My top picks: The best singles of 2012

Best singles of 2012

The year 2012 was a great year in pop music. Although dance (and dance-like songs) still ruled the charts, this year also saw the re-emergence of other genres — RnB saw a boost with Frank Ocean, The Weeknd and Miguel, while the success of Carly Rae Jepsen and Ellie Goulding allowed more traditional pop music to be in the forefront once again.

Before we welcome 2013, here’s my list of the top 21 singles of 2012. Last year, I listed my top 11, but there were lots of great songs this year that I had to expand my list to 21.

21 – “Your Body” – Christina Aguilera

Aguilera’s ‘comeback’ didn’t exactly happen, but I still loved this flop. Reminiscent of Aguilera’s Dirty era, “Your Body” is a filthy, fun pop song.

20 – “Where Have You Been” – Rihanna

Although it sounds like “We Found Love” part 2, Rihanna’s “Where Have You Been” is an instant classic. With Ester Dean, Dr. Luke, and Calvin Harris all having a hand at this song, it’s no wonder radio ate this up. The lyrics and the infectious instrumental breaks are irresistible.

19 – “Never Close Our Eyes” – Adam Lambert

I’m still confused why Lambert’s sophomore album flopped, but that doesn’t change the fact that he had some awesome tunes. “Never Close Our Eyes” has a concept most of us are familiar with — it’s about dancing the night away because life is short — but Lambert’s unique vocals and confident delivery really did it for me.

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Adam Lambert’s Trespassing is solid, BUT….

Adam Lambert - Trespassing - album review

Adam Lambert is arguably one of the best artists to come out of American Idol. The flamboyant pop star has a commanding stage presence, a great personality, and solid vocals to back everything up.

It’s no wonder that he has attracted a solid lineup of collaborators for his new album Trespassing — from Pharell, to Dr. Luke to Bruno Mars, the album’s liner notes reads like the who’s who of the pop music industry.

Trespassing is an enjoyable album opened by uptempos. The first seven songs effortlessly mix pop, rock, and dance. Lambert shows his softer side in the second half.

Stand out tracks: The title track is a pop-rock anthem boasting confident vocals and loud guitars. The 80s-tinged track celebrates rebellion, a common theme of the album.”No Trespassing? Yeah, my ass! Wait till ya get a load of me,” Lambert challenges his listeners. It’s a solid track that sets the right tone for the album.

Co-written by Bonnie McKee (“Teenage Dream”), “Cuckoo” is easily the catchiest song of the album.

Skip these tracks: Honestly, every song in this album is worth a listen. “Broken English” is probably the weakest track, but that’s  because of the placement. The relatively quiet track follows the magnificent “Better Than I Know Myself”.

Final thoughts: Individually, songs from Trespassing are all great. And with all songs having some sort of 80s influence, there’s also a somewhat cohesive sound here.

But it must be pointed out that many of the songs in Trespassing are carbon copies of popular tracks that already litter radio. The first single could easily have been sung by Pink. Many dance-pop artists would have done “Never Close Our Eyes” some justice. And with minor tweaks, “Kickin’ it” could have been a killer Britney Spears track. The list goes on and on.

Despite the heavy-handed production from some of pop radio’s heavy hitters, Lambert’s vocals tend to elevate the tracks though. Overall, Trespassing is a great sophomore effort — I just wish this great vocalist would walk the walk next time, be truly rebellious, and take some risks.

Adam Lambert wants you to “Never Close Our Eyes”

Adam Lambert - Never Close Your Eyes

“Never Close Your Eyes”, the official second single from Adam Lambert‘s upcoming album Trespassing, is a dance pop track that combines some elements of rock, dubstep, and bubblegum pop. The single, which comes out April 17 on iTunes, is a collaboration between Lambert, mega producer Dr. Luke, and global superstar Bruno Mars.

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Adam Lambert meditates and sips tea (literally) in “Better Than I Know Myself” video

Adam Lambert - Better Than I Know Myself - Music Video

Yesterday, while everyone else was busy gagging over Madonna‘s “Give Me All Your Luvin, Adam Lambert also released the video for his new single.

Mr. Lambert looks amazing in the visuals for “Better Than I Know Myself”, but the video kinda misses the mark.  Lambert literally meditates and sips tea in the video, while his darker side yells at things and starts a fire.

One of the things I liked about the song was how its message rings true for many relationships. The video would have been better if it reflected the song’s theme. We all know Adam Lambert is gay, so I don’t get why his videos always tend to minimize his sexuality.

Adam Lambert’s “Better Than I Know Myself” didn’t become the chart Juggernaut that I predicted it was going to be, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is a great pop song.  Given that this album is a make-or-break effort for Lambert (and given that there are apparently other great hits on the album), perhaps it’s time to move on to the next single? I really doubt this boring video will help sell the song….

Adam Lambert aims high with “Better than I know myself”

Adam Lambert aims high with "Better Than I Know Myself"

Adam Lambert is set to release his sophomore album in the new year, and he’s starting off this new era with a big bang. His lead single, “Better than I know myself”, hits the spot in all the right places, and I’m predicting it to be a huge hit.

To put it quite simply, “Better than I Know Myself” is pop perfection at its finest: it sounds current and “in”, but it also doesn’t quite follow the most popular formula. Instead of hooking up with someone like David Guetta, Lambert called up professional hit makers Dr. Luke (responsible for Katy Perry‘s Teenage Dream) and Claude Kelly. Avoiding the predictable dance route, Lambert took his previous hit “Whataya Want From Me” and updated it with more restrained vocals and a more genuine delivery.

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