Two weeks ago, I presented my Top 25 Albums of 2011. Now…it’s time for the Top 50 Singles of 2011!
If the album list was tough, this was one step short of impossible, Shontelle style. Between rock-solid offerings from my favorite pop princesses, to stunning debut tracks from some of MuuMuse’s Most Anticipated artists, to throbbing dance floor bangers from DJs and producers worldwide–there was simply too much to love in 2011!
As a result, the list took a while. I didn’t sleep. I didn’t eat. I haven’t bathed. I’m literally a disgusting music-minded mess right now.
BUT NOW IT IS COMPLETE!
This is a list of 50 of my favorite offerings of the year (plus one honorable mention which was never actually released as a single.) Since I am giving like the Baby Jesus, I’ve created a full playlist of all my Top 50 tracks on Spotify. You are welcome in advance.
So without further ado, check out the full list below. Remember: If you have a problem with the final ranking, please…don’t hold it against me!
50.) Cady Groves – This Little Girl
49.) Keri Hilson – Lose Control/Let Me Down
48.) Dev – In The Dark
47.) Simon Curtis – Flesh
46.) The Wanted – Glad You Came
45.) Kelly Rowland – Motivation (feat. Lil Wayne)
44.) Girls’ Generation – The Boys
43.) Beyonce – 1+1
42.) Darren Hayes – Bloodstained Heart
41.) Emeli Sande – Heaven
40.) Sunday Girl – Love U More
39.) Penguin Prison – Don’t Fuck With My Money
38.) Swedish House Mafia – Save The World
37.) Selena Gomez & The Scene – Love You Like A Love Song
36.) Neon Hitch – Get Over U
35.) The Sound of Arrows – Nova
34.) Avicii – Levels
33.) Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Starlight
32.) Jessie + The Toy Boys – Push It (feat. Yelawolf)
31.) Demi Lovato – Skyscraper
30.) Leona Lewis & Avicii – Collide
25.) Martin Solveig – Hello (feat. Dragonette)
28.) JoJo – Disaster
27.) Rebecca & Fiona – Bullets
26.) Kelly Clarkson – Mr. Know It All
25.) Ke$ha – Blow
24.) Rihanna – S&M
23.) Lady Gaga – Marry The Night
22.) Florence + The Machine – Shake It Out
21.) Wynter Gordon – Til Death
20.) Jennifer Lopez – On The Floor (feat. Pitbull)
19.) Morgan Page – In The Air (feat. Angela McCluskey, Sultan + Ned Shepard, and BT)
18.) Sky Ferreira- Sex Rules
17.) Charli XCX – Stay Away
16.) Britney Spears – Criminal
15.) The Saturdays – All Fired Up
14.) Nicole Scherzinger – Don’t Hold Your Breath
13) Britney Spears – I Wanna Go
12.) Robyn – Call Your Girlfriend
11.) Katy B – Broken Record
10.) Lana Del Rey – Video Games/Blue Jeans (MuuMuse Review)
The gangsta Nancy Sinatra made her quiet YouTube debut earlier this year with her haunting ballad, “Video Games.” Hundreds of pop and hipster bloggers later, Del Rey’s suddenly been thrust into the spotlight for both controversy and adoration alike. But despite the hype, one thing remains true: “Video Games” is an utterly incredible showcase of Lana’s swagger-meets-standards songwriting skills and mesmerizing, old soul vocals. Go on and play your video games, haters.
9.) Nicola Roberts – Beat Of My Drum (MuuMuse Review)
The baby of the bunch stepped out swinging on top of Diplo’s bleepy-bloopy beats for the genius “Beat Of My Drum,” a fierce, chant-y anthem that utterly shattered the quirk-pop mold. Combining the Ginge-pop princess’ left-of-center musical stylings (Kate Bush, Metronomy, et al) with the stilettos ‘n’ high fashion LDN fierceness from her Girls Aloud roots, Roberts provided the strongest debut effort of the entire girl group–by far. Look how strong you’ve made her now!
8.) Will Young – Jealousy (MuuMuse Review)
Unrequited love isn’t exactly the most lush of emotions, but Will Young sure makes it feel that way. With “Jealousy,” the original UK Idol delivers a stunning torch track set to the sound of a dozen warm, throbbing disco pulsations provided by pop maestro Richard X. The result is a beautiful bout of soul-baring honesty, even if it still hurts in the end. Chills guaranteed.
