By Skinny Legend
Over the course of her sixteen year career, Rihanna certainly hasn't had any trouble making hits. Named by Spotify and Apple as the most streamed female artist of all time, Rih's also earned herself 31 top ten singles on the Billboard Hot 100. Furthermore, five of her songs - 'Umbrella', 'We Found Love', 'Stay', 'Work' and Eminem collaboration 'Love The Way You Lie' - rank among the world's best selling songs of all time.
Her distinct vocals, trend-setting sounds and high-profile romances also make her a songwriter's dream, with many artists imagining her voice layered over the top of their latest works. Sadly, as is true for most artists who rely on others for their songwriting, Rih is unable to record each and every track she's sent, and there's a large selection of songs she's turned down which have gone on to be hits at the hands of other artists. Some of these songs were given to newer artists inspired by her, such as Selena Gomez; while yet others reverted back to their original owners, such as Sia. Regardless, it's fascinating to imagine what these songs would sound like if they'd been sung by Rih, and just how many more millions of dollars she could be raking in if she'd accepted them.
1. Selena Gomez - Come & Get It
Ester Dean and Stargate are the dream team of musicians behind a number of Rihanna's dancehall-tinged hits, from 'What's My Name' to 'Rude Boy' - and if they'd had their way, they could have given her another one. Selena Gomez's 'Come & Get It' was submitted for Rih's 2011 album Talk That Talk, but was left off the album possibly due to an over-abundance of up-tempo songs that were already present. While Rihanna's islander vibe would have worked perfectly on 'Come & Get It', we're glad this one went to Selena - after all, without this track she may have been stuck permanently in Disney purgatory, and never have started recording the more adult music we all know and love today.
2. Selena Gomez - Same Old Love
Charli XCX was working overtime for Rihanna in 2015, when she was writing songs for both ANTI and the Rihanna-helmed Dreamworks film Home. While none of their collaborations ended up on either project (although Charli did land one of her own songs, 'Red Balloon', a spot on the Home soundtrack), Rihanna did record at least one Charli co-write - 'Same Old Love'. Rih first teased the song in June of 2014 on Twitter, over a year before the public even know it existed.
It wasn't until Selena released her version as a single in September of 2015 that fans put the pieces together and deduced that Rihanna had recorded her own version of the song, a theory confirmed in 2018 when a snippet of her version leaked online. While Rih would have done a good job on the track, we understand why she scrapped her version - the song's catchy hook and poppy vibe would have sounded completely out of place on 2016's ANTI.
3. Miley Cyrus - We Can't Stop
Selena isn't the only ex-Disney star to swoop in one of Rihanna's rejects. Production duo Rock City had originally written their song 'We Can't Stop' with Rihanna in mind, but they decided against offering it to her after hearing her change in musical direction that began with 'Diamonds'. Feeling that "this could be somebody's first single", the group instead offered the song to record producer Mike Will Made It, who passed it onto Cyrus. While Miley's version of the song is a certified bop and exactly what she needed to release at that point in her career, we can't imagine the song fitting into Rihanna's more introspective Unapologetic album, and we're actually glad she never released this one.
4. The Chainsmokers - Don't Let Me Down (Feat. Daya)
Everyone's least favourite production duo The Chainsmokers have barely been heard from since their chart-topper 'Closer', but they did have a minor hit with 2016's 'Don't Let Me Down'. The final version of the song ended up featuring then 17 year old singer Daya, but before they called her the group had already reached out to Rihanna for some vocals. Her rejection of the song clearly left the duo feeling a little bitter: in an interview, the group's Alex Pall took the chance to throw some shade when he said that he was happy to have Daya on the song "because young unknown artists have this hunger – they're willing to work really hard". We get the feeling Rihanna was already busy work, work, work, work, work, working on a real hit.
