Ariana Grande – Yours Truly Delivering one of the finest blends of pop and R&B, Ariana’s debut album completely lived up to the hype. Catchy songs, powerful vocals (it’s been said a million times, but – Mariah would be proud!) and the looks to boot – Ariana truly has the full package. Beyoncé Beyonce offered the biggest shock of the year, releasing an unexpected fifth record with 17 videos t Justin Timberlake – 20/20 Experience Haim Solange Miguel Katy Perry – Prism Katy Perry returned this year, and afte. Whilst this album may not have as many hits as Teenage Dream (which produced five US number one singles), it cer ASAP Rocky – Live Long asap AlunaGeorge – Body music John Mayer Tom Odell Kendrick Lemar London Grammar Lorde Kanye West
This year has gone so quick it's unbelievable - it feels way too soon to be writing one of these! However, as we have now entered 2013 I have decided to write my annual review of the year. As always, feel free read and comment if you wish, but this is generally for my own benefit as I like to remember what I thought of TV, film and most importantly music each year. Overall 2012 has been an amazing year for all of the above, so let's get this started...
4. 21 Jump Street Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill perfectly bring to life the classic 80's TV show in a big screen format. Genuinely hilarious.
3. Silver Linings Playbook Bradley Cooper is at his finest in this offbeat comedy drama. Shouting and running are prominent themes in this movie, but at the center is a whole lot of heart.
2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower A perfect adaption of the critically acclaimed coming-of-age novel by Stephen Chbosky, this film captures the ups and downs of high school life with real depth.
1. The Hunger Games One of the most anticipated releases of 2012 didn't fail to please, as the highly popular novel was brought to life. A film of pure entertainment, but also with a lot of thought provoking undertones.
2012's Top TV
5. American Horror Story Season 2 of AHS has been revamped completely. With brand new characters and a change of setting that has moved from a haunted house to an insane asylum, the first season of the show is a distant memory. This is what makes the show so appealing, because even though the first season was an epic thrill ride, it couldn't have survived a second outing. But with a stellar cast and a new horror story the follow, the show is on to a winning format. Plus, it's genuinely scary which helps!
4. Mad Men 2012 provided another quality season for AMC's comeback series Mad Men, which refuses to hire an actor that is anything less than superb. While the show remains quietly understated and slow paced, there has been a lot going on this season, especially with Lane's suicide and Joan's indecent proposal. We also got to see a different side of protagonist Don Draper, as he spent the season married and - for the most part - faithful.
3. Modern Family This is a show that just doesn't stop giving. Genuinely funny, but equally heartwarming, the characters of Modern Family provide half hour of quality comedy week after week. Whether it's Gloria yelling in Spanish at Jay, Cameron hamming up every scenario to have a 'moment', or Phil boring his family with his "Phil's-osophy", there is never a dull moment when watching this perfect show.
2. Breaking Bad It's hard to know why a series revolving around a former high school teacher turned meth dealer is such an interesting concept. Well, it's interesting for that concept alone. But this series comes alive with the combination of quality performances from it's lead cast and the constant twists and turns throughout the narrative. So far Season 5 has returned with constant thrills that make Breaking Bad one of the most addictive dramas on television.
1. Homeland Homeland has been at the forefront of every reviewers' mind over the last year and a half as they think about the quality drama that has been offered, and rightly so as this is one of the finest shows currently on television. While the second season has arguably failed to match the brilliance of the first season, there is still so much to be gained from Showtime's hit series. With continuous shocking twists and Claire Dane's superb acting, it's no surprise that a third season has been commissioned for 2013!
Other shows that I currently watch: 90210, The Big Bang Theory, Community, Cougar Town, Fringe, Glee, The Good Wife, Grey's Anatomy, How I Met Your Mother, Private Practice, Raising Hope, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, The Walking Dead
2012's Top Artists (according to my charts in the last 12 months)
Here is my personal countdown of the top albums over the last 12 months. The list doesn't necessarily correspond with my plays - it's just my personal opinion of my favourite albums from this year.
Firstly, let me just say that this year has been a great year for albums. In total I have listed to 35 albums, so instead of doing a top 15 rundown like last year, I have decided to do a top 25 list. But before that, here are the albums that didn't make my top 25 but were played and generally enjoyed by me this year:
American Idol has now been running for over 10 seasons, and while it isn't hard to argue to that it has produced some of America's finest artists - most notably Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood - the talent on the show has been questionable as of late. However, season 9's Haley Reinhart seemed to somewhat refresh the show with her soulful pipes and undeniable swagger. Despite only placing third in 2011, Reinhart was quickly snapped up by a record label and Listen Up! was produced. Whilst not perfect, the album is a great introduction that is nothing but fun pop, often reminiscent of an early Mariah Carey. Reinhart has since been let go by he record label, after the album failed to set the charts alive, but with an unrivaled soulful voice and a whole dose of the 'x factor' it's doubtful that this will be the last we hear from her. Highlights:Wonderland, Wasted Tears, Oh My!, Free
No Doubt's return to the music scene has been a long time coming. 2012 marked the regrouping of one of the 90's most popular mainstream bands. Their comeback was fully welcomed and embraced by fans and critics alike, and it is hard to find a fault with Gwen Stefani and co. The album remains true to all that No Doubt were originally, mixing pop sounds with alternative and reggae beats. However, they have also done what other classic artists have failed - made their sound applicable to a contemporary audience. With Gwen Stefani becoming such a globally successful solo artist, it is hard to say whether their comeback will extend past 2012, but this album certainly proves there's no doubt that they will always be relevant. Highlights:Push and Shove, Settle Down, Easy, Stand and Deliver
Maverick Sabre has been quietly making waves on the UK's urban music scene the past few years, featuring on tracks with Chase & Status and Professor Green. However, 2012 was his time to step into the spotlight and release his debut solo album Lonely Are The Brave. With his soulful voice, enthused with his lyrical tales of struggle in London's urban environment, the comparisons with Plan B are both expected and fair. But while Sabre's offering isn't necessarily unique, it does exactly what it says on the tin, which makes it hard to criticise. It will be interesting to see how his music progresses in the future, but for now this is a perfectly soulful introduction to the artist. Highlights:I Can Never Be, I Need, Let Me Go, I Used To Have It All
So if 2011 was Adele's year, then 2012 can probably be given to Miss Sandé. It was hard to find a song, festival or event that didn't feature her in some shape or form. Moreover she has been adored by critics and this album has been the highest selling of the year. All this shows that Sandé is clearly doing everything right, and there is no denying her vocal abilities and songwriting skills. However, as an album Our Version can be criticised for a slight bit of false advertising. Whilst her singles have often been upbeat affairs that have portrayed the alternative side to her, the album is mainly filled with continuous - albeit beautiful - ballads. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does lead to the album becoming somewhat repetitive. Highlights:Suitcase, Next to Me, Clown, Maybe, My Kind of Love
Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) is possibly most famous for his perfect performance on sitcom Community. As a performer he couldn't be further from his on screen alter ego, steering as far away from the upbeat comedy performance as possible. Throughout this album he addresses various issues, including prejudice, childhood and and of course heartbreak. Without ever sounding unconvincing, he presents a mix of interesting sounds that are also lyrically accurate too. This album has not been one of the most commercial this year, but it is one of the most relatable and interesting. Highlights:Sunrise, Hold You Down, LES
