The Best Pop Songs of 2015: 20-2

20) Florence and the Machine – Ship to Wreck

A song as chaotic and dramatic as the crashing waves which inspired it, “Ship to Wreck” managed to conclusively prove that Florence is best when she just let’s it rip. Apparently, when making her third studio album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful Florence was told off for making too many songs about water. Guess this one slipped the net then…

19) Taylor Swift – Wildest Dreams

Will 1989 ever stop producing hits I ask you? “Wildest Dreams” is the fifth single from her unfathomably popular album and represents a departure from the upbeat 80’s pop which we had previously heard. Taking her cue from the lazy, dreampop of Lana Del Rey, Swift transforms into a smokey eyed temptress cooing seductively over smoother-than-chocolate beats. Irresistible.

18) Chvrches – Leave a Trace

After their stellar debut, Chvrches must have been very acutely aware that the stakes were high for their comeback but, instead of trying to pander to anyone, lead single “Leave a Trace” sees Lauren Mayberry and the boys adopting a no-nonsense, “if ain’t broke don’t fix it” attitude. Too many bands now make music for their audience and not for themselves which limits their creativity. But thankfully not Chvrches. They always sounded like they don’t give a f**k and “Leave a Trace” reaffirms this with tremendous shade being thrown in every direction. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

17) The Weeknd – Can’t Feel My Face

“Uptown Funk” reintroduced the fun genre in a big way at the beginning of the year and several artists rode the wave in 2015 but none more successfully than The Weeknd with this delicious drug-fueled jam.

16) Jess Glynne – Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself

Someone sprinkled fairy dust all over Jess Glynne’s luscious fiery locks this year. The Hampstead-born popstar racked up 3 number one singles in 2015 alone which added to her total of 2 in 2014, tying her with Cheryl Fernandez-Versini for the most number ones by a British Female Solo Artist. “Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself” is a raucous, uptempo slice of pop with lyrics taken directly from a self-help book and Glynne’s powerhouse vocals soar over everything to create the ultimate empowerment anthem.

15) Skrillex and Diplo Feat. Justin Bieber – Where R U Now?

Nothing could have prepared us for this dramatic switch in direction in Bieber’s style of music when he launched gamechanger “Where R U Now?”. The track gave haters (including myself I should add) a serious case of whiplash and truly opened him up to an audience beyond the tween market. His vocals carry some lethal emotional weight and the Diplo/Skrillex production is relentlessly catchy. Leftfield is sometimes the best field.

14) Marina and the Diamonds – I’m a Ruin

Who would have predicted that Marina Diamandis was capable of such lyrical depth and vocal nuance. Songs like “I’m a Ruin” only come along once in a blue moon as it takes extraordinary self-awareness to create such a devastating song of self-loathing and, come to think of it, bravery to share it with the public. Marina has finally come of age and revealed herself as the true heir to Kate Bush’s introspective, dream pop throne. Hope she doesn’t listen to “Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself” or we might be tragically deprived of future “I’m a Ruins”.

13) Jess Glynne – Hold My Hand

This was the moment we knew Jess Glynne could make the switch from beloved feature singer to solo super diva. From the opening bouncy piano to Glynne’s acapella style vocals, everything rings true about this joyful piece of soulful, discopop.

12) Rudimental Feat. Anne-Marie and Will Heard – Rumour Mill

Rudimental’s sophomore effort We the Generation may have not caused the splash created by their first studio effort Home, but it’s still guilty of serving up some of 2015’s most potent tunes with the crisp deep dish house track “Rumour Mill” leading the pack. It’s quite a wordy song as songs go but, despite the lyrical abundance, the singers sound like they’re not making an ounce of effort at all. This “too cool for school”attitude could have been alienating if it weren’t for the simplistic noir video which sees singers Will and Anne-Marie throwing some mean shapes in the back of a car. We’ve all been there…don’t deny it.

11) Years and Years – King

Years and Years had already established themselves as one of the bands to watch at the end of 2014 with hits such as “Desire” and “Sunlight” but it wasn’t until “King” that they definitively burst into the mainstream. But if you’re going to take you’re time you may as well do it in style which is exactly what Years and Years did. “King” immediately arrests the listener with it’s whirling, arabic-influenced synth hook and lead singer Olly Alexander’s soulful vocals finish the job up nicely officially rendering us kings under his control.

10) Little Mix – Black Magic 

Until now Little Mix had been criminally underrated but thankfully they weaved some potent “Black Magic” this summer leaving us all at the mercy of the Mixers’ spell. We’re sure not complaining. Those handclaps, “heys” and sassy lyrics make this literally the perfect pop song.

9) Zara Larsson – Lush Life

This song may not have been released in the UK yet but it’s been dominating the airwaves in Europe, becoming the most played song of the summer in Sweden this year. “Lush Life” is “Rude Boy” mark two, paired with a similarly colourful video and a handful of hooks for good measure. Seriously, there’s like a million of them. Once it’s got you, you’ll be living the lush life forever.

8) Adele – When We Were Young

If anyone doubted that Adele is still firmly in possession of that “Someone Like You”magic I present to you “When We Were Young”. Only Adele could manage to get nostalgic about experiences she hasn’t had yet. In this soulful, ballad she imagines herself at a party in the far future surrounded by her friends and remembering all the good and bad times they shared. It’s like the prologue to “Wings” by Birdy.

