Top Albums of 2013
Daniel Clancy, Rovi
Andrew Nosnitsky, Google Play
The band begun composing new songs in 2011, and had the album's first recording sessions in early 2012 before the musicians decided to take a break. As all the band members got into side projects afterwards, work on Lightning Bolt only resumed in March 2013. The music for Lightning Bolt has a harder rock sound with longer songs to contrast predecessor Backspacer, and the lyrics convey singer Eddie Vedder's feelings on aging and mortality.
Preceded by a promotional campaign focusing on Pearl Jam's website and social network profiles and two moderately successful singles, "Mind Your Manners" and "Sirens", Lightning Bolt was well received by critics, who considered the album an effective return to the band's old sound, and topped the charts in the United States, Canada, and Australia.
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Dave Pollock, Google Play
Daniel Clancy, Rovi
Gregory Heaney, Rovi
Steve Leggett, Rovi
Scott Kerr, Rovi
Taken as a complete experience, The Next Day comes off as a rebellion against everything in current pop. The album was recorded very quickly, without fuss (which, truth to tell, is the usual Bowie way of working) and the songs don't outstay their welcome. Instead of riding on endless grooves provided by industry insiders, Bowie once again works with Visconti and gathers old friends on songs that have a jagged, live-in-the-studio feel. Records may just be promos for monster, money-making tours now but Bowie isn't doing concerts. The internet gives us non-stop celebrity culture, but Bowie isn't talking—so there aren't any interviews with the warm, witty Cockney to contrast against the regal, iconic alien.
Spiky and agitated without coming off as bitter, the album hurtles out of the gate with the title track, slows down on the caustic "Dirty Boys" and jumbles celebrity and mortality on "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)." The majority of the songs here are lean rockers, with Station to Station's Earl Slick juggling the lead guitar slot with David Torn. Sometimes the songs brush past previous works (is that the drum intro to "Five Years" ending "You Feel So Lonely You Could Die"?) but this is an album about the rush to a future we know isn't going to end well for any of us. The elegiac love song "Where Are We Now?" treats memories like the walking dead and holds on to loved ones in the here and now. David Bowie doesn't pretend to have any answers with The Next Day but he still pushes ahead because that is what artists do -- they create. Instead of leaving you feeling empty, listening to this dark album is a strangely satisfying, enlivening experience. – Nick Dedina, Google Play
- Nick Dedina, Google Play
James Wilkinson, Rovi