12 years in the industry and still as successful as ever, P!nk released her 6th studio album in 2012. While others have come and gone, changed their image, changed their sound, swapped to movies, swapped to reality, or are now just famous for being famous, P!nk has remained completely true to herself as an artist. This album isn't a far cry from her previous efforts, but why fix something that isn't broken? She is able to consistently provide fans with fantastic pop/rock anthems that never cross over into being novelty or a guilty pleasure. Interestingly, P!nk has collaborated with a range of artists for this album, from Lily Allen to Eminem, but has not compromised her sound at all. Overall this is another solid album from one of the world's most respected artists. Highlights:Blow Me (One Last Kiss), Try, Just Give Me a Reason, Slut Like You
Similar to P!nk, Keys has had a steady and successful career. She has produced solid album after solid album, without ever needing to compromise her sound or her persona, and has still remained highly praised and adored. With each album it is easy to predict what you're going to get - a mix of R&B beats and soulful ballads - and Girl On Fire is no exception. Keys continues to do what she does best, and her sound continues to be appreciated by mainstream audiences. This is somewhat refreshing as many R&B acts have begun turning to the dance scene, particularly relying on regurgitated samples by David Guetta, to sell records. This album assures that classic R&B isn't dead and it can still be done extremely well. Highlights:One Thing, Tears Always Win, Fire We Make, Limitedless
When your debut album is a worldwide smash, it is always hard to comeback with an equally successful sophomore effort. Bruno Mars' initial impact in 2010 was welcomed globally, spawning multiple hits, so a lot was riding on this second album. Fortunately, Mars has not only extended the sounds that created his popularity, but he has also built on them. He often fuses pop and R&B to create appealing melodies that not only capture listeners, but also embrace them and make them feel all warm inside. Because Mars' strongest attribute as an artist is his songwriting abilities - he knows the right lyrics to woo and melt the ladies. Mars should also be complimented on his vocals, as he has hints of a young Michael Jackson on the upbeat Treasure and Otis Redding throughout If I Knew. Highlights:If I Knew, Treasure, Natalie, Young Girls
Originally dubbed as the UK's answer to Justin Bieber, Maynard has had an interesting ride in 2012. While arguably not creating as much as impact as possibly expected, he has still had multiple top 10's, a number one album and has collaborated with some of the biggest names currently in the world of music - including Rita Ora and Ne-Yo. All this from just an average 20-year-old from Brighton who found initial fame by posting vocal covers on YouTube! While his debut album may not be the most groundbreaking and unique effort ever heard, it certainly is a fun listen from beginning to end. The most interesting elements of this album come when Maynard experiments with more R&B influences, which often recall memories of Justin Timberlake circa 2006. Highlights:Can't Say No, Another One, Just in Case
Another interesting year for another interesting artist, as Goulding's popularity finally accelerated in the US. While the UK has been appreciating her unique style and stunning vocals since 2009, it was only in 2012 that her career finally took off across the pond. Even more surprising was that her recognition sprung through the release of Lights - a bonus track from her debut album that ultimately flopped in her home country. But Goulding did not want to settle with just cracking America in 2012, as she also released her follow-up album Halcyon - a synthesising continuation of her unique sound. There is something about the album that seems almost darker and deeper than her debut, which is always interesting to hear. With this album, she also clarified that she is here for the long haul. Highlights:Only You, Anything Could Happen, Hanging On, My Blood
Seven albums in seven years. It sounds impossible, but Rihanna continues to do it - producing album after album, year after year. What's more shocking is that is generally good album after good album. Her style, influence and overall attitude has changed severely since her debut in 2005, but that is what makes her so interesting, and what ultimately makes people buy into her year after year. Whilst in the past she has experimented with pop, R&B, reggae, rock, dance and a mixture of all of the above, this album verges on a new genre altogether. This makes the album less instant as her previous efforts, but 10x more interesting, and critics reactions have reflected this. There's no doubt that album eight will follow in 2013, but for now Unapologetic is bringing something completely different to the mainstream scene and doing it well. Highlights:Get It Over With, Jump, Phresh Out the Runway, Nobody's Business, Half of Me
The Script are a band that are very hard to fault. Each album they have gone from strength to strength, creating a collection of superb pop/rock tracks with perfect and meaningful lyrics. While they are a great band, one of the obstacles they have had to overcome is not just blending into the background and getting lost among all the other bands out there that have the same style and ultimately the same fan base. 2012 saw the band really up their game as Danny went from one third of the band to a household name by becoming a judge on the BBC's 'hit' reality show The Voice. There's no doubt that his visibility on the show and the band's collaboration with fellow judge will.i.am was what led to them attaining their first UK number one single. But this was way overdue, as their third album continues to show that The Script are a respectable band that do not deserve to get left behind. Highlights:No Words, Six Degrees of Separation, If You Could See Me Now, Glowing
Some call it "dirty pop", Ke$ha refers to it herself as "cock pop", but ultimately there is no denying that it is catchy, fun pop. Ke$ha isn't the most respected artist in the world, and through tweeting pictures of herself urinating on a street she shows that she doesn't aim to be a pop princess. But while her image is somewhat tacky and doesn't leave much to the imagination, her abilities as a songwriter should not be ignored as she co-wrote every song on this album. Even though most of her lyrics refer to alcohol, clubs and, um, "ghostsex", she clearly has a talent to write trashy/catchy pop songs. This album is a continuation from her debut, but it is definitely a much stronger attempt, and her style is continuing to remain popular. It is hard to say whether this style will remain current in the years to come, so it will be interesting to see where she goes for her next album - hopefully she has a few surprises up her sleeve. But for now, this is another perfect pop album from the cockpop princess. Highlights:Die Young, C'mon, Only Wanna Dance with You, Thinking of You, Supernatural, Dirty Love
It's recently been announced that Joy Williams and John Paul White of The Civil Wars are taking a hiatus due to "internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition". It's a shame that they have reached this decision, because as a duo they have created one of the most perfect albums of the year. Haunting, heartbreaking and honest, the album ranges from alternative/indie sounds, to old school country, to straight up folk. Once the listener 'gets' this album, it is pure magic from beginning to end. Hopefully their separation remains to be a mere hiatus and doesn't become a full break up, because the world deserves to hear an evolution of one of the finest acts to come from the US in the past year. Highlights:Forget Me Not, Poison & Wine, Barton Hollow, Birds of a Feather
A number one album across both sides of the Atlantic has meant another hugely positive year for Mumford & Sons. Their second album further experiments with their folk sound that they are famous for, combining guitar riffs with emotionally tense vocals. Each track on the LP feels like it would be the perfect soundtrack for a tragic romantic drama starring Rachel McAdams, which is possibly one of the most enticing elements to the album as a whole. It has 'epic' connotations attached to it, enhanced even further by the thought that there is no other band in mainstream music that can compare to them at the moment. The band does a superb job of coupling their unique sound with nonlinear lyrics and storytelling to make this a compelling listen from beginning to end. Highlights:Where Are You Now, Lover of the Light, I Will Wait, Babel