7) Taylor Swift – Style

“Style”, Swift’s ode to being young and beautiful forever, is directly opposed to Adele’s “When We Were Young”. While the British singer willingly accepts her mortality and looks forward to her latter days, Swift’s foot is firmly planted in the present and her heyday. But she is self-aware enough to know that the love story between her and Harry Styles’ (about whom the song was supposedly written) was one which has been repeated throughout history. Good girls and bad boys will never go out of style. 

6) Justin Bieber – What Do You Mean?

Only a truly amazing song could have saved Bieber’s floundering career at this point but sadly/luckily that’s exactly what he managed to produce. Such is the brilliance of the tropical house influenced “What Do You Mean?” that it even managed to convert true non-Beliebers like me. I surrender.

5) Adele – Hello

The perfect comeback single with the perfect title. Adele gave us a little hello this autumn and the world went into meltdown. “Hello” instantly went to number one all over the globe smashing records in its wake, fueling the astronomical success of its parent album 25. All we can do is exalt.

4) Ellie Goulding – Love Me Like You Do

2015 was the year of grey. Fifty shades of it to be precise and “Love Me Like You Do” was as much part of the success of that mother-of-all-unguilty-pleasures film as Jamie Dornan’s chiseled face. It’s essentially a modern take on a traditional power ballad – the 2010s equivalent of a Celine Dion ballad if you will. All the ingredients come together beautifully to create a true pop masterpiece with Ellie’s celestial vocals being the ideal instrument to lend the song the mystique it needed to reach the rafters.

3) Major Lazer Feat. DJ Snake and MØ – Lean On

A little bit of cultural appropriation can go a long way as it did in 2015 with Major Lazer’s breakthrough single “Lean On”. The Indian themed dancing in the video created an internet frenzy and had millions of people around the globe changing their lightbulbs and feeling their inner Bollywood. Funnily enough, the chance to record vocals for the song was first offered to Rihanna and Nicki Minaj, who both turned it down, before eventually Danish singer  landed the gig. Guess their loss is her gain. All I can say is that RiRi’s Anti better be bloomin’ fantastic if this is the type of material she’s turning down.

2) Kygo Feat. Conrad – Firestone 

Anyone who went to a festival this summer will know the power of “Firestone”. Having already found mainstream success with remixes such as “Sexual Healing” and “I See Fire” previously underground DJ Kygo finally decided to unleash original music on the world in 2015 and the world went mad. I went to Ultra Festival, Croatia this summer with a massive group of friends and “Firestone” epitomized those epic, hands-in-the-air moments when everyone loved each other and world peace was achievable. Please let me live in those moments forever

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You can also listen to The Best Pop Songs of 2015 playlist on Spotify:

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The Best Pop Songs of 2015: 40-21

Part 4 of my countdown of the Best Pop Songs of 2015! Remember that there are links to watch each video if you click on the song name next to its chart position:

40) Galantis – Gold Dust

Galantis always reliably produce tunes with massive sing-along choruses but they surpassed even themselves with the intense sugar rush that is “Gold Dust”. We get a soulful minute and a half long build up featuring some bewitchingly majestic vocals from Vincent Pontare before the drop has us bouncing up and down in a euphoric frenzy.

39) Hozier – Someone New

Hozier proved he was far more than a one hit wonder with this deceptively bouncy song about never being attached to one person. If you listen closely you can hear the hopelessness in his voice which is beautifully contrasted with the jaunty production. He almost fooled us this time but one thing you can guarantee with Hozier is that he’ll never be a cheery fellow. At least you know exactly what you’re getting with him.

38) Jessie Ware – You and I (Forever)

Always the class act, the third single from Jessie Ware’s second studio album Tough Love, further demonstrates her ability to enchant the listener with her soulful vocals and engaging lyrics. On “You and I (Forever)”  she furthers her exploration into matters of the heart but this time, thankfully, she seems all loved up.

37) Troye Sivan – Wild

If you haven’t already heard of Troye Sivan, you’re soon will have. Tipped for big things in 2016, this 20-year old Johannesburg native is already one of YouTube’s biggest stars with 3.6 million subscribers and he has his eye firmly set on being the next big noise in music. He released his debut full length album Blue Neighbourhood this December, peaking top ten in Australia and the US. Lead single “Wild” is a surprisingly mature ode to forbidden love which explores the too often underrated dream pop genre.

36) Disclosure Feat. Lorde – Magnets

Lorde is just keeping us ticking over quietly until her next full length project with tidbits of mind-blowing singles. “Magnets” is one of her finest productions to date, depicting her as a lethal femme fatale who has been hired by a scored woman to punish her philandering lover. Never ones to be outdone, Disclosure threw a lot of production tricks into this one, making this collaboration one of the freshest and most exciting of the year.

35) Carly Rae Jepsen – Your Type

On an album chock full of pop treats, “Your Type” stands out as Carly’s most clever and moving song to date. It’s all very Robyn-esque which is never a bad thing. In fact, many critics have liked “Your Type” to Robyn’s fantastic “Dancing on My Own”. Indeed, they do both share upbeat electropop production which conceals their truly heart wrenching lyrics about unrequited love. However, “Your Type” is much softer and more relatable making it the superior track.

34) KDA Feat. Tinie Tempah and Katy B – Turn the Music Louder

It’s always great to hear new music from the ever elegant Katy B and this time I’ll even overlook Tinie’s cheesy raps as they provide the perfect contrast to Katy’s power soul vocals. This 90’s inspired-house track has us all cranking up the volume in 2015.

33) Justin Bieber – Sorry

Bieber continued his all-dominating streak with this tropical house- influenced apology which saw him knocking Adele off the number one spot in the UK. Sorry Adele! Many see this track as Bieber’s apology for his shocking behaviour over the past couple of years. It just goes to show that all is forgiven as long as you make good music.

