10 Best Comeback Albums of 2013
Don’t call it a comeback — call it ten of them! Every year has its share of artists making high-profile returns to the world of rock after some significant time away, and our 10 Best Comeback Albums of 2013 tally shows that the last 12 months were no different. From the fuzzed-up desert-rock crunch of Queens of the Stone Age’s ‘…Like Clockwork’ through to the sprawling shoegaze masterpiece that is My Bloody Valentine’s ‘MBV’ and everything in between, the following 10 recorded rejoinders remind us of all the great comebacks of 2013 — and whet our appetites for those that may follow in the next 12 months.
Queens of the Stone Age haven’t exactly been missing in action in the half-dozen years since they dropped their last album, 2007’s ‘Era Vulgaris.’ The band hit the road behind deluxe reissues of their ‘Rated R’ disc and their self-titled debut, but that didn’t make the wait any shorter for fans eagerly anticipating this year’s arrival of ‘…Like Clockwork.’ Josh Homme and the boys didn’t disappoint, delivering a twisted masterpiece that pushes the envelope while sounding strangely familiar.
My Bloody Valentine weren’t the only ’90s shoegazers to make an entirely unexpected return to the scene this year. Los Angeles noiseniks Medicine earned a spot on our Best Comebacks of 2013 list — and shocked loyal fans who had long given up hope of ever getting another aural fix — with ‘To the Happy Few,’ the first platter of new material from the band’s classic lineup since ‘Her Highness’ pierced eardrums in 1995.
Sottish alt-rock collective the Pastels issued four well-received albums over the course of a decade, winding down with 1997’s ‘Illumination’ before virtually disappearing from the scene (save for their 2003 soundtrack to David Mackenzie’s ‘The Last Great Wilderness’). Now they’re back with ‘Slow Summits,’ and its lead single, ‘Check My Heart,’ is music so stellar you can almost forget they ever went away.
‘Seasons of Your Day’
Has it really been nearly two decades since Mazzy Star unleashed their apparent swan song, 1996’s ‘Among My Swan?’ You’d be forgiven for not believing it after a few spins of their 2013 comeback, ‘Seasons of Your Day,’ a disc so faithful to the band’s ’90s output that it’s scary. It’s a good kind of scary, of course: Mazzy Star nailed their distinct brand of lysergic-dipped dream-pop so perfectly the first time around, why would they want to change it in the New Millennium?
A new release from glammy Britpop rockers Suede wasn’t exactly a shock to the system — after all, the band did get back together a few years ago to play some shows after nearly a decade apart — but it certainly was welcomed by diehard fans, who worship frontman Brett Anderson with fervor befitting of, well … a British pop star. The real shock was the raucous reaction to ‘Bloodsports’ from more mainstream audiences, who certainly didn’t get behind the band’s previous platter, 2002’s ‘A New Morning.’
Swedish duo the Knife were just three albums and five years into their recording career when they took a break following 2006’s ‘Silent Shout.’ Their sole release between that disc and this year’s ‘Shaking the Habitual’ was ‘Tomorrow, In a Year,’ a Danish opera based on, of all things, Charles Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species.’ But the time off only added to the anticipation for ‘Shaking,’ which arrived to widespread acclaim in April.
Only a band with the cult-like following of Boards of Canada can stir things up with a simple three-letter reply of “YES” to an online query about rumors of a new album. ‘Tomorrow’s Harvest’ arrived just a few months later and immediately wowed new and old fans of this Scottish electronica duo.
The top three spots on our 10 Best Comebacks of 2013 list could’ve played out in any order and still made sense, and in most any other year, Daft Punk issuing an album as massive as ‘Random Access Memory’ would have a virtual lock on No. 1. But the bronze showing here in no way suggests the French electronica duo fell short of expectations, as the crossover smash ‘Get Lucky’ is possibly the biggest track they’ve ever released.
Questions about when to expect new material from the Pixies have been dogging them ever since the indie legends reunited for a string of high-profile concerts all the way back in 2004. They’ve toured pretty steadily since, but nine years later, there was still no new music from the band. Then ‘EP-1′ finally dropped, and while it’s only four tracks, it’s a much-appreciated start. Who knows — they may finally be getting warmed up.
Twenty-two years after My Bloody Valentine released their near-mythical ‘Loveless’ album, hope of ever hearing a follow-up was all but lost. Sure, MBV mastermind Kevin Shields kicked off 2013 with claims that this would finally be the year, but similar promises in the past had never panned out. Then, pretty much out of nowhere, ‘MBV’ arrived on the first Saturday in February as a digital download that immediately became so sought after, it almost seemed to break the Internet. The reaction? Let’s just say it was worth the wait.