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Best Albums of 2013: Mid-Year Report

Daft Punk, Vampire Weekend, Kanye West and more

40 Best Albums of the Year

From Daft Punk ditching EDM to Kanye assaulting our ears to surprise comebacks from My Bloody Valentine, Justin Timberlake and David Bowie, 2013's been a great year for albums – and we're only halfway through it. Here's an unranked list of the year's best so far.

kurt vile wakin on a pretty daze

Courtesy of Matador Records

Kurt Vile, ‘Wakin on a Pretty Daze’

Kurt Vile's sweetly slack fifth LP kicks in with a nine-and-a-half-minute song about taking a walk, hits peak stoner wonder on "Air Bud" and fills in the spaces with tranq-darted Dinosaur Jr. licks. But he's more about fear of abandonment than self-isolation – even a meditation on snowflakes has a stormy feel.

From the RS review: "A guitar-obsessed longhair who got his start self-distributing his music, Vile has let the outside in."

Lonely Island The Wack Album

Courtesy of Universal Music Group

Lonely Island, ‘The Wack Album’

The third Lonely Island LP isn't as sublimely silly, or as consistent, as their last one, but it rocks the same mix of guest stars (T-Pain, Robyn, Hugh Jackman and many more), sophisticated concepts ("Semicolon") and totally unsophisticated sex jokes ("I F****D My Aunt"). The secret weapon is musical skill: Solid MCing, actual hooks and A-list producers turn the jokes into songs that bear repeat listenings. 

From the RS review: "The best cut, 'YOLO,' which flips that carpe diem slogan into an argument for living like Howard Hughes at his urine-hoarding worst."

‪Pistol Annies‬, Annie Up

Courtesy of RCA Records Nashville

‪Pistol Annies‬, ‘Annie Up’

The second LP by the all-female supergroup – Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley – is, like their 2011 debut, full of attitude and guffaws, delivered in three-part harmony over down-home country, rockabilly romps and anthemic mutant bluegrass. But there's pathos beneath the jokes: plenty of domestic decay and poignant love songs.

From the RS review: "There may be better bands than Pistol Annies, but what band is more of a hoot?"

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