50. Merry Christmas II You - Mariah Carey
Lightning kind of struck twice for Mimi when she released her second Christmas album late last year. Sure, it was pure desperation in the wake of "Memoirs" disappearing from the charts faster than Mariah's inhibitions at an all you can eat buffet but nobody spreads yuletide cheer better than this diva. In a perfect world, "Oh Santa" would have been an "All I Want For Christmas Is You" sized smash - while Mimi's duet with her mum and trashtastic cover of "Auld Lang Syne" lay on the schmaltz so thick, you have no choice but to go along with their high camp fabulousness. It's official, Mariah is the undisputed Queen of holidays. I think she should tackle Easter next!
49. Dr Dream & The Imaginary Pop Cabaret - Emma Dean
Now this was a genuine surprise. And one of the best home grown albums released in 2010. "Sincerely Fearful" - with its show tune from Wicked meets indie pop chick sound - was an unexpected Pop Panel winner but I doubted Emma's ability to stretch her eclectic style over ten songs. Happily, I was wrong. "Dr Dream & The Imaginary Pop Cabaret" is an auspicious debut. Sounding like Mika's heavily medicated younger sister, Emma has crafted a collection of highly personal songs - mostly about overcoming doubts, following your path and ignoring the arseholes that try to bring you down. Sometimes it works (the aforementioned "Sincerely Fearful" and "Bigger Than You Bigger Than Me"), sometimes it doesn't ("I Keep Losing Myself" springs to mind) but the album is never dull. On a personal note, I met Emma briefly at the ARIAs. I wish I said something deep and insightful but I think I just asked if she knew where the toilets were. Class.
48. Bionic - Christina Aguilera
Yes, I know I trashed this album when it was released and I still think it's more uneven than Tori Spelling's breasts but a lot has happened since then. For starters, Christina is now a critically acclaimed film actress with a stunning international box office smash to her credit. Call me easy if you like but the unparalleled fabulousness of Burlesque was enough for me to re-evaluate "Bionic". And with a bit of distance it's a hugely enjoyable hot mess. The Sia penned ballads hold up well ("You Lost Me" in particular), while I've discovered a new appreciation for cheap trash like "Glam" and "I Hate Boys". I still have no idea what she was hoping to achieve with "Bionic" - apart from maybe proving that she can mimic her favourite artists - but I'm confident the album will continue to develop a cult following. The best song on Xtina's stunning opus? Undoubtedly the bonus track "Little Dreamer". What the fuck was she thinking relegating that gem to iTunes only hell?
47. Calling All Magicians - Danielle Spencer
Poor Danielle gets no love from the Australian music industry. Perhaps it's because she is married to Russell Crowe and doesn't need to perform 250 gigs a year to earn a living or maybe her music is just a bit too kooky and ephemeral for local tastes. In any case, it's our loss. I loved Danielle's eccentric debut "White Monkey" and was excited to hear that she was finally going to release new music after an 8 year break. Her sound has definitely mellowed with time but if pretty, piano driven pop is your cup of tea then "Calling All Magicians" is definitely worth checking out. The lead single "Wish I'd Been Here" is the best single Jewel never recorded, while the bittersweet "On Your Side" is easily one of my favourite songs of 2010. My only complaint is the hideous cover. Danielle looks like Gollum as styled by Anne Geddes. Girl, that is not the look.
46. Nueva Piel - Edurne
Speaking of rubbish album covers, it's hard to get more fug than Edurne's latest offering. Chances are, you've probably never heard of this Spanish diva. She came to fame on the same X Factor type show that launched Soraya's career but unlike that international chart phenomenon, Edurne has been reduced to performing in musicals and taking part in more reality TV shows. I'm actually impressed she got to release another album at all. "Nueva Piel" is, at least, a huge improvement on the so bad it was completely amazing "Premiere". The glamorous Spaniard even managed to get her hands on a bunch of decent songs and pulls together a surprisingly strong pop album. "Soy Como Soy" (written by Kylie's longtime collaborator Steve Anderson) is a highlight and was rumoured to have been written for and possibly demoed by Britney Spears but my favourite is definitely the 80s-tastic "Siempre Sale El Sol". It was written by Australia's own Josh Pyke, who is best known for his depressing, made for JJJ ballads. Who knew he had the gayest song this side of "Aphrodite" up his sleeve! Edurne is no Soraya but "Nueva Piel" proves she's not completely useless.
45. Kaleidoscope Heart - Sara Bareilles
I found myself listening to more singer-songwriter types than usual in 2010 and Sara Bareilles left a bigger impression than most. Her last album "Little Voice" grew on me over time but "Kaleidoscope Heart" clicked with me instantly thanks to its clever lyrics, emotional honesty and catchy pop hooks. There's something very 90s about Sara. Her music could easily slot into a Dawson's Creek soundtrack and I mean that as a big compliment. Most of her songs explore relationships (albeit from very different angles) and she always sounds slightly depressed - like everyone else in 1997 apart from Nicki French. It's hard to pick a highlight. The songs are uniformly excellent. I love the lead single and think "King Of Anything" should have been a "Love Song" sized hit. "Hold My Heart" is achingly pretty, while tracks like "Gonna Get Over You" and "Say You're Sorry" cut a bit close to the bone. I can't wait to see Sara live when she tours Australia in May. Even if it means sitting through Maroon 5.
44. 2079 - Shèna
And the award for the year's most sadly underrated album goes to "2079". Shèna is a great friend of this blog. I interviewed her a couple of times and she appeared regularly in 2009 with singles like "My Fantasy" and "Nasty Little Rumour". Her nu-disco sound was a hit with critics and she returned to the genre a second time in 2010. Unfortunately, "2079" sank without a trace despite being even more enjoyable than its fabulous predecessor. Songs like "Starship Dizcolicious" and "Look Don't Touch" live up to their fierce titles, while "How Come You're Dancing?" would make Tina Charles cry with jealousy. I guess the world just wasn't ready for Shèna's vocal brilliance and high camp tunes. Happily, the diva is apparently huge in the former Soviet Union and she's been busy entertaining homosexuals in places like Kazakhstan and the Ukraine. She's also working on a new dance album, which should please fans of her work with Michael Gray and Alex Gaudino. I can't wait to hear it!
