This is it, readers. Do you need me to put on my best impression of Steve Jones‘ woeful hosting antics to get y’all hyped for the finals?
Feed Limmy’s Top 10 songs of 2011 is finally here and this stage of the game, I’m throwing all caution to the wind and nominating my absolute faves. What you see here are songs that have defined my year – songs that will always remind me of where I was and my state of mind in 2011. We’re talking about the ten tracks I totally could not get enough of [Editor’s note: True talk. Limoncé managed to play one of them 88 times in a day and he’s still not over it].
Here is a quick recap of Feed Limmy’s Top 30 before I try to justify the final 10:
#30 – ‘Show Me’ by Jessica Sutta
#29 – ‘Loud’ by Stan Walker
#28 – ‘Glad You Came’ by The Wanted
#27 – ‘She Always Gets What She Wants’ by Florrie
#26 – ‘Until You’re Over Me’ by Zoë Badwi
#25 – ‘Going Crazy’ by Song Jieun feat. Bang Yongguk
#24 – ‘Bullet’ by Clare Maguire
#23 – ‘Asthma Attack’ by CockNBullKid
#22 – ‘After NYE’ by Rosaline Yuen
#21 – ‘Nu Shoes’ by Wonder Girls
#20 – ‘Believe’ by Jennifer Hudson
#19 – ‘Cameo Lover’ by Kimbra
#18 – ‘Come Back You Bad Person’ by Kahi
#17 – ‘Free’ by Natalia Kills
#16 – ‘Bloodstained Heart’ by Darren Hayes
#15 – ‘All Fired Up’ by The Saturdays
#14 – ‘Big’ by Sneaky Sound System
#13 – ‘Video Games’ by Lana Del Rey
#12 – ‘Who You Are’ by Jessie J
#11 – ‘The Edge of Glory’ by Lady Gaga
#10 ‘Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)’ by Kelly Clarkson
If I had a dime for every single time my little brother cracks a bed-wetting joke when Kelly opens with, “you know the bed feels warmer, sleeping here alone”… *Shaking my head*
This is nothing short of colossal but then again, you wouldn’t expect anything less from a woman who has built her music empire on monster pop anthems. ‘Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)’ is exactly what Kelly Clarkson should be delivering – infectious survivor jams with a wind machine-werking chorus.
Producer Greg Kurstin (who has hemmed smash records for Kylie and Lily Allen) breathes new life into Clarkson‘s familiar rock brand by inserting driving electronic beats that detonate in all the right places. Safe to say, our first lady of American Idol could have herself a massive dance hit with ‘Stronger’ too. Welcome back to the A-league, gurl.
Throw me a line: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, stand a little taller. Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone!”
#9 ‘We Run The Night’ by Havana Brown
Pray for my soul because Australia’s newest club vixen Havana Brown has got it by the collar and is dragging it down to hell with her. The pure pagan dance breakdown in ‘We Run The Night’ has kept me booty poppin’ uncontrollably for months now, leaving me no choice but to dub this my ultimate party jam of 2011.
This first showing of new Aussie production team More Mega (made up of Snob Scrilla and one-time pop star Cassie Davis) has raised the bar for homegrown club pop singles. ‘We Run The Night’ gives all the energy and brain-wracking melodies expected of A-grade pop singles but does one better with unapologetic club beats. The poppers o’clock RedOne remix featuring Pitbull takes this concept to a whole new level so make sure you also bump that one.
Throw me a line: “Party, party all night, sleep all day then do it again!”
#8 ‘Killer Love’ by Nicole Scherzinger
I believe the first time I played this on radio, I turned to my co-host and said, “Can you hear those electric guitars, Jade? Nicole Scherzinger is serving some arena rock realness!” I couldn’t have (re)said it better myself.
‘Killer Love’ is beyond a shadow of doubt, one of the best solo tracks the ex-Pussycat Doll has ever committed to tape. For a RedOne production, the beat actually sounds pretty tailored to Nicole rather than just being another generic, recycled Europop smear that could’ve been handed to any basic female artist. I really wish Nicole had served up three more tracks on her album in this style.
