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by Stephanie Benson

December 27, 2013

Best Of 2013

Rhapsody's Top 50 Albums of 2013

by Stephanie Benson  |  December 27, 2013

Well, this may have been one of the most effortless "Best of" lists this dozen-editor-deep team has ever put together -- and perhaps one of the most diverse. And that's maybe because 2013 didn't really have any clear winners or runaway successes. Sure, we cover some of the year's biggest stories in our Top 50 Albums list: We've got Kanye's polarizing but undeniably riveting Yeezus; Daft Punk's unabashed prog-disco throwback Random Access Memories; Lorde's ubiquitous anti-pop charmer Pure Heroine; Kacey Musgraves' daring country beauty Same Trailer Different Park; Drake's continuing rise from the bottom; and Justin Timberlake's continuing climb to sexy perfection.

But putting this list together, we saw some interesting trends unfold. Take, for example, the fact that females dominate our Top 5 (though Kanye's "b*tch"-laden Yeezus crashes the all-girls club, landing at No. 6). Women in country music, in particular, ruled the year, from Musgraves to Ashley Monroe to Brandy Clark. Alongside country, left-field electronic music also carries a lot of weight on our list, with intricately composed albums by the likes of The Knife, DJ Rashad, Oneohtrix Point Never, Forest Swords and Boards of Canada. Meanwhile, R&B had a healthy reboot this year, too, thanks to intoxicating releases by Ciara, Rhye, Laura Mvula and The Weeknd.

From there, our list highlights even more of the year's most noteworthy releases, from Earl Sweatshirt's elaborate web of rhymes on Doris to Nine Inch Nails' industrial club provocations on Hesitation Marks to Syrian wedding singer Omar Souleyman's fusion of Middle Eastern folk with electronic rhythms on Wenu Wenu to our No. 1 album, a rich amalgam of bouncing global grooves from one of our favorite "bad girls." Thank you for reading. Now, sit back and enjoy what we, the editors of Rhapsody, found to be 2013's finest aural pleasures.

1) M.I.A., Matangi
2) Pistol Annies, Annie Up
3) Lorde, Pure Heroine
4) Haim, Days Are Gone
5) Kacey Musgraves, Same Trailer Different Park
6) Kanye West, Yeezus
7) Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience
8) Daft Punk, Random Access Memories
9) The Knife, Shaking the Habitual
10) Earl Sweatshirt, Doris
11) Brandy Clark, 12 Stories
12) DJ Rashad, Double Cup
13) Ashley Monroe, Like a Rose
14) Oneohtrix Point Never, R Plus Seven
15) Janelle Monae, The Electric Lady
16) Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City
17) DJ Koze, Amygdala
18) Danny Brown, Old
19) Boards of Canada, Tomorrow's Harvest
20) Ciara, Ciara
21) Paramore, Paramore
22) Rachid Taha, Zoom
23) Queens of the Stone Age, ...Like Clockwork
24) Nine Inch Nails, Hesitation Marks
25) Lady Antebellum, Golden
26) Elvis Costello & The Roots, Wise Up Ghost and Other Songs
27) Drake, Nothing Was the Same
28) Brad Paisley, Wheelhouse
29) Kurt Vile, Wakin on a Pretty Daze
30) Omar Souleyman, Wenu Wenu
31) Matana Roberts, Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile
32) Disclosure, Settle
33) Rhye, Woman
34) Forest Swords, Engravings
35) Avicii, TRUE
36) The Mavericks, In Time
37) Laura Mvula, Sing to the Moon
38) Wayne Shorter Quartet, Without a Net
39) Pet Shop Boys, Electric
40) Gary Allan, Set You Free
41) No Age, An Object
42) Noel Torres, La Estructura
43) Oliver Lake, Wheels
44) The Weeknd, Kiss Land
45) Uncle Acid, Mind Control
46) KA, The Night's Gambit
47) Arcade Fire, Reflektor
48) Roscoe Mitchell, Duets with Tyshawn Sorey and Special Guest Hugh Ragin
49) Kendra Morris, Mockingbird
50) Voivod, Target Earth

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