Monday, February 28, 2011

For The Things We Try To Keep Inside, Find Their Way Out In The Dark Of The Night

One of my favourite tracks from last year was an eerily pretty synth-pop tune called "Talking Like I'm Falling Down Stairs" by local band Sparkadia. That song struck me as a bizarre cross between The Cure's "Lullaby" and Nelly Furtado's "Say It Right" - which sounds rotten on paper but actually worked rather brilliantly. The same goes for the band's new single "China", the second from their soon to be released sophomore album "The Great Impression". If I had to describe it, I'd go with T'Pau meets Hurts with a bit of 80s power ballad thrown in for good measure. But before you say fuck no! give it a listen. I love the juxtaposition of the booming chorus against almost clinically depressed verses and the lyrics are genuinely beautiful. It's as pretty as it is morose and gets more amazing with each listen. "Talking Like I'm Falling Down Stairs" peaked at #59 (not bad at all given that it was only played by one radio station), so I'm hoping for bigger and better things this time around. Unfortunately, the video - below - is a bit of a mess. I'm sure they didn't have a lot of cash to splash around, so all I'll say is that Alex looks hot in the clip and I can't wait to see them rock the Metro in April! Download "China" from iTunes now.

Wynter's Mardi Gras Anthem

Do you remember when Sydney's Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras used to have a different theme song every year? Most of them were pretty crap but occasionally they got it right - Dannii's "Everlasting Night" and Robyn Loau's camp Chaka Kahn cover "Never Miss The Water" both spring to mind. Well, it's that time of year again and Mardi Gras has decided to revive the tradition by roping in the services of party performer Wynter Gordon. And the stunning diva has outdone herself. "Pride (Putting It Out There)" has been floating around the net in demo form for quite some time but it has been polished to perfection for the Gras. I love the massive chorus and so 90s it hurts main room house influence. There are also inspiring lyrics about being yourself and a typically powerful vocal. The roof of the RHI will explode when Wynter belts out this uplifting anthem. I can't wait! It should be pointed out, however, that this is NOT the follow up to "Dirty Talk". That song will debut in the next couple of weeks. "Pride (Putting It Out There)" is just a gift to the gays while Neon Records sorts out single number two. Give Wynter's Mardi Gras anthem a listen below and keep an eye out for it on iTunes. It should be available to download in the next few days.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Belinda's Shot Of Dopamina

As you may already know from my "honourable mentions" post, I'm currently putting the finishing touches to my extremely belated best singles of 2010 countdown. One song that features high on that list is Belinda's exquisite "Dopamina". I thought the Mexican diva's modern classic was released late last year but the video has just appeared on YouTube, so either I was hallucinating or it's getting a well deserved re-release. Either way I'm thrilled beautiful Belinda has pulled her finger out and filmed something to promote one of the best pop songs in recent memory. "Dopamina" was written by a pair of Swedes (Jörgen Ringqvist and Daniel Barkman) best known for crafting hits for Scandipop acts like Charlotte Perrelli, Magnus Carlsson and Pernilla Wahlgren. Which probably accounts for the song's atomic bomb of a chorus and decidely European sound. I love everything about this - from the quirky lyrics to the Eurovision ready production. And happily, the video does "Dopamina" justice. It's all a bit weird - Belinda rolls around on blue apples, sings into a skull and is stalked by a man with a crow's head - but I think that passes for normal in Mexico. She looks absolutely gorgeous and I love her crazy eyes! There isn't an average song - let alone a bad one - on the diva's stunning "Carpe Diem" album but this is its crowning glory and the perfect introduction to Mexico's princess of pop. Revel in the glory of "Dopamina" below.

Queen Ke$ha Strikes Again

Ke$ha is the best thing to happen to popular music since the birth of La Toya Jackson. High praise indeed but well deserved. I love this woman so much. She's like a character from a John Waters movie come to life - only with the voice of a drug fucked angel and a batch of killer pop tunes! The divine diva's latest triumph is a breathtakingly brilliant video for her future worldwide number one smash "Blow". I was initially sceptical about the song's selection as the second single from "Cannibal" - I would have gone with the title track or "C U Next Tuesday" - but the film clip has completely changed my mind. It begins with Ke$ha explaining how she was elected to parliament in Uzbekistan, while drinking champagne with unicorns. And it just gets weirder from there. There's an amazing cameo from James Van Der Beek (who looks a million times hotter now than he did on Dawson's Creek), a shoot out with rainbow coloured blood and the best dialogue to grace a music video since Beyoncé's scene stealing performance in "Telephone". Katie Holmes and Michelle Williams must be so jealous. Sure, one of them married for a lot of money and the other is an Oscar nominated actress but James now has a Ke$ha video on his resume. Winner! Watch this masterpiece in all its glory below.

Oh and while I'm on the topic of K Dollar, just a reminder to buy her amazingly titled remix album "I Am The Dance Commander + I Command You To Dance: The Remix Album" on March 22. It's worth buying for the stunning cover alone and the fabulous (not so) new track "F**k Him He's A DJ" - which leaked two years ago. Here's the full tracklist:

1. Blow (Cirkut Remix)
2. The Sleazy Remix (feat. Andre 3000)
3. TiK Tok Untold Remix
4. F**k Him He’s A DJ
5. Animal Switch Remix
6. Your Love Is My Drug Dave Audé Club Remix
7. We R Who We R Fred Falke Club Remix
8. Take It Off Billboard Remix
9. TiK Tok Chuck Buckett’s Veruca Salt Remix
10. Blah Blah Blah (feat. 3OH!3) DJ Skeet Skeet Radio Remix


I can't believe I get to see this holy goddess live in concert in less than two weeks!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Best Singles Of 2010 - Honourable Mentions

So it's almost March and I still haven't posted my best singles of 2010. Whoops. The good news is that I'm almost finished. With any luck I'll have it done by the end of next week but until then here are the songs that just missed the cut. It killed me to ditch some of these stunning classics but, in retrospect, 2010 was an amazing year for pop music - well, at least for singles - and a track had to be nothing less than a genre defining masterpiece to make my countdown. But that's no slight against the runners up. I love all 157 of these anthems and highly recommend adding them to your collection. Stay tuned for the 100 best singles of 2010 VERY SOON!

