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The 10 Biggest Songs of 10 Years Ago
Leaving posted an article in Throwback Thursday2009 was only a decade ago, but it seems like the world back then was a very different place. The powers that be were still reeling after a surprise candidate beat out Hillary Clinton, kids would rush back home after school to catch the latest episode of Jersey Shore (yeah, Netflix wasn't a thing) and I was still recovering from a Christmas that left me ten pounds heavier and $500 more in debt. (Okay, so maybe things haven't changed so much after all.) But one thing that's definitely changed since then is the music we listen to. 2009 was the transitory space between the pop-rock that defined a lot of the early 2000s and the dance-pop that would blow up later on, and it led to some pretty interesting results. Spoiler alert: a good 70% of this list is totally unlistenable, and/or insanely annoying, but there are some real gems in there too. Are you excited yet? 10. Jason Derulo - Whatcha Say There may never have been a time in the history of civilisation where people actually wanted to listen to a Jason Derulo song, but in 2009 it seems as though people needed to if just to rid their head of this ridiculously catchy earworm. 'Whatcha Say' started out low on the charts, debuting at #54 in August of 2009, but it permeated people's brains to the extent that it managed to hit #1 three months later. It just goes to show that you don't need a song to be likeable for it to be a hit: all it needs to have is a killer chorus. 9. Jay Sean - Down (Feat. Lil Wayne) Continuing the trend of irritating douche-faces with passable bodies was the United Kingdom's answer to Jason Derulo, Jay Sean. His breakthrough hit 'Down' is basically the definition of manipulative, featuring the kinds of lyrics that only a needy teenage girl can fall in love with; and the music video, with it's endless lip licking and frat boy head nods, isn't much better. Still, the masses of 2009 must have enjoyed it, because it hit #1 on the 17th of October of that year. 8. Kelly Clarkson - My Life Would Suck Without You Kelly Clarkson is the queen of kiss-off anthems ('Since U Been Gone' and Ben & Jerry's are singularly responsible for getting me through my last breakup), and she proved that again in 2009 with the sassy 'My Life Would Suck Without You'. The song would never fly now - those beats are something straight off of Katy Perry's debut album and the music video features a relationship a little too tempestuous to be healthy - but at the time it was an instant hit. The track even broke the record for the biggest jump ever on the US charts when it bounced from #97 to #1 in the space of one week. #TeamKelly 7. Flo Rida - Right Round (Feat. Ke$ha) Like pretty much every Flo Rida song ever, 'Right Round' was the kind of guilty pleasure that you tapped your foot two even while shaking your head in dismay. Even Kesha (known back then by the very, very 2009 stage name Ke$ha) seemed to be a little embarrassed by the song - she refused to appear in the music video, being stood in for by a random black girl, and has never performed it live since it's release. Still, the song was likeable enough to hit #1 on the charts for six weeks straight, and even broke the record for first week sales when it sold 636 000 copies in January of 2009. 6. Kings of Leon - Use Somebody 'Use Somebody' wasn't quite big enough to hit #1, only managing to peak at #4 on the charts - but it sold enough copies to hit #14 on the end of year charts. A weird flash in the pan of a song, the track has a total classic rock vibe that would have equally suited a 1999 release, which means it's actually aged pretty well over the past ten years. That's more than can be said for Kings of Leon themselves, who have basically faded into complete obscurity at this point. 5. Britney Spears - Womanizer 2008 was a bad year for Britney Spears - think shaved head, umbrella bashing and crying in an English accent on the sidewalk - but she made the ultimate comeback in 2009 with 'Womanizer'. The track makes full use of Spears' - how should we say this? - distinctive voice and fun vocal stylings, and the music video is one of her best ever even if it is pretty much just a remake of 'Toxic'. The track paid off well for Spears commercially, too, becoming her first #1 on the charts since debut single '...Baby One More Time'. 4. Miley Cyrus - Party in the U.S.A She'd been building up to it for a while, but 'Party in the U.S.A.' was Miley Cyrus's first real "You're not even my real dad!" moment - and at the time it caused quite a stir. Hannah Montana was declared dead on arrival when Miley performed the song at the Teen Choice Awards by dancing around a pole in Daisy Dukes that were short enough for Disney to release an official statement, and Miley received her fair share of flack. Still, the song was popular enough to hit #2 on the charts in 2009, before climbing up the charts again in 2011 following the death of Osama Bin Laden. The reason? Murica! 3. Jay-Z - Empire State of Mind (Feat. Alicia Keys) It may be a total cheese-fest and a major misrepresentation of New York City's true gutter grime, but there's something so nostalgic and emotive about Jay and Alicia's 'Empire State of Mind' that you can't help but love it anyway. The song was a hit when it was first released too, becoming Jay-Z's first #1 on the charts over his thirteen year career and going on to win two Grammy's. I'm pretty sure this song and Gossip Girl were entirely responsible for giving every millennial ever the belief that they could make it in the city that never sleeps. 2. Lady Gaga - Poker Face If you're anywhere between the age of 18 and 25, you'll definitely remember that solid month back in 2009 where 'Poker Face' was literally the only thing being played on the radio (remember that thing you used to play in the car?). The song's popularity wasn't completely unfounded - it's still a little bit of a banger, if super dated at this stage - but it was definitely overplayed during it's ascension to the top ten, where it remained for 18 weeks with a week at #1. 1. The Black Eyed Peas - I Gotta Feeling 'I Gotta Feeling' was by far the most overplayed song of 2009, and yet somehow people still wanted more. The track hit #1 in over 20 charts worldwide - including the US where it topped the charts for 14 weeks - and was the highest-selling song of the century until 2014 when Pharrell's 'Happy' robbed it of the title. Even though we can never imagine this kind of song working in a post-Trump era, it's nice to listen back to and remember when things were simpler. What's your favourite song from 2008? Let us know in the comments down below!
