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By Skinny Legend
It's hard to believe, but as of September 30th this year living legend Britney Spears will have been driving us crazy, loving rock and roll and seeking Amy for exactly twenty years - and what a wild ride it's been. Apart from all the personal crises (think that Justin Timberlake break-up, the whole K-Fed saga and the infamous umbrella incident), Britney has also consistently wowed us with hit single after hit single, from 'Me Against the Music' to 'Make Me'.
But amidst all the brilliant releases (Britney's last single 'Slumber Party' was her forty-first), there was a multitude of songs that didn't quite make the cut. Some of them (like Gaga's 'Telephone') were recorded by Britney before being scrapped at the last minute; while others (like Rihanna's 'Umbrella') were offered to Britney but rejected for recording for one reason or another. While some of these songs would have contributed absolutely nothing to Britney's legacy and are no loss whatsoever, its interesting to see just how many more hits she could have had if she'd played her cards right, especially in the last decade.
In this list we'll be looking at twenty-four such songs which Britney decided to pass on. Keep in mind that in this list we're including only tracks that were officially released by an artist in some capacity jthat we're able to listen to, although other confirmed demos for Britney that are still stashed away in the vault (such as ones written by Timbaland and Justin Timberlake, Sky Ferreira, Dev Hynes and Danja) would undoubtedly be equally amazing.
24. Lady Gaga - Telephone (Feat. Beyoncé)
The story of Britney passing on 'Telephone' is at this point legendary, but just in case you've forgotten about the whole saga we'll give a brief recap here. 'Telephone' was originally written by a pre-fame Gaga alongside a song called 'Quicksand' to be considered for inclusion on Britney's sixth studio album and official comeback, Circus. But while 'Quicksand' was included as a bonus track on the album, 'Telephone' was scrapped due to the presence of another similiarly themed song, the Bloodshy & Avant produced 'Phonography'.
Later, the song was reworked as a duet between the two artists; but conflict arose when Gaga wanted the track to be on the tracklist of her re-release The Fame Monster while Britney's team wanted the song on her greatest hits The Singles Collection. Ultimately, Gaga took the song back and replaced Britney's part on the duet with a new verse by Beyoncé, and the Britney version was never released either as a solo song or as a duet. Thankfully, her version went on to leak in 2010 and we got a fan-made version of the duet soon after.
23. The Pussycat Dolls - When I Grow Up
'When I Grow Up' was the song of the summer back in 2008, and was a huge hit for the newly reformed Pussycat Dolls minus Carmit Bachar. The song was written by Darkchild (who also worked on 'Telephone') and Rock City, but we had no idea it was meant for Britney until a demo sent to her leaked in 2011. When it was originally written for Brit, the lyrics were tailor made to her situation, opening with, "My name is Britney and I don’t care what you say," before continuing "I swear at first that I was flippin'/When they said I looked like Debbie Gibson/And then I tried to dance like Michael Jackson/But people saw me and started laughing."
It's unknown why Brit passed on the song that would go on to be a huge hit, but it's interesting to note that she was originally confirmed to have a short cameo appearance in the music video. Originally, Britney was meant to have a blink and you'll miss it appearance in the traffic jam at the beginning of the video, waving at the Dolls before driving away. Like her version of the song, however, the cameo was scrapped for unknown reasons.
22. Charli XCX - Secret (Shh)
'Secret' is one of Charli XCX's more experimental songs, which is why it may be surprising to hear that it was originally intended for the princess of pop herself. The song's co-writer, Jesse Saint John spilled the tea when discussing another song he wrote for Britney's latest album 'Love Me Down'. "I did [a] song for Charli XCX called 'Secret'' that Karen [Kwak, Britney's A&R] really liked, and for a second she thought it could be for Britney Spears." Sadly, Britney never got around to recording the demo and Charli ended up releasing it on her own EP Vroom Vroom, but it was the strength of 'Secret' that allowed Saint John to pitch 'Love Me Down' in the first place. 'Secret' is actually the second Charli song to be considered by Britney, after she wrote a song specifically for the popstar back in 2013; but we're unsure exactly what that song was, or if it has since been released by anyone other than Brit.