Cuckoo - Lissie
Insatiable - Nadine Coyle
Perfect Day - Susan Boyle
Pyromania - Cascada
My First Kiss - 3OH!3 feat. Ke$ha
California Gurls - Katy Perry
Get Em Girls - Jessica Mauboy
Wouldn't Change A Thing - Demi Lovato feat. Stanfour
Wonder Why - Julian Perretta
Rude Boy - Rihanna
Green Light - Roll Deep
Lying - Amy Meredith
Intouchable - Sarah Riani
Ich Bin Solo - Mickie Krause
Settle Down - Kimbra
Defender - Gabriella Cilmi
Who's That Chick? - David Guetta feat. Rihanna
I Like It - Enrique Iglesias feat. Pitbull
Here I Am - Jenny Berggren
There's A Place For Us - Victoria S
Raise Your Glass - P!nk
Sexy People - Lolene
Ego - The Saturdays
I Need A Dollar - Aloe Blacc
Seek Bromance - Tim Berg
Drummer Boy - Debbie Nova
Commander - Kelly Rowland
You Lost Me - Christina Aguilera
Boy Like You - Charlee
Happyland - Amanda Jensen
We Dance On - N-Dubz feat. Bodyrox
Skin I'm In - Luciana
Whip My Hair - Willow
Don't Save Me - Marit Larsen
All Time Low - The Wanted
Hey Baby (Drop It To The Floor) - Pitbull feat. T-Pain
You've Changed - Sia
Choose You - Stan Walker
Out Of My Hands - Milow & Marit Larsen
My Love - Sexy Cora
Heartbeat - Enrique Iglesias feat. Nicole Scherzinger
It's For You - Naimh Kavanagh
Angel - Akon
Obsession - Sky Ferreira
Hey Hey - Dennis Ferrer
My Love Is Over - Jean Roch
10 Minutes - Inna
Big Jet Plane - Angus & Julia Stone
Young At Heart - Amy Meredith
Doctor Doctor - Elin Lanto
Deja Vu - Inna feat. Bob Taylor
Do You Remember - Jay Sean feat. Sean Paul & Lil John
Don't Stop Me Now - Ilan Tenenbaum feat. Shena
This Is My Life - Edward Maya feat. Vika Jigulina
Hot - Inna
Billionaire - Travie McCoy feat. Bruno Mars
Lonely - Medina
4th Of July (Fireworks) - Kelis
Memories - David Guetta feat. Kid Cudi
This Is Me - Monrose
My Feelings For You - Avicii and Sebastien Drums
Mine - Taylor Swift
Don't Tell Me That It's Over - Amy Macdonald
Lights Down Low - Kim Wilde
Stereo Love - Edward Maya feat. Vika Jigulina
Welcome To Disgraceland - Courtney Act
Supermagic - Parralox
Just A Dream - Nelly
Hearts Beat As One - Rogue Traders
In My Head - Jason Derulo
Dirty Picture - Taio Cruz feat. Ke$ha
One In A Million - Victoria S
Starry Eyed - Ellie Goulding
Take Over Control - Afrojack feat. Eva Simons
Rocket - Goldfrapp
Alive - Goldfrapp
Can't Fight This Feeling - Junior Caldera feat. Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Bumpy Ride - Mohombi
Amazing - Inna
You Won't Forget About Me (2010) - Dannii Minogue Vs Flower Power
Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart - Alicia Keys
Lovesick - Emily Osment
Got Dat Work - Memphis Blac & Smokahontas Jones
A Year Without Rain - Selena Gomez & The Scene

Alejandro - Lady Gaga
Just The Way You Are - Bruno Mars
Nothin' On You - B.o.B. feat. Bruno Mars
OMG - Usher feat. Will.i.am
Rich Kids - Washington
The Flood - Katie Melua
Not Myself Tonight - Christina Aguilera
I've Come To Life - Edita Abdieski
My Baby Left Me - Rox
Rock That Body - The Black Eyed Peas
Love The Way You Lie - Eminem feat. Rihanna
Not Giving Up On Love - Armin Van Buuren Vs Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Airplanes - B.o.B. feat. Hayley Williams
Love - Inna
So Lonely - Chris Sorbello
Rich (Fake It Til You Make It) - Lolene
Dynamite - Taio Cruz
DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love - Usher feat. Pitbull
Poker Face - Meg Pfieffer
Alles - Wir Sind Helden
Hollywood - Marina & The Diamonds
Yesterday - Toni Braxton
Tickles - Elin Lanto
Gravity - Pixie Lott
Caught Up In Your Vanity - James Leon
Spin - Cassette Kids
Put It In A Love Song - Alicia Keys feat. Beyonce
Yeah 3X - Chris Brown
Oh Santa! - Mariah Carey
Te Amo - Rihanna
Strip Me - Natasha Bedingfield
Raindrop - Carmen Reece
Come Home - Christine Anu
Hello - Carrie Mac
Wouldnit (I'm A Star) - Ono
Me Hipnotizas - Anahi
Even Though - Morcheeba
Diamonds - Twinz
We Can Party - Fadde
Chill In My Vein - Lori Watt
Storm - Joel Evan
Turn Up the Radio - Bella Vida
Money Can't Buy You Class - Countess Luann
Maniac - Girlicious
Smack You - Kimberly Cole
Indispensible - Lucero
I Don't Care - Barb@zul
Why Sydney? - Dyan Tai
Indestructible - Robyn
Google Me - Kim Zolciak
Licky - Shontelle
Underwear - Karamel
Never Let You Down - Robyn Loau
Rock It - Little Red
Ni Tu Ni Nadie (2010) - Fangoria
Grenade - Bruno Mars
Four Floors - Sunday Girl
Sanity - Hannah
La Ocasión Para Amarnos - Maria Jose
Unthinkable (I'm Ready) - Alicia Keys
Sincerely Fearful - Emma Dean
Mirrors - Natalia Kills
Pyramid - Charice
Alarm - Sergey Lazarov
Beautiful Nightmare - Shontelle
Echoes - Klaxons
Jackson's Last Stand - Ou Est Le Swimming Pool
Every Other Way - Jes
La La La - Auburn feat. Iyaz
Wear My Kiss - Sugababes

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I Like That - Remixed - Again!

It seems like a strange thing to say about the biggest crossover club hit of recent years - not to mention one of my favourite songs of all time - but I don't rate any of the "I Like That" remixes. It could be because I'm so attached to the original and find it pointless to fuck with perfection but there's something underwhelming about all of them. With one exception. Luciana's double platinum Australian smash is almost two years old now but the track has only just reached UK clubs, which means a whole new remix package. Predictably, most of them are shit but I'm in love with Adam F's drum and bass mix (below). He transforms "I Like That" into a demented Prodigy-esque floorfiller complete with sirens and a male vocal. It's edgy, brooding and almost scarily intense. Adjectives you can't apply to any of the other mixes. The makeover seems to be working given the song's recent peak at number 2 on the UK club chart. I can't believe the track is still burning up dancefloors around the world and I'm even more shocked that I'm still not over it! Stay tuned for a lot more from Luciana over the next few weeks but for now, fall in love with "I Like That" all over again.

