The Year in Pop

The Top 10 moments in music of the year.
December 21, 2012

The last year was certainly a packed one for pop music. Here’s our countdown of the more colorful moments.

1. Carly Rae Jepsen

They called Jepsen, but then they hung up. The brilliant pop tune “Call Me Maybe” was song of the year but music lovers have so far tuned out her follow-up album and singles. Too bad, cause we liked them. Maybe!

2. Pop Star Judges

Reality competition shows prove a haven for big pop stars. It seemed nearly everyone became a judge. But did it help their respective careers? Not much for Christina Aguilera and Mariah Carey (whose new singles didn’t fair well). Britney Spears remained as popular as ever and J-Lo got a boost. But the men really got some leverage; just ask Adam Levine and Cee-Lo Green.

3. Scissor Sisters Have a Kiki.

But will it be their last? Just this month rumors circulated that Jake Sheers is moving to Los Angeles and the band is going on an extended hiatus.

4. Frank Ocean’s Out

Despite his connection with the most homophobic rapper (Tyler, the Creator), Ocean received praise from the hip-hop community for his frank talk about his affair with a man on Channel Orange.

5. Madonna’s Feuds

The Material Girl fought with both Lady Gaga and Elton John—and won. From calling out Gaga’s swiping of her “Express Yourself” as “reductive” to mashing-up “Born This Way” on her tour, Madonna proved evergreen, beating Gaga’s world tour sales and attendance (in South America by three to one and with tickets three times more expensive!). But at the end of the day we love them both—and hey, they both needed stronger albums! Then there was Elton John’s catty comments on the red carpet of the Golden Globes insisting Madonna would never win Best Song over him. Hours later he ate crow as Madonna in fact took home the statuette. Time for John to go on an extended holiday!

6. Indie Artists Take Front and Center.

Ellie Goulding (“Lights”) and Gotye (“Somebody That I Used to Know”) finally ignited after nearly a year of promotion. Indie darling Sia went mainstream as a featured artist on two massive hits (David Guetta’s “Titanium” and Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones”) and as co-writer of Rihanna’s smash “Diamonds.”

7. Blue Ivy is Born

Beyoncé and Jay-Z put their newborn daughter on a track two days after her birth. The crying, however, was no indication whether Blue Ivy is a future child prodigy or the next Lisa Marie Presley.

8. Rihanna and Chris Brown Reunite

Her album title was Unapologetic, but we still think she owes all of us an apology for him.

9. Azealia Banks Takes Over

Banks is a musical ATM. And we like to visit often. This year she showed us the money and proved to be everything Nicki Minaj wants to be—fashionable, edgy, musically adventurous and gorgeous. And how can we not love someone who gave New York a new club anthem in the self-referencing, area-code-centric track “212”?

10. Kylie Minogue Celebrates 25 Year

Kylie’s musical anniversary went amazingly well. Dubbed K25, Kylie gave fans a new surprise each month including an Anti-Tour concert, the explosive track “Timebomb” and lush, fully orchestrated reworkings of her hits on album The Abbey Road Sessions.