5. Usher - DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love (Feat. Pitbull)
Despite multiple collaborations with his off-siders such as Dr. Luke and Cirkut, Rihanna has never actually worked with pop music's GOAT producer Max Martin. Surprisingly, she turned down the chance back in 2010 when Martin sent 'DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love' in her direction as one of the over 200 songs which didn't make the cut for Loud. With some help from Pitbull, the song would later go on to become one of Usher's most successful singles, hitting the top ten in over fifteen countries while it competed with Rih's own collab with Eminem, 'Love The Way You Lie'. Although the song would have worked great in Rihanna's hands, we see why she rejected it; it serves essentially the same purpose as 'Only Girl (In The World)', which was the first song recorded for Loud and which was always intended to be the first single.
6. Drake - Find Your Love
Rihanna and Drake have had major success with the majority of their collaborations, from 'What's My Name' to 'Take Care' to 'Work' - but long before any of these tracks were released, a relatively unknown Drake was already pitching some of his first hits to Rihanna. 'Find Your Love', the second single from Drake's debut album, was originally pitched to Rihanna due to Drake's belief that the song was "extremely vulnerable". "It's actually a huge risk," he would later state. "It almost feels like the song should be performed by a woman. I'm just hoping that men really hear the song and they're honest with themselves. I know a lot of men feel that way." Ultimately, the risk paid off for Drake who had a hit with the song, and whose own vulnerability and sensitivity would later go on to become a point of distinction and mockery in later years.
7. Rita Ora - R.I.P.
Rita Ora has been compared to Rihanna again and again over the course of her career, and it's not hard to see why. With her ethnic beauty, emotive vocals, and career trajectory from Roc Nation-approved R&B to Calvin Harris produced pop, it would be easy to think of Ora as Europe's own answer to the Bajan beauty. It's a comparison made even stronger by the fact that Rita's breakthrough single, 'R.I.P.', was initially written for Rihanna. 'R.I.P.' was another Drake-penned track that originally appeared on his The Gift Without a Curse mixtape with the name 'I'm Ready For You'. Ora's version retained the Nneka and Chase & Status sample of Drake's original song while adding a fresh coat of production paint courtesy of frequent Rihanna collaborators Stargate. Although we're sure that Rih could slay this track, it's a testament to Rita's talent that we can't imagine anyone performing it as well as she does, and we're glad that she got the chance to shine with such a bop for her first release.
8. Justin Bieber - Love Yourself
'Love Yourself' was a hit for Justin Bieber in 2015, but the track had a long journey to the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. It was originally written by Ed Sheeran for his album ÷, and back then it had a very different, R-rated chorus of "If you like the way you look that much/Baby, you should go and fuck yourself". Realising that he didn't have the "swag" to pull off such a line, Sheeran initially considered pitching the song to Rih. "Rihanna could get away with saying 'you should go and f--k yourself,' in my mind anyway," he would later state.
Ed never got around to sending the song Rihanna's way, but when talking to Bieber near the end of his recording for Purpose he realised that Justin would be able to pull off a more G-rated version. "It kind of came at a zeitgeist time for his career, where he had fallen out of grace with the public, and he had this comeback song that was quite grown up," he would later say. Although there's no guarantee Rih would have recorded the song, it would definitely be interesting to see what she could do with the track. Some of her more interesting songs have experimented with acoustic instruments, such as 'FourFiveSeconds' and 'Stay', and 'Love Yourself' (or 'Fuck Yourself') would definitely have been a nice addition to that series.
9. Ed Sheeran - Shape of You
Rihanna must be running through Ed Sheeran's mind a lot, because 'Love Yourself' wasn't the only song he wrote with her in mind. Ed's own hit 'Shape of You' was initially conceived as a duet between Rih and the UK band Rudimental, but a combination of his record label head persuading him to keep the song for himself and his own personalised lyrics made him rethink the decision. "We were writing this song and I was like 'this would really work for Rihanna,'" he would explain later. "And then I started singing lyrics like 'putting Van the Man on the jukebox' and I was like 'well she's not really going to sing that, is she?' And then we sort of decided halfway through that we were just going to make it for me." Although the song's tropical flair would have suited Rihanna well, there's something distinctly masculine about the lyrics of loving someone's body which we just can't imagine her singing. Then again, who is Rihanna to let something like gender stop her?
