Alright…here we go. 2008 was a good one for Pop, and we’ve got the rundown here. A couple of disclaimers first:
1. A song that would have made my Top 5 was “What I Cannot Change” by Leann Rimes, but that made my list last year, since I loved it so much as an album cut.
2. I know that there’s probably a lot of other good stuff out there, but all I can talk about are the tracks that came across my laptop or iPod.
3. It was a funky year for me, and I think you can tell a lot about my year from the list.
4. The number in parenthesis is the peak position on the Billboard Hot 100.
5. I attempt to keep artists to one song per year-end chart, but Colby O’Donis gets on twice with a technicality, as he’s only featured on the two records he sang on.
Okay…let ‘er rip!
1. Closer/Ne-Yo (Year of the Gentleman) – No song this year stuck with me more than this one, which took a good three months to catch fire, but when it did, it headed straight to the Top 10. When future generations want to see how to write a perfect dance-pop song, they’ll look to “Closer”. (#7)
2. Run (Bonus Track)/Leona Lewis (Spirit – Deluxe Edition) – How impressive is it that a cover song performed live almost six months earlier finally ended up being a single all its own, while topping the UK charts in the process. If there was any question of Leona’s validity as a pop vocalist, this should erase those doubts. (#81 to date)
3. Human /The Killers (Day & Age) – There were two questions that came up when this song first hit the Internet: 1) was it “dancer” or “denser”? 2) how high will this end up on everyone’s year-end list? (#32 to date)
4. Chasing Pavements/Adele (19) – Best debut single of the year by a mile, this tale of reconciling the conflicted feelings of a dying relationship showed much depth, and sounded years beyond a 19-year-old newbie. When she hits that final chorus, it gives me goosebumps. (#82)
5. I’m Yours/Jason Mraz (We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things) – We can’t all be visionaries like Fizzy Pop (this was on his list in 2006), but when it finally came around for the rest of us, it just wouldn’t let go. It’s the feel-good record of the year, no doubt. Happiness is hearing this track live as part of a sing-along. (#6)
6. Gravity/Sara Bareilles (Little Voice) – The first of several album cuts on the list. From that minimal piano intro, to the simple cry toward the end, it’s an emotional powerhouse from start to finish. One of my live music highlights of the year was hearing this song when she stopped in Denver. (NA)
7. Let It Go/Will Young (Let It Go) – Another album cut from a record that’s guaranteed to be in my Top 10. The pure honesty and stress of recognizing the failings of a man hit me hard upon first listen, and the impact has only grown upon repeated plays. Let’s hope that Will can finally leave the “Idol” title behind, and just be recognized as a true artist. (NA)
8. Damaged/Danity Kane (Welcome To The Dollhouse) – Sadly overlooked on most lists, it was impossible to avoid this song in the first half of the year, but when you break it down, pop music doesn’t come much more pure than this. Killer hook, fluffy lyrics, and vocals just strong enough to hold themselves above all of it. Diddy found the formula, even if it may have only been a one-shot fluke. (#10)
9. Boyfriend (Pete Hammond 7″ Mix)/Alphabeat (This Is Alphabeat) – Talk about taking a good song and making it great, Alphabeat really found their footing by hooking up with Pete Hammond. This song will always be driving down the highway in Michigan in the summer to me. (NA)
10. All Alone/Chris Richardson (All Alone – Single) – While this song didn’t get the attention that it deserved, it hopefully put the tastemakers on alert that C Rich has a genuinely unique perspective that will lead to big things in the future. A simple melody and lyrics belie an emotionally complex song. (NA)
11. Forever/Chris Brown (Exclusive – The Forever Edition) – To some, this might seem like blasphemy, but I’m good with this being at #11. Love the song, but somewhere along the line it overstayed its welcome. Amazing hook, though. (#1)
12. The Loving Kind/Girls Aloud (Out Of Control) – I heard the raves, and paid them no mind originally, since I’ve only met one GA single that really rocked my world (“Call the Shots”). Let’s be honest, though…like a car wreck on the side of the road, I couldn’t help but stop and check it out with the Pet Shop Boys and Xenomania attached to the track, and I’m glad I did. If even for 3 minutes, Girls Aloud seem to know the meaning of sophisticated pop. (NA)
13. Spiraling/Keane (Perfect Symmetry) – “Wooooooooo!” The first time I heard that, I was lost. From a band that innovates how instruments are utilized in pop songs, that vocal flourish marked the beginning of the most uplifting song of the year. (NA)
