If you know me you would know that I'm a pretty big pop music fan. The word "Pop" has had a bad rep for a few years now, but ironically it is pop music that's the number one most listened to genre in the world. When someone says pop music, most will immediately think sugary, bubblegum or manufactured music, but they forget that pop actually stands for POPULAR. Popular music is something that everyone loves, music that is universal and transcends race, gender, and sexuality. Pop is really the only genre that incorporates every form of music out there, which is the reason for its universal standards. Pop songs can be influenced by country, rock, soul, jazz, R&B, folk and so much more. I'm a big pop fan. I love pop music, and I'm dedicating this journal, Top 25 Greatest Pop Songs, to everyone else out there who loves pop music.
In the mist of 2001's wave of Hip-Hop inspired rap and R&B music, Kylie Minouge came from nowhere to conquerer the radio with her infectious hit, "Can't Get You Out of My Head." The song was a different taste for most American listeners with its European dance sound and electronic vibes. Released with perfect timing, it rejuvenated Kylie's career and completely opened her up to a new generation of fans. It was such a breath of fresh air and exactly what listeners need at the time: Refreshing, care-free, and fun dance pop.
TLC were to the 90s what The Supremes were to the 60s, a great girl group who destroyed the boundaries of R&B and Pop to create some of the catchiest songs ever conceived. The song "Waterfalls" was a huge success due to the simplicity of the track; it had straight-forward great beats sung along with meaningful lyrics. The video was also a big milestone at the time, using computer graphics to make the grils look as if they were made entirely of water. "Waterfalls" remains a testament to this day as to why TLC will always be a group of prominence in music history.
From the sweet, softly sung opening to the high energy disco beats, Donna Summer's 70s classic is greatness from start to finish. Donna's "Last Dance" captures the era of 70s dance music excellently, transporting you back to that hip time. Donna's vocals are just as grand as the song, hitting notes with the strength and confidence of a true diva.
By time Britney Spears released her sensational mega-smash "Toxic" she was already a international superstar with great profits. Unfortunately, while Britney's success overseas was still as hot as ever, in the U.S. her musical star was fading. That was all changed when this sleek, stylish and sexy song hit airwaves. The insanely catchy hook and harmonic strings were pop perfection, and brought attention back to Britney's music rather than her personal life. Highly praised by both critics and fans alike, "Toxic" remains one of the best pop songs ever made and earned Britney her first Grammy Award.
From the first guitar riffs to the deliciously fun hook, George Michael's "Faith" takes you on a ride worth repeating over and over. Before Michael's notorious arrest, he was considered pop royalty who was on his way to Michael Jackson-esque super stardom. When you listen to "Faith" it's not hard to believe why those comparisons were made. Still to this day fans dance to the irresistible groove "Faith" creates. It's like your mom's homemade apple pie, you always gave to have a second slice!
Who says pop songs have to be happy? The melancholy brilliance of No Doubt's "Don't Speak" captured a generation and angst ridden teens and catapulted the band to fame. Written about Gwen Stefani's relationship with band-mate Tony Kanal, the song's dark, and maybe unpleasantness, comes from that personal experience. The painfully truthful lyrics matched with Gwen's passionate vocals made for a formula that couldn't fail.
After tackling the transition from adolescence to adult with her breakthrough album, "Control," and speaking out on world issues with "Rhythm Nation 1814" Janet wanted not only a new image, but a new sound to go along with her ever-evolving career. All the barriers from young naive teenager to a full-fledged independent woman were shattered to bits with Jackson's album, "Janet." and her insanely addictive song "That's the Way Love Goes." This song not only showed Janet in a new light, it opened her up to new fans who were more mature. As she whispers, "Like a moth to the flame, burned by the fire..." You know something real is about to go down. Still to this day, "That's the Way Love Goes" is Jackson's biggest hit, and an announcement to the world that Janet Jackson was a firm and untainted superstar.
It was a real surprise when I heard "Time After Time" for the first time. In my mind, Cyndi Lauper was always this crazy and fun pop singer from the 80s who had wacky hair. That all changed when I heard this song. "Time After Time" is a powerful pop ballad that flows with beautiful emotion and carelessly serene melodies. It established Cyndi as more than a gimmick and made people realize that she had potential as a real artist. Also, the song very well shows that this woman can SANG
(that's right, not sing, but SANG) her butt off.