The Worst Song Of 2011

I can't believe that cunt from Westlife. Why is he still inflicting his flop solo career on Australia? Surely the mountain of unsold CDs gathering dust in Dulta's S&M dungeon is enough of a hint that nobody gives a shit? Obviously not because the douchebag is back with a new single and it is the most heinous thing to violate my ears thus far in 2011. "Just The Way You Are (Drunk At The Bar)" is every bit as tragic as the title suggests. Brian's love affair with autotune is still going strong - only this time he's thrown in an annoying banjo sample and dedicated the anthem to the charming topic of date rape. I wish I was joking. He kicks things off innocently enough by singing "I like you just the way you are, drunk as shit dancing at the bar" before uttering the creepy line "jump into the back seat of my car, cause I like it and I can't wait to get you home so I can take advantage". Lovely. Perhaps they can give away a free sample of Rohypnol with every copy? I'll need a supply in case this musical abortion takes off. Almost as unappetising as the lyrics is Brian's pathetic attempt at rapping and the fact that this is basically a cheap copy of Enrique's "Tonight (I'm Fuckin' You)". Seriously, how low can this shady Irishman go?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kylie's Latest Greatest Hits Package

This is not a joke. Kylie is about to release her 278th greatest hits compilation in Japan. Words can not describe how much I want this. "Kylie Hits" is the hottest mess the diva has put her name to in years. There's the recycled "Aphrodite" photoshoot cover, the cheapest font I've seen since Bec Cartwright's debut album and a mind-boggling tracklist that includes such classics as "The Loco-Motion (Live Version)" and "Get Outta My Way (Yasutaka Nakata Remix)". Amazing. But the real reason to import this gem is the bonus DVD, which contains "The One", "All The Lovers" and my favourite Kylie clip of all time - "All I See". It will be mine!

Order your copy here and check out the full tracklist below:

CD

01. Can't Get You Out Of My Head
02. All The Lovers
03. Wow
04. Spinning Around
05. On A Night Like This
06. In Your Eyes
07. Love At First Sight
08. Slow
09. I Believe In You
10. 2 Hearts
11. Get Outta My Way
12. The Loco-Motion (Live version from "Showgirl Homecoming")
13. I Should Be So Lucky (Live version from "Showgirl Homecoming")
14. Get Outta My Way (Yasutaka Nakata Remix)

DVD 

01. All The Lovers
02. Get Outta My Way
03. 2 Hearts
04. Wow
05. In My Arms
06. The One
07. All I See
08. I Believe In You
09. Giving You Up
10. Slow
11. Chocolate
12. Can't Get You Outta My Head
13. Spinning Around

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Cupid Boy Club Release?

"Cupid Boy" is the best track on "Aphrodite". Hands down. As much as I love the epic gloom of "Closer" and the pure pop perfection of "Get Outta My Way", the Luciana penned/Swedish House Mafia produced belter is the album's only real club anthem. More importantly, it is a floorfiller with enormous crossover potential - exactly the kind of record Kylie needs to shake the Mother's Day artist tag she has been lumped with courtesy of dubious single choices like "Better Than Today". I know she is busy with the tour but a simple club release and live video (perhaps something along the lines of "Cowboy Style") would freshen up the diva's increasingly dowdy image no end and win favour with fans. And initially that was the plan. Parlophone commissioned a couple of "Cupid Boy" remixes and were set to push it to clubs this week but those plans appear to have changed. It's such a waste. Particularly when you hear the remixes. I only have permission to post the Stereogamous dub (below) but it gives you some idea of how epic the vocal version is. The boys completely deconstruct the song but I love the new dark and dirty direction. Fingers crossed Parlophone reconsider their decision and give this a push. If not, there's nothing stopping Warner Australia from giving the track a shove at home. Mushroom used to regularly take a punt on Australian only singles and it's about time Warner prove that they're even aware that Kylie's still on their register. In the digital age, which takes cost out of the equation, what exactly is stopping these labels from giving fans what they want?

EDIT: There's even a release "Cupid Boy" as a single fan page on Facebook. Like it or else!

Soraya's Dreamer Video

My heart bleeds for Madonna and Lady Gaga. Those sad flops might as well throw in towel now because their careers are over. From the first second of "Dreamer" it is blindingly obvious that pop music has a new queen. Dry your eyes, trolls and monsters. We all have fond memories of retro hits like "Hung Up" and "Poker Face" but it's time to embrace the future. And let's face it, who wants to look at a wrinkled old prune when you could be feasting your eyes on the legendary beauty of Soraya Arnelas! The exquisite Spanish diva takes things to the next level on her latest video. She obviously saw Natalie Gauci's version of "Dreamer", pissed herself laughing and thought bitch, please. Her clip oozes style, class and elegance. It also displays Soraya's commitment to the environment by recycling the costumes and concept of Kylie's heinous "Get Outta My Way" video. The gold bodice is there, so is the random stair case and epilepsy inducing lighting. Amazingly, it actually works this time around. My beautiful angel dances up a storm, wears a wig that clearly fell off the head of a homeless drag queen and unleashes some of the most expensive (Spanish) special effects ever captured on film! "Dreamer" is obviously the best video of 2011 and should be another international smash for Soraya. Her time is now!

I can't embed the video, so click here and be amazed by the Spanish siren's stunning video.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Belinda Carlisle - Live At Rooty Hill RSL

So last night I drove to Rooty Hill RSL to catch one of my favourite divas strut her stuff in concert for the first time. I was originally supposed to see the legendary Belinda Carlisle last weekend and was gutted when those plans fell through. You see, I've loved this woman since I was a child. "Heaven Is A Place On Earth" was one of the first singles I ever bought - I still have the battered 7" vinyl somewhere - and 1989's seminal "Runaway Horses" ranks as one of my favourite albums of all time. But as much as I love for her back catalogue, my expectations were pretty low. After all, she's been pretty much hiding under a rock for the past decade and I feared she could be a little rusty. Well, I couldn't have been more wrong. The still gorgeous 52 year old looked and sounded better than ever. She belted out hit after hit to rapturous applause and had the audience hypnotised by her amazing dance moves and stunning command of the tambourine. Put it down to nostalgia if you like but I haven't had that much fun at a gig in a very long time.

Some of my Belinda collection

The show opened with a brilliant projection that I would die to get my hands on. Seriously, that shit was hot. It showed clip after clip from the diva's glory years and basically emphasised her chic, high cheeked beauty and the fact that - at least for a while there in the late 80s - she was right up there with Madonna and Janet as one of pop's leading ladies. When Belinda finally hit the stage to sing "Runaway Horses", it blew my mind to think most of that footage was taken a quarter of a century ago. How has she remained so beautiful while Madonna looks like Gollum in drag? But I digress. "Runaway Horses" was followed by "I Get Weak" - easily one of the pop icon's best singles. Bel sounded absolutely amazing and had every geriatric gay and drunken spinster in the room singing along with her. Next up was her number 11 Australian smash "In Too Deep" - she kindly gave Jenny Morris props for doing the song first - before launching into the hugely underrated "California" from her last English language album "A Man And A Woman". The pop legend then went old school with "Mad About You" (why hasn't anyone covered this gem?) and "Circles In The Sand".