21. Girls Aloud - Graffiti My Soul
If you don't live in the UK, you may not have heard of Girls Aloud. Manufactured on an English television show called Popstars: The Rivals, the group soon became a mainstay of the UK charts for over a decade until their break up in 2013. While its release as the fifth single from their album What Will The Neighbours Say? was scrapped, the song 'Graffiti My Soul' nevertheless became one of their most well known tracks, with group member Cheryl Cole later stating in 2008 that if she'd had the chance to release she song as a single she would have.
Interestingly though, the song was originally written for Britney, who recorded her own version of it for inclusion on In The Zone. "The record company loved it, but Britney's people said 'Where's the chorus? Why are there no repetitive parts?'," said Bryan Higgins, who produced the song as part of Xenomania. While we've never heard even a snippet of Britney's version of the song, we may not be missing out on that much. Whether it's jealousy or honesty, Cole stated that Britney's version was "strange" and that she sang it "in that really strange voice and it freaked me out"; although she later admitted that the source of her nervousness may have come from the fact that the version she heard was unmixed.
20. Enrique Iglesias - Maybe
'Maybe' is a song written by Enrique Iglesias, Steve Morales, Kara DioGuardi and David Siegel which was first released on his Escape album in 2001. The track was later reworked as an uptempo number for the album's reissue and released as the project's fifth single in May of 2002. What's bizarre is that a month prior to the song's single release, Britney started introducing the track under the title 'My Love Was Always There' and performing it live at her Dream Within A Dream Tour shows, even going so far as to say that she wrote the song. 'Maybe' was far from a flop, hitting #12 in the US and #3 in the UK, so it's unknown exactly why Britney thought she could get away with claiming the track as her own.
19. Jennifer Lopez - Brave
'Brave' is the title track of Jennifer Lopez's sixth album, produced by frequent Britney collaborators Bloodshy & Avant and The Clutch. Originally, the song was actually written for Britney's album Blackout, but it was rejected from the final tracklisting before release. That said, I can't say that I'm too disappointed about not hearing Britney's version - while the tracks lyrics stating "I'm not afraid/Because I am brave" definitely fit into Britney's narrative, the song is pretty typically generic R&B and doesn't really offer anything new to the pop music genre like the rest of Blackout did.
18. Momoiro Clover Z - Rock The Boat
Momoiro Clover Z released 'Rock The Boat' on the album Hakkin no Yoake in 2016; but as any true Britney stan will know, the track has been in the works for much longer than that. Britney fans first heard the song in late 2011 as part of the semi-annual Britmas leaks tradition, when it was heard under it's working title 'Dangerous'. Recorded for the Circus album, 'Dangerous' has the same songwriters as bonus track 'Rock Me In' of Greg Kurstin and Coco Morier, and apart from the translated lyrics not much changed at all between it's recording and it's reinterpretation as 'Rock The Boat'.
17. LIZ - When I Rule The World
LIZ has been open about her love for Britney, from her confession that Brit taught her "how to be a popstar" to her obsession over every stan's favourite unreleased track, 'Mona Lisa'. But she got closer to Britney than she ever could have expected with her PC Music-inspired single 'When I Rule The World'. "I heard she wanted 'When I Rule'," she told The Guardian, apparently astounded that Britney even knew who she was. LIZ was ultimately so attached to the song that she had to fight for it to be her own release; and although the track definitely would have fit in with the 'Pretty Girls' vibe and aesthetic, we can't say we're sad that she won.
16. Leah McFall - Home (Feat. will.i.am)
Leah McFall was a runner-up on the second series of The Voice UK, where she was mentored by the infamous will.i.am - a man who was at the same time taking Britney under his wing on the other side of the pond. That's why it makes total sense for any record will worked on around that time to have been shopped around to both Brit and Leah, as happened with 'Home'. The track is typical will.i.am, complete with nonsensical lyrics, an overused sample and a tacky lyric video, so we can't say we're sad that Britney never jumped on this one; although with that said it would definitely be an improvement over 'It Should Be Easy'.
