As our friends across the pond tuck into their overcooked turkey and grits, I thought it appropriate to take a moment and think about just what I’m thankful for this year. Here’s my list for 2011…
10 – Bruno Mars. This year, we’re thankful to the small but perfectly formed Hawaiian for producing an album of pure, simple pop. Doo-Wops and Hooligans wins no prizes for lyrical genius but what it does is plunder simple chord patterns and rhyming couplets in such a shameless manner, you can’t help but love it. We don’t think we saw Mars without that stupid grin on his face the whole year.
9 – Jessie J. What can we say about the laydee who does it like a dude? This year she’s managed to produce some of the most annoying pop imaginable and also shoot her mouth off like a moronic rat-a-tat machine gun, saying things like: “I have a whole new respect for people with no legs,” after wearing a cast on her poorly foot a few months. Spectacular.
8 – Westlife split up. The tux-wearing stool-dwellers have all fattened up now and have less and less hair by the day. Now, after 25 top ten hits and over 40million album sales, the Irish quartet are hanging up their key changes. Expect Kian on I’m A Celebrity next year.
7 – The Michael Jackson trial is finally over. He gave the nice doctor five million bags of shiny gold coins. The doctor gave him five million bags of small, flat drugs. He got a bit sleepy, now he is dead. Does anyone really care anymore?
6 – George Michael is touring again. Back in 2008, naughty George told us that he was done with touring and duly trotted around the globe crooning Careless Whisper for the final time, or so he said. But this year he decided that final doesn’t necessarily mean final, and so has embarked on his Symphonica tour. When he said ‘final’, he meant his final ordinary tour you see – Symphonica sees him perform with an orchestra. Very different.
5 – Lady GaGa. 2011 was the year the GaGa upped the pop ante, spinning, vomiting glitter and eating her own heart out on her refreshed Monster’s Ball tour. Sure, Born This Way wasn’t a huge musical leap forward, but she’s still a fantastic emblem of feminism and equality. Lady GaGa, the freak’s friend, we salute you.
4 – Pop resurrections. Florence And The Machine. The Ting Tings. Kate Bush. 2011 has seen a flurry of artists return to the charts with some bang-up records and our ears are thankful for them. If only to drown out the noise of Jessie J.
3 – Hip-hop mash-ups. In the year when we lost the legendary Heavy D, the two modern giants of the genre Kanye and Jay-Z fused their flows to create stellar album Watch The Throne. Following on from Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in mammoth creativity, this was all about two men at the top of their game and more than that, both sounded like they were having a ball.
2 – Beyonce at Glastonbury. This year, the sun shone bright on Worthy Farm, but with her stunning festival-closing performance on Sunday night, Beyonce provided a ray of sunshine all of her own. Resplendent in yellow, she galloped through her back catalogue while shaking her booty with aplomb and managed to wow a Glasto crowd still bloated from Coldplay and U2. All hail Bernice.
1 – Steps reunite. Once, the charts were alive with the sound of Steps. And then – poof! – they were gone, strolling off into the reality TV and panto horizon. But then in 2011, the news that all music fans had dreamt of happened – Steps were to don their gold lame one more time and reform. A nation rejoiced and dusted off its Tragedy dance moves.