We’re far enough into 2014 that by now the best albums of 2013 have been written about, dissected, ranked, and compared as thoroughly as any fan could want. By now, most of us are focused on the new releases scheduled for the year ahead. However, for one last look back at 2013’s most popular albums, we’re going to take a different approach than ranking or comparing them. Instead, we’re going to pair each album with an activity that can help you to get the most out of your listening experience. It’s a somewhat abstract concept, but just for fun here’s how to best enjoy some of 2013’s most popular albums.
Kanye West – “Yeezus”
One of the most talked about albums of 2013, and Billboard‘s pick for the second best album of the year, “Yeezus” is a tough one to apply to a given activity, simply because it’s so bizarre. There’s a common debate as to whether Kanye West is a genius or an idiot (the answer is almost certainly a bit of both), and this album reflects the debate, straddling the line between “this is sheer brilliance” and “maybe he’s trying a bit too hard.”
If we had to pick one activity for “Yeezus,” however, we’d probably land on the easiest example of how to enjoy a great album: exercise. For the most part, the album is fairly high energy, which most people prefer when exercising, yet it’s also so strange as to be just the least bit distracting. For many, having the mind focused on music, rather than the grind of exercise, can be a plus. So next time you hit the gym, load up a new workout app, set “Yeezus” on repeat and get after it!
Lorde – “Pure Heroine”
It’s been a while since a musician broke out quite as emphatically or completely as Lorde in 2013. VH1 lists her as one of 2013’s top breakout artists for this reason, and the simple fact is that “Pure Heroine” was a hit on all fronts, captivating enormous audiences and catapulting a young girl without movie star beauty or a stadium-rocking voice to the top of the music world.
As for the album itself, it has a sort of haunting quality that pulls you in and forces you to listen, even if you don’t initially think it’s your thing. But there’s also a carefree, soothing quality to “Pure Heroine” that makes you relax. For that reason, it’s our pick as a perfect driving album from 2013. We all love having the perfect tunes on while driving around, and “Pure Heroine” and a night drive can actually enhance one another to turn something monotonous into something enjoyably relaxing.
Daft Punk – “Random Access Memories”
“Random Access Memories” won the Grammy for Album Of The Year with good reason. Arguably no song was played as frequently as “Get Lucky” in 2013, and for a band as quirky and unique as Daft Punk to grab headlines for a whole year in a musical climate consisting largely of repetitive pop acts was pretty special. Somewhat like “Yeezus,” however, “Random Access Memories” is difficult to nail down with a particular activity for enhancement.
For that reason, we’re going to go out on somewhat of a limb and say online gaming works best. For some games it doesn’t really matter how focused you are, but increasingly online games demand total attention. In iconic shooters like Call Of Duty, one lapse in attention can cause a whole team to lose a multiplayer match and make you the subject of humiliation. At popular online casino site Betfair Arcade, a lack of focus can mean you lose actual money on the gambling arcade games included. Whether that means slots, roulette, or even a sports- or pop culture-themed arcade game, attention is needed. And again, this is true across more and more online gaming options! But with the right album on in the background—say, an album like “Random Access Memories”—you can place yourself in a trance focused entirely on your game, making great use of the album and enhancing the gaming experience.
Justin Timberlake – “The 20/20 Experience”
This is one of many albums in 2013 that was probably a bit of a reach in terms of the volume and range of its content. Unlike Jay Z’s disappointing and puzzling “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” however, “The 20/20 Experience” actually seems to have been primarily focused on music. As a result, it almost can’t help but showcase Timberlake’s infectiously fun vocal quality.
There’s really only one answer for what sort of activity enhances “The 20/20 Experience,” and it’s one a lot of fans won’t even want to admit to: dancing. Sorry, folks, even after all these years JT is still one of the best artists at making us want to dance in spite of ourselves. “The 20/20 Experience” has tracks for everything from a high energy hip-hop dance, to casual head bobbing, to a romantic turn with a significant other. If dancing isn’t your thing though, JT’s catchy hooks also make you want to sing along, so the Sing! Karaoke app can be a fine secondary way to enhance the album.
Ultimately, this is just a fun look back at some of last year’s most popular albums. But through the likes of online gaming, a simple drive through town, exercise, or even karaoke, you can enjoy these particular albums even more!