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WAPS Presents The 50 Greatest Pop Songs Of 2009!


It’s been a busy year in pop, and WAPS has been delighted to guide you through it!

Looking back over our articles prompted us to compile a rundown of 2009’s best pop songs – you know, because there really aren’t enough lists flying around at the moment…and with this in mind, we whittled a shortlist of almost 200 tracks down to 50. There were arguments, believe us, but here they are.

We hope you’ll agree that our selection represents the year in pop rather well, and we apologise if your favourite song or artist fell by the wayside. The list is presented in alphabetical order by artist because we think each track is equally important (not very scientific, but there you go.)

Finally, to celebrate our Top 50, Nokia Music have generously supplied us with two vouchers – worth 50 songs each! – which we are giving away to two lucky readers (one per winner). If you’re a winner you could download our entire Top 50 from the Nokia music store – or 50 entirely different tracks, the choice is yours!

To be in with a chance of winning*, all you have to do is leave a comment telling us your favourite track of 2009 and why you love it. The winners will be selected at random.

* Nokia Music Store is only supported on PC with Internet Explorer. Prize draw open only to UK residents. Competition closes at 31st December 2009. Terms and conditions apply.

Alexandra Burke ft Flo Rida – Bad Boys

With the public behind her and celebrity backing from Beyonce, X Factor 2008 winner Alexandra Burke couldn’t go wrong with her first ‘proper’ single, ‘Bad Boys’ -and yet for some curious reason Flo Rida was roped in for a cameo. If you’re reading, Flo, she’s not called Alexander. Mispronunciation-issues aside, ‘Bad Boys’ was a pop song you couldn’t help but bounce along to. Swanky video, too.

Alphabeat – The Spell

Exuberant Danish pop group Alphabeat bounced back from label limbo with their strongest single to date. ‘The Spell‘ was an irresistible take on early 90s dance acts such as Black Box and Snap, but sadly failed to translate into mega chart succes

Beyonce – Halo

Although ‘Halo‘ pretty much marked the point that Ryan ‘One Republic’ Tedder’s sound became overly familiar to the world and his wife, nobody minded because the sound was coming from Beyonce. Emotional pop of the highest order.

Beyonce – Sweet Dreams
A ferocious slab of electropop that showed Beyonce – sorry Sasha Fierce – at her most deadly. Ms Knowles stole the show with her rendition of this single at the 2009 MTV Europe Music Awards.

Black Eyed Peas – Boom Boom Pow

WAPS declared BEP‘s ‘Boom Boom Pow‘ almost unlistenable the first time round, yet by the end of the summer it was rarely off our ipods. A bizarre dancefest of epic proportions that kickstarted six months of world domination from the Peas.

Britney Spears – 3

An odd year for Britney – her ‘Circus’ tour ran to 97 dates and made millions, while its star released a series of increasingly lackluster singles that she failed to promote. ‘3‘ was the only new one, and was intended to showcase her frankly unnecessary ‘Singles Collection’. The pervy ode to threesomes divided fans, but WAPS loved it.

Calvin Harris – I’m Not Alone

Scottish producer/electro-bod Calvin Harris was unavoidable in 2009, and unfortunately so were his vocals – but his refusal to hire a guest vocalist didn’t stop ‘I’m Not Alone’ from storming to the top. His mega-wacky Jedward stage-invasion, however, may yet become his defining career moment. D’oh.

Cheryl Cole – Fight For This Love

What is there to say about Cheryl Cole that you haven’t heard already? How about: ‘Fight For This Love‘ is actually brilliant and deserved to be a number one smash. It also resulted in one of the best X Factor performances of the year. Shame her album’s a bit ropey, but hasn’t she got lovely hair?

Ciara ft Missy Elliott – Work

Should have been massive, but wasn’t. Poor old Ciara really felt the effects of a confusing and much-delayed album campaign this year. Sadly the barn-storming ‘Work‘ wasn’t enough to rescue ‘Fantasy Ride’. It’s bloody amazing for exercising to, mind.

