Ashley’s Favorite Big, Dumb Pop Songs of 2012

9 Dec

It’s been TWO YEARS, guys.  What the hell?  I apologize.  And to make up for it, I’m resurrecting Ashley’s Favorite Big, Dumb Pop Songs.

Last year was not a good year for pop and I, and I failed to come up with even ten songs worthy of the honor.  I had contemplated making a list of just “Super Bass” and “We Found Love”, but that would have been silly.

This year didn’t fair so well either, as it turned out, but the reason is two-fold.  1) I didn’t listen to more than 5 pop albums total this year and 2) I’m thinking of changing the rules for this list to include songs that PEAK in the calendar year.  Too many songs are released right at the end of the previous year and take months and months to peak, making them ineligible for any year list.

Well, enough with my diatribe, let’s get on to the TOP TEN! Shall we?

10) Katy Perry – Wide Awake

What an unfortunate year for Miss Perry.  While two years ago, Teenage Dream would easily my top 10, this year was not looking so good for the pop princess.  When suddenly!  HEARTBREAK!

The first “oh no, my life now sucks” song released from her break-up from Russell Brand was pretty cheesy, but “Wide Awake” actually felt almost heart-felt, and, while it took months for me to be sucked in, I’m finally a fan, just in time for her to nab #10 on the list:

9) Demi Lovato – Give Your Heart A Break

I have soured towards this song exponentially in the last month or so, but I can’t deny how much I loved it when it first came out.  I never thought it was great, but there’s this moment right at the end of the chorus when those cheeeeeesy lyrics sound SO sincere that I can’t deny.  Good enough for big, dumb pop for sure.  Still not sure that leaving TV for the music industry was the best choice for her, but I like this song and have yet to see a single minute of her on television, so maybe she made the right decision:

8) Bruno Mars – Locked Out of Heaven

Ugh, I hate to do this.  I really thought Bruno Mars was going to be someone I would love, when he first burst on the scene with Mr. B.o.B.  When he released his first single, it was the most cloyingly adorable song ever written, and I thought he and I were meant to be forever.  And then things changed…horribly.  I have hated almost every word to leave his mouth ever since.  Until now.  This faux-Police number may not have fantastic lyrics, but I definitely have a great time hearing it.  Too bad it’s getting the “ooh, it’s Bruno Mars, let’s over-play it to death” treatment on nearly every station:

7) Ellie Goulding – Anything Could Happen

At the very least, Ellie Goulding wins the award for saddest music video.  I hate when I don’t realize something is going to be sad until the last minute and then get totally blind-sided by it.  Anyways, the “Lights” singer unleashed her follow-up album, Halcyon onto the world a few months ago, and hopefully eventually “Anything Will Happen” will manage to at least nudge “Lights” out of the spotlight (forgive the pun) for a little while.  While we’re on the topic of “Lights”, this is one of those songs I was talking about in my intro.  I didn’t hear the song, nor did most of the world, it seems, until early in 2012, but it had been released as a single in late 2011, so it ends up getting screwed out of either list when it WOULD have been my #1.

Back on the topic of “Anything Could Happen”.  I’m pretty happy to hear her turn up the Flo/Bat For Lashes to some of the highest peaks she has yet hit.  The song only ended up this “Low” on my list because I haven’t had as much time to grow with it:

6) OneRepublic – Feel Again

I have been following OneRepublic almost from the very beginning, so I feel pretty protective of them.  I’m glad to once again hear them mixing indie with standard pop so very well, and I’m excited to hear more from this album.  Really, I don’t think they have ever disappointed me with a single.  Hope it never happens:

5) Train – 50 Ways to Say Goodbye

As much as Ellie Goulding may have won the saddest video award, Train runs away with the award for most frickin’ hilarious.  Not only is it an almost literal interpretation of one of the funniest songs I’ve heard in some time, but it also has THE HOFF!  It was so pleasant to hear this song after the tripe that Train has been releasing lately.  I so badly want to like this band, and they just seem to enjoy being middling for the most part. But, every so often they release a song like this and I hear the life that was the band who wrote “Meet Virginia”:

4) Flo Rida – I Cry

Once again, huge contender for my favorite song of 2012 was probably “Good Feeling”, but it was released in AUGUST of 2011, so, not gonna happen.  Meanwhile, when I first heard Wild Ones I was pretty struck by “I Cry” and was very anxious to see if it would be released as a single.  I did the most epic fist pump ever when I first heard it on my radio.  Usually high-pitched backing vocals annoy the living daylights out of me (see: Wild Ones), but it really works on this one, and for the first time, I actually think Flo Rida is saying something in his verses, rather than just boasting more than any boaster has ever boasted.  Nice change of pace:

