|Just keepin' it classy|
Ellie Goulding, "Figure 8"
2012 was definitely Ellie's year. I can't get over "Figure 8's" epic, bombastic chorus, I just wish I could inject it directly into my blood. Who knew dubstep could sound this good?
Azealia Banks, "Liquorice"
Despite her apparent attitude issues, Azealia is one of my favorite new artists this year. Her music is so fresh, I'm loving the throwback to early-'90s house music and R&B that's been going on lately. Of all the great jams she has put out, "Liquorice" is my anthem to sassitude. As some of you must know by now, it was reported a couple of months ago that Azealia and Lady fucking Gaga recorded two tracks for Gaga's upcoming ARTPOP album!
Sleigh Bells, "Comeback Kid"
This song and Alexis Krauss are the very epitome of badassery. I want her clothes so bad, especially the studded leather jacket.
Little Boots, "Every Night I Say a Prayer" (Tensnake Remix)
Boots is one of my favorite girls from the unique synthpop class of 2009. I'm surprisingly digging her new sound—a crystalline, somewhat nostalgic mix of Europop, disco and Chicago house, which is evident in this classic-sounding remix featuring guest vocals from Andy Butler of Hercules and Love Affair. Oh, and she recently announced that she's putting the finishing touches to her second album! I've been waiting forever for a solid LB comeback.
Bat for Lashes, "Oh Yeah"
This is quite sexual, but in an ethereal way. Very Goldfrapp-esque, if you ask me (I'm thinking "Hairy Trees"). I personally consider The Haunted Man her second best album, after 2009's wonderful Two Suns.
iamamiwhoami, "idle talk"
iamamiwhoami has got to be one of the most ambitious and creative audiovisual projects in recent memory. I mean, the very fact that they're from Sweden is a confirmation of that. The misty-eyed "idle talk" is quite possibly the saddest, most beautifully plaintive song I've heard in ages—the vocals, the chilly synths, the video. I couldn't help but cry watching this once, Jonna Lee just sounds so helpless in it.
Marina and the Diamonds, "Sex Yeah"
SEX SEX SEX YEAH SEX SEX SEX LA LA LA SEX SEX SEX SEX. This witty, tongue-in-cheek commentary on society's common notions of sexuality is so deep it would put even Linda Lovelace to shame. That is, if she was still alive.
Chromatics, "Kill for Love"
The band's album Kill for Love is a fucking masterpiece: enigmatic, moody, hypnotic, evocative and wistful. Everyone should listen to it. Plus, the staggering title track appeared on an episode of the final season of Gossip Girl.
M.I.A., "Bad Girls"
Such a kick-ass song, and the video is so rad. I even forgive her for using the word "swagger" in the lyrics.
Goldfrapp, "Melancholy Sky"
Goldfrapp released a retrospective compilation this year, containing the brand-new tracks "Melancholy Sky" and "Yellow Halo"; both of which resemble the pastoral dream pop of Seventh Tree. While these songs are pretty good, they're not exactly the killer cuts you'd expect from Godfrapp. But this is the only new stuff they put out this year, and they deserve to be on every possible "best of" list.
Saint Etienne, "Tonight"
As Brittany said, one of the best comebacks of this year. I love the butterflies-in-your-stomach feeling this song conveys, aided by a relentless rush of urgent, techno-inspired synthesizers.
Calvin Harris featuring Florence Welch, "Sweet Nothing"
Two of my favorite people collaborating! You can really feel the pain in Florence's soulful voice, which sounds fittingly amazing over Calvin's pulsating electro-disco production. Sadly, this song—along with his collaborations with Ellie Goulding and Kelis—is an exception to Calvin's album 18 Months; the rest is a laundry list of cookie-cutter EDM tunes. I simply refuse to believe that the same Calvin Harris who created disco and was ready for the weekend now works with lame people like Rihanna and Ne-Yo.
It's so great to see how much New York duo (solo artist?) MNDR has evolved sonically since I first got into them in early 2011. While their debut album retains some of the shiny catchiness of their early tracks, it also veers into a more brooding, dark-sounding direction, drawing heavily from industrial music. Amanda Warner's raspy voice can sound both gritty and sweet.
