Girls Gone Wild

These red blooded women can’t keep their hands to themselves.

They say sex sells. Well sometimes you’ve just gotta give the crowd what they want which is exactly what these sexy sirens decided to do, producing some of the most eye-wateringly intimate and downright debaucherous come-hithers known to man. To celebrate the end of a cold and wet January I have whipped up this hot n’ heavy playlist which I have designed to be a non-stop sex fest. So expect some sultry hyperventilating, suggestive subtext and outright filth bound together with some of the dirtiest basslines around. It’s Britney-approved:

 

 

I’ve picked out some of the highlights from the playlist which deserve a bit of further attention. No nuns allowed:

Wynter Gordon – Dirty Talk

The perfect way to start off a steamy night in is with a cheeky bit of dirty talk. “I wanna do some dirty things to you tonight”. Ooh err! On “Dirty Talk” Wynter Gordon makes no apologies for loving sex, spending half the time naming all her favourite positions and toys. This is a song which wears it’s heart on its sleeve and celebrates everything naughty.

Further reading on How to Dirty Talk:

http://www.sexcigarsbooze.com/2010/06/how-to-talk-dirty-50-examples-that-will-make-you-blush/

Selena Gomez – Hands to Myself

No more Miss Nice Girl. The former-Disney star has lived through the drought of “A Year Without Rain” and has grown sick of waiting for her man to “Come and Get It”. On the provocative “Hands to Myself” Gomez is the wide-eyed ingenue no more, exploring the dangerous side of obsession and discovering how good it feels to be bad.

It’s feels very good apparently

Britney Spears – Gimme More

“It’s Britney Bitch”. What sexy playlist would be complete without a smidgen of Kinkney? There were so many tracks to choose from but I settled on the carnal “Gimme More” because of the way it strips sex back to its purest form. The track and video (in which the former-child star appears as a Stripney) have a raw, unfinished quality which suggests a primal, animalistic attitude towards sex. “Gimme More” also harks back to the Darkney days of 2007 when she had a trip to the barbers and came back 10 pounds lighter.

Madonna – Girl Gone Wild

“Oh, my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee
And I detest all my sins
Because I dread the loss of heaven, and the pain of hell.
But most of all because I love Thee,
And I want so badly to be good”

Some say that religion and sex are natural enemies. Not Madonna. She has forged a career of disproving this theory. After a relatively quiet period for the Queen of Pop in terms of church-bashing , she returned in style with the devilish “Girl Gone Wild”, which was released in 2012 as the second single from Madonna’s twefth studio album MDMA. It remains on of Madge’s most underappreciated dance-pop tracks and the lusts of the flesh video with Ukrainian men dancing in heels one of her most striking visuals to date. I defy you not to feel a little bit naughty after listening to “Girl Gone Wild”.

Rihanna – S&M

“Feels so good being bad”. Amen to that! Rihanna’s music had always been sexually charged but the electropop kink-fest “S&M” took it to a whole new level of nasty. On the track, which was released as the third single from her fifth album Loud, Rihanna morphs into a wanton sexbot with heavily processed vocals and a high energy club beat.

Something like this….

Moreover, in the “S&M” video Rihanna manages to do humanity the big favour of putting Perez Hilton on a leash. If only she’d left him there…

Also, “S&M” is credited with uniting two of the sexiest gals in the biz for a sexy pillow fight in this outrageously showstopping performance featuring the one and only Britney bitch!

Lady GaGa Feat. R Kelly – Do What U Want

GaGa’s ARTPOP era may have been a complete shambles but die-hard fans managed to salvage this salacious collab from the wreckage. Synthpop jam “Do What U Want” boasts one of the skankiest basslines of all time and some powerhouse vocals from GaGa and R Kelly. It never did get an official video but we were treated to this White House themed performance at the AMA awards 2013:

Janet Jackson – All Nite (Don’t Stop)

We always knew that Janet liked her bass down low but “All Nite (Don’t Stop)” took it to a whole new level of delicious depravity with a combination of seductive moans and a dirty funk bass guitar line. The hot and heavy “All Nite” underperformed on the charts after it was blacklisted in the US in the wake of controversial Superbowl Halftime show incident but it never fails to get me moving.

Also, it turns out that Nipplegate was pretty important moment in history with the Guinness Book of World Records naming Nipplegate the “most searched item in Internet history.”

Also, apparently the incident inspired YouTube to be created in 2005:

“A young software programmer at PayPal named Jawed Karim is unable to find any video of the Jackson Super Bowl performance online. Frustrated in his attempts to find footage, Karim and some friends create a venue where people can easily upload and share video. Thanks to the scandal, YouTube is born in 2005. A year later, Google purchases the site for $1.65 billion”.

Further reading: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/nipple-ripples-10-years-of-fallout-from-janet-jacksons-halftime-show-20140130#ixzz3yrI2PqLc

Sugababes – Freak Like Me

After the departure of founding member Siobhan Donaghy the Sugababes made a triumphant return in 2002 with freshly-ground vocals and a no-nonsense new attitude. Richard X-produce electrofest “Freak Like Me” shows the babes as seductive vampires ensnaring their prey and biting their way through the male population with gleeful abandon.

Disclaimer: no men were harmed in the making of the video.

