Top 10 CDs of 2013

1. “Beyonce” by Beyonce (Columbia) – Some years I have months to absorb my favorite CD of the year. Not this year. Released on Dec. 13 with no advance publicity, Beyonce’s latest is filled with songs that will be hits in 2014. The music is sexy and the lyrics are frank enough to make Barry White blush.

2. “Pushin’ Against a Stone” by Valerie June (Concord) – My favorite CD of the year, until Dec. 13, and maybe it will hold up better than Beyonce’s disc in the long run. Memphis-based June sounds like an Appalachian Macy Gray on one song, a ’60s girls group on another and Allison Kruass on another. Rock-solid stuff.

3. “Fossils” by Aoife O’Donovan (Yep Roc) – A former member of the neo-bluegrass band Crooked Still, O’Donovan sings a bit like Shawn Colvin, but has a much broader stylistic reach.

4. “The Civil Wars” by The Civil Wars (Sensibility Recordings/Columbia Records) – The second CD by the alt-folk duo might be its last. Months before this gem was released, singer-songwriters Joy Williams and John Paul White announced the act was going on hiatus, citing “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition.”

5. “El Valiente” by Pinata Protest (Saustex Media) – This San Antonio quartet is a Tex-Mex version of the Pogues.

6. “Massachusetts” by Lori McKenna (Hoodie Songs / Liz Rose Music) – One of the strongest works yet, which is saying something, by this Stoughton, Mass., singer-songwriter, who mixes some country twang into her contemporary folk songs.

7. “Adrian Younge Presents the Delfonics” by the Delfonics and Adrian Younge (Wax Poetics) – You probably haven’t heard anything from the Delfonics since their 1970 Top 10 hit, “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time).” Composer-producer Adrian Younge worked with original Delfonic William Hart to create a retro-soul classic.

8. “American Love” by Bad Rabbits (Bad Records) – Retro-funk from a Boston band whose lyrics could make Beyonce blush.

9. “An Appointment With Mr. Yeats” by the Waterboys (Proper American) – Setting the poetry of William Butler Yeats to Celtic-folk/rock could be a recipe for disaster. Instead it’s the best album by Mike Scott since the Waterboys’ “Fisherman’s Blues” was released in 1988.

10. “Among the Grey” by Cheyenne Mize (Yep Roc) – Rounding out the Top 10 with a little Siouxsie Sioux here, a little Bat for Lashes there and a whole lot of spacy folk-rock.

Honorable mention: “AM” by Arctic Monkeys; “Nomad” by Bombino; “Old”by Danny Brown; “The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You” by Neko Case; “Monomania” by Deerhunter; “Slow Focus” by the Fuck Buttons; “Same Trailer, Different Park” by Kacey Musgraves; “Silence Yourself” by Savages; “Doris” by Earl Sweatshirt; “Cerulean Salt” by Waxahatchee; “Dig Thy Savage Soul” by Barrence Whitfield and the Savages; and “Yeezus” by Kanye West

Favorite songs: “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk; “Q.U.E.E.N.” by Janelle Monae (w/ Erykah Badu); “Pretty Saro” by Bob Dylan; “Drunk In Love” by Beyonce; “Salt” by Lori McKenna; “Brainfreeze” by the Fuck Buttons; “Hudson” by Vampire Weekend; “Mercy” by TV on the Radio; “Invisible” by Steve Earle; and “Man” by Neko Case

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