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Top 10 songs of 2011

By Edited Mar 10, 2014 0 0

2011 has been a pretty awesome year for music with phat beats, dope rhymes and lots and lots of Auto-Tune! So, what are the best songs of 2011 so far? Read on for a top 10 list and feel free to post a comment with your own thoughts.

10. "Rolling In The Deep" by Adele: Where this song came from nobody knows! And where Adele's booming, bluesy voice comes from is also a mystery! If anyone can listen to this song without beating the rhythm on a table or stomping on the floor in time with the music I'd be surprised. "Rolling in the Deep" is a real standout song for 2011 because there is no Auto-Tune, there are no electronic effects and it's all about the voice.

9. "Just Can't Get Enough" by The Black Eyed Peas: With the Auto-Tune and repetition of lyrics that we've come to associate with Will.I.Am this song features more of Fergie than other works. Unsurprisingly, it's a song about addictive love and was supposedly designed to showcase her range as a singer but she never really takes off into the great heights we hope for. It's a fun song with some nice electronic sounds but is a bit too familiar to anyone who has heard a Black Eyed Peas song before.

8. "Look At Me Now" by Chris Brown featuring Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes: Actually this should be "Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes featuring Chris Brown" since his rapping was nowhere near the standard of theirs. It's such a catchy song and the sounds are so weird in it that "Look At Me Now" is one of 2011's highlights. It's old-school and new-school at the same time and is surely Chris Brown's comeback song.

7. "Never Say Never" by Justin Bieber featuring Jaden Smith: This song was actually rewritten to be the theme song for "The Karate Kid" after originally being titled "Sexy Together" in a version with sexually suggestive lyrics by Travis Garland. It was a real standout on the film's soundtrack and contained the essential ingredient for a successful song in 2011: Justin Bieber.

6. "S&M" by Rhianna: On the surface this song has everything that a good pop song should have: soft-controversy, a music video banned in several countries, repetitive lyrics and a chorus made up of letters instead of actual words. But the song is just too soft to be impressive for long. It sounds more like the opening theme to an afternoon sit-com aimed at kids rather than the risqué, boundary-pushing work that it claims to be. But it really is just tongue-in-cheek Eurodance pop and the more you hear it, the more you like it, until you don't like it again. It just must be funny when a father comes home to watch his children singing and dancing to this song only to realise what the lyrics are saying!

5. "Black and Yellow" by Wiz Khalifa: Clearly the most loved and hated single of the year it's both annoying and catchy. Who even knew who Wiz Khalifa was before this song? And no one really knew what the song was about but we sure knew the lyrics! Maybe it was about bumble-bees. Maybe it was about Pikachu. Maybe it was about a Ferrari. Khalifa has said that the song is about the colours of the City of Pittsburgh but these are actually black and gold. Argh - I can't get the song out of my head now!

4. "Firework" by Katy Perry: This was an extremely successful song for Katy Perry selling more than half a million downloads in its first week. It's an upbeat, pro-everyone song in a year when the world needs some uplifting. It's really an anthem of reassurance for teenagers and was released after a string of cyber-bullying incidents, some of which resulted in suicides and were covered extensively in the media. Perry had aimed to write an anthem and tried to do it so that it was 'not cheesy'. But this song is very cheesy - and that's why it worked so well! It's not so much fist-pumping uplifting so much as dancing barefoot on the freshly cut grass in the sunshine uplifting.

3. "Grenade" by Bruno Mars: this pop/R&B ballad was battling Katy Perry's "Firework" for top place on the charts in January before finally kicking her off for the first two weeks of February. The song wasn't the most catchy of 2011 but certainly spoke to a lot of thirteen-year-old girls who could identify with the theme of unrequited love (which so rarely turns up in pop music these days). The film clip also created concern with some parents worried that their angst-ridden teens would take its romanticization of suicide literally rather than as 'artistic expression'. The key to this song being so successful is that the theme should mean that the expression is dark and bitter but instead 'Grenade' is actually really fluffy and digestible! 

2. "E.T." by Katy Perry featuring Kanye West: After losing the battle for pole position on the charts to Bruno Mars, Katy was back with the help of Kanye West. Basically you can't go wrong with the "stomp-stomp-clap" beat made so famous by Queen in "We Will Rock You". This is a real space-future-aliens song with lots of Auto-Tune so its perfect for 2011. It combines electronica with pop and hip-hop and almost reaches the freakishness of a Rihanna ballad. "E.T." is a song about falling in love with a foreigner so it's kind of funny that Kanye West took this 'alien' metaphor so literally with lyrics like "I'm 'a disrobe you then I'm 'a probe you. See, I abducted you so I tell you what to do." But remember, Kanye is a genius.

1. "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga: Madonna is back! Wait - no, that's Lady Gaga with her homage to the woman-power and gay-power movements of the 90s. It's all about being yourself because you're 'born this way' even if you're gay, lesbian, Lebanese or Orient. Another way to put it might be "Express Yourself" as Madonna did a couple of decades ago. But, there's a new generation and this is the anthem for them. As Lady Gaga said, "It's not about the track. It's not about the production. It's about the song. Anyone could sing 'Born This Way'." And that's why this song gets number one - because 'anyone could sing it'. And, if anyone can sing it, it's going to be in their head and they're going to buy the single. That's what makes good pop music.



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