One great thing about Adult Pop music is that it encompasses a wide range of styles, but at the heart of the format is the song. 2010 was a banner year for strong songs with relatable themes delivered by skilled vocalists. Here are our top 10 Adult Pop songs of 2010.
When does the loser of a talent contest still win? If your name is Adam Lambert, it happens when you come in second to Kris Allen but end up with a bigger album and single. Adam's second single from For Your Entertainment was an about-face from the upbeat title cut, showing a richer and more emotional side of the singer. Originally written and recorded by P!nk, the song's success eventually convinced her to include her version on her Greatest Hits...So Far release in late 2010.
While P!nk has been making hits for over 10 years, she has never had a single album generate five Top 50 hits until the release of Funhouse in 2008. That fifth single came in the form of "Glitter in the Air," which P!nk performed on the 2010 Grammy Awards to a standing ovation. This is not your typical bombastic P!nk single, but what it lacks in bombast, it makes up for in raw and genuine emotion. If anyone has any question about P!nk's longevity, "Glitter in the Air" should go a long way toward resolving those doubts.
Watch her amazing Grammy performance
Taking a page from the "If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It" manual, Sara Bareilles kept her winning formula that sent "Love Song" into the top 10 in 2007 by releasing "King of Anything" in 2010 in advance of her Kaleidoscope Heart CD. With layered vocals providing a portion of the backing track, Sara takes quirky lyrics that in less skilled hands would fall flat and launches them into the pop stratosphere. There were few songs in 2010 that matched the fun of singing along with the chorus that "King of Anything" provided.
While it is common for songs from TV shows and movies to have an impact on the pop charts in the US, it is less common for songs from commercials to make waves. Neon Trees broke with this as their debut song "Animal" featured prominently in a Las Vegas tourist commercial that aired nationally, and like Vegas natives the Killers, it bridged the gap between a modern pop sound and the retro sound of the 80s.
Ryan Tedder makes his second appearance in the Top 10 at number six with his band OneRepublic's "Secrets", a song that many interpreted to be a response to his musical critics. While the meaning of the song may have been open to discussion, the sound was unique in a sea of autotune and similar beats in 2010. Ryan Tedder helps craft pop songs for a wide range of artists, but no one can accuse him and his band of sounding like everything else on the radio, as "Secrets" stood out with its unique instrumental production. This was the second single from their album Dreaming Out Loud.
If you told people in the music industry that a new folk rock band from the UK would break in the United States in 2010, most would have either laughed or slowly moved away from you. That makes the success of Mumford and Sons all the sweeter, since a breakthrough like this rarely comes from a debut album. Despite the gold & platinum albums and Grammy nominations that Mumford and Sons have received for their album Sigh No More, at the heart of their success are the songs that draw from both classic musical and literary references. "Little Lion Man" captures the desperate thoughts in a man's head as he realizes that he has screwed up something great in his life, and Marcus Mumford's passionate delivery captures that frustration.
The chart life of Kelly Clarkson's "Already Gone" started out with controversy, as Kelly vocally denounced the single's release, citing the clear similarity to Beyonce's "Halo." Both songs were produced by Ryan Tedder, and Kelly Clarkson expressed dismay that she would be seen as jumping on a bandwagon to get a hit. Hopefully Kelly Clarkson is now over that concern, as "Already Gone" became a hit in its own right, reaching the top of the Adult Pop airplay chart in early 2010. There is a vulnerability expressed in "Already Gone" that has become a trademark sound for Kelly, and the song ranks with other Kelly Clarkson songs like "Because of You" for its powerhouse delivery.
It is tough to say if anyone actually expected Florence and the Machine to break through in the United States, but someone at the record label must have had a lot of faith. The fact that Island secured the song's usage in a very high-profile trailer for the movie Eat Pray Love sure didn't hurt the song's profile, and Florence and the Machine received airplay on MTV and VH1, leading to their nominations and performance at the 2010 Video Music Awards. However, at the heart of the hype is an amazing anthem about a woman taken aback by the appearance of love & happiness in her life. Lead singer Florence Welsh delivers an impassioned performance that captures the angst and fear of a new love.
Watch their MTV VMA performance
Lady Antebellum’s debut CD produced three Country hits (two of which went Gold) and was certified Platinum within 18 months of its release, but to most people they were strictly seen as a Country group. That all changed with their performance of “Need You Now” on the Country Music Awards at the end of 2009. While the instrumentation was clearly country-related, the song is pop ballad at its strongest and most affecting. The fact that this song conquered multiple music formats says so much about its universal appeal.
There were hints of this Adele on her debut album 19. The sheer power unleashed from the opening notes of "Rolling in the Deep" at first surprise and then engage listeners only familiar with the ballads like "Hometown Glory" and "Chasing Pavements" associated with her freshman release. Adele excels with songs that express pain and sorrow, but she explores a rawer delivery on this track compared to the smoother delivery from her earlier material. "Rolling in the Deep" is the preview track for her second album 21, which is released in the United States on February 22, 2011.