43. Restless - Amy Meredith
Amy Meredith is actually a band. I guess you could describe them as Australia's answer to The Killers. Circa "Hot Fuss". That's a bit lazy but it gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect - catchy pop/rock tunes with big choruses and the occasional splash of electronica. I've been a fan since their debut EP, so it was great to see them score a massive hit with "Lying" and see their album land in the top 10. "Restless" is an impressive collection of radio ready songs. The singles ("Pornstar", "Lying", "Young At Yeart" and "Faded White Dress") were all excellent and there are at least another three songs of equal quality. "Late Nights" and "Born To Live" for starters. My only complaint is the obvious influence of Brandon Flowers & Co. Sometimes "Restless" veers dangerously close to a Killers tribute album but there are far worse bands to imitate and I'm confident they will change things up on their sophomore album.
42. Full Mado: Le Remix Album - Mado
One of the nicest things about writing this blog is getting to know so many fellow pop trash fans and being introduced to amazing new talents. Bruno, a loyal reader from Quebec, sent me a care package of Canadian trash and I spent a week in seventh heaven listening to the finest music that North America has to offer. I loved all the divas but one stood head and shoulders above the others. Literally. Mado is Quebec's leading drag sensation and Canada's (future) highest selling female artist if this stunning opus is any indication. The delicious diva revolutionises popular music as we know it by belting out high brow dance anthems like "Dur Dur D'être Une Drag Queen" and "Call Girl". Apart from her own brilliant material, Mado also improves the classics. She turns John Paul Young's "Love Is In The Air" into French language floorfiller, while her jazzy take on Samantha Fox's "Touch Me" will leave you breathless. Shania and Celine should throw in the towel and admit defeat. Mado is the new Queen of Canadian pop! Expect a swag of Juno nominations any day now.
41. Need You Now - Lady Antebellum
This will probably surprise some of you but countrified (is that even a word?) pop music is one of my guilty pleasures. Jason Aldean and Sugarland almost made the countdown but this bunch couldn't be ignored. "Need You Now" was the second highest selling album in America last year with good reason. Lady Antebellum walk the increasingly blurred lines between pop, rock and country better than any other act. The album's title track is a modern classic and while there's nothing else that matches its brilliance, the rest of the songs are uniformly excellent. "Our Kind Of Love" is the flip side of "Need You Now" with its cute, optimistic lyrics, while songs like "Lookin' For A Good Time" and "When You Got A Good Thing" with their verbal sparring and catchy hooks help explain the album's 3 million plus domestic sales.
40. Doo-Wops & Hooligans - Bruno Mars
I hate that I love this album. Bruno's retro-soul sound has been done to death, his lyrics come from the Taylor Swift school of forced emotion and he has a stupid name. But then "Just The Way You Are" comes on the radio and I can't help but turn up the volume. Or I hear "Grenade" in a shop and involuntarily start nodding my head, thinking - Bruno, I hear you! So after months of avoiding "Doo-Wops & Hooligans", I gave in and was annoyed to discover that I pretty much like every track. "Count On Me" picks up where "Just The Way You Are" leaves off, "The Lazy Song" is pretty much the theme song to my life and "Marry You" is just about the cutest thing I heard in 2010. I think I'm going to start emailing it to friends to freak them out. "Doo-Wops & Hooligans" will be unavoidable in 2011. You might as well get on board now.
39. Now Is The Hour - Jennifer Rush
Natural beauty/80s pop icon Jennifer Rush delivered the year's most unexpected comeback. "Now Is The Hour" was a minor hit in Germany and Austria but was pretty much ignored everywhere else, which is a shame because it's a stunning return to form. Apart from classics like "The Power Of Love", "Ring Of Ice" and "I Come Undone", Jen's back catalogue is pretty much a mystery to me - so I didn't know what to expect from "Now Is The Hour". I knew that she had one of the biggest voices of the 80s and her powerhouse vocals are still very much intact and showcased in all their glory on ballads like "Before The Dawn" and "I Never Asked For An Angel". Far more surprising (and pleasing to my trashtastic ears) are the uptempo dance numbers like "Just This Way" and "Down On My Knees". The cherry on the top of this delicious concoction is the so fabulous it hurts worldwide number one smash that never was otherwise known as "Echoes Love". Jennifer's failed comeback is worth hunting down for that stunning gem alone.
38. Amante de lo Bueno - María José
María José is one of my favourite Mexi-pop divas and I couldn't wait to get my hands on her latest masterpiece when it was released late last year. The album is a sequel of sorts to her 2009 smash "Amante de lo Ajeno". Like that gem, this is also a collection of updated 80s cover versions. It's a bit lazy, I guess, but the album's #1 chart placing in Mexico is proof that María's army of rabid fans are happy to lap up more of the same. What I like about "Amante de lo Bueno" (and its predecessor) is the quirky song selection. I'm sure the tracks are familiar to Latin American pop fans but this is the first time I've heard most of them. And I don't know how I've managed to survive this long without stunning anthems like Daniela Romo's "La Ocasión Para Amarnos" or Rocío Banquells' "No Soy Una Muñeca"! María has introduced me to a whole new world of high camp pop fabulousness and for that I'm eternally grateful. If she embarks on another tour of Chicago's gay clubs, I'm so there.
37. Head First - Goldfrapp
This was such a grower for me. To be honest, I was hugely underwhelmed when I first heard "Head First". That might have had something to do with suffering through Alison "live" in concert but I genuinely think this is one of those albums that comes into its own when you just let it waft over you like cheap cologne. There are a couple of tracks that supply instant gratification - the poptastic flop "Rocket" and the group's fabulous ode to Olivia Newton-John, "Alive" - but most of them are too subtle and delicate. I think "Dreaming", which expertly pays homage to Giorgio Moroder, would have made an interesting single (the remixes would have been amazing) but this is very much an album that needs to be heard beginning to end. Kind of like Sade - only electronic! Apparently Goldfrapp is gearing up to release a 'best of' compilation. They will have more to choose from than most.
36. My Worlds 2.0 - Justin Bieber
Don't judge me.
35. Hijos de Adán - Barb@zul
Receiving a signed copy of "Hijos de Adán" left me crying and shaking like a ten year old girl with Bieber fever. Lázaro and José are the world's premiere bear band and my most glamorous Facebook friends after @m8er and Paulini. "Hijos de Adán" ("Sons of Adam" in English) has been a number of years in the making but it was definitely worth the wait. The lead single "I Don't Care" put them on the map with its jaw droppingly fabulous video clip but there's more to Barb@zul than gay footballers. Don't dismiss these sexy Spaniards as a gimmick. They expertly mix a variety of 80s influences from the Pet Shop Boys to Depeche Mode on songs like "Quiero Verte Valor" and "Feel Your Love", while "Midnight In Berlin" proves the boys camp it up just as well. I think it's time for an Australian tour. The Midnight Shift would never be the same again!
