Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The 100 Best Singles Of 2011

2011 was a banner year for great singles. A number of the usual suspects dropped huge songs this year (Ke$ha, Katy Perry and Beyoncé) but most of my faves were slightly more random. There's a stunning anthem from Norwegian reality star on my list as well as a classical dance remix from Belgium and a couple of viral songs that escaped the YouTube ghetto and went mainstream. I'm really surprised by how many singles from Australian artists made the countdown, so I guess the local industry was having a particularly good year. Anyway, here goes. Let me know if I forgot anything in the comments!

100. Blame It On The Boogie - Jermaine Jackson (Preview)

US

Now that La Toya has officially snatched Janet's wig as the most famous living Jackson, the rest of the clan is starting to come out of the woodwork for a piece of the action. The award for the most desperate attempt at cashing in on the family name goes to Jermaine. He recorded an amazingly tragic dance remix of "Blame In On The Boogie" in 2011, which mercifully was only released in France. So bad it's fantastic!

99. Gutter - Medina (Video)

Denmark

Another brilliant hit of morbid electro-pop from Scandinavia's gloomiest diva.

98. Won't Get Lost - The Aston Shuffle (Video)

Australia

The Aston Shuffle boys are the unsung heroes of Australian electro-pop. While Cut Copy and Bag Raiders get all the attention, these guys continue to release great music with little fanfare. "Won't Get Lost" is a moody gem that probably would have done better if the video made sense. So the kid flees a country town to become an ironman but ends up vomiting all over the floor of a Sydney nightclub? I don't get it.

97. Famous In Paris - Kim Gloss (Video)

Germany

Poor Kim. I don't think she'll achieve her dream of being famous in Paris - or anywhere else for that matter - but her debut single has earned a special place in my heart with its heavily autotuned chorus and unintentionally hilarious lyrics.

96. Just A Kiss - Lady Antebellum (Video)

US

More melodic country-pop from the biggest band in America.

95. LoveLife - Kate Ryan (Video)

Belgium

I've been really mean to Kate in the past. Calling her a hack and ridiculing her stage-age but Twitter brought us closer together and I now appreciate the Belgian beauty's musical genius. "LoveLife" is big, bright and bubbly Europop that gets lodged in your brain and refuses to budge. I can't wait for the album!

94. ET - Katy Perry feat. Kanye West (Video)

US

Regardless of how you feel about Katy and the way she achieved those five number one singles from "Teenage Dream", it's hard to deny that the songs were anything less than spectacular. "ET" is actually one of my least favourite cuts from the album but the frosty production stood out on radio and Kanye's rap improved an already killer jam. First class pop.

93. Jungle - Emma Louise (Video)

Australia

This girl is going to be big. With singer-songwriter loving hipsters. I love every song on her "Full Hearts & Empty Rooms" EP but "Jungle" is the track that got the most attention. It's a brooding electro-pop anthem that manages to be catchy and ominous at the same time. Quite the feat.

92. Together You And I - Dolly Parton (Video)

US

Dolly does it better. The end.

91. Lonely Lisa - Mylène Farmer (Video)

France

RedOne racked up the frequent flyer points in 2011, jetting around the world to help divas of a certain vintage revive their failing careers with killer club anthems. While most of those collaborations were painfully generic, "Lonely Lisa" stands out as one of the supr-producers kookiest efforts in a long time. I'm sure Mylène had a lot to do with that, inspiring him with her stunning lyrics and even more stunning plastic surgery. All jokes aside, this is absolutely gorgeous.

90. Amazing - Vanessa Amorosi (Video)

Australia

After dropping the career-killer otherwise known as "Gossip", Vanessa went into major damage control by releasing what is basically a remake of her biggest hit. While "Amazing" doesn't quite reach the lofty heights of "Perfect", it's a great track in its own right and grew on me. A lot. Bring on the album, Ness Ness. I have faith in you!

89. Get Together - Marta Sanchez & D-Mol (Video)

Spain

The Spanish Madonna came out of retirement to record a tragic dance anthem for a Bacardi commercial and snatched every wig in the Euro-pop game. Go figure.

88. Try With Me - Nicole Scherzinger (Video)

US

Of the 27 singles Nicole released in 2011, "Try With Me" is definitely one of the best. I love songs that start as a ballad before exploding into a dance anthem and Hitzinger pulls it off with ease. Beautiful lyrics and delicate production make this a career highlight.

