2011 is ending, and I particularly won’t miss it. It was quite a shit year in general terms, and it wasn’t particularly bright where music is concerned. Let me recap what was, in my opinion, the best and worst bits of 2011 in music.
Jessie J: Highs and Lows
Although Do It Like A Dude was originally released in November of last year, it wasn’t until January when Jessie J truly exploded. Do it Like A Dude, the first single, made its way up to the number 2 on the UK Charts, followed by Price Tag, her biggest hit to date, which went to number 1 and became an international hit. The hype about Jessie J was completely justified: incredible vocals and very powerful performances. Her acoustic versions of then still unreleased songs were nothing but charming. Her album, however, didn’t meet her neither talent nor our expectations, it was only halfway there. Her vocals got slightly crazy, and her personality, specially on Twitter, was too much to bear for some. I’m unsure the exact moment when it happened, but Jessie J became one of those popstars that can’t help but be a bit annoying. However, the proof of her talent still lies on those acoustic videos that used to appear on Youtube out of the blue and make my day a bit happier.
Girlbands Come and Girlbands Go
2011 has witnessed the birth of Soundgirl, The Ultra Girls, Oh My!, Parade, Wonderland and Little Mix. It has also seen the release of The Saturdays’ third studio album (fourth if we count the EP) . Out of them all, Wonderland are no longer, Oh My! keep fighting to make it, Soundgirl’s status is unsure, nobody remembers The Ultra Girls, Parade managed a couple of top 10s but the album bombed and sadly, the same happened to The Saturdays. It seems that the Curse of Girls Aloud is still on hold, not allowing any girl band to make it during their so-called break. Little Mix, the first girl band to win the X Factor, will hopefully have better luck. Out of all of them, I choose the Miranda Cooper penned track I’m The Fool, from Soundgirl, because I loved it when it came out and I still love it now.
21. Need To Say More?
Despite all her vocal problems and the operation she had to go through, I’m sure Adele agrees 2011 was quite a good year for her. Rolling In The Deep anticipated what would be, for me, and without any shade of doubt, the album of the year. It was number 1 here and there, then the album was released and it was number 1 for what felt like the entire year, and when any other album took her off that spot, she’d come back the following week. Adele didn’t want to share her number 1s, and that shows in the 14,5 million copies 21 has sold to date, making it the biggest selling album of the century in the UK and breaking roughly 345583234453465 chart records. 21 is a heartbreaking, yet beautiful album, and if you didn’t feel goosebumps when she performed Someone Like You at the Brit Awards, you have no soul.
Katy Perry does a Michael Jackson
In 2011, Katy Perry became the first female artist to ever score 5 Billboard number 1s from the same album, Teenage Dream. The only artist to match this record to date has been Michael Jackson, but in the male category. Katy Perry left us with some pretty good things, namely, E.T feat. Kanye West, the video for Last Friday Night and the brilliant promotional campaign that went with it, starring Katy Beth Terry.
Gaga, Oh La La
2011 marked the release of Born This Way, Gaga’s second album, third if you count The Fame Monster as a separate release. From the release of the single, Born This Way, to her interview with NME in which she got upset about the comparison with Express Yourself, to arriving to the Grammy awards inside of a giant egg or spending the entire MTV awards ceremony dressed and acting as a guy called Joe Calderone, I felt for the first time that Lady Gaga’s music didn’t match her gimmicks. Born This Way was sold as if it was heaven-sent, yet it didn’t match The Fame in quality. Sure, it brought AMAZING music in the form of Judas, The Edge of Glory or You & I, but overall it wasn’t as good as it could have been.
The Metamorphosis of Queen Ginge
It seemed to come out of nowhere when Nicola Roberts announced her first solo single, but from the first 20 second instrumental snipped released, it already felt like something special, and it was. Beat Of My Drum was the perfect buzz single, it seemed to leave no one indifferent. It was fun and quirky and electro and overall all kinds of cool. It all started with pictures of legs with fabulous shoes in it, then Nicola joined Twitter, a few crazy DJ sets in the meanwhile and the album, Cinderella’s Eyes was finally released. An interesting mix of styles, from electronic to pop to almost indie, showing she could do pretty much everything.
We Only Said Goodbye With Words
2011’s worst tragedy is without any doubt the death of Amy Winehouse. As undoubtedly talented as she was troubled, it still feels unfair that she had to leave, leaving two studio albums, 5 Grammy awards and million of music lovers heartbroken behind.
Britney Goes Dance
Britney Spears came back with another studio album in 2011. The album was titled Femme Fatale and with it, she tried the dance route, sometimes even dubstep (see: Hold It Against Me) with a positive outcome. Femme Fatale debuted at number 1 on the Billboard chart, meaning Britney is now tied up with Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson with 6 number 1 studio albums.
Beyoncé and Rihanna Can’t Stop Releasing Stuff
This year Beyoncé released no less than 7 music videos: Run The World, Best Thing I’ve Ever Had, 1 + 1, Countdown, Love On Top, Party and Dance For You. While not all of them were released as singles, it is still a pretty impressive number considering that in some cases, they were coming with only a couple of weeks between each other. Beyoncé also made history being the first female pop act to headline the main stage at the Glastonbury festival. Rihanna follows close behind with the release of six singles: S&M, California King Bed, Man Down, Cheers (Drink to that), We Found Love and the recent You Da One. Two of these singles have been Billboard number 1, and the album, Talk That Talk, reached number 1 in the UK. These two ladies are some of the most prolific acts on pop.
By Its Very Definition, It Means Opening Yourself To Joy
2011 meant for me the definite transition between casual person who watches Glee to FAN WHO LOVES GLEE. And though lately the writing is getting ridiculous, there’s still the music. Because yes, Glee is very much about the music. Glee makes its own version of songs from all genres, from heavy metal to Broadway, and does it quite well most of the time, and most of it is due to the very talented performers that make the cast. The mash up of Rumour Has It/Someone Like You is one of the best Glee “creations” to date and with episodes dedicated to Madonna, Britney or even Rocky Horror, Glee is simply pop culture. And it’s also really funny.
I Took A Little Something To Figure You Out
I don’t know about you, but I’m a bit in love with Florrie. The free music, the Fred Falke remixes and her two EPs have been great iPod additions this year. Her slick electronic pop is cool and fresh and it reminds me of Girls Aloud or Sophie Elis-Bextor at times (the best times). She is one of those artists that often pass unnoticed, and it is such a shame.