Monday, 31 December 2012

The Best Of 2012 - part 5

JUMP TO: 100-81 II 80-61 II 60-41 II 40-21 II 20-1

Here it is: the moment we've all been waiting for... or something. Ready to launch into my top 20 songs for 2012?

Loreen proved she's no one-hit wonder - at least in my book

We've seen the majority of the acts in my top 20 already in my top 100, but that's just the kind of year it was in music - the good artists were consistently good and everyone else kind of sucked.

Number 20 "Sharper Than A Knife (Pete Hammond Remix)" by Parralox

Boasting the best lyric video ever made - in which single artwork from classic '80s songs by the likes of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Depeche Mode and Divine are brought to life - this new mix of Parralox's 2008 single also featured a contribution from another important '80s source: Pete Hammond, the legendary PWL "mix master" responsible for mixing countless Stock Aitken Waterman hits. In recent years, Pete's also provided era-channelling mixes for Alphabeat and Kylie Minogue.

Number 19 "Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)" by Ne-Yo

I've always been a big fan of Ne-Yo's, who writes R&B songs with lyrics I actually want to listen to and melodies that sound classic without being dated. Like Usher, he started injecting his music with dance influences long before everyone else jumped on the bandwagon and although that meant some of his songs, like "Beautiful Monster", were much bigger in Europe than the States, his homeland has caught up with him and he's a top 10 act there once again.

Number 18 "Scream" by Usher

Speaking of Usher, here he is again with another dance floor-ready tune from his latest album. Looking 4 Myself also spawned downbeat R&B singles like "Dive" and "Climax", which wound up at numbers 162 and 198 respectively on my end-of-year list, so it's clear which style I prefer Usher's songs to come in these days.

Number 17 "Live In This City" by Dragonette

Back again, this time with an official single from Bodyparts, which I downloaded from iTunes as soon as it came out. I opted for the deluxe version since some bonus tracks end up being the best songs on an album. That wasn't the case with Bodyparts and the standard version would have been just fine.

Number 16 "Satellite" by The Wanted

Capitalising on the British boy band's success in the States thanks to "Glad You Came", a self-titled EP comprising tracks from both of their studio albums to date was released, with two new songs thrown in for good measure. We saw one of them, "Chasing The Sun", back at number 41 and "Satellite" was the other one - and although it wasn't released as a single, it was the track I preferred.

Number 15 "My Heart Is Refusing Me (Remix)" by Loreen

The international follow-up single to the Eurovision-winning "Euphoria", "My Heart Is Refusing Me" was actually Loreen's debut single back in 2011. Despite being given a fresh mix for the re-release, it didn't follow "Euphoria" to the top of charts across Europe.

Number 14 "Timebomb" by Kylie Minogue

In case you missed it, 2012 was the 25th anniversary of Kylie's debut as a music star - and part of the celebrations included this one-off single, which was released with little warning back in May. While Kylie's fanbase snapped it up, "Timebomb" didn't go on to be that big a hit, probably because no one else was aware it was out. Still, it performed better than her other 2012 single, "Flower", which completely missed both the Australian top 50 and UK top 75.

Number 13 "Burn It Down" by Ricki-Lee

Of the six singers who finished higher than Ricki-Lee Coulter in the second season of Australian Idol, only one (Anthony Callea) has had as much success as she has - and, since 2004, she's tried her hand at pretty much everything! Along the way, she's released a string of decent pop tunes - the best being "Sunshine" and "Breathe" - but I've been waiting for that one classic pop moment. Finally, in 2012, "Burn It Down" came along. Unfortunately, it was left until single number four from her latest album, which might limit its chart chances. Nevertheless, it's the best thing she's ever done.

Number 12 "Forever Now" by Ne-Yo

Another entry from Ne-Yo, with the latest single from R.E.D., which stands for Realizing Every Dream and shouldn't be confused with Taylor Swift's similarly titled album.

Number 11 "Heartbreak On Hold" by Alexandra Burke

Talk about a disappointment. The former winner of the UK version of The X Factor released an outstanding debut album in 2009, full of fun pop tunes that really tapped into her vibrant personality. The two lead singles from album number two, "Elephant" and "Let It Go", were the opposite of fun and devoid of personality - which might be the reason they both bombed in the UK. It wasn't all bad news, with this title track from Heartbreak On Hold providing a glimmer of pop gold, but whether Alexandra's music career lives to see another day remains to be seen.