This really is soulful, sex kitten rock at its finest – thoroughly cancelling such booger efforts like Rihanna‘s ‘S&M’. I think part of the reason why ‘Killer Love’ is so addictive and warrants repeated listens every time I start is because it gives multiple moments. There’s such a magnetic energy emanating from the track – from strutting verses with sadomasochist themes through to the dramatic pre-chorus and middle eight. You won’t survive this killer track.
Throw me a line: “If it’s good then why you driving my heart insane? And if it’s bad then why can’t I just walk away?”
#7 ‘I Am The Best’ by 2NE1
Let the records reflect that swagger was officially redefined in 2011 with 2NE1‘s ‘I Am The Best’ slayfest. Look, I can’t even front. I’ve always been partial to urban tracks with mind-numbingly basic melodies [Editor’s note: Need I remind readers that ‘Whip My Hair’ was the #2 Feed Limmy song of 2010?] but this is actually defining.
The K-pop girl band is one of my favourite discoveries of the year and let me just say for those who are yet to experience ‘I Am The Best’, y’all ain’t ready. Your speakers will be quaking uncontrollably from the opening bar when the bass heavy electro beats kick in and before you know it, you’ll be chanting the chorus incoherently in Korean.
‘I Am The Best’ is an unmatchable tour de force of fierce, serving boppy melodies and furious rap interchangeably like a pro. But the key highlight of the track goes to the middle eight breakdown when the group’s alpha chick CL drops a Patois-inflected rap complete with a reggae-style “braaaah!”
#6 ‘Titanium’ by David Guetta feat. Sia
David Guetta getting with Sia has to be one of the biggest surprise collabos of the year – and thankfully for all involved, it was a slamming A+ dance track that upgraded both artists’ discography.
For the prolific French DJ/producer, he was due for something a little deeper after leaving us high and dry with a slew of party records. For the Aussie indie pop queen, a commercial dance crossover technically shouldn’t have worked but it just opened her unique and soulful vocals to a whole new market that wouldn’t have been privvy to her magic before ‘Titanium’.
The emotional guitar riff strikes a chord from the get go [Editor’s note: pardon the overused pun] but it’s not until you hear Sia‘s bruised vocals come on that you realise how thoroughly next-level this David Guetta track actually is. Not in a million years would I have expected for a mainstream club/indie collabo to sound this amazing.
Throw me a line: “You shoot me down but I won’t fall, I am titanium…”
#5 ‘Someone Like You’ by Adele
Ah, shit. Where do you even begin with something as immense as ‘Someone Like You’? I’m just gonna go ahead and say it. Children in generations to come will look at this in the way Generation X sees ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’. It is that much of a classic.
The timeless ballad deserves all the praise and overplay it’s getting because there’s something so intensely moving about the way Adele pours her heartache into this song. I don’t believe you have to literally experience seeing your ex move on to feel ‘Someone Like You’. This song speaks to our universal fear of being alone and forgotten by someone we consider to be a very significant part of our life. Now hand me the Kleenex and a tub of ice cream, if anyone needs me I’ll be in my room.
Throw me a line: “I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited but I couldn’t stay away, I couldn’t fight it. I had hoped you’d see my face and that you’d be reminded that for me it isn’t over…”
#4 ‘Schoolin’ Life’ by Beyoncé
I know by now y’all would’ve been exhausted by my extremely passionate and fangurling reviews but please find it in your hearts to buy my sincerity when I say, “this is the most important Beyoncé song since ‘Crazy In Love’…”
‘Schoolin’ Life’ feels like a major Prince record pulled from the 80s and stylishly reupholstered with soul diva vocals. The lyrical shout out to every age bracket with taxable income is totally something I can imagine Bey to be singing to greater effect as she gets older. She will be literally thrusting her good titanium hip on the Glastonbury virtual 3D stage when she’s 80 like some Dame Shirley Bassey figure hollering, “this is for them twenty somethings! Time really moves fast, you were just sixteen…”
The fluorescent synth rock productions are unlike anything we’ve ever heard the young music icon do. But what’s really remarkable about this 80s reinvention is hearing how effortless and convincing Beyoncé is as a classic soul/funk singer. ‘Schoolin’ Life’ presents a completely refreshing angle for a mega star who has already mastered the art of making anthemic contemporary R&B, soul and pop for our generation.
Throw me a line: “Who needs a degree when you’re schoolin’ life?”
