Top 50 Songs of 2010: #50-31
(Originally published here on 27th December 2010. Special shout out to Makersten for punching up my intro one million times better than my original one was!)
Massive dancefloor hits mingle with stunning tracks which deserved much more attention as we begin our countdown of the music which owned the past year. How many of these do you love?
Anything that was on an album or received a single release in 2010 is eligible – and tracks have been selected on the basis of what we either couldn’t stop or should have been listening to this year – find your favourites and press play on a few you haven’t heard before.
We’ll be running them down over the next few days, so keep checking back as the countdown continues and feel free to leave comments naming the tracks YOU think must be included – or any you think have no right to be here on our list!
Here we go then…
50 : Empire State Of Mind (Part II) Broken Down – Alicia Keys
Kicking off our list we have a reworking of what was arguably one of the best tracks of 2009. Stripping her already classic Jay-Z collaboration down to just a piano and that voice, Empire State Of Mind became even more affecting. New verses shone a light on the seedier aspects of the original and the chorus continued to send shivers down the spine all over again.
49 : Tik Tok – Ke$ha
Sure, this was possibly the most over-played song of 2010 (well, besides all the Katy Perry singles anyway). And yes, it is hard to get past the fact that most of the time she looks like The Junk Lady from Labyrinth. In fact, this almost ended up as #1 on a ‘Worst Tracks Of 2010’ list instead.
But, when you look past the radio saturation and garbage-chic styling, there is something so undeniably, well, FUN about this song. And, if it weren’t for the fact Robyn released Body Talk Part 1 this year, “Wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy” would be a clear winner for Best Opening Line Of A Song Of The Year.
48 : Eyes Wide Open – Gotye
On the other end of the spectrum, we have Gotye, who should be one of the most overplayed artists but is still criminally ignored by commercial radio. Floating around the periphery of the Australian music scene for the past few years, 2006’s amazing Like Drawing Blood finally got the attention of the JJJ community and managed to snag a few ARIA Award nominations in the process. Hopefully this, a pounding slice of emotionally affecting electronica, will help draw in new fans..
47 : Drummer Boy – Alesha Dixon
The most gloriously noisy three and a half minutes of pop music since Girls Aloud unleashed Sexy! No, No, No.. on an unsuspecting public back in 2007. You can literally hear the producers banging around ON the kitchen sink from about the 30 second mark onwards. Plus, “I need a better Drummer Boy, hit me with your stick..” is the best euphemism for private parts since Vanessa Williams referred to her vagina as ‘The Comfort Zone’.
46 : Wonderful Life – Hurts
Hurts caused a bit of a splash with the indie music press in the UK this year. Sadly, even with heavily discounting their debut album here and literally giving away songs free on iTunes has yet to see them make much impact here. Which is a shame, since this moody synth-pop tale (think Pet Shop Boys on Xanax) of a man on the brink of suicide being saved by a beautiful woman is haunting and cautiously hopeful. Bonus points for the amazing Kylie Radio 1 Live Lounge cover:
45 : Whip My Hair – Willow
If there was an award for the most age inappropriate song on this list, we’d be looking at the winner right here. Seriously, listening to the nine year old spawn of two Hollywood superstars bang on about “the haterz” and her “getting her swag on” almost gave you pause to call Child Protection Services. After all, the last thing anyone needs is another Lindsay Lohan. But, with a track this addictive and an paint-flippingly fun video, there is no denying Willow’s right to whip her hair back and forth this summer. Plus, you just know Rihanna is sitting around somewhere sticking pins in a Willow Smith Voodoo wishing she had’ve gotten her mitts on this track first.
44 : Sideways – Sheryl Crow
When Sheryl Crow announced that her latest album was going to be a sort of ‘Sheryl Crow does the music of Dusty Springfield’ number, you could be forgiven for thinking that she was just trying to belatedly jump on the same Winehouse-tastic bandwagon that Duffy, Adele et al have been riding the past few years. So, imagine the collective shock when the ensuing album 100 Miles From Memphis turned out to be one of the year’s best. Who knew that Crow’s voice was so suited to the same sort of bruised and buoyant soul that Springfield did so well. And never more so than this, a heartbreakingly perfect tale of unwanted feelings that never go away.
43 : Ego – The Saturdays
With the wheels slowly falling off the Girls Aloud bandwagon the past few years and the inevitable solo albums of varying quality followed, the UK was in dire of a new girlband to save pop music. Whilst never reaching the dizzying creative highs of their predecessors, The Saturdays still emerged as a surprisingly enjoyable pop alternative. Their second album might have lost its way a little in its quest for a more mature sound, but Ego proved their was still a much needed place for a credible girlband in modern music, especially with a bitingly brilliant put down of a track like this. Great Gotham City-inspired clip too!
42 : Bobblehead – Christina Aguilera
“I never play dumb to get what I want,” proclaimed Aguilera towards the end of this, one of the five bonus tracks tacked on the end of the Deluxe Edition of this years commerical and critical flop Bionic. So why then, one wonders, did she fill the regular edition of the album with so many oversexed, under-baked Lady Gaga knock offs? Because when Aguilera really let loose, like on this divisive, experimental hybrid of Hollaback Girl and Stupid Girls that proved to have more bite than either. In fact, all five of the albums bonus tracks (six if you included iTunes-only Ladytron collaboration Little Dreamer) were better than anything on the main disc and are well worth tracking down.
