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January 09, 2014 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, January 9, 2014 - 3B

Best Albums of 2013

. k:i


2. "Acid Rap"
Chance The Rapper

3. "Modern Vampires of the City"
Vampire Weekend

In April, twenty-year-old Chicago native
Chance the Rapper released his mixtape Acid
Rap, which receivied an incredible amount of
downloads and critical acclaim. The album
bounces around from genre to genre, fusing
soul and jazz into succinct and unfailingly
pleasing hip-hop. Acid Rap is catchy enough to
debut at number 63 on Billboard's R&B/Hip-
Hop Albums yet weird enough to consistently
seem fresh, and Chance has found his niche in
the area between. With his bizarre screeches
and spastically high-speed verses on tracks

like "Good Ass Intro (So Good)" and "NaNa,"
Chance has established his voice as a spunky,
brilliant, and youthful rapper. Lyrically, Acid
Rap proves Chance to be thoughtful and pro-
vocative, while musically, it's sweet, fluid and
fun. With Acid Rap, Chance the Rapper has
cemented himself as an artist full of person-
ality and spunk, mature enough to wisely rap
about serious topics yet captivating enough
to keep you singing "Cocoa Butter Kisses" for

At first glance, Modern Vampires of the City is a
mere maturation, a dozen-song collection in which
Vampire Weekend pushes the recipe of their past
two albums - afro-tinged punk merged with literate
lyrics - to fulfillment. But for the cosmopolitan Ivy
Leaguers, previously resolved to conceal their humil-
ity beneath wit, growingup looks a whole lot like revi-
talizing, and it sounds like the indie-rock masterpiece
of 2013. Modern Vampires is a record that adorns
itself in humanity, with each track demonstrating a
willingness to experimentbut never alienate. There's
spontaneity - lead single "Diane Young" employs an

infectious digitized vocal effect reminiscent of Elvis
- and existential gloom - the penultimate track
"Hudson" imagines a post-apocalyptic New York in
which "all apartments are prewar." A somber, visceral
production propels the album forward, exquisitely
complementing Ezra Koenig's poetic musings on the
loss of faith and time. No longer intent on espousing
their wisdom, the revamped Vampires seem content
to bask in the world's shared anxieties. Barring the
foretold apocalypse, we'll be basking with this one
for years to come.


4. "Nothing Was the Same"

5. "Random Access Memories"
Daft Punk

On the swirling, Whitney Houston-manipulating
intro to his third album, Drake observes, "This is
nothin' for the radio, but they'll still play it though/
Cause it's that new Drizzy Drake, that's just the way
it go." This confidence, which has never truly been
lacking, undoubtedly shines through more than ever
on Nothing Was the Same, a contemplative, assertive
and comprehensive effort from Drake. But unlike
his last album, the excellent but exceptionally mel-
ancholy Take Care, Nothing Was the Same has some-
thing for everybody. There's vintage Drake-tinged

R&B on "Furthest Thing" and "Hold On, We're Going
Home" but also reckless party anthems like "Started
From the Bottom" and "Worst Behaviour."NWTS is a
plethora of sounds that are nonetheless held together
by Drake's complex descriptions, effortless humor
and sometimes cringe-worthy swagger. It took three
albums and a mixtape, but it seems like rap's golden
child has finally found the formula to not only com-
mercial and critical success, but, more importantly, to
personal fulfillment.

Considering Daft Punk has always sounded
like it came from the future, Random Access
Memories was an unexpected step. In 2013, a
group made famous by its electronic dance hits
gave us an album reverent of and as irresist-
ible as the nost legendary '70s disco produc-
tions. More than probably any other record
this year, Random Access Memories sounds
confusing in MP3 format. The album is more
at home on a shelf of vinyl LPs, with other
classics from the disco era. Featuring a dream

team of collaborators, Daft Punk announced
its intentions to "Give Life Back to Music"
right in the title of the first track. While
oftentimes more understated than the ubiq-
uitous, ridiculously impossible-to-get-out-of-
your-head smash single "Get Lucky" would
suggest, Random Access Memories is never
dull, always engaging, and proves that, some-
times, the best innovation is born out of look-
ing to the past.