Technically released in 2011, but commercialised in 2012, Mayer Hawthorne's second record is a perfect soul-pop collection. Although he is still somewhat unknown in the mainstream music scene, this album has provided with a lot more recognition and popularity that is highly deserved. Hawthorne's unashamedly cheesy lyrics and finger-clicking beats are a clear throwback to classic soul. But what differentiates him from others that have tried and failed the genre, is his authenticity. He is not merely a singer that woke up one day and wanted to try to sing the blues - he naturally oozes soul from his pours. The upbeat tracks found on this album make it feel like summer all year round, while his stunning vocals on his sultry tunes will make you want to go up to the gorgeous girl across the bar and ask "how do you do?". Highlights:The Walk, No Strings, Stick Around, Finally Falling
While the band has been around since 2008, fun. really had a break through this year with the global hit We Are Young. Their sound has provided the mainstream charts with a much needed refresh, as their sound is unlike any other artist seen in the contemporary music scene. Of course it was expected that they would receive a lot of comparison to one of the world's greatest ever bands, Queen - and they sure did. fun.'s lead vocalist Nate Ruess is extremely reminiscent of the late Freddie Mercury, while their sound owes a lot to the band. However, this is clearly not a bad thing and they have took their influences and created an intriguingly 'fun' album. They have also proved that hipsters can be almost as catchy as Call Me Maybe. Highlights:Some Nights, Out on the Town, We Are Young, All Alone
It's a cliché, but John Mayer is like a fine wine - he only gets better with age. His last album, Battle Studies, received some unfair criticism from both fans and critics, but Mayer seemed to regain his high praise with the release of his fifth studio album in 2012. He is often targeted by the media for his relationships with famous women, but there is no doubting his high quality pop records time after time. Mayer has struggled this year with an illness affecting his vocals and inevitably his ability to tour the album, but this shouldn't detract from the quality provided throughout Born and Raised. He not only provides listeners with beautifully written love songs, he also distributes moving stories which conjures up a range of images while listening to his soothing vocals. Highlights:Born and Raised, The Age of Worry, Shadow Days, Walt Grace's Submarine Test, January 1967
With the release of her fourth LP, Taylor Swift has gone from being America's sweetheart to the world's sweetheart. Country music is still alive and well in the US, but it has been harder to transcend this sound across as easily to other markets across the globe. This all changed with Red, as Swift collaborated some of the biggest names in the indie scene and experimented with sounds that have strayed pretty far away from country ("is that dubstep?"). Much like others featured in this list, Swift is a storyteller and she knows how to express emotions that fully entice her audience. She has a reputation of using her high-profile romances as inspirations for her music, but this a technique that seems to work perfectly well for her. Furthermore, as an artist it is great to see how much she has grown with this album and how mature she is for a 22-year-old. Highlights:All To Well, Come Back...Be Here, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, I Knew You Were Trouble., Everything Has Changed
Love or hate Nicki Minaj, there's no denying that she is one of the most sought after artists in the world. Featuring on literally everything, from Drake to Justin Bieber, there really is no escaping the Young Money rapper. This last year has led to her gaining a lot of criticism from fans of her rap side, with many claiming that she has sold out to the pop/dance scene. While this can definitely be contested (half of her album is dedicated to the genre), Minaj still remains loyal to her roots by offering a range of hardcore hip-hop beats that have the complete "Nicki Nicki Nicki" stamp all over them. Whilst the album is somewhat messy at times, overall it is an addictive ride that is in your face and hard to ignore. Minaj remains to be one of the most interesting acts in music, which will mean she continues to get a mixed response from those who either love or hate her. But... #hatersgonnahate Highlights:Beez in the Trap, Masquerade, Va Va Voom, , I Am Your Leader, Starships
This sophomore album by Marina & the Diamonds has been one of the most interesting of the year. Marina decided to create a concept album, revolving around the titular character 'Electra' as she dreams of fame and glory, whilst having a lot of demons in her cupboard. The whole concept makes this a stunning ride from beginning to end, as there is a clear character arc that is both intriguing as much as it is fun to listen to. Marina uses a lot of imagery, both literally with her appearance throughout this era, but also intertwined within her lyrics. Putting the whole concept aside, the singer has also teamed up with some fantastic producers to create a catchy album that cements her name in with some of the most popular pop acts. Highlights:Radioactive, Primadonna, Hypocrates, Lies, Starring Role
Jessie Ware's debut album Devotion has received unanimous critical praise throughout 2012, with many complimenting her sophisticated and soulful sound. Sultry and soothing can also be added to the list of adjectives to describe this album, as Jessie's vocals present a raw sexuality while the album itself is filled with euphoric melodies that put the listener in a dream-like state from beginning to end. Throughout the album, Ware's music often borders on dance and it obvious that this genre has been a big influence for the singer-songwriter. Unfortunately Ware remains to be criminally overlooked by mainstream listeners, but with a large fan following and a strong backing from critics the future looks nothing but bright for her. Furthermore, this perfect album will remain to be seen as one of the best offerings from any artist in the past decade. Highlights:Sweet Talk, Running, 110%, Night Light
A lot of emphasis was put on Frank Ocean's sexuality through the release of channel ORANGE, as Ocean openly admitted to having same-sex experiences. This both helped to publicise Ocean as an artist, but also detract from the quality record that was produced as his sexuality seemed to be the main interest for the media. Of course, it is great that he is leading the way for acceptance of homosexuality among the hip-hop community, but all that is merely an extra cherry on top of an outstanding piece of work. Ocean's music mixes classic R&B with contemporary beats and undeniable emotion that immediately separates him from other artists in his genre. The album runs almost as a novel, with each track comes a new chapter and the creative intervals - including the Start and End - help to define these chapters. If a complete masterpiece was to be found in 2012, then it was undoubtedly by Mr. Frank Ocean. Highlights:Pyramids, Thinkin Bout You, Bad Religion, Forrest Gump
If there is one artist that has defined 2012, it is Lana Del Rey. Her debut album, Born To Die, has been a game-changing release this year as Lana has revamped the music industry and has left other artists in awe. Many people don't understand Lana, and will continuously put her success down to "hype" unfairly. Those that do 'get' her will understand how relevant she is to contemporary music and how great an influence she will be for years to come. Lana has mixed traditional pop with alternative indie and even hip-hop beats to create an eclectic album that is pure perfection from beginning to end. Much like her music, her vocals also split commentators, with some admiring her quirky tone and others completely detesting it. But that is probably the greatest attribute Lana possesses - she creates opinion and sparks debate. She is not a wallflower that has jumped on any generic pop beats to be the perfect pop princess; she creates dark and atmospheric music that has depth to it. In addition to her sound is her whole style and image, because with Lana you get the whole package. It is easy to see that she puts a lot of effort into her image and the character that she wants to portray. With this, her music videos have to be addressed because these are possibly what created the initial buzz around the singer-songwriter. Her videos are well thought out with compelling back-stories that fully capture the atmosphere of her sound. Overall, this album is not only a cinematic, atmospheric, haunting, emotionally driven, complicated novel, it is also a perfect piece of art. Highlights:Video Games, Born to Die, Ride, Bel Air, This Is What Makes Us Girls, Summertime Sadness
So I've finally crossed the six-figure mark! It's taken almost seven years, but my play count has surpassed 100,000 tracks :) I'm sure the next 100,000 won't take me as long, but I'm still happy that I can say every single one of my scrobbles were genuine!