10. Sia - Cheap Thrills
Upon it's release, 'Shape of You' was compared unfavourably to another tropically-minded song which had been released months earlier: Sia's 'Cheap Thrills'. Like all of the other songs on her This Is Acting album, 'Cheap Thrills' was a song that Sia had originally written for another artist before reclaiming it for herself, and in this case it was once again Rihanna who had turned down the track. Ultimately, this ended up being for the better: the super-poppy 'Cheap Thrills' wouldn't have worked at all on ANTI, but it did go on to become Sia's first #1 in the US and probably paid for her fifth vacation home.
11. Sia - Alive
'Alive' was another This Is Acting cut that had been intended for multiple artists before it's release. Sia co-wrote the song with Adele "in Adele's perspective" for her album 25, but the song was rejected from the album at the last minute. "I said to [Adele], 'Do you mind if I pitch it to, let's say, Rihanna?'", Sia would later recount. "She said, 'Yeah, but can you take my vocal off it because I don't want my vocal floating around out there on a demo?'" Sia ultimately recorded her own take on the song to pitch to Rihanna, where it was rejected for a second time. Despite this, Sia's collaborators encouraged her to keep the song for herself. "Everybody in my life was like, 'You can't give this away to anybody'," she explained, which inspired her to release the song as the first single from her own album. As far as 'Alive' goes, we can take it or leave it: Rihanna would probably have done as good a job as Adele or Sia did on the song, but there's nothing particularly special about the generic self-empowerment lyrics of the song, which is probably the reason why it stalled so low on the charts.
12. Sia - Reaper
'Reaper' was another This Is Acting album track, and the third song on the album that had originally been hand-crafted with Rihanna in mind. 'Reaper' was written by Sia and her frequent collaborator Jesse Shatkin alongside Kanye West and his team of 88-Keys and Dom $olo for ANTI - however, the track was scrapped when the album underwent a last-minute change in direction. 'Reaper' was for the version of ANTI pre-'Work' which also featured 'FourFiveSeconds', 'Bitch Better Have My Money' and 'American Oxygen', which existed back when Kanye was executive producing the album. After a falling out between him and Rih, she retooled the album without their collaborations, making it the hit record we know today. As for our thoughts on the song, Sia summed them up pretty nicely herself when she said, "I don't care about the song. I know in print that will look bad, but what I mean is I'm not emotionally attached to it. I thought it was a fun song. I think it's a good, fun song, but I didn't anticipate it being on the record." 'Reaper' is fun and catchy, but it seems like a throwaway track for Sia and more like something we'd expect from Rihanna's fifth album than her eighth.
13. Beyoncé - Pretty Hurts
'Pretty Hurts' is often regarded as the standout from Beyoncé's self-titled 2013 album, and even it's lead songwriter Sia considers it to be her "best song". As such, it makes some sense that the track was in demand by multiple musicians before Bey finally snagged it for herself. The track was originally written by Sia alongside producer Ammo on the same day as she recorded 'Titanium' for David Guetta in 2011, and as with 'Titanium' first dibs for the song went to Katy Perry. Somehow, Katy ended up missing the e-mail that 'Pretty Hurts' was attached to, and the track was instead passed onto Rihanna's team. Rihanna, who was at the time recording for Talk That Talk, showed interest in the song and placed it on hold; but after she failed to pay the track's fee for a whopping eight months, Sia continued to shop it around once more.
