Which album should grab the #1 UK spot?
24 members have voted
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-five 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.
25. 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.
24. 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.
23. 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.
22. 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.
21. 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.
20. 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.
19. 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'.
18. 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.
17. Kelis - Milkshake
Britney fell into step with The Neptunes crew as early as 2001, when they produced Britney stand-outs 'I'm A Slave 4 U' and 'Boys'. Choosing them to produce songs for her next record In The Zone then seemed like a natural choice, and so the group wrote several songs for the project back in 2003 - one of them being a track called 'Milkshake'. Ultimately, the track never made the album and it was sent later that year to an up-and-coming singer named Kelis, who turned it into her biggest hit to date and an endlessly quotable banger.
Although there's no proof that Britney ever recorded a demo of this track, a Brit version of 'Milkshake' would definitely be something to behold, and would work brilliantly on an album next to 'Me Against the Music' and 'Early Mornin''. We can practically hear Britney's breathy vocals all over that iconic chorus already.
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
Every year around this time, the #PopHatesFlops community comes together to celebrate the year in pop music and to compile our annual list of our favourite songs of the year. While previous years lists have been microcosms of the genres that populated them - last year focused heavily on country-pop, while 2016 was big on slinky synthpop and 2015 was loving the tropical pop trend - this year's list is remarkable for it's lack of trendiness, showing that in 2018 there's no longer any such thing as an era in pop music. It's a testament to how fractured the industry is in the age of streaming apps and the dwindling importance of radio that our members have chosen such wide ranging songs as piano ballads, acoustic guitar work and 90s-styled R&B, and that all of them sound current and fresh.
For the first time ever, we've included a Spotify playlist of this year's entries so you can listen along to the songs while you read our thoughts. Whether you're out partying it up at your local New Year's celebrations or spending a quiet day nursing your hangover at home, we hope that this list will bring you joy as you celebrate the coming of another year. And once again, we have to say a big thank you to the amazing members who make not only this list, but also this forum possible. We love you all and we wish you only the best in 2019!
18. Clean Bandit - Baby (Feat. Marina & Luis Fonsi)
Submitted By: @Skinny Legend
Little had been heard of the artist previously known as Marina and the Diamonds since 2015's experimental Froot album, which is why it was all the more surprising that she decided to make her long-awaited comeback with dance-pop sensations Clean Bandit and generic Hispanic stereotype Luis Fonsi. 'Baby' is just as generic as it's composers would imply, but that doesn't stop it from being one of the best-produced and straight up fun songs of the year. Marina handles the change from squeaky sex kitten in the verse to acoustic guitar balladeer in the pre-chorus to triumphant Selena impersonator in the chorus with style, and even the typically irritating Fonsi manages to impress with his brand of Latin flair. Hopefully 'Baby' is a sign that Marina's ready to give up her pretentions of making alternative music in favour of a more laidback, carefree style.
17. Avril Lavigne - Head Above Water
Submitted By: @kallumlavigne
Avril Lavigne's powerful comeback after a long hiatus 'Head Above Water' - apart from the obvious green screen and body double in the video - is stunning. The song itself is quiet: a powerful, slow ballad that finds redemption towards it's last chorus, and it's a very different sound from the in your face guitar-based pop-punk tunes she's known for. But the piano delivers well, the instrumental is a euphoric experience and Avril's semi-soft vocals take the crown this year for me. Also, its low, but it's on Billboard's list of the best songs of 2018.
16. Kim Petras - Tell Me It's a Nightmare
Submitted By: @Turn Ya Head
Kim Petras, perhaps the most promising upcoming singer from the past three years, has released numerous buzz singles between 2017 and 2018; but in my opinion, her best work so far is one of the tracks from her Halloween-themed EP Turn Off The Light, Vol. 1.
'Tell Me It's a Nightmare' is a dark dance-oriented track which follows a remarkable instrumental song on the EP, creating an ethereal flow that some albums seem to lack these days. The ambiguous, yet intriguing lyrics, manage to convey a sense of horror and desperation that slightly contrasts with the rest of the EP.
"Tell me it's a nightmare/And you ain't going nowhere/Try to save ya, warn ya, keep you alive/Try to stop ya, but you paid the price", sings Petras in a pleading manner. Who is she trying to save? What is she trying to save them from? Only her and the person who this song is dedicated to will ever know. Maybe she's trying to save them from herself. Maybe she's trying to save them from a potentially abusive relationship. The mystery allows the listener to apply the lyrics to their own personal life and therefore makes them relatable to almost anyone.
The high-pitched vocals showcase Petras's singing ability and charisma. The production allows her crystal clear voice to shine and complement the haunting bass that's so prominent in the instrumental. The song ends with a haunting segment, in which she repeatedly sings non-lexical vocals in a catchy tune.
