Sunday, November 27, 2011

p²'s Favorite Songs of 2011 -- The Big Finale

Adam Levine (just because)
So before we move on to the top 11, I have to drop in a song that I thought I had on last year's list but I must not have really heard it until it was too late. If I had realized I left it off last year, it would have been in the top five this year. So consider this 5a.:

Just The Way You Are (Bruno Mars) – This song has to be in the running for best love song ever written. A love song should make you want to be in love. And if this one doesn't then you probably have coal where your heart should be. Best lyrics: “When you smile, the whole world stops and stares for a while” and “if perfect's what you're searching for then just stay the same”. Plus, he's just downright adorable in the video.

11. We Found Love (Coldplay / Rihanna Ft. Calvin Harris) – If I'd only ever heard the Rihanna (I always want to spell her name with the h before the i) version of this song, it would still be on the list. I've said many times that I don't really get the Rihanna mania that the gays can sometimes exhibit, so probably it would have ended up somewhere in part one of this list. Well, I should clarify. If I had heard her version of this song when I was still doing ecstasy and going to the Roxy in NYC, it might be number one on the list. But I no longer do either of those things. Either way the song is awesome. If you haven't heard the Coldplay cover, click play below. You won't be sorry.

10. Just A Dream (Nelly) – First off, I'm aware this song is from 2010. But as with a lot of the other songs on this list, I never heard it until I started driving again and had occasion to listen to pop music radio. Even more importantly, what the hell is a Nelly song doing in my top ten?! (interroBANG) I was looking over his list of singles and most of them I'd never heard and the one I did hear, I loathed. So I just assumed I would never like anything he did. I couldn't have been more wrong. There is nothing about this song that I don't love – the lyrics, the music, his voice. It all works for me.

9. Desperate Girls & Stupid Boys (Kimberly Caldwell) – I doubt anyone else has ever heard this song. If I hadn't been looking for a video or clip of her first single circa 2005 I'd have never stumbled across this. And my pop music life would be poorer. I don't know this for sure, but someone big (Katy Perry, P!nk, even Kelly) could probably have scored a top ten hit with this. It's catchy as all get out. I didn't really remember Kimberly Caldwell having such a great voice when she was on season 2 of Idol. There's a reason I don't remember. If you want to see how much they can clean up someone's vocals with that little invention they call autotune, compare the video with this acoustic version.

8. Just a Kiss (Lady Antebellum – I've never been a real big country music fan (in fact, I downright hated it for years), but there seem to be a lot more cross-over country/pop songs and artists these days. The song and the video are so sweet that they almost give you a cavity, but it works anyway. For the video in particular, it doesn't hurt that both the lead singer and the male “lead” of the video story are both easy on the eyes.

7. Nothing (The Script) – This song barely made it into the top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 and it's sliding backward quickly, but I'm not sure why. It's an awesome song. My only quibble: The bells in the chorus sound exactly like the “something's wrong” bell in my car. So every time it comes on the radio, I start looking for the check engine light or the door is open light. You'd think I'd have it figured out by now, but it still gets me every time. I really like that the title of the song for the video is Nothing (Drinking Version). I wonder if there is a sober version.

6. Lighters (Bad Meets Evil feat. Bruno Mars) – I went to Wikipedia to find out what the deal with Bad Meets Evil is and got a whole lot of drama I was not expecting. I won't bore you with the long version. Suffice it to say that rap stars form, dissolve and reform friendships with the same frequency and maturity (and seemingly for the reasons) as third graders. If you've heard the song, you know that Eminem is half (the Evil half) of Bad Meets Evil. And if you read this blog regularly, you know that any song with Eminem and Bruno Mars is automatically one of my ten favorites of the year. I'm not sure that it's totally coincidental that Royce da 5'9” is the Bad half. His verse seems mostly to be there to illustrate how good a rapper Eminem is. But nothing could ruin this song for me. He just kept it from being in the top five. As an aside, in my ideal future world, Eminem is named the nation's poet laureate by President Chelsea Clinton in 2025.

