His name sounded familiar, however I wasn't familiar with any of his music until this year. It was only during a brief phase of listening to Radio Italia (www.radioitalia.it) during the spring that I discovered this dramatic, brassy, against-the-current pop song, passing on an older man's advice and life experience. Having done some research, it would appear that Renato is a bit of a character and has certainly lived an exciting life!
No.19: "Ice On The Dune" - Empire of the Sun.
First (but, surprisingly, not last) appearance by my favourite Aussie duo. This is the title track of that long-awaited album and is one of the tracks which is closest to the spirit of that debut album. Other-worldly bright, clean, pop music not tainted by the kind of rot which marks much of this decade's so-called 'pop'. Distinctive and unique.
This was the year that Måns decided to break away from being Sweden's Mr Light Entertainment - quitting Allsång at a time when he was more popular than ever as the host of that famous 'poisoned chalice' which is always a target for the Swedish tabloid critics. Måns also broke away from the commercial pop/dance of his first two albums and reinvented himself with this grown-up ballad. Now I'm no ballad fan but this ticks all the boxes.
No.17: "Old Flavours" - Empire of the Sun.
Here they are again! This predominantly instrumental track, premiered at their Sydney Opera House concert, was previously the subject of a YouTube teaser video (we all thought it was called 'Discovery' to begin with). Musically, it's all the things I love about Empire of the Sun and it would probably have been up there in my top 5 if it had been a proper 'song' rather than an instrumental with a couple of lines near the end.
No.16: "Ti" - Rezarta Smaja.
Time to bend the rules/criteria a little, as this is a song which first came to my attention at the end of 2012. Around this time last year to be precise, as I experienced my first ever Festivali i Këngës, a very enjoyable start to a long national finals season. Along came Rezarta with this big old Italian-style ballad, backed by a live orchestra. No playback or pre-recorded backing vocals here! She gave it her all, and this song immediately sailed into my heart. She'll be back later this week at FiK 52: hope her song is as good as this one.