Dan Black – U + Me

Dan Black was tipped for big things at the end of 2008, but sadly nothing came of it. Oh, except the incredible ‘U + Me’, which sounded a bit like a much more epic and far less irritating Mika. It was free from iTunes as well.

David Archuletta – Crush

A favourite with American housewives, Idol alumni David Archuleta‘s eponymous debut was surprisingly strong. Check out the acoustic guitar-pop of ‘Crush‘ – if it rocks your boat we highly recommend the parent album.

David Guetta ft Kelly Rowland – When Love Takes Over

Kelly Rowland‘s career looked like it was in the dumper before she hooked up with David Guetta and became Europe’s #1 dance diva. We believe the phrase is ‘tune‘.

Dizzee Rascal – Bonkers

Grime star Dizzee proved that his and Calvin Harris’ crossover smash ‘Dance Wiv Me’ was no one-off – he was soon back with the equally dance-influenced ‘Bonkers’. A noisy affair dominated by a heavy bassline and clattering drums, ‘Bonkers’ proved to be one of the more bizarre hits of 2009.

Dragonette – Fixin’ To Thrill

God loves a tryer, they say. One can only presume that is what motivates Dragonette to keep producing such enthusiastic electropop in the face of complete public indifference. A shame, as ‘Fixin’ To Thrill‘ is rather brill.

Esmee Denters – Outta Here

Dutch YouTube sensation Esmee was snapped up by one Justin Timberlake, and the success of her debut single ‘Outta Here‘ suggested that JT may well be on to something.

Eva Simons – Silly Boy

A one-hit-wonder that wasn’t even a one-hit wonder – Eva Simons first pretended her single was a Lady GaGa/Rihanna demo, and then promoted it by running around Europe for months in a mirrored leotard and Cleo Roccos wig. She’s rumoured to be releasing a duet with Chris Brown next…good luck with that Eva.

Flo Rida ft Ke$ha – Right Round

Proof that Dead Or Alive’s ‘Spin Me Round (Like A Record)’ will never EVER die, mega-butch *cough* rapper Flo Rida sampled Pete Burns and co for this number one smash. It also gave the world its first taste of Ke$ha – hoorah!

Florence and the Machine – You Got The Love

Kooky lady Florence didn’t particularly rock WAPS’ world but she caterwauled her way through 2009 with such enviable abandon that we felt compelled to include her. For once, an act whose success matched the hype. Impressive stuff.

Frankmusik – Confusion Girl

We’ll tell you what’s confusing, Vince – this song getting an official release about three years after everyone had already got bored with it. Still – the reworked ‘Confusion Girl‘ remains wonkypop of the finest caliber. He deserves big success in 2010…let’s hope he can tone the weird interviews.

Janet Jackson – Make Me

Janet bounced back from tragedy in style this year. She made a decent fist of distancing herself from the circus that surrounded her brother’s death, and went on to deliver the best tribute to him in the form of her VMA dancefest. She then released new track ‘Make Me‘ which harked back to vintage Janet with a little bit of MJ’s influence thrown in for good measure. A new album is on its way in 2010.

Jay Z ft Alicia Keys – Empire State of Mind

Undeniably anthemic hip-hop which also led to Lil Mama’s hilarious stage invasion at the MTV VMAs. Honestly, who would have watched Kanye’s career-threatening stage invasion and though “Oooh I should do that but make it a bit more of an epic fail”? We mean, really.

Jay Sean ft Lil Wayne – Down

One of the year’s most unexpected success stories came when London-born rapper and producer Jay Sean buggered off to the States and promptly scored a bona fide number one. He did it all himself, as well.

JLS – Beat Again

Another thing few would have predicted at the end of 2008 was that X Factor runners-up JLS would absolutely kick Alexandra Burke’s arse in terms of album sales. It seems we were long overdue a boyband, and they seem like ever such nice boys etc.

Jordin Sparks – Battlefield

More repetitive-yet-amazing chorus action from producer/writer Ryan Tedder. Shame Jordin Sparks‘ immense ‘Battlefield‘ was let down by such a dreadful video.