34. Lights - Ellie Goulding
I still can't decide if I love or hate Ellie. Her voice is thinner than rice paper and I find her inspid image incredibly annoying but there are five or six exquisite pop songs on "Lights". Which is more than the vast majority of her contemporaries can claim, so I guess I'm on board for now. While songs like "Starry Eyed" and "Under The Sheets" get most of the attention from fans (and deservedly so because they are fabulous), I prefer the achingly pretty pop of "This Love (Will Be Your Downfall)" and the undeniably gorgeous "Your Biggest Mistake". "I'll Hold My Breath" comes a close third. She should have released one of those gems instead of butchering Elton John's "Your Song" for the pointless re-release. A lot of the credit has to go to Starsmith for creating a fresh, new electro sound that simultaneously accentuates the diva's poetic side and distracts from her vocal shortcomings. An auspicious debut that I would have enjoyed a lot more if it wasn't shoved down my throat by every music blog on the internet.
33. Burlesque - Soundtrack
Cher and Christina belt out the modern equivalent on showtunes on the soundtrack to the greatest film of our time. Do I really need to say more?
32. Light Me Up - The Pretty Reckless
Like just about everyone else on the planet, I was fully expecting Taylor Momsen's music career to be an exercise in delusion but Gossip Girl's most annoying cast member somehow managed to come up with one of the year's best pop/rock albums. Taylor desperately wants to be Courtney Love and Hole are clearly the band's major influence. Not that I'm complaining. I have a soft spot for 90stastic female fronted grunge bands - can Veruca Salt please make a comeback? - and The Pretty Reckless get it oh so right on "Light Me Up". "Make Me Wanna Die" is hands down one of the best songs of 2010. Nothing else on the album quite matches that brilliance but "Miss Nothing", "You" and "Just Tonight" come close. My only real gripe is the generally appalling lyrics. Poetic genius like "I'm just 16 if you know what I mean, is it ok if I take off my dress" is rife on "Light Me Up" but it's a small price to pay for a genuinely exciting new voice.
31. No Gravity - Shontelle
Damn, Shontelle can't get a break. She finally crawls out from (less talented countrywoman) Rihanna's shadow with her international smash hit "Impossible" before seeing the album crash and burn at #81 in America. I blame the unforgivable absence of her smash in waiting "Licky"! Apart from that it's hard to criticise "No Gravity". This is a solid collection of urban pop tunes that never tries to anything more than 40 minutes of dumb fun. Sure, there are a couple of stinkers ("DJ Made Me Do It" springs to mind) but the songs are of consistenly high quality. The title track is an instantly humable dance anthem, "Kiss You Up" displays Shon's softer side and "Love Shop" is the ultimate guilty pleasure with its appallingly fabulous lyrics and catchy chorus. There's nothing innovative or original about Shontelle's second album but it deserved to do a lot better than this. She needs to team up with Toni Braxton for an album of duets. Recorded live on location at their lezztastic Playboy shoot. That's one way to tackle those pesky hermaphrodite rumours!
30. The Experiment - Dane Rumble
Dane Rumble experienced huge success in his native New Zealand with "The Experiment". It was a number one smash and produced four top 20 hits. The Kiwi king of pop now has his sights set on Australia and has been playing gigs and showcases around the country for the past few months. I was lucky enough to catch one of them and became a fan overnight. Dane is sitting on a bunch of awesome pop songs, knows how to put on a show and is rather easy on the eyes. So he'll probably disappear without a trace but I'm hoping for big things! His sound is difficult to describe. Think Shannon Noll meets the Killers with a smattering of hip hop thrown in for good measure. It can be jarring - "Let You Down", for example - but when he gets it right, the results are brilliant. "Cruel" is the obvious standout and needs to be a single but "Don't Know What To Do", "Gonna Be Mine" and "One Last Time" make this one of 2010's best debut albums.
29. I Am... World Tour - Beyoncé
Queen B continues to further proves her superiority to every other chick in the game by releasing one of the best live albums of all time. Britney and Rihanna could never. Literally. "I Am" changed my life when I saw the show in 2009 and it translates well to audio. Bey's powerhouse vocals are as flawless as you would expect from the biggest star in the world and her almost supernatural charisma is palpable throughout the album. Every song is a highlight but her Grammy nominated live version of "Halo" still gives me goosebumps, while "Get Me Bodied" and "Smash Into You" are both breathtaking triumphs. Then there's the Destiny's Child medley - which proves that Kelly and Michelle were nothing but glorified backing singers - and the pure ecstasy of hearing Bey belt out her generation defining masterpiece "Single Ladies". Make sure you buy the CD/DVD version. Talk about a bargain!
28. Welcome To Medina - Medina
This Danish pop sensation first rocked my world back in 2009 with the brilliant electro-pop anthem "You And I". That song never really caught on in Australia or England but turned Medina into a German chart sensation, where "Welcome To Medina" was mercifully released last year. The album features a mix of English language versions of the diva's Danish hits as well as a bunch of new tunes. "Lonely" and "Addiction" were rightfully selected as singles and accurately reflect the icy electronica of the album and Medina's obsession with depressing lyrics. I would suggest that someone spike Denmark's
27. Jason Derülo - Jason Derülo
Jason must have a picture of Taio Cruz plastered over his dartboard. For a while there he was the king of urban infused electro-dance trash until the mastermind behind "Dynamite" came along and stole his crown. And while "Jason Derülo" never reaches the sublime heights of "Rokstarr", it is the ultimate guilty pleasure. "Watcha Say", with its clever Imogen Heap sample, is still more addictive than heroin and the success of "In My Head" was all but a forgone conclusion given its catchy chorus and on trend production. However, there's more to this album than those huge hits. "The Sky's The Limit" - you know, the tacky club banger that samples "Flashdance" - is camper than anything on "Aphrodite", while overwrought Ryan Tedder wannabe ballads like "Encore" and "Fallen" (which namechecks Jay Z and Bey) mix things up.
