Thursday, 26 May 2016

Tunes I'm currently loving // 2016 // Volume 5

1. Douwe Bob - Jacob's Song
2. Delta Goodrem - Dear Life
3. Sigma feat Take That - Cry
4. The Flavor - Shosholoza
5. Jamala - 1944
6. Beyoncé - Hold Up
7. Craig David - One More Time
8. Calvin Harris feat Rihanna - This Is What You Came For
9. Justin Timberlake - Can't Stop The Feeling!
10. Ariana Grande - Into You
11. Salt Ashes - Save It
12. Christina Stürmer - Seite An Seite
13. DNCE - Cake By The Ocean
14. Drake feat Wizkid & Kyla - One Dance
15. Kungs & Cookin' On 3 Burners - This Girl
16. Dua Lipa - Hotter Than Hell
17. Måns Zelmerlöw - Fire In The Rain
18. Pink - Just Like Fire
19. Pet Shop Boys - Twenty-Something
20. Era Istrefi - Bonbon

Fresh from representing The Netherlands at Eurovision earlier this month with Slow Down, Douwe Bob also recently released his new album, Fool Bar, and from that is the gorgeous ballad Jacob's Song, which would have almost made for a more interesting entry, apart from the fact that it's more than five minutes long. Every minute is a stunner though, this track sounds like an instant classic.

Following last year's spectacular Wings, the brilliant Delta Goodrem returns with another great single, the beautiful and relateable string-laden ballad Dear Life, which has given the Australian star yet another top three hit in her home country. 

Dance entries this month come from Calvin Harris and Rihanna, with their latest excellent collaboration This Is What You Came For, Sigma and Take That with their unexpected but catchy new single Cry, Kungs & Cookin' On 3 Burners with their huge international house hit This Girl, The Flavor with the infectious tribal dance of Shosholoza, which harks back to the uplifting sounds of Dario G's Sunchyme and Colour The World by Sash!

Ukraine's Jamala took home the Eurovision trophy with the politically charged 1944. Despite topping neither the public vote or the jury vote, Ukraine were the most consistent overall and won with the Eastern meets trip-hop inspired track. And from one of the best albums of the year, Hold Up seems to be one of the most popular songs from Beyoncé's Lemonade, and it's not difficult to see why, it's rather excellent with an effective sample. And Craig David returns with One More Time, his third UK garage throwback in little under six months.

Elsewhere in the top 20 are strong new singles from Justin Timberlake, Pink, Pet Shop Boys, Salt Ashes, Dua Lipa and Ariana Grande as well as Drake's huge smash One Dance, DNCE's catchy Maroon 5-esque hit Cake By The Ocean, Albanian singer Era Istrefi's European hit Bonbon, Måns Zelmerlöw's latest single, Fire In The Rain, and Austrian singer Christina Stürmer's ballad Seite An Seite.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Tunes I'm currently loving // 2016 // Volume 4

1. Sigala feat John Newman & Nile Rodgers - Give Me Your Love
2. The Strumbellas - Spirits
3. K3 - 10.000 Luchtballonnen
4. KOLAJ - The Touch
5. All Saints - This Is A War
6. ROMANS feat Rejjie Snow - Prisoner
7. Greta Salome - Hear Them Calling
8. Francesca Michielin - No Degree Of Separation
9. Zoe - Loin D'ici
10. Florence Welch - When In Disgrace With Fortune And Men's Eyes
11. Douwe Bob - Slow Down
12. Tom Odell - Magnetised
13. Lauren Aquilina - Kicks
14. Little Mix feat Sean Paul - Hair
15. Justs - Heartbeat
16. Margaret - Cool Me Down
17. gnash feat olivia o'brien - i hate u i love u
18. Galantis - No Money
19. GFriend - Rough
20. BB Diamond - Feeling

Many of the songs I'm currently loving at the moment are the same as those on last month's list, so instead of retreading those again, here are 20 tracks I'm loving that are newer or still rising in my affections. 

