Shoulda, coulda, woulda they say, and if we were heading up things at these labels, we might’ve done things a bit differently. But alas, we do not so we do what we do best and make a catchy end of year list that points out songs that deserved their run at the pop charts. Even if they never see the light of Billboard glory, they’re certainly some of the best songs of the year and should get your listen. Who knows! Did you know “Starships” wasn’t even on the original run of Nicki Minaj‘s Pink Friday? That’s right, and mostly why there was a “Pink Friday 2″ aka Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. So there’s always a chance for long-lost songs to see new glory. Here are the ones we think deserve it.
Ciara, “Livin’ It Up”
Talk about a missed opportunity, Ciara’s “Livin’ It Up”, a tropical romp across a Kid ‘N Play sample, isn’t even included on the final version of her album One Woman Army. Snatched from a Cosmopolitan Magazine sampler CD, blogs went nuts over the track after it leaked across the web in anticipation for the album. Too bad that when Ciara released her first single, the apty-named, and decidedly down-beat “Sorry”, turned out “Livin’ It Up” was more of what everyone wanted.
Frank Ocean, “Lost”
channel ORANGE received a whole bunch of attention this year, although it was Frank Ocean’s sexuality that managed to steal the spotlight most of the time. The album ended up being a gorgeous collection of songs that perfect flowed in and out of each other–even the 9+ minute “Pyramids” shined. But if any song had a chance at the pop charts, it would’ve been “Lost” a song that tells the tale of a drug-cooking girlfriend atop a catchy pop melody.
P!nk (ft. Nate Ruess), “Just Give Me A Reason”
P!nk co-wrote this heartfelt duet with fun.’s Nate Ruess, and then convinced him to sing it with her–cuz, like, who can say no to P!nk? Based on their combined star power (fun. is also currently working on sweeping The Grammys come February), “Just Give Me A Reason” might not be forgotten. It just so happens that pictures from a new P!nk music video featuring her real-life husband, Carey, were leaked on Twitter. Fans assumed it was the video for this very song. We soon shall see…
Looking 4 Myself has already produced a number of smash singles, and more noticeably: collaborations. Usher’s track with Diplo, the falsetto “Climax”, Usher’s collaboration with Max Martin, the upbeat “Scream” both hit the top of the charts as singles. Meanwhile, the much forgotten about “Twisted” represents Usher’s time spent with Pharrell and deserves so much (more!) attention.
Christina Aguilera, “Red Hot Kinda Love”
Following the famously flopped Bionic, anything Christina Aguilera put out would’ve shined. Good thing Lotus managed to have pieces of perfection, meanwhile the most slept-on track, “Red Hot Kinda Love”, has yet to be put forward as a single. Fingers crossed that the catchy track will some day get its day in the sun (and on the charts). Christina, there’s still time!
Carly Rae Jepsen, “Hurt So Good”
Carly Rae Jepsen’s debut album Kiss is such pop perfection that every track just might be a single, but for now, only Song of the Summer “Call Me Maybe”, the Owl City duet “Good Time”, “This Kiss” and (the upcoming!) “Tonight I’m Getting Over You” are being released. But why stop a good thing? At least three more tracks on the 15 track album could easily sail up the charts, including out pick: “Hurts So Good”.
Kanye West & G.O.O.D. Music, “To The World”
Ask just about anyone, Cruel Summer was kind of a bust. Minus “Mercy” and this track, featuring the incomparable R. Kelly. Call me biased, but there are OVER THIRTEEN syllables in Kells’ pronunciation of “world”. Try that on for size.
Justin Bieber, “Take You”
Justin Bieber’s Believe had the pop idol attempting to slowly transition from boy to…older boy. And while singles like “Beauty and the Beat” and “As Long As You Love Me” leaned on features from Big Sean and Nicki Minaj, Bieber’s album is stuffed full of romantic slow jams that could very well take him to Jason Mraz heights. Our favorite? “Take You”.
Kendrick Lamar, “Backseat Freestyle”
Kendrick’s newest, good kid, m.A.A.d city, has earned its spot on top of many end of year lists. In “Backseat Freestyle” a song that would make for an incredible edited clean version, Lamar prays that his privates get as big “as the Eiffel Tower” so he can enjoy the company of “the world for 72 hours”? Now that’s a single.
Meek Mill, “Believe It”
“I got that Justin Bieber, please believe it!” raps Meek Mill, on a track that also manages to shout out Miley Cyrus on a track that is as menacing as it is catchy.
Drake ft. The Weeknd, “Crew Love”
Five singles off Drake’s Take Care and no “Crew Love” — the echoing ode to your BFFs featuring heavenly vocals from The Weeknd? A misstep on Drake’s label, for sure.
No Doubt, “Gravity”
“Gravity” is a mid-tempo love ballad that’s full of the great “Didn’t we almost have it all?” moments that have always percolated between Gwen and Tony. The singles from their comeback album Push and Shove didn’t do so well, going too hard in dance-y direction, when most of No Doubt’s fanbase is older and adores the band’s syrupy stuff the most.
“The Big & Best of 2012: A Year End Celebration Presented by T-Mobile” goes LIVE at 12 p.m. ET on 12/12/12. Watch at BigAndBestOf2012.com for eight hours of live performances from stars like Bruno Mars and Miguel, surprise guest appearances, prize giveaways, special editions of “RapFix Live,” “Big Morning Buzz Live,” “MTV After Hours,” “You Oughta Know” and much more!