7.) Marina + The Diamonds – Radioactive (MuuMuse Review)
What happens when Marina’s razor-sharp lyricism hits Stargate’s Top 40 synthesizers? A whole lot of dance-y angst brilliance–that’s what. “Radioactive” may have fallen under the radar quickly upon its release, but the brooding, brilliant dance-pop track proved that Marina’s no mere one-trick songstress (and that she sounds damn good with a little bit of a beat.)
6.) Lady Gaga – The Edge of Glory (MuuMuse Review)
Forget that video, forget the obnoxious persona, and “The Edge Of Glory” is still utterly epic. The 5 1/2-minute jam finds Gaga honoring the spirit of her grandfather through a resilient air of whiskey guzzlin’ Springsteen-esque rock ‘n’ roll, dazzling synthesizers, a major saxophone solo by the late Clarence Clemons, and her most earnest, inspiring lyricism to date. Win, win, win!
5.) David Guetta – Titanium (feat. Sia) (MuuMuse Review)
Dear all “It Gets Better” anthems, please take note: THIS is how you properly defy the haters. In a song that continues to prove that indie artists mixed with dance producers equals a whole lot of awesome, Sia gets her titanium-plated armor on against anyone trying to take her down. The Aussie chanteuse’s epic wailing strapped on top of Guetta’s pulverizing beats delivers a blast of defiant energy so massive it’ll knock the headphones right off of your ears.
4.) Adele – Someone Like You
Breaking up sucks–Adele knows. When I first watched the acoustic performance of “Someone Like You” recorded in her home studio late in late January, I burst into tears. When I heard this song driving up to Boston last weekend while balancing a McDonald’s bag between my knees, I started ugly crying as I continued to plow french fries into my mouth. It was a low point, but the takeaway is this: “Someone Like You” is the tear-jerker of the year. For more proof, watch this.
3.) Rihanna – We Found Love (feat. Calvin Harris) (MuuMuse Review)
In late 2011, Rihanna rih-invented herself once again as a Euro-dance floor goddess, resulting in an 8 week (and counting!) run on the Billboard Hot 100 and her most successful single of all time. “We Found Love” proved that the winning pop formula doesn’t have to be complex–in fact, the beauty lies in the simplicity: Shimmering Ibiza beats + Love against all odds lyricism = Pure euphoria.
2.) Britney Spears – Till The World Ends (Review for Britney.com)
Ruminating on the apocalypse has never been quite so fun: With its arena-sized rallying chants (“Ooh-ooh-oh-oh-oh-OOH-ooh!”), stinging electro beats and those utterly killer Ke$ha-penned hooks, “Till The World Ends” not only armed Britney with her very own defining party anthem of 2011, but the highest charting radio song of her entire career. Now THAT is something worth dancing about.
1.) Britney Spears – Hold It Against Me (MuuMuse Review)
“Hold It Against Me” is THE song of 2011, if for nothing but the breakdown alone.
But it’s not just the breakdown: Every single beat, every single syllable (“little hay-zay!”) of the song surges with a heart-racing burst of adrenaline–from the song’s gritty pulse to its nearly a capella twinkling chorus, which at last explodes into one glorious, stomping affair during the song’s final minute.
While “Till The World Ends” is probably the actual song of the year in terms of sales and overall recognition (“Hold It Against Me” didn’t last as long on the charts as Britney’s subsequent Femme Fatale single), it was the strongest assertion yet that, once again, Britney was back.
The song ushered in the new era of Britney, inspired the dub-pop movement that permeates Top 40 radio today, and sounds as fresh and forward-thinking as the day it premiered. Ladies and gentlemen: The true pop revolution of 2011.
Would you hold it against me?
JoJo – Marvin’s Room (Can’t Do Better)
This was never released as an official single, but if it were, it’d be vying for #1 with Britney. Seriously.
JoJo’s cover of Drake‘s Take Care track “Marvin’s Room” is one of the most brilliant things I’ve heard this year.
Heartbroken, desolate, spiteful…you name it, she’s feeling it: JoJo’s haunting re-imagining of the track takes hurt to new levels. It’s in the way Jo’s voice breaks against the weird ambient noises floating in the distance, the bitter lyricism (“Fuck that new girl that you like so bad/And when you’re in her, I know I’m in your head”), and the self-assured sighs of “I’m just saying you could do better…”–apart from “Someone Like You,” there’s no song released this year that feels as crushingly honest. It’s the epitome of a sleepless 4 A.M. spent staring at old text messages and sobbing (not that I’ve ever done that or anything…)
Once you’ve had the best, boy you can’t do better.
See you all in 2012!