13. Jordin Sparks - Shy Boy/14. Jordin Sparks - Young and In Love/15. Jordin Sparks - See My Side
It might be hard to imagine winner of the sixth season of American Idol Jordin Sparks and Queen of the Lip Sync Britney Spears being offered the same tracks, but believe it or not it happened back in 2007. 'Shy Boy', 'Young and In Love' & 'See My Side' are a handful of tracks which were originally worked on by production team Bloodshy & Avant for Britney's long-awaited Blackout album; but after they didn't make it onto that album, they were passed on to label-mate Jordin Sparks for her self-titled debut.
'Shy Boy' and 'Young and In Love' aren't much of a loss: they both sound like the typical messy 2007 R&B demo that sprouted up in the wake of Timbaland's success, although undoubtedly they would have been improved by some of Britney's vocal stylings. But 'See My Side', which like 'Piece Of Me' was worked on by pop's fairy godmother Robyn, would have worked nicely alongside 'Why Should I Be Sad?' as a lullaby end to the Blackout album.
12. Jamie Lynn Spears - Follow Me
Remember Jamie Lynn Spears, Britney's little sister who made a name for herself on Nickelodeon show Zoey 101 before being fired for her unexpected teenage pregnancy? Well, she also sang the theme song for that show, titled 'Follow Me', which just so happened to be written by her big sister Brit and frequent collaborators Bloodshy & Avant. Weirdly the song was never officially released in full on any soundtrack album, although we did get an official instrumental as well as dozens of snippets of the song played throughout the show which has allowed fans to compile their own versions of the song. A demo also leaked in 2014, but it wasn't sung by either Britney or Jamie Lynn which makes Britney's writing credits and the original intent for the song a total mystery.
11. Rachel Stevens - Sweet Dreams My LA Ex
A reunion of 'Toxic' producers Bloodshy & Avant and songwriter Cathy Dennis, 'Sweet Dreams My LA Ex' was actually a pretty big hit for English popstar Rachel Stevens back in 2003, hitting #2 in the UK charts and selling 210 000 copies that year. Originally, like 'Everytime', the track was intended to be a response to Justin Timberlake's 'Cry Me A River', which was long rumoured to be about Britney; but when Stevens sang it, it was to break out from her role as a singer in S Club 7. Britney apparently passed on the track because she found the lyrics just a little too obvious, which is a real shame because the western R&B sound in the song would have worked perfectly on In The Zone.
10. f(x) - Chocolate Love/Girls' Generation - Chocolate Love
Another K-Pop convert, 'Chocolate Love' was first heard back in 2009 as a dual release for K-Pop supergroups f(x) and Girls' Generation. The song was used to promote the LG Cyon Chcolate phone in commercials, with f(x) jumping on the 'Electronic Pop Version' and Girls' Generation singing the 'Retro Pop Version'. Also worth noting is that f(x) alone recorded an English version of the song entitled 'Topbillin' Love', which was performed live during their international tour in 2010.
What's interesting is that this version of 'Topbillin' Love' was actually a throwaway track that had been written years before by Karen Poole as a demo for Britney which got rejected. Poole tried her hand at writing to the instrumental after Cathy Dennis's attempt, called at that point 'Phony Lullaby', was also rejected due to it's inclusion of lyrics Britney apparently found objectionable. Britney even tried her hand at writing to this instrumental alongside Michelle Bell, which resulted in the unreleased track 'Take Off', a song which discussed Brit's anti-war and anti-discrimination views. Cathy Dennis would later reclaim the song and morph it's instrumental into 'Sweet Dreams My LA EX', the Rachel Stevens hit mentioned above; but that didn't stop the K-Pop groups from reusing it's demo years later.
9. BoA - Look Who's Talkin'
'Look Who's Talkin'' is a song originally written by Britney alongside Bloodshy & Avant, Henrik Jonback and Michelle Bell in 2003 during the same sessions that produced songs like 'Chaotic' and 'I've Just Begun (Having My Fun)'. Later, it resurfaced on Korean superstar BoA's debut English album, also titled BoA, as the second single from the R&B-pop project. The Britney demo leaked just a little later on as 'Look Who's Talking Now', and features almost exactly the same lyrics and production; although the words are a little more meaningful coming from a popstar who spent a lot of her early life silenced by her record label or management. Britney's version of the song was probably never strong enough to be a single, but it could have worked well as an an additional track for the Chaotic EP.