87. Why'd You Have To Kiss Me So Hard? - Laura Imbruglia (Audio)

Australia

Natalie Imbruglia's sexier sister returned to the half-empty pub scene in 2011 with the lead single from her third album. Not much has changed. Laura is still writing witty pop songs that nobody gives a fuck about and I'm still merrily downloading them. Her time will come!

86. Paparazzi - Kan Mi Youn (Video)

South Korea

Kan Mi Youn surprised everyone with this killer K-pop dance anthem. I'd take it over Lady Gaga's similarly titled hit any day!

85. Ours - Taylor Swift (Video)

US

I have done a complete 180 with Taylor. She used to annoy the fuck out of me but I've seen the light and now recognise Tay Tay as the second coming of Shania - only with a rice-paper thin voice and Disney princess lyrics. I guess that makes "Ours" a bit of an exception. The latest single from "Speak Now" is an understated little gem about the keeping love alive against the daily grind of life. Unexpectedly adorable.

84. Jona Vark - Gypsy & The Cat (Video)

Australia

I feel like this song has been around for years but it finally got the recognition it deserved in 2011 when it became an unexpected hit in Germany. "Jona Vark" is slightly psychedelic electro-pop that reminds me of Empire Of The Sun on Valium. I love it and look forward to the boys' next opus.

83. Rehab - Bai Ling (Audio)

China

All bow down to the new queen of Chinese pop! Critically-acclaimed Chinese actress and renowned party girl Bai Ling turned her hand to pop in 2011, recording this genre-bending triumph in just five hours after checking out of rehab. You know your fave could never!

82. Party - Beyoncé Feat. Kanye West and Andre 3000 (Video)

US

King B took it back to the '90s on this languid slow jam. It's probably the least intense song on "4", which isn't a bad thing. "Party" proves that Beyoncé can still kick back and be a bad girl when she's not empowering future generations of women or slaying the game with a power ballad. I'm not a huge fan of the J.Cole remix, so stick with the vastly superior original.

81. Party Up - Israel Cruz (Video)

Australia

I might be a bit biased because I know Israel but, for my money, "Party Up" was the best piece of Taio Cruz-lite pop produced in Australia last year. Marvin Priest, Stan Walker and Timomatic all did better on the charts but this little gem has punchier production and a bigger chorus than "Loud", "Own This Club" or "Set It Off". Fingers crossed his next single does the business.

80. Baby I'm With The Band - Maragaret Cho (Video)

US

Who knew Margaret Cho was hiding one of 2011's catchiest pop/rock ditties on her latest comedy album? I don't even listen to this for a laugh anymore. It's just a very, very good pop song.

79. Fuckin' Perfect - P!nk (Video)

US

There's nothing new about "Fuckin' Perfect". In fact, I'm tempted to call the ballad P!nk by the numbers but is that such a bad thing? After stealing Kelly Clarkson's career in 2008, Alicia made this sound her own. I love the sentiment of the lyrics and slick production. Time for album number six.

78. Over You - Ria (Video)

New Zealand

For the life of me I can't remember how I stumbled across New Zealand's answer to Rihanna or, more accurately, Jessica Mauboy but I'm really glad I did. "Over You" is a something of a triumph. Sure, the beats are a bit dated and Ria was obviously molested by the stylist responsible for "Get Em Girls" but this empowering break-up anthem hits all the right notes. I love her voice, feel the lyrics and demand a dance remix. When are they going to ship her over here? It worked for Kimbra.

77. Skyscraper - Demi Lovato (Video)

US

I remember being asked to write something about Demi's first post-breakdown single and had to restrain myself from calling it a sloppy piece of shit. "Skyscraper" is as subtle as a sledgehammer and is built around a stupid metaphor. When I think of skyscrapers I think of buildings falling to the ground on 9/11 but that's all beside the point. Several months after it was released this popped up on my iPod and I had a bit of a moment. Demi's exquisite vocal imbues the song with emotion it doesn't really deserve and I secretly love how overwrought it is. I dare you to listen to this and not power-grab!

76. On My Mind - Cody Simpson (Video)

Australia

King Cody snatches Justin Bieber's toupee on this highlight of his fledgling pop career. If he keeps churning out this kind of shiny dance-pop, the teenager might outlive his 15 minutes. Hell, this even has trancey synths!