Nine Hits Leona Lewis Passed On
Leaving posted an article in Unheard OfWatch the video version of this article here! There are some popstars who seem to simply go from strength to strength, to the point where it seems as though the sky is the limit for the amount of talent and commercial success they can achieve in a lifetime. Some, like Justin Bieber, may have started from a particularly low base in which they repeat the word "baby" two hundred times in succession; while others, like Beyoncé, take the time to break out as solo stars, free from girl group politics or the dark shadows of their husbands empires. But then there are others who, try as they might, never seem to be able to match the success of their very first single. Such is the case for Leona Lewis, the X Factor UK winner who stunned the United Kingdom with her amazing vocals and the world with her debut single 'Bleeding Love', but who has failed to make as huge of an impact with each successive follow up to the song. Sure, she's had 'Run', the UK #1 which still gives listeners goosebumps every time it's performed live; and 'One More Sleep', the best holiday themed single since 'All I Want For Christmas Is You!'. And there's a plethora of under-appreciated tracks which could have done great on radio, such as the Guetta-esque 'Can't Fight It' or the DJ Poet collaboration 'Catch Me When I Fall'. But nothing has ever captured the imagination of the public quite like 'Bleeding Love', the hit first single which topped charts worldwide and soundtracked the lives of many teens going through their first heartbreaks. But that's not to say that Leona hasn't had the chance. For over the course of her career, there's been at least nine tracks which we know of that she's turned down which have gone on to be hits for other artists ranging from John Legend to Christina Aguilera. Some of them were timed poorly, while others were victims of internal record label drama; but almost all of them would have sounded brilliant had they been sung by Leona. Read on to find out more! 9. Rihanna - We Found Love (Feat. Calvin Harris) Like Nicole Scherzinger before her, Leona was also offered 'We Found Love', one of the biggest hits of 2011 and the song which made a bonafide star out of Calvin Harris on the international scene. Leona even recorded her own version of the track, which was finalised and set for release along with the rest of her dance-oriented Glassheart album, and which apparently sounded identical in production to the final released version. However, she wanted to release 'Trouble', her collaboration with Childish Gambino, as the first single from the project; while Harris wanted 'We Found Love' to be the lead. Ultimately, when Harris went on tour with Rihanna she recorded her own version of the song, which she was happy to release as the first single from her own album Talk That Talk, and Leona's finalised version was left to rot on Calvin's enviable external hard drive full of unheard hits. 8. John Legend - All of Me John Legend's 'All of Me' was the sleeper hit of 2014, spending 59 weeks in the Billboard Hot 100 chart since it's release in August 2013 and going on to become the second best selling song of the year in the US and the third best selling song in the UK. And weirdly enough, the original version of the track was actually a duet between Legend and Lewis. We had no idea about the collaboration until a superfan posted about it online after hearing the original version for themselves. "This version was recorded before the original JL version but Syco and US label couldn't get their shit together and released the solo version," they said, adding, "One of the reasons Leona left Syco, lots of opportunities wasted, Leona picked all her songs for the album but were rejected". Sadly, the duet has never been heard, but we do have this fan-made version of the track which combines Legend's finalised version with a short live cover Leona filmed in her car. 7. Shontelle - Impossible Shontelle's 'Impossible' was a minor hit when it was first released back in 2010, hitting #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #9 in the UK; but it only really blew up a couple of years later when The X Factor winner James Arthur released his cover version of the song, which went straight to the top of the UK charts. The track could have been an earlier hit for an X Factor contestant if Leona had recorded it back in 2010 though, when it was originally sent to her by her 'Come Alive' and 'My Hands' collaborator Ina Wroldsen. "I don't know what her reasons were - maybe she couldn't relate to it at the time," opined Shontelle when asked about Lewis's refusal to record the track, before going on to thank her for the hit. "I was like, 'Wow! I'm glad you turned it down, because I got to sing it!'" 6. Christina Aguilera - Blank Page When a snippet of Sia's demo for 'Blank Page' first leaked in 2012, it was labelled as a demo for Leona Lewis; a charge Sia later rebuked on her official Twitter account, where she stated it was intended for another artist entirely. But a version of the song sung by Leona definitely does exist, as it was confirmed before the snippet leaked to be a contender for the final tracklisting of Glassheart. Sadly, Lewis received a mediocre reception to the first single off the album 'Collide', and the entire project was delayed from an expected release date of November 2011 to November 2012. In the meantime, the demo was shopped around to other artists for a quicker release, and Christina jumped on the track to add her trademark touch of strain to the vocals. While we leaked the Sia demo several years ago, we've heard nothing more about the Leona version of the track since it was initially confirmed; and given that it's already been released by someone else, it's unlikely we ever will. 5. Ellie Goulding - Burn A collaboration of songwriting between frequent Lewis collaborators Ryan Tedder and Greg Kurstin, 'Burn' could have been the perfect track for Leona during the Glassheart era to keep her true to her roots while still progressing her sound further into the dance-pop realm. While she did record a version of the track that went on to leak in 2013, the song ultimately didn't make the cut for her album and was instead passed on to fellow Brit Ellie Goulding. Goulding's version lit up the charts worldwide, hitting #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 in the UK and Scotland; while the lead single from Glassheart, 'Trouble', hit #7 in the UK and failed to chart in the US. Choices. 4. Emeli Sandé - Mountains It was hardly a hit and was never even released as a single, but 'Mountains', the heartfelt ballad released on Emeli Sandé's debut album Our Version of Events, was originally recorded by Lewis for her Glassheart album. The song was actually written three years before its ultimate release in 2012, but when Sandé began working with Leona for her album on tracks such as 'I To You', she revived it once again for an appearance on Glassheart. Sadly, during the period of delay that the album experienced, Sandé decided to reclaim the track and release it on her own project; one that debuted at #1 on the UK charts and ultimately went double platinum. It's not all bad, though: the same sessions which brought to fruition the Leona version of 'Mountains' also brought us 'Trouble', Leona's lead single, which ended up hitting a pretty decent #7 on the UK charts. 