UK dance act Sigala has struck gold with three UK top five hits in a row and his fourth single will hopefully be another major hit. Give Me Your Love, which features John Newman and Nile Rodgers is an uplifiting sun drenched summer anthem in waiting with a great chord progression.

Canadian indie group The Strumbellas have been charting in their home country for a few weeks now with the melodic Spirits, which sounds like a happier Lumineers record. If UK radio take to this I could easily see it being a huge future hit. Dutch/Belgian girlband K3 have had a recent member refresh and continue to unleash modern schlager gems...10.000 Luchtballonnen is a joyously cheesy turn of the century pop anthem with a melody that recalls Nik Kershaw's The Riddle. The UK takes itself far too seriously these days to listen to music like this anymore but thank god for mainland Europe still lapping this stuff up.

LA-based blog friendly pop act KOLAJ have just released The Touch, an excellent song that starts off mellow and folky and ends up as a full blown club banger. Following on from the sublime One Strike, the second single from the fantastic new All Saints album is This Is A War, which could well have been the follow up to Black Coffee it sounds so 2000-esque. Another killer chorus, stellar harmonies and top quality production make this song yet another reason why the group's comeback is so welcome.

Other great pop songs here include a handful of Eurovision entries that continue to grow on me including Iceland's Greta Salome with the dramatic and folky Hear Them Calling, Austria's Zoe with the charming French pop anthem Loin D'ici, Latvia's Justs with the cool and atmospheric Heartbeats, Douwe Bob from The Netherlands with the country pop strummer Slow Down and Italy's Francesca Michielin with the classy ballad No Degree Of Separation. Also here is Poland's Margaret with the Zara Larsson-esque Cool Me Down, which was in the running for Eurovision but madly not chosen by Poland.

Non-Eurovision pop includes Hair, the latest single from Little Mix, now featuring additional contribution from Sean Paul, who seems to be popping up everywhere again at the moment. Essex-based singer BB Diamond is already showing potential with the brilliant piano house pop of Feeling while South Korean girlband Gfriend's Rough is a string laden K-Pop belter.

Otherwise unmentioned are the current Australian #1, the ballad duet i hate u i love u by gnash (his lower case styling, not mine!), Tom Odell's excellent new single Magnetised, Lauren Aquilina's Taylor/Carly-esque Kicks and Florence Welch's When In Disgrace With Fortune And Men's Eyes, a medieval sounding beauty taken from Rufus Wainwright's latest project, a tribute to Shakespeare. Swedish dance act Galantis return with the catchy No Money while underrated British singer/songwriter ROMANS' collaboration with Irish rapper Rejjie Snow is almost a modern day garage anthem which features excellent vocals, an earworm of a chorus and top draw production. In the hands of Sam Smith the track would be a major hit, so hopefully ROMANS will get his chance too some day soon.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Tunes I'm currently loving // 2016 // Volume 3

1. Poli Genova - If Love Was A Crime 
2. All Saints - One Strike 
3. Frans - If I Were Sorry 
4. SaRaha - Kizunguzungu 
5. Ira Losco - Walk On Water 
6. Great Good Fine Ok - Already Love 
7. Frances - Don't Worry About Me 
8. All Saints - One Woman Man 
9. Joe & Jake - You're Not Alone 
10. Sia feat Sean Paul - Cheap Thrills 
11. Martin Garrix feat John & Michel - Now That I've Found You 
12. Mike Posner - I Took A Pill In Ibiza (SeeB Remix) 
13. Kaliopi - Dona 
14. Blonde & Craig David - Nothing Like This 
15. Amaryllis - Kick The Habit 
16. Amir - Jai Cherché 
17. Tinie Tempah feat Zara Larsson - Girls Like 
18. Birdy - Beautiful Lies 
19. Elliphant feat Skrillex - Spoon Me 
20. Agnete - Icebreaker

Bulgaria are not exactly well known for incredible Eurovision entries, their best for me being 2007's Water by Elitsa & Stoyan. However, that track is rather blown out of the water by 2011 entrant Poli Genova's second contest outing. If Love Was A Crime is a great contemporary piano and sax-based pop track that sounds like a lost Scandipop classic, yet with an added sprinkling of the Bulgarian language in the chorus. Fantastic and my favourite entry of this year as it currently stands.