What else could a pop fan ask from a song? Good lyrics, stellar production, a carefully engineered instrumental and outstanding vocals. 'Tell Me It's a Nightmare' might not be a mainstream hit or a chart topper, but it surely is a masterpiece.
15. Kacey Musgraves - Happy & Sad
Submitted By: @nanapop99
I used to hate country music and I probably still do, but the good sis Kacey really did that with her latest album Golden Hour. In my opinion the album deserves to win Album of the Year at the Grammy's, but that's another subject. Anyways, country music is a genre I don't really listen to but these past few years we've seen pop divas like Gaga, Miley, Kesha and Kylie bringing their yeehaw out of nowhere, so you could say that I've gotten used to that type of music.
I first heard of Kacey in a meme comparing Carly Rae Jepsen's E•MO•TION to Golden Hour and I was really wondering what was so special about that country girl. A few months after that, I heard a snippet of 'High Horse' and it was a bop at first listen so I decided to download the album while preparing for my trip to Vietnam and South Korea. I listened to the first half of the album on the plane and it really was so good! I was shook and my wig definitely flew to Texas or Tennessee or whatever yeehaw place you can think of.
But the track that really stood out for me was 'Happy & Sad'. I don't think that there's anything special sonically about the track but the vibe, the lyrics, and the E•MO•TION of it that meant I couldn't stop my tears from falling while listening to the track for the first time. Unfortunately, my moment had to be cut short because the plane was about to land and I had to pretend that I was crying because of the loud noises.
I was lowkey a mess back in July because I've just graduated high school and I didn't really know where I'd end up in September, study-wise. And while I was happy to travel with my family, I was kinda sad at the same time within my personal life so you could say that I was "lost.mp3". But this song and the album in general were like a warm hug for me. Golden Hour is the soundtrack to my summer 2018 and 'Happy & Sad' is definitely my song of the year! Who knew I had to become a space cowboy in order to survive this year?
14. Little Mix - Wasabi
Submitted By: @Ari
2018 saw the release of LM5 from legendary iconic girl group Little Mix. After the massive success of their previous album Glory Days, they had big boots to fill but they did not disappoint!
Many songs on this album are very different to their previous sound which has received some mixed reactions, but one song we can all hopefully agree on is the iconic bop that is 'Wasabi'. Penned by none other than legendary group member and LGBTQ icon Jade Thirlwall, as well as written and produced by the iconic MNEK, 'Wasabi' is the hoe anthem that we all need in our lives.
From the catchy lyrics to the boppy beat and bass to even the harmonising "oh oh"'s, Little Mix show us that they will never be limited to one sound as a girl group and that each album they give us will be unique and fresh and work with all four members no matter the style of song. And that is why 'Wasabi' is one of the best songs of 2018.
13. Mariah Carey - GTFO
Submitted By: @Skinny Legend
Mariah Carey was never entirely gone from the music scene, with releases like the festive 'The Star' and the messy 'I Don't' holding fans over since her last album, 2014's Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse. Even so, our first offering from this year's Caution plays out just like a comeback single should, harking back to the classics that made gave Mariah her 18 #1's while propelling her unique form of balladry into the modern age. Don't let the title fool you; 'GTFO' is a down-tempo, moody heartbreak song, which is only slightly offset by it's angsty and comedic chorus of "How 'bout you get the fuck out?". While 'GTFO' was far from a hit, it did reach meme status pretty quickly and it's sound is probably the closest thing to a smash song that Mariah could get to in 2018. Fingers crossed that the next release from Caution will do a little better.
12. Ariana Grande - No Tears Left To Cry
Submitted By: @Fetish
My favorite song of this year has to be the gorgeous introduction to Ariana Grande's fourth album Sweetener. 'No Tears Left To Cry' almost instantly became a hit due to its beautiful production and even dreamier music video. The track defied expectations for Ariana, as she took inspiration from the Manchester tragedy to curate both a meaningful hard-hitting track and a seemingly lighthearted dance track. The upbeat nature of the production secures the song as a beautiful track filled with the celebration of all things, as Ariana twists the idea of no longer being able to cry into a transition towards happiness. With a catchy instrumental and even catchier lyrics by Max Martin, the song has easily established itself as one of the best songs of 2018 in my books.
11. Tinashe - Ooh La La
Submitted By: @Glamleska
Tinashe Jorgensen Kachingwe is the slept on R&B up-and-comer that's been championed as an unbeatable contender for seven years running, and this year she takes the stage with my favourite song 'Ooh La La'. Though this year has been considered a difficult one for Tinashe – from being dropped by RCA to going home earlier than deserved on Dancing With The Stars to the unjustly scrapped EP project NASHE – she still delivered one of my favorite R&B tracks of this decade.
