Ten albums you cannot miss this month – July 2013
Birmingham alt-rockers, Editors, released their fourth studio album earlier this month, four years after the massive success of In This Light and On This Evening, which went straight to number one in the UK chart. The band have welcomed two new members for their latest release who have both brought a new element to their sound, which Rolling Stone have described as “Arcade Fire-esque”. A Ton Of Love has a definite Pearl Jam feel and the new sound really works.
Here’s one no hip-hop fan should miss. Featuring guest appearances from the likes of Rick Ross, Frank Ocean and Justin Timberlake amongst other stars, the American rapper’s twelfth studio album was certified Platinum by the RIA on its release date. Particularly interesting tracks include Part II (On The Run) featuring Beyoncé, which picks up where 2003’s Bonnie & Clyde left off, and Holy Grail, in which Jay-Z references the late Kurt Cobain and Michael Jackson. Whilst it’s fair to say the album is a refreshing comeback, it might be an overstatement to say it tops The Black Album.
Who doesn’t by now know every word to the infectious lead single of Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines (not to mention the notorious video)? The album’s title track, produced by Pharrell Williams, topped charts worldwide and became the second best-selling single of 2013 (so far) in the UK. Thicke’s sixth studio album features guest appearances from the likes of Kendrick Lamar (Give It 2 U) and T.I. Not one you should miss, if not only for that corker of a hit single.
Having received universal acclaim, English synth-pop veterans Pet Shop Boys’ twelfth studio album is not one to be missed. Thursday, a synth-driven, joyous dance-floor filler featuring UK rapper Example is an intoxicating paradigm of why the duo is still such a creative success – remaining fresh whilst retaining their traditional sound and wit. The pair has covered Springsteen’s The Last To Die, creating a whole new political dimension and the irony is hugely enjoyable. Overall, it’s a phenomenal album sure to keep you dancing.
American pop-punk four-piece The Used released their five-track EP earlier this month, with plans to release a sixth studio album in early 2014. 2012’s Vulnerable was received with general discontent and the Utah boys seemed to cling to their past successes. They’ve literally changed their tune for the latest EP: Bert McCracken’s vocals in Iddy Biddy are raw and more angst-fuelled, whilst Criminal Thought is more soothing. While it doesn’t compare to the more successful In Love And Death, it provides a great taster for what we can expect to hear from Bert and the boys next year.
Sara Bareilles achieved mainstream success six years ago with the hit single Love Song… remember her now? The singer-songwriter’s fourth studio album The Blessed Unrest was released on 12th July and received a positive reception from music critics, who noted the melancholy of the album to be “warm and inviting”. The beautifully written lead single Brave is uplifting and liberating, and who doesn’t love a bit of that?
This awkwardly-named, electronic two-piece gained widespread attention when tracks Surf Solar and Olympians were featured during the 2012 London Olympic Games ceremony. The duo from Worcester has gathered a cult following and received rave reviews from Time Out magazine, The Observer and The Guardian. The playful pair is renowned for its use of children’s toys including the Fisher Price karaoke machine, but Slow Focus has more of a dark, atmospheric sound and the intensity is addictive.
Bridging the gap between EDM and hip-hop, Colorado’s Pretty Lights’s “Electro Hip-Hop Soul” fusion in A Color Map Of The Sun makes for the perfect summer soundtrack. Relying heavily on digital sampling, crossing all sorts of genres to create “glitch hip-hop beats and vintage funk and soul samples”, this album is pure musical elation. Think Avicii meets James Brown and The Weeknd.
Aussie heart throb Cody Simpson is only sixteen years old, but surfing the waves of success, having already toured Europe and releasing his debut studio album last year. Surfer’s Paradise features popular Jason Mraz-esque tracks La Dee Da, Pretty Brown Eyes and Summertime Of Our Lives that will help any young fan-girl in her process of getting over Justin Bieber.
Time now for some 90s nostalgia: In A World Like This features all five original members of the Backstreet Boys, three of whom are now fathers, which reflects in this more personal, mature and authentic album based on their own life experiences. Award-winning producer Martin Terefe (KT Tunstall, Jason Mraz) is behind the majority of the album’s production and there are some grand tracks here including lead single In A World Like This. Backstreet’s back, alright!