An Avalanche of Music to Make Up For Lost Time: My Favorite Tracks Over The Holiday Period

Christmas-Present-2

The holidays are over. This means two things: Firstly, I will start posting regularly again. I know that this is a cause for intense celebration on your behalf and I’m happy to announce this news as though it were a late Christmas gift for you. You’re welcome and if I deemed it acceptable to use emoticons in a blog post then you can bet your bottom dollar that there would be a big smiley face right here for you. The second thing that it means is less to do with music and more to do with food and that sad fact that there will not be anymore turkey for a while. I know. It’s a struggle but I’m here for you.

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2012’s Best (And Worst) Trends

We'll let you decide which of these were the best or worst from the year.

We’ll let you decide which of these were the best or worst from the year.

Oh boy, there was some stuff in 2012. And lots of that stuff can stay the hell in 2012. Ubiquitous four to the floor tracks, annoygin vocal ticks and Emeli Sande got on our writers’ nerves this year. But as ever we liked a lot, too. In fact, 2012 was a bumper year for trends. R&B’s landscape was redefined, artists returned second albums that didn’t suck (easier said than recorded) and the pop tracks that dominated were actually pretty sophisticated (we’re talking about those violin strings at the start of “Call Me Maybe”). So let’s carry that forward to 2013 please, music. And if the world doesn’t grind to a stop come Friday, let’s still leave all the irritating trends behind.

Henry:

A few things I’d like to leave in 2012:

  • Whistling. I’ve always been suspicious of songs that use ‘la la la’ as a legitimate chorus but that has nothing on songs that use whistling as a legitimate chorus. And it wasn’t even just those big pop songs (you know which ones I’m talking about) that are guilty. Tucked away on countless albums are songs full of easy-to-achieve but lazy-as-hell whistling. It’s not big, it’s certainly not clever and it’s really difficult to replicate three gin and tonics through a night on a crowded dance-floor.
But more importantly, the things I loved:
  • The concept of a ‘hater-proof’ song (Scooter Braun’s words not mine). Justin Bieber’s Believe was pretty darn good but that didn’t stop your classic slew of ‘Justin Bieber is the seventh sign of the apocalpse’ style rants. Hopefully, “Die In Your Arms” will change that. But it’s unlikely. And yet, if enough of these
  • The lack of sophomore slumps in 2012 was refreshing. Even if Grizzly Bear and Mumford’s albums didn’t dazzle critics like their first efforts, they didn’t bomb. And that may seem like faint praise but other artists blazed their well-worn path to triumphant albums. Hot Chip’s In Our Heads victoriously proved that, like a fine wine, bands age well. Or delivery pizza, whatever.

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2012 Countdown: Our Albums Of The Year

Which of these folks’ albums made 2012?

Consensus on the website is divided about the quality of this year’s albums. And it’s not that hard to see why. Plenty of big name acts have released albums that – even if some of us rather liked them – weren’t exciting in a way that sophomore albums should be. You don’t always have to re-define your sounds and expansion is a goal; the worst thing to feel about an album is that it’s lacking ambition. Ambition is good. And it could be found in abundance in 2012. Robert Glasper’s Black Radio, Purity Ring’s Shrines and Passion Pit’s Gossamer dared and won critical acclaim. And for every big name artist that failed, a Taylor Swift succeeded. So we leave 2012 with a few ‘must try harders’ but just as many ‘great jobs.’ Check out our choices after the jump.

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2012 Countdown: Our Songs Of The Year

Just a few of those that shone the brightest this year: Frank Ocean, the xx, Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, Meg Myers and Kanye.

2012 has been framed by three major singles. In the fresh days of spring, “Call Me Maybe” phoned its friend, Justin Bieber, and took over … everything. Then when we had had enough of chanting Cary Rae’s ode to tech-flirting, we moved onto something way, way different. PSY’s “Gangnam Style” came, pretty ladied all over the place and cowboy danced out of town. But gloriously waving its arm in unison above those two was fun.’s “We Are Young.” If anything epitomised the heady, youth-centered, sentimental 2012 days of pop than “We Are Young”, let me know. But pop music is only one umbrella, and there is variety on this panel as to what constituted the song of the year. For some it was political, and others personal. But what underlines them all is that they’re good. From indie-breakthroughs to R&B polish by honest-to-god rock anthems, 2012 had its highlights. Here are some of the best from 2012.

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The Nines: Songs About Your Crush

The xoxo

It’s a funny time of the year to fall in love, right? Right. But love don’t work to no calendar, y’all. Coming up are the best songs to listen when: a) thinking about your crush, b) (day-)dreaming about your crush c) playing over scenarios in your head about your crush. Enjoy, and keep on keeping awake at night. [Read more...]

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The Nines: College Songs

 

U2

When the leaves turn, Autumn’s coming. And with that, the start of college and the return of school. With that in mind, we’re exploring the best songs for your college soundtrack. It’s not the party tunes (we’ve covered that already) but the tunes that will carry you through those years of higher education – from homesick loneliness to when you feel infinite – these songs should fit you like your favourite sweater. NPR recently released an excellent podcast on the most important band of your college years and some of our choices happily intersects theirs.  The more the merrier, right?

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Frank Ocean’s Spaced Out Life is Kinda Rad

That’s some nice exposure, there.

There are a lot of highlights in channel ORANGE, but Pyramids is probably one of the literal highlights.

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