Ryan Hoffman

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Last Active 01-14-15 8:14 pm
Joined 07-13-13

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Darkocean's Best And Worst Of 2013

Well, I decided to finally finish this, even though I haven't listened to everything I wanted to from last year. Between the proliferation of music on the Internet, working at a radio station, going to school and doing homework, not to mention having a social life, there's no way I could fulfill my "yearly quota", as I like to call it. Anywho, here are my top and bottom albums of 2013. Top 32 are best of the year ranked, and 33-71 are all the other records I heard this year, ranked from best to worst. (Meaning that 33 may not be a "bad" album per se). Here's to a great 2014 for music! Enjoy! :)

Do you really need to ask?
70Linkin Park

LP?s first truly bad album, if you can call it that. All of their previous stuff had at least one song for lovers and haters alike, this...this is a monstrosity.
69Bullet for My Valentine
Temper Temper

It?s almost painful how bland this is.
68Falling in Reverse
Fashionably Late

lol Ronnie Radke. No, seriously, I appreciate the attempt at merging multiple genres in this, but this is pretty badly executed.
67Lady Gaga

The first track has Infected Mushroom. That?s all you need from this. ?Do what you want with my body...?... so it?s OK if I rape you? Didn?t think so.
66We Came as Romans
Tracing Back Roots

Like blessthefall, it seemed like they were going somewhere with their last album. Not this poppy stuff.
65Born of Osiris
Tomorrow We Die Alive

Talk about a leap of quality from album to album.
Release the Panic

Red gets Howard Benson-ized in their first truly lame album.
63Sleeping with Sirens

Crap compared to their earlier stuff. Kellin?s voice is the only thing worth mentioning.
Hollow Bodies

And I thought they were actually going somewhere with Awakening. Oh well.

These guys actually may have talent, but they don?t really show it through this monotonous deathcore tripe.
60Mat Zo
Damage Control

Standard EDM.
59Sky Ferreira
Night Time, My Time

I have a review, go look it up, I'm not pasting my link, I'm lazy. :)

Issues does this sound much, much better. Hence (Hance?) why the track with Tyler Carter?s the best one here.
57Close Your Eyes
Line in the Sand

More meh.
56Hands Like Houses

55Crystal Fighters
Cave Rave

More inconsequential indie-folk-dubstep-island-blurredgenre music.
54Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!
Pardon My French

Fun, but mostly bland.
53Paul McCartney

Pretty inoffensive, and that?s the problem with it. I love you, Paul, but stick to touring.

Not a ?bad? release per se, just aggressively mediocre. That?s what you get with a Caleb Shomo album, though (or sometimes much worse)
51A Day to Remember
Common Courtesy

A few quirks here and there, but their pop-punk meets metalcore style is so played out by now.
50The Flaming Lips
The Terror

For the first time in their careers, the Lips, once the poster children for alternative- inspired sonic inventiveness, have made their first truly boring album. Soundscapes drone on, songs become mere vessels for deadening ambience, and frontman/lyricist Wayne Coyne steps over the line seperating cryptic and nonsensical. You've had your fun guys, but let's hope your next album is back-to- basics.
49Julia Holter
Loud City Song

I can appreciate the artistry behind what?s trying to be achieved here, but this record is so emotionally distant upon first listen that any chance of it growing on me is slim to none. Confounding that this is sputnik?s #1.
48Vampire Weekend
Modern Vampires of the City

While I appreciate the recording techniques that went into this record (like pitch- shifting and unconventional mic setups), the end result is another bland indie-pop record from this most inoffensive of bands.
47Arctic Monkeys

The Monkeys lean heavily on garage-rock shenanigans that have become cliche since The Black Keys' meteoric rise to fame.

