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The Glenny Guide To… The Top 50 Tracks of the Year : 40 – 31

December 28, 2011

AND, so on to Part 2 of our countdown.  Now that some of my more guilty pleasures (Ke$ha, Kim Kardashian, etc) it’s time to get on to some more credible artists.  Like Will Young or, umm, Cher Lloyd.  No!  Wait!  Come back..

40 : Disco Blisters and a Comedown – Nicola Roberts

While Kathy Beth Terry may have released the most popular party anthem of 2011, little Nicola Roberts from Runcorn issued the best.  The b-side to Beat Of My Drum was like Lily Allen on Amyl, a hilariously debauched tale of heavy partying, one night stands, bad fake tans and morning regret.  Skip to any spot in the song to find a corker of a lyric.  While “sent my best friend home, looks like she’s been tango-ed” is a winner, our personal favourite is the chorus’s “why do the lights in the Kebab Shop make this guy look less hot, he’s looking like John Prescott.”  Which is hilarious if you know who John Prescott is..  Why this was only a b-side is beyond us..

39 : You And I – Lady Gaga 

In between hatching from eggs, rolling around naked in Cheerios and turning herself into a mermaid, Lady Gaga somehow managed to find the time to release a couple of amazing tunes.  Now, sure, Born This Way the album felt like an epileptic having a seizure in a mixing booth in parts, but there is no denying that some of the music was brilliant.  While she may have drowned out some of the sweeter, more sincere edges of this in some overheated barroom stomp like a second rate Def Leppard cover band, the lyrics and melody on this are some of the best she’s ever done.  Strip this back to just a piano and you’d have a Top 10 contender but, even when Gaga is at her most over-inspired, she’s still pretty special.  Bonus points for having head and shoulders the best video of this album campaign as well.

38 : Swagger Jagger – Cher Lloyd

Little known fact of 2011 – Cher Lloyd actually recorded it’s best song.  Unfortunately, she also managed to record it’s worst.  Then she meshed them both into the same song.  And voila – we have whatever the fuck a ‘swagger jagger’ is.  The verses on this are actually pretty brilliant and the part where she turns her voice into an air raid siren is inspired.  But the ‘My Darling Clementine’ aping chorus is the worst appropriation of an old movie score since Gwen Stefani took the corpse of The Lonely Goatherd and raped it repeatedly for three and half minutes.  Sure, Cher hops around like a bug-eyed hyperactive Manga carton in the video, but she’s still one of the most exciting pop stars to come onto the scene all year.

37 : Sun Hits – Memory Tapes

I stumbled across New Jersey Electronica artist Memory Tapes earlier this year when iTunes offered this sublimely melodic piece of summer guitar pop as a free track of the week.  I think I just liked the name ‘Memory Tapes’ for a band.  Six months on and I can’t stop playing his sophomore album on repeat, which mixes uplifting Pixies style power pop with dark, moody electronic pieces.  But it’s still this that shines through like bright sunny afternoon – uplifting alterna-pop at its best.

36 : Taking Over The Dancefloor – Nadia Oh

Few musicians had the chutzpah to write Kate Middleton into a song in 2011.   Even fewer had the insane stroke of genius to rhyme it in the chorus with everything from Moonbahton to Patron.  And then, well, just throwing the suffix ‘ton’ onto a swag of different words at random.  Thankfully, English singer, rapper and producer Nadia Oh seems to be certifiably batshit insane and therefore produced one of the years most inspired and original dance tracks.  With massive synths, amazingly bored sounding robo-vocals and the vague threat that she’s gonna ‘tek your money’, it’s like Rosie the Robot singing Xanadu in the ghetto for three glorious minutes, which really is quite a good thing when you think about it.  (The real radio goes for longer than the clip below, but I’ll be fucked if I can find it on youtube..)

35 : I Just Had Sex – The Lonely Island feat. Akon

While LMFAO may have cornered the market on insanely catchy comic pop numbers, Saturday Night Live duo The Lonely Island showed how it could be done when it was truly funny.  Everything from the singalong chorus to the hilarious Blake Lively and Jessica Alba starring video was done perfectly.  Bonus points for pretty much being the first thing Akon has ever put his name to that hasn’t made me want to stab him with a fork.  Also – Andy Samberg?  He just needs to DO ME already..

34 : Stupid Game – Melanie C

“I’m not gonna fall apart just to get your attention” might be my favourite lyric for a chorus this year.  Especially when it’s delivered with such defiance and vitriol as this, an album track from Melanie C’s surprisingly sublime fifth album The Sea.  Over a frenetic glam rock beat, she struts all over the shop with the kind of self assurance that must only come with once being the most famous woman on the planet.  It’s also a brilliantly aggressive running track if you’re in the market for that sort of cathartic cardio goodness.  Top Tip!

33 : Jealousy – Will Young

Another English pop star thought past his prime, 2011 saw former UK Pop Idol Young come back with one of the best songs of his career.  Ditching the straight forward balladry of previous efforts for a more electronic sound (clearly this is the in thing this season with washed up UK pop stars.  See also – Melanie C) he relaunched himself with this beautifully sung trip-pop number.  Bonus points for coupling it with the most gloriously homoerotic video clip this side of Adam Rickett..

32 : The One That Got Away – Katy Perry

With sophomore release Teenage Dream starting to become the single campaign equivalent of The Never Ending Story, Perry finally seemed to wrap things up with this, a wistful mid-tempo number where she sweetly reminisces about a failed summer romance.  While much of the album was taken up with dance anthem odes to drinking, partying and East Coast supremacy, The One That Got Away reminded us that Perry still had the heart of a more traditional singer-songwriter, even if she rarely trusts it to shine through.  Lyrical nuggets like the June and Johnny Cash reference were sweetly observed and the gutsy vocal on the chorus was spot on.  Now, if only she’d just release CIRCLE THE FUCKING DRAIN, we could all just move on.

31 : Put Your Hands Up – Nerina Pallot

Originally written for inclusion on Kylie Minogue’s Aphrodite album (Pallot is responsible for the title track still among others) but jettisoned in favour of another track that Minogue accumulated with the same name, Put Your Hands Up ended up opening Pallot’s latest album instead.  Minogue’s loss is our gain however as the gorgeously dusky track is the guitar pop equivalent of a top shelf liqueur chocolate – sweetly addictive and well worth savouring.  Starting with a sexily understated whisper before morphing into a full on Bacharach strings-apalooza it was one of the years most underrated gems.

Should have 30 – 21 up later tonight, just got to finish my other countdown on first.  Feel free to check it out!

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