Track number five, 'Ooh La La', off her sophomore album Joyride has remained at the top of my rotation since its release. Though the album was heavily criticized, I found this track to be an incredible standout. I didn’t mind the album either, with the exception of there being way too many features. Between the nostalgic squeaking sound effect reminiscent of Trillville’s 'Some Cut', the heavy pulsating 808s, and her smooth harmonies over the chorus, 'Ooh La La' was everything I needed from an R&B track in 2018. It’s a shame it wasn’t released as a single over some other questionable choices - *cough* 'Me So Bad' - but I digress. Here’s to 2019 and another year of hoping my Aquarian sister finds some success independently! STOP SLEEPING ON TINASHE 2K19. #BuyJoyrideOniTunes
10. Lady Gaga - I'll Never Love Again
Submitted By: @Skinny Legend
Although she's best known for her dance/pop tracks, Lady Gaga has always been an incredible balladeer, as she's shown countless times in fan favourite songs like 'Brown Eyes', 'Speechlees' and 'Angel Down'. But while she's explored rooting tooting rock ballads and unsettling acoustic work, Gaga had never lent her vocals to a straight up power ballad before the release of this year's A Star Is Born soundtrack. 'I'll Never Love Again' is the final track on that album, although it appears as the penultimate song on the tracklisting as well with a slightly different ending, and after the high energy rock and roll attitude of the soundtrack and the movie it's the perfect song to listen to as the audience reflects back on the events of the story. Although the lyrics can be slightly over-sentimental and cheesy, the beautiful orchestral work can't be faulted and Gaga's voice sounds the best it ever has, even without any hint of Autotune or post-production work. Put simply, 'I'll Never Love Again' is a masterpiece on par with Whitney's 'I Will Always Love You', Mariah's 'Without You' and Celine's 'All By Myself', and the only shame about the song is that the charts didn't revere it as such.
9. Cher - The Winner Takes It All
Submitted By: @Ruthless Love
Yes, the song itself is not from 2018, however Cher's rendition is and it is magically perfect. Following her role in Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, the legendary Cher announced she'd be releasing an album full of ABBA covers, and the result was Dancing Queen. The album itself is flawlessly perfect from beginning to end, and the standout song for me is the second-to-last, 'The Winner Takes it All'. Originally released by ABBA in 1980 from their Super Trouper album, the song is magical in its lyrical content, and under the direction of Cher and music producer Mark Taylor, it's truly uplifting and easy-listening at its best. It's still ABBA, but with a special twist of Cher-riffic talent and gold. This song is not-to-be-missed.
8. Hailee Steinfeld & BloodPop® - Capital Letters
Submitted By: @Cypher
There were a lot of songs this year that were good in glimpses, but one that stood out is 'Capital Letters' by Hailee Steinfeld and BloodPop®. Coming down from his production on the Justin Bieber collaboration 'Friends', BloodPop® was able to capture the cinematics and emotions of a new romance. With Ellie Goulding thrown into the mix as a co-writer, the song comes together with some of the highest highs of 2018. 'Capital Letters' is a feel-good song about falling into the whirlwind that comes with any new relationship. After what seemed to be a melodramatic 2017 full of anticipation, this song kicked off 2018 with new goals, bright rays of light, and hope for a better tomorrow. Though the single did not become a smash hit in any region, it thrives as an underrated piece of pop perfection with a timeless sound.
7. Au/Ra - Emoji
Submitted By: @Cock Destroyer
'Emoji' is underrated and one of my most played songs this year. I thought 'Panic Room' would be Au/Ra's best song but then she released this masterpiece. I love the production, the melodies, everything. It's quite different from today's pop but still a pop song. I feel like if t.A.t.U released a song today, it would sound like this.
6. Demi Lovato - Sober
Submitted By: @Whoknowsmehere
I have listened to a lot of my favorite songs from 2018 (and there are a quite a few of them) over the last couple of days to determine my fave; but this one particular song just kept coming back to me over and over.
The fact that this song hit so close to home for me is my primary reason for choosing it. That, and I actually enjoyed listening to it very much over and over again. I have probably listened to it at least a hundred times since it came out. I will not get into a long drawn out explanation, other than to say I know what exactly Demi is talking about in this song.
I know this song did not get a lot of air time. Nor much, if any, acclaim. But for me that is not what makes a great song. The message is what did it for me.
