The Best Albums of 2013, #9

band01Sky Ferreira, Night Time, My Time

The smartest thing Sky Ferreira ever did, or Sky Ferreira’s people rather, was to get cozy with the Pitchfork crowd. After embracing pop music midway through the 2000s the tastemaker has developed a knack for championing top-notch pop that flies under the mainstream radar, and because of the website’s well-earned influence artists like Robyn, Charli XCX, and Icona Pop have enjoyed mainstream success after taking that road lesser travelled. In addition, Pitchfork loves to claim responsibility for making bands stars – note their continual fawning over Arcade Fire – so if one of their music picks blows up, it’s all the better for their brand. In the young Ferreira’s case, she doesn’t have the range nor the charisma to make a big splash taking the mainstream pop route, and there’s nothing the hipster crowd likes more than a great pop tune that people with actual lives have no idea exists, so it’s been a good marriage from the start when her early EPs made the rounds in 2011 and 2012. At long last her long-delayed full-length debut was released late this year, and it turned out to be a huge surprise, succeeding where overblown attempts at capital-A ART by Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, and Katy Perry all failed. What Ferreira lacks in delivery is more than made up in the quality of these 12 songs, which stomp ostentatiously, reminiscent of the ‘90s and shimmer like the glossiest ‘80s pop, yet boast a post-millennial edginess that you might not expect. “24 Hours”, “You’re Not the One”, “Heavy Metal Heart”, “Nobody Asked Me (If I was Okay)”, and “I Will” make big statements yet never feel overwhelmingly bombastic like most American pop today thanks to Ferreira’s icy, husky-voiced persona. Meanwhile tracks like “Boys”, “Omanko”, “Kristine”, and the brooding title track boast an experimental side that thinks outside the box a little more. With its Gaspar Noé-shot cover photo, the quality of the music, and her weirdly dysfunctional antics, there’s a definite air of coolness to Sky Ferreira, and you can’t help feel that she’s one cameo on Girls away from achieving a real breakthrough. Because that’s how it happens these days. And besides, great music should be for everyone, not just a select few.