3. Kelly Clarkson - What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger) 'What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger)' is well known as the comeback single which sent American Idol alum Kelly Clarkson back to the top of the charts, but it could easily have gone to another singing reality show competition winner. According to songwriter Ali Tamposi, the track was initially offered to Lewis before Clarkson's label even knew of it's existence, but the songstress turned it down without a second thought. But before you get too excited about the thought of Leona rocking out to the pop-rock anthem, remember this: the song at this point was in early stages and had a completely different tempo, beat, chord progression and vibe. It wasn't until frequent Sia producer Greg Kurstin stepped in to tailor make the song for Clarkson that it took on the stadium rock quality it now has. 2. Beyoncé - I Was Here A cult hit from a cult album, 'I Was Here' is a song from Beyoncé's 4 album which, despite never being released as a single, managed to chart in the top twenty in Hungary and Belgium thanks to a well publicised and much viewed music video in support of the United Nations' World Humanitarian Day efforts. And while it may not have been such a hit in Lewis's capable hands, it almost certainly would have tugged at the heartstrings just as well if she had chosen to record it. Diane Warren, who would later go on to work with Lewis on the animal rights charity single '(We All Are) Looking for Home' in 2016, sent the track to both Jay-Z and Simon Cowell back when it was first demoed for consideration by both Bey and Leona. But while Bey jumped at the chance to record the track, halting production on her album just to record the vocals, Cowell's office rejected the song, apparently telling Warren "This song just doesn’t go all the way for us." According to Warren, she responded via e-mail to Cowell with the ultimate comeback saying, "That’s okay. I’m in the studio with the biggest artist on the planet and it kind of went all the way for her. All good." 1. Beyoncé - Halo Probably the most infamous of all of Leona's unrealised songs, 'Halo' caused a scandal when it's co-writer Ryan Tedder was accused of penning similiar songs for Lewis, Beyoncé and Clarkson all in the space of a few months. Some of this scandal could have been averted, of course, if Leona had snagged 'Halo' when she had the chance. According to Tedder, the song was always intended for Beyoncé as an ode to her marriage with Jay-Z, but it spent a long time on hold while Bey waited to record it in between albums. While she slept on the song, it somehow found its way into the inbox of Syco Entertainment, the record label owned by Simon Cowell which manages Leona; but due to her tight schedule she was unable record the song immediately. By the time Lewis had gotten around to wanting to record the song, Bey had taken it back and released it as the iconic power ballad we all know and love today. Looks like this was a case of bad timing. Which of these songs do you think Leona would have slayed the most? Would they even have been as successful if she'd released them as singles? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!
Kelly Clarkson - who had been signed to Sony Music's RCA Records label since winning the first season of American Idol in 2002 - announced on Friday, June 24 that she's moving to Atlantic Records as part of a long-term worldwide deal. Clarkson's first order of business on the Warner Music Group label will be recording an album for 2017 that will draw on soul music and R&B for inspiration. "We have already started creating a record that I have been wanting to make since I was a little girl and a record that fans have been asking me to make for years. Here's to the future!" the original Idol said in a statement. Clarkson's move away from RCA shouldn't come as a shock. Her relationship with the label - and former chairman/CEO Clive Davis - was sometimes rocky, with the release of her 2007 album My December being especially contentious. In a press release announcing the Atlantic signing, Clarkson referred to her longtime partnership with RCA as an "arranged marriage." "After winning American Idol there was an arranged marriage that occurred that sometimes worked out and sometimes resulted in the hardest experiences of my life,” Clarkson said. To celebrate the new deal, Clarkson posted four fan-requested covers on her website: Coldplay’s “Fix You,” Radiohead’s “Creep,” Etta James’s “I’d Rather Go Blind,” and India Arie’s “Ready For Love.”
The 17 Best Singles of 2017
Leaving posted an article in Throwback ThursdayIt's hard to believe it, but 2017 is already coming to an end - and what a year it's been. Between endless headlines of political incompetencies, tragic natural disasters and groundbreaking exposés of sexual abuse, one thing has, like always, remained our constant comfort and saviour - music. Pop in 2017 has been a pretty varied affair, although the running theme has been the odd fusion we predicted last year of country music, tropical beats and EDM drops. It's those undercurrents that birthed some of the most annoying, repetitious songs of the year - 'Despacito', 'Shape Of You' and 'Meant To Be', we're calling you all out - but it's the same sounds that created some of the catchiest, most powerful and most groundbreaking tracks of the year too. In previous years we've run this list as a dictatorship, with the editors telling you our opinions on the best tracks of the year with no external advice sought. This year, we decided to branch out into a democracy by inviting some of our favourite members to submit their songs of the year, limiting our input to just the ordering of each song in a (semi-)ranked list. We hope you enjoy our collection of songs, and that you ring in the New Year's with joy, love, safety and most importantly, lots of music. 