32) Selena Gomez – Good For You

Selena has always been a bit of a sex kitten, but this hot ‘n’ spicy had us all hot under the collar. It’s great to see that Selena is adding more subtleties and nuances to her music which allows her to stand tall among other current R&B artists. She manages to restrain herself in both her delivery and lyricism which demonstrates just how much the former-Disney starlet has grown up. Those days seem long, long ago now.

31) Ed Sheeran Feat. Rudimental – Bloodstream

Ed Sheeran’s “Bloodstream” was already one of my favourite tracks off X and Rudimental’s subtle additions to the single version elevated it the stratosphere. The addition of the drum and bass to the chorus is genius and really matches the lyrical themes of the song. An example of a remix done spectacularly right.

30) Karen Harding – Say Something

This soulful deep house banger came from an extremely unlikely source. Karen Harding first became known on the X Factor UK but didn’t even make it to the final 12. Now it seems like the extra creative room and time to breathe has done her the world of good. “Say Something” is a statement of a first single which rightfully scored Harding her first UK top ten single.

29) Tove Lo – Talking Body

Rihanna may not have done much this year (where is the elusive Anti I ask you), but her many imitators kept us going all throughout the year. Tove Lo is, of course, much more than you’re average copycat but the production on “Talking Body” is very reminiscent of Rihanna jams and would fit very nearly amid her cannon. Having said that, “Talking Body” is a surprising layered pop song which features more hooks than a pirate convention and, most importantly, it is miles better than the crass “Bitch Better Have My Money”.

28) Calvin Harris & Disciples – How Deep Is Your Love

After finishing up with his latest album Motion Calvin decided a change of tack was in order for his next project. “How Deep Is Your Love” is the Scottish DJ’s first foray into deep house but hopefully not his last as it works supremely on every single level. Norwegian singer Ina Wroldsen’s playful, taunting vocals glide over thumping house beats to create one of the freshest, on trend singles of 2015.

27) Ed Sheeran – Photograph

Upon my first listen to X, “Photograph” immediately stood out as the most beautiful and personal track on the entire album. A gentle and delicate ballad “Photograph” was reportedly inspired by Sheeran’s romance with fellow singer songwriter Nina Nesbitt with whom he shared a long-distance relationship.

26) Adam Lambert – Ghost Town

I always felt Adam Lambert had bags of potential but never the quality of material to match it. That was until his gloriously ghoulish comeback this year with the minimal witch house “Ghost Town”. Adam has always conveyed personality to his music, but he’s always seemed like more of a caricature to me, probably due to his over-exuberant nature. But this time he pitched it perfectly, incorporating all the best of his charisma into the frightfully good “Ghost Town”

25) Calvin Harris Feat. HAIM – Pray to God

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: HAIM have the best harmonies in pop. Their 70’s-inspired sound never fails to put a smile on my face and I was delighted to see that they have remained true to this style in the face of dance heavyweight Calvin Harris. “Pray to God” is dripping with drama and staccato vocals, both which are only enhanced by Harris’ magic touch.

24) Alesso Feat. Tove Lo – Heroes (We Could Be)

Possibly THE hands-in-the-air anthem of 2015, Alesso enlisted Sweden’s current darling Tove Lo’s help for this David-Bowie song reworking. “Heroes” may have been released in January but its intoxicating joyfulness continued well into festival season and beyond.

23) Petite Meller – Baby Love

I love a good new artist and Petite Meller was one of the most exciting discoveries of 2015. The piano-driven “Baby Love” was suitably idiosyncratic and quirky for the French born singer. Her music is surprisingly sexy for someone who looks like am overgrown doll come to life but therein lies the uniqueness of it all. I can’t wait to see what she does in 2016.

22) Madonna – Ghosttown

Madonna’s Rebel Heart excelled for its ballads and “Ghosttown” was the best of the lot. This post-apocalyptic love letter has been lauded by critics alike as her best single for decades and with good reason. Rarely has Madge sounded so sincere and engaged with her music. She has never been the best vocalist but her voice sounds beautiful here. Sure it wasn’t the biggest hit, but keep it up Madonna.

21) Sia – Elastic Heart

“Elastic Heart” is a stunningly well produced single with some of the most personal and effective lyrics of 2015 which manage to succeed in creating an emotional connection without one iota of mushiness. The controversial video to “Elastic Heart” featuring Madie Ziegler and Sia LaBeouf may have been ridden with claims of paedophilia but it still managed to finish the year as the 8th most viewed video on YouTube.

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment and share.

You can also listen to all the tracks on The Best Pop Songs of 2015 playlist:

spotify:user:1151803087:playlist:7fcwgDNbrmE4WWjkoRYAo1

The Best Pop Songs of 2015: 100-81

It’s that time of the year already! My favourite part of the year when I get to countdown the best songs of 2015. Let’s not lie…these countdowns are completely subjective and obviously depend on personal taste. For example, if you came here looking for grunge you will most likely be very disappointed. But the purpose of this list is just to celebrate some of the best (in my opinion) pop songs of the year. Giving kudos where kudos is due. So please feel free to disagree, comment and post your own lists. Full disclosure “Uptown Funk” does not…I repeat…not feature in the list. Before you bite my head off, please note that it came out in the UK last November and featured in my Best Songs of 2014. Ok now that’s out of the way, if you don’t mind, I’d like to kick off this years top 100 on a slightly sombre note:

100) Birdy & Rhodes – Let It All Go

After the revived success of her 2013 track “Wings” in the UK this year on the back of that Lloyds horse story advert, Birdy teamed up with Hertfordshire newcomer Rhodes to pen this haunting ballad. If you’re feeling like you want to feel some feels, I’d recommend watching this live version of “Let It All Go“. It literally is spellbinding!

