Top 11 pop singles of 2011

best pop songs of 2011

As 2011 comes to a close, it’s time to do another countdown.

This year, I’ve had a hard time deciding on just 10 singles, so I opted to list 11. (It’s one of the perks of having your own blog — you get to change the rules anytime you want.)  I thought the number 11 is perfect anyway since this is for the year 2011.

Without further ado, here are my choice for the top 11 pop singles of the year and a little explanation of why they made the list:

11. Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F) – Katy Perry

A mindless affair, “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)” is a fun song that only Katy Perry could have delivered. The chart-topper may have employed some sketchy tactics to tie Michael Jackson’s record on Billboard Top 100 this year, but you can’t deny that she gave us the most infectious songs ever.

The star-filled video — which featured appearances by Kenny G, Glee‘s Darren Criss, and the infamous Rebecca Black — may or may have helped solidify this song’s status as a pop earworm.

Lady Gaga - You and I video

10. You & I – Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga had an underwhelming year (she’s really starting to get boring), but she is still capable of delivering good music when it counts. “You and I” is one of the rare Gaga ballads; it also happens to be one of her most honest singles to date.

The glorious visuals for “You and I” help elevate the song.

Kelly Clarkson - Mr. Know It All

9. Mr. Know It All – Kelly Clarkson

A sleeper hit, “Mr. Know It All” eventually managed to top the Hot AC chart in the US and to enter top 10 on the Billboard charts. This sassy single doesn’t have the immediate impact that “My Life Would Suck Without U” or “Since U Been Gone” had, but it’s the type of song that creeps up on you and becomes your next fave thing. Kelly Clarkson looks stunning in the video.

8. Pumped up kicks – Foster the People

I was a little late in discovering this song, but once I’ve heard it performed on Saturday Night Live, I immediately fell in love with it. The retro-tinged beat, the almost incomprehensible verses, and the catchy chorus make for a fun song. The question now is, can Foster the People maintain the momentum, or will they remain an indie gem?

7. It Will Rain – Bruno Mars

It’s no secret that the Twilight franchise does not produce Oscar-worthy movies.  But it’s hard to deny that the franchise’s soundtrack is always on point.

For the “Breaking Dawn” movie, they got Bruno Mars to write the lead single — the result is a haunting, R&B-tinged affair. Just like many Bruno Mars songs, “It Will Rain” boasts a heavy beat, strong vocals, and tight melodies.

6. Edge of Glory – Lady Gaga

Arguably Lady Gaga‘s best song to date, “Edge of Glory” employs the pop star’s craziness while also showcasing her exceptional vocals and good writing abilities. The song might be a tad too long for pop radio (it runs past 5 minutes), but it’s all worth it.

The resounding chorus makes you want to sing your heart out, while the sickening sax solo makes you want to close your eyes and thump your chest Celine Dion-style. Cheap video aside, “Edge of Glory” is pop perfection.

5. ‘Till the world ends – Britney Spears

If apocalypse had a theme song, it would be “Till The World Ends”. The song’s “Whoa-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho”s will make you want to do a few fist pumps, and maybe even jump as if it really is the end of the world. Here, Britney Spears brings us the perfect marriage of pop, dubstep, and dance. If the world indeed ends in 2012, I’d like to be listening to this song as it happens.

4. Love on Top – Beyoncé

The number 4 is especial to Beyoncé, so it’s a curious coincidence that I’ve ranked this as the fourth best pop single of 2011. The album 4 may not have been the big hit Beyoncé fans were expecting it to be, but you can’t deny that it had some amazing song.

“Love on Top” is the perfect song for Beyoncé right now — it’s happy, breezy, and light. The video is pretty standard (as are many Beyoncé videos these days), but it kinda captured the mood of the song. The amazing VMA performance — and the mind-blowing baby announcement after — makes this already an iconic song for Mrs. Carter.

ADELE - 21

3. Someone Like You – Adele

Adele‘s tear jerker is a nice ballad, but it really was the live performances that took this song to the next level. Adele’s big voice is so rich that all she really needed was a piano to deliver this song.

In a year when starlets tried to up their antics, the simplicity of Adele’s music was a much needed break. “Someone Like You” is bound to be a karaoke classic forever.

2. Rolling In the Deep – Adele

The official break up song of 2011, “Rolling In The Deep” is a rousing song that highlighted Adele‘s soaring vocals. The best part? “Rolling In The Deep” does not sound like any other songs being played by pop radio right now. An absolute perfection, the song’s live versions are a total crowd-pleaser, as Adele’s “Live at Royal Albert Hall” DVD perfectly captures.


1. We Found Love – Rihanna

The one word that describes this song well is happiness. “We Found Love” captures what it means to fall in love for the first time and not care about the serious stuff. This is like 2010’s “Teenage Dream”, but better. The melodies are easy to sing along with, and the lyrics are even easier to remember.

Also, the lightness of this song perfectly complements Rihanna’s thin vocals. Simplicity, great production and hot instrumental breaks collectively make up pop radio’s best song of 2011. Curiously, the iconic video featured a Chris Brown lookalike.

Your thoughts?

What are your faves for 2011? What do you think of my choices? Leave a comment and buzz off!

Photos: [captivated] | bbgunbilly