Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Play them on repeat: 2010

Given that the year is quickly approaching its close, I've already been giving thought to some year end themed blog posts; I figure I'll do something similar to one of my facebook notes from last year, where I talked about my year in a nutshell, about what I learned or how I changed or what have you.  And then, I was struck with an idea: maybe, in addition to those personal culminations of the year, I could have my own say in the top music or movies of 2010, much like other reputable websites do come December 31st.

And so, we have the first of such lists: I thought it would be a fun idea for me to create my own Top 20 of the best songs from 2010, ranking them and reasoning.  I do this lightheartedly; my word isn't law, and as much as I tried to stay objective, you'll see that a lot of the songs likely appear due to my personal likes for them.  But then, on the flip side, you'll see that I included some that aren't exactly my favourites, but even I can step back and affirm that 1. they are undeniably good songs despite the fact that I might not personally like them, 2. that they were popular and sold well for a reason, and 3. that Lady Gaga wasn't the only artist with worthwhile hits in the year.  In fact, to (probably) your surprise, the number one spot isn't occupied by a song of hers.  Nor is the second.  (The third, well.. we'll see, I'm sure I'm bound to edit the order as I go along)  I realize that the majority of them are radio offerings; I'm not so much an indie fan anymore, so yes, it's fairly mainstream, but even so, I tried to stay objective when valuing the songs with the biggest impact in 2010.  Of course, there are notable omissions - there's my personal preferences.  This list isn't a be-all end-all of lists - the songs here are merely my personal choices and (sometimes) favourites.  Ready?  Me neither.

I'm sure you've never heard this song on the radio; in fact, chances are you've never heard it at all.  I couldn't deny it, though, since I like it so much.  Truth be told, I'd much prefer Brandon Flowers to go back to The Killers, as his album as a whole was less than good; but of any, Crossfire reminded me most of his former band, and after seeing the video so many times on MuchMusic, you can't help but like it.

I'm very hot and cold with Rihanna, but this is undeniably one of the better singles she's had as of late - even with the sometimes annoying repetition of 'oh na na, what's my name.'

I'll say it now, and I'll probably end up saying it again: 2010 was the year of Kanye West.  I'll say it myself, I was never that big of a Kanye fan, especially not after the Taylor Swift debacle; My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy more than changed my mind on him.  Sure, maybe sometimes his egotistical ways irk me, but it's undeniable that he knows how to make a great song - Power being no exception.  (it just happens to be my least favourite of any appearing on this list)

I would rank this song higher except for the fact that it's relatively very new compared to some of the songs on my list.  I like Bruno Mars' voice - he makes songs like Billionaire and Nothing On You bearable - and I adore this song.

Another case of "not really being a fan," this time because of seeing him live; the second time I saw Lady Gaga, Kid Cudi opened for her, but I ended up loathing him because his set was over-long and I wanted to see Gaga perform already, damnit! I'm a big fan of this collaboration with Kanye West, though; so much so that I checked out Cudi's entire sophomore album, and it's a diverse good listen.

This is one of those instances where I feel like a follower or a hypocrite; I hate when more 'unknown' bands hit the airwaves and suddenly explode where countless upon countless people jump on the bandwagon of being a fan.  In that sense, I feel like that; I love this song, but I'm completely aware that I owe my awareness of it entirely to the radio despite the fact their CD came out a while ago.  It's just one of those songs that you can't dislike.

Speaking of things you can't dislike.. the Black Eyed Peas are quite the opposite.  I'll be the first to say that I'm NO fan of them; the times of I Gotta Feeling were excruciating, and they've topped themselves with the god awful The Time (Dirty Bit).  Despite all that, I'll give them kudos where kudos is deserved: Rock That Body is a solid song, and when coupled with Imma Be in a nine minute version complete with an unbelievably amazing transition between the two, the song is a fantastic listen.

Much like Rihanna, I'm very hot and cold with Katy Perry.  Her songs are usually the devil incarnate: I HATE California Gurls; Teenage Dream was once sweet and enjoyable before the radio overplayed it; and Firework is gratingly shrill.  However, I couldn't seem to ignore her completely; credit is where credit's due, and Katy Perry had a very good year in 2010.  Therefore, instead of acknowledging her singles, I chose the strongest song from her album Teenage Dream - E.T.  The song is completely out of the box when considering it as a pop song, and I think the branching outside of the normal is what makes it especially special.  I seem to have this liking of stutters in songs, too.  (in this: 'kiss me, k-k-kiss me,' etc; others: 'papa-paparazzi' or 'ale-alejandro'.. just a trend)

Sometimes, the video makes or breaks the song; the video for Runaway - a 35 minute movie of the same name, or, specifically, the 5 minute excerpt where the song itself plays - gives just another rap song some level of beauty.  (watch the video, you'll see what I mean)  Kanye's live performances of the song just elevate it even more - I would recommend watching his performances of this and 'Power' on Saturday Night Live.

I have to give it to Fefe Dobson: she was able to create such a strong song despite being, well, Fefe Dobson.  I too laughed at first when I heard "and now, a new song from Fefe Dobson!" on the radio, but my mind was changed quickly after hearing it multiple times.

