Today, I'll be featuring my roommates - Leonardo and Fernanda - and their choices for 2011.
Let's start with Leonardo. An avid writer, reader and the go to person of the house when the subject is movies and pop culture in general (specially music, as you'll see below). Oh, he's also becoming quite popular among witty twitter users in Brazil.
"Here's some singles I feel like writing something about, which doesn't make them better than those I'm not saying anything about at the bottom but just motivated me enough to actually type some words about them. They're all amazing.
BRITNEY SPEARS I WANNA GO
This is the type of track Britney sounds most comfortable with (upbeat, hi-NRG fun). She's almost squealing in the pre-chorus ('shame on meeee/to neeeed releeeease'), and she's singing this material -rather generic, admittedly- with such enthusiasm you can't help but move along with her. And when those whistles kick in, you're already dancing. Loved it.
Other honorable mentions from "Femme Fatale": "Till The World Ends", "Hold It Against Me" (one of the most underrated tracks she's ever done), "How I Roll", "Trip To Your Heart", "Criminal".
FLORENCE + THE MACHINE SHAKE IT OUT
It's a beautiful song all over, but what made me love it is the emotion Florence Welch puts into the verses (especially "tonight I'm gonna bury that horse in the ground"), as well the gorgeous chorus and the way it builds to its wordless climax, as if she has succumbed to the overwhelming percussion and beat.
This caught me by surprise. There's something vulnerable about it, like the singer is somewhat unsure of herself. It begins with a synth-line and starts building from there, like it's slowly gaining confidence and then as if she's eager to get something off her chest. It's done beautifully. And I love how it comes to a halt during the bridge, like a mood shift.
LADY GAGA BORN THIS WAY / THE EDGE OF GLORY
Like all of Gaga's "Born This Way" album, they were designed to be big, and by big I mean REALLY FUCKING BIG. The momentum achieved in both these great songs is so huge it could leap off buldings and fly away. "The Edge Of Glory" gets so worked up at one point that a sax solo enters the proceedings to avoid the song from collapsing under its own weight, a similar feeling you have while listening to "Born This Way", with its suspenseful, urgent strings in the beginning suggesting both a storm coming and the moments before a birth, and then exploding with immense exuberance.
Other honorable mentions from "Born This Way": "Heavy Metal Lover" (if this song is released as a single next year, and I hope it does, it will probably be somewhere in my top 3), "Scheiße", "Americano".
LANA DEL REY VIDEO GAMES
I find it difficult to describe a feeling about this song. It's chilly the same way it's affecting. It is sung with tenderness but it could be just sarcasm, judging by some of the lyrics. I think it's that hard to define vibe that makes it mysterious and special and, for me at least, makes it linger. Either way, it remains a great, high drama tune.
NICOLA ROBERTS BEAT OF MY DRUM
I didn't enjoy the album "Cinderella's Eyes" as much as I'd anticipated, but it had its moments. For me, it either hit the mark or missed it completely. This track I enjoyed right away. It comes on with cheerleader chants as Nicola commands us to dance to the beat of her drum. And then a giant drum beat makes its way into the song during the middle 8, proving she's determined about it. It all feels a little like Nicola stated while making the video for this song, 'A little bit wrong and a little bit right at the same time' and that's how usually the best surprises in pop music happen.
Other honorable mentions from "Cinderella's Eyes": "Lucky Day", "Gladiator".
SELENA GOMEZ & THE SCENE LOVE YOU LIKE A LOVE SONG
It's a case of Selena Gomez raiding Kylie Minogue's vaults and snatching this track for herself. It's not quite the slow burner Kylie would've probably turned it into, but this will do. Selena is no Kylie (she's barely Hilary Duff), and she sings this without much character, but there's something steaming in the production, as if it's pulsating for release, that makes this worth listening over and over again.
THE SOUND OF ARROWS WONDERS
I usually have a problem making 'top [insert number here]' lists because the first positions are always too hard to decide. This list is alphabetical, but if I had to pick a song to be at the top "Wonders" would probably be it. From the moment you first hear the synth-line you suspect it's going to be huge, and then you're sure of it. If the lyrics suggest at first a lost love, the meticulous and gorgeous production elevate it to something more. It is hard to pin down a certain emotion, because it sounds intimate and euphoric and melancholic all at the same time, but that actually makes it even more special for me. Bonus points for the spectacular video.
Other honorable mentions from the album "Voyage": "Into the Clouds", "Magic", "Ruins Of Rome", "Longest Ever Dream", "Conquest", "Nova", "There Is Still Hope", "Disappear" (actually, the whole thing, really)
Some other singles that although I'm not saying anything about are totally great as well so you should go ahead and listen to them;
CAGE THE ELEPHANT SHAKE ME DOWN
CUT COPY NEED YOU NOW / BLINK AND YOU'LL MISS A REVOLUTION
DAVID LYNCH GOOD DAY TODAY
ERIC SAADE POPULAR
FLORRIE I TOOK A LITTLE SOMETHING
FOSTER THE PEOPLE PUMPED UP KICKS
NEON HITCH GET OVER U
PATRICK WOLF HOUSE / TOGETHER
QUEEN OF HEARTS SHOOT THE BULLET
SKY FERREIRA 99 TEARS
RIHANNA WE FOUND LOVE (feat. CALVIN HARRIS)
ROBYN CALL YOUR GIRLFRIEND
SLEIGH BELLS RILL RILL
THE SOUND OF ARROWS MAGIC
ST. LUCIA WE GOT IT WRONG
TAKE THAT BEAUTIFUL
TARYN MANNING TURN IT UP
WILL YOUNG JEALOUSY
I would also like to give a shout to the really nice CHEMICAL BROTHERS' HANNA score, though it technically doesn't have any proper 'song' or 'single'.
DARK HORSE AWARD
BLACK EYED PEAS JUST CAN'T GET ENOUGH