There's a lot of focus lately on optimized experiences. We have movie services like Netflix that cater to our taste by making suggestions; music services like Pandora that seek to find music we'll like; and even tools like Songza that create playlists for certain moods and atmospheres. They're pretty convenient applications for finding new material, or finding that perfect tune for the moment. But if you don't want to rely on automated tools, here are a few picks of some of the best albums of 2013 for certain moods and activities.
Different people get pumped up in different ways, but all in all there's just no better option for a workout from this year's selection than Kanye West's "Yeezus." Sure, the album is out of this world weird, and a lot of people think Kanye might have gone too far with his "artistic" approach. But it's got a great mix of upbeat "pump-up" songs like "Black Skinhead," and flat-out weird tracks that, if nothing else, will distract you from your monotonous run or whatever workout you may be doing.
We all love a good album to throw on in the background while driving around town or taking off on a road trip. This year's best option is probably Daft Punk's "Random Access Memories." Truth be told, this album probably deserves more than your secondary attention while driving, but at the same time it manages to be engaging and entertaining without being distracting, which is great for your time behind the wheel. "Yeezus" will probably get you into a car crash - "RAM" will just provide some pleasant background.
For Online Gaming
Online gaming, for more and more people, is a pretty serious activity. For example, at the Betfair exchange site, users can get involved in everything from video poker to live online games with real money on the line. In short, it's a real casino experience, in addition to an increasingly popular leisure activity. So, if you want music on, you'll want something relaxing. Try Jack Johnson's brand new "From Here To Now To You." Despite the painfully awkward title, the album is more of the same from Johnson, providing soothing, cheesy but pleasant music great to put you in a focused mood.
For General Enjoyment
Specific activities aside, sometimes you're just in the mood for a great album, and this year there are two that stand out in particular. If you just want to throw on some good tunes, check out Vampire Weekend's "Modern Vampires Of The City," or The National's "Trouble Will Find Me." Both are shockingly good releases from bands we weren't sure were going much than they'd already gone.