By Shannon Carlin, Annie Reuter, Jeremy D. Larson, Scott T. Sterling, Jillian Mapes
In 2013, Kanye West did all he could to convince us he was a genius, while a New Zealand teen made us think twice before popping that Cristal.
Miley couldn’t seem to stop, no matter how much we wished she would. And Robin Thicke’s biggest problem of the year turned out not to be all those naked ladies in his “Blurred Lines” video, but the estate of Marvin Gaye.
After two years, Lady Gaga finally revealed the meaning of her ARTPOP, though it seemed not as many people cared as she had hoped. Perhaps Mother Monster should have taken a page out of her friend Beyoncé’s book, who managed to outsmart us all with her clever surprise release. And let’s not forget Justin Timberlake, who came back to music after seven years. We’ll let you decide if he also brought sexy back.
As Radio.com gears up for 2014 we’re revisiting some of the best, worst and most infamous stories of the past 12 months. But we don’t want to spend too much time on the intro — we’re not Drake — so read on to see which artists made this year one we’ll all definitely remember.
Most Controversial Artist: Miley Cyrus
Even in a year when Kanye was at his most nuclear and R. Kelly had to answer for past (alleged) transgressions, no one in music generated more controversy than Miley Cyrus. From her perpetually wagging tongue to twerking all over Robin Thicke at this year’s MTV VMAs to her very nude video for “Wrecking Ball,” Cyrus successfully trolled the world while making herself over into the pop star we just love to hate on – and seemingly can’t get enough of.
Best New Artist: Lorde
This one wasn’t even a contest, as the wide-eyed ingénue from New Zealand captivated music listeners — and the industry — in a way we haven’t seen since Alanis Morissette was screaming about Dave Coulier’s indiscretions back in the ‘90s.
Saddest Breakup: My Chemical Romance
Three cheers for sweet, sweet Gerard Way and his band, who leave behind at least two excellent albums and a whole box full of jelly bracelets and black eyeliner. Those kids are not okay (I promise).
Best Music Video: Seth Rogen & James Franco “Bound 3”
While most of the world stared in shock at Kanye West easy riding with a nude, but nipple-less Kim Kardashian in the video for “Bound 2,” actors James Franco and Seth Rogen found inspiration. Their shot-for-shot remake comes complete with a topless Rogen playing the role of Kim.
Biggest Comeback: Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake had not one, but two comebacks this year. He brought us two solo albums, his first, The 20/20 Experience, sold 968,000 copies in its first week, making it the No. 1 sales debut of 2013. He also reunited with his former boy band *NSYNC for a couple of minutes at the MTV VMAs, making fans everywhere wish the boy band never said bye, bye, bye.
Beef of the Year: Kendrick Lamar vs. Every Other Young Rapper in the Game
It was the shot heard ’round the world when Kendrick hijacked Big Sean’s “Control” with a verse that called out a number of the most popular rappers in hip-hop — including Big Sean — while placing himself next to such legends as Eminem, Andre 3000, Jay Z and Nas. The response was swift and often dramatic, with a multitude of those called-out —Meek Mill, J. Cole and Drake — striking back. It was Drake though who seemed to be most hurt by Lamar’s verse, taking what many believe to be his second jab at K-Dot on the recent remix of Future’s song “Sh!t.”