My Favourite Songs of 2011: #40-31

40 . Coldplay – Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall
From Mylo Xyloto

Right, lead single from their fifth album Mylo Xyloto, which came at a time when I was feeling quite low. That synthy intro and the overall tone of optimism really helped me at the time, so thanks for that. Shame the rest of the album left me feeling a bit flat but you need to pick your battles. I had hoped this would mark an advancement in their sound, but this seemed to stand out on the album as a bit of an oddity. Sometimes those are the best songs though I guess. I doubt this will go down as one of their classics but I am still fond of it.

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39 . David Guetta – Titanium (feat. Sia)
From Nothing but the beat

I’m glad to see that this is finally going ahead as a single after the “throw everything you can and see what sticks” approach at the start of the album campaign. This was a big favourite with me for a short period a few months ago, but fizzled out a bit. However with a brand new video I think this could really work as a big hit, and an antidote to some of those who’ve been whinging about Guetta for the last few years (hope springs eternal). Sia is an unusual choice given the star-studded roster on his latest album, and this comes across more as a happy accident than anything. Sia is someone I’ve struggled to have any strong feelings about, aside from a few great songs, but she really brings the vocals on this one.

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38 . Katy B – Broken Record
From On a mission

Oh how credible of me! I hadn’t really gotten off to a good start with Katy, it was all a bit too po-faced for my liking, she’s even got a degree in pop music apparently. This sort of dubstep (is that right?) thing isn’t of much interest to me, but this really has something about it. The video matches the slightly dark feel to the song, taking the form of a sinister recurring dream. Her vocals really work on this, and the beats aren’t too difficult to grab onto. I can’t see myself as a Katy convert but this is a great song.

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37 . Glasperlenspiel – Echt
From Beweg dich mit mir

Oh how different of me, a German language track (not from Eurovision)! I was introduced to this a few months ago to vague indifference but it’s really grown on me. German is such an interesting language to listen to, and I confess I haven’t really listened to much in the past in the same way as I have for Swedish, Japanese or French to name some examples. An unusual-looking pair, but I love that chorus, and ill-advised attempts at karaoke to it in the car is still fun.

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36 . Bruno Mars – The Lazy Song
From Doo Wops & Hooligans

It’s been a pretty great year for Bruno, as expected. He’s been a pretty much constant presence on radio since early 2010, but his solo career really blew up this year, with his second and third UK No.1s dominating the radio. This is the third of those No.1s, and something I’d previously written off as a pretty cheap Jason Mraz knockoff, but it really grew on me, and I’ve got some fond memories attached to this song. It’s really quite easy (in the right company) to just come out with the “today I don’t feel like doing anything” hook. If you’re lucky, the other person will do the whistly bit, and all productivity is destroyed.

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35 . David Guetta – Without You (ft Usher)
From Nothing but the beat

Yes yes, more Guetta, so sue me. Usher is a bit of a funny one, he’s made his name with various massive R’n’B hits over the last ten years (and more). But it’s only been since his career has hit the skids in the US and he’s resorted in increasing amounts to clubbier songs that I’ve really gotten into him. I’d still never pick up an album, but in the last few years he’s had “Love in this club”, “OMG”, “DJ got us falling in love” and this one courtesy of everyone’s favourite Frenchman. He’s still got a superior voice to the Chris Browns of the day, and that’s what really makes the difference in soaring club hits like this. OK so it’s not the most inventive song in the world, but who cares?

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34 . The Saturdays – Notorious
From On your radar

Speaking of hitting the skids, it’s last chance saloon for the UK’s premier girlband (by default). I do feel for them, at least they are trying to diversify their sound a bit in order to get some more hits, and maybe that hit album that’s eluded them so far. They’ve gone with the prevailing wind and gone all-out for a clubbier sound (or they had until that rubbish ballad), and we get a rather spiky but nonetheless interesting dancepop song. It never quite settles down to one sound, the electro thumping backing track just keeps changing, just as their rampant vocoder action does, but I think it’s a pretty fresh and brave effort for a band who seem well aware that it’s really do-or-die in 2012.

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33 . Linda Sunblad – Lucky you
From Melodifestivalen 2011

We’ve been a bit light on Eurovision so far, and now here’s our first entry from this year’s Melodifestivalen (for those of you looking puzzled, that’s Sweden’s pre-selection for Eurovision, on a scale rivalling the UK’s X-Factor popularity at its height). This is a really cute little pop song, with some amazing hooks. It might have not done very well there, coming 6th in its heat, but it’s summery and gorgeously upbeat. Songs like this are what make me love the Swedes and Melodifestivalen, and make me ashamed of the little effort we put in every year when we are picking entrants.

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32 . Britney Spears – Til The World Ends
From Femme Fatale

As I’ve covered already, Britney’s had a pretty great year, and got a pretty massive hit there with this track. She’s really got the right people behind her now, and the state-of-the-art electro pop was really a great way to get her back in the pop A-List over 10 years after her debut. I did like the album’s lead single Hold it against me, but this is just so much more layered and polished. That final verse of “See the sunlight, we ain’t stoppin” really is a magnificent climax.

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31 . Glee Cast – Light Up The World
From Glee Season 2

One star on the wane this year had to be Glee. While it reliable comes out with some great choices of covers, I’m just losing interest in the show a bit now, I haven’t even started on the latest season, though the concert movie that I reluctantly went along to was surprisingly endearing, and did give me a late summer boost of goodwill towards the series. Aside from their covers, they climaxed the season with some original songs, this being far and away the best in my opinion. OK it’s a bit of Ke$ha-lite, but that chorus really is a stone-cold hit. I just think it brings together a lot of the things that make Glee so good as a musical force, and puts it head and shoulders above a lot of the Disney-related pop that’s around these days.

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