Kylie Minogue – Red Blooded Woman

Coming off the back of her commercial smash album Fever Kylie decided to sex it up even more on her next record with the freaky “Red Blooded Woman”. The racy video sees the saucy siren caught in a traffic jam and dancing on a lorry. I just want to make Kylie aware that if it all goes south from now on she is more than welcome to entertain people by grinding on automobiles during gridlocks.

Kelis Feat. Nas – In Public

‘I’ll make your toes curl up and make your body scream” saved the naughtiest track on the list to last and, trust me, this one would make even the most oversexed teen raise their eyebrows. Kelis doesn’t hold back with expressing her fantasies on the almost too indecent “In Public”. The  Nas comes along and somehow manages to out-filth Kelis with his X-rated rap.

Hope that left you feeling hot under the collar and there’s plenty more to enjoy on the Girls Gone Wild Spotify Playlist. Thanks for reading and please feel free to share, like and comment. May the filth be with you.

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The Best Pop Songs of 2015: 40-21

Part 4 of my countdown of the Best Pop Songs of 2015! Remember that there are links to watch each video if you click on the song name next to its chart position:

40) Galantis – Gold Dust

Galantis always reliably produce tunes with massive sing-along choruses but they surpassed even themselves with the intense sugar rush that is “Gold Dust”. We get a soulful minute and a half long build up featuring some bewitchingly majestic vocals from Vincent Pontare before the drop has us bouncing up and down in a euphoric frenzy.

39) Hozier – Someone New

Hozier proved he was far more than a one hit wonder with this deceptively bouncy song about never being attached to one person. If you listen closely you can hear the hopelessness in his voice which is beautifully contrasted with the jaunty production. He almost fooled us this time but one thing you can guarantee with Hozier is that he’ll never be a cheery fellow. At least you know exactly what you’re getting with him.

38) Jessie Ware – You and I (Forever)

Always the class act, the third single from Jessie Ware’s second studio album Tough Love, further demonstrates her ability to enchant the listener with her soulful vocals and engaging lyrics. On “You and I (Forever)”  she furthers her exploration into matters of the heart but this time, thankfully, she seems all loved up.

37) Troye Sivan – Wild

If you haven’t already heard of Troye Sivan, you’re soon will have. Tipped for big things in 2016, this 20-year old Johannesburg native is already one of YouTube’s biggest stars with 3.6 million subscribers and he has his eye firmly set on being the next big noise in music. He released his debut full length album Blue Neighbourhood this December, peaking top ten in Australia and the US. Lead single “Wild” is a surprisingly mature ode to forbidden love which explores the too often underrated dream pop genre.

36) Disclosure Feat. Lorde – Magnets

Lorde is just keeping us ticking over quietly until her next full length project with tidbits of mind-blowing singles. “Magnets” is one of her finest productions to date, depicting her as a lethal femme fatale who has been hired by a scored woman to punish her philandering lover. Never ones to be outdone, Disclosure threw a lot of production tricks into this one, making this collaboration one of the freshest and most exciting of the year.

35) Carly Rae Jepsen – Your Type

On an album chock full of pop treats, “Your Type” stands out as Carly’s most clever and moving song to date. It’s all very Robyn-esque which is never a bad thing. In fact, many critics have liked “Your Type” to Robyn’s fantastic “Dancing on My Own”. Indeed, they do both share upbeat electropop production which conceals their truly heart wrenching lyrics about unrequited love. However, “Your Type” is much softer and more relatable making it the superior track.

34) KDA Feat. Tinie Tempah and Katy B – Turn the Music Louder

It’s always great to hear new music from the ever elegant Katy B and this time I’ll even overlook Tinie’s cheesy raps as they provide the perfect contrast to Katy’s power soul vocals. This 90’s inspired-house track has us all cranking up the volume in 2015.

33) Justin Bieber – Sorry

Bieber continued his all-dominating streak with this tropical house- influenced apology which saw him knocking Adele off the number one spot in the UK. Sorry Adele! Many see this track as Bieber’s apology for his shocking behaviour over the past couple of years. It just goes to show that all is forgiven as long as you make good music.

32) Selena Gomez – Good For You

Selena has always been a bit of a sex kitten, but this hot ‘n’ spicy had us all hot under the collar. It’s great to see that Selena is adding more subtleties and nuances to her music which allows her to stand tall among other current R&B artists. She manages to restrain herself in both her delivery and lyricism which demonstrates just how much the former-Disney starlet has grown up. Those days seem long, long ago now.

31) Ed Sheeran Feat. Rudimental – Bloodstream

Ed Sheeran’s “Bloodstream” was already one of my favourite tracks off X and Rudimental’s subtle additions to the single version elevated it the stratosphere. The addition of the drum and bass to the chorus is genius and really matches the lyrical themes of the song. An example of a remix done spectacularly right.

30) Karen Harding – Say Something

This soulful deep house banger came from an extremely unlikely source. Karen Harding first became known on the X Factor UK but didn’t even make it to the final 12. Now it seems like the extra creative room and time to breathe has done her the world of good. “Say Something” is a statement of a first single which rightfully scored Harding her first UK top ten single.

