The Glenny Guide To… The Top 50 Tracks of 2011 : 30 – 21
And FINALLY we reach the halfway mark! And then, as an additional special Glenny party trick, we’re going to jump over the halfway mark, turn around and urinate all over it. Mostly because I can and also because this has sucked up about 87% more of my Christmas vacay than I planned. Thankfully, making fun of people I vaguely respect is pretty much my FAVOURITE THING EVER.
So, ONWARD :-
30 : Called Out In The Dark – Snow Patrol
Having been long dismissed as everything from irrelevant to, worse, Coldplay-lite, new album Fallen Empires showed a band very much back on form, producing their best and most interesting body of work since 2004’s breakthrough release Final Straw. While the vague electronic sounds of the opening single may have scared some listeners that Gary Lightbody (seriously – isn’t that just the COOLEST name?) and co were bandwagon-jumping, the musical core, as always, was still solid tunes, strong melodies and Lightbody’s unique and tender way with a lyric. We’d call it a comeback, but he’d probably hate us.
29 : Born This Way – Lady Gaga
Sometimes self empowerment anthems just happen. Sometimes they find ground over time. And, sometimes, they are cooked up in musical laboratories by the pop music equivalent of a mad scientist and rammed down our throats whether we like it or not. Don’t get me wrong – Born This Way is a good song. In fact, it’s bordering on great. But it’s damned near impossible to listen to it free from the six months of ‘This Is The Greatest Song of Our Generation’ self-hype that the Gaga Machine subjected us to in its lead up. That being said, the sentiment is great, the actual melody is brilliant and the chorus is fucking immense. Hopefully, in 2012, Lady Gaga can just trust herself to get about making amazing music without feeling the constant compulsion to beat us over the head pointing out how brilliant and clever everything is. “Look, I’m being birthed out of a giant egg. Because I’m born this way..” WE GET IT!!!!$!!@! Etc, etc..
28 : Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5 feat. 36 Pictures Of Christina Aguilera Looking AWFUL
The pop equivalent of audio crack, few tunes were more addictive this year than this three and a half minute advertisement for US talent show The Voice (basically Idol, but with SWIVEL CHAIRS!) Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera made for a surprisingly dynamite vocal pairing, taking what originally seemed like 2011’s most cynically conceived release and turning it into one of it’s most inspired, especially considering how different it is to either’s back catalogue. Levine’s scrawny torso in the accompanying clip was a mild cause for concern, but that’s probably just down to Aguilera eating the contents of the shoot’s Catering Van. And, quite possibly from the looks of it, the actual Van.
27 : Love You Like A Love Song – Selena Gomez & The Scene
The latest release by Disney Starlet slash Tween Popstar slash apparent all round Renaissance Woman Selena Gomez proved surprisingly listenable, which was somewhat surprising considering she’s more famous in these parts for simply just being where Justin Bieber allegedly parks his Johnson a lot of the time. A delightfully sultry, borderline sleazy electro pop-lite number, it hooks into your brain like an underage earworm and simply refuses to get out. Looks like we might have the a successor for Miley Cyrus after all. Now, to find Gomez a bong and some ‘Salvia’..
26 : I Wanna Go – Britney Spears
It’s Britney, BITCH. While it was easy to mock the same-samey autotuned vocals and glossy dancescapes of Femme Fatale, it was hard to deny their helium-fuelled exuberance. No more so than this, the standout song on the album. It was nice to see some of the trademark Britney Growl back on show, especially with the deliciously carnal lyrics the Max Martin-penned I Wanna Go served up. With the song and the video’s ‘Terminator styled by Kurt Hummell’ aesthetic being just so much damned fun, it was good indeed to FINALLY have Britney back.
25 : Niggas In Paris – JAY Z & Kanye West
This owner of this years most controversial song title was also one of it’s best. The collaboration between musical titans West and Z managed to live up to the best work of both. Over icy synthesisers and slow, menacing beats they managed to throw references to everything from the Olsen Twins to McDonalds burgers and even included an amazingly WTF sample of Will Ferrell laughfest Blades Of Glory.
Here’s the top EIGHT most B-A-N-A-N-A-S moments of the whole song :-
- “If you’d escaped what I escaped, you’d be in Paris getting fucked up too..”
- “That shit KRAY”
- “Come and meet me in the bathroom stall and show me why you deserve to have it all”
- “What she order – Fish Fillet?”
- “Prince William ain’t do it right if you ask me cause I were him I’d marry Kate and Ashley”
- “Excuse my French but I’m in France”
- “The Doctors say I’m suffering from realness”
- and, of course, “Got my Niggas in Paris and they’re going Gorillas, HUH!”
24 : Wish You Were Here – Avril Lavigne
Sometimes it’s just so easy to overlook Lavigne’s songwriting talent in the sheer face of her brattish awfulness, particularly in light of this years disastrous mall punk on crack career comeback attempt. But tracks like this, a beautiful, plaintive number that put the subtle back in power ballad, proved that there was still life in the old pink-haired girl yet. Singing the raw, honest lyrics with a catch in the back of your throat sincerity not often associated with a Lavigne record, you can’t help but kind of hope that her career might just bounce back after all. I still get choked up every time I hear the “You’re always there, you’re everywhere. Right now I wish you were here..” bridge for some reason. Now, if we could just keep her away from that douchebag nozzle Brody Jenner..
23 : Titanium – David Guetta feat. Sia
French DJ Extraordinaire Guetta worked with pretty much every musical man and his dog for his latest album, but it was his collaboration with Australian indie darling Sia that produced the standout track. The urban dance equivalent of a ballad, it soars along not on Guetta oversized dance beats but on Sia’s own vocally delivery, creating an emotionally affecting dancfloor epic in the grandest sense. Katy Perry’s Firework may have already cornered the market for arms aloft dancefloor self-empowerment anthems, but THIS is music that really stirs the soul.
22 : Video Games – Lana Del Rey
In the spirit of honesty, I only heard this three days ago. I’ve already played it more than half the songs on the countdown. Pitched as a ‘Gangsta Nancy Sinatra’, few new artists polarized music bloggers more in 2011 than Lana Del Ray. Sometimes, none of it matters though when you have music as intoxicating as this, a sumptuous piano driven lament that sweeps across your stereo like the pop equivalent of an old Ennio Morricone movie score. The fact that Del Rey is in possession of the sultriest pout this side of Scarlett Johansson surely didn’t hurt matters either. There is no new artist that I’m more excited to watch develop than Del Rey in 2012.
21 : You Love Me – Kelly Clarkson
After commiting commercial hari kari with 2007’s (admittedly awesome) My December and then trying to please everyone with the enjoyable but over-calculated follow up All I Ever Wanted, 2011 saw ex Idol Clarkson finally settle into a comfortable groove that sounded distinctly all hers. While Mr Know It All saw her add an R&B flavour to her musical armour and upcoming single What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger) sees her basically re-imagining Cher’s Believe for the modern generation, this gorgeous 80’s rock ballad was the best indication of the direction Clarkson was steering in. Unlike most vocal powerhouses, Clarksons strength has always been the fact that she undersings just as well as she belts and that sense of vocal understatement really packs a punch here. By the time she Bonnie Tyler’s her way through the final “The truth is that you’re not good enough, you’re not good enough” post-chorus fadeout at the end, you’re caught someone between singing along and feeling emotionally sucker punched. An album highlight and a future single if there is any justice in the world..
And here’s the links to the previous entries in case you missed them :-