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Top 5 Records of 2011.


On this first day of the new year, there are many topics that could be covered: politics, sports, music – ah yes, music. Last night many of you were dancing the night away in celebration of 2012 to a smorgasbord of dance tunes, though at this moment, we would like to take a second to highlight the best records that graced our ears – dance music or otherwise:

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5. Firework

Our feelings about Katy Perry as an artist are mixed at this particular juncture, though the pervasiveness of her influence on pop culture and music can not be understated, and neither can the effect of this record. Though it was originally released  in October 2010, it last charted on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 2011. Perry stated that it’s her favorite song on the album, and that it has a “fantastic message”. It was certified platinum is 6 countries, and had just about every adolescent girl in the United States of America obsessively listening to it for at least 2 months, on average. That last stat is pure speculation for the record.

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4. Someone Like You

Adele is a charm, truly. So talented and gifted, many of you may feel like she should be at the #1 spot…but we felt differently. We have seen other blue-eyed soul artists in the past, but none have had quite the same effective in recent memory as this beautiful British vocalist. She has sold nearly 20 million copies of her albums “19” and “21”. She openly cites various soul singers as influences on her music, and with the type of response she has been getting as of late, there is no telling how far her music can take her. In all honesty, there is no one who can match her vocally on the mainstream music scene. It would be nice however, if her sound was appropriately categorized as “Soul”, though it seems her “appearance” allows her to magically float into the category of pop.

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3. Grenade

Bruno Mars single handedly revitalized Pop/R&B in 2011. His classic approach to soul records, in a contemporary pop context was incredible. The emotional merit of “Grenade” was unmatched as far as R&B records were concerned last year. His proficiency as a songwriter and performer is super-ceded only by the passionate redeeming and yet powerful vocal qualities he possesses. Mars stated in an interview that “Grenade’ represents the OTHER side of love – where you’re in love with a woman and you know for a fact that she doesn’t love you the way you love HER.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

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2. We Found Love

For many reasons this could have been #1, but the #1 song is just too good. Nonetheless, Rihanna made an impressive display on this record, though for the umpteenth consecutive time, she received zero writing credits to match her vocal contribution, which has become the standard for her and her most successful chart-topping singles. Luckily for her, mainstream pop music is being taken over by House music – which by the way is a derivation of Black disco records, formed out newly developed music technology and the record crates of Black post-disco DJs in the last 1970s and early 1980s. Then enters Calvin Harris, a House DJ who apparently has a very clean knack for writing pop lyrics, granted Rihanna’s records mostly sell because of how she looks, it can not be taken away from him that his “We found love in a hopeless place” line was instantly classic, and found a home in many broken and nostalgic hearts of listeners around the world. It held the #1 spot on the Hot 100 chart for 8 weeks, and will probably remain in the top 40 well into the late Spring/early Summer.

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1. Need You Now

This is just a phenomenal record. This is what you call a timeless record, because it will transcend the boundaries of time and genre. Everyone can relate to this song. It peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 chart, stuck behind a Taio Cruz record. Even though we love Taio, that just doesn’t seem correct. This is easily the greatest crossover success in 2011.  Though this song was released in 2009, it was still eligible for the 2011 GRAMMYs because of its re-release in a pop radio format. The record cleaned up at the GRAMMYs, earning Best Country Song, Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, Song of the Year, and Record of the Year – and that’s saying a lot considering the nominees and the fact that this is at it’s core, a country song. Truth abides in every lyric of this song, and even if you aren’t a fan of Nashville, you would be foolish to deny the character of the sound, and the authenticity of the emotion.