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!)


Get It Right – Glee Cast ft. Lea Michele
A Glee original. No one is going to give this song any awards for being deep or complicated; It’s simple, heartfelt and beautiful. Haven’t we all had moments when we hit a wall and think: “how many times will it take for me, to get it right?”
(YouTube) (iTunes)


Who Says – Selena Gomez & The Scene Yeah, I know it’s a cheese fest! Selena, however, has had a super adorable and successful year with “When The Sun Goes Down” and this song has a great message for young people in an ever-scrutinizing world. “Who says you’re not beautiful?”
(YouTube) (iTunes)


The Last Dance – Clare Maguire
If you haven’t heard of this British singer/songwriter you’re missing out on one of the most unique voices to hit the scene in 2011. Her album “Light After Dark” is worth checking out. The Last Dance was the album’s second single.
(YouTube) (iTunes)


Ours – Taylor Swift
This “Speak Now” bonus track was elevated to new levels this past December when Swift released an adorable music video for the unexpected single. While you’re at it TayTay… I have another bonus track single suggestion for you coming up later in this chart, tomorrow. Stay tuned!
(YouTube) (iTunes)


Man Down – Rihanna
This gritty, caribbean-flavored confessional from Grammy’s Album of the Year nominee: “Loud” was accompanied by a “controversial” music video that brought the lyrics into a new context. Dark subject matter aside, this song is terribly catchy.
(YouTube) (iTunes)


Can’t Stand The Rain – The Rescues
California Quartet “The Rescues” piqued the attention of The Pop Gods during an episode of Private Practice in 2010. This single from their Album “Let Loose The Horses” is a fantastic display of their unique vocal stylings, songwriting and personality. This single is great, but I reccommend you check out the entire album. It’s seriously amazing.
(YouTube) (iTunes)


Right By Your Side – James Morrison
Morrison is one of Britain’s most underrated singers here in North America. Known mostly for his duet “Broken Strings” with Nelly Furtado, people need to take notice. This guy has SOUL and he sings the living hell out of this song. FIRE!
(YouTube) (iTunes)


Neon Hitch – Bad Dog
This sassy electropop banger might not show off newcomer Neon Hitch’s great voice much, but it’s crazy addictive and SO MUCH FUN. “WOOF! like a bad dog, SIT! like a good dog or I’mma put you down BANG! BANG! like a bad dog…”
(YouTube) (iTunes)


I Was Here – Beyonce

This Diane Warren ballad is one of the most powerful moments on “4” and seems to have developed quite a following. Announced already as a single in other countries, it’s likely it will eventually find it’s way to North America along with the other 6 or 7 singles Bey has tried to push this year.
(YouTube) (iTunes)


Do Ya Thang – Rihanna
Another bonus track entry, this track from the deluxe edition of “Talk That Talk” has more hit potential than half of the album’s tracks. A little bit of Mariah’s – “Touch My Body” mixed with RiRi’s signature swag.
(YouTube) (iTunes)


Break My Heart – Sara RamirezTony award winner and Grey’s Anatomy star: Sara Ramizez released her debut, self-titled EP this year which neatly coincided with the much-hyped musical episode of Grey’s on ABC. The opening couple of lines are very low and subdued but then her voice opens up and the rest is GLORIOUS. Check out her 4-track EP on iTunes. Stunning.
(YouTube) (iTunes)


Enemy – Simon Curtis
From the moment I heard a preview clip of this track from Curtis’ sophomore album: “R∆”, I knew I would love it.  I was right. You will too!


Struck By Lightning – Frankmusik

This track from 2011’s “Do It In The A.M.” strikes the perfect balance between radio friendly synth-pop and genuine emotional connection in the lyrical content. A standout on the album!
(YouTube) (iTunes)


In the Dark  – Dev
I feel the need to abridge this choice by saying I’m not a fan of the dub step craze that Dev seems to be a part of but I have to say the production on this song is sexy and it’s ALWAYS stuck in my head. You win this round, Dev… this round.
(YouTube) (iTunes)


Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love) – Kylie MinogueAmong the best offerings on 2010’s dreamy masterpiece “Aphrodite”, it was the only one to debut as a single in 2011. Classic Kylie! Blissful, euphoric and uplifting. The Pop Gods approve!
(YouTube) (iTunes)