5. Save Me San Francisco (Train) – I actually first heard (and loved) this song last year when I downloaded the album but I didn't really start listening to it regularly until this year. Wikipedia reports that the song peaked at #75, but I can't find any evidence of it charting at all on Billboard's website. That's kind of strange since I've been hearing a lot on the radio. Nevertheless, it's got this throwback sound that always makes me think of Angel Is a Centerfold when I hear it. And I love the lyric, “I been yes and I been oh hell no.” What can I say? I'm a sucker for HELL no.

4. Stereo Hearts (Gym Class Heroes feat. Adam Levine) – First I want to be clear that I'm quite happy being me. However, if I were given the chance to be any pop star I wanted for a week or so I think I'd have to go with Adam Levine. His voice is sexy, his face is sexy, his swagger is sexy and his body is ridiculously sexy. I've already stated a few times that I love the hip-hop/pop blend that seems to be dominating the Billboard chart these days. This is probably the very best of those songs. I was surprised to learn this song is from the fifth album by Gym Class Heroes since I've never heard of them before. They've had one other hit single, Cupid's Chokehold/Breakfast in America. I vaguely remember the sampling of Breakfast in America but I found the song on youtube and I really don't remember it. Stereo Hearts is definitely memorable.

3. Faster (Matt Nathanson) – This song only made it to #74 on the Hot 100 chart, but it got all the way to #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart, so you may have heard it before. This easily could have been my favorite song of the year, until I watched the video. OMG. It may be the creepiest video I've ever seen. I don't want to be the one to break this to Matt Nathanson (so don't anyone send him the link to this post), but he does NOT have a face for close ups. You couldn't see, but I shuddered as I wrote that. There was something else about the video that freaked me out and I couldn't figure out what it was until just now when I watched it again. I can't help thinking when I watch him in it that that's exactly what it would look like if someone did a dose of GHB before going to shoot the video. The exaggerated sexy faces and gyrations that really aren't sexy at all – totally what people high on GHB look like.

2. Mr. Know It All (Kelly Clarkson) – WHAT???!!! Kelly only gets number two on this year's list?! Am I insane? Have I lost my mind? Just settle down now. I LOVE this song. LOVE LOVE LOVE it. But you know what? I think there are even better songs on the album and I suspect about four of them are going to be in next year's top 15 so I'm going to back off here and give some well-deserved props to another Idol winner who probably isn't making anyone else's list this year.

1. The Last Goodbye (David Cook) – David gets virtually no love from radio stations. This song made it into the top 20 on the Adult Contemporary chart, but I don't remember ever hearing it on the radio. Not even once. I'm not sure why that is. To me, he's the male incarnation of Kelly Clarkson. He's got a great voice. His music has a tinge of rock to it, but it's definitely poppy enough for radio. This song is awesome. It completely holds its own with any other song on this list. You can disagree with me, but you'll be wrong. That is all.

Even with more than 30 songs on the list, there were songs I liked very much this year that didn't make it. But the line has to be drawn somewhere. To be honest, I know part of it was just that I have a car now and I listen to the radio a lot more. But this really was my favorite pop music year since 2005 (Breakaway and The Emancipation of Mimi were among my favorite albums – there were probably five or six songs on each one that I thought were great). Just like I said at the end of part one, I hope there were some songs on the list that you'd never heard and maybe like as a result of hearing them here. Here's hoping 2012 is just as good a year for me and pop music.

1 comment:

  1. Hi P2 - I love your writing and enthusiasm for all things pop. For this reason, I nominate you for the Liebster Blog Award.

    Liebster is a German word that means dearest,and this award is given to bloggers with less than 200 followers who deserve more recognition.

    Here are the rules:

    Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
    Link back to the blogger who awarded you.
    Give your top 5 picks for the award.
    Inform your top 5 by leaving a comment on their blog.
    Post the award on your blog.

    Love, The Fibitz (