99) Miley Cyrus – BB Talk

When Miley dropped her Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz album at the end of August reactions varied from horrified stupification to dumb fascination. While the album could have done with some judicious slicing, this confessional mid tempo ballad is one of the moments that really works. The spoken verses sound like a conscious stream of thought which allows Miley to air exactly what she thinks of her overbearing lover (N.B. if it’s written about Liam Hemsworth, he could never be too overbearing!)

98) Years and Years – Eyes Shut 

This stellar piano ballad starts subdued and eventually evolves into a powerhouse tearjerker. Not only does it show lead singer Olly Alexander’s vocals at their very best but it also caps off a stupendous year for the Years and Years boys.

97) Cee-Lo Green – Music to My Soul

Late in 2015 Cee-Lo decided to drop this uplifting tribute to New Orleans which celebrates life and sends a universal message about finding light in darkness. From anyone else it may have come across as cheesy, from Cee-Lo it’s gold.

96) Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Riverman 

The former Oasis frontman returned this year to remind us all why he is still the best. A classy and classic example of Noel Gallagher’s supreme songwriting “Riverman” stands tall among Oasis’ back catalogue.

95) Rudimental Feat. Ed Sheeran – Lay It All On Me

Rudimental decamped to Jamaica to record most of their current album We the Generation and nowhere does it show more than on brotherhood anthem “Lay It All On Me”. It may not have been released in time to become a summer smash but its steel drums and keyboard synths have served to remind us all of those hot, lazy days all throughout quarter four.

94) Urban Cone Feat. Tove Lo – Come Back to Me

Swedish five piece Urban Cone established themselves as one of the most potent forces in electronica when they enlisted fellow countrywoman Tove to assist them on this towering synthfest.

93) Alessia Cara – Here

Never since Alicia Keys has the world been more excited by a new R&B artist and it’s no wonder when the effortlessly smooth 19-year old Canadian dropped the slow-burning, introvert anthem of the 2015 as her first single. “Here” serves as the perfect antidote to all those Katy Perry and Rihanna party jams and has managed to make staying at home alone cool again (if it ever was before…)

92) Selena Gomez – Same Old Love 

As it turned out, Selena Gomez’ second solo studio album Revival was very aptly titled. Truth be told, she has never sounded more engaged with her music, especially after the samey Stars Dance. “Same Old Love” sees her experimenting with styles different to her typical EDM, incorporating a wonky-piano loop and finger click beat. It almost sounds like she’s talking about being sick of her old EDM style rather than an old flame.

91) Zara Larsson & MNEK – Never Forget You

18-year old Swedish pop star and former winner of Sweden’s Got Talent, Zara Larsson, has slowly but surely been positioning herself for world domination over the past couple of years, having already conquered Scandinavia and most of Europe. “Never Forget You” was a great introduction to the star-in-the-making and Larsson is my top tip to be massive in 2015. Expect big things.

90) Demi Lovato – Cool For the Summer

Despite being cool for the summer, Demi Lovato brought on a heatwave with the first single from her fifth studio album Confident. She ensured we all had a hot, hot summer with this saucy comeback single, possibly the cheekiest, bi-curious jam since “I Kissed a Girl”.

89) Sigma Feat. Ella Henderson – Glitterball 

As soon as I heard “Glitterball” I was instantly reminded of my summer holiday Croatia. Blue skies, crystal waters and beautiful, tanned people. “Glitterball” picks up right from where “Changing” finished in that it’s a colossal, drum and bass fueled holiday anthem with some hella powerhouse vocals from Henderson.

88) Foxes – Better Love

After the disappointingly generic “Body Talk”, Foxes made a proper comeback with the wistful “Better Love”. Her soaring, ethereal vocals make this one of her most effective and heartbreaking tracks to date.

87) Little Mix – Love Me Like You

Little Mix have gone from strength to strength since winning the UK X Factor and “Love Me Like You” is one of their poppiest and funniest efforts to date. This time round they went all retro with some ace syncronised dancing and tongue-in-cheek lyrics. It’s like a flashback to the good old days of Spice Girls. In fact you could say that it’s Little Mix’s “Stop”.

86) Miley Cyrus – Lighter 

As already stated, Miley’s latest studio effort was a psychedelic, messy effort but it did feature one relatively sane track which stood out among all the madness. Oh and it’s apparently about Ariana Grande. Ain’t that sweet.

85) Marlon Roudette – When the Beat Drops Out 

Simon Cowell’s Syco record label heralded the start of summer with this its first foray into Calypso tropical house. “When the Beat Drops Out” is as smooth as a margarita and features what seems like the vast majority of all the steel drums in Trinidad and Tobago.

84) Meghan Trainor – Dear Future Husband 

Meghan Trainor proved she was onto a winner with her doo-wop stylings by continuing her winning streak all throughout 2015. “Dear Future Husband” may have come under fire for its “aggresively heteronnormative message” (good god…) but if you don’t take life too seriously like me, you’ll appreciate the catchiness of it all.

83) Nero – Two Minds

Nero came back with an updated future house sound this summer but the chunky, brash synths and bass are still all present and accounted for, and that is no bad thing at all.

