Top 10 Pop Songs of 2011
Pop divas ruled the airwaves this year. Whether we were finding love in a hopeless place with Rihanna, dancing until the world ends with Britney, or hanging on a moment with Gaga, 2011 provided some of the most epic pop songs ever. Here's our list of our Top 10 Pop Songs of 2011.
Katy Perry's reign on the charts is unstoppable — and her giddy, goofy, celebratory ode to drunken debauchery, 'Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)' proves that her hard-partying ways are equally relentless. A crunchy pop nugget with some of the darn funniest lyrics of the year, Perry's unapologetically rambunctious pop classic was a well-deserved fixture on every pop songs party playlist in 2011.
Slick, hook-driven, and irresistible, 'It Girl' is one of Jason Derulo's most likable tracks to date — and firmly cements his position as one of our favorite voices in R&B. It's a track that's packed with sweetness from top to bottom, with a whistling melody and affectionate message that make you want to pump your fists hard and sing yourself hoarse.
Maroon 5's 'Moves Like Jagger' scored Christina Aguilera her first No. 1 in nearly a decade, and she earned it with her soulful spot on the track: The big-voiced chanteuse compliments Adam Levine's crooning perfectly. This pop song is an infectious, funky slice of disco-pop goodness, with pounding percussion, a sick bassline, and more of the feel-good whistling that was so prominent in pop this year.
An unexpected pop treat from alt-dance quintet Cobra Starship and rising star Sabi (who memorably steamed like a pot full of vegetables on Britney Spears' 'Drop Dead Beautiful'), 'You Make Me Feel' was on heavy rotation all fall. A storming, frosty single, cool and refreshing as a summer cocktail, it combined walls of "la la la"s and a twangy guitar loop for one of the year's strongest pop offerings.
With so many epic pop songs from Lady Gaga this year, it was tough to pick just one: But no song gave us chills the way 'The Edge of Glory' did. An epic ode to being on the precipice of a great love affair, thunderous drums and a weird (but welcome) saxophone solo had this transcendent, soaring '80s anthem blowing out our speakers all summer.
Bajan banger Rihanna has always straddled her island swagga with dance-pop sensibilities, but she went for a full house makeover with 'We Found Love,' a collaboration with Scottish super-DJ Calvin Harris. The results are mind-blowingly pristine: Rihanna's tangy vocals crush that unforgettable hook — "We found love in a hopeless place" — and turn what could have been just another pop single into a glacial dance banger that keeps the unstoppable RiRi reign going without a hitch.
When we finally stopped weeping for long enough to really give this song a listen, it was impossible not to acknowledge its potency. Adele's kiss-off to a moved-on ex is a masterpiece of emotional profundity, resigned and wounded and empowered all at once. It's no ordinary piano ballad, either — as Adele's enormous vocals soar over the track with expert power and restraint, we always seem to find ourselves reaching for another tissue.
'Mr. Know It All' isn't as anthemic as 'Since U Been Gone' or 'My Life Would Suck Without You,' but it's an epic in its own way — as clever and affecting a pop song as any this year. "Baby, you don't know a thing about me," Kelly Clarkson insists in the chorus over swelling instrumentation and a driving, '90s beat. Understated in its elegance, Clarkson's single is a markedly mature and sophisticated departure for the pop-rock queen.
Robyn is an unstoppable force, making the most creative, inventive, and moving pop songs of the last decade — and she's finally being recognized for it on stateside shores. After making so many lovelorn heartache anthems, 'Call Your Girlfriend' is conceptually brilliant, as Robyn assumes the perspective of "the other woman" to advise her guy on how to dump his girlfriend. Her sweet, childlike vocals riding the bouncing drumloop are nothing but pop magic.
2011 was already Year of the Spears by January, when Britney Spears' 'Hold It Against Me' topped the charts — but Godney had something even better up her sleeve, the crackling dancefloor barnstormer 'Till the World Ends,' penned by rowdy popstrel Kesha and produced by monster hitmaker Dr. Luke. It's a gargantuan party song with provocative lyrics ("This kitten got your tongue tied in knots," anyone?), throbbing synths, and a thrillingly euphoric hands-in-the-air chant-along chorus — and there wasn't a more exuberant pop song this year.