Published Dec 19, 2013Here at Exclaim!, we spend all day every day scouring the corners of the music world for the latest news. Among the many artists we reported on in 2013, there were a few names that kept rising to the top — musicians who were a constant source of discussion, controversy and/or interest.
These aren't necessarily the best-liked artists, or even the most famous; rather, these are the ones who truly defined 2013. When we talked shop with our colleagues or discussed music with our non-industry friends, these are the folks that kept coming up in conversation over the last 12 months.
As we gear up for the news of 2014, let's take a look back at the year's biggest players. When you're done, check out the rest of our Year-End coverage in our 2013 in Lists section.
Top 10 Newsmakers of 2013:
10. Lauryn Hill
In 2012, Lauryn Hill pled guilty to tax evasion, but it wasn't until 2013 that the shit really hit the fan. We thought that she would be able to avoid jail time when she signed a deal with Sony in order to pay her taxes, but she ended up in the clink for three months nonetheless. Since being freed, she's given us a thank-you message and new material, and her song "Consumerism" shows that she's still as outspoken and uncompromising as ever.
9. FLAG/Black Flag
Black Flag earned a few groans around the water cooler early on in the year, as the legendary punk band announced that two separate lineups would be reuniting — one as Black Flag, as the other as FLAG. This, inevitably, led to a copyright infringement lawsuit, but things got downright silly when Black Flag had an ugly breakup with vocalist Ron Reyes just days before their comeback album, What The…, arrived in stores. The album got panned, but after all the messiness that preceded it, was anyone surprised? "What The…" is right.
Formers Smiths frontman Morrissey's year got off to a rocky start, as the singer cancelled tours due to chronic ill health, and his artistic output was overshadowed by his barbed political statements, his unflinching stance on animal rights and his feud with Jimmy Kimmel. Things began to turn around for him, however; he earned a ton of attention for his Autobiography, which hilariously came out on Penguin Classics in the UK. Throw in a live DVD, a Lou Reed-honouring single and some retrospective reissues, and you've got an extremely diverse and eventful year.
7. As I Lay Dying
One of 2013's most shocking stories occurred this spring when Tim Lambesis, frontman of Christian metalcore act As I Lay Dying, was arrested for allegedly attempting to hire an undercover cop posing as a hitman to kill his estranged wife. He pled not guilty, and reports have since suggested that Lambesis' steroid use may have been a factor. In November, it was reported that his wife is suing him for $2 million. We can't comment on what actually took place, but Lambesis has made (and retracted) a statement about the alleged incident.
6. Arcade Fire
For the most part, Arcade Fire's Reflektor was welcomed with open arms. With co-producer James Murphy in tow, they gave their sound a danceable makeover, and earned rave reviews in the process. The buzz soured somewhat when they asked fans to come to their shows in formal wear, but for the most part, the band remained our country's most beloved critical darlings. After all, the dress code is "super not mandatory."