This year I thought it would be a fun idea to do a list of the best songs that get played on Top 40 radio. These are songs that everyone knows and get constant play at chain stores, school dances, and wherever else kids hang out. However, while putting together this list, I ran across two problems:
1.) It was hard to distinguish between which songs were popular this year, but released in years past and which did actually come out this year. Being that 67% of popular music is made by either Katy Perry, Ke$ha, or Lady Gaga, this becomes a problem because two out of those three released their albums in 2010 to continued radio success in 2011. To solve this problem, I made a rule that throws the date the album was made out the window and instead goes by when the song was released as a single. For example, Ke$ha’s album Cannibal was released in 2010, but her hit song “Blow” was not released until March of 2011, making it eligible for the list.
2.) Apparently I don’t listen to enough popular music. While going through the songs that were popular in 2011, I either a) had never heard it or b) thought it sucked. This was particularly true, when it came to the dance-beat-rap-party songs (which is like half of what’s popular) and I found that a majority of my list were songs that just happened to get popular from artists who aren’t necessarily known for their radio play.
This list is made of mostly fun, bubblegum songs that don’t really mean much to me, other than I usually have a good time listening to them.
NOTE: Although I only chose 15 songs, some are barely on the edge of being likeable for me, so most I don’t actually love, but rather endure for social reasons…
Listen along on Spotify here: Best Top 40 Songs 2011
15.) “The Show Goes On” by Lupe Fiasco
It features a chorus from a Modest Mouse song that somewhat works, but overall it just feels slightly intelligent giving it a place on this list.
14.) “Yeah 3X” by Chris Brown
One of those upbeat-dance-party-rap songs that works really well. Plus, I had some good times with it on a car ride, so my personal experience is really what elevates it.
13.) “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People
Was never really into this song as much as everyone else, but hey it doesn’t suck and really that’s all that matters.
12.) “Animal” by Neon Trees
One of those rock songs that somehow makes its way up the charts. This song makes it because of how he sounds when he sings “what are you waiting fooooorrrrrr…” Brilliant.
11.) “Blow” by Ke$ha
Another one of those that I don’t like as much on its own, but my experience with it and other people makes it far for enjoyable.
10.) “Good Life” by OneRepublic
Most of it’s pretty run-of-the-mill, but there are some parts that make it feel real special.
9.) “Tonight Tonight” by Hot Chelle Rae
So dumb… But so catchy…
8.) “Last Friday Night (TGIF)” by Katy Perry
This one really grew on me, when I first heard it I thought it was some new singer trying to do Katy Perry, but later found out that it actually was Katy Perry. The music video was really what did it for me. It features cameos from Kenny G, Corey Feldman, and Rebecca Black! How can it not rule?
7.) “I Like it Like That” by Hot Chelle Rae
Such a gloriously catchy pop song. It’s like they are taking the place of the All American Rejects in high school boy band form.
6.) “Sail” by AWOLNATION
Don’t know how popular this song actually was, but I heard it on the radio, so I am including it.
5.) “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele
Adele belts her song out wonderfully and is changing what gets played on the radio. Thank goodness.
4.) “What the Hell” by Avril Lavigne
So unbelievably catchy, its like cotton candy, pure puffed up sugar.
3.) “Till the World Ends” by Britney Spears
It’s like a darker version of the upbeat-dance-party-rap songs that I talked about. Full force.
2.) “The Edge of Glory” by Lady Gaga
This song has an air of importance around it, not sure it really lives up to that, but it remains epic.
1.) “Someone Like You” by Adele
This shouldn’t really count and I was actually kind of annoyed by this song rising to popularity (like the pretentious hipster that I can sometimes be), but it did and I love it, so here it is as the number one radio hit of the year (and will likely appear very high on my list of best songs of the year). It is so sad (seriously go watch the skit that SNL did about it, it’s fabulous) and just floods emotion into you.
Honorable ineligible mention: “Friday” by Rebecca Black-Seriously? This song is great!
Stay tuned for more music and movie lists…