The Glenny Guide To… The Top 50 Tracks of 2011 : 10 – 2
I’m back Bitches! And imma bringing 9/10’s of the Top Ten Tracks of the Year with me. So, put down your hangovers, turn up your laptop speakers, and get ready to reminisce on some of the awesomeness that was the year that was. Now, try saying THAT ten times fast..
10 : Beat Of My Drum – Nicola Roberts
In at number ten we have The Little Popstar That Could. Proving that there was life in the ‘Ex Girlband Members Releasing AMAZING Solo Material’ Horse was Style Queen, Entrepreneur and all around awesome Captain of Team Ginge Nicola Roberts. Right from the moment that the first 23 seconds of debut single Beat Of My Drum (relive the countdown HERE) leaked online, it was clear that the Diplo produced single was going to be something completely special and, thankfully, more than a little bananas. Basically the comeback track The Ting Tings SHOULD have recorded, Beat Of My Drum literally opened up 2011’s most exciting solo career like a storybook before leading the listener down an exhilarating path of swirly synths, military beats and, finally, a gloriously Bring It On-esque chorus that was so good that Madonna appears to have stolen it wholesale (and, in turned, highlighted how the American Eduction System is clearly failing their students in regards to basic spelling). The most defiantly British sounding release this year hands down. Plus, inexplicably brilliant Angie Jordan mash-up (HERE) was absurdist pop gold too..
09 : You And Me – Penny & The Quarters
Okay, so 2011’s ninth best song was, technically, recorded sometime in the early 1970’s before spending the next thirty odd years gathering dust in a studio warehouse. Never considered anything more than a demo, it was offloaded onto a label boxset in 2007 with so little fanfare that even the original band members have never been identified. Then, out of nowhere, the BEST FILM OF THE LAST YEAR appropriated it for a key emotional scene and, suddenly, it found an audience. The song, a female led motown, doo-wop styled number with heartwrenchingly earnest vocals, is music that just shakes you to your very soul. It might actually be the single most romantic song ever recorded (depending how I feel about Come Away With Me by Norah Jones on any given day). If you haven’t seen Blue Valentine yet – (a) you’re kind of a Loser and, (b) SEE IT. But, in the meantime, go and and part with $1.69 and download this. NOW.
08 : Last Friday Night (TGIF) – Katy Perry
2011 saw Perry cement herself as less top-shelf popstar and more globally recognized brand (pardon the pun. Actually wrote that pre-divorce and only realised said punnage about, oh, five minutes ago?) With everything from perfume lines to tv roles, it was the inspired Kathy Beth Terry borderline performance art pieces (watch the genesis HERE. Seriously, it’s even better than the eventual 80’s Monster Mash of a clip) she did in the lead up to this that was her most inspired. The song was fantastic too, a zippy guitar pop anthem that manages the difficult task of being as much fun as all the semi-debauched acts she sings about, even if thirteen year old girls blacking out and having menage a trois’s were lyrical sketches best not thinking too much about.
07 : Somebody That I Used To Know – Gotye feat. Kimbra
If Nicola Roberts was 2011’s Little Popstar That Could then this, an indeliably haunting duet recounting a failed relationship, was the year’s equivalent song. Sailing along on a xylophone solo that sounds suspiciously like Baa Baa Black Sheep, it was the song that finally took Australian-Belgian singer/songwriter/all round musical genius Gotye off Triple J playlists and firmly into the public’s collective consciousness, bringing New Zealand singer Kimbra along for the ride. Coming across like the best song that The Police never recorded, it was one of the longest running number one’s of the year and, easily, it’s most spine tinglingly beautiful and unexpected. Along with Adele, this is the kind of song that gives you hope for credible music in a land filled with Guetta remixes and Lil Wayne guest spots.
06 : Rumor Has It / Someone Like You – Glee Cast
The quality levels of Glee’s last two seasons may have whipped back and forth more times than Willow Smith’s hair, but there is no denying that the productions numbers have consistently gotten not only better, but more adventurous as the series progresses. This seasons sexy, defiant, disco-tastic mash up of heartwrenching chart topper Someone Like You with the Bruce Willis & Demi Moore offspring ode Rumour Has It was the easily its most arresting and downright enjoyable. Mashing up two such stylistically different songs alone was a stroke of genius, but with the addition of Naya Rivera’s heartfelt and affecting vocals, it managed to almost top the Adele original. In fact, if we learned nothing else this year, it’s that just about EVERYTHING sounds better with Naya Rivera’s sultry, emotive tone over the top of it (see also – Songbird; the epic Thriller/Heads Will Roll mash up from the start of the year HERE)
05 : Think About It – Melanie C
The year’s most surprising musical comeback kid (at least from a critical standpoint) was former Spice Girl Melanie C. In 2011, The Artist Formerly Known As Sporty unleashed an album full of spiky guitar numbers and lush, orchestral soundscapes, coming across like Katy Perry doing Ray Of Light-lite. This peppy, euphoric guitar-driven dance number was the obvious highlight though with her trademark dynamite vocals riding along not one but two but three (THREE) equally uplifting choruses. The remixes were fantastic too. The fact that this only conquered charts in (probably) Germany is one of 2011’s biggest Pop Injustices. If Katy Perry had’ve released this, it would have been a Billboard Number One, no question (question). And yes, we know the video’s a bit rubbish – but we just choose to overlook it..
04 : Judas – Lady Gaga
It turns out, the years most sacrilegious (apparently) tracks was one it’s most delicious. A crazy mad melange of electro-pop, house and Patois-styled inflections, it was one of the years most controversial and downright electrifying. The craziest part was that, for all the flipping out done by various religious bodies, its use of biblical metaphors was creative, true and, ultimately, respectful. While Gaga may be an artist that can, on occasion, court controversy like it’s her apparent lifeblood, this tale of betrayal, redemption and self-loathing was one of best and most exhilarating, both musically and lyrically.
03 : Rolling In The Deep – Adele
Officially now the Year’s Most Inescapable Song (sorry Jess Mauboy) it managed that rare feat of still, twelve months on, not being even the slightest bit infuriating. Like the musical equivalent of an onion, or a deceptively intelligent sorority girl, it just kept revealing layer after layer of unexpected brilliance, even after the 1200th time you heard it. A dark, gospel-influenced blues tune, this is the track that took Adele from critically acclaimed artist to the year’s most surprising (but welcome) global superstar. Play it live? Brilliant. Give it an official Poppers O’Clock dance remix? Genius. Heck, even the hauntingly sinister acapella Glee version was almost equally fantastic. No matter how you shake it, this was the best song of the year. Hands down. Well, except for these two..
02 : Shake It Out – Florence + The Machine
Florence Welch must have spent the latter part of 2011 sticking pins in an Adele-sized voodoo doll given the amount of attention the London songstresses sophomore release garnered. In any other year, a release of the quality of Ceremonials would have attracted the lions share of critical fanfare. Nothing can take away from the ethereal majesty of this though, a sorrowful but ultimately uplifting gospel-tinged anthem that is as cathartic and personal as it is ready built for stadiums the world over. Washing over the listener like the breaking dawn, it was just beautiful. Oh, and for the record, this now joins Grey Will Fade by Charlotte Hatherley, Top Of The World by Dixie Chicks and Drift Away by Dobie Gray as my inevitable funeral song in about sixty years time. It’s just perfect.
Soooo, come back later tonight (Australian Time) and see who made number one. Even though I’m pretty sure several of you already know what it is..
In the meantime, here’s the rest of the Countdown (Boof Boof) :-