Introducing Ke$ha

Introducing Ke$ha

Ke$ha – TiK ToK

She hangs out with trannies, wees in sinks while Lily Allen (of all people) looks on aghast, and sounds like a hammered Amanda from Ugly Betty. Ke$ha‘s ‘TiK ToK‘ also boasted one of the best choruses of the year. What’s not to love?

Kelly Clarkson – My Life Would Suck Without You

Kelly‘s ‘All I Ever Wanted’ album campaign got off to a flying start with the belting pop-rock hit ‘MLWSWY‘ – but things went off the boil rather quickly when she followed it up with the overly similar ‘I Do Not Hook Up’ and the Beyonce-baiting ‘Already Gone’ (it sounded a bit like B’s ‘Halo’, FYI – only KC’s track was older, and KC blamed Ryan Tedder for recycling his ideas. It’s all blown over now but it was like, DRAMA for about 30 seconds earlier this year.)

La Roux – Bulletproof

La Roux‘ shrill vocals weren’t for everyone – she divided opinion in the WAPS office, we can tell you – but the ballsy ‘Bulletproof‘ silenced the detractors with ease.

La Roux – In For The Kill

In For The Kill’ showcased La Roux‘ shtick in a straight-to-the-point blast of icy, Knife-influenced electropop. She may have annoyed a lot of people with her cutting interview technique, but La Roux’s Elly Jackson had the last laugh – ‘in For The Kill’ was the 4th most downloaded single of the year.

Lady GaGa – Paparazzi

Our favourite track from ‘The Fame’ also featured GaGa‘s most ambitious and downright ludicrous video yet. Murder? Check. Neckbrace? Check.Dancing on crutches? Check. Stupendously entertaining and one the biggest chorus of recent times.

Lady GaGa – Just Dance

We raved about ‘Just Dance‘ for so long before its UK release that we feared GaGa was going to flop – surely anybody likely to be interested would already have downloaded the leaked ‘Just Dance’? How wrong we were….GaGa’s debut became a global number one which she’s never looked back from. Amazing.

Lady GaGa – Poker Face

How do you avoid becoming a one-hit wonder? By releasing an even better follow-up with a video so stylish you’d have been forgiven for forgetting there was a recession on. But if anyone deserved a good video treatment, it was GaGa. Altogether now, mu mu mu maaaah…

Lady GaGa – Bad Romance

In one year, GaGa went from virtual unknown to the type of global pop behemoth we haven’t seen since MJ or – yes – Madonna. The supremely confident ‘Bad Romance‘ knocked everyone’s socks off – not only did it herald GaGa’s second album in a year, it also helped sell out a global arena tour. How she’ll follow this up is anyone’s guess, but you just know she will. Where would we be without her?

Lily Allen – The Fear

It’s testament to ‘The Fear”s strength that it still sounds amazing 18 months after Lily first posted it in demo-form on her MySpace page. If you’re reading, Lily, we don’t agree with your plans for a two-year break from the music biz. More of this, please!

Little Boots – Remedy

Little Boots suffered from a major case of over-hyping at the beginning of 2009 – instead of capitalising on the positive press by getting her album out, Boots’ label bundled her off to LA where she came up with the mediocre ‘New In Town’. The likes of ‘Remedy, ‘Earthquake’, ‘Meddle’ and ‘Stuck On Repeat’ were all far stronger.

Madonna – Celebration

Where to start with late-noughties Madge? Does she care anymore? Is she saving her next great artistic statement for her first Live Nation release? Or will we get more straight-ahead dance like ‘Celebration‘? WAPS liked it, but it was throwaway stuff – and didn’t exactly keep her third best-of lodged in the charts. Must try harder.

Miley Cyrus – Party In The USA

Depending on who you speak to at WAPS HQ, bratty Miley‘s ‘Party in the USA‘ is possibly the best or worst single of the year. But this writer adored it’s soaring hooks and feel good lyrics.

Muse – Undisclosed Desires

Muse underwhelmed with comeback single ‘The Uprising’, but struck gold with second effort ‘Undisclosed Desires‘, a ballad (of sorts) that rode a bed of choppy violins and cheeky bass slaps. Slinky.

