Justin Bieber Hits Highs & Lows
As usual, Justin Bieber was constantly in the spotlight during 2013. This year, however, the headlines weren't always flattering. On the plus side, there were the flurry of top 10 hits from his 2012 album "Believe," a Milestone Award-win at the Billboard Music Awards (see No. 16), and a 10-song set dubbed Music Mondays that kept new music in the ears of his Beliebers. But there was also Mally, the singer's pet capuchin monkey who was quarantined in Germany due to improper documentation. There were the backstage fainting spells in London. His hope that Anne Frank "would have been a belieber" didn't go over so well. And most recently, the singer embarked on a whirlwind South American tour that saw him end a concert early in Argentina, anger Brazilian police by spraying graffiti on a wall, and get caught leaving an alleged brothel in Rio de Janeiro. Bieber ends 2013 on an up note, with the release of second movie, 'Believe,' and 'Journals,' a collection of his Music Mondays singles. After that, his manager Scooter Braun says that Justin will "(take) a break just to make music and relax, take some time for himself for the first time since he was 12." After his chaotic '13, we're sure he could use the rest.
David Bowie and More Triumphant Rock Revivals
David Bowie celebrated his 66th birthday on Jan. 8, but his fans got the best gift when the long-dormant legend unexpectedly dropped a new single and announced "The Next Day," his first album in 10 years. Bowie's surprise kicked off a year of unanticipated returns from some of alt-rock's heaviest hitters. On Feb. 2, British shoegaze giants My Bloody Valentine broke the Internet after self-releasing 'm b v,' their first album of new material in 21 years. Then, on May 21, Trent Reznor announced that Nine Inch Nails wasn't as defunct as he'd led fans to believe: later that summer, the project released its eighth album "Hesitation Marks" and hit the road for the first time since 2009.
Death at Electric Zoo
New York's Electric Zoo wasn't the first EDM festival to be plagued by the loss of life due to drug overdoses. But after two attendees passed away during the first two days of the annual event this past September, promoters cancelled the third day. It sent a clear message that death wasn't an acceptable part of dance music culture, prompting larger discussions about rave safety and the dangers of "Molly."
Jay Z's New Rules
Before Beyoncé stunned the world with the promotion-free release of her self-titled album, her husband Jay Z installed some "new rules" of his own. Less than a month after surprisingly announcing its debut date through a three-minute Samsung ad, Jay Z (yeah, no more hyphen) collaborated with Samsung to release his album, "Magna Carta Holy Grail," for free to the first one million Samsung Galaxy users on July 4. Even after its unique promotion, Jay earned his 13th No. 1 album when "Magna Carta" debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, selling 580,000 in its first week according to Nielsen SoundScan. Jay broke countless chart records with his unconditional marketing and continued to tour on one of this year's most successful stadium tours, Legends of the Summer, alongside Justin Timberlake.
Swedish House Mafia Bids Fans Farewell
They came, they raved, they left. EDM supergroup Swedish House Mafia closed the book on the relatively brief phenomenon of its career in March. The trio (Axwell, Steve Angello, and Sebastian Ingrosso) disbanded after their whirlwind, 52-date One Last Tour, including sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden and five at San Francisco's Bill Graham Civic and with one final and very emotional last hurrah at Ultra Music Festival in Miami.