82) Nicki Minaj Feat. Skylar Grey – Bed of Lies

Grey’s soft, heartfelt vocals combined with Minaj’s confessional rapping creates the perfect blend of sticky ‘n’ sweet. A true highlight from The Pinkprint.

81) Charli XCX Feat. Rita Ora – Doing It

This sassy hookup is every bit the party anthem as “Party in the USA” or “Last Friday Night (TGIF)”. A joyous celebration of youth, fun and living life to the dirtiest.

 

Hope you enjoyed 100-81 on my list of the best songs of 2015. Please feel free to comment, like, share, express your disdain/approval. All is appreciated.

You can also listen to all the tracks on The Best Pop Songs of 2015 playlist:

spotify:user:1151803087:playlist:7fcwgDNbrmE4WWjkoRYAo1

The Best Songs of 2015 So Far – Part 2

Et voila! Le long awaited second part to my Best Songs of 2015 So far!

40) Hozier – Someone New

Hozier Someone New

How do you follow up a super hit like “Take Me to Church”? Most people would pull out all the stops with a big eye-catching spectacle of a single. Not Hozier. “Someone New” shows him at his most sensitive and subtle. There is nothing big or bold about this single, just the same nuanced beautiful songwriting and spellbinding, commanding vocals. No complaints here.

39) Meghan Trainor – Lips Are Moving

lips are moving meghan trainor

After “All About that Bass” Trainor’s career could have sunk like a stone. The single was so overwhelmingly popular and borderline novelty that it was always going to be a mammoth challenge to follow it up. It really could have all ended there. But Trainor was sneaky and, by basically recreating “Bass” for her second single and electing to release it in January (a traditionally slow time for music) she managed to both bag herself a higher chart position. At the same time she also managed to provide ready consumable fodder for the public’s seemingly insatiable appetite for her calypso style doo wop stylings without taking any risks which could have potentially alienated her pre-existing audience. Still, “Lips Are Moving” is terrifically fun and chock full of personality and it seems that mouthy old Madame Trainor’s lips will be moving for a long time to come.

38) Meghan Trainor – Dear Future Husband

Meghan Trainor Dear Future Husband

Oh it’s her again! Yes Meghan added another smash to her belt earlier with this sassy and brassy jam. The feisty track proved actually that Trainor has outgrown her first smash “All About that Bass” and has completed her ascendance to the position of one of pop’s current it-girls. She’s not just bringing booty back. She’s also putting men in their place all over the shop and, at least for now, no one seems to mind all that much. And when the music’s this good, who cares?

37) Maroon 5 – Sugar

maroon 5 sugar

Does anyone else remember that time when Maroon 5 were literally pretty much kaput? Well, take a good hard look at them now why don’t you. This just proves that Mick Jagger’s moves really can work magic. They all but brought this group back from the dead. Recent release “Sugar” continues the group’s winning streak, becoming the biggest hit off their current album V. The song also shows frontman Adam Levine using his ability to communicate with bats through sounds so sonically high pitched that they are almost inaudible for human ears.

36) Carly Rae Jepsen – I Really Like You

Carly rae jepsen i really like you

I was so pleased when I heard that Carly Rae Jepsen was coming back. I always had faith that she was more than just “Call Me Maybe” and finally my patience paid off. “I Really Like You” shows Jepsen at the top of her game. She never claimed to be a master lyricist or to produce deep and meaningful songs, she is quite simply put, a fun popstar like in the good old days of Britney cerca 2000. When it comes to sophomore albums, the artist’s whole future hangs in the balance. If not done right, they may never sell a record again (Duffy…) or at the very least just fade into obscurity. With a hit like “I Really Like You” under her belt, Carly stands a good chance of not falling into that sad, depressing category.

35) Britney Spears Feat. Iggy Azalea – Pretty Girls

Britney Spears Feat. Iggy Azalea – Pretty Girls

People have been throwing shade all over this song. Even writers Little Mix appeared on radio saying that they didn’t think the track was good enough for their new album and so they scrapped it, only for Britney to pick it up later. Contrary to popular option, I think that any Britney comeback single “Pretty Girls” is a cause for celebration, especially because it’s just the type of track that Britney should be doing: a fun, bubbly track full of personality and catchy hooks. Also, more to the point, I don’t know how many more flop singles Britney can take before she shaves her head again and I don’t want to find out…

I have to admit that this parody is pretty funny:

34) Marlon Roudette – When the Beat Drops Out

marlon roudette when the beat drops out

Marlon Roudette has produced more than just another run of the mill throwaway dance hit with “When the Beat Drops Out”. First of all, the use of the steel drum is genius as it immediately transports the listener to a tropical Jamaican island (with air con) and the absolute ruthless effectiveness of the hook “Bassline I will always make time” is undeniable. If, like me, you are incapable of getting it out of your head, the only thing I can suggest is a full lobotomy.

33) Ed Sheeran & Rudimental – Bloodstream (Remix)

ed sheeran rudimental bloodstream

“Bloodstream” was never actually one of my favourites off X. I never really got into it for some reason and I was actually a bit pissed off when I heard that it was going to be a single before “Photograph”. But Rudimental’s single remix was a complete game changer for me. It brought the song to life and even made me like the original more. However, I do believe the remix is superior as it builds and builds like a quiet storm ranging under the surface which reflects the emotions that Ed is trying to get across with this song. It’s smart moves like this that have led to his being the biggest male singer in the world right now.

