Last week, we successfully brought you the VH1 staff’s favorite songs of 2011 without any bloodshed, and we’re happy to report that no one’s brain exploded while trying to narrow down the amazing albums of 2012 into a concise list. Again, what VH1 staffers enjoyed in 2012 was a rich and vibrant tapestry of genres, created both by newcomers and veterans.
As far as consensus is concerned, there were 23 LPs that appeared on multiple ballots, but only 6 that appeared on four or more lists: Miguel‘s Kaleidoscope Dream (7 ballots), Emeli Sandé‘s Our Version Of Events and Frank Ocean‘s channel ORANGE (6 ballots apiece), Kendrick Lamar‘s good kid, m.A.A.d. city (5 ballots), Taylor Swift‘s RED and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis‘ The Heist (each with 4 ballots).
Everyone knows that albums don’t sell — exceptions granted to all British neo-soul performers whose names begin with the letter “A” and end with “dele,” because their albums go Diamond — and so tasked with the challenge of assuring that their albums actually sell, artists have done away with the televised performance here, album singing there promotional tours of old in favor of elaborate stunts that include breaking world records, reuniting with abusive boyfriends, large pizza pies and selling at least a few extra records. Here are five of the wackiest pulled in the last 365 days:
On this week’s episode of the VH1 Top 20 Countdown, we’re rolling out the Top 20 videos of the year from Herald Square, New York City. That’s right, all the videos that have led the countdown throughout the different seasons of the year will now battle it out for Top 20 supremacy. But before the show airs on Saturday at 9am EST, you can still cast your vote for the video you think should take the crown for 2012. Who will it be? You’ll have to tune-in and check back with us on Saturday to find out!
It’s no secret that Taylor Swift‘s art imitates her real life, but so it seems as if her life has begun to imitate her art as well. And so if sensed a little more sub frequency trembling in the Earth’s atmosphere this morning than usual, here’s why: On a recent date, Taylor followed latest new beau, One Direction‘s Harry Styles, to Shamrock Tattoo Parlor in L.A. for an inking. Taylor watched while Styles got a big ole’ boat tatted on his arm, and afterwards the someone posted the moment to Instagram so we know it’s real. Styles has plenty tattoos and both pop stars are old enough to make their own decisions when it comes to their bodies; what concerns us here is that — ohh OHHH! — this is a scene right out of “I Knew You Were Trouble.”
Uh oh, Taylor Swift‘s in trouble. Like, a lot of trouble. So much trouble that she’s been forced to act. And act she shall–putting all the emotion in her now-23 year old body into the “I Knew You Were Trouble” video. It’s perfect, actually–those dip-dyed locks were made to roll around on the desert floor. Even a meaningful key drop is made dramatic by Taylor, who is a huge fan of metaphors. Want to see what we mean?
This new video for Taylor Swift‘s dubbed-out new single, “I Knew You Were Trouble,” is a curious thing. Gone are her pretty ballet flats and handsome fellas, the woodland creatures and Parisian skyline; and that cutesy Dirty Dancing routine she did with Harry Styles this is certainly not. Rather, we get Taylor with messy, pink ombre hair and a love interest who looks an awful lot like Pete Doherty, a crusty looking motel room and several ratty t-shirt changes, a long opening monologue ala Lana Del Rey‘s “Ride” video and lots of other moments that will have you thinking Taylor may not be such a goody two-shoes after all.
The mini-epic begins with Taylor alone and in the desert, just woken up in the detritus of some festival — if we had to guess which we would say Coachella, because she’s in the desert and too clothed to have just attended Burning Man –and all alone. An ominous score plays, and to the thumping of a heartbeat she delivers this dozy of a speech about her “kaleidoscope of memories” and “how can the devil be pulling you towards someone who looks so much like an angel” and the meaning of life, just in general:
“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…
The days of summer beach hopping and brunching outside of lofty restaurant patios in the sun seem like only days ago. Now Christmas is two weeks away, which means 2012 is winding down and 2013 is on the horizon. VH1 Tuner is excited to present to you with a myriad of fun end-of-year lists for the rest of December, as we reflect back on the year that was. And what would 2012 be without the music YouTube phenomenons that made us laugh, scratch our head and dance? Without further ado, here’s to the rising crop of music stars (or at least popular for the moment) who can credit “going viral” for their success.
He’s not the next Justin Bieber. We’re only writing it because the comparison has been made a zillion times. Austin’s teeny bopper song “Say Somethin” spread quickly in the cyber world after his popularity grew from his covers of pop stars’ hit songs. The kid’s YouTube page of 90 million views and over 500,000 subscribers ultimately led to one of his biggest opportunities to date. From YouTube sensation to opening for Taylor Swift’s her RED tour, another one bites the good ol’ YouTube dust.
7. Rap BattleRoyale: Loaded Lux vs. Calicoe
One rap battle, two MCs, lyrically spar for bragging rights as the dopest rapper. This year’s most noteworthy battle birthed the infamous quote: “You gon’ get this work.” Loaded Lux and Calicoe battled for over 30 minutes in front of an anxious crowd vigilantly waiting to decide which rapper would hold the championship belt. The video quickly made its way to hip-hop sites galore where Loaded Lux’s “you gon’ get this work” had even Jay-Ztweeting the line. Shoutout to Lux for one of the hottest catchphrases of 2012.
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.