25 Best Songs of 2011 in Pop (So Far)
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New Boyz Feat. Dev and the Cataracs
Hip-hop duo the New Boyz rap about bumping in the backseat in this Cataracs-produced jam. The track is filled with suggestive double entendres like, "I wanna get beside ya/ In the backseat/ So I can be your backseat driver" and the Boyz solicited the vocals of fellow-Californian Dev for the hook to get the party poppin'.
Jessie J Feat. B.o.B.
Brit-import Jessie J came to make a splash on this side of the pond with her song 'Price Tag' that's "not about the money (money, money)." JJ got American rapper B.o.B. to help her deliver the anti-materialism message in her stateside debut. Though her UK chart performance outshines her US numbers, there's no denying this song's catchy hook and feel-good vibe.
Enrique Feat. Lil Wayne and Usher
Smoldering Spanish singer Enrique Iglesias teamed up with rapper Lil Wayne and club hit-making vet Usher to produce a sexy single about getting down and dirty on the dance floor. The RedOne-produced track debuted at No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is sure to keep you sweating through the summer.
'The Lazy Song'
Bruno Mars was anything but lazy when he made this reggae-inspired mid-tempo track. The mellow third single from his debut album 'Doo-Wops & Hooligans' has thus far peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Lay the '50s-style crooner's vocals over a beach-easy island beat and you've got the perfect summer jam.
Nicole Scherzinger Feat. 50 Cent
Ex-Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger hit it 'Right There' with her third solo single overseas, but it wasn't until she joined forces with rapper 50 Cent that she re-released the song as a remix in the US. Co-writer and producer Jim Jonsin makes his first of two appearances on our list for his work on the track, which 50 calls "just another No. 1."
Miguel's velvety vocals call out for the "cash" for his "rubberband" and a "lighter" for his "blunt" in this sultry ode to soul mates. 'Sure Thing' marks the neo-soul singer's first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and is his most successful single to date. Who wouldn't want to be loved "like a brother," treated "like a friend" and respected "like a lover?"
Nicki Minaj is her always flirtatious self in this lighthearted love song with a pop hook. 'Super Bass' has so far peaked at No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100. The lyrical mastermind keeps it playful as she raps about her dream guy who's "always in the air, but he never fly coach" and compares her heartbeat to a boomin' bass speaker.
Kelly Rowland Feat. Lil Wayne
This song is contemporary baby-making music at its best. 'Motivation' is Kelly Rowland's biggest solo hit on the Hot 100 chart, reaching a current peak at No. 21, and landing the No. 1 spot on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart. Producer Jim Jonsin and frequently featured rapper Lil Wayne helped Kelly make the remix-ready slow jam.
'Best Love Song'
T-Pain Feat. Chris Brown
Auto-tune extraordinaire T-Pain teamed up with Chris Brown in an attempt to make "the best love song she ever heard in her life." According to Pain and C-Breezy, "It's gotta be the crunkest/ It's gotta be the loudest," and this song fits the bill. We're not sure we would necessarily call it the "best love song ever," but it definitely earns a spot on our top 25 pop songs of the year (so far).
'Run the World (Girls)'
Beyonce's anthemic dance hit is an ode to women who are "smart enough to make these millions/ Strong enough to bear the children then get back to business." With heavy sampling of the Major Lazer track 'Pon de Floor,' B co-penned the single with a star-studded group of writers including, Diplo and Switch (who make up Major Lazer), The-Dream, Afrojack and Adidja Palmer. "My persuasion can build a nation," sing Beyonce. All hail Queen B!
Gaga ruffled a few feathers with her take on the betrayal of Jesus with this provocative single. Gaga wrote 'Judas' about ex-boyfriend, heavy metal drummer Luc Carl, and explained, "I began to write a song about an ex-lover who betrayed me ... And then I thought about the biblical implications and how Judas was the betrayer." Gaga later defended her work from critics who condemned her hit as blasphemy.
Glitter goddess Ke$ha peaked at No. 7 on the Hot 100 with this synth-heavy, electro-pop dance track. "Go insane/ Throw some glitter/ Make it rain," Ke$ha insists of her party posse. Ke$ha collaborated with a star production team of Dr. Luke, Max Martin, Benny Blanco and Kool Kojak to produce this dance-all-night hit.
'Moment 4 Life'
Nicki Minaj Feat. Drake
Nicki and Drake took their much-publicized but ultimately fictional romance to the next level in this song about two kids growing up together and sharing a dream of becoming famous rappers. Drake raps, "f--- it me and Nicki Nick gettin' married today/ And now you b-----s that be hatin' can catch a bouquet." The rap-romance hit claimed No. 1 slots on both Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and its US Rap Songs charts.
'On the Floor'
Jennifer Lopez Feat. Pitbull
Commercially, 'On the Floor' is Jennifer's most successful single to date, topping more than 18 national single charts and peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. JLo teamed up with rapper Pitbull, to make this song for "a new generation of party people." Producer RedOne is churning out the club hits this year and makes his second appearance on our list with his work on this fiery track.