26. The House - Katie Melua
With the exception of her brilliant "Just Like Heaven" cover, Katie Melua has always bored me to tears. I probably never gave her a chance but the idea of sitting through one of her albums has always been about as appealing as listening to Brian McFadden's back catalogue on repeat. That changed when I heard "The Flood" - 2010's most demented single, which blends orchestral elements with disco to stunning effect. I even liked the homoerotic Samurai video and Katie's glamorous new look. However, I still avoided the album with the same fervour that music consumers steer clear of Cassie Davis until I heard "I'd Love To Kill You" and gave in. William Orbit has worked wonders with Katie. She has stayed true to her adult contemporary roots but "The House" is littered with enough eccentric flourishes to capture the attention of the most discerning listener, while the smattering of pop hooks - courtesy of Guy Chambers - on tracks like second single "A Happy Place" and "Tiny Alien" will appeal to a younger audience. The best song on the album? My vote goes to the devastatingly beautiful "Red Balloons", with the unashamedly romantic "Fear Of Heights" coming a close second.
25. Pulse - Toni Braxton
Poor Toni. "Pulse" didn't exactly set the charts on fire despite producing the #112 US smash "Yesterday". As a result, Tamar's less talented sister is bankrupt - again - and, if reports are correct, reduced to posing nude for Playboy. Not that there's any shame in that. Toy Toy and Dannii got their baps out for the magazine and look at them now! But I digress. "Pulse" deserved to do a lot better than it did. Sure, it's a ballad heavy affair that sounds like it was recorded in 1997 but the album showcases Toni's exquisite voice and delivers half a dozen classic mid-tempo R'n'B jams. My favourites include the gorgeous "Stay", Ms Braxton's brilliant attempt to move into piano driven pop ("It's You") and the beautifully depressing double shot of "Hero" and "If I Had To Wait". Let's just forget about the desperately inappropriate uptempo numbers and the REPREHENSIBLE decision to cover a Delta Goodrem track. No wonder the album sank without a trace. Dulta is the kiss of death outside the deluded borders of this country!
24. Fight Or Flight - Emily Osment
Emilegend (or Fake Britney as she's known to her tens of fans around the globe) blew her fellow Disney divas out of the water in 2010. With one exception but more about that pop superstar later. In case you've been hiding under a rock or just have very bad taste, Emily came to fame as Miley's sidekick on the Hannnah Montana tv show and movie series. Like every over bitch on television, she decided to broaden her career horizons by moving into music. Her first album came and went without anyone noticing, so the delectable diva decided to go for a more mature electro-pop sound on her sophmore effort. So far the gamble hasn't really paid off given her Heidi Montag-esque sales figures but it's only a matter of time before the world wakes up to the genius of "Fight Or Flight". The album's stunning lead single "Let's Be Friends" was widely dismissed as a Britney knock off but I prefer it to anything on "Circus" or "Blackout". Her next single "Lovesick" has also been described as a Spears B-side but those deluded haters need to get their ears checked. Could Brit ever pull off high brow art like "Get Yer Yah Yah's Out"? Or recount a touching tale of teen anguish with as much conviction as Em does on the haunting "Marisol"? Other stunning highlights include catchy dance anthems "All The Boys Want" and "Truth Or Dare". Give up, Miley. Emilegend just snatched your wig and sold it on Ebay to fund her next international#97 smash!
23. Hot - Inna
Stop rolling your eyes. I know Inna can't sing to save her life and I'm well aware that every song on this album sounds exactly the same but a lack of vocal ability never stopped anyone and I'm happy to hear the same old shit on a loop, particularly if it's cheap and cheerful Euro-dance trash. And I'm not alone. "Hot" has already produced 5 hit singles and the Romanian diva is currently riding high in the French charts with a new song called "Sun Is Up". It's hard to talk about album highlights. Basically, if you've heard one Inna anthem - you've heard them all. Sure, "Amazing" has a breezy, summery feel that distinguishes it from, say, "Hot" or "10 Minutes" but I'm convinced Play & Win throw the same trance-tastic beats into every song. The thing is, I like their sound. It is what it is - dumb fun that goes in one ear and out the other before leaving your mind until the next time you play one of her songs. The album has been re-issued more times than La Toya'a "Bad Girl", so most of the tracklistings are different. On my copy (the Spanish edition), highlights include "On & On" and the unusually fierce "Left Right". Make sure you listen to the fabulous bonus track "Un Momento". Inna needs to sing in Spanish more often!
22. In Farbe - Revolverheld
Revolverheld are my new German obsession. I admit that I initially only paid attention to them due to the presence of sexy frontman (and future Mr Pop Trash Addicts) Johannes but one listen to "In Farbe" had me gagging for more. In oh so many ways. The band sounds like a cross between The Living End and The Killers. Think pub rock meets synthpop. Actually, that description sounds kind of gross when I think about it but these boys would have genuine international appeal if they sang in English. Top ten smash "Halt Dich An Mir Fest" is an expertly crafted soft rock ballad, while further hit single "Spinner" and "Keine Liebeslieder" are instantly catchy, hook laden pop/rock tunes that sound custom made for radio. It's a shame that the language barrier will prevent Revolverheld reaching a wider audience. "In Farbe" is an incredibly consistent album with at least half a dozen single worthy tracks. Fingers crossed they release "Immer Einen Grund Zu Feiern" next. It's what I imagine Noiseworks would sound like today if they were still making music. And sang in German. This is quality!
21. Get Em Girls - Jessica Mauboy
"Been Waiting" was one of my favourite albums of 2009 and I had extremely high hopes for the follow up. The project didn't get off to the best start with the album's lead single stiffing in the charts - largely due to one of the worst video clips of all time and a new crunk sound. I actually rather like "Get Em Girls" (probably because it sounds like a B-side from "B'Day") but it didn't give me confidence for the album. Those fears seemed founded the first time I heard "Get Em Girls". Bland urban pop tracks like "Handle It" and "Accelerate That" open proceedings, while the generic second single "Saturday Night" just underlined the impression that Jess had dropped her bundle in a desperate attempt to get a more international sound. But the album takes a sharp turn for the better with the genuinely catchy "Reconnected" and lovably inane "Foreign". Jessica keeps the best for last with a trio of cracking pop tunes that could all be hit singles - "Fight For You" is urban dance trash of the highest calibre, while "Forget Your Name" sounds like it was stolen from Rihanna's "Good Girl Gone Bad" sessions and "Maze" trumps the lot of them. This hot mess is the best thing Jess has done since "Been Waiting". Ke$ha would draw the line at this much autotune, I love the tacky but undeniably cute lyrics and the chorus gets me every time. "Get Em Girls" is wildly uneven, boasts the worst album cover of the year and is often more than a little desperate but when Jessica gets it right, she can hold her own against the best in the world.
