2011 has the seen the continuing rise of some of the world’s biggest music stars (Rihanna and Adele), the decline of others (J Lo), the comeback of oldies (Steps) and the first tentative steps of newbies (Nicki Minaj and Lana del Rey). Here are some of our music-loving writers’ favourite artists, songs and albums from the past twelve months that they want to share with you, as well as some of their least favourites too…
Gaga was the biggest disappointment for me this year, as I noted in my review of the Born This Way album, while I love Jessica 6, the New York-based nu-disco band that emerged on the scene earlier this year.
‘We Found Love’ by Rihanna, featuring Calvin Harris is my song of the year (and the video, set partly in my home city, is beautiful), but releasing ‘an album with too little filler’ is never a criticism you could level at Ri-Ri; Talk That Talk is nigh-unlistenable past track four. Never mind, she will undoubtedly make up for it with a couple of dozen collaborative singles in 2012.
Other favourites this year include The Kills – Blood Pressures, Patrick Wolf – Lupercalia, Nicola Roberts – Cinderella’s Eyes, Metronomy – The English Riviera and CocknbullKid – Adulthood. Next year I am very much looking forward to some new Little Boots material – Shake is fantastic, and will be all over my Christmas Disco 2011 playlist.
In terms of least favourite, I don’t know why Jessie J ever happened…
My favourite songs this year were ‘Super Bass’ by Nicki Minaj, ‘Collide’ by Leona Lewis and ‘Call Your Girlfriend’ by Robyn.
‘Super Bass’ had the summer’s catchiest bassline and brought Sophia Grace Brownlee to the masses, while Leona Lewis’ summer song was grossly underrated and underplayed. Listen to it again and you can tell her voice is sounding better than ever – much better than when she’s bastardizing Snow Patrol anyway. It’s like ‘Bleeding Love’ all over again, only already remixed for perfect danceability.
Robyn’s ‘Call Your Girlfriend’ is easily one of the best songs of the year. It always baffles me why Robyn isn’t as mainstream as, say, Gaga. Her look and music are just as captivating, without being trite. The video was shot in one take, another testament to the passion, power and drive behind her music.
I’m not the biggest fan of most current music out at the moment – I’m more of an old soul, preferring old-school music from the jazz and soul eras of decades gone by. However, when artists of today tap into that vibe and release music reminiscent of such times, I love it. Adele took the worldwide charts by storm this year with 21 (and even her debut 19, has done well for itself) – a collection of predominantly melancholy, soulful songs about heartbreak and ‘Someone Like You’, simple yet beautiful is definitely one of my songs of the year.
In terms of least favourite music, I have never been the wildest fans of Lady Gaga, Nicola Roberts, Rihanna, Ed Sheeran or Example – but none grate on my nerves and ears more so than the simply awful Cher Lloyd!