I've been aware of Robyn - a Swedish pop singer - since hearing one of her songs on So You Think You Can Dance and instantly falling in love with it.  I was never a big enough fan to keep up with her, though, until I read in multiple places that her new album (Body Talk Pt 1, and its subsequent "sequels") were pretty amazing, and I'd have to agree - Dancing On My Own is a stunning, haunting song, and believe it or not, I think you've heard it before if you watched this year's MTV Video Music Awards.

Again, speaking of things you can't hate!  I'm as much of a fan that I can be of Taylor Swift - meaning, I can only like her so much since I'm not a 13 year old girl.  I can't exactly relate to her lyrics, although I'm fully aware of why she is so easy to relate to. It's no secret that Taylor Swift isn't the best of singers on a technical level - her live performances are rarely any good.  Her strength is in her songwriting abilities, and this song is the perfect example of unique lyrics.  Where else do you hear about brides wearing gowns shaped like pastries?

Beyonce who?  This year, Kelly Rowland began to get a lot of attention following her collaboration with David Guetta; the first time I heard Commander, I was in Costa Rica, and I was instantly mesmerized and in disbelief that it was Kelly Rowland, or Beyonce #2.  After that, I started hearing the song everywhere - in commercials, the video playing on Much - and it's such an infectious club-banging song that you'll want to get up and dance.  (I don't)

Another instance of guilt: I feel like I've jumped on another bandwagon here as I'm aware that Florence + the Machine had a following before hitting the airwaves.  The abnormal structure of the song and the absolute power of Florence's voice meshes together to make a unique song that I'm still loving despite hearing it everywhere.

Of course, I can't ignore Nicki Minaj!  Options to pick to include on a best-of list are slim: her debut CD is sub par, and her singles each have their own annoyances (specifically the idiocracy of 'You see right through me, how do you do that shit? repeated over and over in Right Thru Me or the horrifying looming presence of Annie Lennox on Your Love).  Roman's Revenge, however, is pretty amazing.  It's a heavy hitting rap song where Nicki and Eminem take turns spitting out the most vulgar lyrics you can think of; the song is a cartoon of itself, and it reaches the point of being "so bad it's amazing."  The ending where Nicki screeches in a fake British accent is so over the top, that even when it gets to be too much, it provides for a good laugh.

How could I ignore Lady Gaga?  Well, I can't.  My personal all time favourite song of hers, I was overjoyed to know that Alejandro was selected as a single - though my happiness faltered when it didn't garner the greatest of receptions, since it broke her string of number one songs and didn't catch on as well as her previous singles.  I recognize its daring; the video itself is marginally controversial, and as a pop song, it's extremely unorthodox - it especially seemed out of place on the radio.  But then, the fact that it DID receive acclaim (just not on the same level as Telephone or anything before it) is something only Lady Gaga could pull off and only shows her relentless strength as an artist.

Impressive, impressive song; you must have some SERIOUS cred if you're able to incorporate so many artists on one song - including Rihanna, Fergie, Kid Cudi, Alicia Keys, and fucking Elton John.  I would rank this much, much higher - maybe at the top of the list - if it wasn't for some of the more questionable verses (I'm looking at you, Cudi and Fergie); despite them, the song is still pretty amazing.  Besides, it ends with an Elton John piano solo - cool.

Gaga, not number one?  (Bad Romance was released in 2009.  Otherwise..)  This song and accompanying video is more solid proof that Lady Gaga isn't going anywhere; she was able to put together a near 10 minute mini-movie of completely unrelated subject matter and set it to the tune of a song superficially about dancing at a club and making it, simply, iconic.  Things you'd never think to put together work in this song: the song uses a harp, for instance, and the pairing of Gaga and Beyonce is conceivably strange until you hear the product.

Technically, my number two spot is a tie; on the flip side, it's merely a recognition of both songs as a whole, as that's what they essentially are.  Both use the same Rihanna sang chorus; both differ in showing two sides to the same story.  (obviously, Eminem's viewpoint in the song most dominated by him - his own; Rihanna's answer in hers)  It's a shame that Rihanna isn't releasing hers as a single, as I'd even go so far as to say that it's simply beautiful.  Eminem's offering, on the other hand, is an excellent rap song to sing along to, pretending you're a rapper - maybe after a few drinks.  Eminem's is another instance of the radio overplaying and killing a song, but I can still see that it deserves the accolades it deserves, and I'm personally pulling for it to sweep the Grammys since Gaga's Bad Romance was shockingly overlooked.

And now..

AMAZING, AMAZING SONG.  There's nothing else I can say (eh, eh).  Kanye West does it again; it's safe to say that this song single-handedly reignited my love for rap music - yep, those were the days in Grade 8.  This song is truly incredible, and each featured artist does their best to top each other with their spitfire, heavy hitting verses.  No contest, however - Nicki Minaj wins hands down.  If any song on this list to download (if you haven't heard it), THIS IS THE ONE.

I actually had a lot of fun putting this list together, and god bless you if you actually read it all.  Jesus, this is long.  Who knows, maybe you'll find a few songs that peak your interest?


  1. I really, really disagree with your number one choice. =(