One of the best things about the show was the hit heavy setlist. While some divas of a certain vintage are precious about belting out B-sides from 1993 that only their children and stalkers know, Belinda stuck to songs that actually charted. Which meant basically performing half of her double platinum album "Runaway Horses". She knocked out an exquisite version of "Vision Of You", the gorgeous "La Luna" and her signature tune - in this country - "Summer Rain". I never thought I'd say it but Slinkee Minx could never! From then on the former Go-Go switched gears, focusing on uptempo numbers like 1993's stunning #56 smash "Big Scary Animal", my all time favourite Belinda song "(We Want) The Same Thing" and the seminal 90s classic "Leave A Light On" - before finishing up with her sadly forgotten gay anthem "Live Your Life Be Free". For the encore she dusted off a Go-Go's medley and her biggest hit "Heaven Is A Place On Earth", which really was something akin to a spiritual experience.

If you missed the Belinda experience, never fear. Apparently she is so overwhelmed by the success of her Australian tour that she's already in talks to return next year. I'm going to every show! While we wait for the diva's return, check out this stunning rendition of "Big Scary Animal" from one of her Melbourne dates. Legend.

Kylie Thrills Me Like She Did Before

To be completely honest I was growing tired of the "Aphrodite" era. It started brilliantly with "All The Lovers" but "Get Outta My Way" was criminally mistimed, the past couple of videos have been utterly vile and don't even get me started on that shiteous album killer of a single "Better Than Today". But then I got online this morning and started watching clips of the Aphrodite World Tour - which kicked off in Denmark last night - and I'm back. The $25 million dollar stage is truly spectacular, Dolce & Gabbana have outdone themselves with the costumes and I wholeheartedly approve of the setlist. There's a nice mixture of new, old and very old songs, while still keeping the focus on her latest album.

I'm slightly bitter that "Looking For An Angel" (AKA the Dannii B-side from "Aphrodite") made the cut, while Pascal Gabriel's glorious "Can't Beat The Feeling" was reduced to medley status but the surprise inclusion of my favourite Deconstruction era track "If You Don't Love Me" more than makes up for it. But the absolute highlight (from what I've seen online) has to be "Cupid Boy". I saw Kylie perform the song at GAY in London and it was a not so hot mess but she's finally nailed the vocal. The presentation is also perfection, from the Dangerous Liaisons-esque gown to the semi-naked men hanging from the rafters. Watch in awe below as the slightly more famous Minogue brings Luciana's pop gem to life.

Oh and I'm told the tour will hit Australia in late July/early August. Just not sure if I can wait that long!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Britney Vs Gaga

Lady Gaga: You are the joke of [the] music industry and your fans are fucking ridiculous.

Britney: Silly cunt, you wish your little monsters were like my loyal fans. I have fans [on] every street corner in every country, state and region. My fans range in different races, age and gender. Unlike yours who are just a bunch of 24 year old fat male trannies.


The most defining clip in the history of YouTube. The end.

Friday, February 18, 2011

I Will Hold This Against Britney

It's no secret that Britney makes me gag but I still give credit where credit's due. I can listen to two songs on "Circus" - "Unusual You" and "Kill The Lights" - without wanting to stab myself in the ear and I can even admit that she usually gives good video. From "Toxic" to "Womanizer", the person who makes Britney's decisions for her has done a great job of picking clever concepts and good directors. Unfortunately, they must have had the day off when Jonas Åkerlund pitched this. It was always going to be hard to come up with an interesting treatment for something as bland and generic as "Hold It Against Me" but surely there were better options. The extent of the clip's pointlessness becomes blindingly clear when you compare it to videos for other recent lead singles. Lady Gaga went down the dark and menacing route for "Bad Romance". Beyoncé kept it clean and simple on "Single Ladies". "All The Lovers" indulged Kylie's whimsical side and balloon fetish. Rihanna sat in a field and did her best to look feminine in "Only Girl (In The World)". All took a different approach but what they have in common is brilliant execution and a dollop of originality. Meanwhile Britney recycles Christina's "Fighter" video, while looking like Loretta Lynn trapped inside the first edition of Mortal Kombat. What the fuck?

I don't even know where to start with this trainwreck. You have a song Max Martin found at the bottom of his reject drawer after inadvertently giving all the good stuff to P!nk and Katy Perry. It's not great but it tackles a universal theme we can all identify with - wanting someone to rub their cock against you on the dancefloor. I'm not judging. We've all been there! So why not put Britney in a sexy dress, throw in some choreography that she can actually do and keep all the bells and whistles for her second single? Instead the clip begins with a meteor racing towards earth. Sure, whatever. Then Britney stands around looking like trash in unflattering cut off jeans, while her male dancers get dressed. Uh huh. But things spiral out of control the moment the former superstar starts spraying herself with Radiance. I'm all for product placement but that is beyond tacky. And unfortunately, it's all downhill from there.

We're treated to the diva ripping off Kylie's giant dress routine from the Fever tour - only instead of making her look pretty, the result is Loretta Lynn meets Madonna circa "Like A Virgin" on acid. And what's with that stupid tower of video screens? It looks cheap and whatever comment they were hoping to make about Britney's legacy completely passed me by. She then logs onto the "Plenty Of Fish" website. Which sounds familiar, probably because Jonas already used that idea in "Telephone". Whoops. At least he's only ripping off himself - unlike Melina. At approximately 1:40 the dancing begins. I've been looking forward to the choreography ever since Brian Friedman started blabbing about taking things to the next level. The end product, however, is more than a little embarrassing. All the difficult moves are done in long shot - quite obviously by Brit's dance double - and the close ups are not pretty. Have I missed something? Is she unwell again? I can't even be bothered writing about the rest of this shambolic mess. In a nutshell, Britney starts spraying paint like a sprinkler and fights herself using some of the most pitiful special effects ever captured on film. It doesn't help that one of her body doubles is clearly a man.

In conclusion, "Hold It Against Me" belongs in the worst video hall of shame next to "Get 'Em Girls" and "Feedback".

1/10

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Paris Hilton - Tribute To A Pop Goddess

30 years ago - on the 17th of February 1981 - a precious angel was sent down from heaven to brighten the world with her wit, intellect and stunning vocal talent. Of course, I'm talking about Paris Hilton - a true renaissance woman who will be looked back on in 100 years as perhaps the defining figure of the early 21st century. Without her pioneering research into being famous for nothing there would be no Kim Kardashian or Heidi Montag. Without her riveting screen presence reality TV would be an extinct genre. Without her iconic sex tape people would never consider being fucked on camera a good career move. I could go on forever. There are millions of reasons to celebrate the existence of Paris Hilton but none more important than her era defining contribution to popular music. As far as I'm concerned her 2006 masterpiece "Paris" is one the best albums of the last decade. It slots in next to "State Of Mind" and "Neon Nights" as a near perfect collection of bright and shiny pop tunes. So in celebration of Paris' criminally underrated music career, here is a retrospective on one of the greatest albums ever recorded.