Also representing Eurovision in this top 20 are Sweden's Melodifestivalen winner, the divisive If I Were Sorry by Frans - a Swedish take on the acoustic pop sound currently popular thanks to the likes of Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes. He's amongst the favourites to win and the track has already charted in a few countries. It's love/hate, but I'm leaning towards the former, it's an earworm. Meanwhile, Malta's fantastic Ira Losco finally returns after 14 years with the Sigma/Rudimental-esque Walk On Water, the UK have for once got a decent entry of our own in Joe & Jake's One Direction-esque You're Not Alone and Macedonia have delivered their best entry in years in the form of the dramatic Dona by returning Kaliopi.

France have got a brilliant entry this year courtesy of Amir with Jai Cherché while Norway have caused a stir by delivering a 2-in-1 sort of song, where brilliant verses and an anthemic chorus collide, despite not really suiting each other. Neverthless, the end result of Agnete's Icebreaker is enjoyable. Onto the songs that were in the running but didn't make it to the contest, unknown SaRaha delivered a Melodifestivalen highlight in the joyous tribal pop form of Kizunguzungu while Belgium threw away something really rather interesting in Kick The Habit by Amaryllis.

Outside of Eurovision, the fantastic British/Canadian girl group All Saints have launched another stellar comeback, with two great tracks already; One Strike and One Woman Army. Classy as hell, it's the classic All Saints sound of the Saints and Sinners mould but brought bang up to date in a subtle way. American duo Great Good Fine Ok's Already Love meanwhile sounds like a lost Blue classic from 2002, if they'd recorded electronic music at the time, right from the intro through to the Lee Ryan-esque falsetto in the catchy chorus. Rising young talent Frances has released some great tracks already but she's unleashed her best yet with Don't Worry About Me, which sounds like an instant classic of a piano ballad, really stunning

Otherwise unmentioned are Sia's smash hit Cheap Thrills, the single version of which features an effective refrain from Sean Paul, Mike Posner's infectious current UK No.1 I Took A Pill In Ibiza (SeeB Remix), Blonde and Craig David's throwback collaboration Nothing Like This, sounding like another lost classic from 2000, and Tinie Tempah's collaboration with Swedish starlet Zara Larsson, Girls Like. Meanwhile, Birdy has delivered a rather brilliant third album in Beautiful Lies and the title track is indeed beautiful. Swedish singer Elliphant's Spoon Me is both effortlessly cool and catchy, thanks in no small part to production touches from Skrillex. And sounding straight out of early 2014, I still love Martin Garrix and John Martin and hence their collaboration with Michel, Now That I've Found You, is very much up my street.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Tunes I'm currently loving // 2016 // Volume 2

Time for the second 2016 installment of 20 great songs that I'm currently loving, hope you find some new favourites amongst this lot.

1. Pixie Paris - Es Rappelt Im Karton

2. Lukas Graham - 7 Years
3. Honey Ryder - Years From Now
4. The Corrs - I Do What I Like
5. Robin Bengtsson - Constellation Prize
6. TheFatRat feat Laura Brehm - Monody
7. Wiktoria - Save Me
8. David Lindgren - We Are Your Tomorrow
9. Charly Cole - February 29 (Marry Me)
10. Sia - Move Your Body
11. Rihanna feat Drake - Work
12. Stereoact feat Kerstin Ott - Die Immer Lacht
13. Charlotte Perrelli - Här Står Jag
14. Pet Shop Boys - The Pop Kids
15. Ace Wilder - Don't Worry
16. Neele Ternes - Dad
17. Sigala feat Imani & DJ Fresh - Say You Do
18. Barei - Say Yay!
19. Walk The Moon - Work This Body
20. Rat Boy - Move

German duo Pixie Paris first released Es Rappelt Im Karton in 2014 but the infectious pop/dance song, a sort of cross between The Ting Tings and We No Speak Americano, has only recently come to my attention. Despite being sung in German, the vocals are delivered in a style that makes it sound French, and no language barrier can deny the infectious 'ton ton ton ton ton' hook.

