Well the hits just keep on coming, don’t they? Just like to point out that, like the other list (and hell, anything on this site), this is all my opinion and you’re free to draw your own conclusions. Let’s begin!
5. The Script – Breakeven
On paper, The Script are pretty unremarkable. Actually, I shouldn’t say that, because they’re pretty unremarkable in practice, too. Soft rock nice guys with basic but good musicianship singing sensitive songs about girls have been in pop music since before the Beatles, and The Script seem like one of those bands that would always end their practices with their “own” version of “Wonderwall”.
And I realize that’s not a great way to introduce the guys that did my #5 song of the year, but “Breakeven” is what happens when all those things go right. Danny O’Donoghue’s vocals, melody, and lyrics are what manage to separate “Breakeven” from whatever half-baked ballad Maroon 5 or OneRepublic is trying to push on us, and no one in the band is lacking talent. The lyrics manage to be completely honest while relating to that crappy feeling everyone gets, and despite the subject matter, the song never gets too schmatzly. “Breakeven” is That Song every guy with an acoustic guitar is learning, and I’m kind of ok with that.
4. La Roux – Bulletproof
In a year filled with “Hey, the 80s were cool, right?” synth hooks and faux-retro beats, French group (yes, group) La Roux’s synth-pop hit “Bulletproof” punches holes in the many 80’s revival wanna-bes. Elle Jackson and the rest of La Roux commit so heavily to their 80s fetish that “Bulletproof” honest to God sounds 25 years old at a glance, and that’s definitely a plus.
“Bulletproof” has a lot of perks: a manic singer, a great beat, and it’s overall a well-crafted song. And this bridge is so good, Daft Punk probably kicked their space robot helmets and said, “Why didn’t we think of that?” the first time they heard it. Unfortunately, this song seems to be lost on most people (see: any YouTube video for La Roux), then again, “Tik Tok” was the #1 song of 2010, so maybe being different isn’t a bad thing.
3. B.o.B. feat. Hayley Williams (and Eminem) – Airplanes
Yeah, if I “cheated” and went obscure on the last three picks (“King of Anything”, “Breakeven”, and “Bulletproof”), well 1. I didn’t, and 2. You will know the top 3. B.o.B was one of the best new artists of 2010, and it’s not hard to see why; he’s a good rapper, and on top of that he’s amazingly pop savvy (three crossover hits in one year).
And “Airplanes” was his giant hit this year. “Nothin’ On You” might have charted higher (no. 1 VS no. 2), but “Airplanes” took over radio stations, music video countdowns, and Facebook statuses over the summer. And for a good reason; the production here is absolutely stellar, Hayley Williams’ hook (while still trying too hard) is great, and B.o.B handles the problems of “Oh shit, I’m suddenly famous” with a deft lyrical and technical touch.
And I do have to give a shoutout to “Airplanes Pt. II”, which also gained a lot of radioplay over the year. Hayley’s hook is the same, but B.o.B changes up his verse to consider what if he wasn’t famous, and maybe he’d like that. But then Marshall fucking Mathers comes in with a verse that takes the wide-eyed wandering of Williams and B.o.B, and slams into the harsh reality of what he was, and what he’d be, without the ambition he has. In a way, it’s a Take That to the rest of the song, but sometimes you have to be ok with being insulted when it’s that good.
2. B.o.B feat. Bruno Mars – Nothin’ on You
There’s nothing to not like about this song. I still think Bruno Mars is a smarmy little “I only sing so girls like me” tool, but I can’t deny his ability to write a hook; the chorus on “Nothin’ on You” is instantly memorable. The groove of the backing music hits in just the right ways without being too overbearing, and the piano throughout is simple but catchy. B.o.B let’s his personality shine through on “Nothin’ on You”; this is a guy who likes to have fun, and his verses can’t help but bring a smile to your face. And really, this song is totally about fun; B.o.B and Mars look like a pair of goofballs that got let into the studio after the Serious Musicians called it a day. My favorite “Guy likes girl” song of the year.
Well, here it comes everybody. My number one hit song for 2010. I’m just going to say in advance that the answer will probably be something of a surprise since I don’t think I’ve ever really talked about this song. In fact, most of the times that I’ve talked about this artist, there’s been an implied negative towards him/her. But here it is…
1. Ke$ha – Tik Tok
Yeah. Seriously. Between Dr. Luke’s revolutionary production and Ke$ha’s angelic vocals, “Tik Tok” rightly deserves it’s place as the #1 song of 2010 both on Billboard and in my h–HAHAHA, oh, who am I kidding? Let’s get the real #1 going.
1. Lady Gaga – Bad Romance
Nope. Not a typo, not trolling, not bullshitting. “Bad Romance” is Gaga’s crowning moment as a performer and an artist. From here out, Lady Gaga made it her point that she was to be taken seriously, and “Bad Romance” makes quite the argument for her. It’s the perfect mix of bombast, ridiculousness, creative weirdness, and most importantly, substance. The “rah-rah” hook is bizarrely enticing, the production captures the perfect tone of the song while still being perfectly, and Gaga’s singing is stellar.
There’s not an off-moment from the opening “Whoah” and synth blast until to the last “Want your bad romance”. The song works so well because Gaga commits to the song entirely; when synths come crashing in, she simply gets louder. Even a lot of Gaga’s bullshit artistry is gone from the song; on “Bad Romance”, she takes total control and doesn’t let go. The fact that it’s a great song and catchy as hell on top of it just settles it, this is my number one pick.
Well, that’s all done. Keeping with my year-end wrap up, tomorrow I’m going to look at my picks for the best albums of the year. It’s going to be so nice to be away from the pop charts. See you then!