The amazing thing about "Paris" - besides the fact it's not completely shit - is how far ahead of its time it was. The album still holds up brilliantly five years later. Paris was rocking the urban dance sound when Rihanna was still trying and failing to bring island beats to the masses, while the line of producers would make any A List diva green with envy. Seriously, there's Fernando Garibay (the man behind Lady Gaga's "Born This Way") and Dr Luke (who co-produced Britney, P!nk and Avril Lavigne's latest singles) as well as JR Rotem and Scott Storch. Not that a cast of super producers automatically guarantees a great record. Just listen to Madonna's "Hard Candy" for proof. Paris selected 11 tracks that showcase her powerhouse vocals and mean something to her. She sings about being hot, having hot sex and looking hot at the club. Needless to say, it's completely amazing and should be protected for future generations by UNESCO.

"Turn It Up" opens the album in breathtaking style. A saucy club banger that topped the US dance chart, the track is a toothpick perfect Scott Storch production that effortlessly positions Paris as the thinking man's (mid-tempo) dance diva. I love the heavy beats but the Oakenfold and Rauhofer remixes really bring the song to life and probably should have been pushed to radio in Australia and Europe. Next up is the songbird's urban groove "Fightin' Over Me". This hip hop adventure should be completely ridiculous but Paris makes Nicky Minaj look like Taylor Swift with her street cred and fierce attitude. Another unlikely triumph is her worldwide top 10 smash "Stars Are Blind". I don't think anyone was expecting the heiress to experiment with reggae on her debut single but she did and it worked. It's sad how far Fernando Garibay has fallen since producing this gem.


JR Rotem - mentor of Jason DeRulo and my girl Auburn - contributes "I Want You", one of the album's cutest pop songs. I love the "Grease" sample and firmly believe this would have been a huge hit if anyone else released it. The same goes for her amazing dig at Nicole Ritchie. "Jealousy" has a raw honesty that never fails to move me. Poor, misunderstood Paris sings "I was always happy when I was watching you become a star but you were only happy when the world was openin' up my scars". Heartbreaking and extremely fucking catchy! The pop pioneer's dark mood continues on "Heartbeat", which samples Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time". Storch is often dismissed as a bit of a pretender but his production on this is beautiful, making Paris sound like angel. Particularly when she coos the iconic lyric "my heart beats like a drum when I hear you cum".

My favourite song on the album and one of the best songs of the noughties is"Nothing In This World". Dr Luke creates the perfect pure pop palette for the diva's heavenly vocals - which are lifted to untold heights with a little help from Ke$ha. Before she revolutionised popular music with her own tunes, K Dollar was a struggling session singer who somehow landed a gig singing back up on this track. You can actually hear her on the chorus if you listen closely! That song was always going to be a hard act to follow but "Screwed" is pretty amazing in its own right. A single in Japan, this Greg Wells produced track was the subject of a legal battle between Paris and Haylie Duff. For that reason alone this song belongs in a museum of modern history. "Not Leaving Without You" is probably the album's weakest track but it is forgotten the moment "Turn You On" begins. This is probably my second favourite song on the album. Paris purrs amazing lyrics like "girls and boys are lookin' at me, I can't blame them 'cause I'm sexy" over chunky dance beats. Yours faves could never! A less than inspiring cover of Rod Stewart's "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" closes the album but it's so tongue in cheek and ridiculous that I just can't bring myself to hate it - which pretty much sums up my attitude to the woman herself.

9/10

Happy birthday, Paris. Have a line or two for me!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sia Talks Beyoncé

My love for Sia has reached previously unimagined heights after reading her latest interview with MTV Australia. The quirky diva is the realest girl in pop since Mutya Buena left the Sugababes to get butt implants. She talks openly about being sick of the spotlight, wanting to concentrate on songwriting instead of singing and, most importantly, spills the beans on her love for Beyoncé - describing her as "my queen". Amen! Sia then goes on to say she has submitted songs for Honey B's new album and reveals that the most eagerly anticipated album of all time is almost finished. I can hardly breathe!

So here are the most interesting parts of the interview and my interpretation of the ARIA winner's comments:

1. Sia worships Beyoncé and is friends with my Sol-Angel

[Bey] is my Queen, I love her so much! It’s kind of weird because I’m friends with her sister, Solange, but I’m not really an opportunist person, so I’ve never mentioned it to her. So I’ve been trying to work out how I could pitch songs to her or how I could write with her, but without ever utilizing my friendship with Solange.

I'm so excited that Adelaide's gift to the world has opened her heart to Beyjesus. It's a bit strange because I've always imagined Sia moping around the house in an unwashed nightie listening to Joni Mitchell instead of throwing it down to "Ring The Alarm" but Bey works in mysterious ways. And I love that she is BFFs with Solange. Actually, now that I think about it, "I Decided" and "Sandcastle Disco" wouldn't sound out of place on "We Are Born". Perhaps my Sol-Angel has been inspiring Sia from the sidelines. Hopefully Tina will drop by the next time the girls are hanging out and give Sia a free coupon for the House of Dereon. Untold glamour awaits!

2. Sia confirms that Bey is working with Diplo

Diplo emailed me and said, 'where are you in the world right now would you be interested in flying to New York, I’m writing with Beyoncé,' and I was like, ‘Yesss!’ But I couldn’t do it because I had to do the Big Day Out, but now it’s kind of happening, and I’m actually pitching songs to her.

This is amazing on so many levels. Firstly because it proves that the biggest star in the world is brave enough to mix it up by trying new producers while the likes of Britney, Lady Gaga and Rihanna continue to use the same three names year in, year out. It also hints at a more electronic/dance sound given Diplo's previous work with Robyn. Furthermore, Sia said Diplo was writing with Beyoncé - meaning we get more of the genius songwriting ability that changed "Hey" to "Bey" in "Resentment". I'm shaking with anticipation! And it's so fabulous that Beyjesus is taking Sia's submissions seriously. I thought "Bionic" had killed Sia's chances of becoming a songwriter to the stars but her contributions to that album were flawless and I'm glad she has a second chance. I know Jive rejected a batch of her songs for "Femme Fatale" but Sia's music requires vocal talent and a little bit of soul - so they were never going to be the right fit for Britney.

3. Beyoncé's 4th album is almost finished!

There’s only one song left for this album, so I probably won’t get on this album, but hopefully the next one. That’s my dream, that’s my goal.

HOLY FUCK. I suspected that Bey was gearing up to show the pretenders how it's done when I heard she was headlining Glastonbury in June but we could be getting new material as early as March or April if the album is already in the can. To be honest, I wish she would hold off until late 2011 because the market is flooded but after "Loud", "Born This Way" and "Femme Fatale" punters will be crying out for quality so she could be on to something.

Read the full article here

While we wait for Beyoncé to revolutionise popular music yet again - check out this forgotten classic from "B'Day".