14. Sweet Dreams/Beyoncé (I Am…Sasha Fierce) – While everyone else is bragging on “Single Ladies”, my jam has been “Sweet Dreams” ever since it leaked as “Beautiful Nightmare”. The final CD version is a tad too busy for my liking, but in it’s purest form, the record is brilliant. (NA)
15. Black and Gold (Album Version)/Sam Sparro (Black and Gold) – On first listen, I proclaimed this song “LAME”. I quickly ate my words, as that chorus just haunted me like the hot wings I had for dinner tonight. His CD was a welcome blast of 80s-inspired freshness, and “21st Century Life” should be up in this piece as well. (NA)
16. Never Ever Gone/Chris Cagle (My Life’s Been a Country Song) – My top country song this year would be burned at the stake by country purists, but Chris has a huge potential hit on his hands with this one. I haven’t heard Chris have this much fun with a record since “Chicks Dig It”. I’m pretty sure his album is dead, thanks to a domestic abuse situation back in Nashville, but the fact this won’t be released is a big ol’ shame. For you non-country heads, I dare ya to go to iTunes and check it out. You won’t be sorry… (NA)
17. Hollywood’s Not America/Ferras (Aliens & Rainbows) – This song hit my radar when it was used during Hollywood week on American Idol, but who knew that a consolation prize theme song would help bring such and amazing CD to the American public. Er, or at least to my attention, as the record barely sold anything. (#62)
18. Beautiful (Feat Colby O’Donis & Kardinal Offishall)/Akon (Freedom) – The newest of the tracks on this countdown comes from 3 people that even six months ago would have caused me to laugh at a potential inclusion, but this track just works for me. As I said a week ago, this could potentially be the biggest record of Akon’s career. (#19 to date)
19. You Found Me/The Fray (You Found Me) – From their February 2nd sophomore release, this song takes the “How To Save A Life” formula to the next level. For me, it’s the epitome of a “why bad things happen to good people” kind of record. (#15 to date)
20. I’m That Chick/Mariah Carey (E=MC2) – So the rumor goes that this song was L.A. Reid’s pick for the first single, instead of “Touch My Body”, and now we’re on single #7 (feels like it), and “Touch” is the ONLY hit she’s had. What gives, Mimi? Give the people what they want, mm’kay? (NA)
Now, here’s the rest of the Top 40:
21. Girl You Never Knew /Georgia Wonder (Hello Stranger – EP)
22. Green Light (feat. Andre 3000)/John Legend (Evolver)
23. Just Got Started Lovin’ You/James Otto (Sunset Man)
24. American Boy (Ft. Kanye West)/Estelle (Shine)
25. That’s Not My Name/The Ting Tings (We Started Nothing)
26. So What/P!nk (Funhouse)
27. Viva La Vida/Coldplay (Viva La Vida)
28. Handlebars/Flobots (Fight With Tools)
29. Light On/David Cook (David Cook)
30. Hero (feat. Keri Hilson)/Nas (Nas)
31. Sandcastle Disco/Solange (Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams)
32. If This Is Love/The Saturdays (Chasing Lights)
33. I Dream Of Spring/k. d. Lang (Watershed)
34. All I See/Kylie Minogue (X)
35. Paranoid ft. Mr. Hudson/Kanye West (808s & Heartbreaks)
36. Just Dance/Lady GaGa feat Colby O’Donis (The Fame)
37. 3 Little Words/Frankmusik (3 Little Words EP)
38. Dream On (Moto Blanco Club Mix)/Robyn (Dream On – Remixes)
39. Freeway/Aimee Mann (@#%&*! Smilers)
40. The Man Who Can’t Be Moved/The Script (The Script)
1. Underneath/Alanis Morissette (Flavors Of Entanglement)
2. Click Click Click/New Kids On The Block (The Block – Deluxe Edition)
3. Silly Really/Per Gessle (Silly Really – Single)
4. Insomnia/Craig David (Insomnia – Single)
5. Mercy/Duffy (Rockferry)
Nice list here, mister. We have the same #2 (even though I was sure it was not going to make your list). And I won’t even go there with the level of blasphemy for not having Cookie place higher in your chart…oh the humanity! And how could I forget Frankmusik in my charts? Nice placement here.
Amazing list, as suspected there good sir. Nice to see we almost match on the Killers and several other songs. I now have to go back and edit my list to include your placings 🙂
It’s great to find someone else who loves “Sweet Dreams” as much as I do. One of the highlights of Sasha Fierce.
And Mariah not releasing “I’m That Chick” is pure craziness. To be honest, the rumour is that the record company was scared of the drug references in the song. It’s so stupid, they are so subtle, I doubt the average person would have noticed. Rant over!
It was also nice to see Solange and Kylie in your list.
So glad to see that others recognize Chris Richardson’s amazing talent. There’s soooooo much more incredible material yet to come, watch out world!
Oh no just missed the top 20! Anyway, thanks for having us at 21 and helping spread the word – you can now download that song and others for free from our website 😉
Im glad someone is noticing the talents of Chris Richardson ( #10). He is an awesome musician and a great human being.
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