Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The 50 Best Singles of 2014

Nonstop On Top Pop: Best Singles of 2014

It is officially that time of year when Christmas trees come down and we look back at the amazing music we have experienced over the past year. Luckily, it was hard to pick the top 50 this year, a sign that pop music once again can always deliver. For the record, this list only includes singles, which tend to be the best songs an artist has to offer. Otherwise, let's be real, "Timebomb" by Tove Lo would have won this hands down. Regardless let's get this party started.

50. "Heroes" by Alesso feat. Tove Lo

This would have been a rather mundane EDM song but luckily Tove's magic touch once again takes everything to the next level. If 2014 has done anything right, it was to make this girl a superstar.

49. "Problem" by Arianna Grande feat. Iggy Azalea

"Problem" undeniably has this year's best use of saxophone. Sorry Jason Derulo.

48. "All About That Bass" by Meghan Trainor

No matter how much this song grates my nerves, it is still too catchy not to have been an international hit. Congratulations?

47. "Uptight Downtown" by La Roux

La Roux is one of the best things to happen to pop EVER and if this had been a promoted a little better, this would have been much higher on the list. Still, this is really a special song so be a good person and get their spectacular album while you're at it.

46. "Don't Stop" by 5 Seconds Of Summer

It's very hard to make good pop music with guitars but 5 Seconds of Summer have mastered it. Good job boys and it looks like the hearts of teenage girls everywhere will be intact for at least 3 more albums.

45. "Too Cool To Dance (Fred Falke Remix)" by Eden xo

The original is a solid pop song but the Fred Falke mix of Eden xo's new single captures all the best parts of the original and adds some lasers to make it properly bonkers. Eden is definitely one to watch for next year.

44. "Only Love Can Hurt Like This" by Paloma Faith

I'm just going to say it: Paloma Faith is the best soul-pop singer in the business right now. This orchestral masterpiece should've been a worldwide number one and the vocals deserve at least 4 Grammys. Keep doing your thing Paloma.

43. "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift

The greatest comeback single of the year cements Taylor Swift as a proper princess of pop, no matter who long she has denied it.

42. "Rumour" by Chlöe Howl

Chlöe Howl is one of our favorites and if the severely underrated "Rumour" is any indication of what to expect, she could easily deliver the best album of 2015.

41. "Summer" by Calvin Harris

The official sexiest man in pop once again delivers the goods. However, we here at NSOTP fully support a year long break to pursue modeling, Mr. Harris.

40. "Into The Blue" by Kylie Minogue

This may have been Kylie's worst album campaign but "Into The Blue" was a shining beacon of hope for music this year and if anyone tries coming for my queen, allow me to play her ridicumazing cover of "Bette Davis Eyes" while you cry at your own foolishness.

39. "Even If I'm Loud It Doesn't Mean I'm Talking To You" by Tove Styrke

2014's weirdest, most bonkers song comes from the second best Tove in pop. Let this be a driving force for her to surpass Ms. Lo, because in the end, the real winner would be music, right?

38. "Me and My Broken Heart" by Rixton

Yes, this may be rip off of a very amazing pop song from a decade ago but listen, it's an amazing song so just shut up and listen.

37. "Step It Up" by Bianca

The last Song of The Day on NSOTP surely has a spot on this list, and as an Italo disco monster of a track, it looks like Bianca is ready to take 2015 by storm.

36. "Rather Be" by Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne

This was the first big hit of 2014 in my opinion and the marriage of classical and 90's house music could not have been executed better.

35. "Braveheart" by Neon Jungle

They don't look for Trouble, but they've got all the hits. Neon Jungle is slowly becoming my favorite girl band and if they follow the Girls Aloud trend, their next album will be era-defining.

34. "Get Lost" by Icona Pop

This could have been a "I Love It"-sized hit but, like La Roux, the promotion just wasn't there. But I'll be damned if Icona Pop go down in pop history as one hit wonders because "Get Lost" is absolutely wonderful.

33. "Catch" by Allie X

I may not have written about her much, but Allie X quickly became my new pop obsession of 2014. Hopefully, she builds off the crystalline majesty of "Catch" and become the greatest popstar Canada has produced since Carly Rae Jepsen.

32. "Sing" by Ed Sheeran

The biggest surprise of the year came from the world's most famous ginger man actually becoming good. Still, wouldn't it have been a great Justin Timberlake song? (NSOTP still loves you Ed!)

31. "Kiss and Tell" by 5Angels

The premiere girl band of the Czech Republic may have made the world's most basic video but this song will never leave your head. That's a good thing since it is 10x better than anything U2 has produced this year.

30. "Steal My Girl" by One Direction

The best single One Direction has released since "What Makes You Beautiful." Too bad they're, ALLEGEDLY (MOST LIKELY), breaking up next year.

