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Friday, December 21, 2012

Top 20 Albums Of 2012: 12-11

12. Jedward - Young Love

I would have never predicted a Jedward album to make this countdown, especially so high. But against all odds, they upped their game and created an album that far eclipses their past efforts. Better songwriters, better production, and a sense of naive fun that's utterly contagious. I wish more people would give their music a chance. They definitely have the ability to surprise.

11. Loreen - Heal

A major new force in international pop world. For me, the album didn't quite live up to her potential, but Loreen's brand of soulful, electronic pop is still a ridiculously exciting prospect. The highlights on this album (and there are many), reach for the stratosphere, delivered with vocal performances that defy expectations and reach for something grander than traditional pop.

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Top 50 Singles Of 2012: 30-26

30. One Direction - Little Things

It's the classic boyband ballad for 2012, and one with a deceptively simple--yet effective--melodic hook.

29. Jesper Nohrstedt - Take Our Hearts

An ultra-melodic, semi-dance track that should've went on to represent Denmark in Eurovision.

28. Loreen - Crying Out Your Name

An epic piece of electronic-fueled balladry, delivered by 2012's best vocalist.

27. Donkeyboy - City Boy

The first peek at the band's new, dance-oriented sound. It's like a cool version of Eiffel 65.

26. G-Dragon - One Of A Kind 

The year's most cocky hype track. But this isn't just empty boasting. The production and playfulness of the hook register long after the track ends.

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Top 20 Albums Of 2012: 14-13

14. Justin Bieber - Believe

A surprisingly mature and well-produced pop album. I was never all that interested in Justin during the younger years (months?) of his career, but now that he's at that point where he needs to prove that he's got staying power in the adult music world, I'm psyched that he's turning into an interesting popstar. The album's not a perfect pop release. There are plenty of songs that could be trimmed. But, the ones that work, work really well.

13. Elton John vs. Pnau

An inspired mash-up. On their own, Australia's Pnau are a formidable force in any music genre. Give them Elton John's back catalogue and they're pretty much unstoppable. Music geeks will find a lot to love in their intricate reworkings of Elton's classics. Most of them are near unrecognizable when melded into the new songs they've constructed.

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Top 50 Singles Of 2012: 35-31

35. Charlotte Perrelli - The Girl

This is the type of song that could only come out of Sweden. Big, brash, cheesy and pop with a capital "p".

34. Alphabeat - Vacation

Their happiest, dippiest single yet. At first you might find it too saccharine. Then, it worms its way inside your head and takes over.

33. TVXQ - Catch Me

An epic, dubstep-infused state of the art dance track. That chorus just soars.

32. Sam & The Womp - Bom Bom

A deliriously bizarre dance novelty track. It's like an invitation to the nuthouse, in the best way possible.

31. Amelia Lily - You Bring Me Joy 

X-Factor alum's bid for pop superiority. With Xenomania at the helm, she definitely sounds like a worldwide popstar.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Top 20 Albums Of 2012: 16-15

16. Muse - The 2nd Law

Muse's most experimental album so far, and also one of their best. The 2nd Law is chock full of anthems, but they were at their best when they adopted new sounds, such as dubstep, funk and U2-style stadium rock. There's no way you can listen to a track like Follow Me and not be completely excited about their future prospects.

15. PSY - PSY 6 (Six Rules) Part One

Most in the West will remember PSY as the Gangnam Style one-hit-wonder of 2012. But he deserves more credit than that. For one, he's been releasing music for more than a decade in his native Korea. But even if you discount that history, his most recent EP is definitely something worth celebrating. Bouncing from genre to genre, from the party pop of Blue Frog to the operatic rock of Never Say Goodbye, it's a string of tracks that sound like hit singles, whatever language you may speak.

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Top 50 Singles Of 2012: 40-36

40. Girls Aloud - Something New

A poptastic comeback from a poptastic band. They showed us yet again that there is no other group out there like Girls Aloud.

39. Carly Rae Jepsen - This Kiss

This was never going to be as big as her breakthrough, but kudos to her for going with such a kitschy 80's retro sound.

38. Muse - Survival

The most deliriously over the top single in a discography filled with them. Sure, it's silly and a bit stupid, but that's what makes it fun.

37. Reece Mastin - Shut Up And Kiss Me

A blitzkrieg of teen pop/punk with a surprisingly sticky hook. A great way to break the X-Factor mold.

36. Samantha Jade - What You've Done To me 

The best winner's single ever to be released from a singing competition (okay, I guess that doesn't mean all that much), expect this to smash even further in 2013.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Top 20 Albums Of 2012: 18-17

18. Scissor Sisters - Magic Hour

Their weakest album, and definitely their most inconsistent, but even a slightly subpar Scissor Sisters album is better than most bands. This finds its way onto my countdown for some blazing highlights, like the ridiculous fun of Let's Have A Kiki and F*ck Yeah and the melodic grandeur of Only The Horses.

17. Olly Murs - Right Place, Right Time

Another strong album from Olly Murs. While he might not go down in history with any pop classics, you can always rely on him to churn out a fun, feelgood album. This one feels slightly more soulful than his past two, and is worth its place on my list if only for Dear Darling and The One, which really rank amongst his very best.

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Top 50 Singles Of 2012: 45-41

45. The Killers - Runaways

The Killers returned with one of their biggest, most ballsiest anthems yet.

44. The Wanted - Chasing The Sun

Sure, it sounded pretty much like their last single, but why change a winning formula?

43. Katy Perry - Wide Awake

Capping off the flawless Teenage Dream era, this ranks as Perry's best ballad yet.

42. Cheryl Cole - Call My Name

Cheryl's most exciting comeback, let down only by the lackluster album that followed.

41. Gotye - Somebody That I Used To Know (ft. Kimbra) 

Certainly overplayed, but overplayed for a reason. I much prefer the remix, which takes that chorus to dizzying heights.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Top 20 Albums Of 2012: 20-19

20. Reece Mastin - Beautiful Nightmare

After a string of excellent singles, Reece released an album that didn't sound like an X-Factor winner's debut. This is a good thing, as it positions him as a popstar in his own right. The surprise here was the willingness to play with genres. His pop punk sound is strong throughout, but there are also some musical departures that make this a true surprise.

19. Alphabeat - Express Non-Stop

After a foray into 90's dance music, Alphabeat returned in 2012 with their classic brand of kitschy bubblegum pop. Though not as strong as their first two releases, you can't discount this band's consistency. It's a pure jolt of energy, and you may feel a bit guilty for listening to it, but so what? This is the kind of pure pop that could only come out of Europe.

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