While 'Pretty Hurts' remained in limbo, Beyoncé heard it and labelled it as "my song". She would later go on to state, "The second I heard the song, I'm like, 'I have to sing this song, I don't care how hard I have to fight for this song!'". Ultimately, she paid the fee to make the song hers and stole the track right out from under Rihanna's nose. Given that 'Pretty Hurts' originally had a very different composition from the version that Bey released, it's hard to say how Rihanna's vocals would have worked on the track; although given that the song is a statement on the beauty industrial complex, we can't imagine that her Fenty Beauty company would have gone on to great success after she recorded it.
14. Jordin Sparks - Battlefield
2009 was the year of Ryan Tedder, with the English-born songwriter penning hits for balladeers ranging from Beyoncé to Kelly Clarkson: and if things had played out differently, he may just have added Rihanna to that list. 'Battlefield', which was ultimately released by Jordin Sparks as the first single from her album of the same name, was initially written with the intention of pitching it to Christina Aguilera. After a demo was recorded it was then considered as a duet for Rihanna and Chris Brown, but after news of Brown's physical assault broke these plans were scrapped. Instead, Sparks went on to nab the song and turn it into a moderate success, with the song hitting #10 on the US charts.
15. Jessie J - Do It Like A Dude
Jessie J had success with writing on Miley Cyrus's 'Party In The U.S.A.', and it didn't take long before she tried to replicate the hit when she wrote 'Do It Like A Dude' for Rihanna. Jessie had Rihanna on the mind at the time due to the prominence of 'Rude Boy' on the radio, and she thought that the "tongue-in-cheek" and "empowering" nature of 'Dude' would be perfect for Rih to embody. After her completion of the song, Jessie sent it to both Rih's management and her own record label Island Records; and while she received no response from the former, an enthusiastic review from the latter encouraged her to release the song as her first single. Although Rih would have undoubtedly improved the song just by her very presence, we're kind of glad she didn't lend her vocals to this one; I'm pretty sure even Rihanna couldn't have saved this tryhard mess of a song.
16. Ariana Grande - Dangerous Woman
'Dangerous Woman' is a favourite among not only Ariana Grande fans, but also the popstar herself, who liked the track so much that she ended up scrapping her original lead single 'Focus' in it's favour and reworking her entire album to fit it's theme. Despite this, writers Johan Carlsson and Ross Golan had a very different artist in mind when they penned the song. Initially, the song was written with the intention of sending it to Carrie Underwood, who passed; and following this, it was also sent to Alicia Keys. Rihanna was third on the list of artists who were sent the song, and it was only after she rejected it that Grande got sloppy...fourths? While it would have been cool to hear Rih do her thing on this thumping mid-tempo, we're honestly more interested to hear what Carrie Underwood could have done with the song. She's never headed in such an R&B direction before, and it could definitely be an interesting change of pace for the country singer.
17. Major Lazer & DJ Snake - Lean On (Feat. MØ)
'Lean On' was one of the biggest songs of 2015, and one of the largest hits of the streaming era. Despite only peaking at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, the song reached #1 in nine other countries, and went on to become the most streamed song of all time, as well as selling over 13 million copies worldwide. Surprisingly though, the track was offered to multiple artists who turned it down before it became the smash we know it as today. Major Lazer and MØ wrote the track together as a slower reggae song, pitching it to Nicki Minaj who turned it down. Later, they reworked the track into a more upbeat version with the help of DJ Snake, and went on to pitch this version to Rihanna. "I played her 'Lean On,'" Diplo would later recount. "She was like, 'I don't do house music.' I face-palmed so hard on that one." Weirdly enough though, despite the song's tropical influences, we think MØ is way more suited for the track than Rihanna would ever be. Ultimately, this track went to just the singer who needed it most.
18. Pitbull - Timber (Feat. Ke$ha)
Out of all of the songs that Rihanna turned down, this has to be the one we're most happy to see her let go of. Although Pitbull was always (unfortunately) intended to rap over the 'Timber' beat, he had initially wanted Rihanna to sing the chorus later made famous by Kesha. Fortunately, due to Rihanna's focus on her Shakira duet 'Can't Remember To Forget You', she was unable to find time to record vocals for the song. This was a positive thing for two reasons: one, because Rih didn't have to besmirch her good name by working with a rent-a-rapper like Pitbull; and two, because Kesha's southern roots and party girl image were perfect for the chorus of 'Timber', which gave her a greatly-needed hit at the perfect moment in time. We just wish she'd been given the chance to rap the verses herself.