29. "Devil's Touch" by TIAAN

This is almost too beautiful for words. This girl had better be amazing 
in 2015, otherwise we might as well just give up and go home.

28. "These Days" by Take That

The original British boy band is back to show how it's done and once again, it looks like these guys will make hits until they're 90. If they're still as good as "These Days," I'm fine with that future.

27. "I Got U" by Duke Dumont feat. Jax Jones

The sound of summer captured in less than 5 minutes. The Whitney Houston (RIP) interpolation doesn't hurt either!

26. "No Enemiesz" by Kiesza

While the title of this song makes me worry about Kiesza's spelling skills, "No Enemiesz" is the kind of song popstars stopped making in the 90's. Which was a stupid decision because as you can hear, it is bloody amazing.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Song Of The Day: "Step It Up" by Bianca

With the death of one career comes the beginning of a new and probably more amazing one. Such is the case with Bianca, mononymous singer of song that knows her way around a song or two. Ms. Bianca used to be a member of all right girl group Parade, who were responsible for one okay song, one crap song, and one amazing song before calling it quits. Hopefully Mutya Keisha Siobhan doesn't follow that plan. Along with that, Bianca provided the backup vocals on future Christmas classic "One More Sleep" by the Goddess that is Leona Lewis.

Now, Bianca appears ready to go solo, working with some legendary writers (Girls Aloud was mentioned!!!!!) and what a DEBUT she has! "Step It Up" brings to mind the best of fellow mononymous artist Madonna while mixing in elements of Italo disco. As anyone knows, Italo disco is the best music genre for various reasons, one of which are those quick violin strings and audible lasers throughout the song. Seeing as how Ronika (mononym) and Bianca are both from Nottingham, it makes sense I suppose. If she can make an album of about 12 of these, Bianca's already got a Best of 20… album in the making!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Future Smash Alert: Paloma Faith Takes It To The Gospel Dancefloor on "Changing" with Sigma

Paloma Faith is really something, isn't she? After working hard on three spectacular albums, traveling the world, adopting more personas and musical styles than popstars twice her age, Paloma is finally getting the international fame and recognition she deserves. Her certifiably fantastic single "Only Love Can Hurt Like This" has been her most successful solo song since her beginning in 2009, even going to number 1 in Australia for weeks! Furthermore, her album A Perfect Contradiction is one of the best selling of the year in Britain and has just been released in the US!

In a classic Q4 move, Paloma decided to team up with an up and coming act that already has a number one under their belt to finally skyrocket to the top. Sigma are a drum and bass group from England that know their way around making high NRG pop/dance music. For all the Kanye West fans out there, Sigma took the best part of the only good song on that ridiculous Yeezus thing and reworked it into a proper banger. All that's missing is James Franco and Seth Rogen on a motorcycle.

In a recent interview, Paloma said that she's not big on the whole feature thing but heard Sigma's production on Ella Eyre-written single "Changing" before agreeing to allow her vocals to properly slay the track. It was nice to see Sigma going out of the normal feature zone (sorry Sam Smith and Emeli Sandé) and picking Faith instead of Eyre, but a duet version would still be welcome. Regardless, the song is a dramatic belter of a track that brings all the soul of gospel to the dance floor with Paloma driving it home during that euphoric chorus. Furthermore, the video sees Paloma out and about in one of her signature outfits (Lady Gaga could take notes) looking particularly radiant, a refreshing shift from her more emo aesthetic. It's already reached #1 the week before Q4 so it's highly possible Paloma Faith and Sigma could take over the US before the year is up. Good work all around!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Song Of The Day: "Wait" by Sharks

It is a known fact that "I Love It" by Icona Pop & Charli XCX was the very best song of last year and possibly the best of this decade. Well guess what? THIS SONG SOUNDS LIKE IT!

Sharks are a girl group (!!!) from Sweden (!!!!!!) that are under the management of Style Of Eye, the producer of "I Love It" amongst other very good songs (!!!!!!!!!!!) Clearly, NSOTPop would be all over this. With the same head rushy electro production, the girls of Sharks signal their arrival to the pop with shouty vocals that would make Icona Pop proud. The video is also a masterpiece, taking some notes from Marina and the Diamonds' "How To Be a Heartbreaker." Overall, it's an A+ from us!

Song Of The Day: "Getcha Good" by Celine Neon

Say hello to the best named act ever, Celine Neon. There's not too much about them out there but it appears to be two women singing while a man makes the music. Luckily, their output is 30% good thanks to new electrobanger "Getcha Good." It's a little too hard to describe but it manages to take a rave anthem to the tropics. Hopefully they keep the upward trend and move on from their old boring electro production. Regardless, the only way this would be better is if they did a balls to the walls cover "My Heart Will Go On."

Sound Of 2015? We'll See: George The Poet


BBC Description: "Street Savvy Verse"

What Does It Really Sound Like?