3) fun. – Some Nights

I believe I have mentioned in previous iterations of this list that I am a huge fan of this little indie band that used to be around: The Format.  After their breakup, lead singer Nate Ruess formed a new band called “fun.”  Their first album was pretty spectacular, and I eagerly anticipated its follow-up.  Imagine my surprise when I first heard “We Are Young” on the radio. Then imagine my surprise when I heard it again and again and again.  I was completely floored that a band I had loved for so long had finally broke through.  And quite proud, even if it’s not my favorite thing they’ve ever written.  Meanwhile, this song existed, and it really IS one of the best things they’ve ever done.  Biting, harsh lyrics that hit your right in the center of emotion.

Horrible video though:

2) Ke$ha – “Die Young”

If I had not changed the rules of this contest for myself to ONLY be singles, Ke$ha would have run away with the contest with her B-side: “Past Lives” featuring the one and only Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips.  That may be my favorite song of the entire year.  Meanwhile, we have “Die Young”, which may just be the best single Ke$ha has ever released.  Yes, better than previous champion “Your Love Is My Drug” and perennial favorite “Tik Tok”.  Even better may be the “Deconstructed” acoustic version, which I will likely include at the bottom of this entry.  So why didn’t she come in first? A last minute shocker! :O

1) Ne-Yo – “Let Me Love You”

The first time I heard this song, I thought, “Where has Ne-Yo been?”  Apparently he had an album out in 2010, but no real hits from it.  It’s been quite some time since “Closer” and even longer since “So Sick”, so what does the smooth R&B singer return to the forefront of music with?  One of the best combos of dance and R&B I have yet to hear.  Ever.  His gorgeous vocals combined with that sick bass more than won me over in the weeks to come.  The crazy thing is, no matter how many times I hear this song, I like it more each and every time.  Sounds like a clear winner to me:

That’s it for Big, Dumb Pop in 2012.  I promise to keep better tabs in 2013 and go back to the 15 song format.

Just for those wondering, my top pop albums of 2012 (Not all the pop albums I heard, just the ones I enjoyed):

5) Taylor Swift – Red:  May have been the biggest disappointment of 2012 for me, but did still have a good number of songs I still love on it.

4) Ke$ha – Warrior:  As much as I love everything about Ke$ha and as much as I love this album, its b-sides and the extra EP of acoustic goodness, I really liked the top three albums on this list a LOT.

3) B.o.B. – Strange Clouds: No single track from this album because I wasn’t a huge fan of the singles, but the entire album was a really fun listen and huge improvement over his debut.  Plus, lmao, it featured Taylor Swift on one track, how can that NOT be good?

2) Ellie Goulding – Halcyon: Very pretty, very melodic, and very Flo & The Machine.  Great listen and I am so excited for a future with more Ellie Goulding in it.

1) Flo Rida – Wild Ones: WHAT?  Yes.  I know, its crazy, but I love every song on this album.  I would have listed “Run” as a favorite song of the year, had it been released as a single, alas, it was not to be.  The greatest compliment you can pay a pop album is to say that every song could have been a single, and with “I Cry”, 4 out 8 tracks have hit that mark.  It really was a staple of fun times for me in 2012.

Honorable Mentions in 2012:

1) Ke$ha f/Wayne Coyne – Past Lives

2) Ke$ha – Die Young (Deconstructed)

3) Flo Rida – Run f/RedFoo

3 Responses to “Ashley’s Favorite Big, Dumb Pop Songs of 2012”

  1. Eric 09/12/2012 at 00:23 #

    What? No ‘Call Me Maybe’? Doesn’t get bigger, dumber, or more pop than that lol

    • bono212 09/12/2012 at 00:27 #

      Haha, I probably should have addressed the omission of “Call Me Maybe”, you’re right. It probably is THE BIGGEST, THE DUMBEST, THE POPPIEST song ever released, BUT, I also hate it, and this is a list of my favorites lol.


  1. Ashley’s Top Albums of 2012: 50-41 « An Ocean of Noise - 18/12/2012

    […] honest here) has a lot going for it.  There aren’t a lot of standout tracks, besides “Anything Could Happen“, but the album is a consistent good.  Ranging from influences the likes of Florence and the […]

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