’s other albums, it is just as rewarding many listens in.--Chris

CD ( £12.83) | MP3 ( ) | Vinyl ( £16.04) | More from Phosphorescent
Like Clockwork Queens Of The Stone Age
Queens Of The Stone Age

Josh Homme may have turned 40, but he and his group of rock legends still bring the same swagger to music as Rated R and their self-titled release years ago. Although not the straight rock record of years past, Queens Of The Stone Age still bring the intense emotion and complex song writing of previous releases. From the rock heavy lead single “My God Is The Sun” to the beautifully simple, piano-led “The Vampyre Of Time and Money”, this is a rock record for the ages.--Chris

CD ( £6.14) | MP3 ( £7.49) | Vinyl ( £31.76) | More from Queens Of The Stone Age
Kill For Love Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Clearly Jagjaguwar have captured the mood among music critics and Amazon employees alike this year, with label-mates Foxygen and Unknown Mortal Orchestra both featuring highly in our top 100 albums. The former actually supported the latter in a North America tour last year, but it’s the headline act whose album II stands out above all the rest for me this year to date. While both are reveling in a psych-rock renaissance, you could argue Foxygen are doing it in more style. But it’s UMO who are doing it in their own style.

II is a genuinely original piece of art. Where their debut album drifted along and sounded beautiful, this follow-up--supported by a three-piece band where founding member Ruben Nielsen once stood alone--stands up to closer scrutiny, leaving you with a host of favourite songs rather than just a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.--Ross

CD ( £10.23) | MP3 ( ) | Vinyl ( £20.97) | More from Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Modern Vampires of the City Vampire Weekend
Vampire Weekend

Teased by the curled-lip, Cochran vibe of introductory single "Diane Young", Vampire Weekend's third full-length was the culmination of everything their ardent enthusiasts have reveled in thus far; earworming ditties, beautifully elocuted observations and resolute oddness, with more than enough experimentation and evolution to incontestably satisfy.

The last of a trilogy, Modern Vampires of the City, in fact, revealed itself as their most accomplished profusion of hooks to date; "Unbelievers" sprung to life with Supertramp-ish sentiment, "Step" coupled eery Elizabethan twinkles with an unshakeable refrain and the futuristic lilt of "Ya Hey"’s ludicrous R&B sample made it, for my money, the most triumphant pop record committed to tape this year. Best of all, centerpiece "Hannah Hunt" teased a captivating maturity that’s still to come, with Ezra Koenig's emotive and strained yelp at its climax defying his usually sang-froid and distant approach to storytelling. It was an album-defining pinnacle, but throughout, Brooklyn’s most unfairly-maligned band achieved a euphoria never before reached on their earlier forays.--Jim

CD ( £8.99) | MP3 ( £7.49) | Vinyl ( £8.99) | More from Vampire Weekend
The Golden Age Woodkid
Woodkid

Woodkid has been a revelation to me this year. Villagers meets Hans Zimmerman, this album makes your whole life seem like a soundtrack and makes everything you do, from brushing your teeth to sending an email, seem epic. Cor Blimey.--Natalie

CD ( £10.13) | MP3 ( £8.19) | Vinyl ( £19.96) | More from Woodkid

More of the Best of 2013

Check out the rest of the best: page 1 (1-10) | page 2 (11-30) | page 3 (31-50) | page 4 (51-100) | Classical Albums | Box Sets