Number 10 "Come For Me" Moonlight Matters featuring Gustaph

We've visited a lot of European countries so far in this list, but one that's yet to be represented is Belgium, home to Technotronic, 2 Unlimited, DHT and Junior Jack. Moonlight Matters can now be added to that, er, auspicious list - with the dance act, together with Hercules And Love Affair singer Gustaph, making waves with this joyful single. Those waves might be better referred to as ripples at this stage, but I'm hopeful there's bigger things to come in 2013.

Number 9 "Let It Go" by Dragonette

Leapfrogging "Boys & Girls" and "Fixin' To Thrill" to become my favourite Dragonette song  to date is this first single from the Bodyparts album.

Number 8 "Something New" by Girls Aloud

With possibly the most literal song title of the year, "Something New" is exactly that from the British girl group who turned 10 this year - and marked the occasion with the just-as-literally titled greatest hits collection, Ten. At first, I rated this only as highly as a "Sexy! No No No..." but by year's end, I was enjoying it as much as a "No Good Advice". But, while this new track was a worthy addition to their catalogue, it's likely that once 2013's reunion tour is done and dusted, that will mark the end of the road for the Postars: The Rivals winners. Sad as that day will be, it's impressive the girls have remained intact this long (lengthy hiatus notwithstanding) and given the new century some of it best pop moments.

Number 7 "Love Stuck" by Dream Beats featuring The Face

Like many of the songs on this list, I was introduced to "Love Stuck" by Popjustice, the thirtysomething's equivalent of Smash Hits. However, managing to buy a copy of the track was not so straightforward - and despite having iTunes accounts in two countries, I couldn't add it to my collection. Thankfully, the generous guys in Dream Beats forwarded me an MP3 of the song when I asked on Facebook if it would be available to buy. It might not be the most lucrative way for the group to share their music with fans, but it sure made my day.

Number 6 "Pull Of The Eye" by Donkeyboy

I'm not entirely sure what this song's about, but lyrical confusion aside, "Pull Of The Eye" quickly became my favourite song by the Norwegian group this year.

Number 5 "Finale" by Madeon

Kicking off my top five is the French prodigy we saw back at number 48, who Wikipedia claims began composing music at age 11. Me, I was probably still playing with my Star Wars figures in my treehouse at that age.

Number 4 "Never Close Our Eyes" by Adam Lambert

Like Alexandra Burke, American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert had great success with his first album and struggled somewhat with his second release. In this case, Adam had much better songs to work with, but also chose some questionable singles - although he got it right with this second track lifted from Trespassing, which should have been a much bigger hit than it was.

Number 3 "Reunion" by M83

For the month of December 2011, M83's "Midnight City" was my favourite song - and it was quickly followed by "Reunion", which spent all of January this year as my top track. Up until then, I'd been completely unaware of the group, which has actually been releasing music since 2001, but with very little success until now.

Number 2 "Wings" by Little Mix

Unlike this year's UK season of The X Factor, I actually watched the entirety of 2011's competition - but didn't rate Little Mix (or Rhythmix, as they were originally called) until halfway through the live finals. I don't think I was alone in being late to the Little Mix party, and like many other viewers I wondered if they'd emerge as a girl group force to be reckoned with. When it was finally released in August, "Wings" proved to be worth the wait and although there's nothing as good on debut album DNA, I hope they stick around for a while longer and deliver more pop moments as good as this.

Number 1 "Euphoria" by Loreen

It was inevitable, really. Each year, some friends and I have a Eurovision viewing party - complete with in-depth scoring sheets - and for the first year in ages, my favourite song actually took out the competition. With such a vote of confidence behind it, "Euphoria" by Swedish entrant Loreen quickly became my favourite song at the time - and now ends up on top at the conclusion of the year. It's the first time a Eurovision entry has topped my year-end chart since 1996, when Gina G's "Ooh Aah... Just A Little Bit" held pride of place. And, like Gina, Loreen went on to release more songs I liked - as we've seen at numbers 15 and 42. I only hope she doesn't suffer the same fate of record label wranglings and legal disputes.

My top 200 for 2012 in full:

1           EUPHORIA Loreen
2           WINGS Little Mix
3           REUNION M83
4           NEVER CLOSE OUR EYES Adam Lambert
5           FINALE Madeon
6           PULL OF THE EYE Donkeyboy
7           LOVE STUCK Dream Beats featuring The Face
8           SOMETHING NEW Girls Aloud
9           LET IT GO Dragonette
10         COME FOR ME Moonlight Matters featuring Gustaph
11         HEARTBREAK ON HOLD Alexandra Burke
12         FOREVER NOW Ne-Yo
13         BURN IT DOWN Ricki-Lee
14         TIMEBOMB Kylie Minogue
16         SATELLITE The Wanted
17         LIVE IN THIS CITY Dragonette
18         SCREAM Usher
21         ECHO Foxes
22         DRIVE Donkeyboy
23         TROUBLEMAKER Olly Murs featuring Flo Rida
24         ONE THING One Direction
25         GIVE YOUR HEART A BREAK Demi Lovato
26         SILVER MOON Donkeyboy
27         CHOKEHOLD Adam Lambert
28         PERFECT WORLD Gossip
29         STUPID MISTAKE Darren Hayes
31         LIE TO ME The Wanted
32         CAST AWAY Strange Talk
33         DON’T YOU WORRY CHILD Swedish House Mafia featuring John Martin
34         WARRIOR Kimbra featuring Mark Foster & A-Trak
35         LATE (EP) Florrie
36         BROKENHEARTED Karmin
37         LOST IN YOUR LOVE Redlight
38         VACATION Alphabeat
39         FEEL THE LOVE Rudimental featuring John Newman
40         CHASING THE SUN The Wanted
41         CRYING OUT YOUR NAME Loreen
42         DANCING IN MY HEAD Eric Turner vs Avicii
43         LET’S GO Calvin Harris featuring Ne-Yo
44         ALIVE Adrian Lux featuring The Good Natured
45         PEOPLE LIKE US Kelly Clarkson
46         EVERY NOW AND THEN Girls Aloud
47         ROCKET SHIP Dragonette
48         THE CITY Madeon
49         ALL THIS TIME Joe Jonas
50         OK PAL M83
51         IS THIS LOVE Aiden Grimshaw
52         BEAUTIFUL WORLD Westlife
53         PLAY THE GAME BOY A*M*E
54         FALLING IN LOVE Strange Talk
55         LOCKED OUT OF HEAVEN Bruno Mars
56         GET LOST Gossip
57         THE VELDT Deadmau5 featuring Chris James
58         FIGURE 8 Ellie Goulding
59         A CERTAIN “JE NE SAIS QUOI” Pet Shop Boys
60         DNA Little Mix
61         TONIGHT Saint Etienne
62         CALL ME MAYBE Carly Rae Jepsen
63         GOT TO GET OUT Vanbot
64         PROMISES The Presets
65         LOSING YOU Solange
66         SENSE Amanda Mair
67         OVERFLOW Man Meadow
68         DON’T WAKE ME UP Chris Brown
69         ONLY THE HORSES Scissor Sisters
70         LOSING MYSELF Will Young
71         SUPERMAGIC Parralox
72         GOLD Guy Sebastian
73         VEGAS GIRL Conor Maynard
74         PART OF ME Katy Perry
75         NUMB Usher
76         SOMEWHERE Scissor Sisters
77         ST LUCIA (EP) St Lucia
78         LOOKING HOT No Doubt
79         DANCE AGAIN Jennifer Lopez featuring Pitbull
80         DANCING WITH A BROKEN HEART Delta Goodrem
81         TONIGHT IS THE NIGHT Outasight
82         YOUR BODY Christina Aguilera
83         ROSIE The Kooks
84         DIAMONDS Rihanna
85         BOYFRIEND Justin Bieber
86         LIGHT UP THE WORLD Steps
87         EVERY DAY Eric Prydz
88         LET’S GO Matt & Kim
89         GOTCHA Jessica Mauboy
90         WONDERFUL Angel
91         TROUBLEMAKER Taio Cruz
92         GIVE ME ALL YOUR LUVIN’ Madonna featuring Nicki Minaj & M.I.A.
93         NEW LANDS Justice
94         STEVE McQUEEN M83
95         I’VE GOT YOUR MUSIC Saint Etienne
96         I JUST WANT A LOVER Will Young
97         MIND YOUR MANNERS Chiddy Bang featuring Icona Pop
98         RUNAWAYS The Killers
99         BENEATH YOUR BEAUTIFUL Labrinth featuring Emeli Sande
100        SO GOOD B.o.B
101        DARK SIDE Kelly Clarkson
102        SILENCED BY THE NIGHT Keane
103        LIVE WHILE WE’RE YOUNG One Direction
104        BLACK WIDOW Booty Luv
105        ANIMAL Conor Maynard
106        SPECTRUM Zedd featuring Matthew Koma
107        ON’N’ON Justice
108        BURN IT DOWN Linkin Park
109        HOT RIGHT NOW DJ Fresh featuring Rita Ora
110        GOOD TIME Owl City featuring Carly Rae Jepsen