George The Poet is essentially a Slam poet performing over some nice piano. It's very tastemaker music but if his words resonate with you, then you will probably feel very empowered after listening to him.

Is he the Sound Of 2015: I hope not. He is extremely talented but if this ends up on the radio, we're all doomed.

Listen to some of George's songs on his Soundcloud.

P.S. A Reason To Be Thankful 2014 Is Ending

It appears that the stars of pop (pop stars if you will) have aligned to make 2015 one of the most exciting years of music ever. It is known fact here at NSOTPop that the artist who creates an album of the year goes down in history as a pop deity. 

Starting from the beginning of the golden age of pop in 2007, these deities include:

Dragonette - Galore (2007)

Ladyhawke - Ladyhawke (2008)

Little Boots - Hands (2009)

Ellie Goulding - Lights (2010)

Lady Gaga - Born This Way (2011)

Marina & The Diamonds - Electra Heart (2012)

Charli XCX - True Romance (2013)

2014… WHO KNOWS?! Except for me... The best album of 2014 is still up in the air but you can leave a comment telling me who you think it should be.

Now that you're well acquainted with the pop pantheon, let me go ahead and drop a bombshell on you. 


Charli XCX will release her second album Sucker in America in December, but won't be released in the UK until next year and therefore, will only count when it has been released in the artist's home country. Marina and the DiamondsFroot already has an April release date and Little Boots has got an amazing EP coming out to get you ready for the confirmed album for 2015. Elsewhere, Ellie Goulding has confirmed a new album for 2015. Now the speculation begins. Dragonette have had a sufficient amount of time to record a new album since 2012's Bodyparts and even though Ladyhawke takes forever to make albums, it is completely rational to expect something brilliant after 2012's Anxiety. Lady Gaga is the most worrisome as we could get something utterly shit like that guitar/rock album she's been threatening us with. However, she has stated that a Volume 2 of ARTPOP could come out in the near future and knowing her ability at continuing already amazing album campaigns, this could be the second coming of the Fame Monster!!!!!

Sincerely, there might be so much good music next year that everyone else should just take a break and save it for 2016. Happy holidays!

The Next Big Thing: Australian Songwriter Tiaan Is Here to Make Minimal R&B Beautiful


Whether we like it or not, 2014 has been the year of R&B coming back into the spotlight. And not you're typical Ciara bump and grind stuff either. The experimental R&B scene has never been hotter thanks to innovative minds like BANKS, FKA twigs, and The Weeknd. And that's all well and good but sometimes we need to bring it back to the safe haven of pop and Tiaan, or for emphasis TIAAN, is here to do just that.

Now, most people believe Tiaan to be a newcomer to the music world but I'm here to set the record straight. As an avid Top Model fan, I have seen most of the series from around the world, and out of all the hosts, runways, and bitch fights, Australia has the best intro song. So good that I had to find out who sang it. Which led me to this.

This may or may not be the same person, but I am calling Tiaan out on being the mastermind behind this amazing song. I suppose she got over being in the club and decided to take a step back and disappear for a second. Since most Australians are destined for greatness, it was only a matter of time before Tiaan came back to bless our ears.

Her brand of delicate R&B follows the minimalism set by her peers but Tiaan takes it one step further by mixing mesmerizing electronic atmospheres with her gorgeous and powerful voice. "Black Cars" is just one example of this beautiful singer creating a beautiful song. Apparently, Tiaan has a deal with Spotify to release all her music so you can go check her out there. Maybe she'll even Beyoncé an album soon only on Spotify!

2014 has brought us a lot of new talents but the best have been singers that take a new approach to classic sounds. Tiaan has mastered this genre and I cannot wait for more releases from this budding superstar. And we won't have to wait long! Tiaan has adopted a single per month strategy that really should be the standard across the world. This style has given us "Oh My", "Clean", and possible song of the year "Devil's Touch." So let's see if Tiaan can make it on top (CALLBACK!) in 2015.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Song Of The Day: "Classic" by The Knocks feat. Powers

There's an old saying amongst us music nerds: funky guitar riffs come and go but hits are forever. And thank god, because "Classic" by NY dance outfit The Knocks clearly is a hit for the ages. While their earlier stuff was more dizzying euphoria, The Knocks have always had a groove going in their music and it looks like this year they've opted for a more trance-y and chill vibe. Which is perfectly on trend thanks to the disco revival Daft Punk started last summer. As for the singer, all I know about Powers is that they are a musical duo who seem to make alt-rock, so if you're into that sort of thing, check them out. But more importantly, the singer's voice is silky as butter on top of this beat (best part is when she says "between the birds and bees) and will have you getting all the summer feels as we head into the winter months. And since it is finally Q4, wouldn't this have made a killer Rihanna single?!?! Take note Rih-Rih.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thoughts On BBC's The Sound Of… Poll's Past


Much like the Critics' Choice Awards at the BRITS, another indicator of what to listen for next year is the BBC's own The Sound Of… Poll! This time around the nominees can come from anywhere in the world and represent some of the most buzzed about artists of the past year or so. Blogs have to nominate 5 acts they think will become the next big thing for the upcoming year and a long list of 15 will be posted in December, with the top 5 revealed over the course of the first week of January.