Decently-played, just another power metal album.
45Kanye West

Sure, Yeezy continues his tradition of sonic experimentation, and when it hits, it really hits, but he never makes it gel together quite as cohesively as he'd like. Plus, politically uncouth lyrics like "Put my fist in her like a civil rights sign" and "Get this bitch shakin' like Parkinson's" aren't winning him any favors. Many people complain about people who can't separate an artist from his personal life or politics, and that may have been true for him in the past,  but Yeezus makes clear that Kanye doesn't want you to divide the two, which makes listening to the record inherently problematic. The rushed release of this record should sound obvious to anyone who enjoyed My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (which greatly deserved its acclaim). Moments such as Justin Vernon's ending to "I Am a God" or the too-short length of "On Sight" reveal that more time should have been spent on this project. And yet, critics keep piling on the accolades to the finished product. Spin, The A.V. Club, Time, Entertainment Weekly and Complex have all named it their album of the year, while Rolling Stone and NME place it at number 2. Lou Reed's praise of the album before his death (in which he called it "majestic and inspiring") should not be taken seriously, since...come on, the dude was recently responsible for Lulu (R.I.P. Mr. Reed). I guess dick jokes and political incorrectness are the norm for rap now. All of Ye's previous material had something to say. Yeezus simply lacks insight.
44The Devil Wears Prada

The band have both progressed and regressed musically, but one point remains clear: Mike?s voice is gone. (Don?t give me that bullshit about ?it was intentional?)
43Dream Theater
Live at Luna Park

It?s fun to hear the band play live, but they?ve had better live material than this. As always, the solos are what keep the audiences at home truly entertained.
42 ASAP Rocky
Long. Live. ASAP

Best tracks here are the singles. Otherwise mediocre rap album with spacey production.
41Death Grips
Government Plates

Odd-sounding, and not always in the best of ways. What do the lyrics to ?Birds? mean? No one but oltnabrick knows.
40David Bowie
The Next Day

This has a few greatly enjoyable songs (particularly "If You Can See Me"), but the album is hampered by pure muzak ("Where Are We Now?") and bland disco- inspired indie (the last three tracks). Calling it Bowie's best since Heroes seems a little nearsighted.
39 Justin Timberlake
The 20/20 Experience (2 of 2)

The 20/20 Experience (2 of 2) - Definitely not as good as the first volume, it only really starts to fall off during the second half.

Crazy production, not entirely consistent. I don?t think she?ll ever top Kala, but this was a fun listen nonetheless.
37Norma Jean

High-quality metalcore release, it?s just the band?s vague lyricism don?t do the music any favors.
36Dream Theater
Dream Theater

Being someone who thought A Dramatic Turn of Events represented some of the band?s best work in their career, I was slightly disappointed when I heard this in full. By now, in 2013, they really are just churning out the same old stuff over and over again. And don?t get me started on that snare drum tone...what were they thinking?

Instead of just being a pop-punk band, Hayley Williams and co. are now playing with multiple genres. I appreciate the audacity, even if sometimes the experiments don?t always work. (Chan, please don't kill me...)

Black metal for people who don't like black metal. I'm not the biggest fan of black metal tho. "Dream House" is gorgeous.
33Queens of the Stone Age
...Like Clockwork

I want to love this album, and while the first half is chock full of memorable tunes, my attention starts to waver during the latter half. The production is not friendly to my eardrums, either, but then again, neither is any QotSA album (which makes it hard for me to like these guys in general).
Vengeance Falls

I was one of the few who really liked In Waves, and while this album isn?t quite as good as that one (nor is it their best), it still provides enough riffage and poppy choruses to make it one of the bands? better releases.
31The Color Morale
Know Hope

Above-average post-hardcore release.
Days Are Gone

The new Fleetwood Mac? No, not even close. But still a damn fine indie-pop album. Even my mom likes it.
29After the Burial
Wolves Within

Out of all the bands who overuse Axe FX these days, these guys seem to get it right. Catchy and fairly well-written, though the production needs proper balancing.
28Sleigh Bells
Bitter Rivals

Forget the blandness that was Reign of Terror. This is the album that should have been the follow-up to Rivals. Expands and experiments with their sound while keeping the ear-bleeding noise fans love to hear.
27Cut Copy
Free Your Mind

A fun throwback to the early 90's Madchester scene: think Primal Scream and The KLF sent through a 70's psychedelic processor and thrown in a vat of contemporary synthpop.
Surgical Steel

Now THIS is how you do a classic metal sound/comeback album. If this album only consisted of intro ?1985?, I would be just as happy...but then it proceeds to gut your ear canals and intestines for the entire rest of the record (in the best possible way).
25Until the Ribbon Breaks
A Taste of Silver

My indie find for the year. If you don?t listen to any other track on this album (and, trust me, they?re all good), at least check ?Perspective?. When dat beat drops, oh man. Props to a certain Mr. Robinson for alerting me ;)
24Sound City Players
Sound City: Real to Reel

Awesome to hear all these artists on one disc. While it?s unfortunate that Dave has to resort to the Loudness War when mastering a highly touted analog album like this, the music and passion still bleeds through.

