Friday, December 6, 2013

Imaginary Boyfriends of 2013

Past Imaginary Boyfriends countdowns: 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008

Dean Ambrose
Yes, he's kind of white trashy looking at times, and he's definitely not the pretty boy I usually go for. But there's something to be said for his swagger in the ring, both on the mat and the mic. This tweet sums it up, really.

Henry Cavill
Did I see Man of Steel? Nope. Will I ever see Man of Steel? Hell to the no. Can I still appreciate his beautiful face and bangin' body? You know it.

CM Punk
This one can be blamed on my random viewing of his WWE-produced documentary on Netflix earlier this year. After that, it was a serious spiral into outright obsession (If you don't believe me, check out my Tumblr and you'll see he's probably the second most tagged person after One Direction). Just like Dean Ambrose, I don't know if I can really explain why I love him so much. All I know is that it confuses my friends as well (Thanks Jakey!)

(Young) Leonardo DiCaprio
I'm still sad that I'll never be as pretty as Leonardo DiCaprio was from 1995-97.

Alden Ehrenreich
Two words: Beautiful Creatures.

Colin Ford
Or, as I tend to refer to him in real life, "My Boyfriend Colin Ford." He turned 17 back in September, so I think it's slightly more acceptable for me to freely discuss my attraction to him. No? Oh well.

Austin Mahone
Only if he's wearing a tank top and doesn't talk.

Dylan O'Brien
He made the list last year with the rest of the Teen Wolf Boys, but 2013 was all about Dylan. I mean, I considered on multiple occasions watching that shitty looking Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson movie just for his five minutes of screentime. If that's not love, I don't know what is.

Suraj Sharma
I know it's hard out here for a non-white actor in Hollywood, but someone must be able to find him a cute romantic comedy where he gets to be his adorable self for 90 minutes. I would watch the shit out of that (as long as it didn't star Vince Vaughn or Owen Wilson, obviously).

Cody Simpson
The dude has an amazing body. Let's just gloss over the fact that he's 16 (going on 17 in about a month!).

Max Thieriot
For awhile, Max was giving my favorite performance on Bates Motel, but then Vera turned the crazy meter up to 4,000 and he fell to second. Combined with his sexy, trashy turn as a webcam "model" (read: prostitute) in Disconnect, Max had quite a year.

Mike Vogel
Mike Vogel receiving a blowjob from Anne Hathaway in Havoc had a profound impact on me when I was a teen. This year, his fine self gave me the vapors in two brand new TV shows: as the man-of-few-words hero in Under the Dome and as the sexy, sex-slave-owning boyfriend of batshit crazy Vera Farmiga in Bates Motel.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I Hate These Blurred Lines

Am I allowed to like "Blurred Lines"?

I ask this because in some circles on the internet, it's akin to endorsing date rape. With idiotic politicians by the truckload making equally idiotic comments about women not being able to get pregnant from rape, states desperately trying to pass laws, in clear violation of Roe v. Wade, prohibiting all types of abortions, and straight males crying, "Misandry!" every time someone (usually a woman) tries to raise awareness about these issues, this has been a hot topic in America since last November's presidential election. As hard as it is to believe in 2013, rape, whether forced or casual/acquaintance, is still a major issue and needs to be discussed in all facets of society--even pop culture.

Enter "Blurred Lines," the monster hit from the white Justin Timberlake, Robin Thicke, rapper T.I. and producer/singer Pharrell. Even before I heard the song, I heard a lot about the controversy surrounding it: "He endorses date rape! He hates women! The models in the video are nothing but sexual objects!" "Wow," I thought, "This song must be absolutely vile. I need to listen to it right away!" And then I did. And then I wondered what everyone had lost their minds about. All this hoop-la over this? I understand that every issue needs a whipping boy, a pop culture phenomenon that detractors can cry out and say, "Here! This is why our issue needs attention!" Most notably, the Columbine shooting was blamed on South Park, violent video games and Natural Born Killers instead of, you know, our crazy gun culture. If it had been released a year ago, I doubt "Blurred Lines" would have been perceived as grossly offensive as it is. The song just happens to be a victim of being released at the wrong time in the wrong place.