Somehow, Nonstop On Top Pop was not notified of the deadline for submissions so the pop elements in the list for 2015 may be on the low side. But don't worry! The Sound Of Poll is one of the more reliable lists that focuses more on artistry rather than international success and even introduces some talent that I have never heard of but quickly gain an unhealthy obsession with. Starting in 2003, the Poll has been pretty accurate with winners including 50 Cent, Keane, Corinne Bailey Rae, and MIKA! So let's have a look at some of the past years' winners!

2008: Adele

Was This a Correct Decision: YES!

Adele might as well copyright the phrase "world conquerer" because even back in 2007, everyone knew she would be everywhere. From "Chasing Pavements" to "Hometown Glory," Adele constantly strikes at the heart of what makes human relationships special and her reflections can really teach humanity a little something about love. 

Could Another Nominee Have Been A Winner: YES!

There could have been 2 in fact! Inferior soul singer Duffy was tipped as much more talented than our Adele and indeed, she had gained international success much faster than Adele. However, considering there was only 1 good song on her second album before she disappeared, it looks like Duffy was too fluff for the prize. The other winner has done a bit better for themselves: The Ting Tings! One of the most exciting bands of the 2000's, The Tings also managed US success before Adele and songs like "Shut Up And Let Me Go" were great anarchist anthems. This year, their 2nd album has at least 2 great songs so... still beating Duffy!

2009: Little Boots

Was This A Correct Decision: YES!

Probably more than any other popstar, Little Boots was responsible for making me fall in love with music. Her debut album Hands was spectacular from start to finish, "New In Town" was my favorite song in high school, and I trust no one else with making dark disco better than Ms. Boots. She may not have been the earth shattering popstar that the BBC may have wanted but any pop fan of the past five years must own a Little Boots album.

Could Another Nominee Have Been A Winner: DEAR GOD YAAAAAAASSSSSSSS!

The nominees for 2009 were among the best assembled group of popstars ever created. Here's a quick rundown:

 Frankmusik: pop producer to the stars and overall amazing person, first album was amazing, second album was amazing, third album was mostly amazing, fourth album had potential to be amazing. Overall, AMAZING!
VV Brown: the comeback queen of 2013 whose album Samson & Delilah is one of the most artistic and immense sounding collections of the decade.
Florence & The Machine: The second best redhead in pop and Lungs was so innovative Steve Jobs should have asked her for some tips on Apple products.
Empire Of The Sun: Australian duo making disco guitar music and Elton John is a big fan. Also, "Walking On A Dream" is brilliant.
Lady Gaga: Gaga came in 6th this year in the poll. That's pretty ridiculous, isn't it?

2010: Ellie Goulding

Was This The Correct Decision: YES!

Oh, how much I adore Ellie Goulding. The voice of an angel with the talent of musicians that don't seem to pop up anymore. Ellie embodies the purest form of a popstar, a muse for producers that is never afraid to take on a challenge. Most importantly, her signature vox makes you recognize her before anything else. If popstars in America were half as good as Goulding, maybe the world would take us a little more seriously.

Could Another Nominee Have Been A Winner: Just One

Though this year included some almost-good artists like Hurts, Everything Everything, and Two Door Cinema Club (actually, they were pretty good), there was only one other true competitor to Ellie: Marina & The Diamonds. Marina represented another standard for what a popstar should be: an avant-garde sound, a strong sensibility of what melodies make pop music great, and a charismatic person that can charm anyone into liking her music. If Marina had won, it would have been well-deserved but Ellie had "Starry Eyed" at the time, so that clearly put her that extra bit above the Diamonds. Since winning, the two appear to have album battles with each campaign. I wonder who will win in 2015?

2011: Jessie J

Was This The Correct Decision: By A Longshot

The critics and blogs in 2010 must've gone through an indie phase because there was not a lot of promise for the Sound of 2011. This made permanent belter Jessie J seem like gold next a pile of shit. At the time, Jessie provided a nice mix of true popstar persona with the vocal chops of legends like Adele and Leona Lewis. And honestly, her first album was pretty great in a "I have no idea what I'm doing but it sounds catchy enough" kind of way. Oh well, if she can pop out one catchy song a year that would be nice.

Could Another Nominee Have Been A Winner: NO!

