50 Best Albums of 2013

Vampire Weekend cut the cute and raised the stakes, Kanye assaulted our ears, Bowie shocked the world and Miley tossed a dance-pop party grenade

Beck, 'Song Reader'
Courtesy McSweeney's Publishing50/50

50. Beck, 'Song Reader'

There's old-school, and then there's "Man, it would rule if someone would invent electricity" old-school. Beck's "album" of sheet music turned out to be a sly collection of folky swing tunes, steeped in Beck's absurdist wit. One ukulele ballad, "Old Shanghai," even became a YouTube hit.