F**kin’ Perfect – Pink
LOVE P!nk and LOVE this song, but did anyone else honestly think it just sounds better without the F-BOMB? I like my angry words as much as the next guy but it’s just not genuine feeling on this song. Still, a great, feel good track.
(YouTube) (iTunes)


When You Loved Me – Richard Marx
Richard Marx has written some of the greatest love songs of all time over the years and while some might argue that this recent single doesn’t rival those classics, I beg you to give it a few repeat listens. There is something very special about this one. Marx still has that something!
(YouTube) (iTunes)


Collide – Leona Lewis (& Avicii)This single got overshadowed by a legal battle over the “sample” used in the track’s instrumental. It’s really a rather great single, but it took WEEKS to grow on me. A grower, but apparently not fast enough since Leona’s third album: “Glassheart” has been pushed back.
(YouTube) (iTunes)


Sparks Fly – Taylor Swift
While all of “Speak Now” is flawless, there’s always been something special to me about “Sparks Fly” and the rest of the world seems to think so too since this was the first #1 country hit from the album to date.
(YouTube) (iTunes)


World’s Last Spin – Scotty Granger
For anyone out there who was a fan of Bravo’s Platinum Hit: #81 comes from 3rd place finisher (should be winner) Scotty Granger who is a master of melody. He’s currently working on an album and to say I cannot wait is an understatement. Something about his voice is so SEXY to me. Ow!!!! Forgive me Pop Gods for I have sinned…. Check out all of his tracks from Platinum Hit!
(YouTube) (iTunes)


Hair – Lady Gaga
Though yet to be an official single, this anthem about self-expression is a stand-out on “Born This Way”. Like many tracks from the album, it’s an 80’s/90’s power ballad modernized, complete with a saxophone solo. Also, she’s performed it so many times and in so many ways that it’s already infamous.
(YouTube) (iTunes)


California King Bed – RihannaIt seems that this adult contemporary ballad got a lot of criticism; That cheap, terrible music video didn’t help matters, but in my opinion this track is one of the best on “Loud” and Riri’s vocals are soft, vulnerable, solid and powerful in all of the places they need to be. Shade be gone, haters!
(YouTube) (iTunes)


Get Over U – Neon Hitch
The second Neon Hitch track on the chart, “Get Over U” is more Robyn-esque in overall feel and gives us a chance to hear Hitch’s bee-autiful singing voice with more clarity.
(YouTube) (iTunes)


Call Your Girlfriend – Robyn
I can’t imagine how I ever didn’t adore the f**k out of this song at first. After repeated listens, not only is this a great Robyn track but a pop classic. How many is that now for the long-running Queen of Swedish pop? Yep, we lost count too!
(YouTube) (iTunes)


Mamma Knows Best – Jessie J
Jessie J seems to be an artist that people either love or hate; She speaks her mind, has a bold image and she sings the living shit out of everything she touches. I, evidently, fall on the LOVE side of the spectrum and I literally couldn’t get enough of her debut: “Who You Are” this year. The first entry on the chart is a jazzy big band (non-single) number with attitude.
(YouTube) (iTunes)


Wild Heart – Sabi

This powerful, urban electro-pop track is so good lyrically and melodically that even being used in high rotation to promote a Kardashian spin-off show on E! Network didn’t make me hate it. Can’t wait to get an album from this girl!
(YouTube) (iTunes)

And that, my wonderful readers, is where we shall leave off for now!

What are you thinking so far? Feel free to leave your comments! I love discussion!

Check back later today for Part 2, when we’re reveal entries 74 through 50!

Read entries 74 through 50 NOW in Part 2!

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

  1. AngelTracie says:

    Its wonderful to see Darren with 4 songs in the top 100 for 2011. Brilliant Album

    • Agreed! I haven’t compiled my top albums but it would definitely by in my top 5.. maybe even top 3 🙂

      Thanks so much for reading and for your comments, Tracie! Happy New Year!

    • Andrea says:

      Truth the album its really good …Also some songs are so beautiful made ..the lyrics the melody everything its good..I think he is really an incredible songwriter . Such a pity he is not as popular as he deserves or reconigzed.Still wonderful performer excelent voice

      Greetings from Ecuador


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