Wednesday, December 29, 2010

ScopiSat's 10 of '10 - the songs we drunkenly danced to the most in 2010

It was a pink kind of year.
There are a lot of top 10 lists at the end of each year.  It can be difficult to decide which one to rely on as GOSPEL TRUTH - a problem which inevitably leads to new-year depression and shame-sex.  Luckily, though, ScopiSat has the solution to this very real social malady:  just use ours.

CRISIS AVERTED.  And now you have to blame your shame-sex on something else.

So here we go - the details:  we've limited the applicant pool to those songs that were released as singles (although who the hell knows what that even means anymore) during the 2010 calendar year, and which placed in the official singles chart in either the UK (Official top 75), the US (on the Billboard Hot 100, Pop or Dance charts) or Europe (Billboard top 100 aggregated from all European charts, including Germany, UK, Spain, etc.).  Our list order was determined by a host of hazy criteria, starting with the number of plays each track received on ScopiSat's iTunes and iPod but also taking into account some boring things like sales and charts and "artistic accomplishment."

Really, all you need to know is that these are all songs from 2010 that WE VERY MUCH LIKE and accordingly, must be QUITE GOOD INDEED.

Anyhoodle, enough with all that - you're here to lazily browse an article written at an 8th grade level, and far be it from us to delay your gratification.  So without further ado...

THE TOP 10 OF '10

10.  Dancing On My Own - Robyn (UK: #8, US Dance: #3)

Robyn really came into her own in 2010.  She was all but written off after her brief but intense stint as a BIG POP STAR back in the 90s, and only began to return to prominence with her 2007 UK and European hits 'With Every Heartbeat' and 'Be Mine!'.  It wasn't until this year, however, that the whole world came (back) under her spell.  The song that kicked it all off, 'Dancing On My Own,' was, for the unindoctrinated, the ideal introduction to the star's downtrodden but still somehow uplifting beats, and yet managed to stay completely true to what her die hard fans expected.  This year it might have been often imitated (yeah, we called you out, Alesha), but at the end of the day 'Dancing' is still the absolute epitome of "weeping at the disco" pop, and ain't nobody can cry into an appletini like our girl Robyn.
09.  I Like It - Enrique Iglesias (US: #4, UK: #4, EU: #4)

Our number nine pick is another comeback of sorts.  Enrique Iglesias' career fell completely off right about the same time his mole did, so he did what any sensible Latin act would do - he went back to his roots and chucked out some Spanish-language hits.  By all accounts those releases were pretty successful, but in the English-speaking world he faded into the collective memory as a relic of the early-2000's Latin Invasion along with...well, pretty much everyone else connected to that whole thing.  Then something really strange happened.  And no, we're not talking about him waterskiing naked.  We're talking about him, years after fading from relevance completely, pulling an ACTUAL POP GEM out of his tight little ass and flinging it to the top of the charts. 'I Like It' is an autotuned Frankenstein combination of pop cheese, sceney credibility, and even a rap by know, for the kids.  Add in a video featuring the Jersey Shore cast (we're looking at you, Vinny...with your big muscles and pouty lips...) and you have a perfect pop culture storm.  Way to go Enrique.  And seriously: Vinny....  you can call us.  Any time.

08.  My Wicked Heart - Diana Vickers (UK: #13)

Since losing the X-Factor in 2008, Diana Vickers has become somewhat of a musical genius, churning out tunes that are both inventive and credible, and also relatively commercially successful.  Her #1 debut track 'Once' is 4 minutes of unique, personality-driven pure genius, and barely missed the cut for this chart itself.  'My Wicked Heart,' released as her third single/launch of her debut album re-release, took the quirk factor and dialed it up to 11, and in the process eclipsed all her other tunes to become one of our favorite jams of the year.  It's one of those songs that is both challenging and familiar, and in this age of cookie-cutter Gaga rip-offs is a true breath of fresh air.  The video's fun and stuff, but nothing to write home about - the real way to enjoy this baby is to strap on some headphones, close your eyes, and let the song take you to whatever weird-ass place it came from. 

07.  Wonderful Life - Hurts (UK: #21, EU#10, US )

Not too long ago, Hurts were the up-and-coming band to watch according to "the blogs" and "the critics" and a couple people on Twitter with too much time on their hands.  Then they were sort of cool among annoying hipsters and "Pitchfork-is-the-Bible" types and then the hipsters got high and forgot they existed and then all of a sudden everyone loved them and they had an actual hit for some reason.  'Wonderful Life' is that hit, and it is very good.  We've chosen to post the Freemasons mix of the track - not because the original is bad, but because the remix is equally as delightful and essentially was the "official radio version" for much of the song's chart campaign because while people do like to cry and be melancholy, a far greater number of people like to cry and be melancholy while DANCING.

