At last, cool cats… the year 2011 in music. Since 1980—geez, more than 30 years—I’ve conjured the Taylor Top 100 each passing year, though admittedly in the past few years as I’ve discovered fewer and fewer new songs that tickle my audio fancy, I’ve downsized to a crisp Top 40.
In the past, I’ve also come up with exhaustive lists of the Top Albums, Artists, etc. Again, not so much anymore. All the same, the good in 2011 was absolutely superlative. And so…
Top Singles Artist: Much like the rest of the world, Adele was my year’s chieftain goddess, manning the No. 1 TTT song of the year, “Set Fire To The Rain.” Originally, the Moto Blanco Edit ruled, but by year end, the single edit and April’s live performance on the U.K. Graham Norton Show were equally beloved, so I stripped off any specific version. Adele also delivered the No. 3 song, the heartbreaking “Someone Like You,” which I remain convinced she wrote just for me; as well as No. 11’s Lenny B Remix of Billboard’s 2011 No. 1 song, “Rolling in the Deep.”
Top Singles Artist, Runner-Up: Lady Gaga made a stellar showing this past year, with the most entries of any artist in the year-end countdown, at five: No. 5 “Born This Way,” No. 12 “The Edge Of Glory (Sunshine Radio Edit,” No. 19’s playful “The Lady Is A Tramp” with Tony Bennett (his first appearance ever on a year-end tally), No. 22’s “Judas” and “Eh Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say),” a sweet pop song obviously recorded before Gaga found her true grit.
Top Male Artist: While Darren Hayes made his best showing ever on the TTT at No. 2 with the maudlin “Black Out The Sun,” Matt Zarley‘s three singles propelled him to masculine glory on this year’s countdown: No. 9 with “WTF,” No. 17’s “Forgive Me (For Not Forgiving You)” and “Change Begins With Me” at No. 26.
Best New Artist: 4Q entry Christina Perri‘s haunting break-up songs hit me upside the head (thanks to Donna Mae intro’ing), with oh-so-dark “The Lonely” at No. 6 and equally commiserative “Jar of Hearts” at No. 15. Already in 2012, her “A Thousand Years” is scoring points.
Sheena Easton made a profound impact on the year’s top 40 with vintage hits “You’ve Learned To Live Without Me” and “To Anyone,” both top entries on my fall post-breakup playlist “Cry Baby.” “You’ve Learned To Live Without Me” improved its original showing as 1995’s No. 53, catapulting to No. 7 for the year; while 1991’s No. 22 “To Anyone” encored this year at No. 38. Sheena also gets props via the No. 24 kitschy “beautiful music” version of “Morning Train” from Paul Mauriat.
While Celine Dion has not recorded anything new in years (new English and French projects are due in 2012), she scores a top 10 appearance with her stunning encore performance of “The Prayer” Live in Central Park with Andrea Bocelli.
Worst Singles of the Year: Much easier: “Just Can’t Get Enough,” a typical piece of horse dung from Black Eyed Peas; “Super Bass” from no-talent harlot Nicki Minaj; and “Party Rock Anthem” from LMFAO. Sadly, the latter novelty act had the last laugh, with this gruesome dance-crap loop finishing for 2011 at No. 2 on Billboard. I deem it the year’s “Macarena,” a song that fans will be ashamed of liking a year from now. *
And now… the 2011 Taylor Top 40
1. Set Fire To The Rain—Adele
2. Black Out The Sun—Darren Hayes
3. Someone Like You—Adele
4. Price Tag—Jessie J f/B.o.B.
5. Born This Way—Lady Gaga
6. The Lonely—Christina Perri
7. You’ve Learned To Live Without Me—Sheena Easton
8. Daze—Beu Sisters
9. WTF—Matt Zarley
10. The Prayer (Live in Central Park)—Andrea Bocelli & Celine Dion
11. Rolling In The Deep (Lenny B Remix)—Adele
12. The Edge Of Glory (Sunshine Radio Edit)—Lady Gaga
13. I’m Into You—Jennifer Lopez w/William Levy
14. Summer Rain (Almighty Radio Edit)—Matthew Morrison
15. Jar of Hearts—Christina Perri
16. Last Friday Night (DJ Mike Bass Mix)—Katy Perry
17. Forgive Me (For Not Forgiving You)—Matt Zarley
18. My Heart Is Broken—Evanescence
19. The Lady is a Tramp—Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga
20. Love Is A Losing Game—Amy Winehouse
21. Moves Like Jagger—Maroon 5 f/ Christina Aguilera
22. Judas—Lady GaGa
23. Grenade—Bruno Mars
24. Morning Train—Paul Mauriat f/Sheena Easton
25. Eh Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)—Lady Gaga
26. Change Begins With Me—Matt Zarley
27. It’s Not Goodbye—Laura Pausini
28. World Keeps Turning—Sylvia Tosun
29. I’m Not Ready—Michael Bolton & Delta Goodrem
30. Best Thing I Never Had (Mike Dre mix)—Beyonce
31. Sleeping Satellite—Kim Wilde
32. Please Stay—Westlife
33. Above All—Sylvia Tosun
34. Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart—Alicia Keys
35. Say Hello To Goodbye—Shontelle
36. Goodbye Girl—Rumer
37. California King Bed (Goon Rock Remix) Edit—Rihanna
38. To Anyone—Sheena Easton
39. Boys Do Fall In Love (Long Version)—Robin Gibb
40. Heartache All Over The World (Megamix)—Elton John