17. Lana Del Rey - Tomorrow Never Came (Feat. Sean Ono Lennon) Submitted by @Countess Lana Del Rey's Lust For Life was a marked departure from her debut album Born To Die not just in name, but also in intent; the album was less about Del Rey's own personal demons and more about the demons facing our society in 2017. But that's not to say that the album is impersonal, and 'Tomorrow Never Came' is a stunning example of that. The lyrics are typical Lana, lamenting a lost love through a simple metaphor - "I waited for you in the spot you said to wait/In the city on the park bench in the middle of the pouring rain/You said to meet me out there tomorrow, but tomorrow never came" - but the production is more gentle, hopeful and soft than Lana has explored in her albums before. The song is made all the more heartbreaking due to the song's feature of Sean Ono Lennon, who - as you might have guessed - is the son of Yoko Ono, who famously frequents the memorial to her late husband John Lennon in Central Park as much as she can. The Beatles may never be able to get back together, but if this song proves anything it's that their spirit lives on. 16. Steps - Scared of the Dark Submitted by @coolaideonfire UK pop superstars Steps returned in 2017 to celebrate their 20th anniversary and kicked things off with comeback single 'Scared Of The Dark', their first released since 2012's poorly received holiday album Light Up The World. The single commands the listener's attention immediately with a dramatic string introduction before Faye and Claire, arguably the groups strongest singers, take on its brooding first verse. You'd be forgiven for mistaking the single as a middling ballad at first, but the chorus signals a change in direction as the song explodes into the unashamed brand of pop the band were popular for the first time they entered the charts back in the late 90s. "Scared Of The Dark" should serve as a masterclass for any nostalgic act aiming to stage a comeback so many years after their initial success. The song is clearly cut from the same cloth as the band's biggest hits, and should please any Steps fan (or any fan of 90s pop for that matter), but it doesn't sound dated at all. This is a slice of pop heaven from an equally well produced and pop-heavy album, Tears On The Dancefloor. 15. K.I.D - Elevator Submitted by @Caolicolor 'Elevator' transcended every normcore stan Twitter gay who slept on K.I.D for the past three years into an instant stan. With it's heavy paced, dark, and atmospheric sound, it's a great getting ready to fuck song worth listening to. 14. Kelly Clarkson - Love So Soft Submitted by @Ruthless Love Since September 4, 2002, Kelly Clarkson has been a staple in the music industry. She became the winner of the inaugural season of the now-defunct Fox reality competition series, American Idol (which returns March 2018 on ABC), and has since become one of the most forceful performers in today's generation. Since winning, she signed an immediate deal between 19 Recordings, RCA and S Records and released her debut album, Thankful (2003). Following her debut release and still under her Idol contract (which later became solely associated with RCA), she gave us six additional albums: Breakaway (2004); My December (2007); All I Ever Wanted (2009); Stronger (2011); Wrapped in Red (2013) and Piece by Piece (2015), as well as a greatest hits compilation in 2012. In 2016, Clarkson announced the end of her partnership with RCA, citing the relationship as an "arranged marriage," and signed a deal with Warner Music's Atlantic Records. Under this deal, Clarkson promised us a "soul-influenced" album. And, in 2017, she gave us just that. Meaning of Life marks the first release from Clarkson free from her Idol deal and showcases the singer at her strongest and most secure. The album's first single, 'Love So Soft' proved a departure for Clarkson. Known for giving us angst-driven pop rock songs, 'Love So Soft' is drenched as a soulful R&B track, matched with superior vocals and a confidence that only Clarkson could maintain. It's safe to say that fifteen years after being named our American Idol that Clarkson is still the Idol of our hearts and of the music industry. She is proving to us that she is no longer accepting the idea of conforming to what society and the industry believes a modern day pop star should look, sound and maintain herself as, and is instead doing what she feels is right: being Kelly Clarkson. 13. Katy Perry - Tsunami Submitted by @BlackoutZone Katy's latest record may or may not be a musical masterpiece consisting of "woke" (as she likes to describe them) pop songs and original, groundbreaking, multi-genre efforts, but either way there is one significant track that stands out not only from the rest of the album, but the whole musical scene of 2017. 'Tsunami' is about Katy's magnificent sexual experience with her lover. She compares their love to swimming in open waters and his sexual power hitting her like a tsunami. The track is really well written and Katy totally nails the ocean theme with her beautiful lyrical references, such as: "Anchor in me, and get lost at sea/The world's your oyster/I am the pearl/Open waters/Sink into me slowly." The production is simply marvellous! Mike Will Made It channels typical Tame Impala synths mixed with his usual style and it works perfectly. The dreamy instrumental is building, progressing and flowing like an ocean wave which makes the track delicate yet very haunting. When Lady Gaga announced her collaboration with Kevin Parker, the leader of Tame Impala, which later gave birth to her lead single 'Perfect Illusion', this track is exactly what I expected it to be. Mike recently shared the demo instrumental to the song, and it's interesting to see how the track changed in its production states and hear all the sounds lost under Katy's voice in the final product. 'Tsunami' is undoubtedly my song of the year and Katy's best effort to date, sadly it will probably remain unnoticed by the general public and Grammy committee as I can't see it being released as a single or getting any real success... 12. Aly & AJ - I Know Submitted by @Kim Craig Going into 2017, who'd have known it would finally be the year best friends and sister duo, Aly & AJ, would get their shit together and release an appetiser sized EP, Ten Years, marking the rebirth of their long lost musical career since 2007's Insomniatic. The sister duo returned with a viciously infectious 80's synth pop sound which left heads around the globe bald. My song of the year, I Know, included on this EP release, talks about friendship and the commitment everyone is capable of giving to those in need. With distorted echoes and a fluttering backbeat, I Know offers the best and most valuable piece of music the duo has released since, well, ever. With a full LP due out by Summer 2018, Aly & AJ should be on everybody's radar because they're back to slay. 11. Kesha - Rainbow Submitted by @Ari The past three years have seen a very public and serious legal battle between Kesha Rose and her former producer and manager Dr. Luke over years of alleged sexual assault. After losing her case last year and being denied a retrial, Kesha forged onwards by releasing the massively critically acclaimed album Rainbow on the 11th of August. My favourite song of 2017 has to be the title track off that album. The song begins with a key description of tough times and feelings which are clearly straight from Kesha's heart (she wrote this song all by herself). The song then swiftly moves into an upbeat movement about the good times and how life can and will get better. The live orchestra in the studio along with the background vocals that harmonise with the chorus give it a massively joyful and warm feeling which by the end of it is sure to leave you with a strong buzzing sense inside. In a year where a lot of truths have come out in the industry thanks to the powerful #MeToo movement, I think Kesha gives us a much needed reminder in 'Rainbow' that "in every tunnel, there's always a light at the other end". 