To celebrate my 'accomplishment' I've decided to just post my current top 50 artists and top 25 songs, so that in the future I can look back to see how thing's have changed. I've looked back at my blog for 10,000 tracks and a lot of the artists haven't made the top 50 anymore! So it's interesting and will be interesting in the future to document these milestones (I'll do the next one at 150k probably).
Anyway, feel free to comment if you wish. And thank you to Last.fm for amazing 100k tracks. This website has continuously been one of my favourites for years now and I hope to remain a member for many more years (and scrobbles) to come! :)
So like the previous two years, I'm going to do another write up of the year that has just passed. As before, this is mainly for my benefit so when I look back in a few years I can see where I was at. But if you've started reading then feel free to carry on and comment etc. :)
Movies + TV
2011's Top Movies
5. Black Swan This may not be a film that I could watch over and over, because the themes of the movie are dark and intense and you definitely have to be in a certain type of mood to watch it. However, I've seen this movie twice now and both times it has blown me away, mainly because of Natalie Portman's Oscar winning performance. Stunning.
4. X-Men: First Class The X-Men movies have always been my favourite superhero movies, but after seeing the Wolverines Origins chapter and being extremely dissapointed I really wasn't expecting a great deal from this film. However, my love for X-Men has definitely returned after this movie; it was action-filled from beginning to end, had a great cast and characters, and the storyline was excellent. Can't ask for more!
3. Crazy, Stupid, Love Out of all the films I've seen this year, this was the biggest surprise for me. Me and my friends only saw it because I was working in America and it was one of the only films showing whilst we had some free time on our day off. However, I was pleasantly surprised and cannot recommend it anymore because it was great! I've never been a big Steve Carrell fan, but he shon in this as did co-stars Ryan Gosling and the adorable Emma Stone. The thing that I liked most about the movie is how it didn't stick to the traditions of conventional RomCom movies... there was something different and special about it. And without giving it away, the twist at the end was awesome.
2. Rise of the Planet of the Apes I've never seen the original POTA movies so didn't really know what to expect, but again I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this. I loved how they told the story through the eyes of Caesar, and I loved the fact that it was a dedicated prequel. And overall it was just entertaining!
1. Scream 4 I know some people may question this being the "BEST" movie of the year, and OK while I'll agree it may not be the best movie of the year, it certainly is my favourite. I'm a HUGE Scream fan, and finding out that they were making a fourth movie both excited me and scared me at the same time. I was excited because I really wanted more action from Sydney and the gang, but was scared that they'd end up ruining the franchise. Thankfully, they got all the principle cast to agree to do the sequel and they created a great continuation of the series. Whilst it doesn't live up to the first movie (could it ever?), it still hits the spot for me and if Scream 4 was this great then I say bring on 5cream / Scream 5!!
2011's Top TV
5. The Vampire Diaries This show is making a sneaky, last minute entry into the top five because I've only recently got into it. Basically, I avoided this programme because I THOUGHT it was going to be a lite version of True Blood or television adaption of Twilight, which really didn't interest me. However, all I read about this programme is generally positive feedback, so when I saw that the first 2 seasons were available to watch on Virgin for free I thought I may as well give it a go seeing I was bored and had nothing to do. I was so surprised how much I enjoyed the first few episodes and before I knew it I was addicted and ended up watching the first season in a day! I'm not entirely up to date yet, but I hear this show gets better and better so I actually can't wait to watch more. And anyone who is writing it off as a teenage Twilight show should probably give it a watch before coming to that conclusion like I did.
4. Fringe FRINGE IS AMAZING. Easily the best show around at the moment, but it's just continuously overlooked by everyone. It clearly has a cult following, and we all respect how great it is, which should be enough but when TV ratings come in to play it's really not. Because of this it looks like this will be Fringe's final season... however this could be a good thing if they find a way to wrap it all up because so far Season 4 is brilliant. I recommend it to everyone, and fingers crossed they keep it on air!
3. Modern Family A show that isn't underrated or overlooked is Modern Family, and for a very good reason. Most sitcoms have one or two funny moments in them, but generally fail to make me laugh as much as Modern Family do. This season so far has stuck to the high quality that was seen in the first two seasons and has some of the best characters seen on TV. My personal favourite being Gloria.
2. American Horror Story "WTF.................." - pretty much my reaction every week after watching an episode of AHS. OK, so there were some low points and stupid moments, but generally this show continued to shock, scare and entertain people for 12 weeks. Jessica Lange's character Constance was the highlight of this new series for me, and I think most would agree. The overall storyline was wrapped up nicely in the finale, and I'm glad that they are going to stick to their plan of introducing a new "horror story" each season. Hopefully next year's story will be just as great as the first. (P.S. another "WTF" is that this show was made by the creator of Glee, Ryan Murphy!).
1. Mad Men I only began watching this show earlier this year, and WOW I am so happy I did. At first I was watching the episodes as a type of chore, because I'd read the great reviews of it and seen how great it always does in the awards seasons. But honestly I found the show quite slow and boring to begin with, but suddenly it clicked and I gained a full appreciation for the subtle approach the show has. The characters and actors are what sells this show though... all are written so well, and whilst none are perfect (most notably the lead Don Draper) they are all relatable and interesting. Bring on March 2012!!