32) Jason Derulo – Want to Want Me

jason derulo want to want me

Derulo is actually racking up quite the stash of chart smashes. Who could have predicted that he would actually still be around so long after his debut? But as long as he remains this inventive it seems he is going nowhere.  “Want You to Want Me” enjoyed a month’s reign as the highest selling single in the UK, no mean feat by any stretch of the imagination. As one of the premier pulsating, throbbing synth pop jams of 2015, “Want You to Want Me” is every bit what pop should sound like in 2015 and Derulo’s ball shattering falsetto is always welcome.

31) Karen Harding – Say Something

karen harding say something

This one was pretty out of left field I must say. Who would have expected a track this current and fresh sounding from a girl who once auditioned for the X Factor but was eliminated at the Boot Camp stage. She didn’t even make it to the final 12! Neither did she manage to represent the UK in Eurovision when she had a pop at that. How she managed to go from that to having a top ten UK debut single is beyond me. It’s probably best that she didn’t get through to the X Factor auditions, “Say Something” is about as anti-Simon Cowell as you can get which probably has something to do with the fact that it was produced by MNEK, one of the go-to producers of the moment (he was behind Gorgon City’s smash last year “Ready for Your Love”). “Say Something” is unashamedly 90’s and features a killer bassline that just begs to be turned up loud. It’s also pretty good to hear that a fellow northerner is kicking some ass in the UK. Hailing from Consett, County Durham, she is about as northern as it gets. Respect!

30) David Guetta Feat. Afrojack, Nicki Minaj and Bebe Rexha – Hey Mama

David Guetta Feat. Afrojack, Nicki Minaj and Bebe Rexha – Hey Mama

A mammoth collaboration between two DJ heavyweights, the leading lady of rap and an up and coming star in the making. It’s a powerful and, most importantly, interesting track. Everyone is on top form here and the combo of Guetta’s pop sensibilities and Afrojack’s harder sound makes for a truly exhilarating collab.

29) Florence and the Machine – Ship to Wreck

Florence and the Machine - Ship to Wreck

It’s been way too long since we had a new Florence album. I literally adored her first two LPs and expectations were high for her to make it a trio of successes. When she did drop How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful at first I was a little underwhelmed but the album has slowly grown and grown on me since I bought it. It is true what the critics say, Florence’s new sound does have a whiff of Americanisation which has stifled some of her creative prowess, but luckily for us it takes a bit more than some crashing drums to dampen that effervescent personality. “Ship to Wreck” is my personal favourite from the album as it shows Florence at her wildest and most waily. I’m a fan of the wailing. To WREEEEEEEEEEEEECK!

28) Charli XCX Feat. Rita Ora – Doing It

charli xcx rita ora doing it

After bratty, fun-loving Charli XCX’s second single “Break the Rules” only scraped into the top 35 and failed to replicate the success of “Boom Clap” I was quite worried as to her music industry future, but one listen to “Doing It” and my fears melted away. “Doing It” is a loud and proud pure pop confection which is aimed squarely at the jugular of the singles chart. It’s infinitely playable and catchy as a cold. Of course, Rita Ora’s feature adds nothing here but starpower. Either way I mostly just listen to the original Rita-less album version anyway.

27) Morland and Debrah Scarlett – A Monster Like Me

Morland and Debrah Scarlett – A Monster Like Me

Norwegian singer Morland’s choice to enter “A Monster Like Me” for Eurovision 2015 troubles me. In some ways I really wish he hadn’t entered it because the song is clearly of a different ilk to the usual Eurovision fare. Dare I say, it’s a lot better quality than most Eurovision entries. The pesky 3 minute length rule for all Eurovision songs has clearly sold “A Monster Like Me” short as well. The track could do with another minute or so as it is so sparse and brooding that it needs the extra time to breathe and build to a crescendo. Nevertheless, they have done a good job in creating as much atmosphere and tension as is possible to fit into 3 minutes and the harmonies are hauntingly beautiful. However, I always feel like I want a bit more after it finishes. The fact that it only finished 8th in the competition is quite insulting as well. Embarrassing for both Eurovision and for the singers. However, on the flipside, if it hadn’t been entered into Eurovision, we would have probably never heard it. Quite the dilemma that one…

26) Martin Garrix Feat. Usher – Don’t Look Down

Martin Garrix Feat. Usher – Don’t Look Down

Not a massive Usher fan but Garrix really managed to get the best out of him with this track. His voice is perfectly suited to this type of euphoric track and it just makes me wonder why he doesn’t do songs like this all the time. Garrix has been unstoppable recently and “Don’t Look Down” the cream of the crop. It’s a pure festival tune which is destined to be chanted by thousands of sweaty 20-something year olds all summer.

25) Adam Lambert – Ghost Town

ghost town adam lambert

I had all but given up on Adam Lambert after his so-so sophomore effort Trespassing but boy was I proved wrong. “Ghost Town” is a powerful statement. A triumphal return for a quality popstar. The fulfilment of so much potential that was going to waste on mediocre material, which is a beautiful thing. Adam on “Ghost Town” is just pure fabulousness and it warms the heart to know that he has finally found a way to channel his diva-ish tendencies into creating quality 90’s inspired witch house anthems.

24) DJ Snake Feat. AlunaGeorge – You Know You Like It

Dj Snake AlunaGeorge You Know you like it

DJ Snake is everywhere at the minute. And this reworking of AlunaGeorge’s original single is among some of his best work. On “You Know You Like It” Snake transforms the original into a dance floor filler which has sent it surging up into the US top 20. The whole affair is just pure chart euphoria all round and who could resist when those ethereal, child-like vocals morph into squelchy, androgynous stuttering to make a truly irresistible chorus.