Natalie Imbruglia – Want

We were impressed with Natalie Imbruglia‘s moody yet classy comeback ‘Want‘, a co-write with Coldplay’s Chris Martin. Sadly the gorgeous Nat couldn’t even get arrested in the UK these days, it seems.

Pixie Lott – Boys & Girls
Pixie Lott – here to stay, or this year’s Gabriela Cilmi? We couldn’t help but enjoy ‘Boys & Girls’, which borrowed cheekily from Sugababes’ and Rihanna’s rule-books.

Pussycat Dolls – Jai Ho

This ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ track surfaced in late 2008 but was camped up in 2009 with the help of Pussycat Dolls (let’s face it, you don’t rope in PCD to make things more butch, right?). We’ll miss them when they’re gone – which could be sooner than you think, if rumours are to believed…don’t do it, Nicole! Nobody wanted solo Scherzinger the first time round, they won’t want it now either.

Rihanna – Russian Roulette
Rihanna seems to be having her own ‘Impossible Princess’ / ‘American Life’ moment with contemplative and downright pissed off new album ‘Rated R’, and lead single ‘Russian Roulette‘ seems to have polarised her fans. We say: give it a chance.

Royksopp ft Robyn – The Girl and the Robot

As with their previous album, Royksopp‘s ‘Junior’ only contained a handful of tracks that stood up to repeated listens, and bonkers electro melange ‘Girl and the Robot‘ was one of them. Having Robyn on lead vocals made it even better.

September – Can’t Get Over

We love Sweden’s September – her particular brand of Euro dance is far from credible, but who cares when the tunes are this uplifting?

Shakira – She Wolf

Everything about ‘She Wolf‘ is/was amazing. The Daft Punk-y bass intro, the insane lyrics, the eye-watering video, the fact that it didn’t overstay its welcome (more songs should be this short)…it was good to have Shakira back.

Spinnerette – Ghetto Love

An underrated gem that WAPS tried and failed to make ‘happen’, but we’re certainly not missing it off our year-end round-up. Brody Dalle‘s raw vocals and the sleaziest bass riff in town were a delightful combination.

Sugababes – About A Girl

What a year for the Sugababes. First they came back with *shudder* ‘Get Sexy’ (the less said about that Right Said Fred mess the better), then they shed founder member Keisha…then they limped back with ‘About A Girl‘, which deserved to have been a much bigger hit. Who knows if they’ll still be here at the end of 2010?

Taio Cruz – Break Your Heart

Taio Cruz‘s acting skills may not be ‘all that’ (you’ll cringe at the video), but ‘Break Your Heart‘ was a master class in catchy pop. No wonder it went straight to number one.

Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition

This song ruled the airwaves in summer 2009 – er, if you listened exclusively to Radio 1 and Xfm, and only watched trailers for E4 festival programmes. It’s bloody brilliant though.

The Dolly Rockers – Gold Digger

Another act that WAPS couldn’t get enough of in 2009 was The Dolly Rockers. They took the best bits of Shampoo, Lily Allen, Spice Girls and Bananarama and mashed them all up in one hilarious package…and nobody seemed to notice. Here’s hoping 2010 is kinder to them.

The Veronicas – Untouched

The Veronicas‘ ‘Untouched’ was a UK smash earlier in the year, and rightly so. Superb pop-rock from these brassy Oz twins.


  • Silvan

    Yes, simply leave a comment to be in with a chance of winning one of the 2 vouchers!

  • Eduardo

    Lady Gaga – Poker Face

  • Arfareth

    Eeehhhh!!! First coment!
    When we all thought it was impossible to overcome the Beyonce movements, appears a groundbreaking song, with crazy lyrics and a hot sexy video (more than Sweet Dreams). My number one pop song of 2009 is without a doubt, She Wolf of Shakira, aauuuu!!!