75. How Come You Never Go There - Feist (Video)

Canada

Let's be honest. This is no "1,2,3,4". It's a sparse little song about the end of a relationship with little commercial appeal. But that doesn't mean it's not any good. In fact, quite the opposite. "How Come You Never Go There" is deceptively catchy, worming its way further under your skin with each listen. 2011's ultimate grower.

74. Even Though I'm A Woman - Seeker Lover Keeper (Video)

Australia

A trio of local singer-songwriters that I really don't like join forces to release one of the year's best singles. I love this haunting little piano ballad, particularly when it veers into alt-country territory. Effortlessly pretty and deceptively catchy. Hell, it even has my teenage crush in the video!

73. Pretty Girl Rock - Keri Hilson (Video)

US

Once you get past the hilarity of Miss Keri describing herself as a '10', "Pretty Girl Rock" unfolds into one of 2011's quirkiest urban-pop tunes. I love the retro sound and deluded lyrics. Awesome video too.

72. Remind Me - Brad Paisley & Carrie Underwood (Video)

US

The best country duet since Dolly Paron and Kenny Rodgers sang about land formations in the sea!

71. China - Sparkadia (Video)

Australia

Eerie verses flow into an explosive '80s-inspired chorus on this beautifully crafted gem from Australia's most underrated band. It also reminds me of T'Pau. So props for that!

70. Rabiosa - Shakira Feat. Pitbull (Video)

Colombia

Shakira proves that she can still knock-out a pounding club-banger better than just about anyone. "Rabiosa" positively bounces with heavy percussion and throbbing base. The ultimately Latin party jam.

69. Motivation - Kelly Rowland Feat. Lil Wayne (Video)

US

Ms Kelly briefly stole Beyoncé's shine with this super-slick babymaker that shot straight to number one on the US R&B chart and established Rico Love as the go-to producer for urban divas. My new favourite hobby is hunting down "Motivation" rip-offs - see Melanie Fiona's "4am" and Mary J's "Mr Wrong" for starters.

68. Dancing Crazy - Miranda Cosgrove (Video)

US

This sounds like a carbon copy of "What The Hell", which probably has something to do with the fact that Avril wrote it. And while it doesn't quite match the dizzying heights of the song it's clearly ripping off, Miranda's super-catchy jam doesn't fall as short as it should. Now if only she would stop pronouncing "dance" like Madonna.

67. Boyfriend - Big Time Rush (Video)

US

With amazing lyrics that name-check Twilight and Slumdog Millionaire, "Boyfriend" was the song that announced Big Time Rush as the new and improved NSYNC - only with really ugly members. The chorus kills me. "All I really want is to be your boy-boy-boy-boy-boyfriend". Genius.

66. Loving You Is Killing Me - Aloe Blacc (Video)

US

Dust off that pimp suit and buy yourself a fedora. Aloe Blacc delivers a truckload of old school funk on this incredibly snappy retro anthem.

65. Jam (Turn It Up) - Kim Kardashian (Audio)

US

When are we getting the full video? Why was Kim snubbed by the Grammys? How did this not outsell "Someone Like You"?

64. Crash & Burn (Jason Nevins Radio Remix) - Scarlette Fever (Audio)

UK

I think this was actually released in late 2010 but it only came to my attention last year. Scarlette Fever is a relatively obscure British singer-songwriter, who got some much deserved blog love when Jason Nevins transformed her uplifting pop/rock ditty into an epic dance anthem. Definitely worth hunting down.

63. Radioactive - Marina & The Diamonds (Video)

UK

I'm a bit worried about the state of Marina's career. She seems to have lost of her early momentum and is in danger of regressing into Sky Ferreira. Albeit with talent. It would be a shame because the 26-year-old changed my life with her immaculate debut. And while "Radioactive" doesn't quite match any of the singles from "The Family Jewels", it's a respectable attempt at developing a more commercial sound. I love that the song is still quintessionally her despite riding the Stargate conveyor belt to mediocrity. A misunderstood gem.

62. Best Thing I Never Had - Beyoncé (Video)

US

"Irreplaceable 2011" turned out to be the biggest hit from "4", which is hardly given surprising the made-for-radio chorus and flawless vocal. Not Bey's most original or exciting single by a long shot but I love the lyrics and have a feeling this will become a fan favourite further down the track.