#3 ‘Yo-Yo’ by Nicola Roberts
2011 is the year of the ginge. And by that I really mean, the year of Nicola Roberts – British pop’s new chairman of cool. The feisty Girls Aloud siren has not only delivered one of the best solo GA albums with her debut Cinderella’s Eyes, but she’s also gone one step further with the hypnotic new single ‘Yo-Yo’.
This magnificent pop ballad is the future. Producer Dmitri Tikovoi (the man responsible for several Sophie Ellis-Bextor Trip The Light Fantastic tracks) has created a captivating soundscape that draws you in with dainty plinkering piano lines and lo-fi fractured drum patterns before sucking you up in a whirlwind of synths and strings.
Nicola‘s emotional lyrics and even more passionate vocal delivery on ‘Yo-Yo’ is an experience in itself. She takes you on this journey with her vocal performance, starting off a little cool and feisty in the first verse before completely breaking down in a desperate plea at the middle eight. The intensity of that frantic part where she’s singing in falsetto is totally heartbreaking. Even though that section wasn’t always pretty on the ears, Nicola should be applauded for taking the risk and putting emotional connection over sounding manicured, note-perfect.
And you were asking why Ginge is so bloody untouchable? Case in action.
Throw me a line: “All of the things you’re saying, I’m hanging on your every word. All of the things you’ve promised, I’m trying so hard to make it work…”
#2 ‘Raining Diamonds’ by Ricki-Lee
Let me take this opportunity to formally declare what I’ve already known from the minute I broke ‘Raining Diamonds’ on this site two months ago: this is the comeback single of the year, this is the best Australian pop single in years.
Ricki-Lee‘s shining transformation into a full-fledged pop vixen just took on a whole new dimension this year. ‘Raining Diamonds’ is a survivor anthem with true global potential, packing a fistful of energy in its pulsating electro pop beats and a monster vocal performance to match.
In terms of the structure, I am so pleased that ‘Raining Diamonds’ never lost focus on where the real money is. The slammin’ chorus is everything to this song and producers Billy Mann and BoyBlue have made sure that every other point of the track draws the listener straight to that climax. The opening “woah woah” perfectly foreshadows the immensity to come, the first verse builds up nicely to the chorus, and the second verse is wisely designed to be shorter so we’re not having to wait ages before experiencing the chorus again. Do you now see how amazing and effective ‘Raining Diamonds’ is as a mega pop song?
When it comes to lyrical connection, ‘Raining Diamonds’ slays as an anthem. There’s obviously this message of not settling for less in a relationship but I like to think that this concept and sense of value could also be applied for work, life and other opportunities in general. I need the planets all aligning in every aspect of my life – can I get an ‘amen’ up in here?
Throw me a line: “I know that love is more than just surviving, I need it raining diamonds…”
#1 ‘Still Getting Younger’ by Wynter Gordon
My gurl Wynter Gordon‘s stunning dance number ‘Still Getting Younger’ is without doubt the centrepiece of her killer debut album With The Music I Die. It is unlike anything else on the project, it is galaxies away from her most prominent hit to date ‘Dirty Talk’, and best of all – it has this essence of an instant classic that you can’t ignore. Major kudos to producer Nick Littlemore of Pnau and Empire of The Sun for imparting his aura into this glistening dance number that’s evidently gonna go off in summer music festivals.
There is magic in ‘Still Getting Younger’. I can’t really break it down for y’all because I still don’t know what it is that’s got me so spellbound, but all I can say is you feel something the very minute the 80s synth melodies and beat drops. I’ll always look back on 2011 and remember the days in June where I would sit – unemployed, lonely and fragile – in a corner of my room with this track on repeat, just yearning for it to take me to a different place.
What I find so alluring about ‘Still Getting Younger’ is the beautiful melodies and lyrics about reconnecting and growing with someone. There is a sense of eternity, like you can listen to this song until you’re old, regardless of whether you’re single or partnered. I feel such a positive connection with this song and y’know what? If I were to have children one day, I would want to pass a record like this onto them and say, “Listen – this is dance music with soul”. [Editor’s note: by “record” you mean mp3 file, right?]
Throw me a line: “I’m not lonely, I just need you to fill this empty space again. I complete you and you could never turn me away. Our love will never end…”
Watch the lyric video for ‘Still Getting Younger’: