2013 album of the year

My favourite album of 2013 is…

1. Franz Ferdinand - Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action

Hey, remember that Franz Ferdinand released an album this year? Did you get round to listening to it, or were you busy listening to labelmates Arctic Monkeys (good but not great) AM?

Looking at most end-of-year lists - both amongst music fans and retailer’s sales figures - Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action is notably absent. A decade after the debut that swept away all before it, the world collectively shrugged its shoulders at Franz’s fourth release. The music press weren’t sure how to approach it - is it a ‘return to form’? Or ‘more of the same’? Have they gone electric or dance or trance or dubstep? How can a ten year old band be relevant when there’s some new Witch House esque sub genre waiting to be discovered somewhere?

To those who not only cherished Franz Ferdinand on its original release but continue to cherish it, Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action is a continuation of the classic Franz sound and style. Catchy, dancey guitar lines, knowing lyrics, clever sequencing, and brilliant production. It is, in every sense, a classic pop album that more than deserves the mantle of the very best album of 2013.

There are so many stand out moments that it is difficult to pick a single one as a highlight. Is it the reverb on the voice on ‘Evil Eye’? The great lyric on ‘The Universe Expanded’? The three minute thrash of ‘Bullet’? The ‘Stereotypes’-esque ‘Brief Encounters’? It’s such a rich record that every track - almost every moment - is worthy of an essay in itself.

This, you may have noticed, is an article littered with questions. I’m floored by this album but listening to it makes me question why it has been so totally ignored. Tastes change, sure, but there’s always usually an audience for big thrashy clever guitar-led pop. Franz stand alone on that mantle right now; they have no real peers to speak of. Arctic Monkeys are ploughing their own interesting little furrow, sure, but their spartan production and slower pace of songs don’t have the same party atmosphere and sense of euphoria that Right Thoughts has by the bucketload. Is it me? Am I getting old? Is this the start of The Decline??

Existential crises aside, a great album is a great album. Right Thoughts is a phenomenal work that has continued to delight every single week since its release. Mass appreciation or not, it’s a hell of an achievement for a band in their eleventh year to sound so fresh and so alive. If you love honest, simple guitar pop, you’ll most definitely find a home here.

The top ten albums of 2013:

1 - Franz Ferdinand - Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action

2 - Haiku Salut - Tricolore

3 - Parquet Courts - Light Up Gold

4 - Hookworms - Pearl Mystic

5 - Public Service Broadcasting - Inform - Educate - Entertain

6 - Kishi Bashi - 151a

7 - Daft Punk - Random Access Memories

8 - Malcolm Middleton - 5:14 Fluoxytine Seagull Alcohol John Nicotine

9 - Cults - Static

10 - Honey Ltd - The Complete LHI Recordings