Woohoo! It’s the first day of the year and I’m doing two of my favorite things in the world — blogging and sound tripping. While I appreciate all genres of music (yep, even Gospel despite my being atheist), there is a big hole in my heart that only good pop music can fill. And I’m not even ashamed of it. In fact, when I was in high school, I used to have a notebook on which I just list down my 20 most-liked songs of the week. It was like my version of Billboard Hot 100 except it was my own, personal singles chart and only I could read it. (And it is no secret that I love lists so much that I even have a separate section for it on this blog.)
My obsession with pop was very evident in my list of tracks that I have played the most on my iTunes in 2011. Not only did Adele top that list with her legendary hit Rolling in the Deep, she has two other songs in the Top 10 (Someone Like You and Set Fire to the Rain). That personal list also had the chart staples — Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Rihanna, Kesha, and Lady Gaga. Here’s last year’s full list:
My Top 20 Most Played Songs of 2011
1. Adele – Rolling in the Deep
2. Lady Antebellum – Need You Now
3. Maroon 5 – Moves Like Jagger (feat Christina Aguilera)
4. Rihanna – We Found Love (feat Calvin Harris)
5. Pitbull – Give Me Everything (feat Ne-Yo, Afrojack, and Nayer)
6. Adele – Someone Like You
7. Amy Winehouse – Back to Black
8. Adele – Set Fire to the Rain
9. P!nk – Fuckin’ Perfect
10. Lady Gaga – Edge of Glory
11. Katy Perry – The One that Got Away
12. Mike Posner – Please Don’t Go
13. Lil Wayne – How to Love
14. Britney Spears – Till the World Ends
15. Ke$ha – Blow
16. Leona Lewis – I Got U
17. OneRepublic – Good Life
19. Beyonce – Love on Top
20. Katy Perry – ET (feat Kanye West)
This year, pop still dominates my music menu. What made this year’s list different is that most of these songs remind me of a particular trip that I went on the past year. I usually listen to only a few tracks when traveling and they sort of become the soundtrack of that trip. Here are my list of songs that I played the most frequently on my iTunes in 2012.
20. Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
Love it or hate it but there is no denying that this song took the world by storm. I first learned about this song when I saw its video even before it entered the Billboard Hot 100. The video captivated me for obvious reasons (uhm, shirtless hottie maybe?) and I just got hooked to it immediately. Why it sits at the very bottom of the chart is easy to explain. The song has a strong umay factor and I reached the saturation point way before the song exploded on US radio.
19. Christina Aguilera – Let There Be Love
This track isn’t officially released but I believe that this is the best track from Christina Aguilera’s latest effort Lotus. On my first listen to the album, it was the one song that I instantly fell in love with. The production is flawless, the lyrics and beat are catchy, and the vocals are tremendous. I just hope this sees the light of day this 2013 as an official single.
18. Alicia Keys – Girl on Fire (feat Nicki Minaj)
Alicia Keys’s highly anticipated return to the studio for her fifth album produced this collaboration with Nicki Minaj. And I really, really loved it. There was a full week that all I could listen to was this song. Oh how I missed Alicia. The album, though, did not do it for me. As much as I love Alicia and this track, Girl on Fire, the album, bored me to death. (There were some great soulful gems, nonetheless.)
17. Demi Lovato – Give Your Heart a Break
When I first heard Give Your Heart a Break, I hated it. HATED IT. I don’t know why but I just did. Maybe because I was expecting a more vocally challenging followup to Skyscraper. But my housemates just kept playing this song over and over again. And you know music, it is contagious. So contagious that I just found myself singing it and eventually playing it over and over again, too. And yes, now, I kinda like it. Kinda.
16. Drake – Take Care (feat Rihanna)
I had downloaded this song as soon as the album release but it took a while before I finally gave it a full listen. I remember, I was on the bus from Makati when I finally digested the lyrics to this song and realized that the song, unlike most rap hits, actually has some sense in it. This is the only rap song this year that I actually raped the replay button for.
15. Rihanna – Diamonds
I don’t know why I decided to “reset” my iPhone on the day I was set to take the 27-hour trip from Luang Prabang to Hanoi but I did. I was still synching the phone to iTunes when I realized I badly needed to go. The result: I was able to add only 2 songs to my phone — Kesha’s Die Young and Rihanna’s Diamonds. Imagine listening to only two songs for 27 hours. And in the battle between the two pop superstars, Rihanna’s fresh offering made a better impression. By the end of the trip, I was convinced that Diamonds is a gem of a single.
14. Adele – Set Fire to the Rain
Yes, it was on the list the previous year but my addiction to this song lasted for over a year obviously. Set Fire to the Rain is actually the first song off 21 that I had the pleasure of listening to — even before Rolling in the Deep and Someone Like You. I heard it through online radio first because, if I’m not mistaken, it was the first to leak. It’s been a long time but I just never get tired listening to this powerful Adele hit.
13. Coldplay – Charlie Brown
I had heard this song before but the moment that I truly appreciated it was when Bo performed it on The Voice UK. That’s when it dawned on me just how beautiful the melody and the lyrics are. It was the song that I kept playing during my backpacking tour across Malaysia in August 2011.