Best Video
of 2012,

2. "The Last of Us"

3. "Grand Theft Auto V"

"The Last-of Us," a PS3 exclu-
sive game, is a true winner in
every department: graphics,
story, characters and gameplay.
The game takes place in 2033,
where the world has been com-
pletely changed after an infec-
tion unleashed an apocalypse.
The player takes control of Joel,
a young man who must transport
the game's other main character,
Ellie, across the increasingly dan-
gerous landscape of the United
States. Along the way, the player
must not only fight off infected

mutants and desperate survivors,
but also face difficult ethical deci-
sions that make this game much
more than just mindless enter-
tainment. The aforementioned
graphics make the entire story
even more riveting and impactful,
while careful writing and voice
work fully flesh out these people
as they struggle to retain a sense
of hope and trust in each other.
This isn't really a game as much
as it is an experience; one that
shouldn't be missed out on.

4. "Pokemon X & Y"

Vulgar, despicable, nihilistic
and filled with enough styl-
ized violence to keep par-
ent groups busy for the next
decade and a half, GTA V is
the inevitable response to the
absurdity of modern Ameri-
can greed. It is a biting satire
where psychopaths and crimi-
nals are made almost sympa-
thetic by being trapped in the
contemporary dystopia of Los
Santos. The interconnected
story of Michael, Trevor and
Franklin is a transgressive
5. "Candy C
"Candy Crush Saga"
the hugely popular Candy
Land/"Bejeweled" hybrid with
"Breaking Bad" level addictive
qualities, was the most down-
loaded Smartphone game of 2013.
In its second year of existence,
the game has become a required
download for Smartphone users
everywhere - in 2013 alone the
game was downloaded 500 mil-
lion times from Apple's App
Store and Google's Play store.
The game is initially free, but as

gaming experience that com-
bines over-the-top hilarity
with sandbox gameplay and
dark reflections of modern day
politics, eschewing everything
from torture and capitalism to
immigration and reality TV.
Everything you need in a vio-
lent video game exists in this
series and continues to show
up here. It's a title that's more
than worthy of-being the fast-
est selling entertainment prop-
erty in history.
rush Saga"
soon as it has its players hooked,
it presents them with in-app pur-
chased boosters or extra lives.
These costs can add up quickly
- according to reports from
early this fall, the game earns its
parent company, the UK based
King.com, $850,000 per day. This
year,"Candy Crush Saga" infil-
trated the lives of Smartphone
users all over the world, solidify-
ingit as a lastingicon, on par with
"Tetris" or "Pacman."

1. "BioShock: Infinite"

Given enough time, every
medium has its moment of
transcendence. It took tele-
vision decades to reach its
"Golden Age," and many still
believe its true "Golden Age"
is yet to come. Video games are
no different. The once reviled
medium still has a lot to learn,
but if "Bioshock: Infinite" is a
preview for things to come, it
looks like gainers are in pretty
good hands. Using the conven-
tions of video games to explore
violence, free will and the fal-
lacies of American exception-
alism, "Bioshock: Infinite" is

a cultural marker for just how
far we've traveled since the
quarter slinging days of the
arcade. It's a story we've seen a
thousand times: the seemingly
stalwart hero must travel to
the mythical kingdom to defeat
the monster and save the prin-
cess from the castle. Instead, in
"Bioshock: Infinite," the story
of Booker DeWitt, Elizabeth
and the floating city of Colum-
bia become a heartbreaking
examination of American his-
tory, both of the past and years
to come.

"Pokemon X & Y" marks
another successful return to the
Pokemon franchise by Nintendo.
Though this new generation has
many of the same game elements
that helped make Pokemon into a
classic, the introduction of the new
Fairy type, "Mega Evolutions," and
69 new Pokemon made it so that
all fans, new and old, could have
something to enjoy. Meanwhile, X
& Y replaces 2D sprites with new
3D models for the Pokamon, allow-
ing players to experience a hand-

held Pokmon game in an entirely
new way. The game is no slouch
in the multiplayer department
either, with Wi-Fi capabilities that
improve upon the features of pre-
vious generations, making battling
and trading with others easier than
ever before. The balance between
new and old here is what made
"Pokdmon X & Y" one of the best
video games of 2013, but it's hard
to go wrong with Pokdmon's well-
established winning formula.

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