Although the Black Eyed Peas returning after four years with a hit single was no surprise, the size of that hit was. By any measure of pure art, "Boom Boom Pow" would probably not be ranked among the best of the year. However, for a nation mired in economic disaster, the free-wheeling post-digital fun of this song seemed the perfect tonic for months.
Although it was actually her second hit, "Poker Face" is the song that made us all realize Lady GaGa was a new pop superstar. With the dominance of this hit, electronic dance music became the sound of early 2009. Whether performed live with slowed down, piano-based intro or the original with the massive "Ma Ma Ma Ma" chant, "Poker Face" will be with us for years to come.
For sheer audacity, no other hit in early 2009 approaches "Don't Trust Me" by a bratty male duo out of Colorado. If the tale of the "girl alone at the bar" that kicks off the song isn't enough, the "do the Helen Keller" chorus near the end will either seal your love of this polarizing song or make you reach for the radio to change the station.
It hit #1 at home in the UK and topped the US dance chart. For awhile it looked like Lily Allen may at last have a breakthrough pop hit in the US. However, "The Fear" did not quite make it up the charts, but it is a song to not be missed with Lily Allen's wry commentary on the life of a celebrity today.
After the ballad "Thinking Of You" struggled on the charts, it looked like Katy Perry had run out of hits off her debut album One of the Boys. Along came "Waking Up In Vegas," and it is possibly her best yet. The humorous tale of being stuck in the city of sin is illustrated by one of the best and most colorful music videos of the year.
If you are looking for a great pop single from early 2009 that may be unfairly overlooked, the single "The Man Who Can't Be Moved" by the Irish band The Script is the one. The wistful tone, simple arrangement and thoughtful lyrics mark this song as one of the best of the year.
Kelly Clarkson came roaring back into the pop mainstream with this first single from her album All I Ever Wanted. "My Life Would Suck Without You" may sound a bit like "Since U Been Gone" part 2, but that takes nothing away from its instant impact as an immaculate piece of pop froth.