ALICIA KEYS ‘GIRL ON FIRE FT. NICKI MINAJ’
Alicia Keys’ career was somewhat in decline, (‘The Element Of Freedom’, her earlier work, was completely overlooked) until it resurfaced thanks to Jay-Z and ‘Empire State Of Mind’. Now, motherhood seems to have given new inspiration, ‘Girl On Fire’ is a powerful song and collaboration with Nicki Minaj is one of the best the female rapper has done lately. Alicia Keys never was known for making great records, but this is her best work since her debut album. She was helped by Jamie XX, Darkchild, Emeli Sandé and the video was directed by the great Sophie Muller.
KYLIE MINOGUE ‘TIMEBOMB’
This year Kylie completed her first 25 years in music and celebrated it by giving a gift to their fans every 25th of the month. One of those gifts was this great song. The best fag pop that has been this year (sorry Madonna).
LANA DEL REY ‘BORN TO DIE’
Lana is those that you love or hate. When she first came out at the end of 2011 caught the attention of many, until we saw that the girl was a prefabricated product (like almost all) and it was then when the more uptight half said: ‘oh no! she’s a product!’ but nobody talked about whether what she did was good or bad. While the album is not perfect, it has where to grip. Lana is very theatrical, has a written character where nothing is left to roast, as in the most greatest shows in the world.
FUN. ‘SOME NIGHTS’
To me fun. remind me to the 70’s band Styx. When I first heard them on Glee I downloaded this and the previous album and I liked it immediately. The singer has a very good voice and they emphasise so much on the choirs and vocal arrangements. I chose this single because ‘We Are Young’ it’s been a little too overplayed. Fun, the band’s name says it all.
PET SHOP BOYS ‘LEAVING’
I never pay much attention to the Pet Shop Boys until last year I saw them live when they opened for Take That in Milan. And this year when they released ‘Elysium’ I did not expect such a good record! It was completely overlooked but to me ‘Leaving’ is a great song. It is true that they still sound like 20 years ago but is they still have where to draw from.
JESSIE WARE ‘WILDEST MOMENTS’
The revelation of the year. A perfect debut. Great sound, a good voice that accompanies it and big producers like SBTRKT Keith Uddin and Julio Bashmore created ‘Devotion’. A hard soft subtle dating back to the best 80’s at times but it still sound fresh.
Grimes’s style is not easy to describe. Her music attracts so much that distracts you from everything you are doing when you listen. The singles ‘Oblivion’ and ‘Genesis’ are those that introduce Grimes cheerful world, where is not all fun. As the album progresses it gets more and more ambient and melancholic. This effect will be so bittersweet, that makes ‘Visions’ one of the best albums of the year. I’m sure in the future this girl will be seen as a great innovative and influential artist.
SOLANGE ‘LOOSING YOU’
I have not read a criticism of Solange, where none compare her with her sister and say how coolest she is. And she tries, perhaps too much, to make clear that it is not the same suit as Beyoncé. I suspect that, at the time, Solange would have many chances to be the 4th Destiny’s Child, but would not give for the age, that does not mean she’s been into the business from a very young age. Sometimes, ‘Loosing You’ and the video remind me of Janet Jackson in ‘The Velvet Rope’, who was also the little sister of another famous group. Coincidence? This she is definitely one of the best singles of the year, the EP is great and we all love her.
KENDRICK LAMAR ‘BITCH DON’T KILL MY VIBE’
One of the songs of the year. Much better than the single ‘Swimming Pools’. This I call rap. Kendrick’s style is pure and simple r&b, classic, no weird stuff. This album has a sound and an attitude so 90’s, a mix between a young Jay-Z and Jermaine Dupri. The version of ‘Bitch …’ with Gaga is just as good. Another great song is ‘Poetic Justice’ in honor of the movie with Tupac and Janet, featuring a sample of ‘Anytime, Anyplace’ of Janet also, it’s brilliant.
M.I.A. ‘BAD GIRLS’
‘Live fast, die young, bad girls do it well…’ Apparently there is life after Diplo! Danja was chosen and again, does an excellent job. Oh and the video is the best of 2012. First announced for 12/12, M.I.A.’s 4th record ‘Matangi’, will have to wait to see the light until next year. Instead, M.I.A. released a book of old photos.
LAST MINUTE BONUS:
ELIJAH BLAKE ‘X.O.X. FT. COMMON’
Another great revelation of this year. He first made a couple of songs with Usher, Rihanna and others. And a few weeks before the year end it would confirm that he will be one of the new producers of Britney Spears’s next album. And not coincidentally, a few days later came out his first EP titled ‘Bijoux 22’. Unlike Lamar, this is a little more soft, more Prince, more romantic. Within this EP there are many songs that if they were for one of his colleagues, would be a hit immediately. Although sung by its creator sounds even better. Still no video, but both X.O.X. as ‘Talk To Me’ might be the one.