2012 has been an interesting year for the music business. As chart genres shift and technology continues to influence how and what we consume, in-flux trends seem to fly in out of nowhere.The viral sensation breakout star, for example. But can we go back to basics for just a moment? These people are here to entertain us and sing, right? Like, into microphones and send sound waves into the universe. Whether their songs permeated the charts all year or their pipes are ones to keep an eye out in the future, the following 15 voices were the most noteworthy in 2012.
Having created what’s sure to be a sing-along bar anthem for years to come, Gotye’s “Somebody I Used to Know” is a monster. Shout out to Kimbra for the solid assist, too!
In addition to being the voice behind David Guetta’s “Titanium” and Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones” this year, Sia also wrote the lyrics and melody for Rihanna’s “Diamonds” and her talent should be recognized, damn it.
Through storytelling, K-Dot has the versatility to sound nervous, vulnerable and shrieky, macho and intimidating, soft and robotic, Compton tough, and instructively monotone.
“All you [chicks] is my sons,” is what Britney Spears is somewhere rapping in a mirror after topping Forbes‘ top earning women in music list. Britney indeed made a comeback–a $58 million dollar one. The bulk of the pop singer’s $58 million earning can be attributed to her latest album, Femme Fatale, and its tour. Her fortune increased with endorsements and her fragrance line with Elizabeth Arden. After a rough patch of misfortunes it’s good to see Brit back on top. Read more…
Her sea-punk cribbing green-screen act may have had the Internet up in arms, but what we really thought was most jaw-dropping about Rihanna‘s recent Saturday Night Live appearance was that stunning new ballad she performed called “Stay.” Rihanna’s not much of a vocalist, and studio 8H is not generally known as a place to really sing, but sing Rihanna did and she sounded so good. We didn’t know Rihanna could do — or even wanted to, for that matter — but we were blown away by it, and we were happier yet to see her do it again this weekend on The X Factor UK finale.
On a big stage and in a futuristic white cut-out dress, again finding emotional range and strength in her voice that we haven’t come to expect from her. The airplane-hanger sized space she was performing in remained silent through the song and when she moved into “We Found Love” without skipping a beat. She sang the first verse pared-down and from the gut like she did with “Stay,” but then seemed to catch herself. “Ooh!” she squealed, and the stage began spewing sparks and what had been a quiet performance erupted into some sort of spectacular laser-ridden rave we’ve only ever dreamed of. And so it seems, that first and very good SNL performance was no fluke — Rihanna’s for sure got that x-factor.
The year is running down, and like everyone else, we are bundling up our most memorable musical moments from the year into a slew of Best Of’s. Before we get to the more obvious lists — the best albums, the best songs — we thought we would have a little fun. First up: 9 delightful collaborations, made all the more so for their unexpectedness. We aren’t talking Watch The Throne-style of-course-they-would team-ups, we’re talking collaborations that we couldn’t in our wildest dreams have imagined or that we thought we would never see, like — well, these nine:
Barton Hollow is totally “an indie record much cooler than mine,” but more careful observer might have predicted this unlikely but delightful collaboration, as Swift began yammering about her fellow Nashville transplants The Civil Wars on twitter long before this was even a possibility. We, however, were left breathless upon learning that one of the day’s biggest pop stars had teamed-up with one of our favorite You Oughta Know acts — and for a song for such a pivotal moment in the Hunger Games movie, no less! Joy Williams harmonizing turns Taylor’s girlish coo haunting, and John Paul White‘s patient guitar plucking gets the whole thing swirling. See also:“The Last Time,” Taylor’s distressed duet with Gary Lightbody of Northern Ireland’s mostly absent as of late folk rock set Snow Patrol. Taylor is a slick machine when it comes to her music, and it was a surprise to see her reaching out of bounds for this one.