Sweden's always fantastic Eurovision national final Melodifestivalen has returned and five related songs are already good enough to make it into this list. Robin Bengtsson's Constellation Prize has an unforgettable harmonica hook and sounds like an international hit, Ace Wilder's Don't Worry is like a lost Livin' Joy classic from 1996, Wiktoria's folky pop song Save Me is really charming and David Lindgren's We Are Your Tomorrow sounds like Axwell & Ingrosso's Sun Is Shining but is instantly his most anthemic song to date. Meanwhile, one of the guest performances, Charlotte Perrelli's ode to schlager divas, Här Står Jag, is a cover of Helene Fischer's brilliant Atemlos Durch Die Nacht, which stays true to the original and is therefore completely excellent.

The current UK No.1, Danish act Lukas Graham's 7 Years, is very lyrically unusual for a chart single so completely stands out. I first heard it in the middle of last year but it's continued to rise in my affections ever since, a great theatrical sounding pop song with lush instrumentation and it's always good to see a Scandinavian act conquering the world. Another current global hit here is Rihanna and Drake's Work, which continues to worm its way into my head despite rather subtle production. Sigala's new single, the Mariah Carey sampling tropical house stunner Say You Do, is sure to be a future UK smash, to follow up the No.1 Easy Love and top three hit Sweet Lovin'.

For the Radio 2 fans, Honey Ryder's cover of Dr Hook's Years From Now is really beautiful and boasts a stunning violin section while Sharon Corr adds her own trademark violin touches to the new single by The Corrs, I Do What I Like. The track opened their fantastic tour last month and is probably their danciest single since the Todd Terry remix of Dreams, which hit the UK top ten in 1998. Meanwhile, emerging US country-pop starlet Charly Cole's new single, the aptly titled (for a leap year) Marry Me (February 29) has one of the most instant choruses I've heard in a while.

Otherwise unmentioned are celtic dance beauty Monody by TheFatRat, Sia's Move Your Body, a complete banger that Shakira ludicrously rejected for her last album, Neele Ternes' touching ballad Dad, Spain's fun Eurovision entry Say Yay! by Barei, rising Essex indie star Rat Boy with Move and Work This Body, another great single (and video) from US alternative pop act Walk The Moon. Meanwhile, Pet Shop Boys have returned with their finest lead single since Love Etc, The Pop Kids would have been a huge hit for them in 1993, but still sounds just as fresh and appealing in 2016 with a great story to tell and a spoken word section that reminds me of Saint Etienne's fantastic Over The Border.

Finally, something a bit different, a schlager influenced German language deep house song, Die Immer Lacht by Stereoact feat Kerstin Ott, which is the latest folky song to be transformed into a house smash by a German producer.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Tunes I'm currently loving // 2016 // Volume 1

As a new feature for 2016, instead of posting a weekly top ten, every few weeks or so I will post a list of my favourite songs of the previous few weeks, with a bit of blurb about why I'm loving them. Enough great songs have come to my attention over the past three weeks or so to justify the first installment of 2016, so here it is:

1. Pegboard Nerds - Emoji
2. EFF - Stimme
3. Alan Walker - Faded
4. Craig David & Big Narstie - When the Bassline Drops
5. Matt Simons - Catch & Release (Deepend Remix)
6. Little Mix feat Jason Derulo - Secret Love Song
7. The Corrs - White Light
8. The Corrs - Stay
9. Glasperlenspiel - Geiles Leben (Madizin Single Mix)
10. Tobtok feat River - Fast Car
11. 99 Souls feat Destiny's Child & Brandy - The Girl Is Mine
12. Danny L Harle - Broken Flowers
13. Sia - Reaper
14. Birdy - Keeping Your Head Up
15. Jess & Matt - Nothing Matters
16. David Bowie - Lazarus
17. Walk The Moon - Different Colors (Lost Kings Remix)
18. Rachel Platten - Stand By You
19. Sander van Doorn & MOTi - Lost
20. Zara Larsson - Lush Life