10. Miley Cyrus - Malibu Submitted by @Whoknowsmehere After much consideration and re-listening to many songs over the last couple of days, I have come to the conclusion that the one song that just seems to stick with me is be 'Malibu' by Miley Cyrus. It was a tough choice for me between 'Malibu', Shania Twain's 'Life's About To Get Good', Camila Cabello's 'Havana' and Rita Ora's 'Anywhere'. When I first heard 'Malibu' I was not all that thrilled about it to be honest. However, after listening to it numerous times it really grew on me. I think what did it for me was the simplicity of the song and yet how catchy it was. I do not know exactly what message she was trying to get through with the song - we each get different things from it - but what I took away from it is how much she has grown as a person and an artist, and that she may have finally figured out who or what she wants to be. I have to be honest though: if this is the new Miley, a part of me will miss the old Miley. She sure had the entertainment factor down to a science. 9. Odd Eye Circle - LOONATIC Submitted by @nanapop99 While the majority of people don't listen to K-Pop, I've been a fan of this genre for a few years now and I don't think I've been this hooked on a girl group debut since 2NE1. LOONA has a really unique concept which consists of debuting a new member every month with a solo song: for now the label has revealed ten members out of the full twelve (for those who want to hear more, here's a solo song which I really love). The full group has yet to debut but Odd Eye Circle is the second sub-unit of LOONA and it consists of three members. 'LOONATIC' is technically not a single off their EP but it's definitely the song that got me into this group. The moment I listened to it for the first time, I knew that it would be my favourite! It has a very unique sound that I've personally never heard in any other songs and it's also very catchy. The lyrics are kinda difficult to hear and understand but the instrumental is really what's best: it has a really dreamy feel to it that I love. The track was originally released in Korean but they later released an English version as a gift for international fans which you can listen to above. 8. Rita Ora - Your Song Submitted by @Dayfid 'Your Song' is the lead single from Rita Ora's second album which may actually get released and promoted! It's written by Ed Sheeran who provides background vocals and Steve Mac who also produced the track. The best part is that driving intro synth or whatever that thing is with those background snaps that loop throughout the song without getting boring. The song was performed and promoted literally anywhere. It's been performed live 9+ times and has become Rita's most promoted body of work besides her own actual body (along with an acoustic performance uploaded to YouTube with that random writer). Slay, Rita Oral! 7. Kesha - Learn To Let Go Submitted by @Joe "Your past only has as much effect on your future as you want it to." - Kesha, Huffington Post. My song of the year is the one that made me feel the most emotion upon first hearing it. On July 2nd, Kesha released 'Praying', her triumphant return to music. But it’s what she followed up with that truly took my breath away. Kesha has said that 'Learn To Let Go' played a big part in Rainbow as a whole and was one of the first songs written for the album. I vividly remember waking up to the song and music video being released. I immediately broke down crying. I felt like Kesha had written the song just for me. I related to every line. She refers to the bitterness she’s held onto and that there’s this voice that’s always telling her that she isn’t strong, that’s it’s her fault. When in fact, you choose to play the victim or to be the survivor. It’s so easy to give others advice, but to follow it yourself? Not many "practice what they preach" and I’ll admit to this. This song helped me let go of the pain and the hatred I held towards myself for far to long. Back to Kesha...The music video is a collection of home movies and shots of Kesha dancing in a forest. I took the music video as Kesha reclaiming her innocence. Reclaiming who she once was. She dropped the dollar sign and came back better and more real than ever. This song is a testament to just that: accept the shit, accept that it doesn’t define you, accept that you are yourself at the end of the day, and let yourself move on. 6. Selena Gomez - Bad Liar Submitted by @Fetish My song of the year is, by a long shot, 'Bad Liar' by Selena Gomez. With 'Bad Liar', Selena introduced a new image, sound and style to her music and bought an alternative twist to her mostly bubblegum-pop centred discography by sampling one of the best bands of all time, Talking Heads. The song was a huge step for Selena, showing both the general public and her diehard fans that she could explore new sounds and pull them off both brilliantly and effortlessly. The stripped back production and mid-tempo flow of the song accentuates her voice, allowing her to capitalize on her infamously restricted vocal ability; while the lyrics - handled by Julia Michaels, Justin Tranter and Selena herself - are genius, featuring bizarre lines like, "But just like the battle of Troy, there's nothing subtle here." There's also no ignoring the amazing music video which paired with the song, in which Selena plays numerous characters, crafting a fun and interesting storyline while giving the song a whole other meaning. There's no denying that this was easily the catchiest song released this year, and although it was ignored by the Grammy's...It was definitely receiving attention elsewhere, as the song is now Selena's most acclaimed piece of work. 5. Dua Lipa - New Rules Submitted by @Countess I can't lie: before 2017, I had no idea what the hype over Dua Lipa was about or why Kendall Jenner with voice lessons was getting so much online buzz just for looking pretty and having one decent song (her breakthrough sleeper hit 'Be The One'). But then 'New Rules' came along, and everything changed. Backed by a unique production, the song is one of the best examples of the countdown chorus previously attempted by Brooke Candy and Sia and Beyoncé, and it's structured to pop perfection. The only thing that could have made it better is the music video, which with it's instantly Instagrammable scenes of flamingos by the pool and girl power hairbrushing immediately raised the song to memeable status. This one will be hard for Lipa to beat. 4. Lana Del Rey - Love Submitted by @Speedy "I made my first four albums for me, but this one is for my fans and about where I hope we are all headed." That's how Lana Del Rey introduced her latest album Lust For Life, and we couldn't wait to listen to the fan-devoted record. The first introduction to what seemed a new era of Del Rey's approach to music was the lead single 'Love' (initially called 'Young & In Love'), a dreamy song about the new generation of "kids" (as Del Rey calls them in the song) that are mesmerised by the past while surrounded by the future. The only thing that ties them is that feeling of dressing up just to go nowhere because they're "young and in love" - a total shift of perspective for Lana when it comes to the feelings she invests in her songs. There's no characterisation or melodrama here: just a direct approach to a basic human feeling, and a girl with a big bright smile and flowers in her hair, singing happily on the moon, because "it's enough to be young and in love with life". 