20. A Year Without Rain - Selena Gomez & The Scene
All bow down to the undisputed queen of teen pop! While lesser Disney divas like Miley Cyrus crashed and burned with hideous flop albums, this heavenly Latina goddess revolutionised popular music as we know it with her unique brand of bubblegum pop/rock. Stunning Selena kicked off 2010 with the international smash "Naturally" (from her last album) before releasing her sophomore effort in record time. "A Year Without Rain" is a great little collection of shiny pop tunes courtesy of some of the hottest writers and producers on the planet. Kevin Rudolph delivers the catchy lead single "Round & Round", Toby Gad blesses us with the epic title track and Jonas Jeberg works his magic on "Ghost Of You". Hell - Katy Perry was even roped in to write the Avril Lavigne-tastic "Rock God", while RedOne takes his head out of Lady Gaga's arse long enough to produce my favourite cut "Summer's Not Hot". This delicious piece of trash contains some of the year's most fabulous lyrics ("the temperature is 99 and it can't get much higher, so come on over romeo and vamos a la playa!") and an irresistibly cute chorus. Other highlights include Selena's G rated 'fuck you' anthem "Sick Of You" and the pretty ballad "Live Like There's No Tomorrow". Don't be put off by the Disney diva stigma, Selena is the real deal.
19. Aftershock - Amy Pearson
And the award for 2010's second best unreleased album goes to "Aftershock". 2009 was not kind to Amy Pearson. Her epically stunning ode to arseplay "Butterfingers" bombed on the charts - gurl, Australia was simply not ready for your lyrical genius! - and she was given the boot by Sony. What was a girl to do? The answer, it turns out, was pretty simple. Become a Twitter celebrity, leak your fabulous shelved album and pen a top 10 smash for Zoe Badwi. Consider wigs snatched! As excited as I am to hear the new music Amy has been working on, a part of me is still desperate for "Aftershock" to get an official release. This is Ms Pearson like you've never heard her before. Gone are the middle of the road ballads that peppered her debut album. In their place are a killer collection of fierce dance-pop tunes courtesy of some of America and Australia's best producers. The title track is a vicious club banger with a ferocious chorus, "Contagious" is a fabulous raised middle finger to an ex-boyrfriend, while "Puppet" is the best song Britney never recorded. It's hard to choose a favourite but if pushed I'd go with the Darkchild produced "Ghost" (this gem seriously needs to be released or given to someone else!) or DNA's stunning "Ten Steps". It's depressing to think how differently this project could have turned out with a different lead single. Oh well, it doesn't matter. Queen Amy had the last laugh!
18. Carpe Diem - Belinda
Mexico is the new Sweden. That nation's ability to churn out fabulous pop stars never ceases to amaze me and the best diva to emerge from the home of Lucero in 2010 was Belinda. This stunning talent was something of a child star from what I can decipher on her website and even appeared in the international smash hit film "Cheetah Girls 2" alongside the likes of Raven-Symoné, Adrienne Bailon and Kiely Williams. What a line up! Unlike those sad flops, Belinda has gone from strength to strength in Mexico. "Carpe Diem" was a #1 smash and she swept the People's Choice Awards. It's easy to see her appeal. The album is a killer concoction of electro-pop goodness with lashings of Latin beats and a couple of pretty ballads thrown in for good measure. Pitbull raps on the lead single "Egoísta", which sounds suspiciously like a Luciana rip off - complete with shouted verses and catchy chorus. Needless to say, I love it. That song sets the record's international tone. Belinda ropes in Cathy Dennis for the achingly fabulous 80s flashback "Duele", while the Mexican beauty transforms "Not That Kind Of Girl" by European pop stars Kim Lian and Linda Bengtzing into a camp club banger called "Wacko". There seriously isn't a bad song on this. If you have download one song, make it "Dopamina". Which would have been a worldwide number 1 smash if it were sung in English.
17. Rokstarr (Special Edition) - Taio Cruz
In many ways Taio Cruz was the breakout star of 2010. He scored two massive multi-platinum singles with "Break Your Heart" and "Dynamite", displayed exquisite taste in duet partners by hooking up with Kylie and Ke$ha and had the good sense to recycle "Come On Girl" - his 2008 smash with dance icon Luciana - on "Rokstarr". It's perhaps somewhat surprising then that the album didn't perform better. Sure, it made the top 10 in Australia and America but despite three re-releases (that I'm aware of) it has yet to go platinum anywhere. I guess that makes Taio the male Rihanna - a ruthless hit machine that struggles to shift albums. It's particularly surprising given the quality of "Rokstarr". I like every song on this with the exception of the vomit inducing "I Can Be". The singles need no introduction, while tracks like "Falling In Love" and "I'll Never Love Again" are just as catchy. My favourite song on the album remains "No Other One", which was released as a single in the UK but strangely overlooked in the rest of the world. The lack of autotune probably scared record execs. I guess that takes us to the biggest criticism aimed at Taio - that he is riding music's hottest trend (urban dance) at the expense of variety and creativity. There might be some truth in that but I prefer to think that he has perfected one of my favourite sub-genres of pop and in doing so captured the musical zeitgeist of 2010 better than anyone. Jason Derülo, Usher, Chris Brown and Jay Sean must be fuming.
16. Catching A Tiger - Lissie
I'm not going to try to be cool and pretend I've been following Lissie since she was in the womb. I simply heard "When I'm Alone" on the radio and decided to take a punt on the album. It's something of an understatement to say that I'm happpy I did. "Catching A Tiger" is one of those gems that is enjoyable on the first listen but unfolds and develops into something extraordinary over time. Unlike the vast majority of albums on this list, it's kind of pointless to single out individual songs. "When I'm Alone" and "Cuckoo" are obvious choices for radio but "Catching A Tiger" is an experience that needs to be soaked up in its entirety to fully appreciate Lissie's knack for capturing mood and atmosphere. This could be the soundtrack to Coen Brothers' movie, such is its ability to evoke images of a dusty, sun drenched America that probably no longer exists outside of Willie Nelson ballads. However, if I had to choose a highlight or a place to start for the mildy curious, I'd go with "Bully" or "Everywhere I Go". Annoyingly, Lissie's amazing cover of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" isn't on the album but it's definitely worth hunting down.
