Judgement Day (Special Edition): Pop Heaven’s Top 100 Songs of 2012 (Part 2 of 4)

Welcome back, dear readers! We’re counting down our top 100 songs of 2012 to make it into Pop Heaven, and in part 2 we’re going to check out numbers #75 through #51! In this group, we have many brilliant artists like Brandy, Adam Lambert, Maroon 5, Leona Lewis, My Name Is Kay and many more, so let’s not waste any more time! (After all, it’s the middle of January and I’m still posting last years charts!)

In case you’re just joining us, click here to see entries 100 through 74 in Part 1!

If you have lots of time, you can watch the chart unfold with this YouTube playlist, but if not you can read it, after the jump!


Leona Lewis

Glassheart-Deluxe-Edition I may regret selecting this one if somehow it manages to become a runaway hit in 2013, but while artistically “Lovebird” is not necessarily among the very best “Glassheart” offerings, it is somehow still a personal favourite. A classic format pop radio ballad; it’s both beautiful and very catchy. In the right time, this track would be a sure thing but right now I’m not so sure.
(YouTube) (iTunes UK)


“Just a Fool”
Christina Aguilera & Blake Shelton
Hopefully we haven’t already heard the last of Aguilera’s “Lotus” because though I wasn’t immediately convinced, it is quite a strong album with a number of fantastic single choices. One of the album stand outs, if mainly because it deviates significantly from the overall vibe of the set is country-pop duet “Just a Fool” with fellow judge from The Voice: Blake Shelton. “Fool” is supposed to be the second single from “Lotus,” but thus far it hasn’t made any major waves or charted high on Billboard. There’s still time, though! 🙂 
(YouTube) (iTunes)


“Only the Horses”
Scissor Sisters
When I listen to this song, as much as I do love it, I like to sing the following over the chorus: “We found love in a lo-wer keyyyyy.. We found love in a low-errrrr keyyyyy”. Rihanna’s 2011 Smash hit, which needs no introduction, was also produced by Harris and follows similar chord progressions. Someone could easily record a mash-up of the two, but it’s a great track on its own and a bit of a departure for Scissor Sisters. 
(YouTube) (iTunes)


My Name is Kay ft. Pusha T

artworks-000019124012-x5t48f-cropFellow Canadian, Kay (also known by stage name “My Name is Kay”) released this delightful ditty in July of 2012 along with a super cute music video where she starred with a bunch of mannequins. “Strangers” is packed full of hooks and irresistible melodies that you’ll be singing for days after only one listen, like “you’re a fool, you’re a damn fool.. and that’s allll you’lll eeeeeever beeeeeeeee….” 
(YouTube) (iTunes CA)


“Die Young”
I’ve always had a bit of a love/hate thing with Ke$ha, but to what I’m sure will be the delight of many friends and blogging community peers I have to admit that I’ve (in large part) come around to the glittery trainwreck. When I originally heard “Die Young” I was actually disappointed. This track does not have the usual attitude and taste level of Ke$ha’s work; it’s even somewhat ordinary. A Dr. Luke & Friends  production, it was easy to write off initially because yes, it does sound like pretty much every other single he’s produced for major pop artists over the last couple of years, and yet I – like many, soon found myself really loving this track. It’s no “Blow” but it’s pretty freakin’ catchy!
(YouTube) (iTunes)


“Naked Love”
Adam Lambert
Originally one of my least favorites on Lambert’s 2012 masterpiece “Trespassing,” summery dance-track “Naked Love” melted my ever-so icy heart during the course of this year and even made it’s way onto our Summer Hymns 2012 Playlist. On the verses, Lambert’s voice reminds me the amazing Richard Marx and that’s ALWAYS a selling point in my books. It’s not as deep or emotional as some of the other material on the album, but it’s got fun and flirty on lock and Lambert sounds amazing as always! 
(YouTube) (iTunes)


Simon Curtis

starlightA previously unreleased track from his 2011 album “R∆,” this simple but gorgeous ballad was produced and co-written by Vincent Frank (a.k.a. Frankmusik). As I’m always a sucker for a ballad, I’m hoping we hear more tracks like this one from Curtis on future projects, even though it was mainly recorded because he was being shopped to labels that wanted to hear a track with less effect on his vocals and not because this was a direction he wanted to go with his music. Still, there’s hope! and it’s beautiful!
(YouTube) (Free Download on Soundcloud)


“Falling Free”
Madonna’s 2012 album “MDNA” suffered from some of the worst singles selection all year from a major artist. That being said, it also contained some really fantastic material like the beautiful and haunting “Falling Free.” On the verses, the melody is kind of sing-song, like a melody that would be played by a music box and the track has orchestral elements and creepy, synthesized vocal harmonies. Gorgeous!
(YouTube) (iTunes)


