Each week here on VH1 Tuner, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer’s Spotlight with us. Be sure to tune into the Top 20 Countdown tomorrow morning when it airs on VH1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT.
10.) “Blow,” Ke$ha
Yes, this single was featured on Ke$ha’s 2010 mini-LP, Cannibal, but the track didn’t fully explode (or blow-ow-ow) until the beginning of this year. Because “Blow” stayed away from Ke$ha’s polarizing sing-annunciate-rap formula, it became her first single that I couldn’t stop listening to.
9.) “Michael Jackson,” Das Racist
For some reason, underground/indie-minded hip-hoppers tend to shy away from slick production and repetitive hooks, but on “Michael Jackson” Das Racist embrace these elements with fantastic results.
8.) “Lonely Boy,” The Black Keys
Dan and Pat of The Black Keys add bass and keys to their two-man sound, creating one of the most fun rock tracks of the year (which will surely still be in heavy rotation come 2012).
7.) “Children,” V.V. Brown feat. Chiddy
One of the most fun songs of the year, featuring a sample of an ice cream truck’s jingle; a group of children belting out the chorus; and some slick rhymes from Chiddy (of Chiddy Bang).
6.) “Edge of Glory,” Lady Gaga
Plays out like an exclamation point on the late-great Clarence Clemons’ career, who delivered the saxophone solo. Also, during the 2011 Women’s World Cup, ESPN seemed to play this song on a continual loop. Can’t blame them though, because it is a montage-worthy anthem.
5.) “What The Hell,” Avril Lavigne
A pop hit from the first half of 2011 that I haven’t been able to resist. That organ loop is so damn catchy!
4.) “Rolling In The Deep,” Adele
Because this song is going to top everyone else’s year-end list, I don’t feel guilty for ranking it fourth. However, it wouldn’t take much arm-twisting for me to move this up a couple spots.
3.) “Hello,” Martin Solveig & Dragonette
If the Ramones were a dance act, I think this is probably how they would sound, sans the female vocals, of course. What a simple (just three chords) yet deliciously sounding pop song.
2.) “Make Some Noise,” Beastie Boys
Squeezed from the finest organic fruits of the Beastie Boys’ orchard, they craft one of the juiciest hip-hop tracks of the year, which features Adrock shouting out his softball team; Mike D opening a restaurant with Ted Danson, and MCA performing brain surgery.
1.) “Shake Me Down,” Cage The Elephant
For those of you who love ‘90s music and can’t stop listening to the anniversary additions of Pearl Jam’s Ten and Nirvana’s Nevermind, may I suggest Cage The Elephant? Influences from the aforementioned decade are obvious, but this Kentucky-bred band has also done an excellent job of creating their own blue-collar-rock sound with a near perfect sophomore album.