10 incredible alternative albums that turn 10 in 2023
2013 was a monumental year in pop culture, to say the least. Internet and meme culture was starting to peak, with doge images and “Harlem Shake” videos dominating every feed of social media platforms that were just starting to boom, and sites like Tumblr and Wattpad became a breeding ground for an army of unshakeable fandom communities.
In music, especially, the year couldn’t have been more of a game-changer. As 2000s bubblegum pop, the rise of gloomy nü metal, and mid-00s pop punk all cooled off, the early 2010s geared up to launch a major era in indie, rock, and pop, with a handful of new stars rising and releasing iconic albums in their discographies. Since 2023 has arrived, you’ll be excited and surprised to know (and maybe feel the weight of time’s passing) that many incredible albums are turning 10 this year. Take a trip down memory lane with us, as we reflect on a handful of alternative records that are celebrating that milestone anniversary this year.
The 1975 – The 1975 (released Sept. 2, 2013)
If you could summarize 2013 and 2014 in one album for indie and alternative fans, it would be the 1975’s self-titled release. The snazzy indie-pop album was a ballpark debut for the British group, with tracks like “Girls,” “Sex,” and “Chocolate” becoming legacies that still hold a precious place amongst the fandom. Matty Healy’s tongue-in-cheek personality was (and still is) insatiable.
Arctic Monkeys – AM (released Sept. 9, 2013)
It’s impossible to talk about music in the early 2010s without mentioning AM. 2006’s Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not and 2007’s Favourite Worst Nightmare may have put the UK’s Arctic Monkeys on the map, but AM found them in a sweet spot of appealing to commercial radio and casual listeners who weren’t total indie heads. Never throughout the record, though, do they stray far from their authentic, vivacious personality. In 2023, it still holds up as one of their most celebrated releases.
Bring Me the Horizon – Sempiternal (released April 2, 2013)
The fourth studio album from Sheffield’s Bring Me the Horizon was perhaps their most polarizing, yet necessary addition to their discography at that time. Slowly trickling away from their metal roots with each release, their 2010 album There Is a Hell Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is a Heaven Let’s Keep It a Secret left a window of opportunity for influences outside of heavy music. With the addition of Jordan Fish on keys, Sempiternal created a beautiful fusion between poppy choruses and chugging, riffed-up verses that were palatable enough for the non-metal listeners, but still paid homage to their heavier influences. An album that would launch them into global success and one that still returns to the charts because of its versatility, few bands can say their work holds up like this one does a decade on.
Fall Out Boy – Save Rock And Roll (released April 12, 2013)
These days, it can feel like a band reunites every other month, but in 2013, there was a sweeping excitement and gravitas when Fall Out Boy announced they were coming back together. Save Rock And Roll was a success, as fans were desperate for any drop of new music from the group they could get. Still, FOB didn’t fall into any cliches on their comeback. In fact, from “Phoenix” to “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up),” the band pulled out all stops possible to extend beyond the idea of their “pop-punk” legacy and create a music playing field that didn’t hold any limitations. If anything, this album proved that Fall Out Boy wasn’t just back, they were even better than you could ever imagine.
Letlive – The Blackest Beautiful (released July 9, 2013)
Though only a decade ago, early 2010s pop culture struggled to celebrate inclusivity and diversity when it came to rock and heavy music. In 2013, though, Letlive’s The Blackest Beautiful was a rare, stand-out work, that is still long overdue for its flowers and praises. From “Banshee (Ghost Fame)” to “White America’s Beautiful Black Market,” it was a raw, unapologetic look at the experiences of Black men in America — and a refreshing release at a time when most major rock and metal bands featured white men.
Lorde – Pure Heroine (released September 27, 2013)
Sad, gloomy pop wouldn’t know its great heights if not for Lorde’s Pure Heroine. At only 19, the New Zealand-born singer-songwriter launched into astronomical success with her debut album. With Lorde’s thoughtful lyrics about the doldrums of adolescence, the mainstream caught onto just how powerful of a songwriter a teenage girl could be, and very online teens with a sense of ennui crowned their favorite new star.
The Neighbourhood – I Love You. (released April 22, 2013)
The success of this album for LA’s the Neighbourhoud can’t be overstated, especially when you take into account that it was their debut and it landed them opening for Imagine Dragons, playing Coachella, and eventually a Platinum RIAA certification. The Neighbourhood triumphed 2013 with I Love You. — an album that, similar to Lorde and the 1975’s records, became adopted by the misguided youth of the internet, who appraised this release for its edgy, Tumblr-core poeticism of songs like “Sweater Weather” and “W.D.Y.W.F.M?.”
Paramore – Paramore (released April 5, 2013)
“If there’s a future, we want it now!” Paramore’s self-titled release is perhaps one of the more overlooked albums in their discography, but it’s an underrated gem in a near flawless catalogue. Another pop-leaning triumph for 2013, this album arguably became the precursor for their 2017 hit After Laughter, balancing that dredging nihilism with poppy, vivacious tracks.
Sky Ferreira – Night Time, My Time (released Oct. 29, 2013)
When Sky Ferreira’s debut album finally reached record stores and streaming services, it had already put up quite a fight. After funding cuts in 2011, it would be two more years and an album name change before the world was finally gifted Night Time, My Time. Soft, dazzling synth-pop cascades over the influences of ’80s and ’90s grunge, creating a breathtaking collision of the singer’s angelic vocals and gritty, brash guitars. One could argue Ferreira was the first to nail this sonically, setting a precedent for other alt-pop artists to follow.
Twenty One Pilots – Vessel (released January 8, 2013)
Their first album released under a major label, Vessel will always feel like a triumphant win for Twenty One Pilots. Through and through, the album encompasses what is best loved about the Ohio-bred duo: their unapologetic honesty. Vessel does an astounding job of creating a home within its lyrics, with hits like “Car Radio” and “Guns for Hands” weighing deep on the heart strings. Though they’d be destined for even greater success with Blurryface, Vessel solidified the band’s global hype.