29) Tove Lo – Talking Body

Rihanna may not have done much this year (where is the elusive Anti I ask you), but her many imitators kept us going all throughout the year. Tove Lo is, of course, much more than you’re average copycat but the production on “Talking Body” is very reminiscent of Rihanna jams and would fit very nearly amid her cannon. Having said that, “Talking Body” is a surprising layered pop song which features more hooks than a pirate convention and, most importantly, it is miles better than the crass “Bitch Better Have My Money”.

28) Calvin Harris & Disciples – How Deep Is Your Love

After finishing up with his latest album Motion Calvin decided a change of tack was in order for his next project. “How Deep Is Your Love” is the Scottish DJ’s first foray into deep house but hopefully not his last as it works supremely on every single level. Norwegian singer Ina Wroldsen’s playful, taunting vocals glide over thumping house beats to create one of the freshest, on trend singles of 2015.

27) Ed Sheeran – Photograph

Upon my first listen to X, “Photograph” immediately stood out as the most beautiful and personal track on the entire album. A gentle and delicate ballad “Photograph” was reportedly inspired by Sheeran’s romance with fellow singer songwriter Nina Nesbitt with whom he shared a long-distance relationship.

26) Adam Lambert – Ghost Town

I always felt Adam Lambert had bags of potential but never the quality of material to match it. That was until his gloriously ghoulish comeback this year with the minimal witch house “Ghost Town”. Adam has always conveyed personality to his music, but he’s always seemed like more of a caricature to me, probably due to his over-exuberant nature. But this time he pitched it perfectly, incorporating all the best of his charisma into the frightfully good “Ghost Town”

25) Calvin Harris Feat. HAIM – Pray to God

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: HAIM have the best harmonies in pop. Their 70’s-inspired sound never fails to put a smile on my face and I was delighted to see that they have remained true to this style in the face of dance heavyweight Calvin Harris. “Pray to God” is dripping with drama and staccato vocals, both which are only enhanced by Harris’ magic touch.

24) Alesso Feat. Tove Lo – Heroes (We Could Be)

Possibly THE hands-in-the-air anthem of 2015, Alesso enlisted Sweden’s current darling Tove Lo’s help for this David-Bowie song reworking. “Heroes” may have been released in January but its intoxicating joyfulness continued well into festival season and beyond.

23) Petite Meller – Baby Love

I love a good new artist and Petite Meller was one of the most exciting discoveries of 2015. The piano-driven “Baby Love” was suitably idiosyncratic and quirky for the French born singer. Her music is surprisingly sexy for someone who looks like am overgrown doll come to life but therein lies the uniqueness of it all. I can’t wait to see what she does in 2016.

22) Madonna – Ghosttown

Madonna’s Rebel Heart excelled for its ballads and “Ghosttown” was the best of the lot. This post-apocalyptic love letter has been lauded by critics alike as her best single for decades and with good reason. Rarely has Madge sounded so sincere and engaged with her music. She has never been the best vocalist but her voice sounds beautiful here. Sure it wasn’t the biggest hit, but keep it up Madonna.

21) Sia – Elastic Heart

“Elastic Heart” is a stunningly well produced single with some of the most personal and effective lyrics of 2015 which manage to succeed in creating an emotional connection without one iota of mushiness. The controversial video to “Elastic Heart” featuring Madie Ziegler and Sia LaBeouf may have been ridden with claims of paedophilia but it still managed to finish the year as the 8th most viewed video on YouTube.

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment and share.

You can also listen to all the tracks on The Best Pop Songs of 2015 playlist:

spotify:user:1151803087:playlist:7fcwgDNbrmE4WWjkoRYAo1

The Best Pop Songs of 2015: 80-61

Welcome to the second part of Diary of a Pop Fan’s Best Pop Songs of 2015 list. Let’s kick things off with a nice bit of soulful balladeering from Will Young shall we:

80) Will Young – Like A River

“Like A River” may not have been an official single from Will Young’s sixth studio effort 85% Proof but it was certainly the most beautifully understated track on the whole album.  I do love it when songs refuses to follow a traditional verse-chorus structure and on “Like A River” it only helps to intensify the drama on this smoldering, classy production

79) Cheryl – Only Human

Cheryl has produced some thumping good pop tunes over the years but ballads have never been her strong suit…until now. “Only Human” is the title track from Cheryl’s fourth studio album and her most personal effort to date. The Imogen Heap-esque ballad sees the Geordie songstress’ voice layered in vocoder in a not-unlike-Cher cerca 1998 fashion and, interestingly, she has never sounded more sincere.

78) Galantis – Peanut Butter Jelly 

For the fourth single from their debut full length album Pharmacy the Swedish newcomers decided to go disco. As a result, “Peanut Butter Jelly” is one of the most explosive and feel good tunes of the year and it stood out on the radio for all the right reasons.

77) DJ Snake & AlunaGeorge – You Know You Like It

DJ Snake’s remix of London duo AlunaGeorge’s debut single breathed new life into the track, making it an international hit and a radio staple all throughout the summer. Like it or not, there was no getting away from that infectious hiccuping beat in 2015.

76) Zedd Feat. Selena Gomez – I Want You to Know

“I Want You to Know” may be a little by numbers but sometimes there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. This euphoric, joyous pop delicacy comes courtesy of two stars at the top of their respective games and you’d better believe that no one was complaining this pairing.

