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Friday, December 28, 2012

Top 20 Albums Of 2012: 4-3

4. Bigbang - Alive

The K-Pop album to rule them all in 2012. There are so many iterations of this particular release, but when you take all eleven tracks from the various re-releases, you end up with an album that's impressive in its scope and sheer consistency. The number of genres these guys tackle--and master--is amazing. If executives are looking to forge a new pop group, this is exactly the template they should be following.

3. Mika - The Origin Of Love

A surprising return to form after I (and quite a few others) had written him off. This is his most cohesive and personal album, and it really feels like an artist maturing. There's nothing better than thoughtful, mature pop, but Mika doesn't forget to pile on the hooks and production flourishes, either. More than that, the album doesn't just feel like a collection of songs. The listening experience is like a story, each part integral to the whole.

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Top 50 Singles Of 2012: 10-6

10. Foxy Shazam - Holy Touch

Carrying on the best of glam rock, this is the kind of over-the-top, stirringly produced single that doesn't come around much these days.

9. Icona Pop - I Love It

They came out of what seemed like nowhere to deliver one of the strongest musical statements of the year. A blistering assault.

8. Jedward - Waterline

Pure cheese, in the absolute best way possible. This is Jedward as good as they will ever be, with a song that you may want to dislike, but won't be able to.

7. Scissor Sisters - Let's Have A Kiki

In an off-year for the Sisters, it's amazing that they were still able to deliver a career highlight. Silly fun, yes, but sometimes that's just what you need.

6. Matt Cardle - It's Only Love (7th Heaven Radio Edit) 

I would've laughed hysterically if anyone told me a Matt Cardle song would have been on my list, especially in the top ten. But, this is a Matt Cardle remix, and it's perfect. The Delays song they never recorded.

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Top 20 Albums Of 2012: 6-5

6. Fun. - Some Nights

Probably the album that grew on me the most this year. I was initially unimpressed (save for a few tracks) when it was released back in February, but as the band surged in popularity, I kept returning to it and finding that it's an indie pop/rock album with a lot of the hallmarks that I find desperately needed in today's music. The heart-on-their-sleeve theatricality goes a long way, even in the less memorable songs.

5. Donkeyboy - Silver Moon

A criminally overlooked Scandinavian pop album, and honestly the best full-length that the region produced this year. I love it when bands experiment, and Donkeyboy definitely took a risk by giving their sound an added dance-pop oomph. The results were an unqualified success, as this is basically Big Pop Song after Big Pop Song without a weak link in the bunch.

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Top 50 Singles Of 2012: 15-11

15. Mika - Celebrate

The most celebratory (obviously) single of Mika's career. It's him at his simple, melody-driven best.

14. EXO-K - History

One of the funkiest beats of the year, and a melody written by the always reliable Thomas Troelsen.

13. Diviney - You're So Cool

Went straight from Short Stack to 80's, INXS-style funk-pop. Totally irresistible.

12. Bigbang - Fantastic Baby

If only people knew that there was a 2012 K-Pop single with even more bombastic, earth-shaking dance beats than Gangnam Style...

11. Fun. - Some Nights 

Fun.'s masterpiece, and what I hope will be the template for every track from here on.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Top 20 Albums Of 2012: 8-7

8. Carly Rae Jepsen - Kiss

Undoubtedly the poppiest on my pop countdown, I'm almost surprised an album this bubblegum was released by a bestselling artist. That's not at all a complaint, because the indelible melodies and expensive, expansive production make this a definite "guilty pleasure." Call Me Maybe was only the tip of the iceberg.

7. EXO-K - Mama

Worthy of its place if just for the opening three tracks, which span multiple genres but are uniformly awesome. The most exciting new K-Pop act of the year, mostly in the way the group's been packaged. I've professed my love for sci-fi influences in music before. Exo's image certainly fits the bill. Luckily, they've got more to offer than just style.

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Top 50 Singles Of The Year: 20-16

20. One Direction - One Thing

A pop song manufactured by factory, in the best way possible. Each note is precision-calibrated for massive effect.

19. Justin Bieber - As Long As You Love Me

His coolest, most interesting track. It was the moment I started thinking he could outlast his teen idol status.

18. G-Dragon - Crayon

The most demented, funhouse-crazy single of the year. Took me awhile to warm up to it, but once I did, I couldn't stop returning.

17. Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe

Ubiquitous song #1. Think back to before it was everywhere and how amazing that sugar-coated hook was.

16. PSY - Gangnam Style 

Ubiquitous song #2. Surpasses its novelty status with that massive instrumental dance hook. Infinitely remixable.

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Top 20 Albums Of 2012: 10-9

10. Robbie Williams - Take The Crown

The consummate performer, Williams has been churning out albums pretty regularly for the last decade. This is quite likely his best in many years. It's got the experimentalism and fun of Rudebox with the melodicism of Reality Killed The Video Star. He found the perfect hybrid. And really, the one-two punch of the opening pair of tracks is unbeatable.

9. G-Dragon - One Of A Kind

In my mind, he's the MVP of pop this year. I can't think of any other male artist with more charisma or style. Listening to this EP is like listening to a million ideas thrown together at once. You never quite know what's coming next. I'd love to see even more international attention given to him, because I think he's primed for a worldwide breakthrough if he wants it.

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Top 50 Singles Of 2012: 25-21

25. Bigbang - Blue

A melancholic, melody-driven single with some definite earworm production. Signaled the return of a band who would go on to have their best year yet.

24. Fun. - We Are Young

Single-handedly revived anthemic, theatrical pomp rock. Next step? Push it even farther, please.

23. Ola - I'm In Love

Another reinvention of his sound, this was one of Summer's most effortlessly cool tracks.

22. Elton John vs. Pnau - Good Morning To The Night

An exhilarating brew of old and new. Hearing Elton's 70's vocals over a modern dance beat was nothing short of spectacular.

21. Jedward - Luminous 

Proving that with the right production and song, they could be very credible indeed. far surpassed any expectations I had.

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