'Hold It Against Me'
'Hold It Against Me' is the trance and dubstep-influenced hit lead single from Britney's 'Femme Fatale' album. The Dr. Luke and Max Martin-produced banger debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 1, making Spears the second artist in Billboard's history to debut at No. 1 more than once (after Mariah Carey). An unabashed Brit is on the prowl asking, "If I said I want your body now/ Would you hold it against me?"
'The Edge of Glory'
Lady Gaga's third single from 'Born This Way' is a Bon Jovi-meets-Bruce Springsteen fist-pumper. The song was so successful as a promotional single, that it was given a full release and hit No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Gaga's powerful and passionate vocals paired with an uber-inspirational hook and a saxophone solo make for the perfect rock-pop anthem.
P!nk rips into the song with her rasping rockstar vocals and somehow endearing potty mouth declaring beauty is in the eye of the beholder. "Pretty, pretty please, if you ever, ever feel like you're nothing/ You're f---in' perfect to me," P!nk insists with her signature take-it-or-leave-it attitude. Pop's powerhouse producer Max Martin strikes yet again, helping the track chart at No. 2 on the Hot 100.
Rihanna reveals her X-rated sexual fantasies in this song, which she insists are a metaphor for her love-hate relationship with the media. Produced by Stargate and Sandy Vee, the naughty track peaked at No. 2 until the remix featuring Britney Spears pushed the song to the No. 1 spot, giving RiRi her 10th No. 1 single. We love this jam for its infectious hook and unabashed sexual openness.
'Till the World Ends'
Britney strikes again with this Ke$ha-penned, apocalyptic club hit about dancing until an impending apocalypse. Brit Brit used her 'Hold It Against Me' production dream team of Dr. Luke/Max Martin for the track, which landed the No. 3 spot on the Hot 100. The super-catchy track got a raging remix treatment from its writer Ke$ha and Brit's Femme Fatale tourmate Nicki Minaj.
'Give Me Everything'
Pitbull Feat. Ne-Yo, Nayer, Afrojack
Pitbull appears again on our list, this time as the principal act with featured artists Ne-Yo and Nayer on the hypnotic hook. Pitbull has thus far peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100 with the help of popular party-jam producer Afrojack. Reminiscent of Briney's 'Till the World Ends' message, the Cuban rapper wants it all and he wants it tonight, 'cause "for all we know we might not get tomorrow." All in all, the perfect summer lovin' that may just be a one-night-stand track. So, "Grab somebody sexy, tell 'em hey."
'Look at Me Now'
Chris Brown Feat. Busta Rhymes and Lil Wayne
Chris Brown tries his hand at rapping with a couple of hip-hop's finest -- Busta Rhymes and Lil Wayne -- on this Diplo, Afrojack and Free School-produced track. The eerie, down-tempo beat makes your stomach want to turn while the cocky trio's neck-breakingly fast rhymes keep you on your toes. Wayne's rhymes are in high demand -- Weezy makes his third appearance as a featured act on our list with this C-Breezy hit.
Katy Perry Feat. Kanye West
Katy Perry and Kanye West get supernatural on this Hot 100 No. 1 about alien sex. Katy sings the story of falling in love with a foreigner -- we're guessing British-born hubby, comedian Russell Brand -- by way of extraterrestrial metaphors. Dream production duo Dr. Luke and Max Martin strike yet again, this time with the help of DJ Ammo, producing the "stomp-stomp-clap" beat, reminiscent of Queen's 1977 hit 'We Will Rock You.'
'Just Can't Get Enough'
The Black Eyed Peas
BEP frontman will.i.am produced this video game-esque electro-dance hit with DJ Ammo and Rodney Jerkins for the Peas. The song opens with orchestral strings and Fergie's wispy, airy vocals before Will and Taboo break it down with the help of auto-tune. The best part of the track? The head-banging "mega switch-up" hyping up the tempo for the big euro-dance, electro-pop-infused finale.
'All of the Lights'
Kanye West Feat. Rihanna
Produced by Kanye West himself, 'All of the Lights' is a triumphant, epic symphony featuring the layered vocals of 15 different artists. Rihanna is the only credited artist on the track, but the song includes additional vocals from artists including Alicia Keys, John Legend, The-Dream, Drake, Fergie, Kid Cudi, Elton John, and more. The song received rave reviews from music critics who recognized its detailed production and applauded its dramatic style. And if anyone knows drama, it's Kanye.
'Born This Way'
"Put your paws up" for our No. 1 pop song of 2011 so far. The lead single from 'Born This Way' spent a total of six weeks topping the Hot 100 and became the fastest-selling song in iTunes history, selling one million copies in five days. Since its release in February, 'Born' has faced Madonna rip-off allegations and had an entire episode of the hit show 'Glee' dedicated to it. In addition to its success in the US, the single was an international hit, landing No. 1 in 19 countries.