Which of these songs would you most like to hear Rihanna's vocals on? Let us know in the comments down below!
By Skinny Legend
Watch the video version of this article here!
Although her star has faded a little in recent years, Katy Perry remains one of the biggest and most bankable popstars of all time, having sold more than 40 million albums and 100 million records over her ten year career. With hits ranging from debut single 'I Kissed A Girl' to 'Teenage Dream' and 'Chained to the Rhythm', Perry has until recently been a fixture of the charts, with every single she releases becoming not just a hit but an entire cultural happening.
But with so many hits it seems impossible to avoid comparison with other artists, and Katy has had a handful of songs which have been noted for their striking similarities to other artist's tracks. Some of these tracks have just a passing resemblance, but others - #3, particularly - are almost note for note identical copies of other songs, and the public has definitely noticed. In this list, we'll be looking at five of the most obvious comparisons, as well as the original artist's reactions - and not all of them are pretty. Read on to find out more!
Katy Perry - California Gurls (Feat. Snoop Dogg)
Sounds Exactly Like...
Ke$ha - TiK ToK
'California Gurls' has to be the most famous of all of Katy's "familiar" songs, and it's resemblance to the artist formerly known as Ke$ha's song 'TiK ToK' was remarked upon almost as soon as it was released. In this case, though, there's a pretty clear reason for the similarities: namely, the fact that both songs have exactly the same producers. 'TiK ToK', written by Kesha but produced by Dr. Luke and Benny Blanco, was the biggest hit of 2009 and went on to be the fifth best selling single of all time, so it makes total sense that Luke and Blanco would attempt to recreate it's success in 2010 with Perry as the chosen artist and Snoop Dogg stepping into Diddy's shoes. While most of the songs on the list have just one or two similar elements to other tracks, 'California Gurls' is notable for being quite literally identical to 'Tik Tok', excluding the lyrics and the bridge. Not that that stopped it from being a hit: 'California Gurls' had no trouble at all hitting #1, a year after 'TiK ToK' did the same.
Katy Perry - Bigger Than Me
Sounds Exactly Like...
Ania Wyszkoni - Lampa i sofa
If you're just a casual fan of Katy's, you probably won't have heard 'Bigger Than Me', an album cut from last year's Witness; and similarly, if you live outside of Poland, chances are you won't have heard Ania Wyszkoni's 'Lampa i sofa', which literally translates to 'Lamp and Sofa'. Thankfully, it seems as though there's at least one Katy Cat who's also a Polish resident, because it wasn't long after 'Bigger Than Me' was heard for the first time that people pointed out it's essentially a note for note recreation of Wyzkoni's song with English lyrics added. To be fair to Katy, it's slightly far-fetched that this song really is plagiarised - even though 'Lampa i sofa' was a pretty big hit in Poland, hitting #2 on the charts there, it's unlikely that either Perry or her co-writers Sarah Hudson and the members of Purity Ring would have ever heard the track before. But those similarities in the chorus are just undeniable...
Katy Perry - Roar
Sounds Exactly Like...
Sara Bareilles - Brave
It took about two seconds after 'Roar' was released in 2013 for people to start comparing it to Sara Bareilles's 'Brave', which had been released four months prior as the lead single off her fourth album The Blessed Unrest. This time there was no getting around the similarities in melody and self-empowerment lyrics: Katy definitely knew about 'Brave', given that she'd Tweeted about it shortly after it was released to express her admiration. While their fans were duelling it out online though, Perry and Bareilles were apparently all good behind the scenes. Bareilles stated in an interview with ABC News Radio that she and Perry had been friends for a "long time", and that she had given her blessing to 'Roar' before it's release. "If I'm not mad I don't know why anybody else is upset," she mused. The two even performed 'Roar' together at a showcase, alongside Tegan and Sara and Ellie Goulding. And in the long run, the controversy was actually great publicity for Bareilles's theretofore unknown song: it prompted her record label to release 'Brave' to contemporary radio, giving it a much needed boost in promotion.