8. Pitbull & J Balvin - Hey Ma (Feat. Camila Cabello)
'Hey Ma' was released last year for the The Fate of The Furious soundtrack album as a collaboration between Pitbull, J Balvin and Camila Cabello; but if things had gone differently, the song could have had a twist from the Holy Spearit. When it was originally recorded, 'Hey Ma' featured Romeo Santos and Britney in the Balvin and Cabello parts, with Britney cooing "If you touch me right, I might stay the night" over a Latin-inspired beat.
But when the song was pitched for The Fate of The Furious, the producers requested that they be replaced, presumably to appeal to a younger audience and capitalise on the Latin American vibe of the film. While we'd generally cringe at the idea of Pitbull releasing a song with with Britney (or Pitbull releasing any song full stop), we have to admit that 'Hey Ma' featuring Britney is an absolute bop, thanks to the fact that her version was leaked as a Christmas present to the fans. We can only imagine how great this song would have sounded in a mash-up with 'Change Your Mind (No Seas Cortés)' on the Piece of Me shows.
7. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark - Pulse
'Pulse' was published on the ASCAP registry back during the In The Zone era as a potential candidate for Britney's album, but it didn't end up making the cut there. Instead, it was released in 2010 on the Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark album History of Modern. While we're unsure if anything was changed over that seven year period, we can definitely imagine Britney's vocals on the current version of the track, which has the same breakbeat R&B kind of style she explored on ITZ tracks such as '(I Got That) Boom Boom' and 'Me Against the Music'.
5. Kylie Minogue - Nu-Di-Ty/6. Kylie Minogue - Speakerphone
Britney and Kylie have a long history of working with the same producers and thus swapping tracks, with Kylie even turning down the demo that would go on to be a hit for Britney with 'Toxic'. "I wasn't at all angry when it worked for her," she said of the track. "It's like the fish that got away. You just have to accept it." Let's hope the feeling is mutual, because Kylie took two tracks that Britney worked on for Blackout for her own album X, both of which were produced by longtime collaborators Bloodshy & Avant.
'Nu-Di-Ty' is a quirky, fragmented pop song with a hint of R&B and tropicana which plays out like a more light-hearted version of Britney's own 'Freakshow'. While we don't have a Britney version of the track, she definitely did record one as some of her background vocals can be heard in the final version, and are even clearer when filtered out from the other vocals. Then there's 'Speakerphone', a precursor to 'Telephone' with a dreamy Euro-pop production which was definitely an album highlight. We've never heard anything of the Britney version of this one but it's safe to say she would slay it.
4. Kylie Minogue - Get Outta My Way
'Get Outta My Way' is not just one of Kylie Minogue's best songs: it's one of the best pop songs of this decade full-stop. The perfect slice of dance-pop for the summer season, 'Get Outta My Way' was originally shopped around to several artists including Britney, Alexandra Burke and Pixie Lott, and Wynter Gordon also wrote a song to the Cutfather-produced instrumental. But ultimately it was Kylie who nabbed the song, apparently due to the fact that the other potential candidates were too slow to respond. This is one of the few times where we're happy the song went to it's original artist: Britney's version of the track would probably have worked well on Femme Fatale, but Kylie needed the hit desperately and she put way more energy into the choreography than Brit could have at that point.
3. Nelly - Tilt Ya Head Back (Feat. Christina Aguilera)
The rivalry between Britney and Christina is basically a tale as old as time at this point, so it's no surprise that they'd both be put up for the same part on Nelly's 'Tilt Ya Head Back', which was a moderate hit when it was released back in 2004. Britney actually recorded vocals for this song, some of which were leaked in 2016; but according to producer Dorian Moore, her label nixed the idea of Britney collaborating with Nelly, finding the song "too urban". Janet Jackson was also considered before XTina took the final spot. It's not entirely surprising given that in 2004 Brit was still fighting for creative control with her record label, leading to the Original Doll saga that would begin her downwards spiral in 2007.
