If there's one lesson to be learned from pop music in 2011, it's that flying solo is all well and good, but nothing gets you over that final hump like a good old collaboration. Your single about sadomasochism stalling out just within the top five? Just call Britney Spears. Worried your album's fourth single might fizzle out in the afterglow of the pyrotechnic breast show you unleashed for the previous one? Sounds like a job for Kanye West! Trying to launch or re-launch a solo career alongside your night job judging a Simon Cowell reality show? That's why God invented Lil Wayne and Pitbull. Sometimes these matchups are ho-hum and forgettable, and sometimes they're ridiculously amazing - interestingly enough, they're just about never fatal.
|We're Number One!|
Appropriately, a few months back I was recruited by a small group of my fellow music bloggers to join with them in an experimental collaboration involving those beloved Best/Worst Of pronouncements that make December such a fun month despite the blasted blizzards outside and the general stress of the holidays and the realization that another year has come to an end and we still haven't gotten that six-pack we've been resolving to crunch our way to for the past decade. The concept is a little dizzying, so let me try and explain it simply: along with the authors of five other music blogs, I have chosen a "Best" and a "Worst" of the year in the following categories:
The collaboration comes into play even further in that to spread the love, each of the six blogs will host the selections of all six blogs' authors in one of the above categories, creating a sort of treasure hunt, or sort of a cyber rendition of a progressive party. In any case, it's a good chance for each of our readers to take a look at a few other blogs written by similarly skilled/entertaining/knowledgeable music lovers, and since several of them hail from across the globe (Vertigo Shtick is the lone West Coast representation...so put your hands up), there's a great deal more music from different global markets at your fingertips here.
And finally, dear readers, there is also an opportunity for you to chime in with your choices in all these categories, and we invite you to share your picks and let us know if we're right on the money or totally packed with the excrement of male bovines. And since there are six opinions being shared right here, there are a lot of interesting choices, some of which are in active opposition to others on the same board. (Examples of polarizing pop forces include Jessie J, Rihanna, Cher Lloyd, Take That, and Katy Perry.) Do so by completing the poll at the bottom of this or any of my fellow bloggers' similar posts, and see what other people think about this stuff as well! But most of all, make sure you drop by each of the fine blogs represented in this collaboration, not just to see the brilliant selections by yours truly but to sample some of the other interesting, intelligent music blogging going on out there.
Is your head spinning? Mine too. Oh, by the way, one more complication: you may notice there are seven categories but only six blogs...not to worry. California blogs being unforgettable as we are (fine, fresh and fierce), Vertigo Shtick is shouldering the extra load with two categories featured below: Best/Worst Group, and Best/Worst New Artist. So let's begin, shall we?
Best & Worst New Artist of 2011
- BEST: Nicki Minaj - She outshone Kanye West on "Monster," then her debut album Pink Friday outsold his Dark Twisted Fantasy. Nicki Minaj continues to make everything she touches turn to gold.
- WORST: Jessie J - Jessica Cornish has the talent to make it big. So why is she settling for recycled tunes, lazy efforts by Dr. Luke, and other generally off-putting grabs of a desperate wannabe?
- BEST: Nicki Minaj
- WORST: Cher Lloyd
- BEST: Foster the People
- WORST: Bruno Mars - Overrated to the t.
- BEST: Katy B
- WORST: Ed Sheeran - Just because he’s so over-hyped and ‘+’ sucks.
- BEST: Nicki Minaj
- WORST: Rebecca Black
- BEST: Jessie J – Girl’s got sassitude in spades. We love her vibrating, superpower vocals.
- WORST: Justin Bieber – Usher is trying to impose an identity on him, & it’s not working. Stop it Justin, you’re embarrassing us. And pull your pants up.
|Pink wig, thick ass, give 'em whiplash|
Best & Worst Group of 2011
- BEST: Selena Gomez & the Scene - One of the year's suprise hits was the effortless electronic dance album When the Sun Goes Down. Gomez is a natural with smooth, sensual vocals, and the rest of the band and the producers it works with made brilliant tunes out of "Love You Like a Love Song," "Outlaw," and the Britney Spears-penned "Whiplash."
- WORST: Glee Cast - Stop killing great songs with cheese and AutoTune!!
- BEST: Coldplay
- WORST: Take That
- BEST: The Wanted
- WORST: Hot Chelle Rae - "Tonight Tonight" and "I Like It Like That" were horrible.
- BEST: Take That
- WORST: The Black Eyed Peas
- BEST: The Throne
- WORST: Glee Cast
- BEST: The Naked and Famous – "Young Blood" was an international anthem. Props to TNAF bringing back the POP band with epic songs and spirited live performances.
- WORST: Hot Chelle Rae – "Tonight Tonight" is just plain bad. Ick. Nobody wants to dance with you on the edge of the Hollywood sign.
To view my choices in the rest of the categories, click the links below! And be sure to vote in the poll and share your picks!
- Best/Worst Solo Artist: PopLedge
- Best/Worst Song: What's That Music Guy
- Best/Worst Music Video: Wacky Music Crazy (They won't have the results posted for a few days, as they're luxuriating in the Swiss Alps, so we'll just reveal our choice for Best/Worst Video below)
- Best/Worst Album: OMFG Music
- Best/Worst Collaboration: Unapologetically POP!