Friday, November 25, 2011

p²'s Favorite Songs of 2011 -- Part 2 (of 3)

Thanksgiving is over. The Christmas tree is already up and decorated. I (superficially) cleaned for Thanksgiving so that doesn't really need to be done. I have not one single excuse not to write part 2 of the best songs of 2011 today. Except that I'm hungry, but I suppose I can eat and type at the same time. Fine. Let's get on with it then, shall we.

22. It Will Rain (Bruno Mars) – I'm usually the guy with the we'll see attitude toward any new artist. It wasn't until I heard Gaga do Bad Romance and Speechless that I really gave her a chance. And other than saying how much I loved several songs on Fame Monster, I made no grand predictions for her career. But I'm going out on a limb here. I said this to someone a couple months ago and got mocked for it, but I'm sticking to my guns. Bruno reminds me of a young Michael Jackson, with one exception – when you see a beautiful girl in a Bruno Mars video you don't roll your eyes. So far I've liked everything I've heard from him. And he covered my 16th favorite song of the year on the VMAs and the iHeartRadio Music Festival. Beautifully I should add.

21. Till The World Ends (Britney Spears) – Up until this year, I only ever really liked one Britney song. And it was one specific remix (by BT) of Overprotected. But regardless how I felt about her music, I always found her totally compelling. If she was on the TV (or on the big Times Square screen), I had to watch. Then she went crazy for a while and I was equally compelled to look away. For the most part, she's back to the old Britney, with two differences. A. The music on this album is more mature and (for me) better than anything she's done before. And 2. She's still got that compelling want-to-watch-her quality UNTIL they close up on her. There's something jaded in her eyes that didn't used to be there. I suppose growing up will do that. As for this song, best Britney song EVER!

20. If I Die Young (The Band Perry) – No one in their right mind should love this song. The lyrics couldn't be more depressing. I'm not sure if it's the music or her voice, but I could listen to it all day. There you have it.

19. Don't Be A Girl About It (Kelly Clarkson) – Kelly wrote this song and it's a bonus track on the deluxe edition of the album, so you wouldn't expect it to be a derivative of Since U Been Gone and My Life Would Suck Without You (since she didn't write either of those and you'd think a song in that vein would be slated as a big single). But listen to the intro of this and of My Life... and try to find something different about them. And the lyrics and big chorus are all Max Martin-y. I chose this as one of the two Kelly songs I'm putting on the list because I love it, of course. But also because based on what I wrote above I have a feeling it's not going to be a single. And that's a shame. No one should be deprived of lyrics like, “I knew a guy who changed my world, and then he grew into a little girl.”

18. Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) (Katy Perry) – It's funny that a couple of songs from this Katy Perry album made the list last year and I've got a couple on it this year because honestly I think the album is way weaker than her first. The songs on her first album were super poppy, but with a sense of irony or sarcasm (pr something) to them. The songs on this album are much less Kelly Clarkson and P!nk and much more – I'm not even sure – Belinda Carlisle? Myley Cyrus? Well, whatever it is it certainly worked for her. She's the first female artist ever (think about that) to have five number one hits off the same album. And I don't think her sixth single has even peaked yet so who knows. This is a fun song though. And let's face it. There are far worse things I could say about someone than her music reminds me of one of my five or so favorite pop singers.

17. Rocketeer (Far East Movement feat. Ryan Tedder) / Good Life (OneRepublic) – First, let me clear up why I'm including these together. I went back and forth on how much I like Good Life. Sometimes I love it; sometimes I'm just eh for it (today I'm loving it). But since Ryan Tedder is the lead singer for OneRepublic, I figured this was a good spot to drop it in because it's probably at least as good a song as Rocketeer. I just happen to like Rocketeer better. That's probably because I like the hip/hop-pop blend that's big right now. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE this lyric gimmick they used (I think Nicki Minaj has used it too):

Were on some next level, super Mario
I hope this works out, cardio
Until then let's fly,Geronimo

16. Valerie (Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse) – This song is a cover of a Zuton's (who?) song that was actually release as a single in 2007 (thanks Wikipedia), but sadly I had never heard it until the day Amy Winehouse died. There is apparently a slower version that was a bonus track on her Back to Black album but I don't remember it. Anyway, this version is awesome and I don't think Amy Winehouse ever sounded better than she does here. I do wonder if they did the video the way they did (Where's Amy? Oh well, let's use this girl that looks like her … and any other good lucking chick we can coax on stage) because Amy was in no condition to be in it.

15. Crawling Back To You (Daughtry) – People talk about how American Idol hasn't created very many big stars. And I guess if you're talking sheer numbers that's true. But think about this. The show has given us a solid hit maker in just about every genre of music: Kelly is the pop star; Carrie Underwood is country gold; Jennifer Hudson probably doesn't sell as many records, but no one can deny she's an R&B star; and Daughtry is the rock star. He (they – it's easy to forget he's really a band) was the first Idol alumnus to have back-to-back number one albums. Their third album was just released this past Monday and it debuted at number 3 so he could make it three in a row. This is a great first single. I haven't heard the rest of the album yet, but I'm looking forward to it. And just by the way, if he's not the hottest guy to come out of ten years of Idol, he's at least in the running for it.

14. It Girl (Jason Derulo) – I don't know why, but I don't want to like this guy. He seems like black Justin Bieber to me. But if it weren't for the fact that I never heard Bieber's Baby until this year, it certainly would have made last year's list. So I'm unashamedly putting It Girl on this year's list.

13. Moves Like Jagger (Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera) – This song only made number 13 on my list through no fault of its own. I love this song. Never really get sick of it. It really just demonstrates that I have really loved 13 songs this past year and really from here on out, they are in a more or less random order. Well, not random I guess. But 13 could probably easily be 8 or 9 in a different year. And I think any of the top five could have been my favorite song of the year, but only one of them can own that title so I had to make tough choices. I bumped this down solely on the basis that I like Adam Levine's other hit (with Gym Class Heroes) even more.

12. The One That Got Away (Katy Perry) – This song just hit the top ten, giving Katy only the seventh album ever to drop six top ten hits. As I said earlier, the other five have gone to number one and this one is still climbing so we'll see what happens. Personally, it's my favorite song thus far. I didn't love E.T. or Teenage Dream and California Gurls faded for me after a while, but I've liked each of the last three singles more than the one before it (does that make sense). Of course, because I think this is the best song on the album it almost certainly will NOT go to number one. But there is no doubt that it's the most mature song on the album. And I really hope this is the direction her next album goes. The video ends rather darkly, by the way.

So, 11 more to go. Definitely by the end of next week. Maybe sooner.

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