As another year comes to a close and the compulsive list-maker in me has taken over planning for the new year, I thought I'd set aside my list of resolutions and spend some time on something a little more fun: music! So, here are my top 10 songs of 2011. (I know there are a lot of females listed here, but what can I say? The ladies rocked it this year!) Whether or not these singles were the best of the best, they were ones I sure couldn't stop listening to. Note to parents: These selections were made based on the radio-friendly versions. At least one of these songs, OneRepublic's "Good Life," has a version that contains one expletive, so make sure to look for the "clean" or "radio-friendly" versions if you decide to download.
This woman's been as red-hot as her hair this year, cranking out hit after hit. While I really like her latest release, "You da One," I thought this one was a bit more fun to groove to — not to mention cleaner.
As far as morbid heartbreak songs about being willing to die for someone in the most gruesome of ways but the thing that's killing him the most is the fact that his significant other "won't do the same" go, this one takes the cake. Although the images can be a little disturbing, the beat and sound are great. There seems to be a trend in music as of late where a lot of male artists are singing songs in the female range. I don't know what makes Mars hit those crazy high notes, but whatever sounds are coming out of his mouth, it's good.
Speaking of men who really sound like women singing (mostly kidding), I really liked this new single by these three country boys and one amazing pop singer. Bedingfield's scratchy, brassy voice fits so well with Gary LeVox's smooth, bright vocals. It's not your typical country song, thanks to Bedingfield's cool tempos and soulful runs.
I promise I'm not as obsessed with Gaga as I seem to be. I know she's been the topic of many a blog, but that's mostly because of how crazy she is. Crazy talented, too. This is one of those songs that I think showcases her voice, songwriting ability and production skills best. While many of her songs are controversial and not very family-friendly, this one has a positive backstory, told to Jon Pareles of the New York Times:
"The song was about how when my grandma was standing over my grandfather while he was dying. There was this moment where I felt like he had sort of looked at her and reckoned that he had won in life. Like, 'I'm a champion. We won. Our love made us a winner.' They were married 60 years. I thought about that idea, that the glorious moment of your life is when you decide that it's OK to go, you don't have any more words to say, more business, more mountains to climb. You're on the cliff, you tip your hat to yourself and you go. That's what it was for me in that moment when I witnessed it."
OK, maybe it's just because I'm such a huge fan of "The Hunger Games" series and can't wait until the movie comes out. But this brand-new single from next year's upcoming movie is so hauntingly beautiful, I can almost see exactly where it will play in the movie. Swift's vocals take on a folksy sound that I think suits her style very well. Oooo … I get chills every time I hear it! It's available exclusively on iTunes.
This is one of those extremely rare Katy Perry songs that doesn't make you feel guilty when it gets stuck in your head. It's crazy catchy AND has a good message. I think every household in America had this song blaring from their stereos this past Fourth of July — and probably will for years to come.
I love this band. I love its sound, its voices, its songs. "Good Life" is uplifting without being overly cheesy. I always get reflective whenever I hear it come on. It's a good reminder for the new year.
Maybe it's because I know them personally, but I really love Lady Antebellum! I love that they don't sound like everyone else, and I love the guy-girl-guy mix. The first time I heard this song was when they performed it live on "American Idol" this past year. Is there any other major act actually promoting abstinence out there? Way to go, Lady A.
I had such a hard time choosing between these two amazing songs. I chose "Someone Like You" because I love the rawness of Adele's voice on this one, and the honest, heartbroken lyric. I think everyone's got to have felt something like this at least once in their lifetime. This is one of those songs I crank up and belt along to in the car when I'm driving home late at night, reliving all my past heartbreaks. It's a good purging song.
"Rolling in the Deep" is just about the baddest song I've ever heard. Period. I begged my band to learn it once it came out so I could cover it for my some of my shows, although I hate to disappoint people with my American/Canadian country attempt to take on such an ice-cold, don't-you-dare-mess-with-me British attitude. But I can't not sing this song. It's powerfully painful, but like Adele herself, cool to the core. And as the best-selling track of 2011, a very appropriate No. 1 choice, I think.