The Veronicas: Australian electropop-punk. Lots of powerful, fiercely energized songs about intense yearning in all its phases — for a bad relationship to get better, a bad breakup to be forgiven, a good relationship not to blow up, a hot stranger to, ah, answer their thirst. The singers are identical twin sisters (neither one named Veronica). (The Veronicas playlist.)
Vienna Teng: Soft indie chamber pop. Her performance range goes from “a-capella singing group” to “clasically-trained pianist.” Unmatched at wistfulness. (Vienna Teng playlist.)
That last one is boundlessly joyful — don’t miss it.
WALK THE MOON: Ohio new-wave dance-rock. Energetic, offbeat, if neon lights were turned into music this is what they’d sound like. (Walk The Moon playlist.)
Donnie Munro/Runrig: soothing Celtic folk rock. (Solo act & band with a lead singer, respectively.) Think if Dan Fogelberg was more Gaelic. (Donnie Munro playlist.)
Styx: Prog rock that ranges from working-class anthems to weird sci-fi/fantasy scenarios. Apparently they broke up for a decade or so, then came back together? Everything here is from their ’70s and ’80s work. (Styx playlist.)
Tori Amos: Chamber pop with classically-trained piano, and lots of haunting mezzo-soprano lyrics. Apparently she was expelled from the Peabody Institute at 11 for “musical insubordination”, which is a delightful origin story. (Tori Amos playlist.)
In the home stretch! Only got about five more of these in the bank.
The Birthday Massacre – New-wave goth rock. Lighter and airier than Evanescence, darker and eerier than Blackmore’s Night, best when they’re doing creepy-cute lovely melodies. (Birthday Massacre playlist.)
The Corrs – Pop rock with Celtic-fusion elements. Covers the whole emotional spectrum, but in particular, they have a talent for making love songs that go “you are so great and I love you and I’m happy and there’s no catch” in a way that feels earnest and joyful, not thin or superficial. (The Corrs playlist.)
Jedward: Teen pop that’s wildly mainstream-popular in Ireland and the UK — they’ve been Eurovision finalists, twice — but somehow hasn’t jumped the Atlantic. Came out of The X Factor, same as One Direction, although they’re identical twins instead of a 5-part boy-band. (Jedward playlist didn’t exist so I made one.)