5. Rina Sawayama - Cherry
Submitted By: @Skinny Legend
Rina Sawayama might still be a relative unknown in the pop music scene, but in the burgeoning realm of underground queer pop artists which includes Charli XCX and Kim Petras she's a frontrunner of the genre. Like these two artists she's fully capable of self-referential and ironic hyper-pop bops, as she proved last year with 'Cyber Stockholm Syndrome'; but with 'Cherry', the Japanese-English Sawayama proves that she has more up her sleeve than just that. 'Cherry' is not only a slice of alternative pop heaven in it's production, but a vulnerable admission of sexual curiosity that's rarely heard in pop music. "Down the subway, you looked my way/With your girl gaze, with your girl gaze/That was the day everything changed/Couldn't stay the same" introduces the song, and for the most part it's the perfect introduction of Sawayama herself - soft yet strong, insecure yet confident, and enigmatic yet honest. If Rina has more "cherries" like this on the way, then we get the feeling the sky's the limit for how far she'll go.
4. Mark Ronson - Nothing Breaks Like a Heart (Feat. Miley Cyrus)
Submitted By: @Tweener
After taking a social media hiatus, the legendary Miley Cyrus teamed up with the amazing producer Mark Ronson (known mostly for his work with Lady Gaga) and created the song of the millennium! Miley did what other girls wished to do and what they should've done a long time ago. The song and the powerful music video convey a very important message of contemporary society mindlessly following the news about the Kardashians, and other celebrities not paying enough attention to real problems like police brutality, racism, kids running around with guns, greed in stores, and clerks' hypocrisy. The video is comprised of many LGBTQ references as well, which doesn't come as a surprise considering Miley is an LGBTQ icon who, unlike many other pop girls nowadays, fight for our rights not for publicity but because she truly believes in our cause. This is a new gay anthem which charts high all around the world. It's undeniably one of the best songs of 2018 if not of all time.
3. Robyn - Honey
Submitted By: @BlackoutZone
Crowned the second best song of 2018 by Pitchfork for a reason, the title track of Robyn's recent album is a joyful journey of the senses. After two years of teasing, expectations for the track reached high heavens yet Robyn effortlessly exceeded them all and delivered the masterpiece we all wished for. The song itself is so juicy and so flourishing as it builds that you can almost taste it. The sound becomes the flavour of golden honey waves that your mind surfs on while listening. Though Mariah and Katy B already showed us how seductive honey can be, it's never been done with such delicacy, and Robyn totally elevated the concept of it being a pure sexual pleasure.
2. Kim Petras - Heart To Break
Submitted By: @Skinny Legend
Kim Petras first hit my radar with her insanely catchy ode to consumerism 'I Don't Want It At All', but it was with 'Heart To Break' that she truly claimed her position as one to watch. 'Heart To Break' went on to become my most listened song of 2018, but it's more than just an earworm. In describing the fairytale of a girl who gives her heart away even while knowing it will soon be broken, Petras ascends to the level of lyrical mastery shown by artists such as Robyn and Utada Hikaru, both of whom pen bittersweet pop songs with danceable beats made even more brilliant by their heartbreaking lyrics. 'Heart To Break' is impressive on it's own, but when you consider it in the context of Kim's strong voice, brilliant lyricism and unique image it makes you question why she isn't already #1 on every chart.
1. Christina Aguilera - Accelerate (Feat. Ty Dolla $ign & 2 Chainz)
Submitted By: @liberation
Six years after the not so well received album Lotus, Christina Aguilera released 'Accelerate', the first taste of her sixth album (or eighth if you count Mi Reflejo and My Kind of Christmas). When it was revealed that the song was produced by Kanye West and featured Ty Dolla $ign and 2 Chainz, everyone knew that Urbantina was making her comeback, but I guess that we were all very surprised after our first listen, because the song is so...weird? The intro is very strange with hypnotic Ty vocals and heavy drums, and when Xtina starts with her verses there's a lot of ad libs by him. The song is pretty much a duet between two of them until the beat changes drastically and 2 Chainz joins with an iconic bridge.
When the song ended I was shocked because it was the messiest thing I've ever heard, but that's the reason why I loved it. I'm pretty sure that the reason why XTina is my favorite artist is because she's not afraid of taking risks. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. When it comes to 'Accelerate', I think it's the best song off Liberation and also her best song in a very long time, so I guess it worked for me. The video is very simple and sometimes it even looks a bit low budget, but I don't mind; I think it's sexy and fits the song very well, and it shows that she still owns her sexuality and doesn't give two fucks about what people think of her. At the end of the day, 'Accelerate' is a 10/10 song that is not predictable at all and I believe that it will age very well, and that’s why it is my song of the year.
What songs did we forget about in our hunt for 2018's best track? Let us know in the comments down below!
By Skinny Legend
When 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!