Who doesn't know this song? I knew "Dancing Queen" before I knew who ABBA (or even what music) was. The song is dream pop to the fullest extent and is an instant classic. Once you hear the opening piano and the female vocals "Oooo" you know your feet are in for some good ol' tappin.
With this single song, Whitney Houston took hold of the music world and set in stone her status as an icon. Whitney also defined perfectly of how a cover should sound: Remaking the music to fit the artist completely, while still paying homage to the original. Here Whitney does Dolly Parton's original proud, as she surpasses it and makes this song her own. No one could escape this song, and when you think about it, why would anyone want to?
Funky, soulful, sassy, and sexy...not only do these words describe the classic song "Kiss," but also the song's creator, Prince. A mastermind of musical melodies and composition, Prince is unlike any other when it comes to creating songs. "I just want your extra time and your...kiss," and as Prince squeals these words you are convinced that this man can have any person he wants, either man or woman, at his beckon call. Prince has an unparalleled skill for incorporating sexual phrasing in music that will keep the listener drooling for more. "Kiss" is a great representation of a man whose legacy will never be forgotten.
When you listen to The Beach Boys you're in store for nothing but good vibrations (I'm sorry lol, I couldn't help that pun). This band has created some of the all-time best feel good songs, and "Wouldn't It Be Nice" sits right on top of their golden catalogue. The beautiful song, about hoping for future dreams and goals, just sweep the ears like a summer breeze. Matched with a beautiful bridge, "Wouldn't It Be Nice" is the ultimate summer classic.
Some of you may be thinking, "What?! Backstreet Boys?!?!" Well...yes! The thing about the Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way" is that this song does everything a great pop song should. It's amazingly catchy, feel-good, care-free, well sung, well composed, well produced...everything is just done RIGHT. The song is pop perfection in everyway of the word. Those who do not care to admit that they like anything by the Backstreet Boys will attest to enjoying this song (Don't deny it, you know you love this song). Personally, I was always for *NSYNC, but this song is better than everything *NSYNC ever put out. And that's my
Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" wins hands down the best song by an angry woman award (Yes, it beats out Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know"). The notorious song about a woman singing to a man calling him out as a narcissist is one of the best guilty pleasures ever. Musically, Carly Simon has made better songs, but the pure emotion and cultural impact of this song warrants its spot on this list.
This song...man, this song. Just thinking about John Lennon's "Imagine" makes me tear up. A song of the most heartfelt and musically endearing spirit, "Imagine" has defied time itself to be established as one of the best songs ever, period. The subject manner is true, the profound simplicity of the song is mind-boggling. This song alone, in my opinion, really has the power to unite the world. If you haven't heard it, please do yourself a favor and listen. It may change the way you view your world.
I say this all the time, and I will stand by it fully: This song can be released in any era, both past and future, and it will be an astounding hit. "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" still sounds as fresh as the day it was created, and was a foreshadowing of the greatness to come, which was Michael Jackson. Listening to the song you remember Michael, the young adult with a slight self-esteem problem, but who knew how to create the best dance/pop music you'll hear in years. Michael's ability to hear (and use that word intensely, to hear) the potential of a song and mold it into something well beyond what was imaginable is where his greatness is shown. "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" is a soul/dance/pop classic that will always be remembered.
Madonna's "Vogue" is to pop music as milk is to the cereal you make in the morning, without that milk your cereal is just dry and bland. What Madonna did with "Vogue" was not only create a good song, she created a grand culture. It's rare today to see a true pop song with style, class and substance. Madonna took pop music beyond good beats and glittering looks, and she created an art form. "Vogue" doesn't take itself too seriously, and for that we're able to just enjoy the song. Madonna says it all, "Let your body move to the music...Let your body go with the flow."
Funky, slinky, swanky...hell every word that ends with "ky" Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" has. "Superstition" ranks top bill with most of Stevie's fans and it's not hard to figure out why. Incredibly hip, "Superstition" is a showcase of soul/pop at its best. The somewhat disarming and odd sounding beat along with Stevie's smart witty lyrics makes for a song well fitted for its campy title. With great vocals to match, this song is classic heaven.