75) Nicky Jam Feat. Enrique Iglesias – El Perdón

Following on from 2014’s hip-swivelling “Bailando”, Enrique was at it again this year, yet again producing what is undoubtedly THE Spanish language hit of 2015, . “El Perdon” was literally inescapable all summer long.

74) Sara Bareilles – She Used to Be Mine

One of 2015’s most random pop albums came from an unlikely source. Sara Bareilles’ fifth studio album What’s Inside: Songs from Waitress actually serves as the soundtrack to the stage adaption of the 2007 Adrienne Shelly film Waitress and lead single “She Used to Be Mine” perfectly encapsulates the main plot in one beautiful, vulnerable four and a half minute song.

73) Ariana Grande – One Last Time

Grande’s My Everything album was chock full of big tunes but for her fourth single she chose to take it down a notch with mid-tempo EDM ballad “One Last Time”. The production is flawless but it’s Grande’s angelic vocals which take centre stage here.

72) Robin Schulz Feat. Ilsey – Headlights

German producer Robin Schulz followed up a stellar 2014 with more entrancing deep house offerings this year. “Headlights”, the first single from his second studio album Sugar and focuses heavily on Isley’s ethereal, soaring vocals.

71) The Weeknd – The Hills

The Weeknd kept surprising us throughout 2015 and “The Hills” is a prime example of why he is one of the freshest things in pop right now. The spooky track somehow manages to combine hammer horror style screams with The Weeknd’s silky falsetto to create a something truly original and not to mention sexy.

70) Enya – Even In the Shadows

Irish songbird Enya is one of the biggest selling artists ever, having sold an estimated 80 million albums worldwide. After a lengthy 7 year absence, Enya returned this winter with her eight studio album Dark Sky Island which was met with universal praise and returned her to the top 10 across the globe. “Even In the Shadows” is shining example of Enya’s ability to transport the listener to another world and fits neatly into her already existing opus.

69) David Guetta Feat. Afrojack, Nicki Minaj & Bebe Rexha – Hey Mama

We always knew that an Afrojack and David Guetta hook up would be explosive but this four way tag team power tune far exceeded expectations. Tribal wailing never sounded this good!

68) One Direction – Drag Me Down

Among the slew of tears following One Direction’s announcement that they were going on hiatus appeared some of the boyband’s finest work. Made in the AM shakes off the faux rock shtick found  on Midnight Memories and Four in favour of full throttle pop anthems, the best of which is the irresistible lead single “Drag Me Down”.

67) Avicii – Waiting For Love

When I first heard this, I could have sworn it was Chris Martin singing on the track, but it turned out to be Simon Aldred from Cherry Ghost doing his best Martin impression. But once I got over that “Waiting for Love” turned out to be one of Avicii’s finest productions to date and features what is probably his stickiest synth line. Delectable.

66) Years and Years – Shine

This 80’s inspired piece of synthpop ensured that the London electronica trio had longevity past their Spring smash hit “King”. Once that huge chorus kicks in you soon fall under “Shine’s” spell and by the time the breakdown comes around, you’ll be begging for more.

65) OMI – Cheerleader (Felix Jaehn Remix)

Summer 2015’s most ubiquitous tune and one of the highest selling singles of the year. The insanely catchy sax loop on this track just drills into your brain and refuses to let go.

64) Mørland & Debrah Scarlett – A Monster Like Me

Norway has been knocking it out of the park the last couple of years in Eurovision but this year they surpassed themselves. “A Monster Like Me” is an intelligent, brooding classic ballad which boasts some of 2015’s most stellar harmonies. Sadly, the Eurovision 3 minute rule  does this haunting masterpiece an injustice. I could have done with another 2 minutes at least!

63) Iggy Azalea Feat. Jennifer Hudson – Trouble

This jaunty piano jam continued Iggy’s chart dominance into 2015. Her slick, punchy verses marry well with Jennifer’s sassy, soulful choruses. It’s good to hear good ol’ Hudders on the radio again after a series of recent flops.

62) Madonna – Joan of Arc

Not the best year for Madonna by any stretch of the imagination. Her comeback album Rebel Heart may have been a tad patchy but, when it was good, it was very good and “Joan of Arc” is a prime example of this. It’s one of Madonna’s most autobiographical songs and affords us a rare glimpse of vulnerability from the material girl.

61) Leona Lewis – Thunder

After breaking free from the gilded cage that was Simon Cowell’s record label, a newly liberated Leona Lewis burst free from her shackles and made a glorious comeback with this fighter anthem. She may have gone through the wringer to get to this point, but her music is all the better for it.

 

Thank you for reading and feel free to comment and share.

You can also listen to all the tracks on The Best Pop Songs of 2015 playlist:

spotify:user:1151803087:playlist:7fcwgDNbrmE4WWjkoRYAo1

The Top 20 Songs of 2015 So Far – The Conclusion

The final part of my 2015 countdown of the best songs from January until June:

20) Skrillex Feat. Diplo and Justin Bieber – Where are U Now

“Where Are U Now” is without a doubt one of the least likely collaborations ever but just serves to show that anyone is redeemable, even the notoriously annoying Bieber. It’s is definitely one of the most interesting songs released this year and for that we have to give some kudos to the Canadian popstar, even though I suspect it has more to do with Diplo…

19) Olly Murs Feat. Demi Lovato – Up

olly murs demi lovato up

I really don’t know how Olly Murs does it. By all rights he should be washed up by now like so many X Factor contestants who got a bit of success after the show and then realised it wasn’t a lifetime gig (Shayne Ward, Alexandra Burke, JLS, Cher Lloyd….poor things). But somehow he has managed to keep plugging away producing chart topping albums and quality singles. His story has been one of quiet success, rather than the furore surrounding One Direction right now or Leona Lewis when she first came out. And that, my friends, is the secret to longevity. “Up” is the second single from Murs fourth (already??!!!) album Never Been Better and, seeing as the hits keep coming, it does really seem that the only way is up.