23) Marina & the Diamonds – I’m a Ruin

marina and the diamond im a ruin froot

“I’m a Ruin” is such a pleasant surprise from Marina and the Diamonds. I didn’t believe that she had this much depth if I’m honest but “I’m a Ruin” somehow manages to be truly heart-breaking in a way that lots of pop songs just aren’t capable of. On the track Marina shows her vulnerability and she is honest to a fault, which is something that very few popstars actually are nowadays. It’s clear that she gives us everything on “I’m a Ruin” and, in doing so, she create something truly special that deserves to be lauded as one of the best ballads in recent times. A triumph for mid-tempo pop.

22) Blonde Feat. Melissa Steel – I Loved You

blonde i loved you

The arrival of “I Loved You” introduced us to a brand new dance production group Blonde who have now turned into one of Britain’s foremost talents. The rushing, surging backing drum beat on “I Loved You” gives a sense of urgency and Melissa Steel’s impassioned vocals blend the whole production together. Club ready and epic.

21) Iggy Azalea Feat. Jennifer Hudson – Trouble

jennifer hudson iggy azalea trouble

Jennifer Hudson is US Billboard chart poison. Everything she does lately just bombs, even when she is coupled with one of raps biggest stars at the minute. “Trouble” managed to go top ten in Australia, UK and many other markets, but it barely made an impact in the US. Is there something we’re missing? Even if it had come out that she was a massive bitch (highly unlikely), WHO CARES? Chris Brown still sells shedloads despite his “Rihanna incident” (the less we speak about that the better), so I just don’t get it why JHud can’t seem to bag a US hit. “Trouble” is witty, catchy and as inventive as you like. It sounds like nothing else on the radio at the minute with its retro vibe and plonkety piano line. The video itself was great too. You really just can’t win with some people. Nevermind, the rest of the world will keep it all to themselves.

Thank you for ready and feel free to leave any comments or suggestions

The Top 20 Best Selling Albums of 2014 So Far…

The first third of 2014 is almost over already and to celebrate here’s a list of the best-selling albums of this year in the UK so far:

 

20) One Direction – Midnight Memories 

Oh just go away. Now!

One Direction's third album
One Direction – Midnight Memories

19) Disclosure – Settle

Despite being released last June this album has been selling constantly throughout 2014, mostly on the strength of a revamped version of the single F for You featuring Mary J Blige, which managed to peak at No.22 earlier on in the year.

Disclosure's debut album
Disclosure – Settle

18) Haim – Days Are Gone

This group have just been going from strength to strength lately and their current single If I Could Change Your Mind has helped keep this album a top 30 mainstay so far this year.

Haim's album
HAIM – Days Are Gone

17) John Legend – Love In The Future

This album was actually released in 2013 but only managed to become a hit after the phenomenal success of single All of Me whcih peaked at No.2 several weeks ago.

John Legend album
John Legend – Love in the Future

16) Bruce Springsteen – High Hopes

Springsteen managed to bag himself another UK No.1 album with his 18th studio release High Hopes which sold just under 50,000 copies to top the charts in January.

Bruce Springsteen
High Hopes

15) Lorde – Pure Heroine

Lorde has been having an amazing 6 months. After the whirlwind success of Royals her second single Team also managed to go top 30 in the UK and propelled Pure Heroine into the top twenty.

Lorde
Pure Heroine

14) Elbow – Take Off & Landing Of Everything

Elbow managed to secure their first UK No.1 album in March with their sixth studio album, whilst garnering rave reviews and keeping Paloma Faith’s new album off the top spot.

Elbow
The Take off and Landing of Everything

13) Paloma Faith – A Perfect Contradiction

Paloma got  the last laugh though, after a performance on the Voice gave her a surge in sales sent her back into the top 2 albums. A Perfect Contradiction has now spent 6 consecutive weeks in the top 10 and provided Faith with her second top ten hit Can’t Rely On You.

Paloma Faith
A Perfect Contradiction

12) Sam Bailey – Power Of Love

X Factor winner Sam Bailey decided to rush release her first studio album in order to reap the benefits of the high-selling Mother’s Day market and for the most part it seems to have worked, with The Power of Love debuting atop the UK albums charts with 73,000 copies sold.

Sam Bailey
The Power of Love

11) John Newman – Tribute

Mr Newman has been benefiting from a kick-ass dance remix of his single Out of My Head which has given his album a new lease of life.

John Newman
Tribute

10) Rudimental – Home

Despite being released almost a year ago, Home has been selling like hot cakes this trimester after sales were boosted on the strength of the band winning Best Single at the Brit Awards with Waiting All Night.

Rudimental
Home

9) George Michael – Symphonica

George Michael managed to secure himself yet another UK number one album when his first album of original material since 2004’s Patience shot straight to No.1 in March selling just under 50,000 copies in the process.

George Michael
Symphonica

8) Gary Barlow – Since I Saw You Last

Gary’s album has been a constant seller this year and has rarely been seen out of the top 30. It also received a boost after the title track was released a week ago.

Gary Barlow
Since I Saw You Last

7) Avicii – True

This one might come as a surprise as dance albums don’t tend to sell very well, but the truth is that Avicii is an exception to every rule and True has been a massive seller this year.

Avicii
True

6) Arctic Monkeys – AM

Despite acting like a douchebag at the Brit Awards Alex Turner’s band has been experiencing something of a career renaissance lately and the fact that AM won a Brit Award for best album didn’t hurt either.

