Earlier this week, I posted my favorite singles from 2012. And now, it’s time for the albums.
Unlike last year, 2012 was not a very strong year for mainstream pop acts–at all. Most of the releases from pop’s biggest players, including P!nk, Nicki Minaj, One Direction, Christina Aguilera, Ke$ha and Adam Lambert–were largely ‘okay’ at best, playing like rehashes of previous successes and hopping on radio trends du jour. The result was a yearlong onslaught of dubstep breakdowns and guitar-led YOLO dance-pop (“Live While We’re Young,” “Die Young,” “Starships,” et al.) Even the Queen of Reinvention herself–as much as I wouldn’t normally dare to admit this–bowed to some occasionally cringeworthy youth pandering on her 12th studio album, MDNA. (And could she ever really recover from Cher‘s merciless shade?)
But whereas conventional pop faltered, dozens of up-and-coming players from around the world shined bright (like a diamond), resulting in music that actually was–and still is–largely ahead of the curve: A Swedish trance-pop songstress, a Canadian R&B crooner, a British neo-soul darling and of course, a certain American-born throwback chanteuse that set the nation on fire in a red, white and blue blaze of glory.
Here are my Top 20 albums of 2012. As with the singles, there’s a Spotify link at the very end to hear all Top 20 albums in a row. Enjoy, and I’ll see you in 2013!
It’s Christmastime, and Bright Light Bright Light is feeling mighty festive.
To celebrate the season, the UK electro-pop prince has unveiled his very own advent calendar: 24 Days of Christmas, a collection of bootlegs he’s produced over the past year, bringing his brilliant 2012 record Make Me Believe In Hope together with some major pop tunes.
I’ve been waiting for the feeling–and now, I finally feel it!
Bright Light Bright Light, née Rod Thomas, is getting ready to release “Feel It,” one of my very favorites from his truly brilliant debut Make Me Believe In Hope, on October 29.
Earlier today, the talented pop prince released the visual behind his early ’90′s House anthem. Prepare for brightly colored, VHS-ready goodness and some totally fierce footwork–it’s pure, campy green screen magic!
I love Darren Hayes. I love Bright Light Bright Light (or Rod Thomas, formally speaking.) Imagine my sheer delight, then, when I saw both names listed together earlier this week. INSAHNE.
Yes, it’s real and actual: As part of the festivities for his 40th birthday last week (happy birthday again, Darren!), Mr. Hayes recruited UK pop prince Bright Light Bright Light to take his latest Secret Codes & Battleships single to task, which premiered over at ArjanWrites on Monday.
“When I think of my favourite 12 inch mixes on vinyl, they were remixes in a vague house style, with big piano riffs and those signature snare rolls,” Hayes told Arjan. “I think he’s more than delivered. It’s my favourite remix from the album so far and I wanted everyone to hear it.”
Though the new mix of “Stupid Mistake” starts out rather dramatic and serious face (there are finger snaps!), just wait until that first chorus to draw to a close, when the song suddenly bursts into a euphoric, early ’90′s piano-led dance House beat–the signature Bright Light touch!
Yes, there’s still just as much guilt and shame packed into the track, but really…with rhythms this scrumptiously danceable, you’ll likely be caught voguing before you ever have a chance to shed a tear. Brilliant job all around!
Best of all–it’s free! Head over to ArjanWrites now to download the remix fo’ free.
“Stupid Mistake” was released on May 4. (iTunes)
After the release of the gorgeous “Love Part II” in 2010 and the utterly brilliant “Disco Moment” back in 2011, London-based synth-pop prince Bright Light Bright Light (née Rod Thomas) is officially kicking off the campaign for his upcoming debut album with his brand new single: “Waiting For The Feeling.”
Aided by an early ’90′s House throb (and some more modern electronic elements), Thomas bides his time awaiting the right one to finally come along: “You keep on telling me how I feel, but I want someone who can make me fall in love and then hit the ground running,” hes pleads across the song’s chorus.
The whole song’s fantastic, down to those final few stuttered seconds of “I’m waiting for the feeling to get to me.” Nearly Dannii-esque!
Be sure to check out the Alun Davies-directed video for the song as well below, which is full of bright colors and beautiful boys (I am not mad at the inclusion of either of these things.) There’s also a lot of head massaging.
It’s admittedly rare for me to really get excited by a male pop vocal, but Thomas’ smooth voice–mixed with classic ’80′s and ’90′s dance rhythms–is an utter dream, recalling bits and pieces of male pop that I love the most, including Hurts, Pet Shop Boys and Will Young. Basically, I’m a big fan.
Thomas’ highly anticipated debut, Make Me Believe In Hope, features Scissor Sisters‘ Del Marquis and production by Andy Chatterley and Jon Shave, and will be released on June 4.
“Waiting For The Feeling” was released on March 18. (iTunes)