2010 – The Year Pop Took Over

So you’ve had our choices (album of year: These New Puritans’ ‘Hidden’; track of year: Foals’ ‘Spanish Sahara’).

You’ve backed your own favourites (current album of year: Hurts’ ‘Happiness’; track of year so far: Foals’ ‘Spanish Sahara’).

And we’ve seen the aggregate result for best album from various polls including Uncut, Spin, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Stereogum etc (Arcade Fire’s ‘The Suburbs’).


However, those little countdowns are just critical opinion and the massed votes of a music-loving readership. What happens when the albums and tracks of the year are decided by sales figures? Rated that way Eminem featuring Rihanna’s ‘Love The Way You Lie’ is the track of the year, and Take That top the albums.

Obviously the big sellers are going to have mass appeal, and the lowest common denominator wins out, but these year-end sales rundowns (from the Official Charts Company on Sunday Dec 19th and subject to change by the end of the year) make for pretty depressing reading unless you’re a full pop fan.

The Top 40 Bestselling Tracks Of 2010 (as of Dec 19th)
40 Lady Gaga – ‘Alejandro’ (Interscope)
39 Example – ‘Kickstarts’ (Data)
38 B.o.B. ft Bruno Mars – ‘Nothin’ On You’ (Atlantic)
37 Wanted – ‘All Time Low’ (Geffen)
36 Ellie Goulding – ‘Starry Eyed’ (Polydor)
35 K’naan – ‘Wavin’ Flag’ (A&M)
34 Scouting For Girls – ‘This Ain’t A Love Song’ (Epic)
33 Jason Derulo – ‘In My Head’ (Warner Bros)
32 Sidney Samson ft. Wizard Sleeve – ‘Riverside (Let’s Go)’ (Data)
31 Timbaland ft. Katy Perry – ‘If We Ever Meet Again’ (Interscope)
30 Tinie Tempah ft. Eric Turner – ‘Written In The Stars’ (Parlophone)
29 Eminem – ‘Not Afraid’ (Interscope)
28 Katy Perry – ‘Teenage Dream’ (Atlantic)
27 Katy Perry – ‘Firework’ (Atlantic)
26 Eliza Doolittle – ‘Pack Up’ (Parlophone)
25 Lady Gaga – ‘Bad Romance’ (Interscope)
24 3OH3 ft. Katy Perry – ‘Starstrukk’ (Asylum/Photo Finish)
23 Travie Mccoy ft. Bruno Mars – ‘Billionaire’ (Decaydance/Fueled By Ramen)
22 Journey – ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ (Columbia)
21 Glee Cast – ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ (Epic)
20 Matt Cardle – ‘When We Collide’ (Syco Music)
19 Jason Derulo – ‘Ridin’ Solo’ (Warner Bros)
18 Flo Rida ft. David Guetta – ‘Club Can’t Handle Me’ (Atlantic)
17 Taio Cruz – ‘Dynamite’ (4th & Broadway)
16 Cee Lo Green – ‘Forget You’ (Warnes Bros)
15 Iyaz – ‘Replay’ (Reprise)
14 Plan B – ‘She Said’ (679/Atlantic)
13 Lady Gaga ft. Beyonce – ‘Telephone’ (Interscope)
12 Rihanna – ‘Rude Boy’ (Def Jam)
11 Alicia Keys – ‘Empire State of Mind (Part II)’ (J)
10 Tinie Tempah – ‘Pass Out’ (Parlophone)
9 Rihanna – ‘Only Girl(In The World)’ (Def Jam)
8 Helping Haiti – ‘Everybody Hurts’ (Syco Music)
7 Yolanda Be Cool Vs D Cup – ‘We No Speak Americano’ (AATW/Sweat It Out)
6 Katy Perry ft. Snoop Dogg – ‘California Gurls’ (Virgin)
5 B.o.B. ft. Hayley Williams – ‘Airplanes’ (Atlantic)
4 Owl City – ‘Fireflies’ (Island)
3 Usher ft. Will I Am – ‘OMG’ (Laface)
2 Bruno Mars – ‘Just The Way You Are(Amazing)'(Elektra)
1 Eminem ft. Rihanna – ‘Love The Way You Lie’ (Polydor)