18) Madonna – Ghosttown

ghosttown madonna

Another quality Madonna single doomed to fade into obscurity due to the disaster that has been the Rebel Heart era. Madonna’s vocals have never sounded better or more emotive than on “Ghosttown”. It has even drawn comparisons with the legendary vocalist Karen Carpenter. It’s just a shame that it failed to make an impact on the UK or US singles charts. A lot of crap does. The video for “Ghosttown” had the right idea but Madge definitely went a bit too far with the melodrama, rendering it practically unwatchable. Sigh…

17) Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth – See You Again

wiz khalifa charlie puth see you again

It’s songs like this and Pharrell’s “Happy” that make me wish that radio didn’t exist. Every time I hear this song on the radio now I have to switch it off which is a massive shame because, actually, I remember hearing this song for the first time and liking it a lot. It’s just radio has used and abused this single which has made it impossible for me to place it higher on my list. It’s also a wee bit overrated. It’s a good song but not good enough to be No.1 for weeks and weeks and weeks. “Uptown Funk” was that good. Still, it remains a lovely blend of soulful vocal matched perfectly with gritty rap lyrics. Gotta take the rough with the smooth.

16) Taylor Swift Feat. Kendrick Lamar – Bad Blood

taylor swift kendrick lamar bad blood

Swift’s star-studded video for “Bad Blood” not only proved her celeb pulling power, but also ensured her another smash single off her already classic fifth album 1989. The remixed version featuring Kendrick Lamar improves the original’s production and adds some killer rap sections. The result is a brutal, stadium-ready war cry which features some of Swfit’s best lyrics to date. “Band aids don’t fix bullet holes”. Indeed.

15) Tove Lo – Talking Body

tove lo talking body queen of the clouds

This is just one of those songs that makes you feel all dirty and sexy. Tove had already established as a force to be reckoned with, producing the global smash “Stay High (Habits)” last year and lending vocals to Alesso’s “Heroes”, but “Talking Body” was her make or break single. And boy did it make. It’s reminiscent of Rihanna at her best in that both singers surround themselves with a dark, brooding persona of party girl gone wild. Tove’s ascendance to the clouds has already begun.

14) Echosmith – Cool Kids

cool kids echosmith

Sorry Americans, you may be wondering why this song is included in a best of list from 2015 and not 2014, well it’s because this song hit the UK a bit late I’m afraid. We only just got it at the start of this year but we love it a lot too so I had to include it on this list. For me, the magic of “Cool Kids” special quality lies in the fact that it takes you back to high school (unless you’re still there) where you were insecure and just wishing to be someone else. It taps into those old feelings which is a powerful feat for a little ditty about being cool. The melody is also tremendously catchy with some interesting instrumental choices. Does the lead singer’s voice sound a bit like Katy Perry to anyone else or is it just me? And she looks a bit like Anna Kendrick.

13) Calvin Harris Feat. HAIM – Pray to God

haim calvin harris pray to god

No-one seems to love this song as much as I do so I compromised and put it further down the list than I would have it. Please guys tell me why this was not a worldwide smash? The HAIM sisters are devilishly delicious as satanic enchantresses in the striking video. This is without a doubt one of Harris’ most satisfying drops and the sister’s to-die-for harmonies are reminiscent of Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac fame. What’s not to like? Maybe I’m just partial to a good bit of witchiness.

12) James Bay – Hold Back the River

james bay hold back the river

James Bay has timed his ascendance to pop stardom to perfection. Just as last year’s golden boys Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith and George Ezra were winding up their album campaigns he decided to launch into the pop-o-sphere. Flooding the radio waves “Hold Back the River” is a masterclass in understated, contemplative pop. From the quiet, restrained beginning “River” builds and builds with the drama of a Celine Dion power ballad (but with much more attitude) until it becomes a powerful maelstrom of emotional turmoil. James Bay conveys such emotion with his voice that you cannot help but be moved.

11) Taylor Swift – Style

taylor swift style song

Taylor Swift is just a goddess. She has cemented her place as the top female in music right now with her current album 1989 which is full to the brim with genius hooks and playful lyrics. “Style” is one of the more superior cuts of this already superior album. It may have failed to match the success of the Billboard number ones “Shake It Off”, “Blank Space” and “Bad Blood”, only peaking at No.6 in the US, but it is just as good as any of them. It’s more subtle and less in your face, which means that it takes longer to grow on you but, when it does, it never goes out of your head.

10) Sia – Elastic Heart

elastic heart sia shia le boeuf

I had all but given up on Sia releasing another single from 1000 Forms of Fear. It seemed that she forgotten about the album after the release of “Chandelier”, despite the single’s overwhelming success. But lo and behold the unpredictable, fame-shy Sia dropped a bomb of a video on us early in 2015!

