The Five Best and Worst Pop Songs of 2010 - Articles - Soundblab

The Five Best and Worst Pop Songs of 2010

by Pete Sykes Rating: Release Date:

Now I know Soundblab doesn't do pop music. There's a reason for that - most of it's rubbish. This year has been no better or worse than normal but, sifting through the dross, there have been a few gems. You know - the songs you just can't get out of your head, the songs that stand out amongst the parade of vapid, cheesy, sexist trash on the radio, and the songs that are just, well, bloody brilliant pop tunes. Here's a festive selection of 2010's best pop fluff - and, for added fun, five songs that this writer hates with a passion that is surely unhealthy. Do you agree? Probably not. Let us know below.

The Best

1. Kelis - Acapella

She's no longer the raunchy provocateur whose Milkshake brought all the boys to the yard. On this track - co-written and produced by ubiquitous dance impresario David Guetta - Kelis reinvents herself as a smooth, stylish electro-disco diva, writhing around in the video with a pair of wolf cubs and a selection of outlandish outfits that Lady Gaga might wear if she had any taste. The harmonies on the chorus are simply to die for, but it's the restraint of the structure and production - at no point giving into the temptation to spoil the mood by going into a big, singalong chorus - that makes this such an amazing record. Everything about it screams class.

2. Willow Smith - Whip My Hair

Yes, she's Will Smith's daughter. Yes, she's ten years old. Yes, this is produced and auto-tuned to within an inch of its life. A recipe for disaster, surely? Or not - Smith is like a pre-pubescent Rihanna, but this song is better than anything the Barbadian sexpot has released for ages. Wisely steering clear of the raunchy or suggestive, this is a child-like paean to the joys of, er, whipping one's hair back, and forth, and then back again - but set to a proper, adult slice of beefy, beat-driven r 'n' b. Her future work will probably be terrible, and I think we can all look forward to the inevitable mid-thirties breakdown that seems to afflict so many child stars (Justin Bieber is due one too). But this is state-of-the-art.

3. Cee-Lo Green - Fuck You

All over the airwaves like a rash this summer, this single proves that the erstwhile Gnarls Barkley frontman is unrivalled as a soul-pop tunesmith. The lyric - which sees Green attacking what a tabloid newspaper would call a 'love rival', as well as a former girlfriend, in strikingly vitriolic and insulting terms - is problematic, but at least marks this out from all the asinine 'I love you so much, but now we must be apart' break-up songs that have been a pop cliché for years. No, this is vicious, and heartfelt stuff, set to a vintage Motown inspired soul track. Is it misogynistic? Or an honest account of hurt feelings and anger? Or is it an ironic take on the classic break-up song? I don't know. And I feel a bit guilty for liking it so much. But it's a bloody brilliant tune.

4. Katy Perry - Teenage Dream

Now I hate Katy Perry - the shameless gay-baiting of 'I Kissed a Girl' and 'Ur So Gay', the contrived kookiness, bitchy valley girl persona - but this song is ace. You might not believe a word she says, but I detect a faint, unexpected iota of emotion in this dreamy love song that has been entirely absent in her previous work (for that we can, presumably, thank Russell Brand). Most of all, though, this is a brilliantly constructed, expertly produced pop track, with an infectious chorus and a pleasantly romantic feel. And I, for one, am man enough to admit that even though it's Katy bloody Perry, I like it a lot.

5. Kylie Minogue - All the Lovers

You might have noticed that all of the above reviews have some sort of qualifier - 'I know it's awful, but I like it...' That's because your writer is a diehard indie snob who still, in his late 20s, finds it hard to admit to liking pop music. No such qualms over this one - 'All the Lovers' is a magnificent, shimmering pop song, and I will shout it from the rooftops. Everything about it - the gorgeous synths in the chorus, the 'Blue Monday'-cribbed bridge, Kylie's touchingly sensual vocal - is perfect, and the chorus, brilliantly timed and realised, hits you with a wave of euphoria. Like the best pop, it's lyrically simple and musically direct, and I can't be alone in thinking it's the best thing she's ever done. The video's pretty sexy, too.

The Worst

1. Alesha Dixon - Drummer Boy

And now, the vitriol. This track, the lead single - yes, lead single - from the new album by Dixon, apparently a judge on some sort of dancing programme, was dubbed by one reviewer '2010's worst piece of recorded music'. And it's impossible to disagree. The whole thing, from cringey intro ("Boy! I think I need a better drummer" "Say what?"), to the nudge-nudge double entendres ("Pick up your stick, hit me with your best shot"), to the wretched parp-parp bassline, is utterly, toe-curlingly embarrassing. And the video? Dixon wants to be Rihanna SO bad. It's like watching one of those terrible Michael Jackson impersonators who were all over the TV in the wake of his death. But at least that creepy phenomenon was based on love, rather than calculation. A dark three minutes for British pop music.

2. The Wanted - All Time Low

The world's most pathetic boy band simpered to the top of the charts in July with this souless, sexless whinge about an ex-girlfriend. The worst bit of a dreadful song is the line: "When I'm standing on the other line, waiting at the station/or I'm late for work for a vital presentation/If you call me now girl without reservation/I will try to break through." The writers - three awful people called Steve Mac, Wayne Hector and Ed Drewett, apparently - must have sat down in a room and said: "What situation would be best for evoking the heart-wrenching pain and misery of losing the love of your life?" "I know, how about when you're waiting for a train and you're late for a vital, a vital presentation - that's pretty shit isn't it? As if your life couldn't get worse - you've been dumped, and now you're late for a vital presentation. Pretty transcendent stuff, yeah? Yeah, let's go with that." As I said, pathetic. This is everything that pop music shouldn't be.

