From The Archive

From The Archives: 2012 Top Songs, Part I

In time-honoured tradition December is the month that a ‘best singles of the year’ post must be made and ours will go online in due course. As popfools has only existed since 2013, we thought we’d bring you some archive footage in the meantime to share with you our favourite singles from previous years.

2012 Top Songs

Originally posted 27th December 2012. Edited for publication December 2013.

Kelly Catch My Breath30. Kelly Clarkson – Catch My Breath
One might allege that this song sounds like dozens of others that Kelly has already released, or will in the future, and that the song is very middle of the road, P!nk and/or Adam Lambert territory. Whilst such allegations are true, the fact of the matter is no-one in the game does this type of song as well as Kelly Clarkson and if she has a signature sound that’s working mighty fine for us, then why bother fixing it?

Highlight of the song:
‘C-c-c-c-c-c-c-catch my breath…’
Lowlight of the song:
Sounds like any other Kelly Clarkson mid-tempo.
Best Lyric:
‘It’s all so simple now.’

Misha B Do You29. Misha B – Do You Think of Me?
We love the way this song gradually builds up. Some songs insist on giving you everything including the kitchen sink by the time the first chorus kicks in – Nicki Minaj, yes we are talking about you – that it makes a wonderful change to have some well crafted subtlety to the song. It also handily ensures that you want to listen to the full 3:48 length. We think it shows us the potential versatility of Misha B’s voice; it’s nice to hear it in both a minimal soundscape and also to hear hints at how she could lead a dance anthem with her sensational vocals.

Highlight of the song:
The moment you realise it’s a woman singing.
The beats that join in the song at the first ‘at aaaaaaalllll’ on the chorus.
Lowlight of the song:
The intro sounds extremely similar to the intro to ‘Don’t Wake Me Up’ by Chris Brown.
At the start Misha herself also sounds like she could be Chris Brown.
Best lyric:
‘I’m living by the telephone’ – who hasn’t done this after a break up?
Pixie Lott Kiss The Stars

28. Pixie Lott – Kiss The Stars
Our first ‘CrapPop’ entry in the chart. Not that we need to explain ourselves, but we do like to justify our insatiable pop addiction on the basis of being able to distinguish between ‘CrapPop’ and actually ‘Very Good Pop’. ‘CrapPop’ refers mostly to the attitude of
the people making it*, although it is useful to be able to use the term to distinguish between the different ambitions and motivations behind e.g. a Vengaboys single and an Annie single.

[ASIDE: *Those who hold such a low opinion of the chart buying public that they think they can churn out literally ANY crap as ‘pop’ and the masses will love it. They treat pop as replaceable, consumable crap shoved out onto the pop charts as quickly as possible and produced as hurriedly, and often cheaply, as possible. They do not see it as the art form that it is, and do not put proper amounts of effort into the finished product.]

Having said all that ‘CrapPop’ can be, and very often is, good or decent.  This song ticks all the ‘CrapPop’ boxes. Basic beats, check. Embarrassingly shit lyrics, check. Ropey vocalist, check. And whatever you do, don’t get us started on the absolute Shitfest that was the ‘Kiss The Stars’ video, or we might never finish writing this list.

Nonetheless, and probably needless to say, we love every second of this song. Indeed it’s even helped us defrost our attitude towards Pixie herself.

Highlight of the song:
‘We’re in love to-niiiiiii-iiii-iiiii-iight’.
The horrific video where Pixie looks awful.
The horrific lyrics. (Think of innuendo written by a village idiot and you’ll nearly be there – prime examples include ‘Put the plug in the socket’ / ‘Push the switch’ and ‘Turn it on and I can go for hours.’)
In this song Pixie Lott essentially transforms herself into a “space-age” prostitute.
Lowlight of the song:
The shockingly awful video.
The shockingly awful lyrics.
Pixie Lott herself, obviously.
Best Lyric:
‘Put the plug in the socket’ for having all the subtlety of a battleaxe in the head.
Eric Saade - Hotter Than Fire

27. Eric Saade featuring Dev – Hotter Than Fire
Eric Saade is one of the biggest popstars in Sweden – we don’t really have a British equivalent at the moment – but think of Justin Timberlake when he first went solo and you won’t be far wrong. You’ll know Dev from vocalist duties on ‘Like a G6.’ Their collaboration here is, let’s face it, another ‘CrapPop’ entry in the chart. Collaborations such as these freak us out a little; it is obvious that Dev and Saade have never met, as their sections for the music video have very blatantly been filmed separately. Dev finds herself being beamed onto TV screens that Saade can’t stop dancing around. Neither have they have ever performed the song live together with Dev’s rather talentless section always taking the form of pre-recorded vocals, whilst Saade jinks around the stage like a contestant from ‘Strictly’ on speed. So despite the fact that Dev has no clue who Saade is we still love this song. The production on it is neat. Saade’s dance routine to the song is worth a look too if you’re in to that kind of thing.