Sia is the whole package, even if she doesn’t know it. She’s got the knack for writing intelligent, sensitive lyrics and to inspire without being cheesy. It’s the vulnerability, combined with the powerful vocal that really . It seems at points that her voice is cracking, but then it soars. She is truly one of the great vocalists of our time and when the production quality matches the quality of her songwriting and voice, she is unstoppable. And Shia LeBeuf…What was that all about?

9) Galantis – Runaway (U & I)

galantis runaway u and I

Galantis are one of those bands that have been hanging around on the periphery for a while on the cusp of stardom, searching for that big breakthrough hit. Well, they sure found that. “Runaway” is bold, brash and in your face. It’s no wonder it’s been making massive waves in the UK, where it has already peaked in the top 5. Released just in time for festival season, this is definitely one you’ll be hearing all summer.

8) Kygo Feat. Parson James – Stole the Show

kygo parson james stole the show

Kygo is fast becoming one of the premier DJs in the world and a lot of the praise should be heaped upon this stellar collab between the Norwegian and singer Parson James. Anything with panpipes is just guaranteed to win me over but when it also has a drop like this and passionate lyrics there is literally no escape. There is something ethereal and even sad about the track. It’s another big hit for the unstoppable Norwegian.

7) Years and Years – King

years and years king

Dance floor ready and box fresh Years and Years are one of the biggest revelations of 2015. Despite achieving chart success with previous single “Desire”, it was “King” which proved to be their big breakthrough, peaking at No.1 in the UK in its debut week and selling over 100,000 copies. The effortless, soaring vocals are definitely enough to capture your attention but it’s the nuanced production that really makes “King” a winner.

6) Jess Glynne – Hold My Hand

hold my hand jess glynne i cry when i laugh

Not satisfied with her two previous number one singles with Route 94 and Clean Bandit, Jess Glynne concocted a formula to invade our brains all by herself this time. Just as Meghan Trainor is all about the bass, Glynne’s “Hold My Hand” is all about the voice which she uses to great effect on the track. Each line of the verses starts goes from low to high which Glynne navigates deftly and with joyous aplomb. This is her vocal tour de force and her muscled voice is the star of the show. Anticipation could not be higher for her debut album coming out in August I Cry When I Laugh.

5) Omi – Cheerleader

omi felix jaehn cheerleader

Here’s a piece of advice for every wannabe popstar out there. If you ever want to have a sure fire hit in 2015 just add a bit of trumpet or sax to your track on a loop and bobs your uncle. You have a hit on your hands. I’ve seen it time and time again with Cheryl’s “Crazy Stupid Love” and Faul’s “Changes” to name but a few! Poised to one of the biggest tunes of the year, the bright and breezy “Cheerleader” is a breath of fresh air and one to be turned up to the max while riding in a drop top down an endless road with your friends.

4) Alesso Feat. Tove Lo – Heroes

tove lo alesso heroes

Alesso’s remake of David Bowie’s now classic “Heroes” may have stripped the original of all its pithy irony, but it more than makes up for it with its uplifting message pushed to infinity by Tove Lo’s soaring vocals. The song emanates a pure and beautifully exuberant naivety together with an youthful innocence. This is one for the festivals and I can see 100,000 “heroes” bouncing up and down in harmony all summer long.

3) Major Lazer Feat. DJ Snake and MO – Lean On

major lazer dj snake mo lean on

This has already been one of the biggest songs of the summer, nay of the year. It has taken over the UK completely and mercilessly, monopolising radio play and peaking at No.2. It is also fast scaling the US charts, nestling nicely into the top 10 already. Why you ask? Well it’s because by fusing reggae and dance music Major Lazer has created a completely unique sound which has struck a chord all around the world and has turned into a formidable epidemic. It was played about 500 times at Ultra Europe festival this year.

2) Ellie Goulding – Love Me Like You Do

 

Ellie Goulding has gone from strength to strength ever since her debut single “Starry Eyed” introduced us to her ethereal, magical voice. Time and time again she has proved herself to be capable of musical greatness, even managing to conquer the American market, which is no mean feat for British artists. Unlike some of her contemporaries, Goulding deftly avoids pandering to the sex crazed teen market who above all else crave flesh shows (Rihanna, Shakira, Tove Lo etc.). Let me just say that there is nothing wrong with this. Everyone loves a bit of Shakira. But it’s just not Ellie’s style that’s all. On the whole, it’s probably a smart move. Goulding clearly has her sights set on career longevity and she is definitely going the right way about it. Her brand of mystical, vulnerable pop falls somewhere manages to appeal to everyone which is exactly what makes her one of the biggest popstars on the planet right now. “Love Me Like You Do” came out of the blue at the beginning of this year and immediately shot to the top of the UK single charts, retaining this positions for a massive 4 weeks and becoming a constant fixture on mainstream radio. Of course, the song’s place in the 50 Shades of Grey film soundtrack did nothing to harm its commercial appeal, but it definitely would have been a big hit either way. Ellie is a force of nature.