The other nominees included indietronica artists (James Blake, Jai Paul), nearly tolerable indie-pop bands (The Naked and Famous, Anna Calvi), and rock bands (one of whom was appropriately named Yuck). The only other nominee to do rather well in 2011 was Nero, whose rise was basically caused by everybody wanting dub step. But can their talent stand the test time? I guess we'll see in 2015.

2012: Michael Kiwanuka

Was This The Correct Decision: Absolutely Not!

One of the best things about the Sound of… Poll is that it judges more on artistry and creativity rather than just the dollar bills the singer would make for labels. HOWEVER, Michael Kiwanuka's brand of folk-soul was not what we needed in 2012.

Could Another Nominee Have Been A Winner: YES x5

While the obvious choice for a winner would have been Frank Ocean (and he was lovely at the time) or Skrillex (not so much), the more unknown artists really had it this time around. Here they are in the order of how satisfied I would be if they won:

5. Ren Harvieu: Somehow Ren made an album that has guitars, violins, and a male choir that perfectly wraps up soul, country, and jazz with a nice little pop bow. Still a classic to this day.
4. Stooshe: There's nothing better than a girl band. That's a pop fact. Luckily, Stooshe were a girl band that cursed and joked like teenagers! If they had won, their album would have been better than it actually was but "Fuck Me" and "Slip" are still amazing.
3. Niki & The Dove: There's nothing better than Scandinavian pop sung by a female. That's a pop fact. Luckily, Niki & The Dove were a duo made of a male producer and a singer, so basically Swedish La Roux! Bringing some Robyn realness to 2012 would have been lovely and "DJ, Ease My Mind" may have been the best video of that year.
2. Lianne La Havas: It's hard to describe why I love Lianne other than her voice should be in the dictionary next to "gorgeous." The beauty in her artistry lies in the simplicity behind a lot of her songs. "No Room For Doubt" speaks volumes with just two guitars and two singers. And winning the poll might have made her the international superstar she deserves to be.
1. Azealia Banks: COME ON! "212" was nearly the best song of 2011 and if Broke With Expensive Taste was released in 2012, it probably would have been album of the year. Maybe getting third in the poll was what caused those anger management issues? Shame on you, BBC!

2013: HAIM

Was This The Correct Decision: In A Sense, Yes

Haim brought that retro, cool, California rock sense to a pop world that needed a little shaking up. Were they popular? Yes. Was their music good? They officially had the 11th best album of 2013, so yes. Could you call them popstars? Maybe not, but you wouldn't call Paris Hilton one until you hear "Stars Are Blind." So overall, congrats girls!

Could Another Nominee Have Been A Winner: A 50% Yes

This year was split into bands vs. popstars. While Palma Violets, Savages, Kodaline, and Peace had their charms, we are still in an age when people need to learn when guitars are good. Tom Odell and The Weeknd probably would have made the most money but artistry wasn't exactly on the top of their priorities for their albums. This brings us to proper popstar territory. Arlissa was pretty much unknown but her unique voice really could have taken her somewhere. Angel Haze could have made a really powerful rap album if people weren't such assholes to female emcees. CHVRCHES made a wonderful electro album last year but nobody really noticed, even though "The Mother We Share" was amazing.  A*M*E still has the potential to make one of the best pop albums of the decades and "City Lights" can be listened to on repeat without getting bored for at least 14 hours. And Alunageorge, oh god, how much I adore Alunageorge! Just listen to the above song and think about how amazing the world would be if this was number one in at least 50 countries?

2014: Sam Smith

Was This The Correct Decision: Ugh, I Suppose

I may be the only person alive who hasn't jumped on the Sam Smith cryathon but his dance music was much more interesting. Sorry! However, he has been the biggest name in music of the past year so I suppose he WAS the Sound of 2014. Maybe make a disco album next Mr. Smith? I know some people who would help make it pretty great!

Could Another Nominee Have Been A Winner: Yes x5

Once again, there were 5 pretty good alternatives to Sam Smith that would have probably made 2014 more interesting and less depressing. Chance The Rapper and FKA twigs may have been fan favorites but neither really captured the excitement that these 5 captured. They do receive honorable mentions for making something different and not making me cry.

5. Banks: Jillian Banks pretty much put avant-garde R&B on the map and her siren-like voice made for the perfect background for anyone's nightly escapades. And in 2014, Banks even put a pop twist on her signature sound, making Goddess even more amazing than anticipated!
4. MNEK: One of the greatest writers in pop history is MNEK. Responsible for some of the best songs of the century, MNEK has been a pop superstar in the making for quite some time. So far, he has a 50% success rate for making killer music solo but hopefully his debut album brings all of the amazingness he pulls out of the hat for The Saturdays and Florrie.
3. Ella Eyre: Ella has a number one under her belt and her mix of R&B and pop is probably the catchiest form of anyone else in the industry at the moment. Also, "Comeback" is likely to be in the top 10 songs of 2014. So yeah, she might have deserved to win.
2. Chlöe Howl: NSOTPop favorite and overall funny, young up and comer that could take over pop if someone would just help her release her album!
1. Say Lou Lou: The best twins in music and their debut album Lucid Dreaming is already the best of 2015, even if it has just the songs they have released so far.

