Click the link for Spotify playlist. Along with many others, my single of the year is undoubtedly Call Me Maybe – a track I initially dismissed as asinine and bland. I was a fool! My song of the year has not, however, been released as a single – Taylor Swift’s astonishing All Too Well floored me when I first heard it and still does so, its dissection of a break-up displaying an understanding of the power dynamics in relationships which belies Swift’s age. Various pitch-shifted versions can be found on Youtube but you’d be best just buying it on iTunes.

Happily, quite a few songs floored me this year: Solange’s Losing You is appealing and accomplished in an almost cursive way while iLL Manors remains powerful despite its adoption by hand-wringing liberals as ‘the voice of the London riots’. The most recent addition to the list is Don’t Rush by Kelly Clarkson – I first heard it only about a fortnight ago and its gloriously relaxed bliss quickly burrowed its way into my affections. Meanwhile, acts I have previously loved but whom I’ve drifted away from in recent years recaptured me with brilliant tracks like Let’s Have a Kiki and Cut the World. The Misha B and Azealia Banks songs already point to an exciting 2013.

The list:
Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen
Losing You – Solange
iLL Manors – Plan B
We Take Care Of Our Own – Bruce Springsteen
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together – Taylor Swift
Born to Die – Lana del Rey
Turn Up The Radio – Madonna
Your Body – Christina Aguilera
Wide Awake – Katy Perry
Let’s Have A Kiki – Scissor Sisters
Every Single Night – Fiona Apple
Try – P!nk
Melancholy Sky – Goldfrapp
Don’t Rush – Kelly Clarkson
Cut the World – Antony & the Johnsons
Magic Chords – Sharon van Etten
1991 – Azealia Banks
Leaving – Pet Shop Boys
Do You Think Of Me – Misha B
Die Young – Ke$ha 

My Singles of 2012

The lack of chronology on the album highlights how consistently strong Clarkson’s material has been: this year’s empowerment smash Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) sits easily alongside 2003’s Miss Independent (co-written by Christina Aguilera) both sonically and thematically, while the infectious dynamism of Mr Know It All recalls Breakaway’s snappy Walk Away. On the other hand, it also highlights how little Clarkson’s sound has developed in the past decade. An unfair criticism perhaps – Clarkson certainly found a voice far more quickly than could perhaps have been expected – but the three new songs here certainly don’t re-invent the wheel. Perhaps they don’t have to – however much the pop world has changed in the period covered by Chapter One, the album is a testament to the fact that beneath the videos, the dance routines, the social media and all the other glitz and glam that make up the pop world, you cannot beat the enduring appeal of a great song performed by a charismatic, talented artist. 

Full review up at MusicOMH.

Kelly Clarkson – Greatest Hits: Chapter One