Katy Perry - Dark Horse (Feat. Juicy J)
Sounds Exactly Like...
Flame - Joyful Noise
Let's be honest: if you're anyone outside of the very exclusive "Christian hip hop" community, you won't have heard of Flame, the rapper who's released such monumental works as Our World: Fallen and Our World: Redeemed. That's why we find it a little hard to believe that Katy Perry and producer Dr. Luke stole the beat from his 2009 song 'Joyful Noise', as was alleged in a lawsuit he brought against her back in 2014. Flame's accusations were based on the idea that if you slow down 'Joyful Noise' by ten beats per minute and change the pitch an octave, the beats in each song are almost identical - although in our view, that's a lot of work to do to make the songs appear similar. He further alleged that the song's reputation was “irreparably tarnished by its association with the witchcraft, paganism, black magic and Illuminati imagery evoked by the same music in 'Dark Horse'" - a pretty big claim given the song's lack of reputation in the first place. Thankfully, the lawsuit was thrown out in 2015, but we're sure Flame will get his royalties when Jesus returns to walk the earth.
Katy Perry - E.T. (Feat. Kanye West)
Sounds Exactly Like...
t.A.T.u. - All The Things She Said
We're sure that the similarities between these songs are entirely coincidental, but it's fun to listen back to them for a little nostalgia flash anyway. Katy's 'E.T.' was released back in 2011, with the single version featuring a few verses by Kanye West, and it's weirdly familiar to anyone who turned on the radio back in 2002. Listen back to fake lesbians t.A.T.u's biggest hit 'All The Things She Said' and you'll notice that the choruses of each song have the exact same chord progression and beat. No wonder anyone born in the 90s likes 'E.T.' so much.
Which song are you most surprised to hear is "inspired" by another artist? Are there any obvious rip offs we're totally missing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section down below!
By Skinny Legend
In some ways, 2008 was pretty similiar to 2018. A shock candidate had just entered the White House, bypassing Hillary Clinton who people thought was a sure thing. The worldwide economy was still at breaking point, there were still tensions in the Middle East, and global warming was still hugely under-recognised. Betty White was still popular, and O.J. Simpson was still headed straight for priosn.
But in other ways, 2008 was a completely different time from the one we're now living in. Politically, things were much more liberal - we had Barrack Obama in office instead of Donald Trump - and musically, we were still exploring the genres of folk and rock concurrent with the R&B revival taking place. Trap wasn't even a thing, and Cardi B was swinging on a pole somewhere without a dollar to her name.
In this list, we'll be looking at fifteen of the biggest songs of ten years ago. Some of them are probably still played at whatever New Year's Eve countdown you listen to, but others will definitely be forgotten gems. Check them out below and let us know what you think in the comments!
15. Natasha Bedingfield - Pocketful of Sunshine
I'd always assumed that 'Pocketful of Sunshine' only became a hit in 2010 after it was memorably featured in Easy A; but it turns out the song actually first found it's success back in 2008, when it charted at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. As Easy A's Olive remarks, 'Pocketful of Sunshine' really is the "worst song ever", but like most of the singer-songwriter style songs released in 2008 it's also incredibly catchy. Prepare for this to be stuck in your head for the next week.
14. Jazon Mraz - I'm Yours
Speaking of annoying singer-songwriter songs, let's take a look back at the breakthrough single from one hit wonder Jason Mraz. Along with Colbie Caillat's 'Bubbly', 'I'm Yours' led the charge for summery, acoustic pop songs to offset the overproduced dance pop on the radio, and it found huge success among the "middle aged women who post Minion memes" crowd. Even though it only hit #6 on the Hot 100, it stayed on the charts for an insane 76 weeks, becoming the longest charting song at the time; and it now holds the honour of being the tenth best-selling digital song of all time in the US. It's easy to understand why, but that doesn't make the song any better.
