As 2013 is winding down, I've been thinking about all of the music that has been released this year, and I must say... this year has been musically refreshing.
One of my favorite albums that was released this year is Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience Part 1 (I didn't care for Part 2, except for "Drink You Away"). When I first heard the debut single, "Suit and Tie ft. JAY Z," I wasn't sold. Compared to his past singles, "Suit and Tie" just didn't do anything for me. Fortunately, though, Rocket sent me the album, and I was pleasantly surprised. “Pusher Love Girl,” the opening track (and my favorite track) was the perfect choice to open the album, allowing the rest of the songs to flow together perfectly. Each track incorporates unique rhythms and melodies, and quite honestly, that is pretty rare for pop artists these days. Timberlake and crew are musical geniuses.
As a longtime fan, I was thrilled to see Paramore also make a successful comeback this year with their hit “Still Into You.” It’s a relatable, catchy, pop song, and singer Hayley Williams has such a unique, powerful, and raw voice. The song is pure pop perfection. The rest of the self-titled album? Not as impressive. “Still Into You” is the only song on the album that I think could be a major hit.
On a similar note, I was highly impressed by the massive emergence of alternative/indie-pop artists crossing over into Top 40 radio this year! In the past, music like that of Awolnation, The Neighborhood, Imagine Dragons, and The 1975, among others, was usually only heard on alternative radio. It’s great to hear Top 40 radio expanding and becoming more diverse, because it’s unbelievably helpful to artists, and allows listeners to hear new music they probably wouldn’t expect to hear!
A few straight up pop artists whose releases I really enjoyed this year are Ariana Grande (her entire album is incredible), Icona Pop, Sara Bareilles, and, showing my inner tween, Emblem 3 and One Direction (I’ll never deny my love of boy bands).