3. Lorde - Green Light Submitted by @Countess Lorde took a break after the release of her 2013 breakthrough album Pure Heroine, and her absence was sorely obvious to some in the pop music world. But when she returned with the resounding 'Green Light' this year, it made the four year wait completely worth it. The perfect comeback single, 'Green Light' begins with a series of bizzarely personal, vulnerable lyrics such as "I know about what you did and I wanna scream the truth/She thinks you love the beach, you're such a damn liar". The build is up gradual, but it makes that explosive moment when the chorus first drops all the more glorious. Channeling the likes of Coldplay and Florence + The Machine, 'Green Light' is a slice of euphoric pop perfection which sees Lorde dancing through the sadness of a breakup, and it's orchestrated to perfection. If you've been looking for a new workout song, I think you might have found one. 2. Kesha - Woman Submitted by @victorxcx The last few years have been a crazy journey for Kesha, and as fans we naturally wondered how all these events would influence the sound of her third studio album (the first without Dr. Luke’s production). 'Praying', the first single, is for sure an epic song and a triumphant return; but 'Woman' is the bop that we were all waiting for, and the song that shows that while Kesha has grown a lot she still has that sassy attitude that made us fall in love with her back in the Animal days. Given her background, I'd guess that the meaning of 'Woman' is even more powerful than we can imagine just listening to it on the radio or at the clubs. After all the ups and downs, Kesha is stronger and more independent than ever and I’m definitely here for it. The production is pretty amazing as well: I love how laid-back it is, and my favorite part is the laugh before the second chorus and how it evolves to the flawless bridge. 'Woman' was also confirmed as the second official single from Rainbow so I'm hoping it will get the success it deserves (I’ll be definitely streaming and watching the music video all year long!). 1. Rita Ora - Anywhere Submitted by @Cypher A gem from 2017's pop catalogue, Rita Ora sings about finding gem locations "a million miles from LA" with a cherished friend. The beauty of the track is that the subjects referred to could very well be about non-romantic friends. With the world having been through a year of turmoil and natural disasters, this song gives the hope of freedom to the listener for 3 minutes and 42 seconds. The glitched vocals in the chorus give free-range interpretation and emotional fluidity for people seeking a temporary space away from reality. Without having to take a physical vacation, this song takes the listener on a ride through a journey of "fun, a little less fun", and "crowds of empty faces." Running through the woods of Estonia, climbing to a peak in the Alps, roaming the streets of New York, or swimming with sharks off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa, this song has the potential to forever bring you back to those locations long after the trip is over. Take a listen to the song and let your mind roam free. What was your favourite song of 2017? Let us know in the comments below! And for a trip down memory lane, check out the best songs of 2016 and 2015.
Ten Songs You Need On Your Christmas Playlist (Which Beat Carols)
Leaving posted an article in Throwback ThursdayWhen it comes to pop music, most of us have set ideas of what we want to hear. Pop music in 2017 is constantly changing, and that necessitates a song which will either hit right in the middle of whatever trend is whirlwinding through the genre at any given moment, or one that will set the zeitgeist for what we can expect for the next few months in terms of production. Pop music is designed to give the illusion of edginess and freshness, even while it not-so-secretly borrows all of it's creativity from genres long-established. When it comes to Christmas songs, however, the rules are different. The festive season is really the one time of year when people are happy to embrace "cheese" in all it's glory - and we ain't talking about gouda. Our favourite Christmas songs are rife with references to tradition, family, an incredibly pure definition of love and overused holiday symbolism. The production, too, generally plays much safer, often choosing to throw back to retro Motown sounds, with brass sections, choirs and sleigh bells all coming out to play. Pop may play the role of the leather jacket in music's wardrobe all year round, evoking a stylish and rebellious spirit; but Christmas is that one cosy sweater you've had for years that always brings back memories of sitting by the fire and drinking hot cocoa. In this list, we'll be compiling the ten best "hot cocoa" Christmas songs which have yet to slide into the monotony of carol status. Whether you're sitting alone watching Love, Actually on Christmas day or trying to get your boss tipsy at the work Christmas party, just one listen of these songs is bound to get you in the festive spirit and ready for the big day. Check out our choices below! 10. Sia - Candy Cane Lane Sia may not be the immediate choice for a Christmas album, but the more you think about it the more well-suited she seems to spreading holiday goodness. Sia in 2017 seems to churn out pop hits like butter, often to the expense of meaningful lyrics or unique production; but that kind of breezy, generic pop tune is exactly what's needed at Christmastime, where people are loathe to think about anything more serious than what kind of wreath they should get. 'Candy Cane Lane' is the most vapid, silly and childish song on the whole album - but we can't even be mad when the chorus is this catchy and fun. 9. Gwen Stefani - Under The Christmas Lights Thanks to some pretty poor promotion (we still don't have a music video for the lead single which was released in September), and a bad choice of single in the form of the Blake Shelton assisted 'You Make It Feel Like Christmas', Gwen Stefani's Christmas album has pretty much flown under the radar this year. And while I can't say I'm sad about that fact (the album is overall pretty meh), it does mean that a lot of people are missing out on 'Under The Christmas Lights', which is, as the kids would say, "a bop". Evoking the doo-wop tones of The Ronettes, Stefani puts in her purest performance in years as she sings an ode to holiday love. You can almost forget for a minute that she's singing about Shelton. 