Carly Rae Jepsen
While the version that appears on Jepsen’s US album release: “Kiss” doesn’t suck, a previous Canadian EP release: “Curiosity” contained the original mix of this cute and breezy little track as well as mega-hit “Call Me Maybe” before Jepsen caught on in the US. It was a radio single here in Canada, but got overshadowed by the release of the inferior “This Kiss” despite being better (in my opinion) than both singles to date.
(YouTube) (iTunes Canada)


“Put It Down”
Brandy ft. Chris Brown

middle_1347461843-400x400I’ve been a BIG fan of Brandy since the “Never Say Never” era (and maybe a bit before). I admit, however, that when the news came that the official lead single from her much-delayed, sixth studio album “Two Eleven” would feature notorious douchebag Chris Brown, I was a little hesitant. While I won’t lie, I do like some of Brown’s work, I was trying to recover from the release of the abomination that is the Rihanna – Birthday Cake remix and was feeling resentful about Brown’s blatant rubbing of his past sins in the face of the concerned public. All of that drama aside, it took a while but “Put It Down” really hooked me! It’s fun, catchy, fresh and still 100% Brandy. 
(YouTube) (iTunes)


After years of releasing trendy dance singles, Usher surprised us in 2012 with Diplo-produced “Climax,” which blended some subtle electronic elements with an all-out R&B/soul slow jam. Featuring the sexiness of Usher’s smooth falsetto, it reminded me of why I fell for Usher back in the good old days of “My Way” and “8701.” Thanks for joining the good fight to save R&B Ursh! We’re glad to have you!
(YouTube) (iTunes)


Marina and the Diamonds
Marina & the Diamonds had what might have been my favorite album of 2012 with concept album “Electra Heart.” (Here’s a very lengthy review…) While previous tracks were released as buzz singles (i.e. the AMAZING “Radioactive”), the album’s official first single was another Dr. Luke production: “Primadonna.” Marina is able to transcend the sameness of his production with some great, tongue-in-cheek lyrics and her very unique vocal style. This track serves as the perfect introduction to Marina’s alter-ego for this era: the vain, over-dramatic and deeply insecure Electra Heart, and remains a little piece of pop heaven. 
(YouTube) (iTunes)


“You & I”
I have to admit that Anjulie’s material thus far has failed to really win me over. Benny Benassi-produced “You and I” however, makes me reconsider. Groovy and uplifting, this track is infectious and euphoric and recalls the vibe of the disco era in a very current way. Best of all, and Ryan Tedder, Dr. Luke and David Guetta should take notes here, while Benassi has produced for a few pop heavyweights, the melody and overall vibe haven’t been recycled from his other productions (i.e. “You and I” sounds nothing like Chris Brown‘s “Beautiful People”.) Nicely played, Anjulie. Pop Heaven it is, this time!
(YouTube) (iTunes)


Neon Hitch feat. Tyga

neonhitch-goldMy love affair with Neon Hitch began when 2011’s lush and gorgeous “Get Over U” served up some Robyn-like realness. Since then, this Brit songstress has been dominating my iPhone playlists despite the fact that she still has yet to release her debut album Beg, Borrow & Steal. What I like about Hitch is that she could throw down in a drunken brawl with Ke$ha but is at least 75% more likely to show her softer side. She’s simultaneously tough and gritty, sweet and sugary. Second album single “Gold” falls into the sweet and sugary category as she coos her love’s praises in her best Britney impression over a strumming guitar loop. Young Money‘s Tyga makes an appearance in a mostly unnecessary (but not unpleasant) guest-rap spot.
(YouTube) (iTunes)


“Nobody Does It Like You”
Shawn Desman
Another Canadian entry, this time from Ontario’s Shawn Desman. “Nobody Does It Like You” is a mid-tempo urban/pop jam with one of the most infectious hooks of the year. Don’t believe me? Just click on the YouTube link below and watch the music video. Not only will you be singing the chorus melody to yourself for the rest of the day, but if you’re anything like me you’ll be wanting to do the video’s main choreography in public too! 
(YouTube) (iTunes Canada)



JoJo-DemonstrateOne of the most frustrating stories to come from pop music in 2012 was the scrapping of JoJo’s album “Jumping Trains” after her label: Blackground Records failed to release it when singles “Disaster” and “Sexy to Me” failed to chart big with next to no promotion. While it was said that the decision was JoJo’s, citing that the album no longer represented where she was in life or her career, they also failed to release any of the album she completely re-did with a new, more urban direction. Lead single: “Demonstrate” is a sexy, urban jam which features some great vocals but it wasn’t well-promoted and the music video was never released nor was the song ever made available for sale. Here’s hoping that Blackground Records do the right thing and #FreeJoJo in 2013 so this immense talent can get the treatment she deserves.
(YouTube) (Not Yet Available)


