Putting together three or four minutes of musical perfection is no mean feat, but 2010 has thrown up some sparkling gems from the pop rubble. Here’s our pick of the singles of the year, headed up by an old hand and a couple of fresh faces…
10. Rihanna – Rude Boy
Oh, Rihanna. How we loved you with your cute umbrella song. How we frowned when you were you beaten up. And how we rejoiced when you came back this year, stronger than ever and with the rat-a-tat-tat of chart success ringing in your ears. Rihanna’s been a busy girl this year featuring on a host of tracks, but it was Rude Boy that caught our attention with its insistent, raunchy hook. Come on rude boy, giddy-up…
9. Robyn – Dancing On My Own
Swedish songstrel Robyn produced a dynamite trio of albums this year – Body Talk Pts I, II & III – and nestling in among the many stellar tracks was this single, a three-minute slap of dance-pop that was unsurpassed in 2010. This was truly the year that Robyn threw off her shackles and exposed herself to the world. In response, the world tipped its head to one side and nodded quizically. The world can be an idiot sometimes.
8. Two Door Cinema Club – Something Good Can Work
What an incredible year this Irish trio have had, culminating in their debut album selling by the bucketload. This single typifies their left-field indie sound – a short, sharp burst of guitars and vocals infused with art and love that leaves you wanting more. In these recession-hit times, everyone should have Two Door’s positivity in their life.
7. Hurts – Better Than Love
Striding into the pop arena with sharp suits and slicked down hair, Hurts were a breath of fresh air this year pairing style with substance and bringing a host of stand-up tunes to the party. Better Than Love was their first single, shot through with purpose, melody and electro grooves. We’re hoping 2010 brings them more recognition for their work and Theo and Adam are also Eurovision fans – any chance they’ll enter it for us? Watch the video here.
6. Rumer – Aretha
An old-school voice in the body of a gorgeous young artist, Aretha struck a chord this year with its wistful, lazy blues style, sung by Rumer who sounds like the love child of Karen Carpenter. A word-of-mouth hit, Rumer’s self-titled debut album was also the best-selling of any UK female artist of 2010 and she’s taking her colossal vocals on tour in 2011. If you haven’t heard this yet, click play and let Rumer’s silky vocals drip into your psyche.
5. Travie McCoy ft Bruno Mars – Billionaire
Bruno Mars had to feature in this top ten – if anybody’s made an impact this year, it’s him. This is one of a slew of tracks that the Hawaiian native’s had a hand in writing (think Nothin’ On You, Airplanes, Just The Way You Are & Fuck You!) and he also lends his not inconsiderable vocals to it too. The words speak to everyone – we all want to be billionaires, right? – and to top it all off, Bruno’s a lovely guy too. Travie McCoy also features, but less said. Watch it here.
4. Katy Perry – Teenage Dream
Another pop starlet who’s had her best year yet is Ms Perry. As well as marrying Russell Brand, Perry also released album Teenage Dream which spawned a host of hits including California Gurls, Firework and the title track. It was difficult to pick a favourite, but Teenage Dream just about pips it for its joie de vive and its sizzling video. Nobody does bubblegum pop quite as well as Katy.
3. Example – Kickstarts
If you were asked to pick Example out of a line-up, chances are you’d struggle – even though he’s had a storming year he’s still the least recognisable man in pop. Luckily, you can’t say that for this single which was the soundtrack to our summer, with its really quite touching lyrics and hook so large you can hang your coat on it. If January puts you in a blue funk, stick this on for a shot of instant sunshine.
2. Tinie Tempah – Pass Out
2010 was the year of Tinie Tempah – the South London boy had three massive top ten hits and a No.1 album with Discovery. However, it was this breakout single which announced him and his plastic glasses to the world, packed with poignant lyrics, a killer bassline and slick rapping. He has a lot to thank Dizzee for – with the horizon now clear, the future could be his. Plus, he’s definitely a bigger star than his mum thought.
1. Cee-Lo Green – Fuck You!
Cee-Lo Green has been knocking about the circuit for a while now, but 2010 was the year the UK embraced him and his old school funk sound completely. Fuck You! – altered to Forget You! to make it a little more radio-friendly – was co-written by man of the moment Bruno Mars and is an exquisite piece of 60s-inspired soul that jumps down your ears from the first note. Cee-Lo himself has professed to be bemused as to why we love this song so much, but love it we do – it’s sold over half a million and is still in the top 20 after three months.