1) Kygo Feat. Conrad – Firestone

kygo conrad firestone

I remember there was a time when dance music did nothing for me. Good for a quick sweaty dance but it left me feeling cold afterwards (literally and physically!). The sentiments just weren’t there like in a good emotional pop song (Whitney and Mariah come to mind). But over the past five years dance music has had an injection of life. Somewhere along the line dance music got its soul back and nowhere is this more present than on Kygo’s recent smash “Firestone”. I had liked Kygo for a while before “Firestone”, which is, to all intents and purposes, his debut single, but by far from his first production. He has a chilled out style which stands out amongst the David Guettas and Afrojacks. “Firestone” was the moment when Kygo went from an underground artist to the next biggest thing. There’s something magical about the feather-light piano line and breezy vocals provided by Australian singer Conrad Sewell. Everything is just effortlessly comes together to create a truly inspirational, beautiful song.

Thank you for reading and feel free to leave any comments or suggestions. I love hearing from you!

The Best Songs of 2015 So Far – Part 1

I love this part. It’s that time when I countdown the best songs of the first half of the year. There have been some corkers! Bear in mind that this list only goes up to the end of June so some of your July faves might be missing. That’s for the December second half. Here goes:

55) Kodaline – The One

Kodaline the one

Yeah I know Kodaline are a bit meh. They’re the personification of white bread and most of their music has all the life of a rotting corpse (I thought Irish people were supposed to have some fight in them…) However, once every album, as with “High Hopes” from …In a Perfect World, Kodaline produce an inspirational track that warrants a second glance. It seems that “The One” will be their “special song” from their latest album Coming Up for Air, which honestly is a whole lot of bland nothingness for the most part. The album itself has received a frostier reception than the last which suggests that people are getting bored of being bored and “The One” only managed to crawl into the UK top 40 at a muted No.27. However, I actually feel that “The One” deserves a bit more than that. It takes a few listens but its simple and inspirational message does eventually hit the spot, demonstrating that, despite their overall mediocrity, Kodaline do have something special about them.

54) Clean Bandit – Stronger

clean bandit stronger

New Eyes, Clean Bandit’s debut album, is just the gift that keeps on giving. “Stronger” is the 8th single overall from the album and the 2nd from the winter 2014 reissue. This includes one massive number one in the form of the megahit “Rather Be”, three top five hits “Real Love”, “Extraordinary”, “Stronger”.  It’s a wonder it isn’t the biggest bloody album ever! “Stronger” just adds to the group’s status as one of the biggest dance bands in the UK right now. It sticks out like a sore thumb on the radio in the best possible way as it certainly doesn’t sound remotely like anything else in the charts right now, which can only be a good thing.

53) Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Riverman

Noel Gallagher's high flying birds riverman

I didn’t even bother listening to any of Noel Gallagher’s band’s first album for many reasons:

– I was still upset Oasis had broken up.

– The band’s name is utterly idiotic. I mean who calls their band “high flying birds”. What does that even mean?

– I was sick to death of his sheer douchebaggedness (I coin this word for Diary of a Pop Fan).

But now I’m actually regretting it as the few songs that I’ve heard from his latest album are actually quite good. “Riverman” is definitely a highlight for me. It’s unpretentious, timeless and full of individual character. The lyrics are given space to breathe as the relaxed guitar chords and brass wash over the listener. I’m full team Noel now!

52) Madonna – Living For Love

madonna living for love

It’s unfortunate but when I think of this song I can’t help replaying Madonna’s disastrous Brit Awards fall over and over in my head. The memes are just so funny it’s hard to resist. If you haven’t seen it, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?!! Check it out and let the mirth spiral forth:

There’s also a “This is Sparta” version which is a must see:

So now we’ve got that unfortunate incident out of the way, we can move on to other issues. The marketing was weird. Too purposely provocative. The song has nothing to with bullfighting but she inexplicably decided to dress as a matador for the song’s video as some kind of protest. Keep out of it Madge! The promo was also marred by the songs early leak which led to its low chart positions around the world. Without a big lead single, the album underperformed and Madonna chose to lower herself to cheap gimmicks such as flashing her bum at the 2015 Grammy awards. I mean really… how the Queen has fallen.

The whole thing is a massive crying shame as Rebel Heart is actually her best album in a decade. There are still a few absolute stinkers on it but the good definitely outweighs the bad in this case. Unfortunately that means that Madonna has had two flop-ish (for her standards) albums in a row now, after the atrocity that was MDNA. How many more can she afford?

51) Becky G – Can’t Stop Dancing

becky g cant stop dancing

Becky definitely released this song in the wrong season. Instead of winter, she should have timed this for summer release as it is one of those irrepressible Latino influenced tracks that you tend to hear on your holidays in Spain all summer long. She kind of missed that boat. Either way, she managed to brighten up my January and simultaneously show her diversity. By the way, doesn’t she sound (and even look) a bit like Selena Gomez in this video?

50) Ariana Grande – One Last Time

ariana grande one last time

Grande can do no wrong right now. Her album “My Everything” is proving to be a greatest hits all of its own, churning out smash after smash. Every song could be a potential single, which is reminiscent of Rihanna’s Loud or Good Girl Gone Bad albums before she got kooky and experimental. “One Last Time” is the latest in a line of top tunes which could have easily been released as the first single from My Everything. Ariana’s vocals soar to unimaginable heights and the drum beat rhythm lends the whole song a furious pace. As end of the world jams go, it’s definitely up there with Britney’s “Till the World Ends”.