Other shows that I currently watch: 90210, The Big Bang Theory, Community, Cougar Town, Desperate Housewives, Glee, The Good Wife, Grey's Anatomy, How I Met Your Mother, Jersey Shore, Misfits, The Only Way is Essex, Private Practice, Raising Hope, True Blood, The Walking Dead
2011's Top Artists (accoriding to my charts in the last 12 months)
15. Lady Gaga - Born This Way Ok so I wasn't sure who to give this spot to. At one point it was Katy B, then Avril Lavigne and then Kelly Clarkson. Ultimately it went to Lady Gaga because this is genuinely a really great album. Whilst she may not be everyone's cup of tea, and some fans and critics alike haven't appreciated the direction she went in for this album, I definitely have. In terms of the music I'm very up and down with it, because at one moment I can really love the album and then the next I'm not too sure. But overall there's no denying the amazing artist she has become, and I feel that this album is a development from her, which is always a good thing. She's not one of my favourite music artists but I can definitely understand her place in the music industry right now and cannot deny the influence she has, so there's no doubt she'll be sticking around for a very long while. Highlights:Yoü and I, The Edge of Glory, Born This Way, The Queen
14. Ed Sheeran - + When this album first came out I was really into it, but in retrospect I'm not so sure. It's a great debut from Ed and I think he is showing a lot of potential, and thus has room to grow. But I don't think I appreciate the album as much now as I used to. I think he's slightly confusing because he's not 100% sure on what direction to take his music. On the whole he is very indie/alternative, but some of his songs sound somewhat R&B driven. It's interesting, but as a whole album not very consistent. What saves the album though is that it has some really stunning tracks, most notably Kiss Me which is one of the greatest songs I've ever heard. Highlights:Kiss Me, Give Me Love, Lego House
13. Birdy - Birdy To be honest there's not much to say about Birdy. New artist. Debut album. Beautiful voice. Can't wait to hear more! Seriously I really liked this debut album from her, despite it being full of cover songs bar one. It's great because she interprets a lot of songs that aren't mainstream and presents them in a stunning and haunting way that makes you believe she actually wrote them herself. She has one song, Without a Word, which is actually an original and you would assume that it is a cover too because it's so great and fits in well with the other songs. And if that song and this album is a preview of what she has to offer then she is going to hit it big in the future! Highlights:The District Sleeps Alone Tonight, Young Blood, Fire and Rain, Terrible Love
12. Gavin DeGraw - Sweeter Gavin continues to be underrated and overlooked on this album. I'm not saying that he needs or even deserves to be number one and credited as the biggest star Earth, because in all honesty his music and style is not original. But he does deserve more recognition for writing some really great pop/rock songs. On this album he sticks to these pop/rock roots and presents another solid album. Furthermore I have a real soft spot for his vocals! Highlights:Stealing, Radiation, Sweeter
11. Cher Lloyd - Sticks + Stones On X Factor last year Cher was my favourite contestant and I always stood by the idea that even if she didn't win she would still continue to make it big. She came fourth, then got a record deal, got some great producers and artists to feature, got a number one single, another top 5 single and a debut top 5 album, and finally she's now been signed by an American label. Even though she's an extremely MARMITE artist, I'd still argue she's made it big. The album is a great introduction to Cher, and is arguably the best debut from anyone from the reality series. I think when she releases over in America she needs to lose a few weaker tracks and add a few new songs to the tracklist and promote the hell out of it, 'cos IMO the US will love her! She has the attitude, style and (I hate to say it) "swag" that America loves in British artists. Can't wait for more from Cher! Highlights:Superhero, Grow Up, Want U Back, Playa Boi
10. Chris Brown - F.A.M.E. This is arguably the most surprising album to appear on my list, mainly because since the whole beating up Rihanna incident I've been extremely anti-Chris Brown. However, after releasing a string of undeniably catchy hits earlier in the year I decided to give in and download the album. What I got from this album was a mix of pop, hip-hop and R&B tracks that I've loved playing over the last year especially before a good night out! While I'm not gonna pretend like I'm into Chris Brown as a person, I suppose Rihanna has moved on and is doing great beyond the incident so us fans should move on to. Highlights:She Ain't You, Deuces, Look at Me Now, Yeah 3X, All Back
9. Drake - Take Care I'm not the biggest rap music fanatic, and don't claim to be an expert in the genre, but I can definitely appreciate the more mainstream rap artists. Drake obviously falls into this category as he seems to be everywhere and anywhere ATM. I think what appeals to me most about Drake is how chilled out a lot of his music is, which lets you appreciate his AMAZING lyrics so much more. In some ways I feel that he breaks the mold of hip-hop and rap artists, while somehow staying true to his roots. Overall I'm in love with the album and will continue to spin it in preparation for when I see him on March 27th at the O2 in London! Highlights:Look What You've Done, Over My Dead Body, Shot for Me, Take Care
8. Joss Stone - LP1 It's always going to be hard for me to hate anything Joss does. Since coming onto the scene in 2004 she's consistently been my favourite singer, and since being a member of Last.fm she's never spent a moment off the top position of my "overall" chart. There's just something about her voice that I love - she's so soulful and has a quality that really connects to me. The style of her music is again the style that I truly love, and whilst on this album she's not AS soulful as some of her earlier albums, you can still hear that soul creeping through in all of her songs despite the fact that she's developing as an artist. Unfortunately, she's ANOTHER artist that is currently being overlooked, but I think sooner or later she will get back the acclaim and popularity she deserves. I still prefer a couple of her other albums more, most notably her third Introducing Joss Stone, but overall I'm never gonna complain about a single thing Joss does because it always appeals to me. Highlights:Drive All Night, Don't Start Lying to Me Now, Last One to Know
7. Jessie J - Who You Are So all my reviews so far have been pretty positive, but this is the one where I'm gonna be slightly negative, but in a somewhat good way. The thing about Jessie is that I love her SO much and when I first heard Do It Like a Dude I was SO unbelievably excited about more music to come from her. Her debut album is great, and I've played it for almost a year now and will continue to until her next album comes out, but I was slightly disappointed with it at first. She has some really great songs on it, but at times she seems to lose her direction a little bit. I love her power ballads and pop songs (look how many songs there are in the highlights!) but some of the time she seems to be 100 different artists rolled into one, whereas I initially wanted the DILAD star and attitude we were first introduced to. I say all this with a pinch of salt really, because there's still no denying how great her music is and how much I personally love her, but I just think that she has a lot more to give - which is a good thing! I think when I read back on this review after she releases her next album I will still agree with all what I said, because I predict she'll hit it big with the next album, and it'll put this one to shame. But so far, overall, this was a genuinely great introduction to Jessie as an artist. And I LOVE her so much!!! P.s. can everybody take some time to acknowledge her vocals?! Seriously I don't think she's complimented enough for how powerful her voice is!! Highlights:Do It Like a Dude, Who You Are, Mamma Knows Best, Abracadabra, Price Tag, I Need This, Who's Laughing Now
6. James Morrison - The Awakening I'm overusing the phrase "underrated" and I guess it doesn't fully apply here seeing James did have a UK number one album with his latest effort, but still I don't think he gets the recognition he fully deserves. But that's just my opinion. James reminds me of the male Joss Stone, because he just oozes so much soul through his music and vocals. There's not much else to say other than this is another solid and extremely satisfying effort from Mr. Morrison. Highlights:I Won't Let You Go, One Life, 6 Weeks, Slave to the Music