Cher Lloyd feat. Becky G
Recently I was hosting a poker game with friends and “Oath” came over the speakers. Someone pointed out that it sounded like a Disney song and while I can’t argue with them, it’s a cute, bubblegum declaration of eternal friendship. It doesn’t have the immediate attitude and energy of Lloyd’s first US single “Want U Back” but it certainly serves as a decent follow up single. Something about Lloyd is just so damned cute I can’t resist her! 
(YouTube) (iTunes)



Ciara-SorryAn unexpected edition to the list of artists championing the movement to resurrect the classic sounds of late 90’s and early 2000’s R&B, Ciara released this classic sounding slow jam as the lead single from upcoming album “One Woman Army.” While CiCi is never going to win any awards for having the most soulful or skilled vocals, her tone is smooth enough to pull off a sweet number like this one. 
(YouTube) (iTunes)


“Wildest Dreams”
The follow up to “Put It Down” saw Brandy re-claiming the more mature, adult-contemporary R&B sound she explored on her last few studio albums. “Wildest Dreams” is a solid R&B jam about the disbelief of finding love after nearly giving up on it. It has pretty good lyrics and Brandy’s signature vocal harmonies all over it, which I believe she may have picked up and evolved from her work with Darkchild (other work he’s produced had similar vocal arrangements on the harmonies, like “Forever” by the Spice Girls). 
(YouTube) (iTunes)


“Let it Go”
Canadian Electropop trio Dragonette had a pretty good year in 2012! “Let It Go” was the lead single from their latest album “Body Parts” and probably their most radio-friendly offering to date. The track appeared in a couple of television commercials and performed well on the charts, but wasn’t quite a smash hit, which to me at least, is surprising.
(YouTube) (iTunes)


Maroon 5 feat. Wiz Khalifa
One of this year’s most overplayed songs was Maroon 5’s “Payphone” from the appropriately-named album “Overexposed.” The single mix contains a guest rap by Wiz Khalifa, which honestly I could do without. There is a radio edit that drops the rap and contains a cool bridge, but the down side of it is that all of the profanity is edited out, and the song is just not the same without Levine singing “All these fairytales are full of shit.. one more fucking love song I’ll be sick.” 
(YouTube) (iTunes)


“Princess of China”
Coldplay feat. Rihanna

Coldplay-Mylo-XylotoWhile I’m sure I’m not the only person who expected Coldplay and Rihanna to be far too strange of a pairing to be any good, I had to admit that “Princess of China” is a pretty great song. Even better is the acoustic mix included on the single!  That being said, the music video was a little uninspired and expected. Still, I love the imagery that the sonic landscape of the track inspires; there is something very epic about it.  
(YouTube) (iTunes)


Aside from an awkward lyrical moment rhyming “light” with “light” in the second verse, “Masterpiece” from Madonna’s “MDNA” lives up to its name. Originally from the soundtrack of Madge’s film “W.E.” it’s a a beautiful (though somewhat melancholy) love song about being in love with someone from a short but somehow insurmountable distance; being right by their side but always keeping a certain distance because “after all, nothing’s indestructible.”
(YouTube) (iTunes)


“One Last Time”

Taking inspiration from great ballads of the late 80’s and early 90’s, Agnes’ “One Last Time” is a synth-driven, dreamy ballad filled with regret for a relationship that went sour at your own hand. It has layers of beautiful vocals and synth melodies over a staggering beat. This is no dance floor filler like “Release Me” but it’s a gorgeous offering to the Pop Gods, nonetheless!  
(YouTube) (iTunes)


“Begin Again”
Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift’s “Red” was another album that blew me away in 2012. While Swift always writes songs about boys (many of whom are high profile celebrities that we all know she’s dated), this album definitely saw a shift in her sound as she experimented with different genres, vocal styles and collaborators. Along with that, there were certainly a few tracks that felt like vintage Swift, and “Begin Again” is one such song. This is a beautiful little song about nearly giving up on love after a break-up and that moment when you meet someone new and suddenly things start looking up. Sweet. Sincere. SO good!!
(YouTube) (iTunes)

So we’re at the halfway point! What do you think so far? Share your thoughts in the comments section! I love to discuss and read your thoughts.

Part 3, counting down numbers 50 through 26 should debut later this week! (Read entries 50 through 26 in Part 3)

As always, thank you for reading!

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