And we're back! Yesterday I covered some of the shining male stars in the R&Pop and Electro genres, and today I am going to tackle the standard Pop artists as well as those who focus on SynthPop. Let's just dive right in, shall we?
Now Will is someone I had never paid much attention to before this year. The original winner of the now ever-present singing competitions, Will seemed to be a UK singer of the past and not someone I should be looking into. BOY was I wrong! With the release of his album Echoes and its lead single Jealousy this year, I have become so insanely hooked. Will's music isn't exactly something to light the dancefloor on fire. In fact, it is one of my favorite laying-in-bed albums of the moment. But that is because the music is beautiful, the lyrics are smart and often touching, and Will's voice is so smooth. Put it together and you have one of the best releases of the year, and my favorite male pop singer of the moment. Oh, and did I mention that he is gay?
Recommended Listening: Jealousy, Come On, Outsider
UK X-Factor winner Joe McElderry very much surprised me. I thought him to be sort of the UK David Archuleta when I first heard him on the show. Cute, definitely. Talented, ohh yes. A star...not so much. BUT...then his album came out and it was a high-energy, fabulous affair. Borrowing vocal stylings from the likes of Jake Shears, Joe showed that he could lead the charge on a dancefloor igniter just as easily as on a cheesy ballad. While his career has suffered similar fates as many of his X-Factor comrades...I have high hopes for this boy, and hope he brings us another set of music sooner rather than later. Oh and FYI...I did not mention it...but he is gay.
Recommended Listening: Ambitions, Fahrenheit
I almost didn’t do it. I almost didn’t put him on here. He hasn’t released an album in years, and with his forays into cinema, it doesn’t appear he is in even the slightest of rushes to put out another. BUT...as far as male pop stars of this generation goes, Justin is arguably the biggest. Everything he touches turns to gold, his fans jump at the slightest mention of him being on a track, and the boy can seriously sing and dance. While he may not be part of the current pop landscape...leaving him out of the game would be a mistake. All the same...I just wish he would get on with it. Oh, and did I mention that sadly he is NOT gay?
Recommended Listening: Cry Me A River, SexyBack
Now, my US readers probably won't recognize this name, but here is one most of them SHOULD recognize: Savage Garden. Remember them? Yeah, me too. I have endless fond memories of Savage Garden’s music. Apparently after they split, the lead singer Darren Hayes went ahead and created quite a solo pop career for himself abroad. All of his music has been extraordinary, and his fans are loyal and proud of the spectrum of work Hayes has put out. This year with his new album, he has won another fan in me. The best way for me to describe it would be ambient-pop. Hayes has the strong and high voice (sometimes wandering into being a bit whiney) that delivers strong songs on top of dreamy productions. Definitely one of the long-term career inspirations that many of the men on this list could learn a thing or two from.
Recommended Listening: Black Out the Sun
With their debut album last year, Hurts set the Eurosynthpop (not a thing, made it up) genre on its ear. Early buzz off of their incredibly strong lead singles seemed to set the two boys up for failure. So what did they do? Produced an album with nothing but expert craftsmanship, a cohesive sound, and one helluva feature for their debut (once again..uhmm..KYLIE MINOGUE?!). Yes, Hurts made almost every pop publication’s Best Of... lists for 2010, and deservedly so. Their music sounds as fresh today as it did last year...and I have a good feeling that classic pop music is exactly what we can expect from the rest of their career as well.
Recommended Listening: Stay, Blood Tears & Gold, Devotion
Sound of Arrows
I have to admit that I didn’t pay attention to this duo in the months leading up to their debut album this month. It all seemed very pretty and nice, but nothing I could really hold on to single wise. Then the buzz for the album began generating like no other album I had seen this year. But still I decided to wait until it came out to listen to their music again. And man...am I happy I paid attention to the buzz this time around. Their album is possibly the best of 2011. SoA have achieved a level of orchestral synthpop that I have rarely heard, and even more rarely seen it be executed so masterfully. They have made a classic album of this era, and will be the electronic album to beat this year without a doubt.
Recommended Listening: Nova, Longest Ever Dream, There Is Still Hope
That's all for now, folks! Check back on Monday for the final installment where I cover Vocal and Rock/Pop male artists! I hope you find some goodies in my suggestions!