And so it begins!!
Another year is slowly coming to an end (and let's be real, this year can definitely get lost) but that does mean one thing here at PopGoesTheArts:
Year end countdowns!
Yours truly has compiled a Top 20 list of OUR personal favorites of the year. You read that right:
OUR personal favorites.
Here we go:
20. Birdy - Beautiful Lies
Standout song: Keeping Your Head Up
19. Alaska - Poundcake
Standout song: Diamond in the Rough
18. All Saints - Red Flag
Standout song: One Woman Man
17. Gwen Stefani - This Is What The Truth Feels Like
Standout song: Asking For It
16. Kendrick Lamar - untitled
Standout song: untitled 07
15. Little Mix - Glory Days
Standout song: Down & Dirty
14. Haley Reinhart - Better
Standout song: My Cake
13. Drake - Views
Standout song: One Dance
12. Solange - Seat At The Table
Standout song: Don't Touch My Hair
11. Tove Lo - Lady Wood
Standout song: Don't Talk About It
10. Sia - This Is Acting
She previously had a Song of the Year with 'Chandelier', but now, Sia's managed to land her album at our #10 spot.
Releasing an album full of songs she had written for other stars, is quite a feat in itself. 'Alive' was written for Adele, 'Move Your Body' for Shakira and others. But what can't be denied is Sia's powerhouse vocals all their own. She dominated the charts with killer single 'Cheap Thrills' and continue to amaze with her live performances.
What's next for Sia?
We can't wait to find out.
Standout song: Move Your Body
9. Zayn - Mind of Mine
Who know it would be our beloved Zayn Malik to strike solo first.....and deliver one of the best pop albums of the year?
When Malik left One Direction behind, many wondered what would become of his solo material and which direction (HA! See what I did there?) he would go. Always one of the strongest vocalists of the group, I was very excited for what was to come.
In the end, we all got a smooth, R&B, chill album with that classic falsetto used to perfection. Zayn managed to reinvent himself as a solo artist. With chill numbers such as 'Drunk', and 'Blue' while also giving us something to move to 'She' and 'Like I Would'.
We're BEYOND ready for album #2!!
Standout song: She
8. Rihanna - Anti
When Rihanna released 'ANTI', I couldn't help but feel cheated. Where was the dance? Where were the smash radio hits?
They were all there....but I didn't hear them the first time.
Rihanna crafted a masterpiece for herself, and did so under her own terms. She ditched the poppy sounds that made her a superstar and grew as an artist. And it felt AUTHENTIC.
*cough Joanne cough*
Yes, 'Work' was overplayed on radio, but the album is full of so much more, like 'Kiss It Better', arguably the best song she's ever released.
Rihanna doesn't have anything else to prove with her work, and we're all the better for it.
Standout song: Kiss It Better
7. STARBOY - The Weeknd
This was a late contender, but...
WHAT A CONTENDER.
The Weeknd got everyone talking with single 'Starboy', but were we really ready for what was to come with the album of the same name?
Oh, no we weren't.
An album full of massive production, Abel takes us on a ride from the opening of 'Starboy' all the way to the end, with ''I Feel It Coming', giving us surreal Michael Jackson vibes.
And it's not just those cuts. He goes hard on 'False Alarm', and fires off with 'Six Feet Under'.
His best work to date, which is a testament due to how great his previous albums are.
Standout song: Six Feet Under
6. Carly Rae Jepsen - EMOTION Side B
Our Canadian girl ain't playing around!!
Carly Rae Jepsen had previously stated she had recorded so many songs for 'EMOTION', that it was just a matter of time before we heard the rest. Once again, Carly proved her pop stature with an album full of bops and dance cuts.
From the 80's tinged 'First Time' to the soaring (pun intended) 'Higher' to the flawless production with 'Body Language'.
Carly is now promising a 'disco' themed new album....
It can't arrive soon enough!!
