It’s a flawed love-letter to the '80s, to the people who just want to dance, to the people who feel marginalized, to the people who feel oppressed. Given recent events, it’s an uplifting album in embarrassing times.
The 2012 artists of the year range from urgent political punk and hip-hop challenging the establishment -- whether political or economic -- to the rise of a new generation of pop divas and forward-looking indie and R&B.
Forget Jepsen's monster smash "Call Me Maybe" for a moment (we know, it's hard). Kiss is a remarkably strong, well-made pop album that works entirely because of Jepsen's talent of a singer. Also, she samples Sam Cooke and the result is amazingly not terrible.