Feed Limmy Albums of 2012: #30 – #21

The basic reality about 2012 for pop music is that there hasn’t been that many really good albums this year. But before you check me for grasping at 20 or so very short straws, I’m gonna say that this Top 30 is actually the best indication of the variety of music I have really enjoyed this year.

FEEDLIMMY TOP 30 ALBUMS OF 2012

Even though pop continues to dominate a good deal of my aural persuasion, the last 12 months have left me thirsty for different kind of beats, different styles and characters.

Getting my ass on Spotify and discovering new artists I normally wouldn’t have come across has been really instrumental in broadening my tastes, which was kinda a little mission of mine when I put the blog on hiatus a few months ago.

Well. Now that I’ve cleared the room of all One Direction and Calvin Harris fans. Let’s go check out my Top 30 albums of 2012, starting from #30 to #21 this week:

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Chart Feed – 12.11.12

I left y’all scratching at the post a little last week because I took my ass on a little vacaycay to Brisbane.

Chart Feed

Bitch, you should’ve seen me lounging on the beach in an island that was practically deserted on a Monday arvo. I was having a Mariah moment frolicking in the sand, trying to look cute for my Instagram photos. But hey, I am back now and here comes your chart feed – which might cover some things I didn’t get to touch on last week.

This has been a good week for Robbie Williams who scored his first simulatenous UK #1 album-and-single action in 11 years. Elsewhere, the following chart showboaters can’t complain either: Taylor SwiftCalvin Harris, Little Mix, Of Monsters and Men, The Wanted, and to a certain extent, Christina Aguilera. SAY!

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Chart Feed – 29.10.12

Pull up a seat. The beginning of what’s set to be Taylor Swift‘s global chart massacre has begun.

Chart Feed

The young country superstar has made clear she’s a force to be reckoned with on the Australian, UK and New Zealand album charts this week with her newest offering Red debuting straight at #1 in these territories. Check out the damage after the jump.

Elsewhere, it’s been a good week for Brandy, Mika, Labrinth and Emeli Sandé, Kelly Clarkson and – heck – even Girls Aloud is back on the charts.

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Chart Feed – 22.10.12

Well this is a really good value Chart Feed compilation, I have to say. Well, as good as it can be without Girls Aloud and Brandy to really discuss, of course. So until then, you just have to deal.

CHARTFEED

This has been a good week for our Aussie pop prince Guy Sebastian and songbird Delta Goodrem, new girlband sensation Little Mix and triumphantly, Taylor Swift matches Adele‘s US digital song chart record.

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Brandy “Two Eleven” Album Review

Just between us gurls – can I just say how glad I am that I didn’t review this album when it first leaked last Friday night?

BRANDY TWO ELEVEN REVIEW

My exclusive Two Eleven listening party of one in bed with a bottle of wine was an experience I’d rather forget. Even as a long time Brandy fan, I found this new album to be her most inaccessible work yet.

Those waiting on the sidelines with baited breath for a second helping of B-Rocka‘s slayfest radio-ready hits like ‘What About Us?’ and ‘Right Here (Departed)’ need to remain seated.

Two Eleven is very much an album designed to be consumed as an entity rather than an incoherent smattering of random styles that buck to familiar flavours of the moment.

Its subversive beauty – and the sole reason why I’m even bothering with this review today – didn’t take long to emerge once you put aside your preconceived notions.

The soundscape we’re traversing here is a slick fusion of futuristic hip hop beats with pure grown ass woman soul. It’s a modern combination that is its own identity, that is tailored to Brandy, and one that puts nothing above her signature vocals and multi-tiered harmonies.



The ice-cool mid tempo ‘Slower’, which was hemmed by M.I.A.‘s producer Switch, is an immediate winner. It’s a Chris Brown contribution that hears B-Rocka swiftly manoeuvre between smooth soulful verses to rapid-fire spoken word rap hooks.

Worshippers of Brandy‘s 2002 opus Full Moon would probably immediately match ‘Slower’ to some of its slicker album tracks like ‘All in Me’ and ‘Anybody’. [Side bar: that album was the soundtrack of my high school years and it remains one of my all time faves.]

