Judgement Day (Special Edition): Pop Heaven’s Top 100 Songs of 2012 (Part 3 of 4)

We’re still counting down The Pop Gods’ Top 100 songs of 2012. It was a fantastic year for singles, with the ongoing dance-pop trend still cranking out lots of hits despite seeing a lot of changes take root in the mainstream soundscape. I wager that the past year was a turning point and that 2013 will be a year of change, but for now let’s focus on 2012!

In case you’re just joining us:

Read entries #100 through #76 in Part 1!
Read entries #75 through #51 in Part 2!

Without further ado, here are chart positions #50 through #26! Feel free to watch and listen with our YouTube playlist, or read the chart after the jump!


“Let Me Be Your Star” from the NBC series SMASH
Katharine McPhee & Megan Hilty
SMASH’s show-within-a-show, a musical about the life of Marilyn Monroe, is the show’s biggest selling point. All of the original music for “Bombshell” thus far has been AMAZING. From the show’s pilot, this duet between the series’ very talented leading ladies was probably the best of the tunes revealed for this fictional musical, which is actually getting a full cast recording release this February. It also set up the conflict between the two ladies that would dominate season 1, while paralleling Marilyn’s own dreams.
(YouTube) (iTunes)


“It Will Rain”
Bruno Mars

Surely the best thing to come from the “Twilight” film franchise, aside from my admittedly-creepy fantasies about a shirtless Taylor Lautner, Bruno Mars’ soulful pop ballad “It Will Rain” boasts a soulful vocal and emotional lyrics. My Dad is a hardcore country fan and singer and even HE was covering this song at his gigs. 
(YouTube) (iTunes)


“I’m Addicted”

Her Madgesty briefly came under fire upon releasing the name of her 2012 album “MDNA” for it’s blatant drug-reference (MDMA is the short-form of the scientific name for the street drug Ecstasy). Likely the origin of the album name, delightfully overwhelming album track “I’m Addicted” overloads the senses much like I imagine amphetamines would. It’s one of the most memorable tracks from “MDNA” and among my favorite club tracks from post-Ray of Light Madge. 
(YouTube) (iTunes)


“Catch My Breath”
Kelly Clarkson
kelly-clarkson-catch-my-breath-400x400Upon hearing the disappointing news that the campaign for Clarkson’s 2011 album “Stronger” would end after only 3 singles to make way for a Greatest Hits package, I was pretty disappointed. After all, “Stronger” had a good number of hits-in-waiting, but “Catch My Breath,” the lead single from “Greatest Hits: Chapter One” turned out to be a pretty great single. Kelly sounds great (as always) and the production on the track shares the same layered, subtly-electronic feel of many of the tracks from this era. 
(YouTube) (iTunes)


“Blow Me (One Last Kiss)”
P!nk successfully passed the new-mom test this year by not releasing an album full of watered-down material in “The Truth About Love.” While it’s not her strongest work, it does fit pretty well into her overall discography. Lead single “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” seemed to divide fans and critics, but despite the completely unnecessary over-use of the word “shit,” “Blow Me…” is a great song with a fantastic, summery vibe that earned it a place on our Summer Hymns 2012 Playlist and a spot in the year’s Top 50!
(YouTube) (iTunes)


Leona Lewis

The stunning title-track from Lewis’ 2012 album blends elements of grime, dub-step and house and allows Leona to showcase her powerhouse vocals but also knows when to hold back. Produced by One Republic’s Ryan Tedder, “Glassheart” has a simple concept but a well-conceived lyric about protecting one’s heart from heartbreak that explodes on the pre-chorus but recedes on the hook. On the deluxe edition of the album, an acoustic mix slows it down and exposes it’s emotional depth. Both versions are stunning. 
(YouTube) (YouTube – Acoustic Mix) (iTunes UK)


Adam Lambert

An instant classic, Lambert’s “Trespassing” immediately recalls the iconic energy of classic-rock hits like Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” and pulls them into 2012. Released as the third single from the album of the same name, “Trespassing” didn’t get the radio support it deserved to make it a hit in North America, which still surprises me every time I listen. It’s just SO damned infectious and doesn’t sound like anything else out there right now.  
(YouTube) (iTunes)


“She Wolf (Falling to Pieces)”
David Guetta feat. Sia
Say what you will about David Guetta, but he can still turn out a beautiful track and it seems like he and Sia are now 2 for 2. Luckily, it is neither a cover, nor does it contain a sample of the horrendous Shakira track that shares it’s name. Not only are the vocals and lyrics great, but the production variances between the quiet of the verse and chorus and the crescendo that follows the chorus are irresistibly danceable.
(YouTube) (iTunes)