    Other pop songs that occupied my attention in 2009, in order, were:
    2. Kristina deBarge – Sabottage
    3. Lily Allen – The fear (love it)
    4. Jordin Sparks – Battlefield
    5. Robbie Williams – Bodies (WAPS, are you sure that you don´t miss this song?)
    6. Sugababes – About a Girl
    7. Esmee Denter – Outta Here
    8. Lady Gaga – Love Game
    9. U2 – Magnificent (common, this is not a rock song)
    10. Pink – Please Dont Leave Me
    11. Beyonce – Halo
    12. Daughtry – No Surprise

  • Arfareth

    ouch! stepped first Eduardo

  • Aaron

    VV Brown was amazing – Love Crying Blood, but that was released in 2008, so I guess my favourite song of the year is Shark in the Water.

    I don’t think Dan Black should be on there and not her…. I bought his album, and the only 2 songs which were even ablum worthy were worse than Beyoncés video phone…

  • dean

    it was lady gagas year 2009 – bad romance deserves your title. great work all year i’ll be sure to keep coming back through 2010

  • Ani

    My fave would have to be Florence with Rabbit Heart. It’s just as good every time you listen. It doesn’t get boring!

  • Francois

    definitely lady gaga…its going to be face of course with bad romance a close second!!!

  • yakn

    I really loved Leona Lewis’ “Happy”…totally amazing!! I think the video helped a lot too though…It really added more meaning to the song which has amazing vocals.

  • Flumpy

    Lady GaGa – Paparazzi was definitely my favourite song of the year. When I got my hands on the album a few weeks before it’s release date it was the track that I instantly liked. I drove my house mates up the wall by having in on repeat, full volume, all day. I heart GaGa!!

  • Vini

    Where’s Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s ‘Heartbreak Make Me a Dancer’? It’s in my top 3!!!

  • Eduardo

    Oops sorry Aaron! LoL ahhaha

    maybe next time

    and again i am here to say i am going to win..

    and lady gaga poker face was the best of 2009! no doubt

  • sam

    Jay-Z ft. Alicia Keys – Empire State of Mind

    Without a doubt best song of year – won me over into lovin New York

    They stayed true to their city

    The song represents soo many peoples dreams

    The music and vocals are out of this world and lets not forget

    It’s Jay-Z & Alicia Keys !!!!

    what more could you want?

  • Wilton Gorske

    Lady Gaga – “Poker Face”
    Of course! It’s amazingly catchy. The lyrics are gold. Not to mention this is the song that took her career to all new levels. Viva la Lady Gaga! <3

    I hope I win too. :}

  • Osvy R.

    Definately the year for Lady Gaga
    Lady Gaga – Papparazzi
    Alphabeat – The Spell
    Sophie Ellis Bextor – Heartbreak
    La Roux – Bulletproof
    Pink – Please, don’t leave me

    2010 will definately be the year for ALPHABEAT, their new album is AMAZING!!! mark my words

  • Kae

    Lady GaGa – Paparazzi was may definite song of the year until Alphabeat – The Spell came out. Just makes pulls me off my seat & throws me onto the dance floor (generally I’m sat at home listening to it so more off the sofa and onto the rug, but that doesn’t sound as dramatic does it?) & It surely has the greatest (even though quite short) build up to the song. Love it!

  • Arfareth

    JajJjaAjaJ!!! Eduardo
    first, my name is Arfareth, no Aaron.
    Second, Poker Face is not a 2009 song. The single was published in september 29 of 2008 and the video was realeased in October 22 of 2008
    Third, I dónt comment for the prize. In fact, the prize is not available for my country : ( so, you can keep it

  • Eduardo

    oops sory i made the mistake. Arfareth.

    first….anyways i wasnt talking about the prize but i was just joking about posting first but whatever.

    though it was released in 2008 it only achieved sucess in 2009. it took the top spot on billboard in april. so it IS a 2009 song.

    if it wasnt do you it would be on the list??? WAPS is not stupid come on… hahahahah

  • Arfareth

    Don´t worry about the prize, and the mistake of my nickname.
    About Lady Gaga, I Forgot that the single achived sucess in UK in 2009. Here in América the song was on top in december of 2008. So I apologize.