61. Naughty - Elen Levon (Video)

Australia

In retrospect, "Naughty" was released two or three months too late to fully capitalise on the urban-dance craze but it's still a scarily impressive calling card. And it might get a second wind yet as the new promo song for Gossip Girl. Whatever happens with this catchy jam, the best is yet to come for Elen. Single number two drops in a fortnight and it's a monster. Stay tuned!

60. Glad You Came - The Wanted (Video)

UK

A perfect pop tune from the UK's finest boyband. I love the everything about this. The fresh-from-Ibiza beats cascade over deceptively clever lyrics - notice the clever word play in the verses? - before colliding with enough "woahs" to make this my party anthem of choice.

59. Endless Summer - The Jezabels (Video)

Australia

The catchiest Australian indie-pop song of 2011. Evocative lyrics, gargantuan chorus and an endearingly awful video make this an absolute winner.

58. I Don't Want To Be A Crappy Housewife - Tonje Langeteig (Video)

Norway

A haunting insight into one woman's existential crisis as she wades into the chilly waters of middle-age set to the edgiest beats Z-grade Scandinavian producers have to offer. A chilling masterpiece.

57. Air - Snakadaktal (Video)

Australia

This group of Melbourne teenagers serve up a dreamy dose of psychedelic pop on their frankly amazing debut single. Next big thing? Quite possibly.

56. Give Me Everything - Pitbull Feat. Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer (Video)

US

"Give Me Everything" is to Pitbull what "Super Bass" was to Nicki Minaj - a ticket to the big league.

55. Buy My Love - Wynter Gordon (Video)

US

The most straightforward pop song on Wynter's epic debut album is a high-camp treat that should have been massive. Instead it was DOA. I blame the embarrassing video.

54. Drop It Low - Kat DeLuna (Video)

Dominican Republic

Seeing my friend Joe drop it low to Kat's hypnotic club-banger in an alley behind Chicago's most tragic gay bar in August made my year. When is the Dominican dance diva going to score another hit (outside Belgium)? Her tunes are too hot not to be massive!

53. Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) - Katy Perry (Video)

US

The undeniably catchy Ke$ha-homage that introduced Kathy Beth Terry to the world. I don't think it will age particularly well but it will still provide the soundtrack to many a Friday night for months to come.

52. Love You More - Sunday Girl (Video)

UK

I feel like Sunday Girl has been about to happen for the last five years... maybe she should start a support group with Natalia Kills and Neon Hitch. But I digress. This is a stunning cover of Sunscreem's '90s classic. Why didn't anybody think of this sooner?

51. Collide - Leona Lewis (Video)

UK

I can't believe this horse-faced bitch is polluting my list but I can't deny that her aural rape of Avicii's "Penguin" is a classily-constructed floorfiller with a disarmingly pretty chorus. Faceless dance music is the future for Leona.

50. Today Is Your Day - Shania Twain (Video)

Canada

After almost a decade in self-imposed exile, Shania finally returned to the studio in 2011 to record this song for her reality show. It underwhelmed just about everyone and turned out to be a "Bionic"-sized flop but I love it. Sure, the stunning Canadian has apparently forgotten how to sing - she mumbles her way through the trite lyrics - and the production is more dated than the diva's hairstyle but hearing this makes me happy and hopeful that we may eventually get another album. Preferably without a world music bonus disc.

49. Super Bass - Nicki Minaj (Video)

US

The song that helped Nicki Minaj make the transition from feature creature to pop star holds up as one of the catchiest urban-pop concoctions of recent years.

48. Party Rock Anthem - LMFAO feat. Lauren Bennett and GoonRock (Video)

US

This modern masterpiece is now the highest selling single of all time in Australia. Yay! One question. Who the fuck is GoonRock?

47. The Edge Of Glory - Lady Gaga (Video)

US

The only single from "Born This Way" that meets the impossibly high standard set by "The Fame" and "Fame Monster". A towering Euro-pop explosion that boasts an emotional autheticity lacking from trash like "Judas" and "Marry The Night".

46. Love Gun - Michelle Williams(Audio)

US

I thought Tenitra was about to embark on a wig-snatching rampage when I first heard "Love Gun". This sparkling pop gem has hit written all over it but the gravel-voiced goddess pulled the plug and released that horrible German club anthem instead. Boo. Michelle channels Kylie effortlessly on this high-camp disco anthem. Hell, there's even what sounds like an ABBA sample. Madonna would kill for this!