Personally, I don't think "Blurred Lines" is all that bad, particularly as I listen to the song more and more. Maybe I'm going deaf, maybe I'm out of my mind, but the songs makes me want to get up and bust a move, particularly when my favorite lyric "You the hottest bitch in this place!" comes on. "Do you really think any girl would fall for that line?" someone (snidely) asked on Twitter after I quoted it for the fourth or fifth time. No, probably not. I mean, I wouldn't fuck anyone simply because they dropped that line on me. But I would certainly be flattered and thank them for the compliment. And I don't think Thicke & Co. intended for that lyric to be a pick-up line, either. If anything, it feels like a parody of songs like "Back That Thing Up" which use lyrics like "You a fine motherfucker, won't you back that thing up?" as a deliberate come-on. If anything, it fits in with Thicke's defense that "Blurred Lines" is tongue-in-cheek and not meant to be taken seriously. Not sure if that comes across since so many people have taken offense to the song, but at least it beats Thicke's other defense that the song is actually about female empowerment. Nice try, Robin. Any song in which a woman needs a man to liberate her is automatically not about female empowerment.

The only lyrics in "Blurred Lines" I felt could conceivably be troublesome were the "I know you want it, I know you want it" chants and the line which the title derives from, "I hate these blurred lines," but even they felt unworthy of all the negative attention they were receiving. In both cases, I can see why detractors find them offensive. "I know you want it" is a phrase often used by men to get women who have already declined to get them to sleep with them. The "blurred lines" could be referring to the point between a woman saying no and a man trying to convince her to change her mind; namely, at what point is he allowed to keep asking before it crosses into date/acquaintance rape? In the context of the song, though, I don't believe either connotation is correct. "Blurred Lines" is written entirely from Thicke's perspective. The woman in the song never gives an indication either way whether she wants him. This is important to note because it forces two extremely different interpretations of the song: the Date Rape Interpretation and a far different one. In the latter context, the "blurred lines" could refer to the fact that the woman, for whatever reason, can't express her desire for sex. Maybe she does want to sleep with Thicke, but she's afraid of coming across as "easy" or a whore. So, she plays coy, shamelessly flirting without giving away the goods, because that's "acceptable" for women to do. Thicke hates these blurred lines women are stuck in when it comes to their bodies and desires, how they are forced to tone down what they want for fear of going against society's image of a good girl. When he chants, "I know you want it," he's referring to sex, yes, but he means it in a general way, not that she necessarily wants it with him. She may not even be impressed with what he's offering. No, he's not empowering women as he wants us to believe, but he's certainly calling attention to this discrepancy.

When I first saw the uncensored video for "Blurred Lines"--the one where female models walk around topless while the fully-clothed men dance around them--I wasn't nearly as offended as many others were. While I get why some were uncomfortable with this interpretation of the power roles in the video, I agree with this article that it merely tip toes the line of bad taste, never quite crossing into blatant misogyny or skeeziness (the author of that article does a fantastic job explaining why it may not be as bad as detractors claim, the social implications of this line-touching may not be so great). From the shot where the model's feet rub all over Thicke's face or how "Robin Thicke has a huge dick" is scrawled on the wall, the "Blurred Lines" video is pure trash through and through. For me, it works and makes "Blurred Lines" one of the most memorable videos of the year. Give me naked ladies in pure trash like this over whatever the fuck Justin Timberlake was trying to accomplish with his "Tunnel Vision" video.

A couple days ago, I found an excerpt of this smart interview with one of the models from the video, Emily Ratajkowski. In it, she mentions that the models were "directed to have a sort of confidence, a sarcastic attitude about the whole situation." I watched the video again with this new perspective and understood what she was talking about. For the most part, the models look disinterested in what the men are doing. Although this disinterest could easily be misinterpreted as objectifying the women, I see it as the women having the upper-hand. "Impress me," they seem to be saying as Robin, T.I. and Pharrell dance around them in a silly manner, trying (and failing) to get their attention. And, much like the song itself, we're not really sure whether they are impressed or not. But, in a certain way, the women hold the power in this video.

This post is not meant to change minds or belittle anyone's opinion. If you believe "Blurred Lines" is about date rape, I can definitely see where you are coming from and don't mean to belittle the issue. I just wanted to get my opinion out there so people know where I'm coming from when I defend this song, especially in the wake of the Miley Cyrus VMA performance she shared with Robin Thicke. I noticed that if you disagreed with the slut-shaming of Miley, you had to denounce Robin Thicke's equally damning performance. If you thought Miley was inappropriate, you had to completely ignore Robin Thicke either because Miley was the crazy one or because, hey, it's no big deal that a man was acting just as lewd as she was. No, we can't let Thicke off the hook, particularly since Miley was getting all the negative press. But what either of them were doing was not that bad (At least from a sexual stand point. Racially, I'm not sure anymore). It's not an either or thing, people. We can like Miley and "Blurred Lines."

