Monthly Archives: December 2011

Judgement Day (Special Edition): Pop Heaven’s Top 100 Songs of 2011 (Part 2 of 4)

Welcome back! I’m just listening to some selections from our Top 100 while I prepare for a New Year’s Eve PAR-TAY and I must say that while I had a lot of difficulty ranking the songs I selected, this is a set of songs I truly think are among the best this year. Obviously I am only one man and I don’t get around to checking out a lot of great music I see mentioned on my own favorite blogs but I am only a vessel for The Pop Gods and when they call on me I deliver their word to you.

In case you’re just joining us, click here to see entries 100 through 75 in Part 1!

The next 25 entries in our list of 2011 favorites delve into a bit more pop-rock and R&B/Soul and see me admit to a guilty pleasure or two. Let’s get on with it, then… shall we?

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Judgement Day (Special Edition): Pop Heaven’s Top 100 Songs of 2011 (Part 1 of 4)

After a few touch-and-go years in popular music, it’s important to start off by saying that 2011 was an AMAZING YEAR and anyone who thinks otherwise can take a one way ticket to the tonedeaf but finely autotuned fires of Pop Hell.

I am going to state for the record that after compiling this chart, I realized that a lot of my favorite songs from 2011, across multiple genres of popular music share a common thread: a major late 80’s or early 90’s inspiration. While people have been trying to recreate the 80’s/90’s sounds in recent years, it is my personal opinion that 2011 is the year when they finally got it right.

  • Return of emotional lyrics: With the major success of UK crooner, Adele, airwaves in 2011 shifted ever-so-slightly away from over-processed vocalists and headed back towards real voices singing about real feelings. We also saw a lot of fantastic artists known for their emotional material release much anticipated new albums/singles this year (i.e. Kelly Clarkson, Darren Hayes, Jennifer Hudson, JoJo, Adam Lambert, etc.)
  • The Summer of Sax!: Though two hit pop singles and an album track do not make a revolution, there was a small resurgence of the classic late 80’s, early 90’s saxophone solo via a couple of Pop Heaven regulars: Katy Perry & Lady Gaga!
  • Classic R&B Re-Emergence: Artists like Beyonce, Jessie J & the originators; Boyz II Men brought us back to the days when r&b music still had soul and made you feel a certain glow as the influence of R&B’s last golden days in the 1990’s creeped back in. We pray to The Pop Gods that this trend continues!
  • IMPRESSIVE Emerging Artists: Not only were pop veterans out in full swing, there were a LOT of promising new emerging artists producing FANTASTIC singles this year. Including: The Rescues, Sabi, Neon Hitch, Simon Curtis & Jared Lee.

Without further ado, I present Pop Heaven’s Top 100 Songs of 2011. (Ok that’s a lie, but you do get entries 100 through 75!)

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Judgement Day: Pop Heaven or Hell? (Adam Lambert – Better Than I Know Myself)

(Buy “Better Than I Know Myself” on iTunes!)

Forgive me Pop Gods for I have sinned. It has been approximately 14 minutes since my last confession…

There was a time when I really didn’t care for Adam Lambert.

Before you flood me with hate mail or start looking for spare pitchforks and torches, let me say that I have truly enjoyed and supported everything that he’s done post-American Idol. There was something about the way everything happened on his season of American Idol that just made me… not a fan…  despite repeated conversations with my mother about how much she loved him. I would say that I was probably pretty intense about my non-fan-ness for a time, though truly I can not give you a reason in retrospect. Perhaps it just took me some time to understand what he’s about as an artist.

Regardless of the rhyme or reason in the baginning, the fact remains that my opinions have changed! I feel that I have just had an epiphany!

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The Glee-kly Recap: It’s an “Extraordinary Merry Christmas” but WHERE is Sugar Motta? (also My Word Count Drops SIgnificantly…)

When we last left off on Glee, we pulled a Tabula Rasa (Clean Slate) and un-did pretty much everything that’s happened in Season 3 thus far. The gang are all back together (after that large group hug) and it’s the Christmas episode so obviously we’re not about to have any major plot points thrown in! This should be a nice one-off storyline kind of episode.

As last week’s recap clocked in at over 3600 words (my longest ever), I’ve realized that I have a problem with being long-winded. I will put extra effort into making this one a bit more “Coles Notes” as a friend suggested rather than writing a piece longer than the original script!

Here goes nothing…

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Judgement Day: Pop Heaven or Hell? (Sarah Slean – Live @ The Carleton in Halifax, Nova Scotia – 12/5/2011)

For those of you that may not be familiar with the name, Sarah Slean is one of Canada’s finest singer/songwriters and surely one of the most enchanting. Blending an old-world, Vaudeville sensibility with modern pop-rock, Slean has produced several noteworthy albums in the last 10 years, each of which I personally wouldn’t hesitate to call a masterpiece.

Throughout her career one might note that there has often been a very obvious line dividing her individual songs; her back catalogue ranges between the more upbeat, pop inspired (often firey and bold) tracks and those that are more melancholy, romantic and classically inspired.  Her latest release, a double disc entitled “Land & Sea” explores this duality in her previous work with more self-awareness than ever.

Enlisting the help of two separate producers, Slean made two very different albums. Disc one, entitled “Land” explores the more “pop” side of Slean, features lots of hooks and positive lyrics and was produced by Halifax, Nova Scotia’s own: Joel Plaskett. “Sea” is lush, slow, equal parts dreamy/romantic and heartbreaking; it features a 21-piece orchestra and was produced by Jonathan Goldsmith. The double disc opus was released on September 27th, 2011 and Slean is currently promoting the release with a cross-Canada tour.

In the second of two sold-out shows, Slean performed at The Carleton Music Bar & Lounge on Argyle Street in Halifax, NS on December 5th, 2011. After seeing her live several years ago when she was promoting her last album: The Baroness, I wouldn’t have missed this gig for the world and I’m happy to say that neither I, nor The Pop Gods were disappointed!

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