The bops of our childhood, 10 years later
When I was a child, 2011 felt like a monumental year for me. I started middle school—what in my mind was a brief precursor to adulthood—turned 11, moved across the country and memorized every lyric of Adele’s “21.” Even outside of “21,” 2011 was a phenomenal year for music, especially from the perspective of an impressionable 11-year-old. Now that it’s been 10 years since 2011 and I’m an almost-adult, I’d like to celebrate by revisiting some of my favorite songs from the year.
What Makes You Beautiful | One Direction
I read somewhere that the cultural disdain for teen girls’ interests is a product of misogyny, because we as a culture have a contempt for young women. During my preteen years, the teen girl interest of choice was One Direction, and although I wasn’t a huge fan, I remember listening to “What Makes You Beautiful” on repeat a number of times. The joy in this song is just infectious, and it’s a perfect example of what made, and makes, One Direction so sensational. Whenever I’m in need of some good nostalgia, I always listen to this song again to remember how great it is, even as it has aged. After all, what’s better than one of the generation’s hottest boy bands reminding me how pretty I am?
Moves Like Jagger | Maroon 5, Christina Aguilera
When “Moves Like Jagger” was released, Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera were both hosts on NBC singing competition “The Voice,” and I was obsessed with both the show and the song. Did I fantasize about auditioning for “The Voice” with “Moves Like Jagger” and being selected for Christina’s team? Absolutely. The whistling sample is so unique, and the buoyant beat practically calls listeners to start dancing to the music. Christina Aguilera’s wonderful vocals in tandem with Adam Levine’s impressive falsetto lead to an enjoyable and unforgettable 2010s pop song.
6 Foot 7 Foot | Lil Wayne
My brothers listened to rap music nonstop during our childhood, and while I wasn’t a fan of the genre, I intrinsically knew that Lil Wayne’s “6 Foot 7 Foot” was a hit. As someone who now loves hip-hop I know that Lil Wayne rarely disappoints, and what he does with “6 Foot 7 Foot” is simply incredible. Production-wise, the song contains a nice stable base that upholds the higher rhythms. Lyrically, Lil Wayne uses the song to remind us of his sonic genius with clever lines like “real Gs move in silence like lasagna” and “woman of my dreams, I don’t sleep so I can’t find her.” If I ever become a rapper, this song will be the inspiration for my career.
Love on Top | Beyoncé
Beyoncé first rose to fame with Destiny’s Child in the ‘90s, and she’s consistently been releasing bangers ever since. One of my favorite Beyoncé songs is the captivating ”Love on Top,” which was inspired by her portrayal of Etta James in the 2008 film “Cadillac Records” and perfectly showcases her out-of-this-world talent. The old-school R&B song is an ode to a wholly fulfilling love that feels even better when described via Beyoncé’s impeccable vocals, and it’s a great throwback to listen to with that special someone this Valentine’s Day.
Rumour Has It | Adele
There’s no way I could write this article without including a song from the 2011 legend herself, Adele. I’ve listened to “21” more times than I can count, and one of the album’s standouts is “Rumour Has It,” a groovy song about a love gone sour. Ever since I was a kid I’ve been impressed by the charisma Adele emanates in “Rumour Has It,” and the unique beat sounds unlike anything I’ve heard before, but in a really good way. Whether you’re just revisiting old showstoppers or need something that will make you feel unstoppable, “Rumour Has It” is the perfect track to listen to.