“Turn Up The Music”
Chris Brown

I still feel like I should be ashamed of the fact that I find myself enjoying some of Brown’s music despite his endless quest to prove he has no fucks to give about the way he’s perceived post Rihanna-gate. Despite him continuing to be a deplorable human being, I quite enjoyed “Turn Up the Music” until he decided to release a remix version with Rihanna (and then the abomination that was the “Birthday Cake” Remix) and earned a year’s pass into Pop Hell.
(YouTube) (iTunes)


“Sexy to Me”
As a follow-up to 2011’s love-gone-wrong anthem “Disaster,” JoJo released sexy, club banger “Sexy to Me” as what was planned to be the second single from planned third studio album “Jumping Trains.” That was before a decision was made to scrap the whole album and write/record a new one. Sadly, “Sexy to Me” was another fantastic track that could have been a major hit had it been marketed properly. Produced by Danja, it’s a song of empowerment and confidence and JoJo’s swag is in full force. 
(YouTube) (iTunes)


“Let’s Have a Kiki”
Scissor Sisters

One of the biggest viral sensations of the year, “Let’s Have a Kiki” was a phenomenon in 2012. Not only did everyone learn a new word for a party, but thanks to the official instructional video they learned a new dance too. From parody videos to a clever mash-up performance on Glee, everyone was throwing kikis! It’s also packed full of fun one-liners and trendy phrases like “drowned harrassed rat” and “spilling tea.” 
(YouTube) (iTunes)


“What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)”
Kelly Clarkson

The biggest hit to come from “Stronger” era Clarkson, this title-track wasn’t my favorite choice for a single, but it does seem like it was the right one. “Stronger” is now officially her most successful single, and the top selling single to come from any American Idol contestant. It’s a good thing I’m not the one who picks the singles, I guess.
(YouTube) (iTunes)


After the release of R&B scorcher “Climax” it was a bit surprising to hear Usher going back to the dance-pop formula that spawned hits like “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love” but once you get over it, “Scream” is a pretty well-crafted pop song. I was a little taken aback, however, when I was visiting my hometown last summer and I heard my 10 year-old nephew singing about “getting drunk on the thought of you naked” and later “relax and get on your back, if you wanna scream…” It’s funny how kids can put things in perspective!
(YouTube) (iTunes)


“Power and Control”
Marina and the Diamonds

To say that Marina and the Diamonds 2012 album “Electra Heart” is a feminist work may be a bit of a stretch but the album certainly explores the feminine psyche and one such song that addresses the struggle between women and men is the album’s second official single: “Power and Control.” Over a throbbing beat, Electra challenges her man’s notions that her want for love makes her weaker than him, and as far as I’m concerned, wins.
(YouTube) (iTunes)


Kylie Minogue
2012 was a year of retrospective projects for Kylie Minogue as she celebrated 25 years in the music business. “Timebomb” was a new track that appeared in a special “K25” box set but was also released as a hot summer single. Perhaps we have the Mayans to thank, as “Timebomb” explores the popular recent theme of dancing like it’s the last night of our lives. It’s a fun dance track and it’s vintage Kylie.
(YouTube) (iTunes)


“Where Have You Been”

Calvin Harris-produced “Where Have You Been?” was a sure thing when it came to single options from Rihanna’s 2011 album “Talk That Talk.” Tailor-made for radio, it would have been a perfect follow-up to mega-hit “We Found Love” but her label tried out a couple of others tracks first. Perhaps they just assumed we would all need a bit of a breather before RiRi broke out the “vagina vogue” in the music video. 
(YouTube) (iTunes)


Adam Lambert

I probably would have put every song from Lambert’s “Trespassing” into the top 100 of 2012, but that wouldn’t really be fair to all of the other artists that released great music this year. Regardless, a good third of the tracks made their way into the chart (yes, there are more to come) but the most deserving of being a hit single is the club-ready “Cuckoo.” It has a certain disco sensibility about it with bold synths and hand claps and has such a fun and animated vocal to sing along with. I’d love to see this get a single release in 2013, but I’m afraid the promo for the album may be over. 
(YouTube) (iTunes)


