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Top 50 songs of 2010: The Top 10!

January 19, 2011

(Originally published here on 31st December 2010)

And here we are on New Year’s Eve with our final countdown of the top ten tracks of 2010!

All the songs are completely different and all completely deserving – let us know what you think…

10 : Teenage Dream – Katy Perry

2010 was truly the year of Katy Perry. Never more so than on this, a soaring piece of power pop rock that wouldn’t have been out of place on a 100% Hits – Best of 1987 compilation. While monster hit California Gurls was stupid as I Kissed A Girl was pointlessly slutty, Teenage Dream proved that Perry could bring a real yearning emotional sincerity to her admitted knack for writing the perfect pop hook.

The amazing acapella performance of the song by Glee dreamboat Darren Criss almost earned an entry in its own right.

09 : Once – Diana Vickers

Originally intended to be the lead single for the 2010 Cathy Dennis comeback that approximately zero people were clamouring for. Thankfully, Dennis had a change of heart and gave this to 2008 UK X-Factor 4th place finisher Vickers to launch her critically-acclaimed debut album instead. A pure explosion of fizzy summer pop built around a piano line Coldplay would sell their first born for (that would be you, Apple Martin – sorry), before literally exploding in a musical orgy of electric guitars and new wave synths, made all the better by Vickers’s distinctive and alluringly husky vocals.

08 : 3 Words – Cheryl Cole

For one brief, shining moment in early 2010, it looked like Cheryl Cole might just parlay her UK fame over to Australian radio, with this hypnotic collaboration blowing up on radio everywhere. Sadly, that wasn’t the case, but 3 Words set a benchmark for club friendly dance pop that was tough to beat. A glacial, robotic love song that basically sounded like exactly the kind of thing that Kylie Minogue has been trying to repeat ever since Can’t Get You Out Of My Head, the icy harmonies produced the most danceable ode to true love and fidelity of the year. Shame her marriage to footballer Ashley Cole ended in a massive cheating scandal about three weeks later.

07 : On A Mission – Gabriella Cilmi

The single cover to this may as well have, in retrospect, just featured a tombstone for Cilmi’s career (2007 – 2010 R.I.P.) which was stopped dead in its tracks with this balls to the wall disco anthem. Which is a real pity it was clearly one of the most fun tracks released all year with a frenetic disco beat, a gigantic earworm of a chorus and one of the best vocal performances the pop world has seen in years with Cilmi’s growling vocals really letting loose in a way only a real singer can. Plus, the video combined sexiness with just the right balance of camp and knowing irony – running on the spot! Bikini’s in space! Cilmi ripping her top right open to visually punctuate the word ‘woman’! Brilliant.

06 : Only Girl (In The World) – Rihanna

2010 was a tough year for young Rihanna. Unprecedented interest in her personal life following Chris Brown Domestic Violence-Gate didn’t translate into album sales for the brilliantly-realised gloompop extravaganza Rated R. Turns out all the record buying public wanted was a full throttle poppers o’clock eurodance extravaganza, which Rihanna delivered in spades with Only Girl (In The World). New album Loud followed suit, although the subsequent Pauline Hanson-aping hairdo and apparent early onset Alzheimers (as hinted by following singles What’s My Name, Who’s That Chick and the general fact that she repeatedly seems to forget to wear her clothes in public) were causes for concern. Now, all we need is for Courtney Act to release a reworked karaoke dance cover retitled Only Gay (In The World). Get to it Shane!

05 : Need You Now – Lady Antebellum

If Taylor Swift took country-pop to new levels of credibility and commercial success in 2010, then Lady Antebellum were the ones that added a stone cold classic to the canon of all time great songs with this ode to loneliness and the dangers of drunk dialling. The “It’s a quarter after one and I’m a little drunk and I need you now” chorus might be the most heartbreakingly vunerable moment in music of the whole year, let alone one of the best vocal performances. Nothing on their follow up album came close to matching this, but with a song this good, who cares?

04 : Don’t Fucking Tell Me What To Do – Robyn

Who would have thought that Swedish pop pixie Robyn, she of all the heartfelt tear-stained dancefloor fillers, would be responsible for releasing what might be the angriest song of 2010? Starting off with classic opening line “my drinking’s killing me..” repeated on loop, this explodes into a long sinister list of all the things that are ‘killing’ Robyn in 2010 (her drinking, diet, heels, manager, ego, record label, PMS etc.) over dark dance beats before breaking down to the title phrase being ominously threatened to the listener over and over. Sounded nothing like anything else that came out of the hugely successful Body Talk Parts 1, 2 and 3 Project that she spent most of 2010 releasing and was all the more thrilling for it. Unlike The Incredible Hulk, you can’t help but like Robyn a whole lot more when she’s angry.

03 : Telephone – Lady Gaga

After Bad Romance went and catapulted Lady Gaga from pop megastar to being the single most famous and respected musician on the planet, you wondered how on earth she was ever going to be able to top it. The short answer is, she couldn’t (not yet, anyway) but with this, she came awful close. A barnstorming, dancefloor filling romp of a song, it was as inescapable on radio as its trailblazing video was, well, everywhere. Damned near one of the best things Beyonce has ever put her name to as well – just be grateful that it’s not Britney Spears popping up in the Pussy Wagon, as was originally intended before she turned it down. Twice.

02 : Don’t You Wanna Share The Guilt – Kate Nash


Excuse the shoddy myspace link for this (although, it’s full length and high quality), but it is the only place you can find the album version of this song online without legally downloading it. Which is a shame as this was a real contender for the #1 song on the list. Unlike anything else that came out in 2010, it starts with nothing but a softly strummed guitar with Nash recounting a encounter with an ex boyfriend, whispering small and irrelevant details that are so intimate that feel like you’re in the room as the instrumention slowly builds around it. Then something that can’t be described as anything other than musically magical happens – at the 3:24” mark the orchestra kicks in, the pace doubles and Nash breaks into a whirling stream of consciousness about her social neuroses, travel plans, childhood memories and everything in-between, spilling out of her like urgent secrets that can no longer can be contained before fading out. The demo and live versions floating around on youtube never match this for the productions takes the storytelling to an almost transportative level unmatched by any other release this year.

01 : Kickstarts – Example

A British rap and rave hybrid sounds like something that should be topping a list of worst tracks of the year, not best. But this, the commercial breakthrough for up and coming British rapper Example, shattered expectations with it’s breath- taking blend of clubby beats, emotive spoken word and the kind of wistful but bruised lyrics that the word bittersweet was invented to describe. The more hardcore club edges are beautifully tempered by one of the biggest and most pop-tastic choruses of the year. Grown up pop didn’t come more appealing, thrilling or accessible in 2010 than this absolutely perfect gem of a track. Best song of the year, hands down.

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