By Scott Raychel
Note: This is the fourth and final installment in our week-long series which features the contributing writers at PopTometry counting down their 10 favorite pop songs of all time. Click here for Part 1, click here for Part 2, and click here for Part 3.
10. "Clocks" - Coldplay
Being a sucker for end-of-year montages set to cheesy inspirational music, this song would have to be at the top of my list of cheesy, inspirational end-of-year soundtracks. With a piano hook so instantly recognizable and memorable, it’s difficult not to get emotional over the triumphs of the human race upon hearing it.
9. "One More Time" - Daft Punk
This song and Daft Punk’s breakthrough album “Discovery” helped to put techno, electronica, and dance music in the mainstream, paving the way for electronica artists like Deadmau5 and Skrillex to be able to show up at the Grammys and spark endless debates about what constitutes “real music.” While it’s clear that debate doesn’t matter, Daft Punk’s impact on pop music is undeniable. Just ask Kanye.
8. "Take On Me" - A-Ha!
For a quick crash course in 80’s music, one needs to look no further than “Take On Me’s” unmistakable synth intro, which is easily one of the defining sounds of 80’s new wave pop music. And if you’ve ever met someone who says they never tried to sing the high note at the end of the chorus, they are straight-up lying to you.
7. "House of the Rising Sun" - The Animals
No one knows who wrote the original version of this song, and there have been many cover versions, but The Animals’ take is by far the best and most well-known. One can only get goosebumps upon hearing the tale of failure and depression shouted amidst the swirling maelstrom of the central guitar riff and the haunting keys.
6. "Feel Good Inc." - Gorillaz
Damon Albarn’s mission to fight fire with fire by using pop music to fight pop music didn’t start coming into fully realized fruition until this bass driven and catchy-as-hell tune began dominating the airwaves. Accompanied with a surreal acoustic guitar section and rap verses relentlessly fired out of a cannon by De La Soul, this track helped launch their album Demon Days into the pantheon of the greatest albums released in the last decade.
5. "Wouldn't It Be Nice?" - The Beach Boys
The opening track from Pet Sounds is a dreamland of a song about spending the rest of your days with the one you love, even when you’re too young to be able to do so just yet. The ethereal guitar into, the horn section, and the Beach Boys’ signature harmonies lull you into a false sense of happy security before Brian Wilson takes you on a tour of his tortured heart on the band’s defining –and complete - album.
4. "...Baby One More Time" - Britney Spears
The Bubble Gum Pop Explosion of the late 90’s can be attributed to boy bands like The Backstreet Boys and N* Sync, but this borderline raunchy pop song from then-16-years-old Britney Spears helped redefine pop music as the world knew it with just three pounding piano chords and one school girl outfit.
3. "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" - Judy Garland
The Wizard of Oz wouldn’t be the same without its signature song, which almost was cut from the 1939 movie classic. Judy Garland makes most well-known version of the song her own, but the song itself has left an impact and inspired various covers, including a version by a punk rock cover group and a beautiful ukulele rendition by the incredibly large Hawaiian, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.
2. "Stand By Me" - Ben E. King
It’s one of the signature anthems for friendship, and not just because there’s a movie about friendship with the same name. King’s voice is loud and clear, the opening bass line and bell rings are reminiscent of a summer evening, and if you don’t well up with emotion at the string section in the bridge, you are dead inside.
1. "Yesterday" - The Beatles
Armed with just an acoustic guitar, Paul McCartney delivers this somber tribute to a relationship lost. It’s one of the more low-key songs in The Beatles catalog, but it’s also one of their most beautiful. As stated earlier in the week, just about any Beatles song can go on a top whatever list, but “Yesterday” is one of the most personal contributions to music McCartney has put forth.