Danish dubstep act Pegboard Nerds have been entertaining me for the best part of five years now but Emoji is their best yet, and the video is really genius, bringing everyday objects to life. I'm quite surprised the video hasn't become a viral hit but then dubstep hasn't been in vogue for around five years so perhaps no real surprise.

Other fantastic dance tunes around at the moment include German language gems Stimme by EFF (a duo comprising of Felix Jaehn and Mark Forster) and Geiles Leben by Glasperlenspiel, UK garage legend Craig David's brilliant retro-infused gem When The Bassline Drops, the Lost Kings remix of Walk The Moon's Different Colors, the Deepend remix of originally acoustic song Catch & Release by singer-songwriter Matt Simons, Sander Van Doorn & MOTi's Lost and Norwegian DJ Alan Walker's stunning Faded.

Of the older tunes recently brought bang up to date, 99 Souls' mash-up of Destiny's Child's Girl and Brandy & Monica's The Boy Is Mine continues to be utter genuius while Tobtok's tropical house cover of Tracy Chapman's Fast Car is to my ears more enjoyable and interesting than the more popular Jonas Blue cover which is currently smashing in various countries.

The Corrs are still hanging around in my affections with the fantastic album tracks White Light and Stay while other MOR pop comes from Rachel Platten's uplifting Stand By You, Birdy's Keeping Your Head Up and Little Mix's latest single Secret Love Song - their third really excellent single in a row.

Otherwise unmentioned are Swedish singer Zara Larsson's Rihanna-esque jam Lush Life, the late and great David Bowie's haunting but genius new single Lazarus, Australian duo Jess & Matt's Nothing Matters, Sia's Reaper - the latest (and perhaps for me greatest so far) new track from her upcoming new album This Is Acting, and Danny L Harle's genius PC music track Broken Flowers, which features a fantastic video set inside a commercial printer's factory.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Top 100 songs of 2015

