2012 was a great year for intelligent, musically adept pop music. I didn’t even post a list of favorites for 2011, I just listened to Broadcast, and The Focus Group, all year. Although Psychic Life from Julie Campbell and Jah Wobble definitely caught my attention towards the end of 2011, as did Cinderella's Eyes by Nicola Roberts.
Here’s what I most loved in 2012, in no particular order, (Happy New Year!):
Jessie Ware - Devotion.
Coming pretty much out of nowhere, this album was deep and absorbing, an instant classic.
Icona Pop - Iconic ep.
These two Swedish girls are former music students and it shows in their songcraft - musically literate but with a punky edge. I love them to pieces.
It’s almost impossible to create a new genre of music, and Ultraista may not have done that exactly, but they sound like nothing else out there.
Kylie - Timebomb.
After 25 years in the business, she may be at the top of her game. This single is simply genius.
Saint Etienne - Words and Music.
My favorite band created this album to celebrate how we make meaning from music and how it affects us at different times of our lives. Probably their slickest album yet, but it’s gorgeously arranged and recorded.
Little Boots - Headphones.
Little Boots hasn’t released a full length album in over 3 years. This single will have to do for now, but it’s very promising.
Johnny Marr -The Messenger.
Johnny has finally decided to do a solo debut. From the sounds of this preview single, it will be a timeless, age defying classic.