So there you have it. The BBC Poll is one of my favorites and stay tuned for my coverage of the 2015 list and who will likely be THE SOUND OF 2015 based on NSOTP criteria*

*This pretty much means make amazing pop music

Track By Track Throwback: ARTPOP by Lady GaGa

Side Note: As a huge Koons fan, the album artwork is a 10/10

I'm back again with another installment of Track By Track Throwback. This time we take a look at Mother Monster's third studio album ARTPOP, an eclectic collection of grade A pop songs that ultimately failed to leave a real impression of what Lady GaGa wanted to accomplish. But in the end, Gaga still got around to creating some amazing music so let's go ahead and take apart this late in the game masterpiece.

1. Aura

Of course the first song off ARTPOP would be a controversial EDM song about wearing burqas as a form of flirtation. Regardless of whatever statement she is making, "Aura" is a cutting edge pop song that has more excitement than half of the top 100 combined. Thanks to Infected Mushroom, Lady Gaga proves that she can adopt any cultural persona, even Middle Eastern, to create a hit. And that chorus of "Do you wanna see me naked lov-uh?" also proves that Lady Gaga's writing chops have not failed since her beginnings on The Fame.

2. Venus

If there is one thing that the world should know about Lady Gaga, it's that she is one of the most intelligent HUMAN BEINGS on the planet. "Venus" was apparently written, produced, and mastered all by Stefani Germanotta herself. In all honesty, you can kind of tell she did it too. It's one big barrel of crazy after another with lyrics like "Garden panty, seashell bikini" (her grocery list probably) and a whopping 4 choruses. Unfortunately, it never fully comes together as the pop colossus Gaga meant it to be. However, her marketing strategy was genius, releasing the weird bits first, which let us get used to it before releasing the Frankenstein of pop. Take note Donald Trump, Gaga means business.

3. G.U.Y.

One of Gaga's best singles to date. Next to "Telephone," this is probably her best single. Like "Bad Romance" "Just Dance" level good. From the Greek God referencing intro, to the "love me love me please retweet" to the gender bending chorus, this is pop at its finest. As with most pop, it was under appreciated and became Gaga's lowest charting single at 79 :( Still, Zedd and Gaga should make more power bottom anthems like this again. And the video returns to the mind boggling stories that brought Lady Gaga to such superstardom in the first place. THE REAL HOUSEWIVES THOUGH! 

4. Sexxx Dreams

When Gaga performed this at iTunes festival, everyone freaked out. If she had stuck to that fan poll, "Sexxx Dreams" (or X Dreams on the clean album) would have been the next after "Applause." Imagine Gaga singing "When I lay in bed, I touch myself when I think of you" on the radio!!! The moms would have gone insane. But ultimately, only Gaga would have pulled off this ode to pure sexuality and she would have once again revolutionized the music industry as we know it.

5. Jewels N' Drugs (feat. T.I., Too $hort, and Twista)

In the 6 years Gaga has been gracing us with her music, this is her first real misstep. While hip-hop & rap certainly isn't something Gaga cannot do, she should have taken it a little more old school and a little less electro, considering the rappers she recruited aren't exactly experimenting with new sounds. We do get some retro Fame-era Gaga at moments, but that wasn't enough to save "Jewels". Those Azealia Banks collabs probably would have been better for the album but what can you do. This song is best left forgotten.

Justice for #Ratchet


By far the catchiest song off the entire album. That cheerleader stomp with the stadium guitar chords is a golden formula for anthemic status hit. I dare you to try not to scream "MANICURE", bet you it's impossible. The live version at iTunes festival got me very excited and Gaga delivered like Domino's. Hopefully, Mother Monster isn't too into that jazz album to release this as a single (sorry Tony Bennett).

7. Do What U Want (feat. R. Kelly)

Oh Gaga, why do you have to taunt us so?! This song was a clear favorite amongst the public and shows Gaga's range in different genres, as she successfully conquers R&B territory in this hit and even calls out her haters in an articulate way, before Taylor Swift even knew what was happening. But R. Kelly… Why R. Kelly? Granted, he can sing very well, but with his reputation and Gaga's own image of high sexuality, this was a recipe for disaster to begin with. Even Adam Levine would have been a better choice! Let's just all try to forget this ever happened and remember that Gaga did recognize her mistake and correctly released the correct version of the song which is below. #GAGASTINA


For some reason, all the critics fucking loved this weird ass song. It may be a more sophisticated version of Selena Gomez's "Love You Like A Love Song" but it's nothing that special. Oh well, this album is somewhat of an indulgence for Gaga so I'll let her have this one.

