My 4 Favorite Artists of 2012

I've been told I have eclectic taste in music by many people. I've also been told I have straight up weird taste in music. I like to think I can appreciate a lot of different styles of music. Anyway, I thought I'd introduce you to my favorite artists of this past year. This list is going to include bands/singers I've only learned about this year, as well as artists who've been on my radar for a while and put out great new music this past year. Here's my top 4 in no particular order.

Marina and The Diamonds is fantastic from the backbeats to the lyrics. Marina make great commentary on today's society ranging from the dichotomy of strength and vulnerability women struggle with, the anxieties of youth forced to achieve bigger and bigger things, the sexualization of women, real versus fake... Love her. She does great acoustic versions, too. I first discovered her when I heard her take on Justin Bieber's Boyfriend. I loved her take on the song which is more about heartbreak and a boy who treated her like an accessory instead of appreciating her.

Favorite tracks: How to Be A Heartbreaker, Oh No, Sex Yeah!, Starring Role, Radioactive, Homewrecker, Hollywood.

Beyonce is probably one of my favorite artists of all time. I consider her a role model and place her in my holy trinity of divine people (which is made up of her, Will Smith, and Michelle Obama). While she didn't release a new album in 2012, she did release another single off her 2011 album, 4, which was End of Time. I don't know why it didn't get as much buzz in the US as it should have (it actually did better on UK charts, but I've noticed I tend to side with UK charts anyway...) but it's a really excellent track. B hasn't released an official music video for it, but Todrick Hall (of Beauty and the Beat and Cinderfella fame) did another one of his epic flashmobs to this song-- which Beyonce herself loved and thanked him for!

I love this song. Beyonce is extremely talented and is one classy woman. Sometimes, when I feel down about the world or start losing faith in humanity (which often occurs whenever I have the poor sense to read through internet comments on news sites-- we've all seen 'em) I just remember that somewhere, out there, Beyonce is out there, being Beyonce, and somehow we're both humans.

Favorite tracks: End of Time, Run the World, Why Don't You Love Me, Diva, Jumpin' Jumpin' (Destiny's Child days), Listen (Dream Girls), Love on Top, Say My Name Say My Name (Destiny's Child), Bills, Bills, Bills (Destiny's Child)

If you've not heard of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, you've probably been living under a rock. Macklemore is fantastic, his words a just so full of truth. He talks about some really heavy issues and even when the truth isn't pretty he makes it so profound, so beautiful, that you really believe there's hope to change the issues he sees in the world, from violence to hate to sexism to racism and everything in between. He doesn't have any pretense of trying to look hard or tough or bad-ass-- he's honest and I really appreciate an artist who can let go of what he thinks his audience will want to hear and just tell us what he has to say. And Ryan Lewis produces some really great beats for him to rap to. The two are a fantastic duo and if you've only heard a couple of their more famous songs like Thrift Shop, you're missing out, because they cover some really deep things. I also like the way these two aren't stuck in one kind of sound. They mix it up and excel.

Favorite Tracks: Same Love, A Wake, Wing$, Ten Thousand Hours, Thrift Shop, Thin Line

Cue collective groan from my closest friends who have put up with me not only playing this music and singing it constantly, but my persistent mantra that this man is pretty much perfect. Alexander Rybak is a Norwegian/Belarusian popstar who is best known for winning Eurovision the international song competition where unknowns attempt to win a recording contract and fame throughout Europe while representing their homeland. Alexander Rybak is a violinist/singer/songwriter/composer who is basically like the cutest thing ever in addition to being extremely talented. He won the Eurovision competition in 2009, breaking the previous score record by over 80 points, with his song Fairytale. He's very well-known in Europe and it launched a solid career. I discovered him last year out of nowhere. I like his sincerity when he writes. He write a lot about his feelings and about girls but not at all in sexualized or superficial way-- he is actually after love and I love that he is, instead of other artists who sort of treat women in their music as props or trophies. He also has like, the sweetest personality in the world, is multilingual, and loves playing with Legos. Like I said, he's perfect. I adore the way he writes music and lyrics. It just really gets to my heart in a way few other artists can.

As far as music new in 2012, he released a single called Leave Me Alone, which is a song he wrote about his stalker, some girl from America who fairly frequently flies to Europe to harass him. She apparently has gone to his apartment several times and even showed up at his parents house. When the video was released, he thanked his fans for showing their support by writing letters, sending teddybears... and not showing up at his door with a knife in hand. (Did I mention that he also wrote a song all about how much he loves his fanmail and how he appreciates having a piece of his fan's lives to read? Because he did because he's perfect.) He has such a good sense of humor, even about the really dark things. He's on the list of people I would no questions asked drop everything for. I'm a little bit actually in love with him.

Favorite Tracks: Fairytale, Strela Amura (Cupid's Arrow), Funny Little World, Dolphin, First Kiss, Europe Skies, Kiss and Tell, 13 Horses, Dare I Say, If You Were Gone, Leave Me Alone

Did you find any great new music last year? A New Favorite Artist? An old favorite who once again blew your mind?


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