Arctic Monkeys
AM

5) London Grammar – If You Wait

I’m extremely glad that London Grammar are finally being recognised for producing this sensational album. I was sure that If You Wait was going to end up as a forgotten classic, overlooked by the charts, but I couldn’t be happier to be wrong.

London Grammar
If You Wait

4) Pharrell Williams – Girl

The honour of having the best selling album released in 2014 so far goes to the man of the moment Pharrell. Girl has been flying off the shelves ever since it was released and it’s all due to the massive chart success of single Happy.

Pharrell
Girl

3) Bastille – Bad Blood

Bastille reaped the rewards of winning Best Breakthrough Act at the Brit Awards 2014 with Bad Blood returning to claim the No.1 spot for a further 2 weeks.

Bastille
Bad Blood

2) Beyonce – Beyoncé

Beyoncé has been having a great time recently with single Drunk In Love setting the charts on fire and her eponymous fifth studio album has been hanging around the top of the charts for months on end. May Queen B´s reign continue.

Beyoncé
Beyoncé

1) Ellie Goulding – Halcyon Days

Ellie Goulding has without a doubt been the woman of 2014 so far, having bagged another top 20 hit with Goodness Gracious and claimed a Brit Award for best female. To top it off, her album Halcyon Days returned to No.1 for 3 weeks in January and has been lingering in the top 20 ever since. Congratulations to Ellie for having the best selling album of 2014 so far!!!

Ellie Goulding
Halcyon Days

It’s surprising that most of the albums on the list were actually released in 2013, with only Bruce Springsteen, Paloma Faith, Pharrell, George Michael, Sam Bailey, Paloma Faith and Elbow providing 2014 releases. That’s only 7 out of 20. Hopefully the next four months will allow more new and returning artists to shine.

Another noticeable feature is the tangible effect that the Brit Awards has had on the album charts, with Brit Award winners Ellie Goulding, Bastille, Arctic Monkeys, Rudimental, One Direction and Lorde all appearing on the list. This demonstrates the power that the Brits still wields over music buyers.

I would have liked to have seen Shakira, Kylie, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Katy B’s album in the list but it’s only the first trimester of the year and it could all could change still. Here’s to many more great albums coming our way very soon.

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment!

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Brit Awards 2014

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It’s that time of year again! Time to look back on the best of the best in the world of pop last year and hand out rewards for good behaviour. Brit Awards nominees were announced yesterday with One Direction leading with 4 nominations (why god why), followed by Bastille and Ellie Goulding with 3. Let’s have a look at the categories:

British Male Solo Artist

David Bowie

Jake Bugg

James Blake

John Newman

Tom Odell

No-one really stands out here. Of course, Bowie’s return at the beginning of last years was a big shock for many and his album opened to both rave reviews and critical acclaim. However, I would bet on John Newman cleaning up here as he’s the most commercial of the five and his single Love Me Again really did kick some serious ass.

British Female Solo Artist

Birdy

Ellie Goulding

Jessie J

Laura Marling

Laura Mvula

Although I do have a special place in my heart for Birdy I have to say that Ellie Goulding really deserves this one. She’s been a chart mainstay throughout the year and has released three exceptional singles Explosions, Burn and How Long Will I Love You? Case and point. Ellie FTW.

British Group

Arctic Monkeys

Bastille

Disclosure

One Direction

Rudimental

I don’t know if I want to live in a world where One Direction wins over Bastille. For the sake of my sanity, please.

British Breakthrough Act

London Grammar

Bastille

Disclosure

Laura Mvula

Tom Odell

Bastille again are probably the most deserving of this award but I’d like to see London Grammar take this one as their album If You Wait was filled with amazing melodies and is undoubtedly one of the best debuts of the year.

British Single of the Year

Bastille – Pompeii

Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding – I need your love

Disclosure – White Noise

Ellie Goulding – Burn

John Newman – Love me again

Naughty Boy – La, La, La

Olly Murs – Dear Darlin’

One Direction – One Way or Another

Passenger – Let Her Go

Rudimental – Waiting All Night

This is always the hardest category to decide and honestly I would be happy with either Burn, Love Me Again, La La La, Let Her Go or Pompeii winning but it should be Let Her Go if we’re really taking this seriously.

MasterCard British Album of the Year

Arctic Monkeys – AM

Bastille – Bad Blood

David Bowie – The Next Day

Disclosure – Settle

Rudimental – Home

All good albums. Would be happy with any of them winning but I do have a soft spot for Bastille.

International Male Solo Artist

Bruno Mars

Drake

Eminem

John Grant

Justin Timberlake

JT without a doubt. It’s as simple as that. From the very start of the year he’s been an all dominating force in the world of pop and his 20/20 Experience album is head and shoulders above the rest. I haven’t even heard of John Grant (I’m sure he’s lovely).

International Female Solo Artist

Janelle Monae

Katy Perry

Lady Gaga

Lorde

Pink

A very open category this year. Both P!nk and Katy Perry have had great singles this year (who could forget Just Give Me A Reason and Roar) but Lorde was the surprise of the year, springing out of nowhere with her dour, minimalistic style. Still I do love a bit of GaGa and seeing as everyone seems to hate her now I’d like her to take this one.

International Group

Arcade Fire

Daft Punk

Haim

Kings of Leon

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Daft Punk or HAIM. Probably HAIM because I thought Daft Punk’s album was god awful apart from Get Lucky and Lose Yourself to Dance.

So we’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed that our favourites come out on top. The ceremony is scheduled to be held on the 19th of February.

If you disagree with any of my predictions or want to express your own, please feel free to comment below.