Maybe? Man, I really do hate these blurred lines.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Single One: Finished

About a month ago, I posted the opening scene from The Single One, the screenplay I've been working on (and blathering about) for a year and a half now. The response I received from various people in my life was incredibly kind and positive, which I greatly appreciated. Spurned on by that (surprising) positivity, I'm happy to announce that as of 3:00 pm today, I have finished the damn thing. Whew! What a relief, let me tell you. And for you all as well because now you won't have to hear me go on and on about this project anymore. Well, at least until I sell the thing and they force me to change everything and I complain on Twitter about how The Man is raping my material. Until that day, however, I would love to share my work with you. Download the final copy of my screenplay here. If you feel so inclined as to read my work, please let me know what you think! I can take the criticism if you think something's shit! Honest! But, truthfully, you better like my work or I'll punch you all in the face.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Preview of My Screenplay

If you've been a follower of Rants of a Diva for awhile, you may have noticed that posting has been a bit lax during the last year or so. Yeah, sorry about that. But, rest assured, there is a good reason for my absence: I've been working on my first screenplay! Titled The Single One, it's about a part-time alcoholic in his mid-20's, wasting away in retail hell, who finds himself involved in a love triangle with guys much older and younger than him. As you can probably tell, it's based in part on my life (My favorite joke for awhile when people asked if I was basing it on my life was to reply, "No! The character is 25. I'm only 23!" Now that I'm approaching 25, that joke isn't so funny anymore). I'm not completely finished yet--I have to rewrite the climactic homage to The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer--but I figured that after 18 months, I have to share something with those of you who may or may not be sick to death of hearing me yammer on and on about it on Twitter. So, I present you with the first scene(s) of The Single One. Enjoy and let me know what you think!




A picturesque spring morning. BIRDS CHIRP gaily. Little children are on the parking lot playing hopscotch. Another child is riding around on a tricycle.

BEN BRONZE, full-time retail worker, part-time alcoholic in his mid-20's, walks out of his townhouse. Dressed in his work uniform of red polo and ink-stained khakis, he takes one step into the sunlight and winces.

BEN: Ugh. Sunlight.

Ben steps onto the sidewalk. Before he can take more than a couple steps, the little kid on the tricycle zooms past, unaware that he has just cut Ben off. Ben doesn't say anything, but he looks like he is suppressing the urge to flip over the kid's tricycle.
Finally, Ben gets to his car. He puts it in reverse and begins to move when he notices that the kids playing hopscotch are directly behind his car.

BEN: Fucking monsters.

He HONKS the HORN aggressively. The kids look up and begrudgingly move. Ben pulls out and drives off.

Ben pauses at Bullseye's front doors. He looks up at the store's sign and sighs.


Ben walks up to his lane and turns on the light.

BEN: I can help whoever is next on lane --

He looks up at the lane light.

BEN: Six.


Ben looks on in bewilderment as a customer throws cash at him like a stripper.


Another customer, busy texting on her phone, hands Ben her credit card. She does not notice that her hand is resting on the card reader.

BEN: Er, you can slide your card right there.


"$31.97" appears on the register. Agitated, Ben looks on as an OLD LADY takes every piece of change out of her piece.

OLD LADY: I can never find a penny when I need one!

Ben fakes a smile and nods.

OLD LADY: Thank goodness there's no one behind me!


Ben's lane is deserted. He steps in front of it to attract another customer. An OLD MAN quickly approaches.

OLD MAN: You look bored!

Ben fakes a smile to the old man's face but rolls his eyes as soon as he turns away.


BEN Your total is $198.75. Would you like to open a credit --

The customer, a MIDDLE-AGED MAN, quickly interjects.



A YOUNG MAN begins unloading his shopping cart onto the belt. When he finds an item he doesn't want, he shoves it in various places around the checklane: on the ground, in the candy, on top of the pop coolers. Ben watches in morbid curiosity.

BEN: I'll take anything you don't want.

The Young Man sets his last item on the belt.