45. Somebody That I Used To Know - Gotye Feat. Kimbra (Video)

Australia and New Zealand

The moody hipster's answer to "Someone Like You" is turning into one of the biggest Australian hits of all time - seven times platinum at home and roaring up the charts worldwide. It's easy to see the appeal. Everyone can indentify with the lyrics and there's something hypnotic about the minimal production. Gotye is coming for Adele's wig.

44. Call Your Girlfriend - Robyn (Video)

Sweden

This time last year I was suffering from major Robyn-overload and just wanted the Scandipop diva to disappear for a year. Twelve months have passed and I'm now gagging for new material. "Call Your Girlfriend" approaches a break-up from a previously unexplored angled and proves that Robyn is pretty much untouchable when it comes to well-crafted electro-pop.

43. Young Blood - Naked & The Famous (Video)

New Zealand

Again I feel like this is one of those songs that has been doing the rounds for years but "Young Blood" really only exploded in 2011, soaring up the charts in Europe and America. I love this kind of nostalgic indie-pop with its mumbled verses and anthemic chorus. Sadly the rest of the album stinks.

42. Geronimo - Aura Dione (Audio)

Denmark

Aura is big in Germany. Really big. "Geronimo" went all the way to number one there and would do the same in Australia if we had any taste. The song sounds like a cheap Gaga knock-off (the "ge ge go go la la" bit is borderline plagiarism) mixed with "Laundry Service"-era Shakira and a large splash of something completely new and exciting. It sounds like a hot mess, and to a certain extent, it is but I guarantee you'll be pressing replay.

41. Luminary Ones - Rebecca & Fiona (Video)

Sweden

If you like music from the edgier spectrum of Scandipop then, chances are, you're going love Rebecca & Fiona. This bleak and understated yet ultimately irrestistible dance anthem announced the girls as an act to watch in 2011. Quite possibly the hottest duo since Pepsi & Shirlie!

40. Domino - Jessie J (Video)

UK

Jessie J is pop's favourite punching bag but I still think she has an amazing voice and a knack for writing a brilliant pop song. See "Domino" as exhibit A. I don't care if it sounds like "Teenage Dream" - Katy Perry did not invent Dr. Luke! This is expertly-crafted pop that never fails to brighten up the radio airwaves. Perhaps the non-practising bisexual should release her own interpretation of "ET" or "Last Friday Night" next.

39. Me Gustas Tanto - Paulina Rubio (Video)

Mexico

RedOne reinvents Paulina Rubio as a club vixen on this demented dance anthem that mixes claps with catchy vocal hooks and bizarre autotune effects. Paulina is dancing on Thalia's metaphysical grave.

38. The One That Got Away - Katy Perry (Video)

US

Katy proves that she's no one trick pony on this classy mid-tempo ballad. It might have broken the diva's string of number one hits but it's definitely a creative highwater mark.

37. Blow - Ke$ha (Video)

US

What did we do before K$? The sexy stunner revolutionised popular music with "Animal" and then picked up where she left off on "Cannibal". Admittedly, "Blow" isn't my favourite song on her sophomore album but it's another unforgettable addition to her growing canon of pop classics.

36. Fiction - B2ST (Video)

South Korea

When I think of K-Pop boybands, Big Bang and TVXQ come to mind. However, the relatively unsung B2ST completely outdo their higher profile compatriots on this terrifyingly catchy dance anthem. Seeing the boys perform the song "live" at Sydney's K-Pop Fest was a revelation. Make sure you check out the video to see their now-iconic penguin dance routine!

35. Better With The Lights Off - New Boyz Feat. Chris Brown (Video)

US

Who knew that New Boyz and Chris Brown would be such a killer combination? If you look past the downright offensive concept - sorry but if my someone whispered into my ear that turning off the lights transforms me from a "Khloe to Kim", I would leave! - this is a spectacularly catchy pop song with amusing rhymes and a chorus the size of a Kardashian's arse.

34. White Nights - Oh Land (Video)

Denmark

So dreamy and beautiful. And there's even a unicorn in the video!

33. Raining Diamonds - Ricki-Lee (Video)

Australia

Ricki-Lee re-established herself as one of Australia's hottest pop divas with this atomic-powered dance tune. I love everything about the song from the massive vocal to the infectious "woah woah woahs" and admittedly generic lyrics about not settling for second best. "Raining Diamonds" would have performed even better if EMI didn't unveil the hideous trainwreck of a video months after the single was released.

