For many people, the biggest day of December begins the morning after Santa pops down the chimney. But, for an array of pop stars, Facebook campaigners, charity singles and chart watchers, attention is focused on another day - the day the Christmas Number One is confirmed. The race for the Christmas Number 1 is as festive as turkey and mulled wine. And this year, with the big day falling on December 22 (and BBC Radio 1's counting down the Top 40 from 4-7pm), it is likely to be as spicy a race as we have seen for some time.
'Beyoncé released a new album. It dropped overnight.' Silence. We both let the words sink in... For a Beyoncé fan, aka almost all human beings with the ability to bump and grind, those words stop time, and as my housemate and I stood in our kitchen - her, dripping wet, me, purple from yelling - we listened to and then watched each track.
Well, 2014 promises to also be a year in which record labels release music that people will listen to - unless those boffins at CERN have their way and we're all blown up*.
My friend from Brazil tells me that much as he loves our traditional seasonal music, he feels it's always sad too. I think he has a point. Even in more recent Christmas songs there's a pang, isn't there? Note how it's always Cold Outside, the weather outside is frightful, and yet...if you really love me so... well then... the boys of the NYPD choir will still sing Galway Bay.
He speaks rapidly, words tripping over each other to get out, but when Alex Lipinski sings it's with the poise of someone naturally immersed in the songwriting medium.
Gil Scott Heron said "The Revolution will not be televised". He was right in some sense. It will certainly not be televised but digitalised on the radio. Although that might not happen for quite some time as the government, BBC and commercial radio have been bickering for years on scheduling a date to switch from analogue to digital.
Bruce Springsteen's new album's title may be steeped in promise, but a sizeable portion of his devoted fanbase have considerably lower expectations for High Hopes.
Now in his 30's, Kinsella writes with finesse and charm about everything from fatherhood to his friends who "f*ck like wild" and the deeply personal nature of Owen makes him one of the contemporary scenes most emotive (if not emo) songwriters.
It's been a great year for music, and here's my selection of the best of it. I've chosen one 'if you only listen to one...' track for each album, which I think is the best/one you might not have heard of. Feel free to praise or abuse as you want.
Last week, I was delighted to have the opportunity to meet Louise Dearman, the widely known British musical theatre actress.
Susan Boyle is an alternative thinker and has been diagnosed as having an Autistic Spectrum Condition. No real shock for those of us who live and breathe ASC. So to you Susan, I write this letter...
BIG H's signature choppy flow remains, the very same flow that placed him firmly as a Grime giant way back with Meridian Crew (former members included JME, Skepta) before forming BloodLine Gang with his comrade, Paper Pabs.
The top 20 chart-selling DVD series, Lord of the Mics, returns for its 5th series on 16 December this year. Having launched in 2001 by cemented grime producer/artist Jammer, the series caused a shockwave of excitement throughout the UK's urban underground by showcasing the battling talents of the, then unknown, artists such as; Wiley, Skepta, Kano and Tinchy Stryder.
hanks to years of unrequited love; a great deal of which came from the girls in my year and partly because of what Britney Spears did to my heart - I have come to a conclusion. We no longer secretly yearn for objects of our affection in the way that we used to.
Whole Lotta Love was my own introduction to Zeppelin. Up until this point, as a 12-year-old, I was a Beatles fanatic. So much so I used to sometimes carry a Beatles album to school in the hope that maybe some other like-minded student might talk to me about the fabs.
'What Now' comes at the right time as the tough girl action was a bit of a turn off for her more 'conservative' fans, it is refreshing to see Rihanna revealing a little more of a sensitive side.