We love lists more than pretty much anything, so we couldn't be happier that list-making season is upon us once again. The BBC's annual Sound of 2010 is pretty much the king of all lists, so for all intents and purposes we're gonna just take their exact approach as we look forward to next year. So yeah, same criteria - artists can't have had a Top 20 single or album to date, can't be a solo project from an established artist, etc - and all that jazz. Seems like we were a bit too far-sighted with last year's lists, as most of those acts - while still doing quite well for themselves - haven't actually released their debut album yet. So there will be a few repeats on this year's list, and it'll mostly be concerned with bands that will definitely have albums out next year in the UK and will definitely be massive. And away we go...
DRAKE // Not sure if Drake qualifies as I can't find any evidence of whether or not he's charted in the UK yet, but if he's eligible for the list then he's a no-brainer number one. The BBC Sound of... lists aren't exactly reknowned for their attention to hip-hop so I doubt he'll top the actual BBC list, but Kid Cudi repped hard on last year's list and 50 Cent locked down the #1 spot back in 2003, and Drake's as deserving (if not more) as both of those dudes.
MARINA & THE DIAMONDS + ELLIE GOULDING // Asking us to choose between these two would be like asking a proud parent to choose their favorite child, so we'll let them share this slot and sit nicely alongside one another. I don't think anyone doubts the huge year these two have ahead of them, and with immense lead singles planned for early next year followed shortly thereafter by massive debut albums, we can pretty much tell you with absolute certainty that they're not gonna dissapoint. Ellie's about as Sound of 2010 as you could possibly get, while Marina's more of a timeless pop star operating outside the boundaries of what's currently "in", but we're confident both will be sitting pretty as two of the most successful breakthrough artists of 2010 this time next year. Love our babygirls.
HURTS // For all we know Hurts only have one song and a cool video, but god damn that one song is MASSIVE. Plus, given the amount of money Sony threw at them we're assuming they've got to have a couple more big guns waiting in the wings, and they've just got their whole aesthetic nailed so masterfully that we can't see them not going supernova next year. For now, it's all about "Wonderful Life" though, out next January with an amazing remix package and that aforementioned flawless video. Such a hit.
SKY FERREIRA // I don't think we've even heard a proper track from her yet, but with the biggest UK record deal of 2009 (don't quote me on that), her epic "it girl" status, some serious pipes and production credits on her forthcoming debut album including Aeroplane, Bloodshy & Avant and Paul Epworth, she's pretty much a shoo-in for superstardom next year.
PENGUIN PRISON // We doubt the man they call Penguin Prison will make the BBC list, but if people knew just how unreal his debut album is shaping up to be he'd be all over this shit. Seriously, "Funny Thing" and "Animal Animal" are so barely the tip of the iceberg it's not even funny, he's got about a hundred amazing singles up his sleeve and some of the best pop tracks we've heard in ages. Seriously, dude is the best thing to happen to cool pop music in ages.
DAISY DARES YOU // Yet another girl primed for big things next year, we've got a few tracks from her that suggest she'll be every bit as big as the pop ladies of 2009 who paved the way for this year's crop of talented females. Mainly it's all about "Number One Enemy", which is just such a massive summertime pop smash it's a little bit ridiculous. Sky Ferreira's main competition for Lolita of 2010 honors, Daisy's gonna be all over the place next year.
STARSMITH // Surprise! He's a solo artist too. Literally everything Starsmith's touched thus far has turned to gold, and he's pretty much single-handedly (slight exaggeration) crafted that futuristic pop sound that has defined the last twelve months and will likely continue to reign surpreme in 2010, so we have no reason to suspect he's not going to continue killing it in the months to come. Few people have heard his actual solo material, but trust us, it's kind of amazing.
THEOPHILUS LONDON // Dude is just the biggest superstar we've ever seen on the small stage, he's just oozing swagger and star power, and even if he doesn't quite have the original material to back it up just yet, we really can't see him not being HUGE next year.
THE SOUND OF ARROWS // Quickly becoming our favorite band in the world, the Sound of Arrows can quite literally do it all. Music videos, production, songwriting, remixes, art direction... literally everything. I don't really know where they fit in with the current music scene, but I don't really care, they're just operating on a whole different level than pretty much anyone else at the moment.
OWL CITY // I mean, if this dude can get to #1 out of nowhere with a track like "Fireflies" in the US, I can barely fathom the kind of damage he could do on the UK charts. "Fireflies" is out in February in the UK and it's gonna be kind of a big deal.
ERIK HASSLE // We know things haven't really gotten off to the most promising start for our beloved Swede, but if Island play their cards right Erik could really go massive next year. If they can just stop trying to make him into the pop star he's not and just embrace his weird Napoleon-Dynamite-gone-pop vibe and indie charm I feel like he could really surprise a lot of people next year. And seriously, is there a single person who can honestly tell us "Hurtful" doesn't sound like an international number one?
LOCAL NATIVES // It's about time proper bands made a comeback and Local Natives are just operating on a whole different playing field from everyone else. Their album's already out and shit (and it's one of the year's absolute finest), but if this isn't the best new band of 2009/2010 we don't know who is.
LUNAR YOUTH // Good looking dudes who know how to play their instruments writing stadium-sized anthems. "Venus In Blue Jeans" is stupidly big. They're going to be quite popular indeed.
FREELANCE WHALES // Not a chance in hell these guys make the BBC list and they're still unsigned for the UK, but they've already got one of the year's (this year or next, we'd reckon) best albums under their belt and the best indie label in America on their team (what up Frenchkiss?), so why the hell shouldn't they be big next year? All these lists have to have a token folk-ish act anyway, might as well be the best one around.
CLARE MAGUIRE // WE STILL BELIEVE.
I Blame Coco will probably be pretty massive too but we ran out of space for her. Sorry Coco.
UPDATE: BBC's longlist has just gone up HERE. Sounds about right to us.