100. The Corrs - Ellis Island
99. Sigala feat Bryn Christopher - Sweet Lovin'
98. The Corrs - Gerry's Reel
97. The Common Linnets - Proud
96. Guy Sebastian - Tonight Again
95. Rihanna, Kanye West & Paul McCartney - FourFiveSeconds
94. Otto Knows - Next To Me
93. The Arrows - Next Time
92. Lauren Aquilina - Time To Say Goodbye
91. Major Lazer feat MØ & DJ Snake - Lean On
90. Pegboard Nerds - Emoji
89. Years & Years - Eyes Shut
88. Omi - Cheerleader
87. Sheppard - Be More Barrio
86. Justin Bieber - What Do You Mean?
85. Isa - Don't Stop
84. Lost Frequencies - Are You With Me
83. Susanne Sundfør - Delirious
82. Samir & Viktor - Groupie
81. Kylie Minogue & Dannii Minogue - 100 Degrees
80. Alex Adair - Heaven
79. Mura Masa feat Shura - Love for That
78. Take That - Hey Boy
77. Taylor Swift - Blank Space
76. Kelly Clarkson - Heartbeat Song
75. Years & Years - King
74. Carly Rae Jepsen - I Really Like You
73. Fritz Kalkbrenner - Void
72. Paper Route - You and I
71. Paulini - By My Side
70. Delta Goodrem - You And You Alone
69. Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott - The Austerity of Love
68. Avicii - Waiting For Love
67. Madonna - Living For Love
66. Tina & Rene - Mi Amore
65. Galantis - Runaway (U & I)
64. Dolly Style - Hello Hi
63. Sigala - Easy Love
62. Zedd feat Troye Sivan - Papercut
61. Timo Odv feat Sarah Jackson - Save Me
60. High Dive Heart - Vintage
59. Lost Frequencies - Reality
58. Electro Velvet - Still in Love with You
57. Loreen - Paper Light (Higher)
56. Walk The Moon - Different Colors (Lost Kings Remix)
55. Loreen - I'm In It With You
54. Emmelie de Forest - Hopscotch
53. Birdy - Wings
52. Mariette - Don't Stop Believing
51. Nádine - Skildery
50. Kadebostany - Castle In the Snow
49. Mika - No Place In Heaven
48. Mørland & Debrah Scarlett - A Monster Like Me
47. The Common Linnets - We Don't Make The Wind Blow
46. Carly Rae Jepsen - Run Away With Me
45. Flo Rida - Once In a Lifetime
44. The Corrs - I Do What I Like
43. Philip George & Anton Powers - Alone No More
42. Grace feat G-Eazy - You Don't Own Me
41. Courtney Barnett - Debbie Downer
40. Justin Bieber - Sorry
39. Courtney Barnett - Pedestrian At Best
38. Jess Glynne feat Emeli Sandé - Saddest Vanilla
37. Ciara - I Bet
36. Andy Duguid feat Jaren - 7Even
35. The Veronicas - If You Love Someone
34. Truls - Circles
33. The Arrows - Pilgrimage
32. LunchMoney Lewis - Bills
31. Little Mix - Love Me Like You
30. Halleluwah - Dior
29. Polina Gagarina - A Million Voices
28. Wrabel - I Want You
27. Ulf Nilsson - Little By Little (Lulleaux & George Whyman Remix)
26. One More Time - Highland
25. The Corrs - Stay
24. Rachel Platten - Stand By You
23. Delta Goodrem - Only Human
22. Axwell Λ Ingrosso - Sun Is Shining
21. Jamie Lawson - Wasn't Expecting That
20. The Rua - I'm Okay
19. The Corrs - Harmony
18. Tove Styrke - Ego
17. Adele - Hello
16. AronChupa - I'm an Albatraoz
15. Mark Ronson feat Bruno Mars - Uptown Funk
14. Little Mix - Black Magic
13. Jess Glynne - Hold My Hand
12. Elina Born & Stig Rästa - Goodbye To Yesterday
11. The Corrs - White Light
10. Fleur East - Sax
9. Galantis - Peanut Butter Jelly
8. Rachel Platten - Fight Song
7. The Rua - Fight for What's Right
6. The Corrs - Bring On The Night
5. Mura Masa feat Nao - Firefly
4. Walk The Moon - Shut Up and Dance
3. Ellie Goulding - Love Me Like You Do
2. Delta Goodrem - Wings
1. Måns Zelmerlöw - Heroes

For the second time in four years, the winner of Melodifestivalen and Eurovision tops my end of year chart. Having always been my favourite Swedish male artist, I was very pleased to hear Måns Zelmerlöw was taking part once again. And though the quality of Melodifestivalen was already quite decent this year, I was still very much waiting for a 'moment' and I knew that it had arrived when I heard the short preview of Heroes.

Abandoning the boring sound of previous album The Barcelona Sessions, this was Måns back on top pop form and to his very best with something of a tribute to David Guetta's Lovers On The Sun but with a much more triumphant melody and more charisma than that and a really stunning stage performance. 

It won Melodifestivalen quite easily and Måns then also swept to victory at Eurovision and returned the contest in very short order back to Sweden, while the song was a huge hit across Europe.

Elsewhere in my top five of the year are Delta Goodrem's Wings, a stunning return to form for my favourite artist - who it was incredible to see live and meet her this year, Ellie Goulding's power ballad from the 50 Shades Of Grey soundtrack, Love Me Like You Do, Walk The Moon's 80s-influenced indie-pop anthem Shut Up and Dance and Firefly, a stunning dance track by Mura Masa and Nao - watch out for big things from both of these artists in 2016.