15. Ten - Gabriella Cilmi
I love a good case of career suicide! And last year Gabriella Cilmi pulled off the most spectacular act of pop hara-kari since Olivia Newton-John brought her reign of chart domination to end by singing about blow jobs and threesomes on 1985's amazing "Soul Kiss". On paper it must have seemed like a great idea to transform Gabi from an unconvincing Amy Winehouse wannabe into a sultry dance diva. She certainly has the voice and good looks to mix it the other pop tarts. But despite compiling some of the prettiest songs to grace any album in 2010, noone bought it. I blame the hideous album cover, tacky videos and dubious selection of singles. "On A Mission" was a decent lead single but "Hearts Don't Lie" and "Defender" should have been left in the studio cupboard tucked away in file labelled 'boring shit that should never see the light of day'. It's so frustrating because the rest of the album is rather sublime. "What If You Knew" is catchy 80s inspired pop of the highest calibre, "Superhot" - courtesy of Luciana and long time Dannii collaborator Ian Masterson - could have been a club smash and "Love Me Cos You Want To" is better than anything of Ellie Goulding's "Lights". Throw in "Robots", "Boys" and "Glue" and you're left with a consistently excellent, occasionally breathtaking pop album. "Ten" might have bombed worse than "Bionic" but I think it will live on like fellow overlooked masterpieces like Paris Hilton's stunning album and Holly Valance's iconic "State Of Mind".
14. We Are Born - Sia
"Some People Have Real Problems" was always going to be a tough act to follow. So it kind of makes sense for Australia's favourite former bisexual to switch gears completely and write a more commercial pop album. And she succeeds superbly, crafting a gorgeous batch of (largely) upbeat, radio friendly pop songs. "You've Changed" became Sia's first Australian hit earlier this year and the intervening 12 months haven't dimmed that disco tinged gem in the slightest. She then moved well and truly into the mainstream with "Clap Your Hands", which I still hear every second time I turn on the radio. Its joyous chorus is pretty irresistible but perhaps surprisingly, it's far from my favourite song on the album. "Stop Trying" is a gorgeous piece of 80s nostalgia, while the melancholy tinged "Hurting Me Now" is as catchy as it is bittersweet. Then there's the almost neu deustche welle sounding "Never Gonna Leave Me" and the plaintive "Be Good To Me". The change in direction must have been disconcerting for old school fans but songs like "I'm In Here" and the poorly chosen third single "Bring Night" could have been lifted from "Some People" or "Colour The Small One". All in all a pretty amazing year for Sia. And to think she also contributed tracks to Xtina's "Bionic" and even has a song on the best movie soundtrack of 2010. So much $ucce$$!
13. Euphoria - Enrique Iglesias
"Tonight (I'm Fuckin' You)" makes my skin crawl and I'm eternally grateful that it doesn't pollute this unexpectedly gorgeous mix of sunny Latin pop tunes and upbeat dance anthems. Enrique really didn't need to set one of Shane Warne's texts to music in order to score another hit. "Euphoria" is positively bursting with songs to choose from. "I Like It", "Cuando Me Enamoro" and "Heartbeart" were obvious single choices but I'll never understand why "Everything's Gonna Be Alright" was overlooked. That infectious party anthem is easily the catchiest track on the album and the closest anyone will ever get to recreating "I Gotta Feeling" without being sued for copyright infringement. Then there's the beautiful "Why Not Me?" - a ballad that finds Enrique wearing his heart on his sleeve with a doe eyed sincerity that could melt the lump of ice rattling around Cheryl Cole's ribcage. And don't even get me started on the Spanish language tracks, which are uniformly excellent. Actually, every song on "Euphoria" - including the downright embarrassing Usher collaboration "Dirty Dancer" - is better than "Tonight (I'm Fuckin' You)" but whatever. As you can tell, I'm not bitter. At all.
12. Bring It On - Kaci Battaglia
Why the fuck was "Bring It On" not released on CD? I don't give a shit about iPods and digital downloads. I need a physical copy of this era defining pop masterpiece so I can place it next to "Paradise" and "I'm Not Anybody's Girl" in my Kaci collection! Rudeness. Ok, rant over. Someone fucked up big time when they decided to chuck the album on iTunes with little or no promotion but that doesn't detract from the sublime quality of "Bring It On". If you like distinctly American dance pop, it doesn't get much better than this. The lead single "Crazy Possessive" was ridiculed as a "Womanizer" rip off but Britney hasn't been this fierce since Umbrella-gate. Just check out the demented video clip for proof. The 13 year old that covered "I Think I Love You" is long gone. In her place is a stone cold fox with a gutter mouth and a chip on her shoulder. Basically, listening to Kaci will change your life! I thought that anthem would be hard to improve on but party anthem "Body Shots" raised the bar even further. I've actually heard the song in clubs the last few times I've gone out, which is amazing given the fact that the song has had no push whatsoever in Australia. If either of those tracks push your buttons, you will adore the album. If Ke$ha decided to re-record Britney's "Blackout" - obviously with better lyrics and more attitude - it would sound something like this. Every song is a gem. "Bionic-Atomic" is a random tune about Kaci being an angel sent from heaven, "Tool" is a fabulous swipe at douchebag boyfriends, "Go Go Dancer" is 2010's best slut anthem, while the lyrics from "PartyAHolic" sounds like a page from Ke$ha's diary. My favourite song is the epically fabulous "Captain Save A Ho" (we all know one, right?) and the dance-pop delight "Remedy". Kaci, please release this as your 3rd single. I'm convinced if you keep plugging away (and get the album into stores), chart glory will follow!
11. Body Talk/Body Talk Pt. 3 - Robyn
I could write thesis about Robyn's pointless "Body Talk" trilogy. But here's my opinion in a nutshell - the first two instalments are basically shit with a smattering of jaw dropping brilliance thrown into the mix to remind you exactly how amazing Robyn can be when she manages to dislodge her head from her own arsehole. As for part three, bitch clearly took that Vanessa Williams' song to heart and saved the best for last. So where does that leave us? With one hell of a 'best of' compilation. "Body Talk" (or "Part 3 And The Non-Shit Songs From Parts 1 and 2", as I have lovingly re-named it on my iPod) is a stunning achievement. The album doesn't quite match the genius of "Robyn" but it contains individual moments that stand toe to toe, if not surpass, the highlights of that gem. "Dancing On My Own" has rightfully been acknowledged by everyone with functioning ears as a modern classic, while "Hang With Me", "Time Machine", "Stars 4-Ever" and "Call Your Girlfriend" represent some of the most exciting pieces of electronic pop music created in 2010. Throw "Love Kills" and "Dancehall Queen" into the mix and you have one hell of an album at your disposal. Apart from the whole suffering through a year of hit and miss EPs to get to this point, my only gripe is the omission of "Cry When You Get Older" in favour of trash like "Fembot" and "Don't Fucking Tell Me What To Do". Bitch, please.
