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?
In the many casual conversations I’ve had with friends over wine this year, the one topic I found to be most challenging is convincing anyone that Tamar Braxton’s album is actually good value.
The majority of people I have spoken with have discounted her as being a desperate younger sibling, thirsty for a piece of her famous sister’s success. The ones who have watched Braxton Family Values (or at least seen Tamar’s animated gifs) struggled to take her seriously.
Love and War is a Trojan horse – a curious sight upon arrival and surprising in content. The most celebrated moments on this album remain with the mature R&B ballads that showcase Tamar’s expert vocal abilities. The project’s lead single ‘Love and War’ is a stunner: she lathers up a deep, brooding tone for the verses (as only a Braxton can) before letting rip a war cry in the chorus that snatches a hundred wigs per minute.
Watch the video for Tamar’s ‘Love and War’:
Elsewhere, ‘The One’ is an instant favourite, carted out on a beat that is a bubblegum throwback to 80s funk and hip hop. The sweet lyrics are enough to melt any hard candy heart and make you want to fall in love at Coney Island. Stylistically, ‘The One’ gives a respectful nod to early Mariah Carey records, when she started applying glossy diva vocals over hard-hitting hip hop beats.
The album is also punctuated by sizzling ratchet beats like ‘Hot Sugar’ and ‘Tip Toe’, which sound so wildly ridiculous when you’re skipping through from a string of ballads. But the duality between heartfelt, grown woman ballads and playful bangers is so indicative of the many sides of Tamar – trashy reality TV star and underrated singer.
R&B music made a strong mark on 2013 for me, particularly with new releases from a few key female artists who I am typically loyal to.
Tamar Braxton’s first album in 13 years Love and War caught me by surprise but one song in particular kept me thirsty for more with every listen.
‘The One’ is an instant favourite and unlike anything else on the album, it is carted out on a beat that sounds like a bubblegum throwback to 80s funk and hip hop. Stylistically, it gives a respectful nod to early Mariah Carey records, when she started applying glossy diva vocals over hard-hitting hip hop beats.
The sweet lyrics are enough to melt any hard candy heart and make you want to fall in love instantly – I know it did for me. Coming in at just under 2:55, it’s the perfect quick sugar fix.