Pretty fucking epic: three words that tell you everything you need to know about Justice’s comeback – from the sound (Zeppelin meets Europe) to the launch (as part of Adidas’ 2011 ads) to the video (the dawn of time, if that involved a herd of mammoths being chased out of town by Stonehenge).

 
 
 

Despite looking like hipsters in an American Apparel ad, Brooklyn’s Friend’s offer some handy tips on the rules of modern dating. Samantha Urbani is a “chick” not to be messed with: “I know I don’t want no-one suffocating me/Don’t settle for ownership, make it deep,” she purrs. Fellas, you have been warned.

 
 
 

Alright, so she’s never been one to shy away from tackling the subject of female empowerment. Still, this was Ms Knowles’ most unequivocal call to arms yet. Buttressed by an insatiable drum sample lifted from Major Lazer’s unhinged ‘Pon De Floor’, it’s Sasha at her fiercest.

 
 
 

Great artists morph when the mood takes them, and while it’s still early days, this indicates Marina Diamandis may soon assume the mantle of greatness. She picked apart the American dream and turned it into a banger: ‘Radioactive’ is a watershed moment, and 2012 oozes with promise.

 
 
 

More camp than X-Factor’s Johnny Robinson performing in a cock-shaped tent, this is a precise, perfectly pitched nostalgia fest for fans of sweaty, poppers-fuelled ’90s New York house – all squelching 909s, slinky bass, hands-up piano and a male diva commanding us to get up, get up.

 
 
 

Like a love letter to urban music past, ‘Wildfire’ harked back to R&B’s golden age with sparse, stuttering, sex-o-phile bass that was pure Timbaland, while Little Dragon’s Yumi Nagano channelled the imperious sexiness of Aaliyah. A masterpiece of taut control.

 
 
 

With Austra, Zola Jesus and Cat’s Eyes leading the charge, 2011 saw a host of operatic maidens traversing the murky plains of gothtronica and doom pop. Katie Stelmanis vamped her way through this glitch-fest with a fiery intensity, making for the underworld’s banger of the year.

 
 
 

So good he recorded it twice – once by himself for the Submarine OST followed by a full-band version on the Monkeys album – but it was its bashful first incarnation, with Turner as sheepishly adorable as Oliver trying to bang Jordana for the first time, that was the real heart-melter.

 
 
 

From his Mercury-nominated debut, ‘Liiines’ was released under the watchful eye of Gilles Peterson in Brownswood Recordings mode. Piano sample loops and live drums meet Obaro Ejimiwe’s slurring, melancholic spitting on getting recognition for your lyrics. He doesn’t have to worry about that anymore.

 
 
 

There’s a theory that the best pop sounds happy but is, at its heart, broken. Or sometimes just broke. Over brisk handclaps and jangling guitars Jonathan Pierce sings of being unable to rescue his threadbare relationship through material expressions of love. ‘Money’ is about being young, indie as hell… and so broke you can’t afford petrol station flowers.

 
 
 
 
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