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2013: Pop Music Hits and Losses


Kanye West performing at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards in New York City last August.

Kanye West performing at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards in New York City last August.


Welcome to American Mosaic from VO Learning English. I'm Katherine Cole.

We play music every week on this show, but we still can’t report on all the albums released or all the artists who produce good work in one year. So, here is Jim Bertel with our 2013 issue of “Music We Missed.”

We reported on Lorde, the 16 year old sensation from New Zealand.
Lorde performs at the Shrine Auditorium last month in Los Angeles, California.

Lorde performs at the Shrine Auditorium last month in Los Angeles, California.


We also told you about Vampire Weekend’s “Modern Vampires in the City,” and Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories.” Both albums are at the top of several 2013 best albums lists. This year, we played new country star Kacey Musgraves, established country star Keith Urban, and remembered artists who died in 2013 -- including jazz great George Duke and rock legend Lou Reed.

But we did not play music from one of the biggest albums of the year -- “Yeezus” by Kanye West. It went to the top of music charts in thirty countries, including the United States. It went gold within two months of its release, meaning it sold half-a-million copies.

Kanye West had a big year personally as well -- he became a father when reality star Kim Kardashian gave birth in June to a baby boy they named North. The two became engaged a few months later.

Right now the artist is facing some legal action in connection with “Yeezus.” His song “Bound 2” contains some singing by Ricky Spicer. Mr. Spicer recorded “Bound” with the group Ponderosa Twins Plus One around 1970 when he was just 12 years old. He says Mr. West sampled, or used parts of, his work without permission.

Singer-songwriter Janelle Monae released her second studio album this year. “Electric Lady” can also be found on many 2013 favorites lists. It continues the “Metropolis” story, a series of musical works expected to take place in seven parts.
Janelle Monae released her second studio album, 'Electric Lady,' in 2013.

Janelle Monae released her second studio album, 'Electric Lady,' in 2013.


Here is Janelle Monae with the album’s title track.

Finally, we play The National. The five member band has been recording since 2001 and has released six studio albums.

Their 2013 album is called “Trouble Will Find Me.”

We leave you with The National performing “This Is The Last Time” from the album “Trouble Will Find Me.”

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