  • Eduardo

    well since i wasnt here in the uk at the time when it achieved sucess i did a quick research and yes its true it topped the charts here in the uk in 2009

    but it topped the chart in the states in 2009 as well.. not 2008

    unless you’re not in the states and somewhere else…

  • james b

    Great list, but how could you miss this:
    Sophie – heartbreak

  • Drew

    Outch! Arfareth, looks like u didn’t do ur homework :~

    Shakira – She wolf

    was a great comeback :}

  • Arfareth

    I´m not in the Usa.
    Since Lady Gaga did the performance in Miss Universe 2008, I become a great fan of her. In my computer, her songs it played before she achieved succesful in 2009. I supoussed that she tops in the charts in 2008, So you´re right, Eduardo.

    By the way, the next songs miss in the list:
    Sophie Ellis Bextor – Heartbreak Make me a Dancer
    Robbie Williams – Bodies
    The Saturdays – Work
    The Saturdays – Forever is Over

    Anyway the list is awesome. Thanks WAPS.

  • http://WAPS Geraint

    Thanks Arfareth, we’re really happy you like it. GaGa is a confusing one, because, as you say, the beginning of her album campaign was staggered and ‘Just Dance’ became a hit in certain territories before it hit the top in the UK. Strictly speaking GaGa’s early success does feel like it belongs to 2008 because that’s when us Pop Slags first heard her but as we are a UK site it made sense to include ‘Just Dance’ in our 2009 list. Also, we didn’t do a list in 2008 and we couldn’t overlook ‘Just Dance’ – it’s where it all started for La GaGa!

  • YUKi

    Great list! I put a little something together as well:

    1 Ke$ha – Tik Tok
    2 Esmee Denters – Outta Here (I don’t think Justin is on to something, I’m afraid she’ll be a one-hit-wonder. Her second single ‘Admit It’ is lame and didn’t even reach the top 20 here in the Netherlands.)
    3 Peaches – Talk to me
    4 Agnes – Release Me
    5 La Roux – Bulletproof
    6 Simian Mobile Disco – Audacity Of Huge
    7 Jay-Z ft Alicia Keys – Empire State Of Mind
    8 David Guetta ft Akon – Sexy Bitch (Can’t help it :( )
    9 Major Lazer – Keep It Going Louder
    10 Ameerah – The Sound Of Missing You (check her out! I think this one’s going to be big in 2010

    And everything by Lady GaGa of course, with ‘Love Game’ on top. I think ‘Poker Face’ is soo overrated, in fact it’s my least favourite song by her..

  • Jacob

    Dizzee Rascal – Bonkers. Dizzee Rascal shows he can do mainstream pop without selling his soul

  • Maya Russell

    Alexandra Burke – Bad Boys. Her performance at this year’s X-factor was fantastic! It’s a good, catchy song.

  • Kerry Dibble

    JLS – Beat Again…

    JLS-4 great lads,
    Acknowledged by ‘We are pop slags’….

  • Varsha Desilva

    Umbrella by Rhianna – great song, great video.

  • Val

    La Roux – Bulletproof, though I loved In for the Kill, too. Great tunes, stand alone with seeing the videos and perfect for singing along to.

  • Val

    La Roux – Bulletproof, though I loved In for the Kill, too. Great tunes, stand alone without seeing the videos and perfect for singing along to.

  • Tracey

    Florence and the Machine-Dog days

  • Jo Bryan

    Kings of Leon Sex on Fire, its still hot every time I hear it, makes me feel uplifted, happy and like dancing.

  • Aaron

    Oh, I forgot, Tommy Sparkes – She’s Got Me Danncing! The sound of 2010!!

  • Aaron

    Wow WAPS! Thank you so much for these music vouchers! You are most certainly my favourite website!

  • Eduardo

    WAPS is the BOMB! thanxxxxx soooo much for the vouchers! you are the BEST! *__*

  • Rosa Sandoval

    Paparazzi – Lady Gaga
    and 22 – Lily allen
    y just love them :D
    thanks WAPS for keeping me updated with all the latest pop news! :*

  • Mr Adamtastic

    Adan Lambert’s “Whataya Want From Me” is an excellent song, but nobody cares to review it :-(