The plot thickens... and gets a bit more commercial .
30 "Get Outta My Way" - Kylie Minogue
Kylie's Aphrodite is 2010's fag hag of pop. It appeases to every camp dance cliche and gleefully dramatic chorus, and "Get Outta My Way" is its diamond encrusted tiara. Producer Stuart Price excessively scatters his eurodisco glitter all over Kylie's effortlessly classy vocals, which are double-quintuple tracked over the strobelight mania of a chorus. The whole thing is about as feel good a track as anything you've heard not only Kylie but any female artist do in years, whether as a breakup song or simply as a song for when you're late for work.
29 "Rude Boy" - Rihanna
A hint of the "Loud" animal we would see later this year, this latter single from 2009's Rated R was a standout simply because it wasn't dark or reflective. It showed us the Rihanna we know and love: tough, dominant, seductive and just classy enough to get away with the occasional dutty phrase. Although of similar pace to "What's My Name?", released later in the year, "Rude Boy" isn't dreamy or suggestive; it's in your face, cocky and impossible to ignore.
28 "We R Who We R" - Ke$ha
On paper and indeed on first listen, this could seem like nothing but going through the motions for Ke$ha. It's got the drunken whore rap verse followed by the huge autotuned chorus and thumping beat, and the whole thing resembles a mud slinging fight between Gaga and Katy Perry. But what becomes apparant about "We R Who We R" with repeat listens, is that it actual has a slight poignancy about it. Call me crazy, but to me, this isn't about glitter or whisky or casual sex; it's about individuality, and for the first time Ke$ha is making her real message heard. And through the medium of a chorus as catchy as that of "Tik Tok". Who cares if Ke$ha wears the same underwear for 2 weeks in a row? She's not saying that's what you should do, she's just saying it's ok to do what the fuck you want. I mean there is a limit, but I see where she's coming from. Anyway, tune.
27 "Call Your Girlfriend" - Robyn
What's this?! So much for being the heartbroken girl dancing on her tod, Robyn's now the "other woman"?! Talk about double standards! Well, it's easy to forgive her, and also easy to see how the gentleman in question could've been seduced by this Robyn, when you hear the caramel smooth melodies and euphoric rise and fall of the Nu-Abba backing of "Call Your Girlfriend". "Tell her the only way her heart will mend is when she learns to love again" Robyn advises and firmly confirms "it's gon be me and you" as her voice disapparates and begins to fly away into a cloud of beautiful vowels. It's tough going through a break up, but with Robyn there not only to empathise but also to offer both sides of the story... who the hell needed any other pop singer in 2010?
26 "Shutterbugg" - Big Boi feat. Cutty
Has there been a huger beat this year then that of "Shutterbugg"? Glass smashes and keyboards cry out like it's 1977, and a thousand deep voiced robots knock rhythmically on your front door. There's no way out from this track, so it's futile to resist. As Cutty sweetly sings "You're in my system", and after just one listen, this track most certainly will be.
25 "Tightrope" - Janelle Monae feat. Big Boi
"Tightrope" is one big funky grin from start to finish. The bonkers but brilliant androgynous wonder that is Janelle Monae goes all out on "Tightrope" to showcase everything that makes her great. Whether it's the sheer melodrama in her soulful voice, the absurdly addictive unhinged rhythms or the crazy motown brass section (a personal musical highlight of 2010), Janelle does "what the fuck is this? I love it!" better than any other artist this year. A musical secret agent, stationed loosely in Urban town, whilst engaging in countless missions to the districts of big band, funk and disco and commandeering the odd Ukelele. Extravagent and imaginative; a thorough delight.
24 "Time Machine" - Robyn
One thing Robyn was reluctant to do on her UK self-titled Debut was to go all-out dance. Preferring to dabble in urgent big beat on "Cobrastyle" and "Be Mine", throwing out the hip hop beats on tracks like "Handle Me", and working quirky techno heavily into her sound pretty much everywhere, our first lady of Swede-pop seemed to be afraid to be too commercial. The "Body Talk" records couldn't be more different, and "Time Machine" is hands down the catchiest straight-up dancepop anthem she's ever done. And with a chorus bigger than Jesus, it's easy to see that Robyn's inhibitions and awkward pop quirks are well and truly in the past.
23 "Young Blood" - The Naked and Famous
Just when you think the world of blogpop can't throw out any more gems this year, we get the Passion Pit esque Naked and Famous, who are most certainly destined for commercial success. A clattering synth refrain rings out over a bassy wall of fat distortion, and eager falsetto cries out triumphantly, with an "Eee-yeah-eee-yeah-ee-yeah-eee-yeah!" refrain thrown in for good measure. A perfectly formed alternative pop song and probably the best debut single of 2010.
22 "Bastard" - Tyler, The Creator
Horrorcore Hip Hop without beats = The definition of uncomfortable listening. Cheap schlock strings and cheesy horror movie synth brass make the odd appearance as a plodding piano rolls round and round, giving plenty of room for the blunt and disturbing phrasing of Tyler to reverberate inside your head. The distant voice of a therapist emplores Tyler to open up at the opening of the song, but within 30 seconds, I'd wager he wished he hadn't. Tyler covers self-harm, rape, suicide, killing his father, his insecurities, his sick fantasies and claims to be Satan's son. Over the course of 6 minutes, Tyler proves himself as the new Eminem: a near unbearable listen, but strangely poignant. And a little bit scary.
21 "Theme From Yours Truly" - Beat Connection
And now for something completely random. Another group I found in blogland, Beat Connection are as balearic as they come, and "Theme From Yours Truly" (not an actual film) is as life affirming as balearic can muster. Euphoric bells chime and tambourines jingle, but a delicious Beyonce vocal sample makes the track that bit more glorious. In a list mainly made up of perfectly formed pop songs, this is one track that doesn't do a lot, because it doesn't have to. Just repeating those same gorgeous refrains for an out-of-body 6 minutes is enough for me.
That's enough for today my dears, top 20 begins tomorrow!