2. Selena Gomez - Whiplash
'Whiplash' is definitely not one of Selena's better known songs, and at the end of the day it is just album filler; but for a non-single track, it's surprisingly fun. Alternating between a silly metaphor-ridden chorus and a bouncy rap part spoken with an English accent, 'Whiplash' was highlighted as a standout track from When The Sun Goes Down and was performed on tour alongside a medley of Britney's own hits.
But if things had gone differently, the song may actually have ended up on Brit's comeback vehicle Circus. Britney wrote and recorded the song alongside Coco Morier and Greg Kurstin at the same time as she worked on 'Mmm Papi' and 'Rock Me In', but it failed to make the cut for unknown reasons. So far we haven't heard the demo of the song, which is a shame because I'm dying to know if the English accent was a Selena addition or if it was present in the original version as well. Judging by Englishney's raps in 'Scream & Shout', I wouldn't be surprised if that was something Brit came up with all on her own.
1. Rihanna - Umbrella
What more needs to be said about 'Umbrella', the monster hit which launched Rihanna's career properly and transitioned her from Bajan Princess to Bad Girl? Tricky Stewart, who had previously worked on 'Me Against The Music', wrote the track alongside The-Dream intending for it to be a comeback single for the troubled Spears; but when they sent the track to her label, it was rejected without Britney even hearing the track. After Mary J. Blige passed on it too, the song ended up in Rihanna's lap, at which time she utilised her accent to create that signature "ella ella eh eh eh" chorus which made the song such a hit. It's a credit to Rih that her stamp on the song is so huge that we can't even imagine Britney singing this one.
Which of these songs would you most like to hear Britney's vocals on? Let us know in the comments down below!
Editor's Note: This is an updated version of an article that was originally posted on 04/01/2018.
By Skinny Legend
2017 has been a great year for pop music. With new releases from Miley Cyrus, Sia and Taylor Swift, and comebacks from the likes of Kelly Clarkson, Kesha and P!nk, there's been plenty of new and interesting music to keep us busy throughout the year, and plenty of new trends to keep the songs fresh.
That said, it's human nature to always look for the next thing to get excited about, and the ever-changing world of pop music is absolutely no different. In a world in which new albums are teased on social media from their very inception and right up until their release date, there's little room to pause and enjoy the moment before we start anticipating what will happen next.
In this list, we'll be looking at the top five albums to look forward to in 2018. Interestingly, all of these albums have actually been in progress for several years, reflecting how slow the release schedule is in the modern age.
Lily Allen - The 4th Wall
Lily Allen's 2014 comeback album Sheezus may not have been quite as amazing as we hoped for, but that hasn't stopped the English potty mouth from continuing to work on new music. Since that album was released, she's been working on her aptly titled fourth album The 4th Wall, which has taken her to places as far reaching as London (to work with Mark Ronson), Los Angeles (to work with Greg Kurstin) and Jamaica (to work with Sean Paul). So far, the album sounds to be classic Lily - saccharine pop which is just a little left of centre, this time with a trip hop and dancehall vibe - although it's hard to know as up until recently the only song we'd heard was the low quality leak of 'Family Man'. Thankfully, Lily finally released her first official song in years recently, entitled 'Trigger Bang' - although it took an early leak of the track to force her to actually get the song out there. Lily is known to be an incredibly political and observant artist, and given how momentous 2017 has been in terms of politics we're sure she'd have a lot to say, so let's hope that 2018 is finally her year.
Christina Aguilera - CA8 (TBA)
Forget the Justice League movie - Christina Aguilera's album was actually the biggest disappointment of 2017. After 2012's ill-fated Lotus, Aguilera went back to the drawing board, and even took time off from The Voice back in 2015 to work on her new album with fellow judge Pharrell and 'Beautiful' co-writer Linda Perry. She allegedly worked with Kanye West and PARTYNEXTDOOR on the album, suggesting a hip-hop route for the upcoming work. More importantly, she also recorded 'Telepathy' for the soundtrack for The Get Down, one of her best songs in years.