Hard to believe as it may be given the boom box beats and all the sing-rapping that resulted, Warrior is allegedly a tribute to the genre Ke$ha loves the most: rock and roll. If you really strain your ears, you may hear some of that “old hippie rock” in the breakdown of “Die Young.” You won’t have to try so hard with “Dirty Pop,” which features Iggy Pop, a true and blue rock star and someone Ke$ha has spent a lot of time talking about through the years. The joy she must have felt the first time she heard him call her “Wild Child” on her own song is evident. See also:“2012,” K$’s duet with fellow weirdos The Flaming Lips.
The nominees for the 55th Annual Grammy Awards were announced in Los Angeles tonight during a live special that aired on CBS. Hosted by LL Cool J and Taylor Swift, the show featured performances from the likes of fun., Maroon 5, Ne-Yo and more. The 2013 Grammys will be broadcast on CBS February 10th at 8/7c.
This should settle any questions you have as to Rihanna’s ability to command an evening, because she sure didn’t let her lack of wings keep her from being “Phresh Out The Runway” at Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Performing the eardrum-alteringUnapologetic cut in a sheer pink slip and white sweater wrapped around her waist, and sassing the girls as they passed her by — “I see you walk!” — before taking a turn of her own playing model, stomping down to the end where she sealed her performance with a kiss.
But the best part of the whole video is when the camera cuts to backstage where the Angels and Justin Bieber were looking on, mouths agape because, boy — what’s swaggy when you can be so phresh like this? Seriously, forget the models and miniscule outfits they were fitted in, Rihanna stole the show. And it seems safe to assume she’s not sorry.
Scotland’s largest music festival, T In The Park, is planning an unforgettable weekend. Our favorite bad girl is set to headline the 20th anniversary of the festival along with Mumford & Sons. The pop princess and rock band couldn’t be more different as artists, but the versatility in performers is what makes for a unique show. Read more…
It has to be written: Chris Brown and Rihanna are the new age Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston. The main ingredients of their similarities are rebellion and dysfunctional addictive love. Rihanna’s Oprah interview opened the floodgates for the pair’s openness about their friendship/not-so-secret-relationship that would soon follow. Whatever their relationship status is, “ain’t nobody’s business” (except the whole Internet). They’re now comfortable letting the world publicly see their love for one another through tabloids, Twitter and Instagram, and you will deal. By the way, Chris is back on Twitter, as we predicted he would be. It took all of a week. Read more…
He’s young, in love and a superstar. Chris Brown is unpredictable. In the past week alone he’s made headlines for deleting his Twitter account after a nasty exchange with comedian Jenny Johnson and matching his and her rolex watches. The “her” obviously being his boo–we think it’s safe to call her that–Rihanna. Now he’s leaving the public scratching their heads over a photo Rihanna posted to Instagram last night. Read more…
It’s no real secret that Rihanna doesn’t write her own music, but as Leona Lewismight tell you, just because she can make a song famous does not necessarily mean she always does it best. And so when we first heard “Diamonds,” we noted that Rihanna seemed to be mimicking the song’s author Sia‘s enunciation and vocal quality at times. Sia sounded good on Rihanna, but the eerie verisimilitude got us wondering — if Rihanna’s is this good, just how great could the former You Oughta Know Artist‘s take be?
Sia performed the song at the Norwegian-American Achievement Awards ceremony a few weeks back and — to nobody’s great surprise — it turns out Sia’s version is really, really, very good. Stripped of the glimmering production and 808 thump, her go is interestingly haunted and maybe a bit mournful where Rihanna’s is hopeful and inspiring. Sia’s got a much more expansive vocal range and she was able to open new corners of the her song that’s since become Rihanna’s hit. And because it’s not duplicitous or better but just different, we now have two “Diamonds” to enjoy.
We think that the world is a better place for having both these “Diamonds” out there for out listening pleasure, but what say you: Do you think Sia should have kept “Diamonds” for herself? Or is it better suited for someone so #unapologetic as Rihanna?