UK No.1 hits in my top 40 of the year, besides Love Me Like You Do, include Rachel Platten's Fight Song (#8), Jess Glynne's Hold My Hand (#13), Little Mix's Black Magic (#14), Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars' Uptown Funk (#15), Adele's Hello (#17) and Justin Bieber's Sorry (#40).

Top 40 albums of 2015

40. Alesso – Forever
39. Jamie Lawson - Jamie Lawson
38. Carrie Underwood – Storyteller
37. Susanne Sundfør - Ten Love Songs
36. Walk The Moon – Talking Is Hard
35. Closer to Heaven (Original Cast Recording)
34. Galantis - Pharmacy
33. Marina and the Diamonds – FROOT
32. Zedd - True Colors
31. Lucie Silvas – Letters To Ghosts
30. Texas – Texas 25
29. Nerina Pallot - The Sound And The Fury
28. Tove Lo - Queen Of The Clouds
27. Disclosure - Caracal
26. Fleur East - Love, Sax And Flashbacks
25. Leona Lewis - I Am
24. Måns Zelmerlöw - Perfectly Damaged
23. Kelly Clarkson – Piece By Piece
22. S Club 7 - Best: The Greatest Hits
21. Take That - III
20. Sheppard - Bombs Away
19. Taylor Swift - 1989
18. Kylie Minogue - Kylie Christmas
17. Avicii - Stories
16. Little Mix - Get Weird
15. Years & Years - Communion
14. Florence + The Machine - How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
13. The Veronicas - The Veronicas
12. Adele - 25
11. Madonna - Rebel Heart


10. Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

Highlights: Pedestrian At Best, Debbie Downer, Nobody Really Cares If You Don't Go To The Party, Depreston, Elevator Operator

9. Ellie Goulding - Delirium

Highlights: Love Me Like You Do, Something In The Way You Move, Lost and Found, Aftertaste, Keep On Dancin, Codes, Army

8. The Common Linnets - II

Highlights: We Don't Make The Wind Blow, Proud, Hearts On Fire, Dust Of Oklahoma, Runaway Man, That Part, As If Only, Days Of Endless Time, Soho Waltz

7. Tove Styrke - Kiddo

Highlights: Ego, Borderline, Even If I'm Loud It Doesn't Mean I'm Talking to You, Snaren, Burn, Walking A Line, Number One, Decay

6. Mika - No Place In Heaven

Highlights: No Place In Heaven, Talk About You, All She Wants, Good Guys, Oh Girl You're The Devil, Last Party

5. Jess Glynne – I Cry When I Laugh

Highlights: Hold My Hand, Real Love, Rather Be, My Love, Take Me Home, Don't Be So Hard On Yourself, Saddest Vanilla, Ain't Got Far To Go

4. The Rua - Essence

Highlights: Fight For What's Right, I'm Okay, Without You, Reflections, Hear Them Calling, Stand Out, As Good As It Gets

3. Rae Morris – Unguarded

Highlights: Don't Go, Cold, Do You Even Know, Closer, Love Again, Unguarded, Grow, Morne Fortuné, This Time, Under The Shadows

2. Carly Rae Jepsen – Emotion

Highlights: Run Away With Me, I Really Like You, Making The Most Of The Night, I Didn't Just Come Here To Dance, Your Type, All That, When I Needed You, LA Hallucinations

1. The Corrs - White Light

Highlights: Bring On The Night, White Light, Harmony, Stay, I Do What I Like, Ellis Island, Gerry's Reel, Unconditional, Strange Romance, Kiss Of Life


A solid year for albums, with some really great comebacks and follow ups. The top ten kicks off with Australian indie darling Courtney Barnett, who is an absolute genuis, both lyrically and musically and her voice is so unique. This album is a lot of fun, very oddball and different to anything else out there at the moment.

Ellie Goulding's Delirium is a really solid and enjoyable effort, if a little too long if you bought the deluxe version like I did (then again even the standard is 16 tracks...). But there's an incredibly brilliant 12 tracker in there which is a worthy follow up to her predecessors. Sure it's a lot more poppy and commercial than she's been before but then I always preferred Bright Lights and Halcyon Days to Lights and Halcyon personally so this is sort of the record I always hoped she'd make.