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Born This Way - The Verdict

A lot of people have been asking what I think of "Born This Way" and, to be honest, at first I wasn't 100 percent sure. I freely admit to suffering from a bad case of Gaga fatigue and didn't want to write the song off prematurely - only to sing its praises in a couple of weeks. But the lead single from the fame monster's third album has finally started to sink in and I kind of wish it hadn't. As much as I enjoy taking the piss out of her and wish she would go into hibernation for a couple of years, it's impossible to deny Lady Gaga's talent. Her first two albums will be looked back on as milestones in popular music and you only have to turn on MTV to see the extent of her influence on other artists. Along with Justin Bieber, she is the closest thing we have to a phenomenon and - for that reason alone - I want her to keep delivering the goods. But "Born This Way" just doesn't cut it and not for the reasons I keep reading on other blogs. Here are my two cents on Lady Gaga's first real misfire.

The Good

I'm not sure if this really belongs in the 'good' category but I really don't give a fuck about the Madonna comparisons. Her trolls will swear black and blue that Madge did everything first - from discovering fire to inventing the wheel - so please take the plagiarism accusations with a grain of salt. It's also particularly ironic that "Born This Way" is being compared to "Express Yourself" because, as other pre-historic gays might remember, that song was accused of ripping of Sly & The Family Stone's entire back catalogue when it was released in 1989. My point is that no one has done anything remotely original since the 80s - besides Ke$ha and Bey. Seriously, half the time I can't tell the difference between Jay Sean, Taio Cruz and Jason DeRulo when they come on the radio and I consider myself a fan of at least two thirds of that trio. Gaga has obviously drawn on 80s pop music for inspiration and probably fell asleep with "The Immaculate Collection" on repeat. So what. At least she didn't steal the song outright, which is more than Madonna can say about "Ray Of Light". The funniest thing about the whole plagiarism scandal is Ryan Tedder coming out from under his rock to put Gaga on blast. Bitch, please. Go and listen to "Halo" and "Already Gone" back to back and write a letter of apology!

Apart from being amused by all the finger pointing by deluded stans, I love that a song by a manufactured pop star (which, like it or not, is exactly what she is) has the power to captivate and polarise music fans to such a extent. I haven't seen this kind of mayhem since the glory days of the Spice Girls. Everyone has an opinion on "Born This Way" and they are not afraid to share it. Happily, the huge interest surrounding the song is actually translating into sales. Despite all the criticism and almost fanatical hate, "Born This Way" is already the fastest selling song of all time on iTunes and has demolished all radio airplay records in the US. The much touted diva battle between Lady Gaga and Britney Spears was settled in a first round KO. If there was any doubt who reigns supreme on the American dance-pop scene, the debate is now over. That doesn't make "Express Yourself 2" (sorry, couldn't help myself) a great record - it just makes it relevant and genuinely popular.

Last but definitely not least, millions of children around the world will be walking around the playground singing "don't be a drag, just be a queen" and asking their parents what a "transgendered life" means. That alone is almost - but sadly not quite - enough to make me love this hot mess.

The Bad

Now for the bad. Firstly, I just don't think "Born This Way" works. The dubious lyrics (which I'll get to in a moment) are clunky, the chorus lacks bite and Fernando Garibay's 80s inspired production sounds like it was lifted from Kelly Llorenna's genre defining debut/greatest hits album. How can you go from the pure pop explosion of "Just Dance" or the spine tingling menace of "Bad Romance" to a song that Dana International would turn down for being too dated and cheap? I'm excited that Gaga has mixed things up and explored a new sound but you can't claim to be music's greatest songwriter and leading pioneer and then regurgitate all that went before you without turning it into something new or at least giving it your own spin. To my ears "Born This Way" is the result of Lady Gaga either smoking way too much crack or being surrounded by too many yes men who tell her she's creating art every time she farts. Her monsters clearly don't care - given the sky high sales figures - but I have a bad feeling this could be the beginning of a major backlash if the rest of the album isn't significantly better.

Now for the dealbreaker. As a card carrying gay man, I find "Born This Way" borderline offensive. Lady Gaga wants us to know she has our back. That it's ok to be a big old poof. That we're all fabulous. I want her to know that I couldn't give a fuck about her condescending acceptance of my lifestyle. I just need Julia Gillard to sign a piece of legislation and I'm good. When will straight people stop equating gays with landmine victims and Kurdish refugees? I'm not anybody's cause. I could take this kind of pep talk from Rufus Wainwright or K.D. Lang but Lady Gaga should be writing songs that cheer up 24 year olds who look 47 instead of fighting my battles for me. That might sound ungrateful but there is nothing about this song that makes me feel better about myself. Ke$ha and Katy Perry recently tackled similar themes on "We R Who We R" and "Firework" but made their songs inclusive so everyone - regardless of age, sexuality or appearance - can identify without feeling like an outcast or charity case. That is the magic of those tracks and the reason why they will live on as real gay anthems. There is nothing uplifting about "Born This Way". Sure, it might be camp as Kylie's dildo but much like that piece of plastic - it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

The Verdict

Lady Gaga's supposed gay anthem makes me want to delete all the gay porn from my computer, enter into a sham marriage and dedicate the rest of my life to finding a cure for homosexuality.

3/10

Monday, February 14, 2011

2011 Grammy Round Up

Apart from Bey outshining Lady Gaga and Usher with her stunning natural beauty and transcendent star quality in the era defining picture above, the Grammys were a bit of bust this year. At least as far as the winners were concerned. Honey B was robbed of Grammy glory for "Halo (Live)" and Lady Gaga or Katy Perry should have snatched album of the year. At least most of the performances were good. There was an interesting mix of acts from the legendary Barbra Streisand - bow down, bitches! - to street scum like Rihanna. Everyone with an internet connection has already thrown in their two cents, so I'll keep this short and sweet.

Here are my 10 favourite things about the 2011 Grammy Awards:

10. Beyoncé deigning to bless the event with her heavenly presence.

9. The fact that Ciara somehow managed to buy an invite on eBay.

8. Justin Bieber's face when Esperanza Spalding won 'Best New Artist'.

7. The shocking realisation that Bruno Mars is kind of hot. From a distance.

6. Barbra Streisand proving that real talent is - indeed - evergreen.

5. Watching Ri-cycle make a complete idiot of herself by turning in the night's worst performance. Poor Drake.

4. Christina Aguilera snatching wigs left, right and centre.

3. The hot mess that was Katy Perry's rendition of "Not Like The Movies" - complete with sequined swing, billowing curtain and her wedding video. So tacky, self-indulgent and hideously wrong... but I loved every second of it!

