Monday, 31 December 2012

Top 100 songs of 2012!

As promised, with a few hours of 2012 left to go, here are my favourite 100 songs of the year!

100. Flo Rida feat Sia - Wild Ones
99. Tone Damli - Look Back
98. One Direction - One Thing
97. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Only In My Dreams
96. Whigfield - As I Go
95. Alanis Morrissette - Guardian
94. Nelly Furtado - Big Hoops (Bigger The Better)
93. Pastora Soler - Quédate Conmigo
92. Rihanna - Diamonds
91. Rumer - P.F. Sloan
90. Avicii feat Salem Al Fakir - Silhouettes
89. Darin - Nobody Knows
88. Delta Goodrem - Uncovered
87. Calvin Harris feat Tinie Tempah - Drinking From The Bottle
86. Rihanna feat Mikky Ekko - Stay
85. One Direction - Little Things
84. Nora Foss Al-Jabri - Somewhere Beautiful
83. Loreen - Crying Out Your Name
82. Nina Zilli - L'Amore E' Femmina
81. Emeli Sandé - Next To Me
80. Calvin Harris feat Ne-Yo - Let's Go
79. Usher - Climax
78. Brooke Duff - Till The End
77. Kylie Minogue - Timebomb
76. Timoteij - Stormande Hav
75. Jessie Ware - Night Light
74. Lana Del Rey - Born To Die
73. Mando Diao - Strövtåg I Hembygden
72. Katy Perry - Wide Awake
71. Marigold - You & I Know
70. Ria - The One
69. Adele - Skyfall
68. Elisa's - Linjen I Min Hand
67. Jenny Langlo - Million Dollar Signs
66. Minnie-Oh - You & I
65. Frida Amundsen - Rush
64. Petra Marklund - Handerna Mot Himlen
63. Tooji - Stay
62. Jennifer Lopez feat Pitbull - Dance Again
61. Olly Murs feat Flo Rida - Troublemaker
60. Florence + The Machine - Spectrum (Say My Name) (Calvin Harris Remix)
59. Gossling - Wild Love
58. Gusttavo Lima - Balada (Tchê Tcherere Tchê Tchê)
57. Still Corners - Fireflies
56. Of Monsters & Men - Little Talks
55. Girls Aloud - Beautiful Cause You Love Me
54. Christina Aguilera - Your Body
53. Freja Loeb - Never Stop Coming Back
52. The Justice Collective - He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother
51. Nicki Minaj - Starships
50. Nicki Minaj - Pound The Alarm
49. Train - 50 Ways To Say Goodbye
48. Little Mix - Wings
47. Charlotte Perrelli - The Girl
46. Ivi Adamou - La La Love
45. No Doubt - Settle Down
44. fun. feat Janelle Monae - We Are Young
43. Engelbert Humperdinck - Love Will Set You Free
42. Laleh - Some Die Young
41. One Direction - I Would
40. Nádine - I Will Be Strong
39. Steps - Light Up The World
38. Mr Little Jeans - Runaway
37. Michel Teló - Ai Se Eu Te Pego (Nossa Nossa)
36. Taylor Swift - I Knew You Were Trouble.
35. Kelly Clarkson - Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)
34. Loreen - My Heart Is Refusing Me
33. Skylar Grey feat Eminem - C'mon Let Me Ride
32. David Guetta feat Sia - She Wolf (Falling To Pieces)
31. Cheryl - Call My Name
30. Robbie Williams - Candy
29. Cover Drive - Twilight
28. Chris Brown - Don't Wake Me Up
27. Saint Etienne - Over The Border
26. Mandinga - Zaleilah
25. Sam & The Womp - Bom Bom
24. Labrinth feat Emeli Sandé - Beneath Your Beautiful
23. Christina Aguilera feat Blake Shelton - Just A Fool
22. Delta Goodrem - Dancing With A Broken Heart
21. Danny Saucedo - Amazing
20. Maroon 5 feat Wiz Khalifa - Payphone
19. Björn Ranelid feat Sara Li - Mirakel
18. Whigfield - 4Ever
17. Haloo Helsinki! - Maailman Toisella Puolen
16. PSY - Gangnam Style
15. Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe
14. Agnes - One Last Time
13. Girls Aloud - Something New
12. Delta Goodrem - Sitting On Top Of The World
11. ATB feat Ramona Nerra - Never Give Up
10. David Guetta feat Sia - Titanium
9. Swedish House Mafia feat John Martin - Don't You Worry Child
8. Prance Faris - Flares
7. Delta Goodrem - Wish You Were Here
6. Taylor Swift - We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
5. Rae Morris - Don't Go
4. Gotye feat Kimbra - Somebody That I Used To Know
3. Delta Goodrem - Hunters And The Wolves
2. Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen - Good Time
1. Loreen - Euphoria

Words will fail to express how much I love Euphoria but I'll give it a go. Pre-Euphoria I was a bit of a Loreen doubter, I liked both My Heart Is Refusing Me and Sober, but both had felt slightly unsubstantial in some way, I sensed that Loreen had more to give, she seemed like such a unique performer. Fast forward to Melodifestivalen 2012 and the fact that she'd decided to return already suggested that she knew she'd found something good, a reason worth coming back for. The first time I heard the song in full was her Melodifestivalen semi-final performance. I was absolutely blown away by the song and her unusual performance and the studio version confirmed to me that this song was incredibly special. It beat early hot favourite Danny Saucedo to win Melodifestivalen 2012 and two months later swept to a highly convincing Eurovision victory for Sweden.

