lundi 31 décembre 2012

My Top 25 Best Singles of 2012 ...and Favourite Albums of the Year

Here comes the time of year when I try to recall all the singles I've been listening to with feverish heart and constant desire so that I can capture the musical essence of the year that has just passed by, like a milestone in pop for the years to come.

01 Loreen Euphoria
The choice for the Number one wasn't that hard to do and it goes to the sweeden brunette who won the Eurovision song contest in 2012. I still can't get bored of listening to her fantastic Euphoria, despite the billions of times I've listened to it already, and that's what true hits are made of.

02 Owl City feat. Carly Rae Jepsen Good time
Unsurprisingly too, the canadian young new popstar Carly Rae Jepsen features in my Top10 with both her mega-hits but it is her collaboration with Adam Young under his moniker Owl City that grabs it for me. Happy feelgood pop music with boy & girl vocals to help you forget the end of the world that was to come, the crisis, your bad days...

03 Scissor Sisters Only the horses
The comeback single of Jake Shears & Co really hit the spot for me but it is all due to the Calvin Harris production that made it dancefloor perfect. Once again, I can't get enough of it !

04 Katharine McPhee Touch me
...Or should I say Karen Cartwright as this song was the promotional single from the soundtracl album of the TV series SMASH where the ex american idol brunette played a character auditionning for the role of Marilyn in a Broadway musical. This Ryan Tedder original song didn't sound like the rest of the score but I liked it so much it didn't need a proper release to invade my iPod and still stay a big anthem of the year for me.

05 Corneille & Kristina Maria Co-Pilot
First song to feature french language, the english/french duet version of the original english-only single from the young canadian girl is such an uplifting dance/pop song, electro but still soullful thanks to Corneille's voice, it finished in my Top5 of the year ; I didn't expected that when I first heard it ;)

06 Carly Rae Jepsen Call me maybe
Here comes the 2012 mega summer hit of the world, and first single here in France of this girl. Too many times heard, but still a hit in my heart. That's what I call pure pop !

07 Jenifer Sur le fil
First true french single, so best french song of the year, Sur le fil, the comeback of Jenifer after she came back in the limelights in The Voice's jury. Please note that it is written and produced by the new talents Mutine who feature themselves further in my Top 25 with their own first single.

08 Girls Aloud Something new
Another comeback single from the UK popstars and another made of what makes them the best active girlsband of the world, the Xenomania writing & production team magic touch ! It's all about the way one single song written by them really sounds like a patchwork of several different songs' chorus, but don't forget the girls' vocal performance. From the first time I listened to it, I was hooked !

09 Jessie J Domino
Domino was a single from Jessie J that sounded to me like the best of Katy Perry and that makes me like her single more than her usual, apart from her collaboration single with David Guetta Laserlight, that I liked too. And it really showcased her powerful voice ! I hope her further album will sound more mainstream pop/dance like this than her previous street/R&B pop...

10 Talkback Laugh laugh
Who??? Talkback ! A trio of siblings from the US who released the video for this first "single" produced by RedOne, but never really grabbed the attention of anybody, so this song wasn't even released for download anywhere, to my knowledge, and IT'S A SHAME ! Because it is a true hit, and one that must have inspired Adam Young's writing when it has been time to find the harmonies and rhythm for Good times' verses. Their song was available on the net way before we get to hear his duet and teh first time I heard Owl City's single, I thought it was the following track from this talented trio. If anybody knows where I can buy a downloadable version of this powerful energy pop/rock anthem, give me a sign 'cos I only know it by its video on Youtube :(

11 Kelly Clarkson (What doesn't kill you) Stronger (7th Heaven remix)
The original is good but the 7th Heaven remix elevates the pop/rock song into a pure uplifting dance/pop anthem that drove me crazy and still does. I hope the american fans know this one too !

12 BB Brunes Coups et blessures
Imagine a rock band for teenagers that gets me on my nerves with their usual guitar-led with non-senses lyrics piece of shit and you'll understand how I was surprised to hear their name on the radio after their new single was played and I had thought "damn, I wish I knew who's singin' this new wave inspired synthpop ; I'd like to buy it !" The rest of the album wasn't up to the level of this comeback single but I still like it and think it is a piece of art in the french pop landscape.

13 Manu Larrouy Je sèche
Another piece of beautiful french pop with Je sèche, from a wonderful album that is one of the best french CDs I've bought this year. Despite the hype and true magnificience of it, it didn't reached the charts but it does in my own little charts :)

14 Christophe Willem Si mes larmes tombent
French piece of art again, with this beautiful ballad by Mr. Willem, who has just released the english version of the album this song is from, but in a limited edition only apparently :( Perfection is not in this world, or just maybe while you listen to this song with eyes closed, facing the sea with the sun warming you up.

