That annual ritual is upon us again. I kicked it off with my previous post “And Visions of 2011 Danced In His Head”, which talked about my favourite 20 performers (and one compilation album) that made 2011 glitter for me. I won’t go into much depth about those performers again, other than those whose songs are in my Top 10. I’ve provided links to some notable videos and/or songs in my list below (click on the relevant song titles), particularly some you may not know, as well as some comments. You can see the web-pretty list using the Best of 2011 list in the sidebar to the right or click right here.
Before we begin, only one performer has more than 4 songs on the list, and that is Simon Curtis, who had my #1 song of 2010 “Beat Drop”. Among 7 entries, he has three duets on the list! Then with four songs is Frankmusik, and with three songs apiece we have Penguin Prison, Elouise, Eric Saade, Ro Danishei, and Kyle Brylin. These are no surprises if you’ve read this blog throughout the year.
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin :)
BILL’S TOP 75 SONGS OF 2011
75 TILL THE WORLD ENDS Britney Spears
Unlike much of the pop world, I have never much been a fan of Ms Britney. But this year she recorded the best song of her career thus far which kicks off my year end list. In fact one of the very best reasons for expanding my list to 75 songs this year was to include this song. Well done – more like this please!
74 METAPHOR Nick Hagelin
Portland, Oregon duo Amy Paige and Josh Hoertzel make magical melodies together, and “We Don’t Miss A Beat” is their best yet. Watch for more in 2012.
71 ICE MELTS Matt & Kim
70 ANOTHER DIMENSION Bass Robbers featuring Matt Blue
69 NEVER WILL BE MINE Rye Rye featuring Robyn
68 THE CITY (Richard X emix) Patrick Wolf
It was so grand to hear British singer Patrick Wolf full of positive and happy energy with songs like “The City” from his recent album Lupercalia.
67 TILL IT HURTS (Radio mix) Native Underground
Native Underground and singer Javi Silva (who gave us last year’s tantalizing “Situation”) are part of a New York City new dance/disco undercurrent. Watch for more from them in 2012, including Javi’s other project Chasing The Ghost.
66 CINEMA Benny Benassi featuring Gary Go
65 FALLING Bright Light Bright Light
BrightLightx2 aka Rod Thomas recorded this free download and unique interpretation of the theme from TV’s “Twin Peaks”, originally sung by Julee Cruise.
64 WHITE HORSE Jessica 6
63 MORE (Red One Jimmy Joker remix) Usher
62 STUPID WITH YOU Eric Saade
61 MY FIZZY POP Kyle Brylin
60 THEN I GO TWISTING Erasure
59 ALL YOU NEED IS NOW Duran Duran
58 THE LOVER’S RUMBA Elouise
The first of three contemporized ballroom songs to appear in this list from the fantastic Ballroom Remixed compilation from our favourite UK torch song chanteuse.
One of the most upbeat and carefree songs of the year also had one of the most enjoyable (and interactive) videos!
I must say I was totally enthralled with Chris Brown’s performance of this song on the Grammy Awards – though it was really a lot of special effects that catch your attention more so than the song, you can imagine how much work went into it. But I was totally puzzled that his record company did not promote this song to pop radio, and instead it became a #1 Dance Club Play hit.
Another magnificent Steve Anderson production which turns the song best known as the 80’s hit by Soft Cell into a seductive, smoky, and empowering torchy rendition.
54 ALORS ON DANSE Stromae
Canadian dance trio Audio Playground enlisted Kardinal Offishall for this infectious dance song that perked up Canadian radio playlists this Fall.
48 LADY LUCK Jamie Woon
47 ROCKETEER Far East Movement featuring Ryan Tedder
46 BAD DOG Neon Hitch
45 THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL Elouise
From the little belter herself, a live clip of this version of the ABBA hit which shows that Elouise has the goods and you’ll hear much more from her in 2012.
44 SET FIRE TO THE RAIN Adele
43 MOVES LIKE JAGGER Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera
42 MONSTER Kanye West featuring Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Bon Iver & Nicki Minaj
I will always listen to Kanye West’s music knowing that he can come up with greatness with the help of such friends… and to me Nicki’s outstanding rap in this song is what helped get her on the map.
41 FAIR WARNING (Dirty Vegas remix) Penguin Prison
40 VENOM Long Story Short
A hooky, movie theme-inspired rock song from this duo, who are from Quebec and L.A. Watch for more from Long Story Short in 2012.