9. Swine

Now we're getting to the good stuff. Lady Gaga finally finds her home in the heart of EDM and this bouncy hiccupy track is basically what we all want to say to the SWIIIIIIIIIINE in our lives. Let alone the fact that Gaga has made iconic performances of the song, despite media backlash. Overall, this is where ARTPOP truly shines and Gaga embraces her signature sound.

10. Donatella

This was the diva moment of the album that cemented Gaga's title as the true Queen of Pop amongst album releases from Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and Britney Spears (no justice for #BritneyJean). Comparing herself while also honoring Ms. Versace proves Gaga's appreciation for the pop culture that made her so famous. It also doesn't hurt that this highly quotable and catchy song happens to be the perfect candidate for the next gay anthem.

11. Fashion!

No, this isn't Gaga's contribution to the Confessions of A Shopaholic soundtrack. It is a David Guetta-produced slice of retro disco that brings us all back to the dance floor where Gaga belongs. However, I am gonna call her out as I was made aware that she possibly stole Alyssa Edwards' catch phrase. I suppose it's forgivable as her Thanksgiving performance with RuPaul had me slayed.

12. Mary Jane Holland

This is one of Madeon's contributions to the album and it seems that his production overshadowed Gaga's songwriting. Still, who doesn't love a song about marijuana? One of the dramatic high points of the album for sure.

13. Dope

Oh god, here we go. The obligatory piano-led ballad that Gaga seems to love. Unfortunately, while the fans may have eaten it up, this is a real low point on the album. "You & I" and "Speechless" would have been better on this album and while the production is on point, Gaga's delivery just doesn't give me the feels she so easily brings from the dance floor. 

14. Gypsy

Now, THIS is what a Gaga ballad should sound like. Starting off with a simple piano, Gaga builds up to that ridiculous "TONIGHT!" and delivers a power ballad so strong that Celine Dion would be proud of. It has all the signature Gaga-isms, a euphoric chorus, a catchy refrain, a self-reference (#Scheiße) and the best part displaying her genius/insanity. Clearly, that would be the part where Gaga starts listing nationalities over Madeon's beat.

15. Applause

"Applause" is exactly what the world needed. The meta prowess that Gaga possesses in this song shows just what a formidable pop deity she has become over the years. Over the pop art references and hype-building slayvation she delivers, only Gaga would be able to create such a self-serving anthem and have us eat it up. Over the 32+ Applause's, it becomes clear that pop is a changed landscape thanks to Gaga's contribution.

This was Gaga's pet project. For the artistic types of the world, we can relate to really believing in a project out of passion and love. With all her material, Gaga puts her all into every aspect of the creative process. In places on ARTPOP, this looks like desperation and confusion. But ultimately, songs like "G.U.Y" and "Gypsy" (which could, and should become major hits someday) prove that our Queen is still there and we should give her our love, because she has shared it with us on every track from "Just Dance" to "Applause."

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thoughts On The BRITS Critics' Choice


December is nearly upon us and that means we have an entire new year to get excited for. In order to optimize your musical experience for the new year, a bunch of music critics decide to tell you what artists are likely to become "successful" and force you to listen to them. One of the most credible sources of this type of judgment comes from the BRIT Awards. Essentially the British version of the American Music Awards, the BRITs are amazing and horrible at the same time. Performances are amazing, winners are horrible. So the perfect award show.

One of the awards given at the awards every year is the Critics' Choice award, which as you can tell, is given to the critics' favorite British act of the upcoming year. Starting in 2008, it started out as an intelligent discussion on who has the most talent to carry on the British tradition of great music, where any new act releasing their debut album the following year was eligible. Now, it has become the self-fulfilling prophecy to give the act of choice a guaranteed hit in England. Granted, most of the time they make good music so all's well that end's well. Let's take a look back at the past winners as well as this year's nominees and my take on who should win (I'VE BECOME ONE OF THEM!)

Winner For 2008: ADELE

This was a correct decision. Adele was a good choice for the first winner and she has taken this award in stride and been the premiere artist for sad blubbathons for the past 5 years. The other nominees Duffy (remember her?) and Foals have done all right for themselves but if anything, Adele's new album will probably slay 2015 and teach all future winners how to take over the world.

Winner For 2009: Florence + The Machine

For most people, 2009 was a golden age for music. The reinvigoration of new wave and disco-tinged pop thanks to artists like Ladyhawke, La Roux, Goldfrapp, and Lady Gaga made it one of the most magical times to be alive. Nonetheless, the award went to Florence and Her Machine, which in hindsight was probably the correct decision. Her debut album was the perfect antithesis to all the electro production going on but kept in line with strong and creative females taking over music. And if you weren't wailing to "Dog Days Are Over" that year, you and I can't be friends. Once again, the new album may be the best alternative album of 2015.