The Common Linnets continue on top form with a second excellent album in as many years. I saw the Dutch country band live last October and they played almost the whole of this album as new songs at the gig so I already knew it was going to be great. The melodies and harmonies are so on point once again, even if the highlights aren't as high as those on the debut.

Swedish singer Tove Styrke first really impressed me in 2010 with the epic White Light Moment but the parent album didn't hit me as much because it was a little patchy. Tove has abandoned singing anything from that debut these days, which is a great shame for fans of White Light Moment and Call My Name but she equally hasn't disappointed with her new material. Again, I saw most of it previewed live at a gig last year so I knew it would be great, but the album certainly delivered, and then some. Classic melodic Tove is still here in Ego and more beat-driven Tove is evident on the rest of the album, but when the songs are as infectious as Borderline, I'm sold.

Mika has been a firm favourite of mine since 2007. His sound never evolves but because there's nobody else out there like him, it doesn't really need to, he fills a quirky theatrical pop niche very well. The highlights from No Place In Heaven are up there with anything from his debut and I'm pleased that Europe continue to support him so he can keep making stuff like this on a decent budget.

Jess Glynne's debut album is more like a greatest hits of the past two years, certainly if you've got the deluxe edition which features about five UK #1 singles. Her brand of string laden disco pop married with her distinct vocals stand out in the current market and it's easy to see why she's so well liked.

A trio made up of siblings, The Rua have obvious comparisons to The Corrs, and I think that's a big reason as to why I like them so much. Their debut album Essence actually came out last year but passed me by at the time. Fight For What's Right and I'm Okay would be huge Heart FM smashes, and the other highlights are just as packed with melody and brilliant violin sections.

Another very long awaited debut album was Unguarded by Rae Morris. I've loved her since I first heard Don't Go back in 2012 and have been waiting for this album ever since! Three years and various EPs later, I'd already heard the vast majority of the songs on it by the time of release and it was like another greatest hits set, but it didn't really matter as Rae has perfected her craft over the years and the likes of Cold and Do You Even Know? show how far she's come since Don't Go, which has been remixed for the album (and again since for a single release). Like much of my top ten, this is an album that deserved far more commercial success.

Kiss, an 80s-inspired bubblegum pop effort made my top ten albums of 2012 for Canadian singer Carly Rae Jepsen and I don't think I expected her new album to live up to that, let alone be far far better, after first single I Really Like You suggested it would be more of the same. But Emotion is a much more mature and well rounded album, with tighter production and bigger melodies, and taking inspiration from a different side of 80s pop music. Its one of those very few albums where I could remember nearly every track by memory after just one listen, it sounds like smash after smash after smash, yet the album didn't smash. 

In Taylor Swift's hands this would have been one of the biggest albums of the decade, and rightfully so, but due to Carly's apparent inability to sell albums it completely flopped, and can now be filed next to the likes of Rachel Stevens' Come and Get It forever more as an example of high quality and undeserved flop pop that we can all refer to for years to come.

My favourite album of the year by some stretch though is one that only recently came out, White Light, the new album by The Corrs. By far my favourite ever band, I've been waiting for this since 2004's incredible Borrowed Heaven and I certainly wasn't disappointed. Andrea, Sharon, Caroline and Jim stepped back out last month with this release after apparently not aging a day in the past ten years and delivered something spectacular.

I really hadn't imagined this album would be so great, but one listen through reminded me of exactly why they remain my favourite band. From the traditional Irish songs - Gerry's Reel, Stay, Harmony and Ellis Island - to the gorgeous lead single Bring On The Night, the drama of White Light and the dance effort I Do What I Like, nearly everything on here is perfect. Another surprise is Unconditional, which is close to the new wave sound of Taylor Swift's Style and One Direction's Perfect, keeping the band very current sounding and up to date. This album has been well worth the wait.