Maroon 5 - Moves Like Jagger
Ah. Maroon 5. Beautiful Maroon 5. You guys left us with yet another winner this year. My only question is why wasn't this song on the Hands All Over album. Although, I admit it would have been a bit out of place, since this is quite a departure for the band. In fact, that is the only nitpick I have about this song: it didn't sound like Maroon 5 at all. It could as well had been touted as an Adam Levine side project for all I could tell. That said, this has arguably the best instrumentals of the year, powered by the production work of two current generation geniuses: Shellback and Benny Blanco .
Foster the People - Pumped Up Kicks
I confess that the very first time I heard this song, I didn't even know what to make of it. The first thing that struck me was the contrast between the spaced out instrumentals and the disturbing subject matter (a kid about to go on a shooting spree). But upon subsequent listens, the song grew on me like vines on a post. Now, I can't imagine what my 2011 playlist would have been like if this gem from 2010 hadn't found it's way to mainstream success.
Jessie J - Domino
While I really loved her breakthrough single Price Tag, I feel this was the song that did it for me. This was the song that made me a fan. Sure, there are those who would say she's stepping into Katy Perry territory with this, but I think that has more to do with the writing/production work of the exceptionally-talented Dr. Luke than anything else. I'm really hoping she can keep the ball rolling like this in the years to come.
Hot Chelle Rae - Tonight Tonight
In a year, like recent years, teeming with songs with the word "tonight" in their titles (Enrique Iglesias - Tonight (I'm Loving You), Michael Jackson - Hollywood Tonight, Pitbull - Gimme Everything (Tonight), Outasight - Tonight is the Night, just to name a few), it is rather inevitable that one of them make it onto this list. Hot Chelle Rae's Tonight Tonight is by far the catchiest song I've heard all year, one that sounds just as wonderful on your gazillionth listen as it did on your very first listen.
Benny Benassi - Beautiful People (feat. Chris Brown)
Yes. This was the first song to really blow my mind this year. All the way back in January. Seems like ages ago now. It was the only reason I bothered to grab a copy of Chris Brown's F.A.M.E. I couldn't wait until Benny Benassi's Electroman dropped. It baffles me greatly why this didn't get a Best Dance/Electronic Recording nomination for next year's Grammy Awards. Really baffled, I am. I can't say enough wonderful things about this song, so just give it a listen and let the song speak for itself.
LMFAO - Party Rock Anthem
I can't really imagine having this list of finalists without including Party Rock Anthem. It's that simple. There. I said it. So deal with it. "Everyday I'm Shuffling."
And the winner is...
Foster the People - Pumped up Kicks
I am picking this song as the winner for the mere reason that it sounds like nothing else on the list of finalists. I'm sure that 10 years from now, when I think back to 2011, this is the song that would perfectly capture the year in music. It was quite sad that it wasn't nominated for Record of the Year for next year's Grammy Awards. But at least the album as a whole was nominated for Best Alternative Album, after all, it was hands down one of the most enjoyable albums of the year. More on that tomorrow.