15 David Guetta feat. Sia She wolf (falling into pieces)
The french DJ and the aussie songstress pair ended #20 last year with their previous collaboration hit Titanium while Mr. Guetta won the #1 spot with Usher's Without you. This year, he only charts #15 but it was far from easy as the first time I've heard this new song from his re-packaged hit album, I had thought the sounds were awful. It was a grower though, and the video made it big time to help me understand the song's structure & poetry and get used to it.

16 Shy'M Et alors !
Although it is Québec-made, I would still call Et alors french pop, rockier than my usual cup fo tea, but so addictive with its whistlin' melody and catchy, I fell deeply for this single that marked the comeback of the lady after she won the Dance avec les Stars 2 TV show.

17 Mylène Farmer A l'ombre
French again, and unexpectedly low in my countdown charts, but only because, like she likes to do it, her new single was released at the end of the year so it didn't really win it over those I've listened to more than half the year.

18 The Wanted Chasing the sun
Back to british pop with my favourite boysband of the moment and their true first US inspired dance/pop anthem. It had been featured in the Age Of Glace 4 soundtrack I think and marked the start of their US adventures in pop before their third album gets released next year.

19 Pet Shop Boys Leaving
Over Winner the first single from their latest album, it is the calm and breezy mid-tempo Leaving that found me extatic and nearly in the same mood as the one my #14 always puts me in.

20 M.Pokora On est là (album version)
I prefer the album version (more electronic) than the radio version (with carabean sounds) but the pre-chorus of this joyful song still always gets me singing along and want to jump in the air.

21 Lawson Standing in the dark
Third single from this english new band, Standing in the dark is really a power-pop/rock song that I like even more than the two first ones, maybe a little oldfashioned, in retro 80's/90's style and arrangements, but who cares when it sounds good.

22 Mutine Fille ou garçon
This new boy/girl french band from Nice wrote and produced Jenifer's last album and Fille ou garçon was their first single, released for summer and opening up the debate for bi-sexuality open-mindness. Poppy and electro, with nice vocals, it may sound camp and bubblish but I listened to it heart to heart along Sur le fil, although it has now bored me more, but still not enough to gain this #22 placing.

23 Chris Brown Don't wake me up
It is not the man and his awful tattos and gangsta attitude that I like but this Benny Benassi produced dance/pop single really found me singing along to it and I still play it with pleasure so here it goes : #23 ! Better than Riri !

24 feat. Eva Simons This is love
I don't like's flow nor its usual bleep-bleep heavy production but the chorus of this song and the dutch lady's vocals were too good to help me like the track... And I've found me makin' it enter my Top25 of the year ...I can't believe !

25 Gotye feat. Kimbra Somebody that I used to know
Last but not least, as it will stand as one of the best track of the year in lots of charts, the belgian/aussie artist's breahthrough hit. I suppose it's been too big and that he will be reminded as a one hit wonder, but what track was it ! A definitive grower... At first, I didn't like it, it sounded too underground for my ears but little by little, I've fallen for its unusual musical poetry too.

On the album side, it was hard to figure out which one would become my french album of the year. Christophe Willem's Prismophonic was released in 2011 and even though it's been one of those I have listened to the most, two other CDs could pretend to win the crown so they are ex aequo : M.Pokora's A la recherche du bonheur, which has been in my playlist all through the year, and Jenifer's L'amour & Moi, who's been released mid-year only but really got me deep under its spell.
Other french highlights of 2012 are Alain Chamfort with Elles & Lui, Manu Larrouy with Des mots doux, des mots durs and the recently released L'amour fou by Françoise Hardy and Monkey me by Mylène Farmer.

On the international side, there were lots of album that I have liked this year but it was hard to pick just one as the best of them all ; I had to put them side to side and see which one was best for me and I was the first surprised to find Owl City's midsummer station win the game.
Contenders were Peter Wilson's Lazer Light, Lawson's Chapman Square, Bright light Bright Light's Make me believe in hope, Kylie Minogue's Abbey Road sessions, Emeli Sandé's Our version of events, Agnes' Veritas, David Morales' Changes, Kate Ryan's Electroshock and Alex Kassel's Along the way.

So all in all, 2012 has been a very good year in pop music I feel and I hope 2013 will follow the path. There's not many to be announced but I can't wait already for The Wanted's Third strike (13rd of March) and I have already pre-ordered the 3CDs limited edition of Pascal Obispo's forthcoming Best of collection to be released in two weeks. After her french comeback with a band (over 1 million copies sold already), Celine Dion should release one new international album too in 2013. But the most anticipated CD must come from Lady Gaga with PopArt (or is it ArtPop ?). See you next year to know which ones would make the list of my year's musical highlights...

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