It’s nearing December 31st, so I’m putting together a list of my favorite music of the past year –
Le voyage dans la lune (Virgin), Air – Inspired by the classic 1902 Georges Melies silent A Trip to the Moon, the French electronic-pop outfit put together another collection of spacey, air, ambient pop music.
Kisses on the Bottom (Hear Music), Paul McCartney – The former Beatle dips into the Great American songbook and proves that his cheeky delivery sounds just as comfortable singing songs of the prewar era as it does on his own compositions.
Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (Young Money/Cash Money/Universial Republic), Nicki Minaj – Nicki Minaj returns with her sophomore effort that owes as much to pop and club-bangers as it does to hip-hop numbers, which gives the rapper opportunities to try out different alter-egos.
Slipstream (Redwing), Bonnie Raitt – The rock/blues legend and guitar prodigy stages an incredible low-scale comeback with this satisfying release, proving that seasoned rock stars can run circles around the younguns.
Blunderbuss (Third Man/XL Recordings/Columbia) Jack White – White left the White Stripes and expanded his guitar-driven noise rock, and embraced blue grass and mountain music – he corrals all of his musical interests in this excellent solo outing.
Oceana (EMI/Caroline Distribution/Martha’s Music), The Smashing Pumpkins – Like Garbage, the Smashing Pumpkins proved that despite being past its salad days, the alternative rock group creates some excellent music.
Elysium (Parlophone), Pet Shop Boys – The first album to be recorded in the United States, synth pop icon Pet Shop Boys collaborate with American producers to create yet another album of witty, melancholy dance tunes.
The Truth About Love (RCA), P!nk – Pop’s most interesting and creative songbird releases a big, expensive record that encompasses pop, soul, dance, even punk, to create one of the smartest pop records this year.
Push and Shove (Interscope), No Doubt – 90s mainstays return after frontwoman Gwen Stefani enjoyed a successful solo career, with a great, loud album that trades No Doubt’s raggedy California ska sound for shiny, synth-heavy dance music.
Standing Ovation: The Greatest Songs from the Stage (Syco/Columbia), Susan Boyle – Former reality show contestant wowed crowds with her stirring voice, which she uses wonderfully on this collection of movie themes and Broadway show stoppers.
Release Me (Legacy/Columbia), Barbra Streisand – Streisand proves why she’s a legend with this album of unreleased tracks and cuts, showing that she’s still got one of the greatest voices in pop music.