2012 has definitely been an improvement over 2011, brilliant new talents have emerged like Michael Kiwanuka, Azealia Banks, Jessie Ware, Alt-J, Lana Del Rey and many others. 2013 is looking really promising with artists like Laura Mvula, Little Green Cars, AlunaGeorge, King Krule and Tom Odell. Starting with the worthy mentions, here is my selections of favourites for this year.
This album is thoroughly fantastic, classy and enjoyable. Through the Night didn’t set the world alight when it was released earlier this year, but I believe Harvieu is a talent to watch out for in the future. That voice. Although a great album, it did all sound pretty similar.
I really really really wanted to put this in my favourites list, I don’t think there’s one bad song on this amazing Mercury-nominated debut. Night Light, Running, Taking in Water, Strangest Feeling are stunning tracks. Tunes like ‘No To Love’ and ‘Still Love Me’ come across a bit aimless though, and sound like they’re on loop. 110% is an odd one too. Devotion is full of atmosphere and ambience, a true grower, but not quite a favourite.
B.O.B. – Strange Clouds
I really wasn’t bothered by his debut album ‘The Adventures of Bobby Ray’, but Strange Clouds is the bomb. Both of Us, Strange Clouds, Out of My Mind, So Hard to Breath and an intro that features Morgan Freeman, you can’t go wrong!
It’s a kick in the face on first listen, but the appeal wears off after a while.
A Thousand Suns was my first Linkin Park album, and although I’ve not taken the time yet to listen to their previous albums, I continue to love what they’re doing with Living Things.
Living Things is kick-ass, dynamic and hard-edged, but it fizzles out towards the end, minus Powerless.
I’m slowly turning into a big fan of Keys’ work, The Element of Freedom and now Girl on Fire, both containing two of my all-time fav tunes. Girl on Fire sees a turning point for Alicia sonically, she sounds more confident and assured.
There’s a balanced mix of ballads and punching hits, but a few of the ballads are a little too sentimental, and I’m really not a fan of single Girl on Fire. Especially the Nicki Minaj remix….. ick.
Alt-J – An Awesome Wave
I was recommended this album midway through the year, listened to it, loved it. Alt-J have crafted a seemless blend of organic and electronic. Layered, clever yet simple.
Fun. – Some Nights
Fun. have landed one of the biggest hits of the year with ‘We Are Young’ featuring Janelle Monae. Followed up by Some Nights and Carry on, album Some Nights is full of hits, and fun. Fun do what they’re called, fun.
The XX – Coexist
I did not predict this album to be in my favourites, in fact I wasn’t expecting to like it. I couldn’t grasp their minimalistic debut album, but I decided to give Coexist a chance. To my surprise I actually liked it, all of it! The more I’ve listened to it, the more I like it. It has this strange calming effect and a likeability that I can’t put my finger on.
I haven’t actually taken the time to listen to the Paradise Edition, but from January I had already decided Born to Die was one of my favourite albums of the year. Though practically every song is simple and a little nonsensical lyrically, she’s got this classy, spellbinding voice to make you believe otherwise.
I swear she is the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. Lost & Found is my favourite song of the year. Her voice is silky yet powerful, and she’s got guitar skills. Combo! Is Your Love Big Enough is Mercury-nominated and iTunes album of the year, and for good reason. It’s an incredible first album. Love big enough for Lianne? check.
I’ve had this on repeat, over and over and over. I can’t fault it. If I put my iPod on shuffle and a track from 1991 starts playing, I’m incapable of skipping it. Her rap flow is sick, the lyrics are clever and funny, the beats are pumping, it’s full of 90’s nostalgia. It’s bloody addictive.
JoJo – Agápē Mixtape
The mixtape came out this week and it’s already one of my favourite collections of music this year. More importantly, it’s from Jojo. Remember JoJo? She burst onto the scene in 2004 with “Leave (Get Out)”, scoring a top 10 hit internationally at just 13 years old. 8 years later, she’s still trying to score a 3rd album. Fed up of being messed around by crappy record labels, she took a bold step and released a free mixtape on the date of her birthday. Not only is it an authentic body of engaging, talented, interesting music 13 tracks long, but it’s free. I’m genuinely anticipating a new album from her, never thought I’d be saying that about JoJo. Here’s to a successful 2013.
K.Flay – Eyes Shut EP
I came across K.Flay when looking for a single of the week, I was scanning through new music on iTunes and found this heavy-hitting female rapper. What makes K.Flay interesting is her unconventional timing with the super cool production.
This year, I have two ultimate favourite songs of the year, one from Lianne La Havas and the other from Alicia Keys. I can’t really describe what I feel when I listen to Lost & Found, it goes deep and I relate to the lyrics. The painfully beautiful piano melody, the simple production. All of it. I melt. The rest of the songs aren’t in any order, but here is my top song of 2012, Lost & Found.
Lianne La Havas – Lost & Found
Alicia Keys – When It’s All Over
I love the meaning behind this song, such a beautiful notion with great lyrics. The production is amazing too, love that jazz band feel. Easily my favourite song from album ‘Girl on Fire. My 2nd favourite song of the year, When It’s All Over.
Missy Elliott – 9th Inning & Triple Threat
Azealia Banks – 1991
Scissor Sisters feat. Azealia Banks – Shady Love
Scissor Sisters best song in years, what a video.
Ellie Goulding – My Blood
Miike Snow – Bavarian #1
Laura Mvula – She
One to watch for 2013.
Bloc Party – Day Four
Jessie Ware – Taking In Water
Sneaky Sound System – Friends
Lana Del Rey – Born to Die
M.I.A. – Bad Girls
PSY – Gangnam Style
As if this wasn’t in here, amazing song, amazing video. Now over 1 billion views worldwide!
Nelly Furtado – Circles
FAVOURITE ARTIST OF 2012: Azealia Banks