5. Florence + the Machine - Ceremonials Last year Florence's debut album made it into my top 10 and I described it as "passionate" and "haunting" - two words that I'd apply again to this album. The album doesn't have as many stand-out tracks as the debut did, but as a whole album there's no denying how spectacular it is from beginning to end, which makes me enjoy it way more. Possibly the greatest thing about Florence is that she is genuinely unique, and there's no-one out there at the moment that does what she does. When I first listened to this album I got a sort of nostalgic feeling that was making me feel I'd heard the songs before, and I put that down to Florence knowing how to connect with her listeners and tap into emotions that other artists simply cannot do. Magical. Highlights:Only If for a Night, Breaking Down, Leave My Body, Remain Nameless
4. Britney Spears - Femme Fatale Britney Spears - a name that everyone all over the globe knows. So why aren't her albums selling? Ok, well they are, but just not as well as they should be. Personally I think it's because people are being idiots and still judging Brit on her personal life, which they shouldn't be. Her crazy days are way behind her, and she's had at least two genuine comebacks that have proved the haters wrong, so people should give her a chance again. This album is in my opinion the best she's ever created, simply because it flows so well as an album from beginning to end. Not one of the tracks seem out of place unlike on some of her other albums, and the production is flawless. She mixes pop, dance, dubstep, elements of R&B and even rock to create an album that is pure fun. Furthermore she has some of the greatest pop songs on the album that she's ever created, which may be why her single sales in the US have been the best in her career! Keep it coming Brit, you will never lose me as a fan! Highlights:Till the World Ends, Criminal, (Drop Dead) Beautiful, Inside Out
3. Rihanna - Talk That Talk If I based this list on plays then this album would definitely be number one because this is my most played album of the year, which is weird considering it was only released just over a month ago! But I can't deny how much I love this album! When it was announced that Rihanna would be releasing a new single and a new album whilst she was still promoting singles from Loud I think everyone expected the worst. She's done six albums in six years, so surely she should be tired as well as slacking in quality. Well no, in my opinion this is the best album she's created. I know the fans big up Rated R and credit it as being her best, but I think that this album edges past it because it draws on elements from that album while also sticking to the commercial side of RiRi that we all love. I think on this album there would honestly be a song for everyone and anyone, and people can hate on commercial music but I bet no-one can stop themselves from singing along to we found love in a hopeless place. I would wanna say to Rihanna to maybe cool it down and have a break, but if she can continue to produce amazing albums and singles nonstop and still enjoy doing her job then maybe not! Highlights:We Found Love, Talk That Talk, Watch n' Learn
2. Beyoncé - 4 I've always been a fan of Beyoncé's music, from her Destiny's Child days to her solo stuff, but there's always been something stopping me from considering myself a fan of her personally. I'm gonna put it straight and say that I honestly find her a little fake and annoying. I think it's hard to dislike her, but I just don't buy into her that much... I dunno. But anyways obviously I can't argue with how great her music has been over the years. This album shows B going in a completely different direction from her last album, which was a big risk considering I Am... Sasha Fierce was a phenomenal success. Lots of people are arguing that the risk didn't pay off, and I suppose that if we're looking at sales figures then this argument is true, but in terms of artistically I think that it's a completely wrong argument. The direction B has gone in is a soulful, old-school R&B vibe that I personally appreciate and love. It's a shame because she will probably go back to the more commercial stuff after this album ultimately flopped, but I really love this side of her so would definitely want to hear more. Highlights:Love on Top, Best Thing I Never Had, I Miss You, Party
1. Adele - 21 2011 was the year of Adele. That's all I can say really. I mean I love this album, but I probably love a few other more albums more than it from 2011. However, this needed to have the top spot because of the cultural impact it has had, and because of the fact that this album will remain current for years to come. Like Michael Jackson's Thriller, this album will grow up with people and never date and then in decades to come people will look back still in awe of how amazing the album is. Not many other albums or artists are going to have that same effect in these modern times, when there is a new flavour of the month every hour. Just take a moment to think she sold 15 million albums in a year. Crazy! In terms of music it is mainly soul that runs through this album and Adele's vocals, which as I've previously said I really love. Highlights:One and Only, Rolling in the Deep, Someone Like You
2011's Special Mentions
Gavin DeGraw Obviously I have listed his new album already, but what I want to mention here is his 2009 album Free. I ignored this album when it first came out, despite being a huge Gavin fan, and I really regret it because if this was released this year I would no doubt be listing it as my number one album of the year. At only 9 tracks long it's short, but sweet, and offers all what I love in music.
Katy Perry I feel bad not mentioning Katy Perry because she's probably my favourite artist at the moment. I love her style, music, personality... well just everything about her. I finally got to see her in concert this year in October and it definitely was one of the highlights of my year. And being THAT close to her furthered my love for the California gurl!
Michael Bublé Michael Bublé has one of the best voices in the world right now, and it just pleases me listening to him. He also has the "charm factor" which wins everyone over. This year he released his Christmas album, and it really brightened up my Christmas and got me in the spirit. Can't wait for more!
Ok, like last year I'm gonna do another write up of the year. This is mainly for my own benefit, but please comment if you have any thoughts! :) I've decided to add new categories this year. So here we go...
2010's Top Artists
2010's Top Movies
3. Inception - It was a flip between this and Shutter Island. But this movie slightly edges it because it's amazing from beginnig to end, it keeps you thinking and guessing and has a great twist. Intriguing and completely EPIC!
2. Toy Story 3 - I've grown up with Toy Story, and as a child the first two movies were my favourites! And this final chapter of the triology didn't disappoint in the slightest! Funny, sad and completely heartwarming! Too much love for this film!
1. The Social Network - This was one of the biggest shocks of the year for me. I really wanted see it, but then I didn't, then after all the rave reviews I thought I must see it. Everyone always says "but its a movie about Facebook! That must be boring?!" and I thought the same thing beforehand. But I can't argue how wrong that idea is! It's an amazing story and superb acting, and I'd gladly recommend it to everyone!
2010's Biggest Disappointments
Christina Aguilera - Bionic Every album Christina has released prior to Bionic has been amazing, which is why most fans feel that the big gaps she has between each album (usually about 3-4 years) is justifiable. However, nothing can justify Bionic. I'm not gonna lie and say I hate it completely, because I don't. I enjoy a few songs from it (You Lost Me is a personal favourite), but the thing I love most about Xtina is her ability to reinvent herself for each album, and although she has gone in a different direction, it seems more like a LOW-RENT copycat of so many other artists in the charts atm... so extremely disappointing!
Duffy - Endlessly This one saddens me even more than Xtina, because 2 years ago Duffy was my favourite artist and her album was my favourite album of the year! I think this is why I had big expectations for her 2nd album. Again, I like the songs on it and I will probably continue to play it as it has only recently been released, but compared to her outstanding debut album Rockferry this doesn't even compare. I hope her third offering is greater than this because I find this very disappointing.
2010's Top Albums
Here is a rundown of my favourite albums.
