Pop has continued to thrive in 2010, with more autotune, more usage of the words “club” and “DJ”, and more Pitbull guest raps than ever before. Picking out the best 50 of the year is a harder task than you’d expect – ‘California Gurls’, ‘Good Times’, ‘Pass Out’, ‘Start Without You’, ‘Parachute’, ‘Billionaire’, ‘Missing You’, ‘Dynamite’, ‘Riverside’ and ‘OMG’ are just ten of the tracks that did not make it onto our list – so what did?
Remember, if you disagree with any of our decisions you can take a vote in our separate readers’ poll – click here to vote.
Today we start our annual countdown with Numbers 50-41. Here we go, leave comments at the bottom of the page…
50. Scouting For Girls – ‘This Ain’t A Love Song’
April, Peak #1
Admittedly, the album was cack. But at least with this single SFG proved they are capable of being a bit more affecting and heartfelt than their first batch of sound-a-like singles suggested. Complete with a heartstring-tugging video of airport goodbyes, ‘This Ain’t A Love Song’ gave the trio their first ever #1 single and abled them to invent their own ‘Easter #1′ label.
49. Miley Cyrus – ‘Can’t Be Tamed’
May, Peak #13
‘Party In The USA’ it ain’t, but ‘Can’t Be Tamed’ successfully marked (as her people put it) “the next step in the evolution of Miley”. It didn’t really do the business Stateside, but the track’s parent album allowed Cyrus her first ever appearance in a UK Top 10 after a storming, if typically controversial, performance on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’. At the end of the day this isn’t pop music at its very best, but on ability to drill itself into your head after just a couple of listens it certainly stands out.
48. McFly – ‘Party Girl’
September, Peak #6
If they wanted to head in a new direction they certainly didn’t disappoint. McFly breathed new life into a career spanning six years with this surprisingly amazing assault of electro-pop. Bandwagon-jumping? Yes, probably. But when it’s this good, who really cares?! As with Scouting For Girls, they didn’t really manage to spread their new-found glory over an entire album, but full credit to them for coming back fighting.
47. Ellie Goulding – ‘Starry Eyed’
March, Peak #4
What a year for Ellie Goulding. Not only did she achieve widespread critical acclaim at the top of the year with her BRIT Critics Choice award and the BBC Sound of 2010 honours, but she managed to avoid Little Boots’ problem of becoming over-hyped by putting out an incredible album and this infectious single at the very height of all the attention. ‘Starry Eyed’ justified all the hype with its glossy production from Starsmith and cute, velvety vocals from Goulding. Keep an eye out – Ellie will appear again on our Top 50 another two times…
46. Owl City – ‘Fireflies’
January, Peak #1
After becoming an unexpected smash hit in the US, Owl City’s bleepy début managed to achieve similar success overseas; and for six months it was looking like a strong contender for the year’s best-seller. Sadly, subsequent hit singles never materialised (follow-up ‘Umbrella Beach’ charted at #194), but with nearly 4 million copies of this track sold worldwide, we’re sure musician Adam Young isn’t too bitter about that.
45. Alesha Dixon – ‘Radio’
December, Peak #46
What happened?! One minute Alesha was unstoppable, and the next she’s got a single charting outside the Top 40 and an album limping to #84! The sad thing is that ‘Radio’ is actually an almighty tune; a heartfelt rave-ballad from the same tree as ‘Breathe Slow’ and a brilliant Americanised music video to accompany it. One can only hope her next single – a rather catchy duet with Jay Sean – can save her from the brink of being dropped for the second time.
44. Selena Gomez and the Scene – ‘Naturally’
April, Peak #7
Miley and Demi have never managed it, but Selena achieved a UK Top 10 smash on her first attempt. ‘Naturally’ was a slow-burning, infectious electro-pop cracker with one of the year’s best intros. Perhaps the only mainstream Disney star with squeaky-clean reputation still intact, tween fave Gomez also managed to score two Top 20 albums in the space of five months as well as continuing to work as a successful Disney actress. Hate her or love her, you certainly can’t call the girl lazy…
43. The Hoosiers – ‘Choices’
August, Peak #11
This time last year we certainly didn’t expect to see 2008′s most annoying indie trio in our list of great pop singles. But the quirky outfit returned this year with an updated sound which strayed away from the tryhard indie of their début and veered more towards surprisingly listenable electro-pop, and even though album ‘The Illusion of Safety’ failed to sell as well as perhaps intended, ‘Choices’ gave them their third Top 20 single and made them a hell of a lot less irritating.
42. The Wanted – ‘All Time Low’
August, Peak #1
After a promotional campaign that felt like it dragged for centuries, this new boyband “from the creators of The Saturdays” had an army of screaming fans before they’d even released any music, and as a result the admittedly rather good ‘All Time Low’ steamrollered all competition to chart at #1 over the summer. Already considered worthy of a guest spot on ‘The X Factor’, and with a surprisingly decent album under their belts, they get extra kudos from us for giving Trash Lounge a shout-out on Twitter last month. Thanks, guys.
41. Alexis Jordan – ‘Happiness’
November, Peak #3
Competed on an international talent show? Check. Scoring an international dance-pop smash? Check. Agnes? Nope. This time it’s Alexis Jordan, competitor on the first series of America’s Got Talent and responsible for this surprisingly brilliant single that took radio playlists and singles charts by storm in the Autumn. With a second single that’s just as head-invading, we hope she’ll be a major player in the sound of 2011.
Ten down, forty to go. Nos 40-31 include five solo females, one solo male, one band, and three collaborations. Any guesses? Leave predictions and any comments on Nos 50-41 in the space below.