This has been a tradition since the land before time and Snapchat. While I’ve taken a long break from pop music blogging (the commentary still very much lives on in Twitter), I’m usually tempted to come back to this increasingly unfamiliar Wordpress interface every year and rank, hyperlink and embed my personal favourite tracks of the last 12 months. This year for the first time, I will be blogging with emojis. #downwiththekids
I imagine it’d be nice to scroll back through the passage of time one day to see that once upon a time, Carly Rae Jepsen overtook Robyn as the gays’ new queen of Bubbling Under pop. Once upon a time, Halsey was the flavour of the moment. Popstar of the Future Troye Sivan made an album (how traditional!). They sent troops to Syria but couldn’t extract a record from MKS. Nobody has time for the games Rihanna‘s playing anymore. And two unfuckwithable singer-songwriters in their 20s called Adele and Taylor Swift scrapped everyone’s life force with their massive-selling, Spotify-shunning, numerically titled albums. And where you were when you heard Zayn had left 1D?
Never mind. Here are 30 songs that I really, really liked this year.
Spoiler alert: At some point you might say, this list is really crap. Why isn’t Lana on here?
‘Salute’ is the champion track fans have been nagging Little Mix to release ever since their second album of the same name landed.
The girls go one step further and draft a whole new single mix that adds more emphasis on the original stomping R&B beat.
Stylistically, ‘Salute’ fits the clique of Little Mix’s uptempos. You can hear the late 90s or early millennium pop/R&B persuasion, and the girls’ signature vocal harmonies are never far from the focal point. What’s new about this particular single is the girls’ assertive delivery.
The all-important first single for Little Mix’s new album was always going to be make or break. After successfully letting the world in on their brand of harmony-driven pop, what’s next?
Will they simply replicate the sound of their global hit ‘Wings’ or dare they push for something a little different? We know it’s a fine line between maintaining a consistent sound and doing something fresh, and ‘Move’ is the perfect example of one that walks the tightrope well.
Everything that made ‘Move’ appear to be an odd choice for a first single is what justifies its place: the rhythmic tongue-clicking, the beat that takes its time to build up, the way the first chorus discreetly slides in without you even knowing, and the fact that it’s a ridiculously infectious dance song without being of the ‘dance genre’ variety the mainstream audience expects.
Just like it was when ‘Wings’ and ‘How You Doin’?’ dropped, ‘Move’ sounds like nothing that is on the charts at the moment. By taking this risk and watching it pay off, Little Mix continues to strengthen their reputation as reliable purveyors of pop that step outside the norm.
People often step to me and say, ‘Limmy, it must be so hard deciding your Top 10 songs of the year. I mean, gurl, you listen to so much shit.’ I then pat their head gently with all the love and sagely kindness of Yoda and say, ‘A Top 10 song you will know, when you hear’.
And usually that’s not just with one listen. It’s with multiple listens – over and over – everywhere you go. You start making up situations in your daily life so you can mention the song to a friend or quote its lyrics on Twitter. You sneak it into mixtapes for friends and in multiple playlists. You get really fucking upset when people rubbish it or clearly haven’t watched the video for it even though you’ve posted it on their Facebook wall, like, a thousand times this week.
So having said that, my Top 10 songs of 2012 are actually pretty obvious to people who know me. Unlike the albums of the year countdown where there were a few outer-pop forays, this countdown is a no-brainer.
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.
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:
I left y’all scratching at the post a little last week because I took my ass on a little vacaycay to Brisbane.
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 Swift, Calvin Harris, Little Mix, Of Monsters and Men, The Wanted, and to a certain extent, Christina Aguilera. SAY!
Pull up a seat. The beginning of what’s set to be Taylor Swift‘s global chart massacre has begun.
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.