Exactly a year ago, we declared 2012 the Year of the EP, and the trendlet is going strong through another four seasons. Because while big-ticket pop albums left us feeling empty for the past 12 months, 2013 boasted a wealth of small treasures in the form of expertly crafted EPs and mixtapes.
Our 10 favorites from 2013 comprise stunning new singers arriving on the scene fully formed, a pair of unorthodox young rappers marking their territory, the effortless return of Norwegian pop darling Annie and the reemergence of Cassie. A large chunk of the list is made up of debuts, but all 10 entries were statement releases that found the artist establishing or bolstering an identity.
Below, in no particular order, find the 10 best EPs and mixtapes of the year, as chosen by Idolator’s five editors.
Annie – The A&R EP
What an exquisite late summer treat Annie
and Richard X
‘s The A&R EP
turned out to be. This collaborative effort’s five early ’90s house-leaning tracks proved that sometimes you don’t have to shoot for overblown art in order to achieve catchy pop. From the bouncy “Back Together”
to the whimsical “Hold On” to the dreamy “Ralph Macchio,” The A&R EP
is neat, tidy and utterly perfect. If only all releases were this good. — ROBBIE DAW
BANKS – London EP
In many ways, 2013 was a big win for fans of alt-R&B
. One of the most intriguing acts leading the movement? BANKS
, an L.A.-based singer-songwriter with an affinity for downtempo beats. Her London
EP is an exquisite thing, showcasing BANKS’ featherlight vocals on heartbreaking, moody cuts like “This Is What It Feels Like”
and “Waiting Game.”
It earned her an opening spot on The Weeknd’s tour
, plenty of critical acclaim and a solid launching pad for her upcoming debut LP in 2014. — BRADLEY STERN