06.  One - Sky Ferriera (UK: #64)

This baby just barely satisfied our entry criteria (it eked out one week in the UK official top 75) but we are super glad it did because otherwise we'd have to change the rules completely so that it could be included and that's just a hassle for everyone involved.  Though 'One' barely charted upon release in the UK, it is universally revered as a masterpiece of pop by all fourteen people lucky enough to have heard it.  The song has the notable advantage of being accompanied by one of the best music videos since the medium's 80's heyday, but even sans visuals it stands up as its own work of art.  It has soaring synths and addictive riffs, and while 'One' didn't set the charts on fire, it certainly made us VERY EAGER to hear what this girl has in store for us when her album is released on 1-11-11.

05.  Lose My Mind - The Wanted (UK: #9)

Every so often, a song comes along that dares you to not love it.  'Lose My Mind' is that kind of song, and considering its source - a wet-behind-the-ears British boyband, that's a bit surprising.  It has a lazy verse that draws the listener in, only to blindside their ears with a killer chorus before anyone knows what's happening.  It kind of musically roofies you - coaxing you into a state of delightful, hazy calm until BAM you wake up in an Arizona State frathouse bunkbed and can't find your Umbro shorts you wore for the previous night's "Bros-only" Twister party that ended up just being you and that guy who said his name was Tony and his "cousin" who was like 40 and bought you beer....  Anyhow, while easily more than half of this track's appeal is its production, every note and transition is mixed to poptastic perfection.  The group's other songs aren't half bad, of course, but this jam really rises to the occasion.  We have a feeling that 'Lose My Mind' will go down as The Wanted's equivalent to N*Sync's 'Pop' - a glorious standout amongst an above-average catalog that will never be matched, mostly due to the fact that one of the greedy douches in the band will go solo and RUIN EVERYTHING before the group has a chance to try. 

04.  On A Mission - Gabriella Cilmi (UK: #9, AUS: #16)

Gabriella Cilmi, who made a name for herself with worldwide hit 'Sweet About Me,' returned this year with her sophomore album and its lead single 'On A Mission.'  And on a mission she certainly was.  Abandoning the laid-back jazzy vibe of her first offerings, Gabriella jumped, Cinderella-style, into the sparkly glass slipper of a bona fide pop diva, and the whole world watched as she fit into it perfectly.  It's synthy and 80's and boasts an anthemic chorus, and coupled with her booming voice and banging body, this track certainly gets its 'Mission' accomplished.

03.  Dynamite - Taio Cruz (US: #2, EU: #3, UK: #1 , AUS: #1)

The most successful of all the songs on our list, 'Dynamite' was pretty much inescapable this year - and for very good reason.  The track managed to cross nearly every musical boundary, showing up on R&B stations, top 40 playlists and AC compilations - and miraculously didn't drive everyone crazy in the process.  It is one of those rare songs that everyone in the world can sing along to, and not feel like a sell-out or scenester while doing it.  This jam is just a fun slice of musical heaven, mixing urban elements with straight-up pop in a sundae of gooey goodness that does many things - not least of all reminds us just how much better we can all do than the goddamned Black Eyed Peas.

02.  Satellite - Lena (EU: #1, UK: #30)

After winning the Eurovision Song Contest with our number two jam, 19 year old Lena - previously an unknown German schoolgirl - was rocketed into superstardom on the back of one of the most enduring tracks in a great while.  Some tracks rely on glitz or fancy production or flashy music videos, but even with none of those things on its side, 'Satellite' rose to the top of the heap by just being a damn good song.  For her part, Lena, who at first appears to be an unlikely pop star, has a natural charisma that injects something really special into the song and elevates the whole thing from an adequately delicious glazed donut into an absolutely heavenly custard eclair that we have been more than happy to gorge on all year long.

01.  All The Lovers - Kylie (UK: #3, EU: #4, US Dance: #1, US: #102)

That's right, kids, our number one single of the year is Kylie's 'All The Lovers.'  A slow burner - both musically and commercially - the track launched K-Mo's 'Aphrodite' album to worldwide success, including a shockingly impressive top 20 debut on the Billboard 200 US album chart and number 1 placings all over the globe.  The track hung around the British charts for months and eventually became her biggest selling single there since 2001's 'Can't Get You Out Of My Head.'  Even in the US the song kept chugging along, and is perched firmly as Billboard's 3rd biggest dance song of the entire year. Not content to just chuck out a brilliant tune, though, Kylie also gave us one of the most iconic videos of the year to boot, and we think it's safe to say the track owes at least a little of its success to a 50-story sex volcano, some well trained doves, and a giant goddamn floating white elephant.


So yes, here you have it.  Our ten picks of 2010.  Well done to you all, champagne all around, etc.  Except for you, Lena.  We all saw you make a drunken fool of yourself at Eurovision and we can't have any of that nonsense up in here even if it IS the holidays.