First up are the albums that didn't quite make the cut, but have still been great to listen to and I will continue to play (in alphabetical order):
15. Tinie Tempah - Disc-Overy 2010 was newcomer Tinie Tempah's year. He had commerical success with his debut single Pass Out which reached number one in the UK charts. He seems to have sprung new life into the hip-hop genre and created something fresh that we haven't seen before. The album is superb! Fave Songs:Pass Out, Miami 2 Ibiza, Illusion
14. Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More This is one of the biggest surprises in my list, because I'm not really an indie/folk music fan if I'm honest. However, during my first year of uni my flatmates really got me into Mumford & Sons and they introduced me to a range of different music that I've really grown to like. This album is amazing and deserves all the critical acclaim it has received! Fave Songs:White Blank Page, Sigh No More, The Cave
13. 3OH!3 - Streets of Gold I love 3OH!3. I think they are extremely underrated because they're not taken seriously, which I suppose is fair enough because lots of their music is completely stupid and ridiculous. But there's no denying that they do produce amazingly catchy songs and this album is filled with them. The album also provides more downbeat and serious songs, such as I'm Not the One, which show a completely different side to them that unfortunately won't be seen in the charts. Fave Songs:R.I.P., I Know How to Say, Double Vision
12. Rihanna - Loud When I first downloaded this album I loved it completely, now I'm not too sure. It's a great, solid album with no fillers, but I don't know if I'd rate it above her last two albums. However, all of the songs could be potential singles, which is a great thing and Rihanna still continues to have chart success and be the queen of R&B (sorry Bee!). Fave Songs:What's My Name?, Cheers (Drink to That), Complicated
11. Mike Posner - 31 Minutes to Takeoff Although I do love Posner's first single Cooler Than Me, I downloaded this album purely out of boredom and not because I was really excited for it. However, I was pleasantly surprised and so glad that I did download it because it's one of my most played albums of the year. The only reason why it's not higher on my list is because I feel it's not extremely different or groundbreaking, but Mike Posner is one of my favourite new artists to come in 2010 and I look forward to new music from him in the future! Fave Songs:Evil Woman, Another Love Song, XO
10. Florence + the Machine - Lungs Technically released in 2009, but I didn't obtain it until 2010 so I'm gonna include it! I think what I like most about this album is the EPICness of it. Every single song is passionate and haunting which means that it is always going to provoke some type of emotion! Florence's voice is stunning and the album is gorgeous! Fave Songs:I'm Not Calling You a Liar, Cosmic Love, Dog Days Are Over
9. The xx - xx Another massive surprise for me personally, because although many people would rate this album as one of the best albums of the year it is completely different to what I usually listen to. However, after hearing all the buzz about this group and album I decided to download it and it's without a doubt the best album of the year. This doesn't mean it's my favourite, but there's something completely magical about this group and their music is dark and chilling whilst also comforting and sweet at the same time. There's not enough words to describe how great this album is, but I recommend it to everyone! Fave Songs:Heart Skipped a Beat, Islands, Basic Space
8. Eminem - Recovery Weirdly this is another slight surprise for me, because although I've always been a fan of M&M's songs I've never actually got one of his albums. But after hearing such positive things about it, I thought why not? Eminem continues to provide those hilarious songs, and then also the songs that are so deep they become quite disturbing to listen to. However, this mixture of songs is what makes it such an amazing album. People say "quality over quantity" and although there are 17 songs on the album, and most of the songs are quite long, it's fine because the quantity is completely quality! Fave Songs:No Love, Space Bound, So Bad
7. Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday Aaah Nicki Minaj! Fun, quirky, crazy, unique, bizarre, slightly scary Nicki Minaj! My love for her is so high at the moment. After featuring on so many songs and ALWAYS being the greatest part of them, I was so excited to hear she was gonna be releasing her own album. My expectations were high and she delivered and provided so much more! Her style is completely unqiue and it's great to see a female artist in a mainly male-orientated genre. The album sometimes slips down into a more poppy style with songs like Last Chance (with Natasha Bedingfield) and Check It Out (with Will.I.Am) which I don't appreciate as much, but a fantastic album nonetheless! Fave Songs:Save Me, Blazin, I'm the Best
6. Ke$ha - Animal / Cannibal Ke$ha has had phenomenal success in 2010, which can be seen even here on Last.fm (she's the number one most-played artist of 2010!). Her first single TiK ToK is one of the greatest debuts in recent years, and she really made her stamp in the pop industry. She gets a bad rep for being a bit trashy, stupid and for all the auto-tune she uses but I think people need to not take it so seriously and realise SHE IS WHAT SHE IS - fun! While I find her some of her songs on Animal a bit shite, it is only a couple and the rest completely make up for it! The re-release of the album and companion "Cannibal" is also amazing and I'm so excited for more Ke$ha! Fave Songs (Animal):TiK ToK, Dancing with Tears in My Eyes, Take It Off Fave Songs (Cannibal):We R Who We R, Crazy Beautiful Life, Cannibal
5. The Script - Science & Faith What I like about The Script is that they the perfect pop/rock band. They're not as heavy as great bands like Coldplay, but then at the same time they're not too fluffy like Scouting for Girls. Which is why I think they've continued to find success with their second album. Whilst it's not a drastic difference to their debut, it is certainly a step up from it. Great lyrics, great vocals and great songs. I can't find any faults with this album and my love for The Script is continuously growing! Fave Songs:Exit Wounds, Walk Away, For the First Time
4. Taylor Swift - Speak Now Last year Taylor's Fearless album was number one on the list, and whilst this album is number four I do not think at all that this album is any a step backwards. In fact I truly believe that this album is a step forward, and you can see how much Taylor has evolved and matured on this album. Her songs are deeper and lyrics more personal. Another STUNNING effort from Taylor and she will continue to be one of my most played artists as long as she makes music because I know she will never disappoint! Fave Songs:Haunted, If This Was a Movie, Sparks Fly
3. Katy Perry - Teenage Dream As I mentioned earlier, 2010 was Katy Perry's year, and I'm sooo glad she gained more success with her second album. She also featured on different songs such as Starstrukk and If We Ever Meet Again. The album is somewhat different to her first, she seems to have gone in a direction which I believe has been a great move on her part in terms of sucess. However she has seemed to have retained some of her pop/rock roots, on songs like Circle the Drain and Pearl, which is where I think she shines best. Katy Perry has been one of my favourite artists since she came on the scene in 2008, so I'm so happy she's done so well this year. (P.s. Russell Brand is one lucky man!) Fave Songs:Circle the Drain, Teenage Dream, Peacock
2. Plan B - The Defamation of Strickland Banks One of my best friends actually used to go out with Plan B (or Ben), so it was actually her who encouraged me to give his album a try. I was a bit skeptical becaue I thought it may be too underground for my taste. But I was MORE than pleasantly surprised when I listened to it! The album is a great story from beginning to end, and the songs are quality tracks that I cannot describe how much I love! The thing that surprised me most though is his voice - he is SO soulful, which is a trait I love most in artists. The way he mixes soul with rap amazes me, and I know some fans are disappointed that he has strayed somewhat from his roots, but I can't say that I share the same feeling. Fave Songs:Love Goes Down, Stay Too Long, Welcome To Hell
1. Ellie Goulding - Lights This album seems to be a bit hit-or-miss with most people. I have seen that people really LOVE the album, and some people have been completely disappointed with it. I have to say that I am completely the former and LOVE this album. Ellie is magical and the whole album has a feel to it that is sparkly and dreamy, which I really appreciate. Her style is very IN at the moment, with artists such as Marina & The Diamonds having a similar style, however I personally feel that Ellie is top of the pack. My only issue with her is her image, which I know most people don't care about, but this aspect always intrigues me in an artist and I feel that Ellie has such an undefined and slightly boring image. But this doesn't take away from the album obviously, which is my favourite album of the year! Fave Songs:Lights, The Writer, I'll Hold My Breath
Special Mention to...
Glee Cast Glee has completely overtaken my life! I'm obsessed with it! The show is hiliarious, fun and often extremely moving. The music in the show is what makes it spectacular though - they cover a range of music, from classic golden oldies to hidden gems to the latest chart hits, and they do them all flawlessly (often greater than the original!). I currently have over 160 tracks in my library by them and we are only half way through the second season, yet I doubt I will ever get bored of listening to them.
