Somehow, with June winding to a close, we are once more here at the halfway point in the year. It’s a time when we editors at Idolator like to look back and reflect on certain aspects of our lives: Did we remember to file our taxes? Have we been wearing enough sunblock in recent, sunny months? Has Beyonce really not released a new single yet?!
Collectively, we also like to put our heads together and pore over our favorite music from these first six months of the year. For our early 2013 picks, big-budget major label albums made the cut, as did small, indie releases by acts you perhaps heard about for the very first time on Idolator. Speaking of which, the selection of artists you’ll find below hail from far and wide — Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, the United Kingdom and the United States are all represented. Oh, and one of the 10 albums is actually and EP. So there.
So let’s just get right to it! Head below to catch the albums (and the EP) that had our ears — and hopefully yours, too — bending their way in the first half of 2013. (Note: They’re ordered alphabetically by artist’s name. We’ll save the meticulous, deeply scientific ranking for our final Best Albums list at the end of the year.)
Betty Who, The Movement (EP)
Released: April 19
Fact: Betty Who is the best thing to happen to pop music this year. Incredibly, she is (as of this writing) still unsigned, with nothing but a four-song EP titled The Movement and a small handful of live shows to her name. But even at this early stage, she already has the songs, presence and image of a full-fledged, A-list pop star: Not only because she’s such a glamazon, but because her songcraft soars well beyond the competition — and I don’t just mean Katy Perry or Taylor Swift, but Max Martin, too.
Consider the four songs on The Movement: The impossibly catchy “Somebody Loves You,” as sure a summer anthem as any this year; the follow-up single, “You’re In Love,” a crystalline ’80s pop number that evokes Robyn covering MGMT; the swirling, ambient “Right Here,” a lovelorn synth-ballad; and the surging triumph “High Society,” which turns social climbing into an art form. Written by Betty herself with her producer Peter Thomas (a rising star in his own right — he just helped helm Victoria Justice‘s excellent summer single “Gold”), it’s an EP that contains many times the reward as nearly any full-length album in 2013. The only people who don’t love her are the people who haven’t heard of her yet. Don’t be surprised when that number dwindles considerably by year’s end. — SAM LANSKY
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