32. Cherubino's Aria - Adya & Geisha (Video)

Belgium

There are no words to describe this aural mind-fuck.

31. Act Yr Age - Bluejuice (Video)

Australia

Bluejuice hammered the final nail into the Scissor Sisters' career coffin by effortlessly jacking their '70s rock/disco swagger on "Act Yr Age". This should have been a chart-topper but I fear people were put off by the senior citizen porn that doubles as the video clip. Oh well, I loved it.

30. Til The World Ends - Britney Spears (Video)

US

Ke$ha gifted Britney her best dance anthem since "Toxic" this year. I wish K$ had kept it for herself but I guess it's nice to help out the needy. All jokes aside, "Til The World Ends" is a towering pop anthem with the catchiest vocal hooks of 2011. A stunning return to form.

29. Like A Love Song - Selena Gomez & The Scene (Video)

US

Selegend has produced a lot of very good singles in the past but "Like A Love Song" is her first great one. This slick '80s-inspired dance anthem is effortlessly cool and surprisingly sexy. I love the throbbing synths, minimal production and chic spoken interlude. Britney who?

28. Beggin' On Your Knees - Victoria Justice (Video)

US

2011 was a great year for teen-pop with exquisite anthems from Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez. Surprisingly, the cream of the crop comes from the least well known. Victoria Justice turned to Max Martin for help catching up with the big girls and he delivered the goods. This moody pop/rock jam was probably written for P!nk or Adam Lambert but it works despite the 18-year-old's obvious vocal shortcomings. A great track that should have been huge.

27. Let's Go Higher - Jordan Knight (Video)

US

The New Kids On The Block singer beats Taio Cruz at his own game on this glorious urban-dance anthem. "Let's Go Higher" packs one of the year's biggest choruses and probably would have spent 10 weeks at number one if it wasn't sung by a washed up has-been. I really hope Jordan dusts it off during the intermission when NKOTB tour Australia later this year!

26. Gucci Gucci - Kreayshawn (Video)

US

Kreayshawn snatched Nicki's clown wig and forced all the basic bitches to take a seat in 2011's second-biggest viral hit.

25. What The Hell - Avril Lavigne (Video)

Canada

Nobody does perky pop/rock better than Avril as this almost-offensively catchy jam proves beyond a shadow of a doubt.

24. Friday - Rebecca Black (Video)

US

The Queen of Ark Factory gave new meaning to the words "going viral" in 2011. "Friday" became an immediate pop culture sensation largely because it's hilarious and the video is the visual equivalent of watching Nickelodeon on acid but also because it is a fucking good song. Catchy, memorable and almost manically cheerful - Rebecca Black's contribution to modern music will be looked back on fondly for years to come.

23. Love On Top - Beyoncé (Video)

US

In some ways "Love On Top" is the song that saved "4" - at least in Australia and the UK. While "Countdown" failed to take internationally, Bey's breezy Motown throwback became a radio staple and really connected with casual fans. There's so much to love about this exhilirating anthem, from the plethora of key changes to the slinky old school production. Moreover, it's the song that introduced Blue Ivy to the world! So it's basically the new Lord's Prayer.

22. Feel So Close - Calvin Harris (Video)

UK

Before selling out with that hideous Rihanna song, Calvin delivered a career-best single with "Feel So Close". This is simple, clever and innovative. I love the warm vocal sample juxtaposed against the heavy synths and always look forward to hearing the extended mix at the club. More uplifting and romantic than faceless dance music has any right to be.

21. Get Over U - Neon Hitch (Video)

UK

I don't know how I feel about Neon Hitch. "Get Over U" is such a triumph and I love her Gym Class Heroes feature but her other solo singles have been catastrophically heinous. Anyway, she'll always have this gorgeous Sia-penned electro-ballad to brighten up her increasingly shit discography. Think of this as the anti-"Someone Like You" ie. a song for people that actually want to move forward with their lives.

20. Video Games - Lana Del Rey (Video)

US

From the minute this started doing the rounds online, you just knew that Lana Del Rey was going to be massive. The big-lipped lovely delivers a knock-out punch with this brooding masterpiece. Bring on the album.

19. Wonderland - Natalia Kills (Video)

UK

I honestly thought Natalia was the real deal when I heard this gloomy fairytale-on-acid of a pop song. Unfortunately, I then heard her debut album and realised that she's just the poor man's Lady Gaga. Bring back Verbalicious!