111        WHAT YOU’VE DONE TO ME Samantha Jade
112        DON’T FAIL ME NOW Melanie Amaro
113        YOU BRING ME JOY Amelia Lily
114        SILHOUETTES Avicii
116        THE FIGHTER Gym Class Heroes featuring Ryan Tedder
117        NEXT TO ME Emeli Sande
118        MISS ATOMIC BOMB The Killers
119        I KNEW YOU WERE TROUBLE Taylor Swift
120        TWO WAY STREET (REMIX) Kimbra
122        UNDEFEATED Jason Derulo
123        30 DAYS The Saturdays
124        GET A JOB Gossip
125        ON THE RUN Kaiser Chiefs
126        SETTLE DOWN No Doubt
127        ASS BACK HOME Gym Class Heroes featuring Neon Hitch
128        WONDERFUL LIFE Estelle
129        TAKING OVER ME Lawson
130        TOO CLOSE Alex Clare
131        CURTAIN CALL Aiden Grimshaw
132        BATTLE SCARS Guy Sebastian featuring Lupe Fiasco
133        LOVE SEA Alphabeat
134        KISS YOU One Direction
135        ALL OF ME Tanlines
136        MAMA DO THE HUMP Rizzle Kicks
137        BABY COME HOME Scissor Sisters
138        TROUBLE Leona Lewis featuring Childish Gambino
139        SPECTRUM (SAY MY NAME) (CALVIN HARRIS MIX) Florence + The Machine
140        LOVE RUN DRY Owl Eyes
141        ADORN Miguel
142        HURRICANE MS MR
143        WONDER Naughty Boy featuring Emeli Sande
144        I FOUND YOU The Wanted
145        HOW’D YOU LIKE THAT The Kooks
146        FLOWER Kylie Minogue
147        WHEN SHE WAS MINE Lawson
148        BREATHE Delilah featuring Liam Bailey
149        TRIUMPHANT (GET ’EM) / VINTAGE THROWBACK MIX Mariah Carey featuring Rick Ross & Meek Mill
150        THE FEELING DJ Fresh featuring RaVaughn
151        TURN UP THE RADIO Madonna
152        I LOVE IT Icona Pop
153        CALL MY NAME Cheryl
154        THIS KISS Carly Rae Jepsen
155        WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN Rihanna
156        TURN AROUND Conor Maynard featuring Ne-Yo
157        TRY Pink
158        CATCH MY BREATH Kelly Clarkson
159        WIDE AWAKE Katy Perry
160        SITTING ON TOP OF THE WORLD Delta Goodrem
161        EVERY NIGHT I SAY A PRAYER Little Boots
162        SKYFALL Adele
163        LOST IN THE ECHO Linkin Park
164        TALK THAT TALK Rihanna featuring Jay-Z
165        END OF TIME Beyonce Knowles
166        FIREMAN Paulini
167        LOVE IS ALL I GOT Feed Me & Crystal Fighters
168        GOOD MORNING TO THE NIGHT Elton vs Pnau
169        SWEET NOTHING Calvin Harris featuring Florence Welch
171        BLACK, WHITE & BLUE Ladyhawke
172        NEED YOUR LOVE The Temper Trap
173        PAYPHONE Maroon 5 featuring Wiz Khalifa
174        ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN Ellie Goulding
175        NUMB Vanbot
176        LATCH Disclosure featuring Sam Smith
177        DIVE Usher
178        CONQUEST The Sound Of Arrows
179        SOBER Loreen
180        PRINCESS OF CHINA Coldplay featuring Rihanna
181        TREMBLING HANDS The Temper Trap
182        MY KIND OF LOVE Emeli Sande
183        MORE THAN THIS One Direction
184        UNDER THE SUN Cheryl Cole
185        CLOWN Emeli Sande
186        JUST A FOOL Christina Aguilera / Blake Shelton
187        BLACK HEART Stooshe
188        POWERLESS Linkin Park
189        DON’T RUSH Kelly Clarkson / Vince Gill
190        PICK UP THE PIECES Jason Derulo
191        LOVE ME Stooshe featuring Travie McCoy
192        GET ALONG Guy Sebastian
193        LEAVING Pet Shop Boys
194        STAY Rihanna featuring Mikky Ekko
195        TRESPASSING Adam Lambert
196        SAVE ME Gotye
197        LITTLE THINGS One Direction
198        WHEN I WAS YOUR MAN Bruno Mars
199        ALONE AGAIN Alyssa Reid featuring Jump Smokers
200        WILDEST MOMENTS Jessie Ware

Thanks for reading my list of favourite tracks for 2012. Let me know yours!

Until January 10, when my weekly ARIA recap recommences with the first chart from 1988, I'll be looking back at some of the '80s bands I haven't yet covered on this blog. Everyone from Altered Images to ZZ Top.

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