Sean Garrett, who has written countless blockbuster hits for Beyoncé, contributes several standouts to Two Eleven – including the current single ‘Wildest Dreams’, a soulful ballad about finally experiencing love that is too good to be true.

“It’s hard to hold back tears whenever you hold me close. I think about the years I spent saying this is all I want. Just wanted someone real to love me for me, me… just Brandy.”

This sentiment and cautious approach to love is a theme firmly threaded through Two Eleven, when it’s done right – the honest lyricism here recalls the greatness of Brandy‘s last critically acclaimed album Afrodisiac.



Elsewhere, ‘No Such Thing As Too Late’ – a nocturnal slow jam penned by Rico Love and Jim Jonsin – hears the 33-year old diva talk about not rushing into something serious. While the pleading ‘Without You’ reveals a woman struggling to overcome trust issues in a new relationship.

“Somewhere along the line I lost my way and I made you pay for the mistakes he made… it’s not fair to take it out on you. I’m done hanging my baggage all over your head.”

Some divisive stylistic risks were taken on Two Eleven that probably would have worked if the songs itself were stronger.

A-list urban producer Bangladesh (who is responsible for bangers like Beyoncé‘s ‘Diva’ and Rihanna‘s ‘Cockiness’) became the swag enabler on the record – pushing Brandy into a new, hip hop intensive direction with ‘Put It Down’ (featuring Chris Brown), which ended up becoming her first US R&B Top 10 hit in over a decade.

Further down, the messy ‘Let Me Go’ – which samples Lykke Li‘s ‘Tonight’ – feels like a poorly executed attempt at being edgy. What with lyrics mentioning about Brandy‘s mum on Twitter? Gurl.

Despite the range of popular and prolific producers masterminding Two Eleven, every track feels like it was designed with a shared vision and with Brandy‘s performance as a priority.

You could not imagine there being another artist in the game right now even coming close to canvassing the complex vocal extravaganza showcased here.

The title Two Eleven is a reference to Brandy‘s birthday (11 February), which she treats as a symbolic reminder of growth with every year, but also – perhaps just as significantly – the date is also a nod to the day her idol and mentor Whitney Houston died this year.

With ‘growth’ being the operative word at every stage of Brandy‘s staggered discography, I honestly hope she doesn’t take another four years to produce another album.

I kinda feel like I’m ready for an anthemic, more uplifting album from Brandy now. Y’know, something like the commercially poo poo-ed Human, but with the musical innovation of this album?

Perhaps something that feels less like it needs to prove a point and just delivers music as an accessible soundtrack to our lives. Because I know next time I get behind the pulpit and preach ‘Brandy‘s back‘, I want to have all ears and eyes in the room.

Footnotes:

Brandy‘s Two Eleven hits Australian shelves on Friday 19 October.

The album was launched everywhere else on Monday 15 October and swiftly scaled to #1 on the US iTunes R&B/Soul album chart and #2 on iTunes Top Albums chart.

Chart Feed – 01.10.12

“Oppa gangnam style!” *drops the beat*

CHART FEED

You know when your parents start to recognise a internet viral music video that it’s well and truly time for everyone else to move on.

It has been a tremendous week for K-pop sensation PSY‘s ‘Gangnam Style’, not only is it officially the most ‘liked’ video in the history of the internet – the track has also successfully topped the Australian and UK charts to become the first Korean pop single to do so.

Its crossover chart success in the Western market is just mind-blowing, no doubt bringing a whole lot of national pride for South Koreans everywhere.

Elsewhere, it has also been a great week for Pink, Mumford and Sons, Conor Maynard, Brandy and Christina “I think you already know my weight!” Aguilera.

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Chart Feed – 24.09.12

We’ve seen the charts light up like it was Christmas this month, thanks to the heavy flow of new albums taking over the shelves.

CHART FEED

For only the second time in history, the entire top six spots on the US Billboard 200 are filled with debut entries. Here in Australia, we have eight new albums scaling our ARIA Top 20, while over in the UK, they have six.

Y’all can obviously expect for it to get even more competitive in the coming months as all the strong sellers come out to play for your seasonal spendings.

This has been a good week for Pink, The Killers, Carly Rae Jepsen, Kanye West and – definitely more than ever – PSY, the K-pop icon responsible for ‘Gangnam Style’.

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