2. Janelle Monae's hair.

1. Knowing that Ke$ha was probably asleep in the gutter somewhere holding a packet of Winnie Blues in one hand and a bottle of Jack in the other while all this was taking place. Next year, my precious, next year.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Proof That Kylie Does Everything First

Lady Gaga is so fucking shameless. First she steals Madonna's career and now blatantly rips off Kylie's stunning "2 Hearts" artwork (below) on the cover of her latest single. The likeness is hard to deny. Both covers share a similar composition, Gaga's eye make-up is almost identical to Dannii's ancient sister's and the cheeky bitch even swiped my homegirl's font. Is nothing sacred? We all know that swagga jackin' is rife in pop music but Lady Gaga holds herself out as a cutting edge innovator, who is in total control of her career and image. Recycling a well known single cover from 2007 just isn't good enough. Having said all that, it is a compliment of sorts - acknowledging that Kylie was, as usual, ahead of her time. I actually think the entire "X" era is incredibly misunderstood, from the styling to the music. But more about that another time. For now let's concentrate on the diva's new status as Lady Gaga's muse and congratulate her on scoring the 34th UK top ten hit of her career this week with "Higher". Kylie wasn't blessed with Dannii's breathtaking vocal talent or raw beauty but she's done alright.

Kylie's Top 10 Hits

1987 - I Should Be So Lucky
1988 - Got To Be Certain
1988 - The Loco-Motion
1988 - Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi
1988 - Especially For You
1989 - Hand on Your Heart
1989 - Wouldn't Change a Thing
1989 - Never Too Late
1990 - Tears On My Pillow
1990 - Better The Devil You Know
1990 - Step Back in Time
1991 - What Do I Have to Do?
1991 - Shocked
1991 - If You Were with Me Now
1991 - Give Me Just a Little More Time
1994 - Confide In Me
2000 - Spinning Around
2000 - On a Night Like This
2000 - Please Stay
2000 - Kids
2001 - Can't Get You Out of My Head
2002 - In Your Eyes
2002 - Love at First Sight
2002 - Come into My World
2003 - Slow
2004 - Red Blooded Woman
2004 - Chocolate
2004 - I Believe In You
2005 - Giving You Up
2007 - 2 Hearts
2008 - Wow
2008 - In My Arms
2010 - All The Lovers
2011 - Higher

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Accidents Happen + 10 Reasons Why Zoë Badwi Is Better Than Your Faves

Six months ago - has it really been that long? - Zoë Badwi unleashed "Freefallin'" on unsuspecting homosexuals across Australia and landed herself one of the biggest homegrown pop hits of the year. The song reached the top 10, went platinum and was picked up by Altantic Records in America. Which means there's a lot riding on the follow up. Lesser divas would have buckled under the pressure but Zoë delivers another knock out punch with "Accidents Happen". I admit it took me a couple of listens to get into but now the damn thing is stuck in my head and I'm getting RSI from repeatedly pressing replay on my iPod. The track, another collaboration with TV Rock, sounds like something Reina released in 1998 - which is possibly the highest compliment I have ever paid on this blog! "Accidents Happen" is cute, fun and should hopefully follow (the slightly superior) "Freefallin'" to the top of the charts. And if you still have doubts about this sublime songbird - sit down, read the following list and get correct!

10 Reasons Why Zoë Slays Your Faves:

1. Zoë was a founding member of iconic Australian girlband
Sirens.

2. As such she
bum-danced with Sara Marie on the trashiest novelty hit of the noughties. Respect.

3. One of my first music related jobs involved putting together a digital promo of her top 10 club smash
"In The Moment".

4. Which - kind of - makes her my homegirl.

5. She tweets about Red Rooster's cheesy nuggets ie. the best fast food EVER!

6. I still hear "Release Me" every time I hit Oxford Street.

7. Her platinum selling mega-hit "Freefallin'" saved Amy Pearson (who co-wrote it) from a life of poverty and/or crime.

8. That song was 2010's ultimate 'pick yourself up, dust yourself off' anthem.

9. I suspect "Accidents Happen" is really about unreliable birth control.

10. Zoë teams a fluffy pink baby doll blouse with leather hotpants in the video - without looking like a cross between Baby Jane and a lesbian trucker.

Watch in awe as Australia's new queen of dance (sorry, Suzy Ray!) shows the other bitches how it's done.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

2011's First Great Song/Video

I thought I'd take a quick break from my belated (to the point of being ridiculous) end of year countdowns to post some amazing new music. 2011 hasn't got off to a great start with the airwaves being dominated by stinkers like Britney's "Hold It Against Me" and Ri-cycle's "S&M". Thankfully, one diva has arrived to inject some creativity and old fashioned glamour back into pop music! I had no idea who Naomi Elizabeth was until my friend Grant sent me a link to her clip but I'm convinced she's a beautiful angel sent from heaven to charm us with her glorious voice and intricate dance moves. The appropriately titled "God Sent Me Here To Rock You" is a deeply intellectual comment on the superficiality of modern culture - or the campest piece of pop trash churned out by a cocaine fuelled mind since Wendy Ho's "Poop Noodle". Either way - I love it! Naomi's toytastic lyrics ("I flew down on a cloud and sat my feet on the ground, I had a job to do - to rock every one of you!") are truly inspiring, as is the genuinely catchy chorus and none too shabby production. Particularly given the fact that it was recorded on the songbird's home computer. The film clip is even more alluring. Naomi is a vision of style and grace as she performs choreography straight out of Monifah's "Touch It" video, while rocking a series of demure outfits. Brace yourself for the spiritual experience that is "God Sent Me Here To Rock You" (below):

Saturday, February 05, 2011

The 10 Worst Albums Of 2010

There really was no shortage of shit to choose from when it came to selecting 2010's worst albums. Kings Of Leon's "Come Around Sundown", MGMT's "Congratulations" and all 147 of Tea Tea's mixtapes deserve recognition for lowering the standard of modern music but I decided to stick with mainstream pop acts for this countdown. It's a bit of an odd bunch - bad albums from acts I usually love, crap albums from crap artists and just about everything in between. I know some of these disasterpieces have been massive sellers and spawned numerous hit singles but that doesn't make them good. It just makes us gullible and record companies even more sinister than we give them credit for. As for the year's worst album - I'm sure we can all agree that pop music has finally scraped the bottom of the barrel. So what other stinkers are missing from the list? Who have I unfairly written off as gutter trash? Let me know what you think!

10. Speak Now - Taylor Swift

I really don't care if 3 million devout teenage Christians hocked their commitment rings to buy "Speak Now" for Christmas. It's a breathtakingly self-indulgent, monotonous vanity project plagued by trite Hallmark card lyrics and the inescapable fact that Taylor can't really sing. The admittedly cute and surprisingly catchy "Mine" is the standout track but it's hard to pick a 'lowlight' because all the songs sound the same to me. If pressed, I'd have to go with "Innocent" - her delusional response to Kanye. Bitch, please. The man stole your fucking microphone at a pointless awards ceremony. He didn't run over your dog or break up with you via Facebook. Get a fucking grip and move on!