The day after the contest Euphoria raced to #1 on iTunes across the continent, including in the Eurovision-phobic UK, where it settled for a #3 debut and peak officially. It was a mammoth hit across Europe and has put Loreen's name well and truly on the map. After her brilliant debut album Heal, I'm intrigued to see what she will do next! For me this song has never got boring, I've played it a ridiculous 300+ times according to my iTunes playcounts, five times as much as I've played any other song this year, I'll never tire of hearing that pounding siren intro leading into the melancholy brooding beat of the verses and the literal Euphoria of the chorus. The immense dance production laden with sweeping strings and the winding down to the minimalistic middle eight before crashing back into the incredible chorus and the thundering finish. Everything about the song is perfection.

Elsewhere in the top ten, the feel good summer anthem Good Time by shock non one hit wonders Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen is my second favourite song of the year, Delta Goodrem manages two entries with the Tori Amos like drama of Hunters & The Wolves and the beautiful ballad Wish You Were Here, whilst Blackpool singer Rae Morris' own piano ballad Don't Go is at #5, just behind Gotye and Kimbra's worldwide chart topping smash duet Somebody That I Used To Know. Taylor Swift's country pop hit We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together is #6 and a trio of dance anthems round off the top ten. Flares by unknown Swedish dance producer Prance Faris, Don't You Worry Child, the amazing farewell single from Swedish House Mafia and Titanium the fantastic UK #1 from French DJ David Guetta and Australian singer Sia. It's been a pretty great year for music, singles especially with other modern classics in my top 100 including Carly Rae Jepsen's Call Me Maybe (#15), PSY's Gangnam Style (#16), fun.'s We Are Young (#44) and Nicki Minaj's Starships (#51) amongst many many others!

Friday, 28 December 2012

Top 40 albums of 2012!

Kicking off my end of year countdowns, here is my top 40 favourite albums of 2012, the top 100 singles will follow in the next few days!

40. Elton John vs. Pnau - Good Morning To The Night
39. Alanis Morissette - Havoc and Bright Lights
38. Kelly Clarkson - Greatest Hits - Chapter One
37. Cascada - It's Christmas Time
36. Ellie Goulding - Halcyon
35. Kylie Minogue - The Abbey Road Sessions
34. Jennifer Lopez - Dance Again...The Hits
33. Gotye - Making Mirrors
32. Charlotte Perrelli - The Girl
31. Carrie Underwood - Blown Away
30. Lucy Spraggan - Top Room At The Zoo
29. Nádine - Christmas In South Africa
28. Ke$ha - Warrior
27. Leona Lewis - Glassheart
26. Rihanna - Unaplologetic
25. Cheryl - A Million Lights
24. Girls Aloud - Ten
23. Little Mix - DNA
22. One Direction - Take Me Home
21. Mika - The Origin Of Love
20. Train - California 37
19. Christina Aguilera - Lotus
18. Taylor Swift - Red
17. Jessie Ware - Devotion
16. Nelly Furtado - The Spirit Indestructible
15. Timoteij - Tabu
14. Ed Sheeran - +
13. Madonna - MDNA
12. Maroon 5 - Overexposed
11. Carly Rae Jepsen - Kiss


10. Missy Higgins - The Ol' Razzle Dazzle

Highlights: Temporary Love, Set Me On Fire, Unashamed Desire, Hello Hello, Everyone's Waiting

9. Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded

Highlights: Pound The Alarm, Starships, Young Forever, Va Va Voom, Marilyn Monroe, Whip It, Beez In The Trap, Right By My Side

8. Loreen - Heal

Highlights: Euphoria, My Heart Is Refusing Me, Crying Out Your Name, In My Head, Everytime, If She's The One

7. Agnes - Veritas

Highlights: One Last Time, Human Touch, Loaded, All I Want Is You, Nothing Else Matters, Like God, Into The Sun

6. Tone Damli - Looking Back

Highlights: Butterflies, Stuck In My Head, No Way Out, I Love You, Imagine, Look Back

5. Kelly Clarkson - Stronger

Highlights: Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You), Mr Know It All, I Forgive You, Don't You Wanna Stay, Breaking Your Own Heart, Einstein, Let Me Down

4. Steps - The Ultimate Collection

Highlights: Last Thing On My Mind, One For Sorrow, It's The Way You Make Me Feel, Love's Got A Hold On My Heart, Heartbeat, Better Best Forgotten, Say You'll Be Mine

3. Lana Del Rey - Born To Die

Highlights: Video Games, Born To Die, Ride, National Anthem, Summertime Sadness, Off To The Races, Blue Jeans, Diet Mountain Dew