The Top 40 Bestselling Albums Of 2010 (as of Dec 19th)

40 Westlie – ‘Gravity’ (Syco Music)
39 Paloma Faith – ‘Do You Want The Truth Or Something’ (Epic)
38 Pink – ‘Greatest Hits – So Far’ (Laface)
37 Gorillaz – ‘Plastic Beach’ (Parlophone)
36 AC/DC – ‘Ironman 2 – OST’ (Columbia)
35 Oasis – ‘Timeflies 1994-2009)’ (Big Brother)
34 Andre Rieu & Johann Strauss Orchestra – ‘Moonlight Serenade’ (Decca)
33 The xx – ‘XX’ (Young Turks)
32 Cheryl Cole – ‘3 Words’ (Fascination)
31 Tinie Tempah – ‘Disc-overy’ (Parlophone)
30 JLS – ‘JLS’ (Epic)
29 Olly Murs – ‘Olly Murs’ (Epic/Syco Music)
28 Kings Of Leon – ‘Only By The Night’ (Hand Me Down)
27 Ellie Goulding – ‘Lights’ (Polydor)
26 Biffy Clyro – ‘Only Revolutions’ (14th Floor)
25 Rihanna – ‘Rated R'(Def Jam)
24 Cheryl Cole – ‘Messy Little Raindrops’ (Polydor)
23 Andre Rieu – ‘Forever Vienna’ (Decca)
22 Boyzone – ‘Brother’ (Polydor)
21 JLS – ‘Out Of This World’ (Epic)
20 Black Eyed Peas – ‘The End’ (Interscope)
19 Glee Cast – ‘Glee – The Music. Season One. Volume One’ (Epic)
18 The Script – ‘Science & Faith’ (Phonogenic)
17 Bon Jovi – ‘Greatest Hits’ (Mercury)
16 Katy Perry – ‘Teenage Dream’ (Virgin)
15 Robbie Williams – ‘In And Out Of Consciousness – Greatest Hits’ (Virgin)
14 Susan Boyle – ‘The Gift’ (Syco Music)
13 Pixie Lott – ‘Turn It Up’ (Mercury)
12 Rihanna – ‘Loud’ (Def Jam)
11 Justin Bieber – ‘My World’ (Def Jam)
10 Kings Of Leon – ‘Come Around Sundown’ (Hand Me Down)
9 Mumford And Sons – ‘Sigh No More’ (Gentlemen Of The Road/Island)
8 Eminem – ‘Recovery’ (Interscope)
7 Florence and The Machine – ‘Lungs’ (Island)
6 Plan B – ‘The Defamation of Strickland Banks’ (679/Atlantic)
5 Paolo Nutini – ‘Sunny Side Up’ (Atlantic)
4 Alicia Keys – ‘The Element of Freedom’ (J)
3 Lady Gaga – ‘The Fame’ (Interscope)
2 Michael Buble – ‘Crazy Love’ (Reprise)
1 Take That – ‘Progress’ (Polydor)

There’s not one single, lonely, indie or rock entry in the entire tracks countdown (Journey and Scouting For Girls don’t count). Not one. The albums list fares slightly better, featuring Oasis, AC/DC, Gorillaz, The xx, Kings Of Leon (twice), Biffy Clyro, Bon Jovi, Mumford & Sons and at a push Florence (The Script don’t count), but take out the dinosaurs and Florence and it’s still only six names from 40.

Of course, this shouldn’t come as a big surprise – the charts have been dominated by garbage for years and Luke was lamenting the absence of rock in the charts a few months back – but this really is a dismal list. Perhaps even more saddening than the lack of guitars or the dominance of TV shows (Matt Cardle’s in at Number 20 after one week’s sales) is the repetition – within the top 40 tracks you’ve got four from Katy Perry, three from Lady Gaga and three from Rihanna. It really feels like the public’s being peddled any old crap and lapping it up.

Add to that the fact that the albums list is distinctly X Factor flavoured (Cheryl Cole and JLS both get two entries) and that four of the top ten albums came out well over a year ago (Michael Buble – Oct 2009, Lady Gaga – Aug 2008, Paolo Nutini – May 2009, Florence – July 2009), and it doesn’t really look to be a vintage year for the mainstream.

What do you think of the countdowns?

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