10. Manifest - Linda Sundblad
While Robyn garnered all the attention in 2010, one of her countrywomen quietly beat her at her own game. Linda Sundblad isn't exactly a household name outside Sweden of but she should be. "Manifest" is a glorious pop album - an exciting and extremely eclectic mix of pop sub-genres that perfectly showcases one of Scandipop's great unsung talents. With perhaps the exception of album opener "Choice", there isn't a single dud on "Manifest". And I can't even hate on that track because it sounds like a Janet Jackson B-side from 1996 - you know, when she was good. There are a couple of other songs that I occasionally skip ("Suicide Girl" and "Damage" come to mind) but the rest is pretty much flawless. "Making Out" is Kelly Clarkson-esque pop/rock of the highest calibre, while "It's Alright" finds Linda channelling Madonna circa "Cherish". Then there's the best song Crystal Waters never released ("Seratonin") and "Pick Up The Pieces", which sounds like it was stolen from Tiffany or Debbie Gibson. Quite the compliment! And let's not forget the album's stunning singles "2 All My Girls" and "Let's Dance" - a delicious duo that reignited my love for Scandipop. Buy, borrow or steal a copy of "Manifest". Your life is not complete without it!
9. Dreamer - Soraya
I just wrote a lengthy review of "Dreamer", so I'll keep this short and sweet. Soraya does it better than your faves - that, like Beyoncé > Britney, is an undisputable fact of life and should be embraced.
8. Electrick Hotel - Lolene
What the fuck happened to Lolene? Her album is brilliant, she already has a loyal cult following but it's looking increasingly unlikely that "Electrick Hotel" will ever to see the inside of a record shop. It's a tragedy of Steps proportions because Lolene delivers a stunning collection of pop tunes that puts the vast majority of her contemporaries to shame. "Sexy People" was a quirky introduction to the fabulous diva but "Rich (Fake It Til You Make It)" is perhaps a better introduction to her colourful brand of dance music. That song failed to take off but if they made a TV show about my life it would have to be the theme song. Well, either that or Toy's "Sexual Feeling" but I digress. Instead of dusting themselves off and trying again with another stunning anthem - the 80s inspired Sheena Easton meets Kate Bush popgasm otherwise known as "Lionheart" would be my pick - Lolene's label put the project on hold, leaving the increasingly frustrated diva to release a mixtape of dubious cover versions online. What the fuck? Other dance divas would kill to get their paws on "Radio" or "Die Without Love". By the way, does anyone else think the latter sounds like a cut from Hilary Duff's "Dignity"? Please note - that is a compliment! Then there is Luciana's exquisite contribution "For The Record", which sounds like a hit to me. The only thing standing in Lolene's way is a killer breakthrough hit like "Tik Tok" or "Just Dance". That doesn't mean "Electrick Hotel" won't find an audience. It just might take four or five singles. Fingers crossed that Lolene keeps the faith.
7. Teenage Dream - Katy Perry
A few people rolled their eyes when "Teenage Dream" nabbed a Grammy nomination for album of the year but I think it was well deserved. It's been 4 months since I first reviewed Katy's ticket to pop superstardom and I'm still hooked. "California Gurls" has well and truly worn out its welcome but the title track and "Firework" are yet to leave the recently played list on my iPod. I was originally disappointed that "ET" was selected as the album's 4th single but the track grown on me massively over the past few weeks and I wouldn't be surprised if it's another number one if they film a decent video and somehow prevent Katy from ever performing the song live. Scarily, there are at least another three killer singles just waiting to be released. A month ago I would have said "Peacock" is a bit too naughty for radio but if Enrique can sing about fucking skanks at the club, then surely Katy's tongue in cheek ode to cock shouldn't be a problem. Then there's the Ke$ha-tastic "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" and the gorgeous "The One That Got Away", which would be a nice way of showing the diva's softer side. The album has been criticised for being shallow and lacking cohesion but I think "Teenage Dream" is almost a concept album of sorts with each song looking at adolescence from a different angle. And frankly, if an album contains 7 or 8 single-worthy songs, I really don't give a fuck if it's a directionless hot mess.
6. Superficial - Heidi Montag
It's been a year since Heidi Montag slayed the giants of the music world with this breathtakingly brilliant, genre-defining pop masterpiece and delusional h8rz still refuse to acknowledge the album's genius. I know I have a reputation for taking the piss but make no mistake, I'm more serious than Joan As Police Woman when I say that "Superficial" is close to perfect. This is the album that I keep hoping Britney will make. A cohesive collection of polished dance-pop tunes that expertly cover the plastic princess of pop's vocal shortcomings, while accentuating her genuinely distinctive tone and fun image. It doesn't matter that the majority of songs have already appeared one of Heidi's many aluminium selling iTunes only EPs. Music this stunning needs to be recycled! "Look How I'm Doing" and "Turn Ya Head" would have been top 10 hits for anyone else, while "More Is More" was a deserved smash. In San Francisco gay bars. Then there are the equally extraordinary new tunes. "One More Drink" speaks to the trashbag in all of us, "I'll Do It" is everything Riri wishes "S&M" could be and "Twisted" showcases Heidi's... unforgettable vocal chops. It's shocking to think that "Superficial" could have been even better with the inclusion of "Body Language" and "Overdosin'". It's my life mission to get a physical copy of this musical triumph. Even if I have to make it myself.