20. Battlefield - Jordin Sparks When I first got this album I was really lovin' it. However, in retrospect I kinda think that I loved it so much because there were no other good albums out at the time :/ Despite this, I still believe it was a strong effort from Jordin, who has definitely improved since her debut. I'm still stunned that the lead single and the album didn't do as well as many predicted! Favourite Songs:Walking on Snow, No Parade, Battlefield
18. 3 Words - Cheryl Cole I probably dislike more of the songs on this album than I actually like. However, the songs that I do like are pretty good. Overall, I wasn't overly impressed with Cheryl's solo debut, but that's pretty much what I expected! Favourite Songs:Happy Hour, Parachute, 3 Words
17. Wordshaker - The Saturdays I love The Saturdays! So much! And seeing Girls Aloud are taking a break, and Sugababes have gone shit, they're currently my favourite UK girl group. The album is a really good album, and a definite step up from the debut (which I also love!). It probably hasn't got as many plays as it should, but only because there were so many other great albums released around the same time! Favourite Songs:Open Up, No One, Forever Is Over
15. Colour Me Free! - Joss Stone Everyone that knows me knows how much I love Joss Stone, and my charts on here show how big a fan I am. However, the promotion for this album was terrible. There was no hype at all, and through this I lost my desire for the album. The lead single was also disappointing to me, but after obtaining the album I understand that there aren't many radio-friendly tracks on it, which is ok. The album is not my favourite by Joss, and it still upsets me that it wasn't as successful as her previous three. But by all means this is still a fantastic album, which I seem to love more and more after each listen. Joss' vocals are on point and this feels extremely raw, which seems to be what Joss' is aiming for. Favourite Songs:Could Have Been You, 4 and 20, Parallel Lines
14. Play On - Carrie Underwood This is another album that probably hasn't received as many plays as it should have, mainly because of the amount of albums that were released in the Autumn. However, it's another solid piece of work from Carrie and in my eyes she still remains as the best act ever to be produced from American Idol :) Favourite Songs:Unapologize, Play On, Cowboy Casanova
13. Turn It Up - Pixie Lott Pixie Lott is probably my favourite new act to come from the UK this year. Although the album isn't a masterpiece and doesn't even produce anything new that we haven't heard before, it's fun-filled pop goodness from start to end. A nice debut from Pixie, and I can't wait to hear more from her! Favourite Songs:Here We Go Again, Jack, Boys and Girls
11. The Fame - Lady Gaga Although this was technically released in 2008, in the UK we received it in 2009, and 2009 was the year of Lady GaGa. Whether you're a fan of her crazy behaviour and bizarre performances or not, there's no denying that the GaGa does have talent, which is why she has gained so much success and praise over the last year. Favourite Songs:Poker Face, Starstruck, Paparazzi
10. All I Ever Wanted - Kelly Clarkson "Thank God!" was my response after hearing the album for the first time. I am just so thankful that Kelly has returned to the pop princess we all know and love. Whilst this album may not be as great as Breakaway was, it is definitely a step back into the right direction after the shite that was My December. I love this album, and she experiments so much on it that it's hard not to love it! Before this album was released I was not excited at all albout it, but now I cannot wait for Kelly's next offering! Favourite Songs:Long Shot, Don't Let Me Stop You, My Life Would Suck Without You
09. Rated R - Rihanna This was probably not the comeback that anyone was expecting from Rihanna, and I have to say that I actually wasn't disappointed with the album. I thought I would be, especially considering that lead single Russian Roulette is completely different to Umbrella and not at all what I was expecting or even hoping for. But as an album, it is genius and outshines Good Girl Gone Bad with only one weak song: G4L. Favourite Songs:Fire Bomb, Te Amo, Cold Case Love
08. Echo - Leona Lewis Many have said that lead single Happy is the reason why Leona's sophomore album hasn't been AS successful as her first (granted, she is still currently the UK's biggest and best artist, full stop!). However, I don't think so, because looking at the other songs on the album I really don't see any song that could have come close to being another Bleeding Love, but Happy was the closest. The album still has plenty of time to sell though, and hopefully it will go on to greater success because - apart from the lead single - it is definitely a huge improvement from her debut. A great album from start to finish! Favourite Songs:Can't Breathe, You Don't Care, Alive
07. Love & War - Daniel Merriweather After hearing that this guy - the amazing singer from Mark Ronson's Stop Me, was releasing an album - I thought that he was sure to have success worldwide. But while the sales figures for Daniel's debut haven't been groundbreaking, the album certainly is. Daniel's soulful voice is what captures me most, but this album is definitely one of the most under rated of the year! Favourite Songs:Getting Out, Red, Water And A Flame
05. It's Not Me, It's You - Lily Allen Lily Allen is often bashed in the media, and whilst she isn't the most perfect recording artist ever, at least she doesn't act like she is! On this album we are provided with more witty and sometimes crude lyrics from Lily. But all that should be put aside because most importantly Lily provides another album that is smart, unique and catchy as hell. Favourite Songs:Not Fair, Fuck You, I Could Say
04. Crazy Love - Michael Bublé Where do I start with Michael Bublé?! I've always been a fan of his singles, and always respected him as an artist, but I didn't think of him as a performer until I saw his performance on X Factor. He gave me chills, and because I loved his lead single I knew I HAD to get the album! Fair enough, the majority of the songs on the album are covers, but that doesn't stop him making them his own, bringing his own charm, personality and emotion to each song. But most importantly, in my opinion he is probably the best male VOCALIST in the world at the moment. Favourite Songs:At This Moment, Haven't Met You Yet, All I Do Is Dream of You
03. The Fame Monster - Lady Gaga As I've already stated, 2009 was the year of Lady GaGa, and after releasing debut album The Fame she soon released Monster towards the end of the year. GaGa says herself that this album is actually her sophomore album, not a re-release or "deluxe" edition with bonus tracks. Personality I'm glad this is considered as an album in it's own right, because it definitely stands on it's own, and is far better than her debut! There are no fillers, just great song after great song, with 8 (out of a possible 8) being potential singles! Favourite Songs:Teeth, Bad Romance, Telephone
02. Battle Studies - John Mayer My second favourite album of 2009 goes to John Mayer, who is by far my favourite male music artist! While his vocals aren't as great Michael Bublé or a few other male artists, his music is far superior. The album is a masterpiece and is on par with his previous album, Continuum. There's not much to say, except I love John Mayer and this album is amazing. Favourite Songs:Half of My Heart, War of My Life, Heartbreak Warfare
01. Fearless - Taylor Swift Another album technically released in 2008, but a UK release of 2009 so it still counts! While 2009 is considered the year of GaGa, it's also been a pretty amazing year for Taylor Swift (excluding one disrespectful moment with one arrogant rapper!) who has had international success with both her singles and album. Despite not being a great fan of country music, Taylor has definitely been my favourite and most played artist of 2009! There's something about her music, her voice and her in general that captivates me and I cannot even state my love for the girl! The platinum edition (as I've already mentioned) was another great release for Taylor, but this album was by far my favourite album of the year and I doubt I could even find one fault with it! Favourite Songs:Tell Me Why, Forever & Always, You Belong with Me