Hot Chip, "These Chains"
I just love the dreamy, late-night feel this song has. Too bad the titular chains are inserted in a strictly monogamous context, not in an S&M kind of way. Well, I still think Hot Chip are geniuses, even with the whole "settle down" thing they've adopted since 2010's One Life Stand.
|Not this kind of chains, sorry :(|
The xx, "Fiction"
Who could possibly resist The xx's brand of minimal, nocturnal indie pop/post-punk awesomeness? The second album doesn't stray much from its predecessor's formula (other than some subtle club music elements), but it's a solid follow-up nevertheless.
I know, you'll see Grimes on a fuckload of those pretentious critics' "best of" lists along with other overhyped artists (ahem, Frank Ocean), but I genuinely enjoy at least half of her Visions album. Someone said that Grimes is what Allison Harvard's (from America's Next Top Model) music career would look/sound like, and I'm inclined to agree. The "Genesis" video is just the kind of batshit-crazy stuff I like, plus it co-stars slutwave (lol) rapper Brooke Candy.
Purity Ring, "Fineshrine"
I have no idea what the weird lyrics or the cryptic song titles mean, but I love Montreal-based duo Purity Ring anyway. The comparisons to Grimes might seem inevitable (the nymph-like vocals, the haunting, ethereal electronic dream pop stuff, both are Canadian and signed to 4AD), but Purity Ring has a larger emphasis on chopped, R&B-tinged beats, and their album is more consistent as well.
Sky Ferreira, "Lost in My Bedroom"
I've been obsessed with this since I first heard it a few months ago. The song has such a detached, pristine atmosphere, and its infectiously filthy synth bass harks back to Goldfrapp's Supernature era (what can I say, they invented everything). This girl is going places.
Update: There's a music video now!
Florrie, "Every Inch"
This moody piece of techno-esque synthpop is one of the best songs I've heard from Florrie, and the sexiest as well. Also, she follows me on Twitter. U JELLY?
No Doubt, "Push and Shove" (featuring Busy Signal and Major Lazer)
I love the song's energy. And I need the black-and-white checkered trench coat that Gwen wears in the video! My only complaint is the inclusion of this Busy Signal guy. I know the song has a ska/dub vibe and stuff, but his vocals pretty much ruin the song. Why do reggae vocals tend to be so effing annoying?
Dragonette, "Rocket Ship"
The thing about Dragonette that I love—and relate to—is their unapologetically hedonistic yet humorous approach to certain taboo themes, such as casual sex ("I Get Around," which remains my personal anthem), high-end escorting ("Black Limousine") and, well, screwing someone else's boyfriend ("Competition"). Although their third album is not quite as adventurous as their previous offerings, it produced "Rocket Ship," which features Martina's provocative vocals over a titillating synth line.
Garbage, "Automatic Systematic Habit"
The perfect kiss-off song for that lying, two-timing muthafucka.
Kylie Minogue, "Timebomb"
Q: How should I "celebrate" the end of the world (in case it ever actually happens)? A: Dancing my ass off in denim hot pants, and then strip down to my barely-there netted "dress."
Crystal Castles, "Sad Eyes"
This bleak, post-apocalyptic rave/trance/goth combo is superb, even if it might sound a little like Euro-cheese at first.
Trust, "Dressed for Space"
It's official: Canadians might as well be the new Swedes. Speaking of, it's almost impossible not notice the huge influence from The Knife (a.k.a. the masters of glacial, eerie synthpop) on Toronto's Trust. Comparisons aside, the band's icy textures and spooky industrial backdrops are too irresistible to deny. Frontman Robert Alfons is pretty yummy, too.
Brooke Candy, "Das Me"
Next time they call you a slut, Brooke Candy tells you not to give a fuck.
And last but not least...
The Spice Girls reunion!!!!!!
It's like my childhood all over again! I still proudly own their three studio albums. Also, I really think there should be a Spice Girls reunion every four years—I'm sure Posh would love it.
Happy New Year, putas!