Pop music artists 2013
This was an incredibly fruitful year for new and emerging artists pointing their respective genre towards new directions and possibilities. From dance to R&B and country to indie, 2013 was a year for pushing boundaries.
Autre Ne Veut
With this year’s Anxiety, Autre Ne Veut‘s Arthur Ashin proved himself at the very crest of the bedroom R&B wave that’s been building over the last few years. Rather than cloak his pop ambitions in pools of reverb and swaths of ambient minimalism in the manner of contemporaries like How to Dress Well, Ashin styles Autre Ne Veut as a fully-fleshed, rafters-scratching electropop act. His falsetto provides properly disarming vocal textures for an album born of serious emotional difficulties, and his work with drum programming and synths display an intuitive sense of build-and-release pop dynamics mixed with a healthy dose of dancefloor flash. A party-starter, sure, but this is the rare artist who can provide the soundtrack for the comedown right in the same breath. Corey Beasley
The world, as the existence of these words indicates, didn’t end on December 20th, 2012. One wouldn’t be wrong in getting the sense from the music of Bastille, however, that the apocalypse is too far away. The hooks are big, the tunes anthemic, and the lyrics immediately imperative. Frontman Dan Smith sounds as if he’s rallying all of his fans to join with him in the communion of music just before Icarus flies too close to the sun or all things are lost in the fire. Bastille was an under-the-radar prospect in 2012, with two excellent cover EPs, Other People’s Heartache and Other People’s Heartache, Pt. 2 showcasing a creative talent that would later blossom in Bad Blood, the 2013 debut. Lead single “Pompeii” took the world and Tumblr by storm over the course of the year, with others—particularly the band’s transformative cover of Corona’s “The Rhythm of the Night”—shortly to follow. With the shadow of One Direction still looming over the world, Bastille offers a variation on British pop that’s as audacious and epic. Stadiums around the world are sure to be echoing with Smith’s voice soon. And should the apocalypse finally come after all, at least we’ll have a killer set of tunes to accompany us. Brice Ezell