Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Stephen Thompson's Top 10 Albums Of 2013

Kacey Musgraves.
Courtesy of the artist
Kacey Musgraves.

The same caveats apply to every individual writer's year-end Top 10 list: This is one person's favorite albums of 2013, based on one highly individualized set of tastes, level of desire to reflect the culture at large, life circumstances and genre preferences, as well as mood swings and a capricious nature, complicated further by an intricately nested bundle of personality disorders.

For this particular writer, the best albums of 2013 stood as album-length statements rather than mere collections of good songs. Each captured a powerful songwriting voice and, just as important, a central philosophy: Moving and smart, the records below have clearly defined reasons to exist. They say something meaningful about the people who made them. And, more to the point, I simply love them — and have played them over and over again, even as deadlines loomed and other, newer material beckoned.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)