Tag Archives: Nicole Scherzinger

Top 11 Singles Of 2010

The Top 11 Singles Of 2010 was one of the easiest lists to decide upon – the top eleven literally jumped out at me as being far and away the best of the year, whilst their only competition was other singles by the same artists (Robyn’s Indestructible, Katy Perry’s California Gurls, Gaga’s Alejandro and Diana Vickers’ The Boy Who Murdered Love are arguably better than the three nearly-but-not-quites). So there’s not much more to say apart from… enjoy!

1.         Fuck You – Cee Lo Green (1)

If something looks like a Motown classic, sounds like a Motown classic and feels like a Motown classic, is it to all intents and purposes, a Motown classic? Well, perhaps not with a swear word in the title. Stuffed with more classic moments than a Channel 4 Jimmy Carr-fronted countdown – ‘she’s an Xbox and I’m more Atari’, the pure grrr behind ‘I really hate yo’ ass right now’, the wailing all over the middle eight – not even an auto-tuned Gwyneth Paltrow doing the sanitized censored version on Glee could ruin it. But with its golden-retro-funk stylings, a rich soul vocal and a tune that lodges itself in your head until your dying day, Fuck You may as well have come stamped with ‘future classic’ on its forehead.

2.            Poison – Nicole Scherzinger (3)

Do I hear the words dance breakdown? Just when everyone thought the RedOne gravy train was losing momentum, the man goes and does it again. This time, he manages to turn the dislikeable diva from the Pussycat Dolls into a sexy sultry strumpet with this barnstorming belter. Half superhero soundtrack, half dancefloor manifesto, is there anyone out there who ISN’T Swedish capable of coming out with a chorus this good?

3.         On A Mission – Gabriella Cilmi (9)

Some of my favourite things in life are ‘talky bits’, ‘epic middle eights’ and ‘ridiculous dance routines’. So imagine my delight to find a song that delivers all three – at the same time! Sounding like Barbarella singing a Jem & The Holgrams song, On A Mission is precisely 80% amazing to 20% totally ridiculous. If most songs enter the scene at a jog, On A Mission announces its arrival shooting cosmic rays from every comet-spurting hook with a few cartwheels, high kicks and roly-polys thrown in for good measure. Cilmi suddenly got sexy – and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

4.            Dancing On My Own – Robyn (8)

Heartbreak never sounded so good. Managing to combine beats that beg to be bopped to alongside lyrics that sound like your heart being slowly but surely ripped out, Dancing On My Own comprehensively nails the genre of ‘dancefloor melancholy’ that probably didn’t even exist until the divine Ms Carlsson decided to do it so well that no-one need even bother trying. The stillness of the middle eight before the chorus windmills back in with a vengeance is a thing of pure Nordic beauty… has it been formally declared a crime yet to dislike Robyn?

5.            Telephone – Lady Gaga/Beyonce (1)

The song that turned the humble music video back into an event of international importance, Telephone would still be worthy of a place even without the poisoned sandwiches, cigarette sunglasses and abundance of awesomeness delivered by the mini-movie. If songs were people, Telephone would be one of those massive over-achievers constantly putting their hand up in class – not content with delivering just one hook, it piles on about fifty before declaring its work done. Beyonce’s ferocious cameo is better than any of her recent solo efforts, whilst Gaga outdoes herself by creating a song with even more catchy ‘eh eh eh’s than the one she actually titled ‘Eh Eh’! And for those that say this Darkchild-produced track is Gaga at her most generic, take one listen to the flavourless Britney demo to hear just how much Queen Gaga and her Honey-Bee bring to the party.

6.         One – Sky Ferreira (64)

In a year when everyone, their gran and their pet gerbil were coming out with processed electropop productions, it took something special to stand out from the bleepy beepy crowd. That something was Sky Ferreira. Ignore the obnoxious interviews, ignore the freaky video that makes her look like she has a giant baby head floating in a box and instead concentrate on one of the sleekest, cleanest and most unique electropop songs of the year. Superlative.

P.S. For anyone that has given up on the use of repetitive lyrics in pop songs thanks to Cheryl Cole’s efforts, Ferreira restores faith in the art. There are no fewer than twenty-three ‘stop’s, fourty-nine ‘up’s and one hundred and twelve ‘one’s in One, and the song wouldn’t be the same without any one of them. [Please note, these figures may not be accurate]

7.            Teenage Dream – Katy Perry (2)

It takes a bit of effort to look past Katy Perry’s projectile-emitting tits, the ‘ooooh, I’m controversial, me!’ lyrics and the collection of cartoon wigs and spandex dresses but Teenage Dream proves that it’s just about worth it. Featuring that rarest of things – a somewhat subtle Dr Luke/Max Martin production – it beats with heart, soul and sincerity. A rose-tinted, golden haze of pure youthful love.

8.         All Time Low – The Wanted (1)

I think it shows how far the pop firmament has come when, rather than releasing slushy dross as a first single, a new boy-band are launched with an ambitious different and actually minorly epic track. All Time Low is the very definition of a grower, emerging from sparse beginnings of a stop-start string staccato section, sprouting wings around the classic pop chorus area, introducing a pounding beat mid-way through just for the heck of it and finally taking glorious flight in the gorgeous layered crescendo of the middle eight. And they didn’t even take their tops off in the video.