8. Leona Lewis - One More Sleep Leona Lewis left her longtime record label Syco last year over differences of opinion in where her career should go; but if 'One More Sleep' is any indication, Lewis should definitely have stuck around if only to keep belting out Christmas hits. Not only was the track Lewis's most successful in years, charting in the UK every holiday season since it's been released; but it's also one of the most well constructed Christmas song ever, thanks to a smart little "12 Days of Christmas" countdown during the chorus. Lewis's voice is perfectly suited to this kind of song, and we can see why Simon Cowell wanted her to go Motown so badly. 7. Eartha Kitt - Santa Baby 'Santa Baby' has become a go to for any female singer releasing a Christmas album (Madonna, Kylie Minogue and The Pussycat Dolls have all contributed versions), but few can match the seductive elegance of Eartha Kitt's original version. Kitt's black sexuality was pretty radical back in it's day, but looking at it now her version is much more seductive than it is slutty, and her quiet, deliberate intonation makes the song a surprisingly easy listen considering that the whole thing is about Kitt asking her sugar daddy for a car. Moreover, it's just nice to have a Christmas song which isn't directed towards young kids and which isn't afraid to land someone on the naughty list. 6. Mariah Carey - Oh Santa! It's definitely not the best known of Mariah's Christmas output, but 'Oh Santa!' is pretty much everything you'd ever want in a Christmas song. Released on her second album, the aptly titled Merry Christmas II You, the song was clearly meant to mimic the success of 'All I Want For Christmas Is You'; and even though it didn't quite get there, the chorus is just as catchy as that iconic track's ever was. If you haven't heard of it yet, think of the song as the festive version of 'Hey Ya' - it has the same call and response pre-chorus, as well as some doo-wopy background vocals and of course a gorgeous whistle tone straight from 80s Mariah. Just prepare to have it in your head a week later. 5. Kylie Minogue - Every Day's Like Christmas Most of our favourite Christmas songs evoke the 60s "Wall of Sound" production made famous by Phil Spector in the 60s; but for a more modern, quasi-90s attempt, look no further than Kylie Minogue's 'Every Day's Like Christmas'. A cool electro-pop ballad, the song is more "ice queen" than "roaring fire", but it's tender enough to pull some heartstrings regardless. The song was originally worked on by the powerhouse of Coldplay's Chris Martin and Stargate; but for a more 80s take on the song, check out the Stock Aitken Waterman remix, which marks the first time Kylie has worked with the production trio in 25 years. 4. Judy Garland - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas Many have covered 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas', the song first written for Judy Garland's character in the charming Meet Me In St. Louis. But none can quite match the emotional strains that Garland manages to pull off in her performance of the song, which comes at a vital point in the film as her character tries to sooth her sister after news that the whole family will be moving towns in the new year. In the world of boppy, poppy Christmas music which aims to improve people's moods over the festive period, 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas' still stands out as a song for those of us who are lonely on the big day, whether because of heartbreak, death or distance - and no one knows more about that than Garland. 3. Kelly Clarkson - Underneath The Tree I'm ready to call it: Kelly Clarkson's 'Underneath The Tree' is the most underrated Christmas song ever. The lead single from her Christmas album Wrapped in Red (which, incidentally, is probably the most underrated Christmas album ever), the song was at one point predicted to become just as legendary as a certain Mariah Carey classic; but it languished around the bottom of the charts before dropping out, never to be heard of again. It's a shame, because producer Jesse Shatkin nailed the Wall of Sound vibe, and Clarkson herself nailed those girl group vocals. Moreover, we have to give major kudos to any song which brings the much-missed saxophone solo back to pop music. 2. Darlene Love - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) We've brought up the Wall of Sound numerous times during this article, but at the risk of sounding repetitive, I'll bring it up just once more - this time in reference to Darlene Love's 'Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)', which is one of the original songs to utilise it and one of the best. 'Christmas' is ostensibly about a forelorn lover wishing for their partner to come home, but Love sings it with such passion that it's hard to feel anything but joyful listening to it. Love's version is still one of the best, but for a more modern take on the classic check out Mariah Carey's R&B-infused take or Gossip Girl star Leighton Meester's surprisingly good rock-tinged version. 1. Mariah Carey - All I Want For Christmas Is You And here we are at the #1 spot! Is anyone really surprised? Given how overplayed and well-loved it is, Mariah Carey's 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' is basically a running joke at this point - but in our opinion, the hype around the song is well deserved. From the iconic opening strains of the music box to Mariah's shameless rhyme about reindeers "clicking" to that final, glorious whistle note, the song is chock full of legendary moments that are bound to bring a smile to even the Grinch's face. It's one of the few Christmas songs that can truly be listened to year round, as well as the only one which I never get sick of hearing in every department store ever. Let's just try and forget that the Justin Bieber remix ever existed, okay? What iconic Christmas songs are we missing from our list? Let us know in the comments down below!
The Top Charting Songs of Ten Years Ago
Leaving posted an article in Throwback ThursdayI can't speak for everyone, but for me personally 2007 has always gone down in history as one of my favourite years ever in pop music. It may have something to do with the fact that I was verging on teenagehood at the time and just beginning to understand the significance of music in my life, but I'd argue that the year was also a good one overall, evidenced by the ongoing popularity of artists debuting or reinventing in 2007 like Rihanna, Justin Timberlake and Kanye West. One of the most interesting things about music in 2007 looking back is just how varied it was. On the one hand, there was tail end of the power pop trend of the early 2000s which allowed artists like Avril Lavigne, P!nk and Kelly Clarkson to dominate the charts; but on the other, Timbaland was revolutionising the game with his unique brand of R&B, bringing companions Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado along for the ride. The year also includes some of the catchiest (and oftentimes most annoying) songs in living memory, including Sean Kingston's 'Beautiful Girls', MIMS' 'This Is Why I'm Hot' and Soulja Boy Tell'em's 'Crank That (Soulja Boy)' all sticking in our heads long after they left the charts. Take a trip down memory lane by checking