Standout song: Body Language
5. JoJo - Mad Love
After being locked away in record label hell, JoJo made her triumphant return with an album that has blown us away.
The 'Too Little Too Late' singer has grown up in a big way, with a very mature album that shows off those stellar vocals. Opening the album with a gorgeous ballad titled 'Music', it's clear this was a very personal effort. But it's not all about ballads, as she stomps her way through with 'FAB', 'High Heels', and 'Like This'.
Stellar, from start to finish.
Standout song: 'Like This'
4. Banks - The Altar
I haven't had an album shake me the way Banks' 'The Altar' did.
Trying to find words to describe what this album does, especially when you listen from start to finish, is difficult. All that really needs to be said about this body of work is that is a cohesive work of art, that truly showcases the artist that she is.
Standout song: 27 Hours
3. Ariana Grande - Dangerous Woman
Oh Ari.....I never would have predicted you'd land among my top 3.
The pint sized powerhouse may have caused backlash with donut licking, annoyed with the never-ending ponytail, and been the subject of diva rumors, but it's about the music.
And the music is fucking GOOD.
'Dangerous Woman' is a perfect pop album, full of radio friendly hits, including our pick for Pop Song of the Year 'Into You'.
You all may be obsessed with dick bicycle 'Side by Side', but the only frustrating part of this album is that the GREAT songs are being ignored. 'Into You', 'Bad Decisions' and that KEY CHANGE in 'Knew Better/Forever Boy'.
Y'all need to stop sleeping on Ari's albums...because she's proving herself a vicious contender as another pop queen.
Standout song: Into You
2. Beyonce - Lemonade
This is #1 on many people's lists, and it just missed out for me.
Nobody does concept like Beyonce, and 'Lemonade' is proof of that.
From the conversation starting 'Formation' to stomping Kendrick Lamar assisted 'Freedom', Bey made sure everyone was talking about this album. Tapping into her own life, she made all of us question what was real and what was fabricated.
Does it matter if Jay cheated?
It's about her releasing an album that is a powerful statement, forgoing any radio friendly material to get that point across.
No other album released this year had the social media impact 'Lemonade', causing a frenzy with her fandom. Remember Becky with the good hair?
Of course you do.
Nobody does it like Bey. She won't be ignored.
Standout song: 6 Inch
1. Britney Spears - Glory
Well, I'm sure you all saw this coming.
Britney Jean Spears is the undisputed Princess of Pop, sitting on her throne while Madonna reigns supreme.
As a follow up to the disappointing 'Britney Jean', Britney finally tapped into what made her a superstar in the first place:
Originality and risk taking when it came to her music.
When lead single 'Make Me' dropped, fans couldn't believe it. Britney had forgone the usual dance floor magic and finally went the #SomethingMoreUrban root.
It was the first step in crafting her 9th studio effort, and arguably her best since 2008's 'Circus'. Not just that though, she had a record breaking Vegas residency, committed to television appearances, and performed for festivals.
The term 'comeback' has been loosely tossed around, specifically at Britney for many years, but it needs to stop. This wasn't a comeback. This was BRITNEY all along.
'Make Me' was just the beginning though.
Britney was alive on this record. The vocals. The production. Everything seamlessly flowed from one song to the next. This wasn't a 'pick one' out of the bunch. Every song on the album has the potential to be a smash hit for her.
Will her label allow that? That's a whole other blog post/discussion.
I'll receive flack from many I'm sure for having 'Glory' beat out 'Lemonade', but allow me to explain:
The music world we're so deep into is full of artistic growth, and seriousness. Yes, 'ANTI' and 'Lemonade' (and yes, 'Joanne') show growth from RiRi, Bey and Gaga respectively, but sometimes.....usually....yours truly needs to bask in the glory of a massive pop record.
And 'Glory' is that.
My girl came to reignite the pop world in 2016.....
AND SHE DID JUST THAT.
Standout song: Hard To Forget Ya