9.            Higher – The Saturdays (10)

I despair of The Saturdays. Yet every time I feel safe in totally writing them off (tampon ads, half-brained mini-album release, piss-poor comeback single, half-arsed performances, dull ITV2 shows, re-releasing already crap mini-album with songs off their old album that they’ve attempted to delete from record stores etc etc), they use another of their nine lives by releasing their best song since Up. A fantastically-constructed pop song, with a chorus so unashamedly uplifting that the NHS are thinking of making it available on prescription, Higher would sound good even if it were sung by a dodgy session singer with a blocked nose and throat infection. Hell, it might even sound better as, in true Saturdays style, they managed to balls it up (Una’s epic middle eight live moment has disappeared to the bottomless well of Autotune). They then added Flo Rida. Farewell, eighth life.

10.       Echo – Girls Can’t Catch (19)

Alas, Girls Can’t Catch, we never really knew ye. Well, actually, we did, but it’s hard to recover from playing croquet in a rubbish tip and a potentially career-ruining Teentoday interview. Echo, with its sweeping Tedder-esque production, should have been the ace up GCC’s sleeve; instead, it just fizzled out on a cliff somewhere in front of some dodgy blue-screen animation. Oh Echo, we’ll light a candle in your memory and place it in the temple of ‘Great Forgotten Pop Songs Of Our Time’.

11.       Once – Diana Vickers (1)

Given that I enjoyed Diana Vickers’ X-Factor stint as much as I enjoyed my last bout of gastroenteritis, no-one was more surprised than yours truly that I ended up loving The Claw’s debut single as much as I did. With the pop might of Eg White and Cathy Dennis behind it, Once was a quirky little number that suddenly smashed you in the face with its full-throttle body-slam of a chorus. Idiosyncratic vocals, glacial production and Diana’s pure charm complete the gift-wrapped package.

Three nearly but not quites…

McFly – Shine A Light, Take That – The Flood, Katie Melua – The Flood

Be careful what you wish for ‘cos you just might get it…

A while ago, I hastily-penned a short article expressing my disdain for the whole Sugababes v.27 thing. Just a few months later, in their eternal bid to prove that anything the Brits can do the Yanks can do better, the Pussycat Dolls are making the Sugababes incident seem like an event of ‘kid pushes over other kid’s sandcastle’ magnitude.

It currently looks as if Nicole Scherzinger is the last Doll standing – a mean feat considering she wasn’t even a Doll in the first place (she was added to give ‘vocal strength’ when the burlesque troupe became a band). Given that Scherzinger apparently manages to sing both lead and backing vocals on When I Grow Up (meaning should the post of PCD magician become vacant, Scherzinger is a dead cert), any other members are clearly dispensable and amidst tales of dressing rooms, drug tests, regulated screen-time in videos, non-sharing of vocals, broken ribs and even homelessness, Kimberly Wyatt, Jessica Sutta and Ashley Roberts have all confirmed their departures. The exit of Melody Thornton, the only other member even allowed within breathing space of a microphone and who had an outburst live on stage about not being ‘featured’ (a reference to the band’s new name of “Pussycat Dolls feat. Nicole Scherzinger” on their last singles), surely cannot be far off.

The fact that you’re probably scratching your heads trying to place these names – that’s if you’re even bothering attempting to place them at all (and no, none of them are the one who looked like a he-she – that was Carmit Bachar and she left 2 years ago) – illustrates the problem. These other members were little more than glorified back-up dancers for Scherzinger and in fact, salaried employees of the record company. This means they picked up pay cheques for a set amount just like you, me or any other average Joe flipping burgers at the local Machouse.

This already promoted the idea that members were interchangeable – in any corporation, no-one is irreplaceable – and this has led to a somewhat blasé attitude amongst some commentators regarding PCD’s (as we know them) demise. But this isn’t a corporation, it’s a pop band. You put these girls on every single record sleeve, you have an official website where each has a member profile, you send them out touring and you do this over the course of five whole years – of course, their job status is a little different to your average Joe flipping burgers and should be treated as such. It’s a little sad if we just shrug our shoulders and continue to lap up whatever material Scherzinger and her chorus line put out next.

The notion of modern pop fandom means having some connection with the individuals in the group, for better or for worse. Yes, yes, it should all be about the music blah blah blah but where would the fun be in that? People inevitably develop favourite members, bustling fansites and forums emerge and Thornton, Wyatt and Roberts have approximately 90,000 followers on Twitter between them; to the hardcore fans, the staple of pop groups who rely on such fans to religiously buy singles even when they’re at the tricky dodgy ballad stage, these women are not just interchangeable faces – whatever Robin Antin, the brains (and the botox) behind brand PCD, may believe.

Compare and contrast the videos for the lead single and last singles from the Doll Domination album campaign. By the end, the other members are lucky to get 20 seconds screen-time between them and aren’t even bothering to lip-sync to backing vocals. It shows disrespect to the fans, disrespect to real bands whose performances aren’t a total charade and disrespect to the girls themselves.

Line-up changes, bust-ups and messy splits are practically written into girl groups’ DNA and I daresay that if the Pussycat Dolls, in whatever Nicole-centric incarnation (lest we forget she had a prolonged crack at solo stardom and comprehensively flopped), continue to release highly-commercial material of a similar calibre to their work in the past, they will continue to sell decently. To lose one band member is bad luck, to lose two is carelessness… to lose four in one fell swoop hints at deeper problems. I hope the press give them a hard time because they genuinely deserve it. Come back Sugababes v.48, all is forgiven.