Winner For 2010: Ellie Goulding

This was a tough one. The three nominees this year were Ellie Goulding, Marina & The Diamonds, and Delphic. Clearly, everyone was rooting for Delphic (HAHAHAHA). But seriously, how can you choose between Ellie and Marina? It was the Sophie's Choice of music that year. Unfortunately it came down to who could sell more records and Ellie Goulding definitely had a more mainstream sound. If Marina had recorded "Starry Eyed," I don't know how they would have picked. Oh well, they both had #1 albums and since both are gearing up for round 3 of "Whose album is better this year in 2015?" we'll see whether Ellie can hold onto that title.

Winner For 2011: Jessie J

This was the first year where things started to get a little shady. At the time, Jessie J was probably the most exciting thing in pop music, especially when her competition was The Vaccines and James Blake (now I'm throwing shade) and her debut album did indeed go to number 1. And considering "Price Tag" may have been circulating, it seemed that Jessie probably had a unique point of view and a strong female voice to usher in 2011. Well, 3 albums later and now we can see that at best, Jessie J is a C list popstar that will most likely appear on the occasional hit every now and then but isn't capable of a "Bad Romance" or "I Love It" anytime soon (I still love you Jessie!).

Winner For 2012: Emeli Sandé

Emeli Sandé brought back some credibility to this award as her debut album remains a work of art. However, she did have some luck in terms of competition, with Michael Kiwanuka (who?) and Maverick Sabre (what?) making leaving a minimal impression. Also, the fact that she performed at every event in all of England, including the goddamn Olympics, seemed a little desperate. Nonetheless, Sandé has the talent, charisma, and songs to be a little more aloof and relaxed her second time around and I couldn't be more excited about the new material.

Winner For 2013: Tom Odell

It's a boy! Tom Odell seemed like a refreshing change to the constant barrage of female vocalists that seemed to conquer the charts last year. But his win proved two things about music: 1) you can never go wrong with a female vocalist 2) sad looking boys singing sad piano songs isn't as romantic and ethereal as it sounds. While Tom's first album did reach number 1, it was a rather dull affair. Plus, the runner ups included Laura Mvula, who seemed like a worthy alternative for soul music, and Alunageorge, for those who love pop music and therefore, DESERVED TO FUCKING WIN THAT YEAR. Oh well, Tom had a flash of genius with "Can't Pretend" so we'll see whether he can become the male Sandé or not.

Winner For 2014: Sam Smith

This was a better choice for a man. Sam Smith had been around for a while making some all right dance music before revealing that he likes singing sad songs too. At least he had the sense to add a gospel choir and his debut album, which seals the awards 100% number one rate, is the closest to a male Adele we've ever had. HOWEVER, as a pop blog, I have to interject and say both the runner ups would have made amazing winners. Chlöe Howl has been a favorite of NSOTP for a while and her debut album could be so astronomically amazing no one will know what planet they're on. The other, Ella Eyre, has the best hair in music at the moment and her newest single "Comeback" is in the running for song of the year. So while it was a tough choice, I suppose Sam was worthy for 2014.

Who Should Win The Award For 2014?

The nominees were announced on Thanksgiving and Surprise! They're all boys! I'm gonna give a quick introduction and let you know who I think should win. But as we all know, the public determine success so let me know who you think should win the award, even if they weren't nominated!

George The Poet

A "spoken word" artist I had never heard of before this nomination. I was hoping for a more positive Azealia Banks turn (the song is called "1,2,1,2" what else was I supposed to expect?) with George The Poet but from his one single it looks like he just likes repeating the same line over a vaguely danceable beat. I don't think he'll fare well considering the other two acts have a little more substance to them, sorry.

James Bay

A sad looking boy singing sad songs. Nothing that new except that James Bay plays a guitar. It's actually rather pleasant once the beat gets going, something to consider on all songs James. If the pattern is 5 female power vocalists then 5 sad boys, James will probably be the winner but let's not get too depressed because the next act is properly AMAZING

Years & Years

Pop band Years & Years popped up earlier this year with their single "Real" that seemed to have every blog buzzing, but never really made an impact on me. Since then, they have released an eclectic set of singles including electroreggae trop-pop single "Take Shelter", a cover of a Blu Cantrell song, and lead singer Olly Alexander's (he guest starred on "Skins" !!!!) vocals on this pretty amazing dance single by The Magician. Having notched up one top 10 hit already, the band just released their next single "Desire." Not only their best single to date, it looks to be a proper solo hit for the band reaching the top 20 on UK iTunes. While it's hard to picture what their debut will sound like, they are one of the most exciting things in pop nowadays and if I had my way, they would surely be the winners of the BRIT award next year. Good luck guys!