39 THE PUPPET WHO GAVE HIMSELF STRINGS Simon Curtis
The most adorable song from Ballroom Remixed which shows a different side of Simon.
38 PREY TO THE BEAT Ro Danishei
Prey To The Beat is the hidden gem in Ro’s End Of The Rainbow album. It can easily slay the dancefloor!
37 BLOCK AFTER BLOCK Matt & Kim
Block After Block is set to one of the best videos of the year – it’s just so much fun, like the duo themselves.
36 PULL THE TRIGGER Adam Tyler
35 MULTI-MILLIONAIRE (Shook remix) Penguin Prison
34 TALK TALK TALK Darren Hayes
Guitarist Matt Webb initially released Cinnamon as a limited free download before appearing on his debut EP Coda and Jacket. It’s one of those perfect summer heartbreak songs that shows another side of this Marianas Trench member.
31 EVERYTHING I’M MISSING Kyle Brylin
As Kyle enters an acoustic phase of his career, his electropop of 2011 leaves its mark especially with this hypnotic song with a video that makes you watch, even reluctantly. And what is it about the eye makeup that helps give this song a bit of a sinister side? ;)
30 SUPERHERO Simon Curtis
Your Superhero arrived in May to stage the arrival of R∆.
29 STUPID (Brad Walsh remix) Databoy
It takes a few listens until you realize what a smart release this is from this Austin TX duo. It’s still available as a free download right here.
28 I WON’T LET YOU GO Adam Tyler
Watch the colourful video from the best song on Adam’s Shattered Ice debut release.
27 MICHELLE Ro Danishei featuring Simon Curtis
Watch Ro and Simon perform this blistering duet from London, the first of two videos from that show in this list!
26 BORN THIS WAY Lady GaGa
25 I’M IN LOVE Christian TV
The first of two pop/dance confections on this list from the Detroit performer who now goes by the moniker JMSN. Watch for more tricks up Christian Berishaj’s sleeve in 2012.
24 PRISONER OF LOVE Jessica 6 featuring Antony Hegarty
Prisoner of Love is just one of those to-die-for duets that happen once in a while. Hopefully this will be the first of many Nomi Ruiz/Antony Hegarty pairings!
23 BLOODSTAINED HEART Darren Hayes
There are few performers who can convey heartbreak so conscientiously as Darren Hayes. The best song on his Secret Codes & Battleships album is also one of his finest vocal performances. Watch the video all the way through.
22 PUMPED UP KICKS (Skeet Skeet Show remix) Foster The People
It’s very clear from their sold out concerts and their praised performances (even on TV’s Saturday Night Live) that Foster The People is not a one-hit pony. Despite the strange subject matter, the song became one of the defining hits of the summer, but my preference is for the frenetic Skeet Skeet Show remix.
21 JACKSONVILLE Brandon Flowers
Held over from 2010, Jacksonville is one of the songs on the deluxe version of Flamingo, an album that could have fared very differently if the excellent deluxe tracks had been the the core of the record. Nonetheless, this is Brandon at his most unique – Jacksonville could have also been kicked up a notch with some dance remixes.
20 DISCO MOMENT Bright Light Bright Light
One of Rod Thomas’ very best songs contains several lyrics that can leave you teary-eyed while you dance: “And I am open, I am open, but I might just close if… /You make it so hard to be around”. The outstanding video will twist your emotions on the spot.
The best song from the Ballroom Remixed compilation is this contemporary jive number, aided immeasurably by the magic fingers of Ben Waters. Jerry Reid, too, is a new bad boy talent to watch in 2012.
18 TALK TO ME Andrea Lewis featuring Simon Curtis
Toronto’s Andrea Lewis has another hold over from 2010 release 54321, with her 60’s retro sounding duet with Simon Curtis. Watch the exclusive performance by these best friends from London below.
Pre-dating the Do It In The AM album by several months, it’s one of the rare tender ballads you will hear from Frankmusik, originally available as a free download.
