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All Songs Considered: The Year In Music, 2013

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All Songs Considered: The Year In Music, 2013

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All Songs Considered: The Year In Music, 2013

All Songs Considered: The Year In Music, 2013

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Top row, left to right: Laura Marling, Lorde, Mike Milosh of Rhye; middle row: Ty Segall, James Blake, Valerie June; bottom row: Khaela Maricich and Melissa Dyne of The Blow, Earl Sweatshirt, Lou Reed. Courtesy of the artists hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artists

Top row, left to right: Laura Marling, Lorde, Mike Milosh of Rhye; middle row: Ty Segall, James Blake, Valerie June; bottom row: Khaela Maricich and Melissa Dyne of The Blow, Earl Sweatshirt, Lou Reed.

Courtesy of the artists

What defined music in 2013? All Songs Considered kicks off NPR Music's year-end coverage by humbly submitting the following themes for your consideration: The long-awaited return of legends. New favorites who arrived fully formed. The triumph of elaborate promotion. The sneak-attack album drop. On this special edition of the show, Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton are joined by NPR Music's Stephen Thompson and Ann Powers for a roughly chronological tour through the musical high points of the year.

From My Bloody Valentine's unexpected comeback album, its first in 22 years, to excellent debuts from Valerie June and San Fermin, 2013 was full of surprises. Kanye West and Vampire Weekend released career re-defining albums. Uncompromising veterans Bill Callahan and The Flaming Lips refined their well-established sounds. We also remember musicians we lost in the last year and Bob explains why 2013 was the year that "concerts got too loud."

This is only the beginning of our year-end extravaganza. Stay tuned: Next week NPR Music will present lists of our 50 favorite albums and 100 favorite songs, as well as individual lists from Bob, Robin, Stephen and Ann. And you can share your favorites with us right now: Vote for your top 10 albums of 2013 and we'll publish the results next week.

What defined your year in music? Let us know in our comment section below!

Songs Featured On This Episode

Cover for m b v

My Bloody Valentine

  • Song: She Found Now
  • from m b v

Of all the records from bands that reformed this year, Robin Hilton says, "Certainly for me, My Bloody Valentine leads the pack."

She Found Now

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Song
m b v
Album
m b v
Artist
My Bloody Valentine
Label
m b v
Released
2013

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Cover for The Next Day

David Bowie

  • Song: Where Are We Now?
  • from The Next Day

Ann Powers says that the David Bowie who returned on the album The Next Day, and particularly the song "Where Are We Now?," is reflective, quiet and very wise.

Where Are We Now?

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Song
The Next Day
Album
The Next Day
Artist
David Bowie
Label
Sony Music Entertainment
Released
2013

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Cover for Woman

Rhye

  • Song: Open
  • from Woman

"Not only are they love songs and sex songs, but they're affection songs. They're about a loving relationship." -Stephen Thompson

All Songs Considered: The Year In Music, 2013

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Song
Woman
Album
Woman
Artist
Rhye
Label
Universal Music
Released
2013

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Cover for Same Trailer Different Park

Kacey Musgraves

  • Song: Follow Your Arrow
  • from Same Trailer Different Park

"One of the signs of a really great album is when you have a room full of music people, and they're talking about their favorite songs, and there's five different songs from a record up for consideration. This record had that." -Stephen Thompson

Follow Your Arrow

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Song
Same Trailer Different Park
Album
Same Trailer Different Park
Artist
Kacey Musgraves
Label
Mercury Nashville
Released
2013

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Cover for 12 Stories

Brandy Clark

  • Song: Just Like Him
  • from 12 Stories

"She has a voice that feels like your sister telling you a story at the kitchen table. And her stories are like that. They're so intimate, they're full of homey details, and they really tell the regular lives of regular people in that great country way." -Ann Powers

Just Like Him

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Song
12 Stories
Album
12 Stories
Artist
Brandy Clark
Label
Slate Creek
Released
2013

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Cover for Yeezus

Kanye West

  • Song: Blood on the Leaves
  • from Yeezus

"The sound of it and the content, how he is really trying to be political, mythical, and, of course, his narcissistic self at the same time, I think I will be coming back to this record for the rest of my life." -Ann Powers

Language Advisory: The song contains profanity.

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Song
Yeezus
Album
Yeezus
Artist
Kanye West
Label
Def Jam
Released
2013

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Cover for Doris

Earl Sweatshirt

  • Song: Chum
  • from Doris

A member of the Odd Future collective, Robin Hilton calls the 19-year-old Earl Sweatshirt an "amazing talent."

Language Advisory: The song contains profanity.

Chum

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Song
Doris
Album
Doris
Artist
Earl Sweatshirt
Label
Sony Music Entertainment
Released
2013

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Cover for Overgrown

James Blake

  • Song: Retrograde
  • from Overgrown

"To me, James Blake is the missing link or the rosetta stone that connects all these different genres together, because there's a little bit of hip-hop, soul, R&B, electronica, singer-songwriter, [and] future." -Robin Hilton

"Just in terms of sound, like how he uses sound to create atmosphere. It's very different from anyone else. No one makes songs like [him]." -Bob Boilen

Retrograde

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Song
Overgrown
Album
Overgrown
Artist
James Blake
Released
2013

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Cover for Modern Vampires of the City

Vampire Weekend

  • Song: Step
  • from Modern Vampires of the City

"Every song [has] its own voice, every song [is] lyrically spectacular, and deep. ... This [album] is different. This one's more life-infused." -Bob Boilen

