If it weren't for that
This is getting a bit silly now. We all know that Rihanna's window is November of each year. But November has been and gone and still, no R8 album. Not even a single. Instead she's pottering around getting her hair done, advertising for Puma and uploading the odd snippet of music. We all know new songs are on the way, the only question is: when?
This is all we have to go on so far...
It still pains me that so few people listened to Charli XCX's debut 'True Romance'. Yet after the success of I Love It with Icona Pop, she's gone from strength to strength this year with a pop-punk aesthetic that's led to the brilliant Boom Clap, the stomping Break The Rules and, of course, a feature on Iggy Azalea's Fancy. Not bad going. Second album 'Sucker' is already available in the States, but come next year the whole world will be enthralled. And that's as it should be.
Marina and the Diamonds
'Electra Heart' was something of an underrated pop album back in 2012, so Diamandis has been taking her time over her third album. And like Kelis' 'Food' album from last year, there's a food theme: 'Froot'. A song from the album has been released each month (since October) leading up to the album's release in April and so far it's sounding great, from the electro-pop of the title track, to the evocative ballad Immortal. I'm hungry already.
Years and Years
How the London-based trio missed out on the Brits Critics Choice award for 2015 is beyond me, but they've still got a shot at topping the BBC Sound Of poll. Take Shelter was their breakthrough hit at the end of the summer, though more recently Desire has hit the radio playlists. Yet right back to Real, released in February and featuring Ben Whishaw in the excellent video, it was clear that Years and Years were something special. Expect much more of their electro-R&B-house fusion this coming year.
Another big contender for most obvious tip for 2015 is Rae Morris. Since offering guest vocals for Bombay Bicycle Club and supporting a number of folk bands on tour, Morris is finally stepping into the limelight herself with a sound that blends elements of folk, electro and pop. With tracks like Closer and Under The Shadows already proving popular and debut album 'Unguarded' due in January, it won't be long until we see how the full album fares.
Whoever imagined The Voice UK could actually dig up some talent? Hill didn't win after she auditioned on the first series in 2012, but she soon got snapped up and this year featured on some big dance tracks: Wilkinson's Afterglow and Oliver Helden's Gecko (Overdrive), the latter making Hill the first Voice contestant to reach number one. Sadly her solo material has slipped under the radar so far, but with production from MNEK as well as her belting voice, there's sure to be plenty to love once her debut album hits in 2015.
No list of this sort would be complete without an artist from Sweden, but for once it's not another electro-pop star. The Swedish-Gambian singer is currently best known for the remix of her track Stronger from Norwegian DJ Kygo (it's on the House of Fraser Christmas advert), but in original form her dual heritage sound fuses soul and R&B with a Swedish sensibility for pop melody - from the percussive Hard Time to the deep rumblings of Pistols At Dawn. A full album is surely on the way.
And speaking of Kygo, if he doesn't release an album of remixes in 2015 I'll be sorely disappointed.
Sticking with Scandinavian artists, if there's one name to look out for it's Emilie Nicolas. The Norwegian singer-songwriter has already released her album 'Like I'm A Warrior' in her home country, but a UK release should be coming this year. Only a couple of her tracks are currently available on Soundcloud, but if the stunning noir-ballad Grown Up and the fizzing Pstereo are anything to go by, the full album could end up one of the best of the year.
Weaver's potential is so far being judged predominantly on a single track. But what a track that is. Sure, her 'Promises' EP includes others, but the nineteen year old's Octahate, a collaboration with Passion Pit's Michael Angelakos, Charli XCX, Benny Blanco and Cashmere Cat, was the major highlight. The EP was released in the summer, with a video for Octahate appearing in October that showed Weaver's fun side. There's bags of potential here, so keep those eyes and ears on high alert.
A boy can dream, can't he?
A new male popstar
That's not to say there aren't male artists in the charts, far from it. Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Paolo Nutini, Coldplay, Pharrell, John Legend, Olly Murs and a million faceless DJs. They're all amongst the top selling artists of the year. There's a clear gender divide in pop: male = commercial success, female = critical success. Men might be raking in the cash, but when can we have a male popstar who's...you know...good?