49) Rihanna Feat. Kanye West and Paul McCartney – Four Five Seconds

Rihanna Feat. Kanye West and Paul McCartney – Four Five Seconds

Believe me, I was excited as anyone about Rihanna’s return to music. I was expecting a glittering, glamourous “We Found Love”-esque anthem, or at least something of “Diamonds” standard. However, when I heard she was going a bit more folksy I was ready to embrace the new direction too. But what the hell is “FourFiveSeconds”. Yelpy vocals that make your ears split. Awkward lyrics such as “I’m about to spazz” (Thanks Kanye….) and what the hell is “wildin’”. What does that even mean!? Also, the pointless feature by Paul McCartney. He adds absolutely zero, except a little bit of credibility. The whole thing is a faux attempt to seem deep and meaningful when if you actually listen to the lyrics it means nothing! I wish she would stay how she was because at least then she knew she was singing about nothing. Plus, we all know it would be better without Kanye. Everything is better without Kanye…

However, the chorus is undeniably catchy and it has been a massive hit throughout the world so I have included it on the list to keep the mobs with pitchforks at bay. Let’s hope RiRi has something better up her sleeve than this (hint: “Bitch Better Have My Money” will no do…)

48) Nicki Minaj feat. Skylar Grey – Bed of Lies

Nicki minaj skylar grey bed of lies

This song is music to my ears, both physically and metaphorically. The blend of Skylar’s sweeter than candy hook and Minaj’s gritty rap is pitch perfect and the message of the song also strikes a chord. Minaj may be a very polarising character but she is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with when it comes to making accomplished pop songs.

47) Sigma Feat. Labrinth – Higher

sigma labrinth higher

What is love? An eternal question and one which British drum ‘n’ bass group Sigma address on their latest smash “Higher”. Starting with a tribal chanting “Higher” lives up to its name, rising into a soaring, drama-soaked chorus which leaves you thirsting for more even after it fades out.

46) The Weeknd- Earned It

The Weeknd Earned it

Some creative instrumentation affords this breakout hit by the Weeknd endless, oozing drama and sensuality. His voice sounds like melting chocolate and is ten times as sinful. Overall, the whole song gives the impression of a night out at the opera with a fabulous Bond-esque femme fatale on your arm. I think the Weeknd should be commissioned to do the next Bond soundtrack after this, if Adele’s unavailable to do it again of course.

45) Ella Eyre – Together

ella eyre together

Ella Ella Ella. How do you solve a problem like Ella? She has all the ingredients of a popstar: the diva attitude, the big voice, the big hair. She could be a global star of Beyonce proportions but has yet to produce a top ten hit on her own. Of course she has had massive hits such as “Gravity” and “Waiting All Night” with other artists. She is the go-to-girl for collabs you might say, but that’s not enough. In order to carry an album on her own she needs to produce her own big hit single. So far not so good, her debut “Deeper” crawled into the top 75 and all subsequent singles have been top 20 hits which just missed out on the top 10 and quickly dropped away. In short, she needs a big radio hit. She has the quality tunes but it seems that something isn’t clicking. It seems that her debut album Feline is coming out in August so it seems that after “Together” she will have one more big single opportunity which will undoubtedly be make or break for the album. Let’s hope she gets that hit because, in the words of Ella herself, we are more TOGETHEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRR!

44) DJ Fresh feat. Ella Eyre – Gravity

dj fresh ella eyre gravity

This girl again! We should change her name to Ella everyw-Eyre!! (sorry…I couldn’t help it). Now this tune was a genuine No.4 smash for the London-born Beyonce usurper. How come she can’t do this on her own? I don’t get it. Anyway, on “Gravity” DJ Fresh takes full advantage of Eyre’s impressive pipes, basically getting her to holler the songs title on repeat for three minutes. Now you can’t really go wrong with that can you?

43) Florence and the Machine – What Kind of Man

Florence and the machine what kind of man

This was something of a notable departure for the flame haired songstress, “What Kind of Man” features a strong guitar line throughout. It takes a while to get going which is the only criticism but once it does…now that’s what I call intensity. Hell hath no fury like a woman scored has never been more appropriate a phrase. It just makes it seem even more ironic that Florence’s new album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful was marketed as a stripped down, more subtle effort. I can confirm that that was a whole load of rubbish. But who cares. You don’t go to Florence for a quiet chill.

42) Walk the Moon – Shut Up and Dance

walk the moon shut up and dance

Right from the first beat “Shut Up and Dance” is loud, bold and chaotic and it never really stops until the last bar. This guitar driven piece of fun-filled pop is the perfect remedy to all the dance hits which have been dominating the charts. There is nothing wrong with them at all! But it’s nice to have the variety and Walk the Moon’s debut single fits into that category rather snugly.

41) Zedd feat. Selena Gomez – I Want You to Know

zedd selena gomez i want you to know

A welcome return for Zedd and a high profile collab with one of the biggest names in pop right now. “I Want You to Know” is one of Zedd’s poppiest efforts but does feature a killer bassline hook which is ideal for fist pumping (I can confirm that from personal experience at Ultra Europe). Lots of lovely floaty imagery as well with the lyrics like “you and me bleed the same light”. Summer euphoria.

Thanks for reading and tune in for the next part! Coming soon.

Feel free to leave any comments.