"Someone Like You" - Jay Brannan: Okay, Hypocrite Warning. I just ranted about overplayed songs, but Adele is truly amazing, and her impact on music this year is undeniable. I actually prefer this version, by one of the best singer/songwriters who's ever lived. Jay can rip your guts out with the pain and loss in his voice. He's felt this ish before, and you can hear it in every note.
"Cold as Stone" - Lady Antebellum: I really love Lady Antebellum, but the album tracks that make it to radio are rarely my faves. Case in point, this gorgeous ballad. Charles and Hillary's harmonies always give me goosebumps, and they can tell a country story of a lost relationship better than anyone. Throw in some beautiful and tear-inducing strings at the end, and you've got a song that could (and likely will) break your heart.
"Strangest Love" - Britney Spears: You can judge me if you want, but I don't have to defend my love for well-constructed and fun pop music. Her Femme Fatale album surprised me by becoming my favorite Britney album ever (don't tell Blackout), but I honestly wouldn't be able to decide which song I like best. Luckily for me, this track leaked and made the choice for me. It is one of the 5 best Britney songs ever. It's sexy and sleek, but you can hear the emotion in there, subtle but powerful. Just like Brit-Brit. Stop judging me.
"Love Too Much" - Kris Allen: Another unreleased track jumps in and makes my year so much brighter. Apparently co-written by Kevin Rudolf, this song has passion, catchy rhythm, vocal prowess, and most importantly, the emotional tone in Kris's voice that makes you scream it out in the car, forget you're at a stoplight, and be judged by angry drivers who have to pass you and wonder what asylum you escaped from. No? Maybe that's just me then....
"Holding Out For a Hero" - Ella Mae Bowen: I love a classic song that gets flipped into something new and different. I love a singer who can effortlessly use their voice to make you feel their desperation and sadness. I love a musical arrangement that completely conveys the emotion of the song without the need for any vocals. So when you can combine all of these things together, you get perhaps the most beautiful song I've ever heard. Ever. I'm not kidding. Check it.
The only thing I love more than sharing my favorite music is people sharing theirs with me :). What are YourFive songs of 2011?