Tegan & Sara
In 2001, I briefly lived in a big house with seven (yes, seven) lesbians and that was when I was first exposed to twin folk-duo Tegan & Sara. At the time, I wasn’t terribly impressed and never thought that 12 years later they would be releasing electro-pop and I would suddenly LOVE them. This, the lead single from upcoming album “Heartthrob” is a refreshing, catchy and quirky dance track that maintains an indie feel but readies the duo for mainstream success. 
(YouTube) (iTunes)


“Think Like a Man”
Jennifer Hudson & NE-YO feat. Rick Ross

As much as I LOVE Jennifer Hudson, I truly think that aside from a few great tracks that the material she’s released on her two solo albums has been sub par. In 2012, the soundtrack to romantic comedy “Think Like a Man” featured a wonderful collaboration by the same name between JHud and NE-YO that recalled the sound of late 90’s and early 00’s R&B. Aside from an out-of-context guest rap from Rick Ross, “Think Like a Man” is a smart and sassy urban classic.
(YouTube) (iTunes)


“How to be a Heartbreaker”
Marina and the Diamonds

Given the upbeat, dancey climate of North American radio in 2012, it seemed reasonable that the US release of Marina and the Diamond’s “Electra Heart” needed something just a little less gloomy to try and earn a pop radio hit. The sole addition to the album was “How to be a Heartbreaker,” which as the titles suggests, is a bit of an instructional on how to break hearts and protect your own. In checking out how it charted, it appears that even though the video has been out since September that it wasn’t officially pushed to US radio until the first week of 2013, so perhaps there’s still a chance for the single and the album to find more North American success in the coming year. 
(YouTube) (iTunes)


“Part of Me”
Katy Perry
Teenage Dream - The Complete Confection
While it feels like more than a year since “Part of Me” was making the rounds, it was a pretty good single from an absolutely unnecessary re-issue of one of the best pop albums of the last decade. Perry’s first issue of “Teenage Dream” was a strong enough set to extend at least one more single (i.e. “Hummingbird Heartbeat”) but “The Complete Confection” did bring us a bit more pop heaven. I’d like to state for the record, however, that the music video for this single almost made me change my mind. Military recruitment campaigns disguised as music videos just aren’t my thing. 
(YouTube) (iTunes)


“State of Grace”
Taylor Swift

On “State of Grace” Swift embodies a new sound, one that is more rooted in alternative rock than her previous work. Her voice seems somehow different; more mature, more unique than before, as if she’s starting to discover what the signature aspects of her voice. Lyrically it’s a great song, but unlike a lot of her other work the lyrics take a back seat to the hype of trying to decipher which of her famous flames it’s written about as the building music tells a story of it’s own. One of her best.  
(YouTube) (iTunes)


“Stupid Mistake”
Darren Hayes
Any fans of the blog know that Darren Hayes is my everything when it comes to male pop stars. In fact, the gorgeous single “Black Out the Sun” was the #1 song on last year’s Top 100! His 2011 treasure “Secret Codes and Battleships” contained many would-be singles, however the fourth and final single released was “Stupid Mistake,” a song about being haunted by your past to the point of bitterness. It never ceases to amaze me how Hayes’ melodies and lyrics make most others seem phoned-in and trite in comparison. He’s an inspiration.
(YouTube) (iTunes)


“Alone Together”
Daley feat. Marsha Ambrosius

Possibly my favorite new artist of 2012 is UK soul singer Daley. Not only does he have a completely unique and unexpected look for someone in this genre (He’s a pasty white, ginger-haired lad with a kind of 80’s, indie-hipster style.) but he has a classic, soulful sound. “Alone Together” is a beautiful love song in which Daley and soul-royalty Marsha Ambrosius trade metaphors (and exquisite lyrics) expressing their feelings about one another. Sometimes the two are indistinguishable from one another, but when they sing in unison it’s truly magic. (YouTube) (iTunes)


Emeli Sandé
Emeli Sandé enjoyed the biggest selling UK album of the year in 2012, moving more than 1 million copies of “Our Version of Events.” Lead single “Heaven” is a beautifully-sung, soulful ballad over house beats with some jazzy horns and tear-jerking strings. There’s something about it that feels very retro, but it has elements of the 60’s, 70’s and the 90’s so it ends up just feeling timeless.

I know it’s hard to believe with all these incredible songs but there are still 25 AMAZING songs of 2012 to go.

How are you enjoying the chart so far? Please feel free to comment and discuss!! We’ll return with the final 25 of the 2012 Top 100 on Thursday, January 31st! (Read the Top 25 post, now!)

Thanks, as always, for reading! 🙂

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