12. James Morrison – I Won’t Let You Go
James Morrison is my absolute favorite and the fact that I was out of the country when he had a concert in the Philippines nearly killed me. To make up for it, I listened to I Won’t Let You Go almost endlessly while I was on a Ha Long Bay cruise in Vietnam. And it was not difficult at all to like this song. That night where I was on the top deck watching the stars (or the clouds blocking them) while listening to this song is still very fresh and clear to me. It still paints a smile on my face every time I remember that moment.
11. P!nk – Try
If James Morrison captivated me in Ha Long Bay, it was Pink who completely owned me when I was in Hanoi, Vietnam. Try was on loop the whole time I was there — while walking around the night market, while sightseeing along the lake, even while just staying in my hotel room. I wasn’t being emo, I was just totally blown away by it and its music video.
10. Mariah Carey – We Belong Together
Surprise, surprise. What is an 8-year old song doing here? I’m shocked to find it up here, too! I was so disappointed with her latest single Triumphant that I needed to erase it from my memory by listening to Mariah’s last powerful single — We Belong Together. Besides, the saving grace of Mariah’s legendary career just doesn’t get old. The same can be said about the whole album, the Emancipation of Mimi. I guess I just fell hardly in love with it this year like it were a newly released song. Truth is, every time I hear this song anywhere or just hear people talking about Emancipation, I play it repeatedly like reflex. I’m just crazy about this song like that.
Now, if only Triumphant is actually as triumphant as this song.
9. Gotye – Somebody that I Used to Know (feat Kimbra)
This is another song that, like Give Your Heart a Break, was somewhat forced on me. I just downloaded it out of curiosity and I just added it to my playlist. For some reason, my iTunes just kept on playing it randomly. It wasn’t long until I got the hang of it and loved the song. When its melody first touched my ears, I wouldn’t even imagine myself liking it and now, it’s on my list of my favorite songs the past year, and maybe, of all time.
8. Jessie J – Domino
It’s such a positive, light, fun song. Every time I feel a teensy bit down, all I have to do is drown my sad soul with it and I’m up and about again. This song made me buy the album Who We Are and like Jessie J, whom I did not give a damn about before this song. (Price Tag was just not my cup of tea.) I just love how this song makes me feel sexy and free, like glitters are raining on me. Well, you get the point.
7. Katy Perry – The One that Got Away
In my opinion, The One that Got Away is the second best track of Teenage Dream album, next to Teenage Dream single. This mid-tempo ballad does well in narrating a heartbreaking story while keeping the song catchy and very easy to sing along to. It was released in late 2011 and it even made it to my list of personal favorites that year, making this the second year that this song is part of my Top 20. Just when my interest in it was starting to fade, Sylvia Yacoub of The Voice performed it and it revived my love for this song in an instant.
6. David Guetta – Titanium (feat Sia)
Titanium made me download David Guetta’s Nothing But the Beat album. I first heard it when it leaked and I was blown away by the lyrics, the production, and Sia’s spectacular vocals. Her voice just possesses both the strength and vulnerability that match the track perfectly. It is imaginative, arresting, heartfelt, and inspirational.
5. Amy Winehouse – Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow
I was already over Amy Winehouse’s passing until HBO series The Newsroom used it on a montage. Since then until perhaps two weeks later, I was on an Amy Winehouse music overload again with this song getting most of my attention.
4. Christina Aguilera – Your Body
I was extremely excited for Christina’s first single in two years and I was not disappointed when it was released. Your Body is a great track. It has all the ingredients of a monster hit — an excellent production, a great hook, and a viral music video. Plus, it has something that other hits today don’t — stellar vocals that blend well with the song. Unfortunately, the rest of the world was probably not as excited as I was. The single underperformed, causing a lukewarm reception of the album Lotus. I guess Your Body is the hit that never was. Still great, though.
3. Florence and the Machine – Shake It Out
On my first listen to their sophomore album Ceremonials, Shake it Out did not stand out, despite being a single. I was drawn to Spectrum (Say My Name) and Only If for a Night in the beginning and it took so long before they faded away from my I-will-play-you-repeatedly-until-I -get-tired-of-you playlist. Only then that I seriously listened to Shake it Out, which would prove to be one of my all-time favorite songs. Katharine McPhee also did a fantastic cover of this song on the TV musical Smash although I still prefer the original.
2. Kelly Clarkson – Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)
Kelly’s shining glimmer of hope after Mr. Know It All underwhelmed, too. Like Shake It Out, this song did not stand out in any way during my first few rounds of listens to the Stronger album. I was even upset that it was chosen as an official single. But this song is a major grower (not that kind, silly). It snuck its way into my heart, devoured it, and completely owned it. Besides, I kept hearing my friends singing this song. Stronger is realistically bitter, ergo easily relatable, highly uplifting, and absolutely anthemic. You go, Kelly. My worry now is that her songs are all starting to sound alike. Or maybe it’s just me.
1. Adele – Rolling in the Deep
Well, well, well. For the first time, a song topped my personal chart for two straight years. Since its release in 2010, Rolling in the Deep has been the most played song on my iTunes. I’m just totally, hopelessly, insanely in love with this Adele classic. That voice, that beat, those back up vocals, those lyrics — Adele truly ruled the world with just one song. I wouldn’t even be surprised if this would also be my top favorite this 2013. It’s like every time I have nothing to do, bored, or just in need of a breather, this is my go-to song. In fact, since the new year started hours ago, Rolling in the Deep has scored the most plays as of now. It looks like I will remain slave for this song for many years to come.
That’s it. My top 20 most played songs last year. How about you? What are the songs that gave you so much life in 2012?