1. Katy Perry, “The One That Got Away”
Katy Perry wanted nothing more than for her album Teenage Dream to generate six straight number ones (thus beating a bunch of existing chart records), but her latest single wasn’t quite generating the same sales hype as the others, despite a lavish cinematic video and tacked-on verse B.o.B. remix rerelease. In a The Gift Of The Magi twist, Russell Brand opted to divorce Perry over the holidays thus new baptizing “The One That Got Away” as a Katy Perry accidental Nostradamus self-clown. Perhaps Brand was only attempting to explain the abiding love Brits have for irony in their comedy but it worked, and Katy got her wish the hard way. Now she has to perform this song on stage while the public speculates about her personal life. Maybe that June and Johnny Cash reference wasn’t so very far off. Teenage Nightmare?
2. Avicii, “Levels”
When (if ever) will the Electric Daisy Carnival bubble pop? “Levels” went to number one in Sweden and Scotland and I heard in every store in the mall. It made me want to listen to Etta James, since it samples her. How about Vinny Vedecci house instead? Or Herman Cain house?
3. Wynter Gordon, “Buy My Love”
Wynter Gordon is a pop singer and songwriter from South Jamaica, Queens. Her breakthrough single “Dirty Talk” was cotton candy nonsense house that suited the national mood. “Buy My Love” is an energetic rampage that sounds like Ottawan’s “Hands Up” after seven cans of Red Bull and a firing squad match of Dance Dance Revolution. Gordon’s album is called With The Music I Die, which is a fantastic title.
4. Traci Lords, “Last Drag”
Miss American Dream since she was seventeen starring in New Wave Hookers, Traci Lords (née Nora Louise Kuzma) escaped an epically shitty childhood into a series of legendary pornos and then sued the producers who let her make them as a teenaged minor. Lords gained her greatest fame as an underage starlet in the public imagination, an ’80s lip-glossed Lolita forever embalmed in…films. She’s worked semi-steadily since then in TV and movies (Crybaby, Blade) with sporadic musical releases catering to her cult fan base and gay clubs. I must recommend the campy “sensual” video (directed by softcore’s own Zalman King!!!) for “Last Drag,” which feels like a red velvet dawn throwback Cinemax sex thriller.
5. Erika Jayne, “Party People (Ignite The World)”
Erika Jayne is the Los Angeles arsonist? These are very serious charges, my party people. If you like your pop faceless and haven’t had enough “Pon De Floor” somehow, this is your song. Now get these damned revelrous firebugs out of my home.
6. Chris Willis, “Too Much In Love”
The Lenny Kravitz riff is the worst part of this. Chris Willis was a gospel singer who left the church when he came out as gay. He has racked up a ton of (mostly European) hits over the last decade as David Guetta’s favored vocalist and co-writer. His voice is beautiful and the harmonies sweet but that damned guitar loop just bangs you over the head like you’re trapped under an overzealous windmill.
7. Lady Gaga, “Marry The Night”
Damn it Gaga you’re not Laurie Anderson. Way to make Lana Del Rey seem like a master of dark subtlety. The “Marry The Night” video goes for Suspiria x Showgirls x The Rocky Horror Picture Show without adding up to the sum of its influences. Gaga can’t edit herself, or won’t. I love maximalism as much as (or more than) the next gal — and Trans Am hood black leather melancholia the most — but a fourteen minute music video is too motherfucking long. C’mon! I don’t even like watching the narrative parts of “Thriller.” Or the narrative parts of Titanic. (I have ADD.) Gaga has yet to top “Bad Romance.”
8. Taio Cruz Ft. Flo Rida, “Hangover”
First regret of 2012 is the time it took to watch this video — like a bad hangover the pain is accompanied by no memory of the experience itself.
9. Coldplay, “Paradise”
Let’s all kick it at The Sleepytime Club, where you drink big mugs of herbal tea and fall asleep in cozy blankets in front of fireplaces watching DVDs while cute baby animals roll around on wooly rugs all night long at an underground cave/work space beneath the abandoned subway station. I hear Coldplay will be playing a secret show of B-sides and lullabies.
10. Deborah Cox, “If It Wasn’t For Love”
Now THAT’s What I Call Diva House 2012.
Molly Lambert is a Grantland staff writer.