18. Jump - The Cube Guys & Luciana (Video)

Italy and UK

As much as I love "I'm Still Hot", I think Luciana's high camp collaboration with Italian DJs The Cube Guys might turn out to be the bigger hit. This is "We No Speak Americano" meets "I Like That". Which is a very, very good thing. Watch this explode in Europe when the weather warms up.

17. Pumped Up Kicks - Foster The People (Video)

US

Does anyone know what this song is actually about? I have no idea and I really couldn't give a shit. It reminds me of sunny days in LA and never fails to put a smile on my face.

16. I Wrote The Book - Beth Ditto (Video)

US

"Heartbreak and then some, tell me where is a friend when you need one?" asks Beth wryly in "I Wrote The Book". From the knowing lyrics to Simian Mobile Disco's crisp production, everything about Ms Ditto's solo debut sits perfectly. This isn't the kind of song that gets stuck in your head from the first listen - it didn't really click with me for months - but it slowly seeps into your conscious and you're all the better for it. A full album please!

15. The Last Dance - Clare Maguire (Video)

UK

A towering synth-pop ballad about love and loss that packs a huge emotional punch. Clare's ridiculously brilliant debut also means a lot to me for a very personal reason.

14. Titanium - David Guetta Feat. Sia (Video)

France and Australia

You know, Sia really does have the midas touch. In 2011 she made Flo Rida, Hilltop Hoods and David Guetta all sound good. She deserves some kind of award for services to music! Of the three features, "Titanium" is in a different league. This is as heartfelt and atmospsheric as dance music gets. Comparing this version to Mary J's demo also showcases the power of Sia's voice. A modern classic.

13. Mean - Taylor Swift (Video)

US

This is the song that opened my mind and heart to Taylor. "Mean" has a wide-eyed naivity about it that gives the surprisingly bitter subject matter extra bite. "Why you gotta be so mean?" is truly a question for the ages. Easily the best country-pop song of 2011.

12. Inescapable - Jessica Mauboy (Video)

Australia

Jessica Mauboy hooked up with songwriting legend Diane Warren to produced 2011's hottest '80s inspired dance-pop anthem. "Inescapable" reminds me of early Vanessa Williams or even Whitney in her more upbeat moments. Listening to this is like mainlining happiness. When is it being released overseas? I think the world is finally ready for J. Malley!

11. Run The World (Girls) - Beyoncé (Video)

US

I honestly believe that "Run The World (Girls)" was tacked onto "4" to give Bey something anthemic to perform at the Billboard Music Awards and on the final episode of Oprah. Which is fine but they could have gone with something a bit less left-field. Switch's musical experiment is one of the craziest lead singles of all time. You can't go from "Halo" to blurting out lyrics about being faded by "ni**ers" over a sample of "Pon De Floor" in the space of one album! But while the song made no commercial sense, I think it's a genre-bending triumph that will continue to win fans for years to come. I love how insanely ambitious it is. Why not throw in a million different hooks, forget the chorus and do the Pantsula dance in the video if you can get away with it?

10. Midnight City - M83 (Video)

France

A sprawling synth-drenched opus from the undisputed maestro of French electronica. Beautiful, eerie and absolutely unforgettable.

9. I'm Still Hot - Luciana (Video)

UK

My lovely Luciana cemented her status as the international Queen of clubs - and undisputed inventor of electro-shouting - with her top 50 Australian smash "I'm Still Hot". I have so many fun memories attached to this song, including my first video interview and a messy trip to Newcastle while I was hallucinating on Chinese herbs. I really hope Ministry Of Sound build on this momentum and release an album.

8. Dancing Tonight - Kat DeLuna (Video)

Dominican Republic

If Kylie, J.Lo and Lady Gaga genetically engineered a child, she would probably release something that sounded a little like "Dancing Tonight" AKA the tastiest hit of bubblegum-pop released in 2011. Somebody please release this in Australia. Kat's army of loyal fans demand it!

7. Daddy - Emeli Sandé (Video)

UK

Despite being praised by every bitch with a blog, "Heaven" left me cold and I pretty much wrote off Emeli Sandé until hearing her epic second single. "Daddy" is dark and dangerous pop music that isn't scared of exploring relationships from a rather unseemly angle. I feel like I experienced every line of this song in 2011. Which is probably not the best reflection on my fucked-up love life.