9. Body Talk Parts 1 & 2 - Robyn

Robyn is so frustrating. When the Swedish eyesore gets it right, she lifts pop music to previously unimagined heights. The rest of the time I just want to slap her and ask for a refund. Her 2005 masterpiece was always going to be a hard act to follow but lowering expectations by releasing a trilogy of dodgy EPs wasn't exactly a masterstroke. "Body Talk Part 1", in particular, is a hot mess. How can you go from the sublime "Dancing On My Own" and beautiful "Cry When You Get Older" to try hard electro rubbish like "Fembot" and "Don't Fucking Tell Me What To Do"? I hoped the sequel would be an improvement but it turned out to the musical equivalent of "Sex & The City 2". Sure there are some good moments ("Love Kills" and "Hang With Me") but it's mostly just embarrassing shit tailor made for non-discerning gays. The "Body Talk" era ended on a high with the fabulous third instalment but why didn't she just spend a year getting the album ready instead of tarnishing her legacy with these glorified demos?

8. The Beginning - Black Eyed Peas

I love the Black Eyed Peas and worship at the Fergalicious alter of Stacy Ferguson but even I have to draw the line at "The Beginning". This shit sounds like it was thrown together in 2 days on Skype. The band has a knack for clever hooks and catchy samples but the laziness on display here is mind-boggling. "The Time (Dirty Bit)", for example, is shameful on so many levels but mostly for the fact that it could have been brilliant if they had treated the original with a bit more respect. And then there's my other major gripe - Fergie's suspiciously minor contribution to proceedings. Is will.i.am pressed that The Dutchess is an global phenomenon while he's been reducing to working with Cheryl Cole? Or did they just jazz up his shelved solo album to save time? Whatever. I'm unimpressed and want my money back.

7. Can't Be Tamed - Miley Cyrus

This sad flop needs to pull the plug on her pop career. Miley's attempt at reinventing herself as a dance diva was an epic fail on every level. Her voice and autotune do not mix and she lacks the attitude and sex appeal to sell the songs, which, admittedly, were pretty shit to begin with. Seriously, Lisa Scott-Lee called (reverse charges) and wants her B-sides back! I don't get it. Her Hannah Montana sidekick Emily Osment pulled together a fun pop album on the fumes of an oily rag. Yet Miley has more money than anyone and still can't buy herself a hit. Time for an album of duets with daddy, I think.

6. Sweet 7 - Sugababes

I'll let Mutya take this one:



5. Tapestry - Marcia Hines

I LOVE Marcia Hines and pretty much stan for everything she has ever released including her hysterical album/self-help book of inspirational ballads "Life" but this shit is on the nose. There's nothing wrong with the individual songs. Marcia sounds amazing as always and has been covering some of the tracks at gigs for years but the sheer audacity required to re-record one of the greatest albums of all time is staggering. Seriously, who listens to "Tapestry" and thinks Hmmm, nice but I could do it so much better!

4. The Power Of Madonna - Glee

Urgh. Madonna's music is painful enough without those sad cunts from Glee rubbing their dirty spirit fingers all over it. Kudos though to Kurt and Mercedes for making "4 Minutes" an even more hellish experience than it was to begin with. Seriously, this shit is evil.

3. Loud - Rihanna

Oh look. There's Rihanna with her stupid fucking red wig and crap songs about oral sex and bondage. Isn't she just the hippest ho in the game right now? But wait. Isn't this the same pretender, who tried to reinvent herself as a dark and edgy anti-popstar on her last album - only to pull the plug when no one bought it? Yes, Riri is a big, fat fake. There's nothing wrong with being a product but it irks me that people buy into this shit when the poor man's Shontelle is actually the biggest puppet in pop. To be fair, she is a one woman hit machine. Her label has a knack for buying her hits from the hottest producers but they should ask for a refund this time around. Apart from "Only Girl" and the Eminem-lite version of "Love The Way You Lie", this is a stinking mess. I don't care what her name is or if she's a firecracker in the bedroom. Her voice is grating and she has less charisma than a roll of toilet paper. Rihanna is, without a doubt, the most overrated pop star on the planet.

2. Wall Of Soundz - Brian McFadden

This foul expulsion of noise should come with a warning sticker. Something along the lines of 'Buying this album means you're a cunt'. Brian was shit enough when he was marketed as a Mother's Day artist but his tragic electro makeover is a crime against humanity. "Just Say So" somehow topped the charts - I think Dulta opened 5,000 iTunes accounts and downloaded multiple copies - but the rest of the singles tanked and Brian was reduced to teaming up with his repugnant wife. To no avail as it turned out. If you're gagging for a bunch of autotuned to the point of parady pop tunes sung by a fat Irish bastard wearing eye make-up, then this is the album for you!

1. Messy Little Raindrops - Cheryl Cole

Amogbokpa's ruthless tormentor dropped her heinous sophomore album in 2010, lowering the bar for popular music even further in the process. I thought "3 Words" was a musical abortion for the ages but the abusive racist from that flop girlband that no one gives a shit about somehow managed to serve up an even less appealing mix of mind numbingly boring ballads and unconvincing mid-tempo urban pop tunes. Seriously, were the producers taking the piss? Upbeat tracks like "Promise This" and "Amnesia" are stomach churningly bad enough but who really thinks balladry is Cheryl's calling? She makes Uffie sound like Maria Callas on "Raindrops", while I'm convinced she phoned in her "Happy Tears" vocal while pouring over the latest copy of KKK Weekly. Even more astounding was her decision to release "The Flood" as a single. Who was she kidding? This exercise in aural torture is a definite contender for worst song of 2010 with its migraine inducing vocal and so bad they're just hideous lyrics. Although seeing it stall at number 18 on the UK singles chart did amuse me. Now that the British public has finally woken up to Cheryl's evil ways and dismissed her as a diabolical abomination against all that is good and holy, can she just fuck off? Please?

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The 50 Best Albums Of 2010

I'm back! I promise to start writing about new music next week but I have to get my (extremely) belated end of year countdowns out of the way first. I was hoping to churn them out last week but this post, in particular, took a lot longer than I expected. Given all review requests I received in 2010 but never got around to writing - Sorry! - I thought I'd make the commentary a bit more in depth than usual. As you can probably tell, I got carried away and ended up writing 50 album reviews. I hope it's not too boring to wade through. I promise my singles round up will be short and sweet! So, where to start with this lot. Most importantly, don't pay too much attention to the rankings. I love all of these and there really isn't a lot of difference between my 17th and 37th favourite album. Apart from that I just realised I have a fetish for Mexican divas and really overdosed on the urban dance craze last year. That's about it. Enjoy the ride and let me know what you think about my picks!

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 answer to improvement on Robyn with Prozac but then we'd never get such upbeat pop classics as "Selfish" and the delightfully titled "Execute Me". The deluxe edition is well worth hunting down if only to hear the stunning Ke$ha rip off "Sundown"! It's also fun hearing the original Danish version of "Lonely" and Medina's dubious Spanish version of "You And I". I ache for this morose bitch.

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!