out the songs and their peak positions below, and don't forget to let us know your favourite track from 2007 in the comments section! The Fray - How to Save a Life Released: 26 March, 2006 Peak: #3 Hinder - Lips of an Angel Released: 24 July, 2006 Peak: #3 Akon - Smack That (Feat. Eminem) Released: 26 September, 2006 Peak: #2 Amy Winehouse - Rehab Released: 23 October, 2006 Peak: #9 Beyoncé - Irreplaceable Released: 23 October, 2006 Peak: #1 Nelly Furtado - Say It Right Released: 31 October, 2006 Peak: #1 Gwen Stefani - The Sweet Escape (Feat. Akon) Released: 19 December, 2006 Peak: #2 Justin Timberlake - What Goes Around... Comes Around Released: 19 December, 2006 Peak: #1 Fergie - Glamorous (Feat. Ludacris) Released: 23 January, 2007 Peak: #1 Mims - This Is Why I'm Hot Released: 23 January, 2007 Peak: #1 Avril Lavigne - Girlfriend Released: 27 February, 2007 Peak: #1 Rihanna - Umbrella (Feat. Jay-Z) Released: 29 March, 2007 Peak: #1 Linkin Park - What I've Done Released: 2 April, 2007 Peak: #7 Kelly Clarkson - Never Again Released: 24 April, 2007 Peak: #8 Soulja Boy Tell'em - Crank That (Soulja Boy) Released: 2 May, 2007 Peak: #1 Plain White T's - Hey There Delilah Released: 9 May, 2006 Peak: #1 P!nk - Who Knew Released: 18 May, 2006 Peak: #9 Sean Kingston - Beautiful Girls Released: 26 May, 2007 Peak: #1 Lil Mama - Lip Gloss Released: 19 June, 2007 Peak: #10 Timbaland - The Way I Are (Feat. D.O.E. & Keri Hilson) Released: 9 July, 2007 Peak: #3 High School Musical Cast - What Time Is It? Released: 17 July, 2007 Peak: #6 Kanye West - Stronger Released: 31 July, 2007 Peak: #1 Jordin Sparks - Tattoo Released: 27 August, 2007 Peak: #8 Alicia Keys - No One Released: 11 September, 2007 Peak: #1 Timbaland - Apologize (Feat. OneRepublic) Released: 17 September, 2007 Peak: #2 Britney Spears - Gimme More Released: 20 September, 2007 Peak: #3 Flo Rida - Low (Feat. T-Pain) Released: 9 October, 2007 Peak: #1 Leona Lewis - Bleeding Love Released: 19 October, 2007 Peak: #1
Kelly Clarkson - Masquerade
Leaving posted a topic in Art GalleryI've been working on my Kelly unreleased collection lately and when I was trying to come up with a good title for some All I Ever Wanted demos I found out that the album title was originally Masquerade. Apparently it was titled for an unreleased song called Masquerade produced by Dr. Luke which went on to be sung by Nicki Minaj! Anyway, I made this cover for my album and I wanted to share it here with you. Enjoy! Original: Edit:
Clarkson Baby #2 has arrived!
--Out of Business-- posted a topic in Entertainment NewsCongratulations, Kelly!
Kelly Clarkson "Blackmailed" To Work With Dr. LukeThe situation between popstar Kesha and her record producer and alleged rapist Dr. Luke may have reached boiling point a few weeks ago as she was denied the right to leave the Luke owned label, Kemosabe Records, but the battle is far from over; and joining the fight against Luke is not only a myriad of celebrity supporters, but also a fair amount of singers who have had personal contact with the producer and who have left less than impressed. Adding her voice to the cacophony of disgust lately is the original American Idol herself Kelly Clarkson, who recently discussed her own negative experiences with the producer on Australian radio show KIIS FM. Clarkson's discussion of Luke originally began online with a Tweet which linked to another user's assertion that Kesha's given verdict "is some legit bullshit". But when she was grilled about the Tweet live on radio last Monday morning, Clarkson refused to back down, claiming that Luke is a "talented dude" but with "poor character", and that her work with him was forced upon her by her label. Clarkson, who most famously worked with the producer on hits like 'Behind These Hazel Eyes' and 'Since U Been Gone', opened up about her Tweet when she said "He’s just not a good person to me. We’ve clashed. I can’t really say anything about [Kesha’s accusations]. Her fans are like, ‘Why aren’t you standing up for her?’ and I’m like, ‘Well, I wasn’t there.’ I don’t know specifically what happened in their situation. Obviously I wasn’t there in the room. I can remark on his character. [...] I get along with everyone I work with. I love everyone I work with. He’s just not a good guy for me." When pressed on the subject, Clarkson continued: Despite this, she refused to comment on the specifics of Kesha's accusations, saying “I don’t know that situation. He’s never done anything like that with me. But if it’s true I can’t imagine working with someone who had done something like that.” While Dr. Luke and his rep have yet to officially comment on Clarkson's statements, a close source did state simply that “Dr. Luke and his partner were asked to work with her”, although whether this was by Clarkson herself or her label was not made apparent. Sony Music, who both Clarkson and Kesha are signed to, has also not responded to any requests for comments. What do you think about Clarkson's accusations? Is she simply jumping on a bandwagon, or do her complaints have merit? Let us know in the comments down below!
2015's First Mega Mashup, Pop Danthology, Is HereWe're dangerously close to the end of the year, and as most normal people start to consider Christmas presents and family vacations, pop music lovers are getting ready for another big event in their calendars: mash-up season. First triggered by DJ Earworm way back in 2009 with his hit-filled track 'United States of Pop', epic end of year mash-ups have basically become a tradition in the pop world and are now something fans can look forward to every year, with the biggest recieving millions of views and extensive radio play. First started in 2010 by Daniel Kim, 'Pop Danthology' is one such mashup which often jams in dozens of your favourite pop songs to make a cohesive, danceable track. For the first time, 2015's 'Pop Danthology' is split into two parts a decision Kim says was dictated by the fact that "it has become increasingly more challenging to satisfy my fans and fit in all of their many favourite songs in my year-end mashup". Part one is just over four minutes long and features an impressive 45 songs, ranging from tracks by pop starlets such as Demi Lovato's 'Cool For The Summer', Hilary Duff's 'Sparks', Kelly Clarkson's 'Heartbeat Song' to sleeper hits like 'Fetty Wap's 'Trap Queen', Skrillex, Diplo and Justin Bieber's 'Where Are U Now', Maroon 5's 'Sugar', and Zedd and Selena Gomez's 'I Want You To Know'. Meanwhile, part two clocks in at just over five minutes, featuring a grand total of 37 songs including Adele's 'Hello', Ariana Grande's 'Focus', Britney Spears and Iggy Azalea's 'Pretty Girls', Ellie Goulding's 'Love Me Like You Do', Major Lazer, DJ Snake, and MO's 'Lean On', Rihanna's 'Bitch Better Have My Money', Selena Gomez and A$AP Rocky's 'Good For You', Silento's 'Watch Me', Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar's 'Bad Blood' and The Weeknd's 'Can’t Feel My Face'. What do you guys think? Will you be playing this track at your Thanksgiving dinners, or are the originals always the best? Let us know in the comments down below!