2. Emeli Sandé - Our Version Of Events

Highlights: Beneath Your Beautiful, Heaven, Mountains, Next To Me, My Kind Of Love, Where I Sleep, River, Read All About It (Part III)

1. Delta Goodrem - Child Of The Universe

Highlights: Hunters And The Wolves, Wish You Were Here, Sitting On Top Of The World, Dancing With A Broken Heart, Knocked Out, When My Stars Come Out, War On Love, Child Of The Universe


A mixture of brilliant debuts, disappointing (but still good) comebacks and improvements on previous eras define the bottom end of my year end top 40. Alanis Morissette, Carrie Underwood, Cheryl, One Direction, Mika, Train, Christina Aguilera, Taylor Swift, Timoteij, Madonna, Carly Rae Jepsen and Maroon 5 all came out with albums that I found better than their immediate predecessors. Ellie Goulding, Leona Lewis and Rihanna's previous efforts were all stronger but I still liked all three a lot. Some very promising debuts from Little Mix, Jessie Ware and Lucy Spraggan, great retrospectives from Girls Aloud, Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Lopez and some excellent oddities from Elton John vs Pnau, Kylie Minogue, Cascada and Nádine. Special mention to The Spirit Indestructible by Nelly Furtado which shifted approximately 0.000000001% globally that her previous monster English album Loose did, but that's not to say that it deserved this fate - from start to finish it's excellent, especially all of the various collaborations on the album! 

But kicking off the end of year top ten is the third album by Australian singer/songwriter Missy Higgins. She finished in my end of year top ten in both 2005 and 2007 with previous albums The Sound Of White and On A Clear Night and despite a five year break she certainly didn't disappoint this time around, her songs just as melodic and affecting as ever. Nicki Minaj's second album was far more to my tastes than her first, the 'pop half' especially and it finishes a respectable 9th for the year! Loreen's debut album Heal wasn't perhaps the 'best album ever' that many may have expected but it was still an amazing debut album. Loads of growers but sometimes that's the best way! Fellow former Swedish Idol contestant Agnes provided a slightly better album, the brilliant Veritas, a worthy follow up to the monster that was Dance Love Pop. Chock full of strings and great choruses, the only missing element from the album was the lack of the 2011 single Don't Go Breaking My Heart. And my favourite Scandipop album of 2012 comes from Norwegian singer Tone Damli with her first career retrospective. Looking Back really made me realise just how fantastic this woman is at exploiting the niche that she nicely fills - radio freindly string-laden MOR pop. A couple of duds on there from her early career but post (and including) Butterflies, everything has been glorious!

A couple of 2011 albums kick off the top five! The first is Kelly Clarkson's fifth studio album, Stronger. It was #20 in my 2011 end of year chart but continued to grow into the new year when I began to re-explore albums that I might have not fully realised the potential of/got lost in the Xmas rush! Far better than All I Ever Wanted, it was possibly my favourite Kelly album since the defining Breakaway, complete with two absolutely killer singles that gave her back to back top 3's in my singles chart for the first time since 2005! Reformed in 2011, Steps' Ultimate Collection finished 2011 inside my top ten albums but goes even higher this year and into the top five thanks my enduring love for this retrospective (far more than their new studio album which failed to register for my top 40 of the year!). Packed full of turn of the millennium classic pop, I still regularly listen to this great pop collection.

American chanteuse Lana Del Rey kicks off the top three of the year with her debut album Born To Die. An absolutely gorgeous, sometimes haunting, album full of sombre balladry and self pity, I absolutely adored this woman and this album during 2012! But not quite as much as I loved the ever over-exposed Emeli Sandé. The former guest singer on rap singles, she broke off into her own this year and became the biggest female solo artist since Adele! The beautiful Our Version Of Events is mostly a ballad heavy affair, save for Next To Me and Wonder from the repackage. But when the ballads are as great as Beneath Your Beautiful, Mountains, Read All About It (Part III), My Kind Of Love and River, it really doesn't matter. And then the great Massive Attack influenced sounds of Heaven and Daddy, it's like listening to a greatest hits album, even though it's her debut. She's had every promo slot going this year and would probably attend the opening of an envelope but it truly is one of my favourite albums of 2012 and I'm glad that people are hearing it and her stunning voice. 

And onto the album of the year. After the slightly lacklustre Delta followed my two favourite albums of all time, Innocent Eyes and Mistaken Identity, I wondered if Miss Goodrem had lost her spark, or at least lost it in my eyes. After a huge five years away my favourite artist returned with Child Of The Universe. I fell in love instantly with the jolly comeback single Sitting On Top Of The World, the dancy Sophie B Hawkins soundalike Dancing With A Broken Heart, the gorgeous and emotional Wish You Were Here and the Tori Amos-esque stormer Hunters And The Wolves - Delta was back on top form. Add to this the jaunty country-tinged pop of Knocked Out, the Motown of When My Stars Come Out, the frantic drama of War Of Love and Child Of The Universe, the Mariah warbling of Safe To Believe and the Brian bashing Alcohol and it made for a stunning comeback. If you haven't heard this album I fully recommend it, I'm just praying for a UK release at this point!