Best albums of 2013: 40–31

Before we reveal our 10 favourite albums of the year and everyone furiously agrees with our expert choices … here's our list from 40-31. Tune in tomorrow for 30-21

40 London Grammar – If You Wait

What we said: "Though London Grammar aren't the first act to replicate the xx's understated beats, the Nottingham-formed trio differ from their peers in employing a singer – Hannah Reid – who could be a British Stevie Nicks from the folk-rock scene of the mid-1970s. Theirs, then, is an unlikely mix of old and new and, while every single track on their debut album is beautifully constructed and impossible to dislike, it lacks the imperfections that excite."

Reading on mobile? Click to view London Grammar's Strong here

39 Ciara – Ciara

What we said: "Ciara has quietly built up a formidable discography, and this eponymous set maintains the high quality. The infinitely more successful Rihanna has occasionally mocked her underperforming rival; in light of their recent artistic output, it's hard not to feel that in a more just parallel universe, their careers would be exchanged."

38 King Krule – 6 Feet Beneath the Moon

What we said: "Like Adele, Marshall went to the Brit School, but it's not something you could hold against him because he probably knows a little too much about esoteric soundscaping for his own good. This strange and beguiling album is more about texture and space than traditional songcraft."

Reading on mobile? Click to view King Krule's Easy Easy here

37 Jon Hopkins – Immunity

What we said: "In eight vivid, atmospheric tracks, Immunity captures the feel of an epic night out. Hopkins's beats shuffle and trip but there is a great clarity of focus throughout, and a delicate beauty."

36 Hookworms – Pearl Mystic

What we said: "More than anything or anyone, they remind us of those late-80s purveyors of garage-infused drone-psych, Loop and Spacemen 3, as well as Pete Kember's Spectrum, Jason Pierce's Spiritualized, and early Verve."

35 Jessy Lanza – Pull My Hair Back

What we said: "Lanza's voice makes her sound sweet, but her lyrics undercut that – 'I don't give a fuck what you do,' she warns on the title track. She's compelling throughout, and has a diffident, aloof sexiness that makes the record intriguing and accessible."

Reading on mobile? Click to view Jessy Lanza's Kathy Lee here

34 Miley Cyrus – Bangerz

What we said: "For all the mash-ups, Bangerz feels stitched together in the dark, and the attention-seeking begins to grate. It might be a different story if many of the hip-hop- and R&B-inspired cuts were better. Love Money Party finds Cyrus rapping a series of non-sequitur buzzwords, gibberish loosely connected by a bit of production, driven by the inescapable purpose of Bangerz: a desire to wind people up for commercial, rather than transgressive, ends."

Reading on mobile? Click to view Miley Cyrus's We Can't Stop here

33 White Denim – Corsicana Lemonade

What we said: "Bands this proficient can easily end up making pointlessly masturbatory virtuoso-rock. Every rhythmic lurch and stylistic shift, though, remains in the service of the band's greater groove, giving these 10 tracks an ease that belies their ferocious complexity."

32 John Murry – The Graceless Age

What we said: "Through stories that are partly his own – the centrepiece, Little Colored Balloons, ends with Murry's overdose ('I took an ambulance ride – they said I should've died, right there on 16th and Mission') – Murry invests the South with a necromantic realism, where decay is the one constant, but he somehow avoids self-pity or lachrymosity. I don't expect to hear a better album this year."

31 Drake – Nothing Was the Same

What we said about Drake: "Of all the big pop stars, and he is certainly one, Drake does the best job of being all things to all men. He's a rapper and singer, a pedlar of both braggadoccio and melancholy, boy next door and baller, lover and womaniser, dork and hunk, Jewish and black. Fans find what they like in Drake, but his bundle of contrasts also seems authentic and, as a result, charismatic."

Reading on mobile? Click to view Drake's Hold On, We're Coming Home

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Best albums of 2013: 30-21

Welcome back, friends, to the list that never ends. It's time for the next instalment of our countdown of the year's best albums

Guardian music

05, Dec, 2013 @12:00 PM

Article image
The best albums of 2013: have your say

We'd like to hear your thoughts about the best music of the year

09, Dec, 2013 @3:36 PM

Article image
The best albums of 2013: No 1 – Yeezus by Kanye West

The album that won our poll of critics was also among the year's most divisive, as Kanye West set out to confront, not conciliate

Paul MacInnes

20, Dec, 2013 @7:30 AM

Article image
The best albums of 2013: No 4 – Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend

No more a novelty band, Vampire Weekend encountered and faced up to dread on their brilliant third album, writes Kitty Empire

Kitty Empire

17, Dec, 2013 @12:00 PM

Article image
The best albums of 2013: No 10 – m b v by My Bloody Valentine

The hype couldn't overshadow the return of My Bloody Valentine, more than 20 years after their last album

Nosheen Iqbal

09, Dec, 2013 @12:00 PM

Article image
The best albums of 2013: No 8 – John Wizards by John Wizards

A refugee and an advertising jingle writer came together in Cape Town to make a record that sounds like a series of dreams

Caspar Llewellyn Smith

11, Dec, 2013 @12:00 PM

Article image
The five best mixtapes of 2013

It's been a year of standout mixtapes in hip-hop and R&B – here are five of the best of them

Lanre Bakare

24, Dec, 2013 @11:00 AM

Article image
Best albums of 2013: 20-11

The countdown continues! How are you feeling? Nervous? Terrified? A bit disinterested but willing to take an active interest in case an album you hate made it into our list so you can tweet about it? Here's the next batch of names

Guardian music

06, Dec, 2013 @12:00 PM

Article image
The best albums of 2013: No 2 – Pale Green Ghosts by John Grant

Jude Rogers: John Grant changed his sound for his second album, but his soulful introspection remained

Jude Rogers

19, Dec, 2013 @12:00 PM

Article image
The best albums of 2013: No 5 – Overgrown by James Blake

James Blake's Mercury-winning second album was as much a folk or jazz record as it was a piece of electronic music

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

16, Dec, 2013 @12:00 PM