6. Big - Sneaky Sound System (Video)

Australia

This is possibly the most glorious piece of electro-pop ever produced in Australia. "Big" should have been the single that re-established Sneaky Sound System as a major chart force. Instead, it flopped worse than Natalie Bassingthwaighte. Go figure.

5. Someone Like You - Adele (Video)

UK

I feel like I'm living this song, so I don't often get the urge to listen to it very often but there's no denying that "Someone Like You" is a new standard that will be covered and interpreted by less talented vocalists from now until the year 3000.

4. Pon Pon Pon - Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (Video)

Japan

Your fave can't pronounce Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, let alone match her sonic brilliance!

3. Gay Pirates - Cosmo Jarvis (Video)

UK

Leave it to a straight man to write and perform the year's best gay anthem. Cosmo's ode to butt-loving pirates is as swashbuckling and brave as its protagonists. A simple love story told through an old-fashioned sea shanty. Darren Hayes and all those other redundant old gays could never.

2. Countdown - Beyoncé (Video)

US

Now this is some next level shit. The best single from "4" failed to do the business on the charts but I was happy to see it on year-end lists from publications as diverse as Rolling Stone, BBC, Spinner and Pitchfork. In my mind "Countdown" is a sequel of sorts to "Get Me Bodied". Like that underrated gem, the world was not ready for this much innovation. Staccato horns, marching drums and tongue-twisting wordplay make this a single for the ages. It's time will come.

1. Don't Hold Your Breath - Nicole Scherzinger (below)

US

The new, slightly less hysteric "I Will Survive" got me through some tough times in 2011. For that, if nothing else, Nicole's stunning break-up anthem is my song of the year.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent list, flawless taste as usual. Unfortunately, even you can't convince me to give a rats ass about Nicole Scherzinger.

John said...

I've gotta hand it to you...you have the license to give props to tracks that are great but somehow not worthy of respect (ie "Let's Go Higher"). Well done you.

Anonymous said...

U need your ears cleaning out.

Where is One Direction? Good Night, Own This Club, The Saturdays, JLS etc?

Christian said...

Kim Gloss is gonna be Famous in AUSTRALIA!
She's one of the candidates for the new season of 'i'm a celebrity - get me out of here'.
She's going big. Maybe Paris next year?

Greetings from Germany!
Thx for your amazing blog!

Anonymous said...

where's the utterly fab HYNA with her TARATIKA?

Anonymous said...

UM PLZ Mylène does not need RedOne to 'revive' her career, her last album got five No 1's without him. In fact I'd say she's being extremely generous to allow a relative unknown such as him cash in on her timeless glory.

Otherwise I'm glad someone else agrees The Edge was the only worthwhile single to come out of Born This Way (maybe the only worthwhile THING end of).

Colton said...

I love your inclusion of artists like Margaret Cho, Aura Dione, and so many others. I love so many of the songs in this list like Robyn's "Call Your Girlfriend" and Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night." Awesome list!

Mel said...

So many crown jewels here -- I need to make this whole thing a Spotify playlist!

Loving it. ALL of it. (Well, except for Ke$ha.)

Anonymous said...

Why do you have to me so "mean" in so of your posts. There is no need to call someone a horse faced bitch. I enjoy ur site But ur vulgarities aren't necessary.

Me said...

A stunning track from FLOPzinger and while much better than some of the crud on this list (especially the anal excretions of BLEACHyawnsay and the Camel) I wouldn't have expected it to top your chart - I thought SaffronfromRepublica's latest alter ego duetting with Betty White would have won pole position.

Anonymous said...

Check out Rita Ora. She's in that track Hot right now by DJ Fresh. This video is of her singing a cover by Outkast. Sooo good!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7OPZOBJZyI

Anonymous said...

Always open to finding new music from all genres, and I found some stuff to check out. But wow, not trying to be too hurtful here, but there are reasons that a lot of these songs did not make it big.

Anonymous said...

Paulina rubio - me gustas tanto the best song ever OeOeOe

Joey Collins said...

I'm glad you included The Aston Shuffle in here. I'm not sure if anyone's heard it, but their remix of Terry Poison's "24 Hours" that was featured on So You Think You Can Dance a few years ago is amazing. I agree with you on what you said about "Won't Get Lost". Not the best song from them and the video was awksauce.