Whilst the Top 40 has been dominated by a glut of generic sounding europop ‘bangers’ and, um, Adele, there’s been enough amazing pop tracks released this year to make choosing our Top 10 songs of ’11 quite difficult.
Whilst notable mentions must go to Nicola Roberts, Frank Ocean, Katy B, Icona Pop and The Internet, these are the final 10 which made the cut.
10) Ronika, ‘In The City’
A sleek, sweet concoction of mid-80s period keyboard licks, honeyed harmonies and an addictive chorus which recalled the heyday of Debbie Gibson and early period Madonna.
9) Dominant Legs, ‘Hoop Of Love’
A massive guitar hooky smile of a song from the sometime compadres of Girls, ‘Hoop..’ sounded like some sort of lost Rough Trade single from the mid 80s, with its subtle harmonies and jangling guitar.
8) Niki & The Dove, ‘Somebody’ (Drum Machine Version)
Essentially Stevie Nicks’ ‘Stand Back’ by way of Prince’s ‘Little Red Corvette’. Amazing.
7) Azari & III, ‘Reckless With Your Love’
An update on the Chicago House sound that was shockingly fresh sounding, there was added gravitas with the subtle AIDS-referencing of the lyrics.
6) Friends, ‘I’m His Girl’
Yes they were beautiful. Yes they were from Brooklyn. But this didn’t stop ‘I’m His Girl’ being a sweet, sassy nod to the likes of Tom Tom Club and The Waitress’ funky New Waving.
5) Beyonce, ‘Schoolin’ Life’
On the deluxe edition of ‘4’, The-Dream got out the retro synths for this most excellent, time-defying look at Beyonce’s life so far. Stylistically it may not have fit with ‘4’ mature tone, but as a stand alone track it was one of the most fun of the year.
4) The-Dream, ‘Bodywork’/ ‘Fuck My Brains Out’
Sadly not on youtube, but you should be able to hear this double whammy here. Terius Nash released the ace ‘1977’ this year, but it was this explicit ‘Purple Rain’-like two header which we had on repeat.
3) Drake Ft. Rihanna, ‘Take Care’
Produced by Jamie XX and featuring Gil Scott Heron, this was a stunning team-up. Rihanna came over all maternal as Drake flowed about the perils of trying to find love amongst the post-fame world of groupies. Magical.
2) The Weeknd, ‘House Of Balloons’
Abel Tesfaye was this year’s most intriguing pop star. His mixtapes popped up out of nowhere and his refusal to give interviews added to the intrigue of the dark, solipsistic persona her portrayed as the Weeknd. This Siouxsie & The Banshees sampling track was perhaps his best.
1) Beth Ditto, ‘I Wrote The Book’
Who knew she had this in her? ‘Erotica’-era Madonna reinvented, Beth-as-sleek-electro-diva was perfectly judged and, as this showed, entirely joyous.