41 : Starry Eyed – Ellie Goulding
Another one of the UK Music Press anointed ‘Sounds Of 2010’ that undeservedly never quite reached the same heights this side of the world. A euphoric slice of twinkling dance-pop, this was the breakaway pop hit of the album all over Europe. With uplifting lyrics that have just enough ambiguity about exactly what kind of high they’re outlining, it’s the perfect arms-aloft anthem that both pop and indie crowds alike can embrace.
40 : Sing – My Chemical Romance
Choruses didn’t come much bigger than on the 2nd single from emo-breakthrough act My Chemical Romance’s latest album. Large enough to land an A380 on, it was the kind of anthemic call to arms chorus that used to be U2’s bread and butter, before Bono decided he thought he could dance. Slinky and a little sexy, My Chemical Romance proved you could have your guyliner and wear it to the top of the charts too.
39 : Just Say So – Brian McFadden
After 2008’s surprise radio hit Twisted showed there was life in an old boybander yet, McFadden unleashed this – an unexpected balls to the wall autotuned bonafide dance smash hit. Produced by Kevin Rudolf and originally intended as a side project for McFadden, this topped the charts for almost a month. Filled with more synths, drum and bass than you can shake a disco stick at, commercial dance has rarely sounded so thrilling.
38 : Dancing On My Own – Robyn
If 2010 was Katy Perry’s year in terms of airplay, the it was clearly the Year Of Robyn as far as sheer volume of commercial releases go, with the year being buoyed by the Body Talk’s Part 1, 2 and 3. This, the lead single off Part 1, finds Robyn fine-tuning her trademark ‘crying at the discotheque’ routine that made her a superstar with previous hits Be Mine and With Every Heartbeat. Shimmering, tear-stained disco anthems didn’t come much better than this.
37 : Record Collection – Mark Ronson & The Business Intl
Super-Producer Ronson, responsible previously for sonically defining everyone from Amy Winehouse to Lily Allen, finally turns one ear to the future with this, the title track off his new album. Collaborating with Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon and Nick Rhodes on the glacial robo-funk of the title track, “I only want to be in your record collection and I’ll do anything it takes just to get there” might be the most ominously sexy line of the year.
36 : If I Had You – Adam Lambert
Storming his way across the pop landscape throughout the year, Adam Lambert proved there was both life and genuine talent in the tired American Idol format. With all the energy and feral intensity of a pre-fame Lady Gaga, he dominated radio both sides of the Atlantic with this sexy electro-glam strut of a track, cementing his position of one of the most promising and charismatic entertainers working today.
35 : All The Lovers – Kylie Minogue
They said she was over. They said she was done. They said she couldn’t move her face anymore. Turns out, they were wrong (well, about the first two, anyway) as Miss Minogue bounced back with this critically adored slice of euphoric Euro dance-pop. A wistful, joyous ode to new love, All The Lovers proved there was life in the old girl yet, helping drive 11th (11th!) studio album Aphrodite to the top of the charts in the middle of the year. Subsequent singles may not have fared so well, but this sonic sequel to I Believe In You proved that, when on form, no one does classy pop better than our Kylie.
34 : Money Can’t Buy You Class – Countess Luann
..but it can buy you a bucketload of autontune. Viewers of The Real Housewives Of New York City will be familiar with the amazingly haughty antics of Countess Luann. Unlike the rest of her musically aspirational reality TV counterparts, The Countess has come out with a record that perfectly encapsulates her as a personality and as a brand. A series of half-spoken ettiquette instructions for the modern woman over a suprisingly danceable disco beat, you can’t help but smile and sing along.
33 : Circle The Drain – Katy Perry
2010 was definitately the year of Katy Perry, with her signature brand of bubblegum fun (California Gurls, Teenage Dream and Firework) ruling the airwaves, downloads and even the recent Grammy nominations. But it was this, a gloriously bitter Alanis-styled electro rock number about a drug-addicted boyfriend (Travis McCoy from Gym Class Heroes fame, step on up!), that hinted at the real person beneath all the fairy floss and whipped cream bikinis. With keenly observed lyrics, anguished vocals and a immense chorus, maybe there’s hope for the newly minted Mrs. Brand yet.
32 : Can’t Be Tamed – Miley Cyrus
And, with a pair of leather hot pants and a giant set of black wings, the Mileybird refused to be caged anymore. Or tamed, even. But don’t let the nude photo scandals, racist photo scandals and drug-taking photo scandals (sensing a trend?) fool you – her coming out anthem was pitch-perfect. With just the right amount of anger, attitude and sexual energy, there might be a credible music career in the old (young) bird yet…
31 : F*kin’ Perfect – Pink
Just because you’re popping out a Greatest Hits for Christmas doesn’t mean you have to relax on the quality control, which Pink proves in spades with this, one of two tracks recorded for her first Greatest Hits collection. A perfect blend of the raw, emotive pop and the kind of distinct lyrical content that made her famous, this shows that ten years in, no one does pop quite like Pink.