Later in 2016, Aguilera released a charity single dedicated to the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting and Christina Grimmie's family called 'Change', and from the looks of it the single was meant to double as a promotional single from her album. The album artwork style for 'Change' was replicated in posts on Aguilera's social media, and she continuously mentioned the musical "surprise" she had prepared for us. Sadly, nothing came of the promotion, but we're keeping our fingers crossed that after her well received Whitney Houston tribute at the AMA's she'll have the public support she needs to finally get the album out there.
Nicki Minaj - NM4 (TBA)
Nicki Minaj released three singles simultaneously back in March - 'Changed It', 'Regret In Your Tears' and 'No Frauds' - but since then we've heard not a peep about her upcoming album. Instead, Nicki has featured on tracks from the likes of Jason Derulo, Katy Perry, David Guetta, Yo Gotti and Migos to keep her name out in the public's eye. At this point, the album has been so delayed that we're starting to question whether there's some internal drama ala Lil Wayne and Birdman which is causing it to not be released, or if Nicki is just searching for that next #1 single that will define the era like 'Superbass', 'Starships' and 'Anaconda' did in the past. That said, Nicki apparently has a sound and album title already decided on, so it hopefully won't be long before we hear more from her about the project.
Selena Gomez - SG3 (TBA)
Selena Gomez's last album, Revival, was our favourite back when it was released in 2015, but the star has remained relatively quiet since then - at least on the music front. Between producing Thirteen Reasons Why, a very public battle with lupus and her on-again-off-again relationship with Justin Bieber, Selena hasn't had much time to focus on her music career, but we've heard a few snippets here and there of what her upcoming album might sound like. Gomez first started work on her next album while touring for Revival, which is when she wrote 'Feel Me', which would later leak; this lead to the suggestion of a Revival re-release, although this went unrealised presumably due to her health issues.
Following this, Selena seemed primed and ready to release a new album in May of this year when she released the funky 'Bad Liar' and the R&B tinged 'Fetish' with rapper Gucci Mane; but since then, she seems to have gone back to the drawing board, delving more into the EDM world by releasing 'It Ain't Me' with Kygo and 'Wolves' with Marshmello. She's also worked with producers like The Futuristics, Jonas Jeberg and Ryan Tedder, and reunited with writers Julia Michaels, Justin Tranter, Charli XCX and Jacob Kasher. Gomez's last televised performance for the latter song at the AMA's was pretty heavily panned for her lip syncing, so we wouldn't be surprised if we have a little while to wait before Selena saves her image and this album comes out.
Lady Gaga - LG6 (TBA)
You never quite know what you're going to get next with Gaga's music, and that same element of surprise seems to hold for her release structures. Gaga is constantly working on music which means that LG6 was in the works immediately after the release of Gaga's last album Joanne, but she seems to have put it off to work on not only her impressive Super Bowl Halftime Show performance, but also her upcoming starring role in the musical feature film A Star Is Born. The soundtrack for that film should be out in around May of next year, and so far seems to be carrying on the same country-pop vibe that Joanne introduced to Gaga's fans with production from the likes of Mark Ronson and Lukas Nelson; but in the meantime, Gaga has also been working on her own music without the limitations of a character to write for.
Gaga released 'The Cure' as a single earlier this year, but it was implied that the track did not serve as the lead single for any particular project: that said, Gaga has been pictured in the studio frequently with the producer of that song, DJ White Shadow, along with engineer Benjamin Rice. Last month during a backstage meet and greet, Gaga also played fans a new song called 'Frankenstein' which was apparently about "putting the pieces of your heart back together" in a Shelley-esque manner. Fans speculated that Gaga might perform the new single at the AMA's last month, but sadly it was not to be. Fans shouldn't have long to wait though: according to Gaga collaborator Mark Nilan, "2018 radio is ours!".
Special thanks to @jlnsgr for inspiring this article with his list of upcoming albums in 2018. Which album are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments down below!
By Skinny Legend
It'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.