5. Sale El Sol - Shakira
I've said it before but no other A List pop star mixes it up as regularly and as effortlessly as Colombia's gift to modern music. From the dance beats of "She Wolf", to the African rhythms of "Waka Waka" and reggaeton-lite sound of "Loca", Shakira flat out refuses to repeat herself. It can be frustrating at times - I would have killed for an entire album of "Men In This Town" rip offs - but I'm yet to be disappointed by any of the diva's musical experiments. And "Sale El Sol" is no exception. In fact, I prefer it to "She Wolf". The album is a seamless mix of sunny Latin pop and pretty, semi-acoustic ballads - sung in both English and Spanish. It should be a hot mess of "Oral Fixation" proportions but "Sale El Sol" never feels clumsy or forced. Despite containing 25 different versions of "Waka Waka". Seriously, girl. I love the song but once was enough! As far as highlights are concerned, download the album and take your pick. I love the summery sweetness of the title track, ache for the carefree sluttiness of "Loca" and will be writing Shakira a strongly worded email if the so kitsch it should be banned for making me feel even gayer than normal "Mariposas" isn't a single. Other favourites are the gorgeous "Ante De Las Seis" (someone put me out of my misery - what song does it sample and/or rip off?), the diva's smoking hot collaboration with Pitbull "Rabiosa" and her brilliant cover of The XX's beautiful "Islands". Fuck it, this is too hard. I love every song.
4. The Family Jewels - Marina & The Diamonds
Marina & I go way back. No, really. I used to chat to her on Myspace - remember that relic? - and probably bored the then relatively unknown singer to tears by pestering her about the release date of this album. From the moment I randomly downloaded "Obsessions" because I thought Marina was pretty (yes, I really am that shallow), I knew she was the alt-pop diva for me. A conclusion that was only underlined by the brilliant "I Am Not A Robot" - a song that made my best singles of 2009 countdown. Both of those gems made "The Family Jewels", along with the other brilliant promo single "Mowgli's Road". I feared that Marina might have shown her hand too early by promoting all her best material before the album was even released but I couldn't have been more wrong. There's not a dud song on this. "Hollywood", "Shampain" and "Oh No" maintain Marina's streak of flawless singles, while "Are You Satisfied?" and "Numb" are perfect singles of the raw lyrical honesty that sets the Greek stunner apart from every other singer-songwriter in the game. There really is something special about this woman. Like B.o.B. she's got the magic in her. I can't wait to hear what she comes up with next.
3. Aphrodite - Kylie
I feel so guilty. This is the first time since 1994 - to this day I can't get through "Kylie Minogue" from beginning to end - that new material from Dannii's elderly sister hasn't claimed the top spot on my end of year countdown. I feel like a failed stan despite owning 7 different version of the album. At last count. And I genuinely love "Aphrodite". It's pretty, cohesive and jam packed with quality pop songs. The album was also the soundtrack to my mid-year European trip, during which I got to see Kylie at GAY, danced to "All The Lovers" in about ten different countries and had the honour of witnessing Tony Tornado's semi-naked rendition of "Los Amores" on the streets of Chueca. It doesn't get more iconic! The thing is - and I never thought I'd say this - when I play "Aphrodite", I miss the "X" era. Stuart Price is considered Kylie's saviour by many fans but I can't help but conclude that by brushing away all the diva's rough edges and failed experiments, he's left us with an overly polite album of pretty but occasionally lifeless pop songs. But enough of what's wrong with "Aphrodite". Despite my misgivings about the project, Kylie still does pure pop music better than anyone else. "All The Lovers" is a career highlight, "Get Outta My Way" would have been a worldwide #1 with better timing and a less revolting video, "Can't Beat The Feeling" confirms that Pascal Gabriel can do no wrong, Luciana's jaw droppingly fabulous "Cupid Boy" is the best dance song any Minogue has had the honour of singing since Dannii raised the bar for popular music with "So Under Pressure" and "Heartstrings" is, hands down, the best bonus track ever. There's so much to love about "Aphrodite". I just wish it had a bit more grit.
2. The Lighter Side Of... - Laura Imbruglia
Laura has been a regular on this blog since 2008. Her clinically depressed, yet wryly amusing Carpenters-esque pop struck a chord with me and I've followed her career pretty closly since then. I loved her debut but the ironically titled "The Lighter Side Of..." shows just how much she has evolved as a musician and songwriter. The melodies are stronger, the lyrics more brutal and her voice is more confident. There are some albums that you listen to on a regular basis and others that you dust off when you're in a certain mood. Laura Imbruglia's sophomore effort is the CD you need at your disposal when the shit hits the fan and you just want to wallow in your own pathetic misery. Unfortunately for me, I found myself listening to this depressing opus more often than I care to admit in 2010. In many ways, it is the perfect break up album - looking at dysfunctional relationships from a variety of decidely twisted angles. There's the hilarious "Older Man", which advises against pursuing that daddy fetish with amazing lyrics like "I can handle a younger man with a house that's a bit messy, the trade off is his skin has elasticity". The ultimate 'fuck you' anthem in the form of "You're A Parasitic Germ". The confronting yet all too familiar self-loathing of "When It All Falls Apart (And It Will)". The, by Laura's standards, rather perky "I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend", which is one of the most gloriously pathetic songs I've ever had the pleasure of playing on repeat. And "All My Worst Nightmares", the musical equivalent of an oozing wound. I could go on but you get the message.
1. Animal/Cannibal - Ke$ha
Despite owning the charts and making all your faves completely redundant, Ke$ha is still dismissed by many as a joke. I doubt those haters have even listened to the unstoppable diva's sublime debut album. If they had they would have no choice but to fall under our queen's hypnotic spell and worship at abandoned shopping trolley doused with Jack and bodily fluids doubling as her altar. It's their loss. Ke$ha brought the fun back to pop music in 2010 with her punk sensibility and knack for churning out amazing lyrics about manginas. While Lady Gaga positions herself as a serious performance artist, K Dollar is happy to sing about vomiting at parties and stealing half eaten food from reataurant tables. The mistake is to dismiss Ke$ha's choice of subject matter as trash. In my mind, she is the Charles Bukowski of pop - singing about the sleazy underbelly of Saturday nights that begin well but end with your head over the bowl of a disgusting nightclub toilet. Time magazine famously described that author as the "laureate of American lowlife" and the title could just as easily apply to this future pop legend. None of it would matter if Ke$ha's music was shit but "Animal" is not only an important historical document, it's a flawless album. "Tik Tok", "Your Love Is My Drug" and "Take It Off" are already modern pop classics. "Kiss N Tell", the title track and "Backstabber" all could have been singles, while "Stephen" and "Hungover" show the diva's softer side. When you throw Ke$ha's amazing "Cannibal" EP into the mix, you're left with a runaway winner for album of the year. Bow down to the new queen of pop!