Sunday, November 20, 2011

p²'s Favorite Songs of 2011 -- Part One

It's time for p²'s favorite songs of the year again. In past years, most of my pop music has come from songs and artists I've heard on American Idol, with a smattering of things that either were impossible not to hear or I heard on the American Music Awards. This year however, I have a car. And my car stereo doesn't have any workable way for me to plug my iPhone into it and only hear the music I want to hear. So that means the number of songs I can actually identify this year is probably more by a factor of ten than the previous three years combined.

That has made it far more difficult to narrow the list down to 25 songs. In fact, as I'm writing this I still haven't gotten it below 35 so it's anyone's guess how many days this post will end up spanning.

I can tell you this though. You won't find an Adele song on this list. It's not that I never liked Adele or that I think the songs are bad. It's that I'm suffering from Chronic Adele Fatigue Syndrome. Symptoms include:
  • not wanting to know what Adele might be rolling in;
  • not caring what rumors are being spread by or about Adele;
  • and absolutely not being remotely interested in knowing whether Adele has found someone like the person who recently dumped her – which, if you think about it, is just a recipe for disaster anyway.
In the interest of leaving some to put on the list next year, I'm also limiting the list to two Kelly Clarkson songs. Let's get started.

32. Edge of Glory / You and I (Lady Gaga) – I'm including these songs together because I did like them both when they were first released. And maybe if I weren't stuck listening to awful San Diego radio every day I wouldn't have heard them each a million times and therefore might not have gotten sick of them. However, the other day I was driving to work and Just Dance (from her first album) came on. At that moment I realized that it wasn't just that I was sick of these songs; it wasn't only that they asked/insisted that she record a version of You and I that replaced Nebraska with California (but that *was* appalling); it is mostly that her second album just isn't as good as Fame Monster. There is no Bad Romance, no Just Dance and absolutely no Speechless on it. These songs are good enough to make the very bottom of the list, whereas in 2009 six songs from Fame Monster made the list. Let's hope Gaga returns to her roots – or at the very least takes Kelly Clarkson up on her desire to collaborate on a song.

31. On the Floor (Jennifer Lopez) – When this song was first released, I was so over J-Lo and her inconsistent and useless advice for the Idol contestants that I refused to even listen to it. The first time I remember consciously hearing it was when we were playing tennis at USD and a troop of shirtless blond boys came on the courts and hooked their iPod up to the public address system so that their Euro/gay dance music was serenading us the entire time. I really wanted to be irritated, but every time I looked over there was some hot blond college guy either smacking his forehand cross court or bending over to pick up a ball. There was absolutely nothing I could think to be upset about, so I just sang along. Since they only had about 12 songs on their playlist and we played for two hours, you can only imagine how many times I heard On the Floor that day. But the association of that song to visions of hot shirtless guys playing tennis ensures that I'll probably never get sick of hearing it.

30. Modern Love (Matt Nathanson) – I don't have a lot to say about this song. It's the title track from what apparently is his seventh album – Modern Love is only the second one to chart. This wasn't/hasn't been released as a single, but I still think it's a great song. Here's the acoustic version live.

29. Loser Like Me (Rachel, Mercedes, Finn, Santana & Brittany) – I said when this episode of Glee – which was the episode where they did original songs – aired that for one episode they wrote more good original songs than Idol managed in ten seasons. It's not going to win a Grammy, but in light of the attention that's been given to high school bullying the last couple years it's a pretty awesome anthem. It's still give me goosebumps when I watch the clip.

28. Falling In (Lifehouse) – I think we'll see a trend developing that the songs I love fall into two categories. Either they hit number one (or thereabouts) or they barely charted (or didn't chart at all). Falling In is in the latter category. I loved it from the first time I heard it on the radio, but only just now when I went to youtube to get a clip of it did I realize that the lead singer is HOTTTTTT (and blond, which is really just a synonym for hot in my thesaurus). You're welcome.

27. This Time (Pia Toscano) – I will probably do a short blog post before the end of the year highlighting songs I like from recent Idol contestants, but this one was on my 5-star playlist for so long that it would be wrong not to include it here. The lyrics are pretty sappy, and in some cases not even remotely grammatically correct (my bags is packed at the back of your door), but Pia can sing and it will be kind of a shame if she doesn't get a decent record contract with a label that will actually try to help her succeed. This single sold a whopping 65,000 copies so it doesn't appear that Interscope is that label.

26. Written In the Stars (Tinie Tempah feat. Eric Turner) – This is one of I believe 53,875 songs by rap/hip-hop artists with pop singers (in reality, I think Eric Turner hasn't really ever done anything before this, but it's the same concept) singing the hook. But it's a good hook.

25. Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall (Coldplay) – I had no idea I liked Coldplay until this year. I know someone whose name I now forget Matt Giraud did Viva La Vida on Idol a couple years ago, but I never really knew the song until I got my car in March and heard it on the radio. It also was one of my most played songs this year, but since it's from circa 2008 I'm not including it on this list. Instead I'm including this, which I don't like nearly as much as Viva La Vida. It's a darn good song nonetheless.

24. The Best One Yet (Black Eyed Peas) – I have no idea why the Peas (we're tight) didn't release this as a single. Personally, I think it's the best one yet (on the album The Beginning). The first time I heard it (which was about a year ago now) I thought if songs had an evolutionary chain this one would trace back like this: The Best One Yet → One More Time (Daft Punk) → Holiday (Madonna) → Celebration (Kool and the Gang). Obviously I was the only one that gave it that much credit, but I still think it's an amazing song.

23. Super Bass / Fly (w/Rhianna) (Nicki Minaj) – I totally did not get Nicki Minaj the first 300 times I heard her. But damn she wears ya down after a while – boom, badoom, boom, boom, badoom, boom, he got that super bass. I figured I'd include the song she did with Rhianna here too because I still don't really get her, but the song works.

So, tomorrow (or the next day – let's say sometime this week) we'll have 22 through 11. I hope there's a song or two that you hadn't heard that your glad you did now. 

1 comment:

  1. How did you not know that the lead singer for Lifehouse is hot?

    Also, I had no idea that you watched Glee. For some reason, I thought you stayed away from it (which never made sense to me, considering it's the real version of the fake stuff you watch on the same network, so maybe I was wrong and you do follow it).

    Not a bad list. I wouldn't throw Gaga in there, even just to make a snarky remark or two about her. I, like you, loved her first 1.5 records. When "Alejandro" came out last year, it started becoming painfully clear what she was doing and when she continued to do it, I was saddened, to say the least. Sure, "Edge of Glory" and "Marry the Night" are attention-grabbing, catchy-as-all-hell pop songs, but we've heard them before, through various iterations produced by innumerable artists. As for "You and I" (which was actually released in 2010, but I understand its placement here), I don't think it's even a decent enough song to be mentioned in the same paragraph as "Edge of Glory," which, as you made clear, is mediocre compared to what seems (seemed?) to be within Ms. Germonatta's musical capabilities.

    The great thing about a list like this is that nobody gets to argue with it. These are the things that you like and there is often little reason as to why we like what we do. Sometimes we even admit to liking pure shit; guilty pleasures are sometimes what keep us alive. What I like about lists like these, though, is that, even when you know someone really well, they always offer extra insight. So, thanks for that.