Highlight of the song:
Copious mentions of TNT bring back fond memories of playing Crash Bandicoot on the PS1.
The way Dev sings flammable: in order to fit the word to the song it is reduced to two syllables. ‘Flam-ble’ it is then, Dev.
Lowlight of the song:
The way Dev always has to announce herself and her collaborators on any song she ever features on. Get over yourself Dev. You’re not Jason Derulo so it is not necessary.
‘It’s Dev’ sings Saade, ‘and Eric Saade’ speaks Dev. Do they even know they have it the wrong way around?
Best lyric:
‘Red dress H-O-T indeed’. We absolutely love it when pop songs contain popstars spelling out words letter by letter.

Taylor We26. Taylor Swift – We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
We like many things about this song, but we especially appreciate how wordy the title of the song is, and subsequently how wordy the chorus is. When has a major popstar in recent history ever made such a brave move as releasing their first single from an album with a seven (7! 7!) word title? For this alone, Taylor deserves a spot on the list, but the way the song manages to squeeze in the talky bit without it sounding out of place, or shit, is frankly what really elevates this song above others.

Highlight of the song:
‘Some indie record that’s much cooler than mine’
The ‘ooooh-OOOOoooooh’s’
The spoken bit, obviously.
Lowlight of the song:
‘Wee-EEE’
‘Trust me’ – why should I trust you Taylor? I’ve never even met you and you do seem like you like to needlessly cause ‘boy drama.’
‘Like ever’. No. Just no.
Best Lyric:
‘You go talk to your friends, talk to my friends, talk to me.’
Conor Turn Around

25. Conor Maynard featuring Ne-Yo – Turn Around
Obviously this is not the best ever song named ‘Turn Around’, since Phats & Small have had that base covered since 1999 with their classic hit. We struggle to actually understand what the point of Conor Maynard is besides posing for many an awkward picture with various ‘celebrities’ once in a while in the tabloids. His music is OK but nothing special and therefore descriptions of him as the British Bieber are lazy as well as inaccurate. There is a gap in the pop music market for a British Eric Saade, but we really don’t think Conor Maynard is the man up to the job.

Highlight of the song:
When Ne-Yo comes in and saves the song.
The middle 8.
Lowlight of the song:
There isn’t one – this is a consistent song.
Best lyric:
‘Together, nothing can stop us now.’
Owl City Good Time

24. Owl City featuring Carly Rae Jepsen – Good Time
If ‘Turn Around’ is improved 50% by Ne-Yo’s appearance, which sounds about right, this song is made precisely 639% better by Carly’s appearance. The last CrapPop entry in the chart. (Boo!)

Highlight of the song:
Any of Carly’s lines.
Carly randomly and inappropriately interjecting ‘mmmmmm’ in Owl’s first verse.
The accompanying freaky, extremely-self-satisifed smile she does in the video
The very presence of Carly Rae Jepsen.
‘Hands up if you’re down to get down tonight.’
Lowlight of the song:
‘It’s always a good time’ – no, it’s not.
Owl City.
Owl City in the video.
Best Lyric:
‘What’s up with this Prince song inside my head?’ < 200% amazing lyric. But WHICH Prince song is in your head?

Alphabeat Vacation23. Alphabeat – Vacation
That’s right, our favourite Danish popfools returned this year with a not-too-glorious comeback album. Now fiercely independent, they have regressed in sonic terms, returning to the sounds of their debut album. This song always puts a smile on our face, and it is typical Alphabeat pop fluff, although the instrumental is probably better by itself.

Highlight of the song:
‘VACATION! Woah-oh. I wanna go. I wanna GO GO GO.’
The intro.
Lowlight of the song:
The piss-poor lyrics which probably were written by a 5 year old
The awful predictability and familiarity of the lyrics.
Best lyric:
‘Why do you look so grave? I’ve got just the cure for it’ – Are you a Doctor now, Stein? What if there’s something seriously wrong here? We’re not sure a holiday is the appropriate cure for severe illnesses…
Light Me Up

22. Parade – Light Me Up
Parade were launched as a new girlband about the same time as The Wanted, presumably to fill the gap in the market left by Girls Aloud, The Saturdays and The Sugababes all variously breaking up and/or flopping beyond belief, and coming before Stooshe and Little Mix were on the scene. We didn’t really care for any of their material first time around and, after flopping hard, they were dropped by their label. But now they’re back in one way or another and offered ‘Light Me Up’ as a free download. With it’s dubsteppy influences but remaining decidedly pop, this is definitely the best free pop song of the year.