One of the more enjoyable industrial rock albums as of late. Then again, I'm a fan of Disturbed, so I'll follow David Draiman wherever he goes.
22Scale the Summit
The Migration

Another fine instrumental release from the cream of the crop of modern progressive rock.
21The Dillinger Escape Plan
One of Us is the Killer

After coming back with the near math-terpiece (get it?) that was Option Paralysis, DEP combine all of their previous albums to create a summation of their sound. Great for newcomers getting into the band while serving up plenty for seasoned veterans.
20James Blake

Blake takes all that he learned from his debut, smooths out the edges and expands his sound to include hip-hop ("Take a Fall for Me") and gurgling industrial ambience ("Digital Lion") while simultaneously deepening his love for R&B, soul and of course dubstep. Overgrown? Try perfectly kept.
19How to Destroy Angels
Welcome Oblivion

Reznor's side project with his wife, Mariqueen Maandig, and studio collaborators Atticus Ross and Rob Sheridan goes further into chilly industrial beats and haunting vocals than NIN ever has.
18Childish Gambino
Because the Internet

No, seriously, read the screenplay attached to this thing. It all makes sense now. The album Yeezus wishes it was.
17Russian Circles

Atmospheric doesn't begin to describe this release. Epic in scope and the drumming in particular is exceptional. Like flying above mountainous wintry landscapes like those on the cover.
16The Joy Formidable
Wolf's Law

More massive-sounding than the first record, the instrumentation and vocals are suitably more grand as well.
15Steven Price

Rises and falls in dramatic intensity and pure dynamics like the debris storm that comes back to stalk Sandra Bullock again and again.
14Arcade Fire

An exploration of the current technological age,  a disco party inside the castles of Haiti, a love letter to indie rock. Bowie and Byrne would be proud.

A psychedelic head-trip. Some sonic fireworks going on here. Plus, who can resist "Your Life is a Lie?"
The Nexus

Very fun mix of power metal, melodic death and metalcore with synths and electro textures galore. Exceptionally clean production certainly doesn't hurt.
11Nine Inch Nails
Hesitation Marks

A comeback for Mr. Reznor after the ambient and alt rock excursions of his previous two records. At least as good as Year Zero, and similar in its tense electronic aesthetic.

Whoa, it seems like these guys came out of nowhere. Absolutely intense, a little harrowing and hopeful at the end. Just how I like my metal albums.
9Protest the Hero

Thought-prov0king lyrics and a sense of self-awareness guide PtH through some of their craziest musical passages and shredfests. This record is pure energy.
The Blackest Beautiful

More pop than Fake History, yet every bit as lethal. As mentioned before, the production needs some work, but that doesn?t deter from one of the best post- hardcore bands out there right now.
7Bring Me the Horizon

BMTH's new inclusion of keyboardist Jordan Fish and improved, more-pop influenced songwriting allows them to play with more spacious ambient arrangements, that is, until the guitars come crashing in and vocalist Oli Sykes screams his lungs out about depression and thoughts on religion. I'm excited to see where this band goes next.
Altered State

If anyone ever had any doubts about the validity of "djent" as a genre, this album will silence the naysayers. An emotional roller-coaster, to say the least.
The Mountain

Talk about mashing up styles to create something new. All hail the Cockroach King.
4Steven Wilson
The Raven That Refused to Sing

Wilson once again proves his mastery of musicianship and outside influences. The tracks here never feel as long as they are, making the songs propulsive and full of melancholic energy.
3Biffy Clyro

For the third album in a row, these guys have demonstrated prog songcraft in an alt-pop context.
2Justin Timberlake
The 20/20 Experience

Although the sequel fell a bit short of expectations, this is still the most daring pop album of the year. Flavorful production courtesy of Timbaland, longer track lengths that develop the beats and reveal new intricacies with each listen and Mr. Timberlake's swagger all combine into one cohesive piece of work. "Blue Ocean Floor" is simply beautiful.
1Daft Punk
Random Access Memories

Instead of embracing the samey textures of much of the EDM scene today, these two famous Frenchmen, with a host of collaborators,  reject big beats and over-the- top sonics in favor of subtle funk, disco, prog and old-school electro. The results are thrilling and dynamic (which also describes the sound engineering).
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