13. Jordin Sparks & Chris Brown - No Air
Remember when people still admitted to listening to Chris Brown songs instead of playing them in their wireless headphones in dark alleys and dead-end streets? 2008 was definitely Brown's year, and he found success not only as a solo artist with 'Kiss Kiss', 'With You' and 'Forever' (all of which have to be strong contenders for the most annoying song ever - this is becoming a trend, 2008), but also with his duet with American Idol alum Jordin Sparks. The song is bang on trend for the year, featuring the same R&B beat which had blown up in 2007 and the icy synths that Timbaland had been pushing for the past few seasons.
12. Mariah Carey - Touch My Body
It might be unfair to refer to Mariah Carey as the female Chris Brown, but it's obvious her star has fallen quite a bit in the decade since she released 'Touch My Body'. Back then, MiMi was praised for her frank take on sexuality and her funny self-parodies - such as in the video above, where she seduces her Wi-Fi installation man - but now it seems that she's criticised for trying too hard to be sexy and taking herself way too seriously. Mariah could definitely learn something from the success she back in 2008.
11. T.I. - Whatever You Like
'Whatever You Like' is actually the name of two T.I. songs - one Nicole Scherzinger attempt he featured on which was a huge flop, and one solo effort which blew up internationally and effectively launched his career. 'Whatever You Like' was the song of the summer back in 2008, and went on to be the sixteenth most successful song of the decade. It's stood up relatively well over the years, although we have to say that our personal favourite version of the song is Anya Marina's chilled out cover.
10. P!nk - So What
Although R&B and hip-hop was huge back in 2008, the power-pop vibe mastered by stars like Kelly Clarkson and Hilary Duff was still grasping on to it's last moments in the sun. Case in point: 'So What', which was the first single from P!nk's Funhouse album, and which marked a huge return to the US charts for the singer after she failed to sell in the country during her I'm Not Dead era. It's sad given that 'So What' is actually incredibly trashy and a shameless cash grab compared to that previous album, with some of the laziest songwriting including lines like, "So what/I'm still a rockstar/I've got my rock moves/And I don't need you tonight". That said, the song is still a P!nk and Max Martin collaboration, which means that it's as super catchy and feelgood as you'd expect from the team that brought you 'U + Ur Hand'.
9. Flo Rida - Low (Feat. T-Pain)
There was a time back in 2008 when you couldn't turn on any radio station, visit any shopping mall, or tune into any episode of whatever trashy MTV reality show you were trying to watch without having to endure yet another spin of Flo Rida's 'Low'. Rida has vanished into obscurity in the last few years, but up until then he had a penchant for writing incredibly catchy songs, and 'Low' is no exception. Bolstered by a placement in Step Up 2: The Streets (yes, it was that long ago), 'Low' was such a huge hit when it was released that it went on to become the highest selling single of the 2000s decade. If only someone could explain what "apple bottom jeans" actually are.
8. Rihanna - Disturbia
Rihanna was telling us she was a "good girl gone bad" from the time 'Umbrella' was first released, but it wasn't until 'Disturbia' dropped that we actually believed her. 'Disturbia' follows in the footsteps of 'Thriller' in presenting an image of mental anguish, paranoia and anxiety which is nevertheless surprisingly fun to dance to - and in a weird coincidence, it was even penned by future ex-boyfriend Chris Brown, who clearly had is own issues with mental anguish. With one of the catchiest executions of "bum bum be dum" ever created, 'Disturbia' also happens to have one of the best music videos Rih's ever released, featuring tarantulas, wolves and S&M eyepatches. It's a total classic that still makes our Halloween playlists to this day.
