Friday, 28 November 2014

The Best Of 2011 - part 1

JUMP TO: 100-76 II 75-51 II 50-26 II 25-1


Well, here we are - my final year-end top 100... until I count down my favourite songs for 2014 in a few weeks' time. And, since I've already completed my lists for 2012 and 2013 on this blog, we're concluding my journey through years past with 2011.

Calvin Harris found himself some US chart action in 2011

For me, 2011 was a pretty unremarkable year, but it was anything but that in the wider world - with news dominated by the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the death of Osama bin Laden, the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Here were some of the songs making headlines (for me, at least) that year...


Number 100 "Rocketeer" by Far East Movement featuring Ryan Tedder
I wasn't so keen on Far East Movement's 2010 breakthrough hit, "Like A G6", but it was a different story when it came to follow-up "Rocketeer" - although that was mainly due to the fact that the latter was co-written by Bruno Mars and featured OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder on vocals.




Number 99 "Junk Of The Heart (Happy)" by The Kooks
Like Kaiser Chiefs and Razorlight before them, The Kooks found their fortunes fading with the release of their third album, as singles like "Junk Of The Heart (Happy)" and "Is It Me" failed to hit the UK top 40, and the album barely scraped the top 10. Musically, the band seemed to have lost their edge as well - and while I still enjoyed their music, it did seem a bit more middle of the road than previously.




Number 98 Beth Ditto EP by Beth Ditto
Taking another break from her duties as Gossip frontwoman (following her Simian Mobile Disco collaboration in 2009), Beth Ditto released a self-titled four-track EP in 2011 on the Deconstruction label. Track 2, "I Wrote The Book", was lifted as a single and came with a Madonna-referencing music video.




Number 97 "Lights" by Ellie Goulding
Some songs take a while to become hits - and then there's "Lights", which first surfaced as a bonus track on Ellie Goulding's debut album of the same name in February 2010. Remixed for the album's repackage as Bright Lights towards the end of the year, "Lights" was eventually released as a single in its own right in early 2011 - and while it didn't even manage a place in the UK top 40, it went all the way to number 2 in the US (although it took 33 weeks to get there).




Number 96 "Mirrors" by Natalia Kills
Mentioned in Part 2

Number 95 "It's Too Late" by JES
Previously a member of dance act Motorcycle (responsible for 2004's "As The Rush Comes") before signing to Dutch DJ/producer TiĆ«sto's record label as a solo artists, American singer Jes Brieden released her third album, High Glow, in 2010, from which "It's Too Late" was the fourth single. The mix in the music video isn't the one I like - but I need to work my way through all the remixes that exist to work out which version it is I have.




Number 94 "Warzone" by The Wanted
Mentioned in Part 2

Number 93 "Summersun" by Miami Horror
The fifth and final single from their debut album, Illumination, was another non-hit for Australia's own New Order - and doesn't seem to have had a music video made for it. It'd be two years before we'd hear any new music from the Melbourne-based synthpop group - but so far they haven't released anything as good.




Number 92 "Gold Forever" by The Wanted
Mentioned in Part 2

Number 91 "Hair" by Lady Gaga
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 90 "Feel So Close" by Calvin Harris
He'd enjoyed hits in the UK for years, but in 2011, Scottish DJ/producer Calvin Harris went global - with a little thanks to Rihanna (whose single "We Found Love" he wrote, produced and featured on). As a result of that track's success, "Feel So Close", which had actually preceded "We Found Love", became Calvin's first single in his own right to hit the Billboard Hot 100. In the UK, "Feel So Close" was the second of eight singles from eventual album 18 Months - all of them top 10 hits (including four consecutive number 2s).




Number 89 "All Fired Up" by The Saturdays
Another act getting used to big UK hits was girl group The Saturdays, who'd only failed to reach the top 10 with one of their previous singles ("Work"). They made it again with this club-oriented track, which hit number 3. Included among the seven songwriters credited on the song was production team Xenomania, who'd traditionally worked with Girls Aloud but got their girl group fix in 2011 from The Saturdays instead.




Number 88 "Best Thing I Never Had" by Beyonce Knowles
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 87 "Galaxy" by Jessica Mauboy / Stan Walker
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 86 "Dial My Number" by Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Mentioned below

Number 85 "Ready 2 Go" by Martin Solveig featuring Kele
For once not working with Dragonette, French DJ/producer Martin Solveig enlisted the vocal services of Bloc Party singer Kele Okereke instead for this third single from the Smash album.




Number 84 "Sexual Lifestyle" by Strange Talk
While Miami Horror wound up their debut album campaign, another Australian synthpop band was just getting started. "Sexual Lifestyle" was the second release by fellow Melbourne group Strange Talk, whose self-titled EP had come out earlier in 2011. 




Number 83 "Girls Like You" by The Naked & Famous
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 82 "Believer" by Freemasons featuring Wynter Gordon
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 81 "What A Feeling" by Alex Gaudino featuring Kelly Rowland
Her reputation as a dance diva firmly established, Kelly Rowland once again lent her vocals to a club smash in 2011 - this UK top 10 hit by the Italian DJ/producer best known for 2007's "Destination Calabria".




Number 80 "Starlight" by Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Including singles dating back to 2009's "Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer)", Sophie Ellis-Bextor's fourth album, Make A Scene, might have been her least commercially successful but it didn't mean she had to go and shift musical direction (with this year's Wanderlust). Besides "Starlight", which was Make A Scene's sixth single, album track "Dial My Number" (number 86 on this list) also makes my top 100 for the year.




Number 79 "Come On" by Will Young
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 78 "Black Out The Sun" by Darren Hayes
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 77 "A Day Late And A Dollar Short" by Scritti Politti
It'd been five years since Scritti Politti's last studio album and two decades since they'd released anything I'd enjoyed, so it was a bit of a surprise when best of retrospective Absolute was released in 2011. Two new tracks were included on the album, both of which saw frontman Green Gartside reunite with former band member David Gamson, who was involved in the two Scritti Politti albums I liked: Cupid And Psyche 85 and Provision. As a result, "A Day Late And A Dollar Short" became my favourite song by the band since 1991's "She's A Woman".




Number 76 "What Happened To Us" by Jessica Mauboy / Jay Sean
Mentioned in Part 3


In Part 2: Scandipop, scandipop and more scandipop. Plus Rihanna releases yet another album and a new Disney star emerges.


MY YEAR-END CHARTS
1979 II 1980 II 1981 II 1982 II 1983 II 1984 II 1985 II 1986 II 1987 II 1988 II 1989
1990 II 1991 II 1992 II 1993 II 1994 II 1995 II 1996 II 1997 II 1998 II 1999
2000 II 2001 II 2002 II 2003 II 2004 II 2005 II 2006 II 2007 II 2008 II 2009
2010 II 2011 II 2012 II 2013 II 2014 II 2015 II 2016

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