16 SOMEONE LIKE YOU Adele
15 S&M Rihanna
Rihanna was a non-stop music-making machine in 2011, but S&M to me exceeded all expectations and made the music that followed pale in comparison. She was at the top of her game but is now probably due a break for fear of that other industry-eating event, over-exposure. The song also accompanied an interesting cadre of songs with suggestive topic matter, which all ended up in Billboard’s Top 4 on the Hot 100 earlier in year – the others were “Born This Way” by Lady GaGa, “Fuckin’ Perfect” by Pink, and “Tonight (I’m Fuckin’ You)” by Enrique Iglesias :)
14 DO IT IN THE A.M. Frankmusik F/ Far East Movement
13 CAN’T HELP MYSELF (KEEP DANCING) Matt Blue
One of 2011’s must-talents to watch is 19 year old Matt Blue, who hails from the Netherlands. Songs like “Can’t Help Myself” transcend the record industry barriers for official release through their videos.
12 LOVE 2 BABY Christian TV
If there was any song that should’ve been a hit in 2011 it was “Love 2 Baby”, dance pop at its best and somewhat hedonistic video to boot. Watch for the artist now known as JMSN in 2012.
11 NO I.D. Frankmusik featuring Colette Carr
One of the most joyous treats of 2011 was watching this completely unexpected video throwback to “Grease”. Frank and Colette have great chemistry together – hopefully they’ll record again.
It was never released as a single *hrumpf* but this love letter to Eric’s fans has some of the best lyrics that pop music could offer in 2011: “My kings and queens /Are speaking through me / Got my degree / In the big P-O-P”.
9 ROLLING IN THE DEEP Adele
Rolling In The Deep is the song that defines 2011 in pop culture. It endured the entire year, became a massive hit beyond expectations, was covered – sometimes magnificently – a gazillion times. More than any other song in the 21 album, it showcases the many broad talents of Adele. Now let’s hope her voice recovers and we hear more magnificence in the next few years.
8 NIGHT AIR Jamie Woon
One of the most mysterious and oddly appealing songs by this new English singer with deep down embedded talents. While the video surely must have had “Twilight” as a source, its quiet is incredibly elegant.
7 THE FEAR INSIDE Frankmusik
The best song from Do It In The AM was Frank’s first single from the album, released about a year ago. Just release yourself to this one.
Penguin Prison held court on my chart at the top of the year for two months with this song, which was made even better when Chris Glover paired it in a stunning mashup with Michael Jackson’s “Workin’ Day And Night”, which you can hear and download in the link in song title.
It lasted from the first time I heard it in a live clip from a January show throughout the year. Laser Guns Up is still my anthem for 2011. And I still want some LEGO laser guns. “This one’s for the people who’ve been told they’re never good enough / The little girls and boys who dream of what they wanna be / The little girls and boys who grow up into you and me”.
4 JUST ONCE Databoy
I had just heard “Stupid” and had not yet charted it before I was introduced to Databoy at the Superfraiche showcase in New York City in April. And that’s where I heard this song. Instantly, it became my song for the upcoming summer, and when it arrived as a free download there was no other competition. I can’t wait for more Databoy music in 2012.
3 WICKED BABY Ro Danishei featuring Simon Curtis
We had to wait till late Summer for this bonus track from the deluxe edition of Ro Danishei’s End of the Rainbow, but the best was saved for last. This is the child of Ace of Base’s The Sign that you’ve all been waiting for, with a stunning dubsteppy breakdown amid another smoking Ro/Simon duet. And I wasn’t the only one who loved it, check out My Fizzy Pop’s thoughts on the song too!
There was no song more unique in 2011 than this second single from Simon’s R∆ album. Totally different from even the songs within R∆, it’s a tour-de-force of sensual imagery carried by fierce production that will simply throttle you. I still want to see it featured in a segment on TV’s “The Vampire Diaries”: “You put your hand upon my neck and feel the pulse beat-beat-beat-beat /It’s like a trigger getting ready to shoot” and “Hold me up against the wall / Give it till I beg, give me some more /Make me bleed, I like it raw / Like it R∆ R∆ R∆”.
1 POPULAR Eric Saade
“Popular” is the best and most captivating song of 2011 to me, which threw Swedish singer Eric Saade even more into the spotlight when the song won the Melodifestivalen contest and came third in Eurovision. It signalled things to come, with Saade’s Volume One and Volume Two albums dropping before year’s end and giving us the year’s most lighthearted, feel good, crunchy electropop, which hopefully will find its way around the world in 2012. Eric Saade and his team have created the template, the rest of the world needs to catch on. And if you’re a male pop singer, all eyes should be on Eric! Watch the star-making performance from Melodiefestivalen again below.