7. Madonna - 4 Minutes (Feat. Justin Timberlake)
Madonna is one of the few artists who's probably had a hit no matter how many decades back you go, but back in 2008 it had been a while since she'd released a true chart topper. Everything changed with '4 Minutes', a Justin Timberlake and Timbaland collaboration which launched her back into the public's consciousness. Featuring a call and response chorus and some vague lyrics about the apocalypse perfect for the increased talk of global warming, the song was the perfect way to bring Madge into the future. We just wish she'd been able to be as successful with any of her singles since then.
6. Sara Bareilles - Love Song
Following in the trend of Bedingfield and Mraz is Sara Bareilles's 'Love Song', a laidback folky bop which made the perfect easy listening for 2008. The story behind the song is that Bareilles was becoming frustrated with her label's refusal to release her music, so she wrote an archetypal "love song" dedicated to her executives in a passive aggressive attempt to impress them. Regardless of the feud, it seems that both parties won in the end because 'Love Song' ended up spending 19 weeks in the top ten and becoming one of the biggest hits of 2008.
5. Timbaland - Apologize (Feat. OneRepublic)
'Apologize' was actually first released as the first single from OneRepublic's debut album Dreaming Out Loud, but when it failed to make waves the band hit up Timbaland for a remix (and an impressive name check) to blow up the radio. The only real thing Timbo added was a much-parodied line of "eh eh, eh eh" background vocals, but that didn't stop the public from eating the new version of the song up - it stayed in the top ten for twenty five weeks which made it the longest song to hang in there so long since 1999.
4. Alicia Keys - No One
Alicia Keys' 'No One' is probably the quintessential song of 2008, combining the Timbaland style of R&B, the OneRepublic style of acoustic rock and the Jordin Sparks brand of irritation into one fusion of a track. The fact that everyone in the world thought they could hit the high notes that Alicia masters just made matters worse. Nevertheless, 'No One' became the most listened-to song on US radio in 2008 with over three billion listeners, while also becoming one of the best-selling singles of all time.
3. Katy Perry - I Kissed A Girl
It's weird to think that just ten years ago nobody knew who Katy Perry was, and that the world's first introduction to the heretofore Christian pop star was a song all about flirting with bisexuality (something we're sure she'd be too "woke" to do now). 'I Kissed A Girl' has to be one of the most manipulative, disingenuous and trashy songs ever written, but thanks to the stylings of super producer Dr. Luke (there's another sentence that just wouldn't be written in 2018) it managed to become a hit anyway, topping the charts for seven weeks in a row. If nothing else, it launched the career of Perry (who, after all, brought us 'Teenage Dream') and it added to the conversation surrounding LGBTQ rights, so it can't be all bad.
2. Leona Lewis - Bleeding Love
If you've ever had a break up, you'll be all too intimately familiar with this song and the precise playthrough during which your tub of ice cream begins to run out. 'Bleeding Love' is the quintessential heartbreak song - heartfelt and wrenching, and with a climactic note which no one can actually hit during karaoke but which everyone tries to. There's clearly a lot of sad people in the world, too, because the song hit #1 in 35 countries. Sadly, it's a success Leona has never quite been able to match - while the follow up 'Better In Time' was moderately well received, every single since has been a flop, at least outside of her home country of the UK.
1. Coldplay - Viva La Vida
Before Coldplay was being unnecessarily bashed for their Super Bowl Half Time Show performance in 2016, they actually enjoyed a successful career which largely climaxed with the release of 2007's Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends. The titular single from the album was 'Viva La Vida', a rousing, grandiose statement of glorious intent for the rest of the album which never fails to put a smile on people's faces or a tear in their eye. With references to love, death and war, 'Viva La Vida' really has it all, and it succeeded not just as a onetime popular single but as an enduring testament to the band's legacy.
What was your favourite song of 2008? Let us know in the comments! And for a trip down memory lane, check out the ten biggest hits of 2007 here.