3. Yolanda Be Cool - We Speak No Americano

Every summer brings an unbearable euro-pop abomination that savage, drunken louts have enjoyed in some wretched, sweat-soaked hellhole in Ibiza, I-BEEF-A MATE, and thus immediately wanted to listen to again when they returned home, to bring back the memories of fingering some paralytic 19-year old trainee hairdresser from Romford in the corner of a darkened nightclub, which was probably the happiest moment of their lives. This was this year's. Made by cretins, for cretins.

4. Owl City - Fireflies

First off, Owl City? Owl City? What, a city populated entirely by owls? As the kids say, WTF? Owl City, FFS! Apart from having the worst name in the history of pop music, this 'band' -actually the alter-ego of electro-pop wimp Adam Young - produced 'Fireflies', the most mind-numbingly twee and infantile thing anyone has heard since Barney the Purple Dinosaur's last hit (Barney has been less successful in recent years, shamed by a drink-driving incident, accusations of anti-semitism and a high-profile painkiller addiction). Of course, it promptly became an international number one smash and has to date sold four million copies, which tells us that there is something very, very wrong with the world. The co-writer called the song "a metaphor for the loss of childlike imagination and wonder in adulthood." I call it a song for the mentally deficient.

5. Travie McCoy - Billionaire

This song also tells us what's wrong with the world. Mr McCoy - former lead singer from Gym Class Heroes, fans of shitty American emo-rock-rap - would like to be a billionaire. He would like so much money that he doesn't have to mix with the likes of us. He wants to be on the cover of Forbes magazine, "smiling next to Oprah and The Queen." That's it. No irony, no wit, nothing here apart from an intensely irritating pop-reggae accompaniment. The best pop (see above) is about love and hate, anger and joy, and sex, of course. Not about being late for work or making vast sums of money. I wish I was a billionaire so that I could have Travie McCoy's vocal chords removed and his entire musical output burned on a massive bonfire, which people would dance round to the tunes of Kelis and Kylie and even Willow Smith. One day.

Comments (13)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

This has been a great year for music and that includes mainstream pop. Yeah, as usual there's been lots of crap but 'Acapella' and 'All the Lovers' in particular are great examples of what pop can be and what it can say. Neither, tellingly, is...

This has been a great year for music and that includes mainstream pop. Yeah, as usual there's been lots of crap but 'Acapella' and 'All the Lovers' in particular are great examples of what pop can be and what it can say. Neither, tellingly, is about teen love. 'Acapella' is about a woman discovering the joys of motherhood while 'All the Lovers' is about having really great sex with someone who care about deeply. The lyrics to both imply the protagonist already has plenty of life experience under her belt. Both are hugely positive songs about movng beyond lonliness and opening yourself up to new experiences. Plus you can dance yourself dizzy to both. What more could you want from great pop?

Read More
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Owl City - Fireflies makes my blood boil. What makes it even worse is that the confused arseholes at XFM (that's the so-called alternative music radio station) think that because Adam Young has Emo hair and wears skinny jeans that it's OK to put...

Owl City - Fireflies makes my blood boil. What makes it even worse is that the confused arseholes at XFM (that's the so-called alternative music radio station) think that because Adam Young has Emo hair and wears skinny jeans that it's OK to put this on the playlist.

I've always had a bit of a soft spot for Kelis, she's produced some fantastic singles over the years.

Read More
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I'd add Rihanna - Only Girl in the World to the best list and anything by 3OH!3 to the worst list.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Hm, I'd agree that the Cee-Lo Green and Kylie Minogue tunes are decent, haven't actually heard the Kelis one but she's done some good shit. Katy Perry still sounds like music for dirty old men to me though and that 'Whip my Hair' song is really...

Hm, I'd agree that the Cee-Lo Green and Kylie Minogue tunes are decent, haven't actually heard the Kelis one but she's done some good shit. Katy Perry still sounds like music for dirty old men to me though and that 'Whip my Hair' song is really infuriatingly annoying. Sorry Sykes. There's rarely a better thing than hearing a really good pop tune but after spending time in cars where people have had Galaxy Fm on that most of it just winds me up!

Read More
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I'd anything by Usher to the shit list. Everytime I get in a taxi they seem to playing Usher on the radio. He's song's are awful and they all seem to be barely concealed odes to date rape.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

NeYo or whatever his name is, Beautiful Monster, by far the worst record of the year. Just lazy repetitive crap.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Actually there's not much point me listing what I don't like as I'll be here all day. Not a fan of pop music, even the stuff I find good, I don't buy and listen to.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

That new Black Eyed Peas one is possibly the worst pop song, ever:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwQZQygg3Lk

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Brown, you're wrong about the Willow Smith song, it's ace. Soundbunny, you're right about Usher, he is clearly a sex fiend. Bob, can we have an article that's just you ranting about all the pop songs you hate? I think that'd be quite good.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I agree, Bob, you should totally do that!

There are no comments posted here yet
Load More