"How wonderful life is while your in the world." That line alone qualifies this piece as maybe the greatest love song ever written. So beautiful in its harmonies, Elton John's "Your Song" will simply brighten your day. Really, there is possibly no song that will uplift your spirit more than this song. Go ahead, after a hard day or if something bad just happened to you, play "Your Song" and I guarantee your mood will be lifted. As a gifted musician most, if not all, Elton songs have this amazing effect. "Your Song" is at the top of a list full of undeniably moving classics that Elton John has mastered.
This song brings the words "instant classic" to new heights. Within days of premiering, the song "...Baby One More Time" sky-rocketed the small country girl from Louisiana to a type of fame that she herself wouldn't have ever imagined. This girl is of course Britney Spears. The insatiable hook, the beyond addicting melodies and the sweet vocal styling of Britney all united to create one of the biggest hits of the late 90s. Although everything was done right from the video to her image, it is in Britney's persona that gave this song its spunk. Now honestly, can you imagine anyone other than Britney singing this song?...no I didn't think so. This song neither followed a trend nor did it create one. Britney Spears' "...Baby One More Time" was the trend. Many (and I mean many) tried to recapture what this song did, and they all failed. This song, along with Britney herself, was a force to be reckoned with, and no one can deny that this song was just a fun, delightful treat to the ears.
"Baby, baby...baby don't leave me. Mmmm baby don't leave me...all by myself." Yes, you don't even need to hear the song to know what it sounds like. The Supremes' "Where Did Our Love Go" is one of those songs that you feel like your born knowing, as if the song was second nature to you. This is what a great pop song should do. What The Supremes did for music not only affected that industry alone, they redefined society itself. Some may find it hard to believe that three songstresses were one of the core reasons for most of the songs we have today, but that is a true fact. With their blend of soul, jazz, R&B and pop The Supremes created an entirely new sound that captivated listeners, and still to this day sounds just as great. "Where Did Our Love Go" is without a doubt their shining song, the melodic doo-wop and the soft nonthreatening vocals makes a easy song to relax to. The song is just exquisite.
How to describe this song to someone who hasn't heard it? I'd say it sounds like a song that would come from an extraterrestrial. I really though I was listening to something from another planet when I heard this song for the first time. Then it went to it's exciting verse that began, "Mama just killed a man..." and I was hooked, and I mean completely taken in. There was still over 5 minutes left to the song! Classic doesn't begin to do "Bohemian Rhapsody" justice as this song casts a surreal spell over its listeners. It literally sounds like 3 or 4 songs in one, and they all blend excellently together. I won't write out how the song's sounds, it is something that must be experienced for the listener to fully appreciate it; and by now I'm sure most people not only know this song, but adore it without reason. Wait, I take it back...I can describe this song. Breathtaking.
You know, there really is something to that old saying, "less is more." That is indeed the case with The Beatles song "Yesterday," which strikes the heart with intensity and passion. One of the most melodic and glorious pieces of music, the song has nothing more than an acoustic guitar and string quartet backing as Paul McCartney sings nostalgically of a lost love. The song is so beautiful in fact, I began to cry the first time I heard it. That experience alone showed me the true power of music, and why The Beatles are credited as the greatest band of all time. There are many good things I can say about this song, but I will take The Beatles note to mind and just remember that less is more.
*Sigh*...Billie Jean...where do I even begin. I really don't know, I'm seriously at a loss for words for once. It's just that this song is so profound, so creative and so GHAAAAAAA! I just don't know what to say. You already know this song, and you already know how brilliant it is. I'm really amazed myself right now, I don't know what to say O_o
So yea...what did you do today? :-P
Ok guys, so unlike number 2, I can find the words for this song. There was no question in my mind what my number 1 song would be, there was no hesitation it was just known. Madonna's "Like a Prayer" is in fact a prayer, it's a prayer answered by the heavens (am I being over dramatic enough for you yet?). This song is what music and an artist strives to be: A true representation of self while capturing the emotions of every listener who hears the song. Madonna explores her own questions, confusion, doubts and faith for religion in "Like a Prayer." Her personal lyrics and soulful (I don't mean R&B soulful, I mean spiritual soulful) vocal can ring in the heart of every person who listens because we all feel this way at one point of our lives. Then when you put aside all the spiritual references, the song is just catchy. The great choir in the background adds a church feel to the song, and the ambient but still upbeat music brings true life to "Like a Prayer." This song is the epitome of quality, a song that has a message to say but is still good fun to listen too. When it comes to pop music, no one can do it better than Madonna.