Step

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Song
Modern Vampires of the City
Album
Modern Vampires of the City
Artist
Vampire Weekend
Label
XL
Released
2013

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Cover for Once I Was an Eagle

Laura Marling

  • Song: Master Hunter
  • from Once I Was an Eagle

"The whole [album] functions as a 55-minute piece where the songs are woven together in very clever ways. ... I just can't imagine what kind of music she'll be making in 20 years, because she's so fully formed at 23." -Stephen Thompson

Master Hunter

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Song
Once I Was an Eagle
Album
Once I Was an Eagle
Artist
Laura Marling
Label
Ribbon Music
Released
2013

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Cover for Pushin' Against a Stone

Valerie June

  • Song: Somebody To Love
  • from Pushin' Against a Stone

Ann Powers says that if there was one voice that reminded her most of 2013, it would be Valerie June's — "I can't stop hearing her in my head."

Somebody To Love

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Song
Pushin' Against a Stone
Album
Pushin' Against a Stone
Artist
Valerie June
Label
Concord
Released
2013

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Cover for Sleeper

Ty Segall

  • Song: Man Man
  • from Sleeper

Known for his work in driving the revival and garage and guitar work, the prolific Ty Segall's Sleeper is a deeply personal record written after he was estranged from his mother in the wake of his father's death.

Man Man

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Song
Sleeper
Album
Sleeper
Artist
Ty Segall
Label
Drag City
Released
2013

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Cover for Pure Heroine

Lorde

  • Song: Tennis Court
  • from Pure Heroine

"[Lorde] brings a fresh new wave of Bohemianism and oppositional culture [to pop music]." -Ann Powers

Tennis Court

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Song
Pure Heroine
Album
Pure Heroine
Artist
Lorde
Label
Universal
Released
2013

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Cover for If You Leave

Daughter

  • Song: Youth
  • from If You Leave

A favorite of both Bob and Stephen, who jokes that If You Leave incorporates two of his favorite things in life: gloom and hostility. But he isn't kidding when he says that the record is "moody and beautiful."

Youth

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Song
If You Leave
Album
If You Leave
Artist
Daughter
Label
Glass Note
Released
2013

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Cover for San Fermin

San Fermin

  • Song: Renaissance!

"[San Fermin is] the perfect record for a long drive, because it really draws you in the way a great novel [does]." -Ann Powers

Renaissance!

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Song
San Fermin
Album
San Fermin
Artist
San Fermin
Label
Downtown
Released
2013

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Cover for I Heard the Angels Singing: Electrifying Black Gospel from The Nashboro Label 1951-1983

Dorothy Love Coates & The Gospel Harmonettes

  • Song: Dorothy Love Coates & The Gospel Harmonettes, 'Heaven, I've Heard So Much About It'
  • from I Heard the Angels Singing: Electrifying Black Gospel from The Nashboro Label 1951-1983

Of the Nashboro reissue set 'I Heard the Angels Singing,' Ann Powers says: "It represents for me how living in the past is living in the present, and how this music is completely timeless."

Hear the entire collection now, via our First Listen series.

Dorothy Love Coates & The Gospel Harmonettes, 'Heaven, I've Heard So Much About It'

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Song
I Heard the Angels Singing: Electrifying Black Gospel from The Nashboro Label 1951-1983
Album
I Heard the Angels Singing: Electrifying Black Gospel from The Nashboro Label 1951-1983
Artist
Various Artists
Label
Tompkins Square
Released
2013

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Cover for Reflektor

Arcade Fire

  • Song: Normal Person
  • from Reflektor

Ann Powers compares the members of Arcade Fire to U2 in their "desire to inspire and uplift."

Normal Person

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Song
Reflektor
Album
Reflektor
Artist
Arcade Fire
Label
Merge Records
Released
2013

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Cover for The Blow

The Blow

  • Song: Make It Up

"What I find over and over again that truly winds up attracting me and drawing me in is some kind of intimacy in the music. Some sort of connection in the din. That's what does it. And they have it for sure." -Bob Boilen

Make It Up

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Cover for New

Paul McCartney

  • Song: Alligator
  • from New

"What I love about this record ... is that McCartney's having as much, if not more fun than ever, playing rock and roll. [New] is reflective of his realities." -Ann Powers

Alligator

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Song
New
Album
New
Artist
Paul McCartney
Label
Virgin EMI
Released
2013

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Cover for The Terror

The Flaming Lips

  • Song: "Look...The Sun Is Rising"
  • from The Terror

"To reach a point in their lives as they have, to still have so much creative energy, I think it's just remarkable, and inspiring, and beautiful." -Robin Hilton

"Look...The Sun Is Rising"

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Song
The Terror
Album
The Terror
Artist
The Flaming Lips
Label
Warner Bros.
Released
2013

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Cover for Magnolia Electric Co. (10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

Songs: Ohia

  • Song: Hold On Magnolia
  • from Magnolia Electric Co. (10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

Jason Molina, who led Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co., died in March. Stephen Thompson calls Molina's "barren, bruises rock and roll songs about survival" a real treasure. "[Molina's] music is going to find new audiences for many years into the future."

Hold On Magnolia

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Song
Magnolia Electric Co. (10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)
Album
Magnolia Electric Co. (10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)
Artist
Songs: Ohia
Label
Secretly Canadian
Released
2013

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Featured Artist

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