Highlights of the song:
The heavy(ish) beats underpinning the whole production.
The breakdown at 2:19.
Lowlights of the song:
None
Best Lyric:
‘Deny ya’ to rhyme with ‘Higher’ – A+ for effort.
Marina Lies

21. Marina & The Diamonds – Lies
We definitely think the best tracks from Marina’s ‘Electra Heart’ album weren’t released as singles, although that is no bad thing as they make a lot more sense in the context of the whole album than they would do individually. Diplo has a hand in the moody, dubstep-influenced production underpinning the chorus, and manages to restrain Dr Luke so that the song sounds original and fresh rather than like something Katy Perry might release.

Highlights of the song:
When the dubstep-like beat hits underneath the chorus.
Marina’s flawless vocal delivery.
Lowlights of the song:
The lyrics to the chorus aren’t great.
Best Lyric:
‘You’re a coward to the end.’
Va Va Voom

20. Nicki Minaj – Va Va Voom
We don’t think much of Minaj in general but this is a good song.

Highlights of the song:
‘If you got it you got it.’
‘I-I-I.’
Lowlights of the song:
1:53 when the song turns into an inferior clone of Rihanna’s ‘You Da One’ for approximately 25 seconds.
Best Lyric:
Let’s face it: Minaj’s lyrics aren’t her strong point.
Robbie Candy

19. Robbie Williams – Candy
This song is probably the closest you get to an ‘earworm’ a la ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ in 2012. Once the song lodges itself in your head it refuses to leave, sometimes for days on end. It’s everything we could hope for pop Robbie to be in 2012; as Robbie isn’t getting any younger, he needs to stay age-appropriate WITHOUT straying into New Boring, bland Barlow ballad territory. This bridges that gap perfectly. We love that Candy was the first Robbie single since 2004’s subpar ‘Radio’ to reach #1. We love how popular Robbie still is across Europe. We love the song but also occasionally hate it too.

Highlight of the song:
The year’s best use of a saxophone in pop without doubt.
The UK X Factor performance.
Seeing Robbie back to singing really good pop songs.
Seeing Robbie piss Barlow off on the X Factor.
The whole song!
Lowlight of the song:
That saxophone gets on your tits after a while.
The fact that Barlow had something to do with this song 😦
Best lyric:
‘And if it don’t feel good, what are you doing it for?’ – good point well made.
‘Liberate your sons and daughters’ – Are we are liberating them from tosh such as X Factor on TV? Or perhaps Barlow-produced snoozeathon ballads?
Little Wings

18. Little Mix – Wings
The ‘motivational’ theme of the song definitely felt tired by the time it saw release. However there is no denying that this is a very good song.

Highlights of the song:
The handclaps.
The intro.
Use of the dubstep wobble.
The middle 8.
The declaration of intent, ie ‘We are the best new girl band on the scene, take THAT The Saturdays.’
Lowlights of the song:
‘Mama told me’ – no, just no.
The use of ‘detain’ in the lyrics – it just doesn’t fit.
‘Spread your wings my little butterfly’ – no, just no.
‘Son’t let what they say’ – who are they? Hmm?
Best lyric:
‘We don’t need no ready steady go, no’
Only The Horses

17. Scissor Sisters – Only The Horses
We’re not quite sure what happened to the Scissor Sisters. They went from being massive, from being a mainstay of commercial radio, to becoming a niche act. ‘Only The Horses’ sees them become electro masters, and it is definitely a direction that suits Jake’s vocals. This song is sublime and we think everyone should experience it whilst walking alone in the rain through a big city. It’s just a lush song that needs to be really, properly listened to.

Highlights of the song:
Near enough the whole thing. The lyrics, the music, the vocals. Everything is brilliance. Particularly the lyrics though – ‘We can’t escape the basic facts, how cold it can get / There’s nothing to protect ourselves, when the rain gets us wet’ ; ‘It feels so good to just get lost sometimes’ ; ‘We’ve gone too far beyond the borders there’s just you and I’.
Lowlights of the song:
It could do with an ‘oh-oh-oh’ on the chorus after ‘tonight’.
Best lyric:
All of them are great, but the best is ‘If you don’t know the way to hold me let me show you how’. How romantic.
Titanium

16. David Guetta featuring Sia – Titanium
This song, although technically a late 2011 release, finally reached it’s #1 position on the UK chart in February 2012. So ubiquitous has the song become that we don’t feel the need to write anything else about it.

Highlights of the song:
Sia’s vocal. AMAZING.
Lowlights of the song:
David Guetta productions all sounding so similar to one another.
Best lyric:
‘I’m talking loud, not saying much.’

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