YOUNG MAN: I'm good now, thanks!


Ben stares vacantly in space as a MIDDLE-AGED ACADEMIC begins unloading his cart.


Ben looks up in recognition.

BEN: Hi, Dr. Peters.

PETERS (MIDDLE-AGED ACADEMIC): Nice to see you. Are you doing okay?

BEN: Yeah.

PETERS: When do you finish up your Master's?

BEN: I'm already done. I finished a couple years ago.

PETERS: Oh. (beat) Are you sure you're doing okay?

Wordlessly, Ben nods and hands him the receipt. Dr. Peters walks away with a wave. Ben slumps over his register, his head buried in his hands.

GABBY (O.S.): If you got stabbed by an angry customer, I am not cleaning that mess up. I don't get paid enough.

Ben looks up and sees GABBY, sassy, mid-20's, take no prisoners. He picks himself up and sighs.

BEN: I should be so lucky.

Gabby slides into the lane next to him.

GABBY: At least you'd get out of this shithole for a few hours.

A nauseatingly lovey-dovey couple wanders through Ben's lane on the way to the exit. Hands intertwined, they stop repeatedly to kiss each other. Ben rolls his eyes at the display.

GABBY: Someone's a bitter queen early today.

BEN: I'm not bitter. I just don't want their heterosexual lovefest thrown in my face.

GABBY: You'd act the same way. If you could find an interested man, that is.

BEN: I'm waiting for a man who has all the best features of the One Direction boys: Louis's wit, Harry's dimples, Niall's innocence, Liam's seriousness and Zayn's dreaminess. Sigh.

Throughout this speech, Gabby rolls her eyes as if she's heard this all before.

GABBY: No wonder you're alone.

BEN:'s your relationship going?

GABBY: I'm not so sure, actually. Ron hasn't been responding to my texts lately. We haven't seen each other much in the past week. He said he has choir practice every night. Then, when we do spend time together, he can't even look me in the eye.

BEN: You don't think...

Gabby nods.

GABBY: What in the hell else could it be? It's a church choir. They sing one damn hymn during service!

BEN: If you need me to help you catch him with his pants down, I'm totally there. I don't even care if we end up in jail. You're the Mammy to my Scarlett, the Morgan Freeman to my Jessica Tandy, the Viola Davis to my Emma Stone. You're the sassy, wise black person to my crazy white lady.

GABBY: And I thought that would be offensive.

RYAN, the jovial store manager, approaches Gabby's lane. He speaks into a walkie.

RYAN: Yeah, I have her right here. (to Gabby) They're asking for you on the walkie.

Gabby takes the walkie from Ryan.

GABBY: This is Gabby.

WOMAN (V.O.): Are you at the checklanes?


WOMAN (V.O.): Good. Stay there.

Gabby and Ben share a look of confusion. Ben ultimately shrugs his shoulders.

In front of the checklanes, a small group of people dressed in flashy choir robes appear. One of them carries a boombox and presses play. The beginning of Beyonce's "Love on Top" is heard. The choir members begin to sing and snap along with the song. More choir members, marching single file, walk through the lanes on either side of Ben and Gabby.

BEN: What the fuck is going on?

Gabby shakes her head. Out of nowhere, RON, a "tall drink of water," appears in front of the choir holding a microphone.

RON: "Honey, honey, I can see the stars all the way from here. Can't you see the glow on the window pane? I can feel the sun whenever you're here. Every time you touch me I just melt away."

Angrily, Gabby steps out from her lane and walks toward Ron.

GABBY: Ron! What the hell are you doing?

In reply, he simply smiles, grabs her hand and pulls her toward the middle of the scene.

RON: "Now everybody asks me why I'm smiling out from ear to ear. Nothing's perfect, but it's worth it after fighting through my tears. And finally you put me first!"

Gabby stands around, not quite sure what to do, feeling like a fool. Finally, Ron stops singing as the choir continues to produce background music.

RON: Gabby, I love you with all my heart. I want to spend the rest of my life with you.

As he gets down on one knee, he pulls an object out of his pocket: a ring box.

BEN & GABBY: Oh my God.

RON: Gabby, will you marry me?


They embrace and start kissing. The choir sings the chorus.

CHOIR: "Baby, it's you. You're the one I love. You're the one I need. You're the only thing I see. C'mon, baby, it's you. You're the one that gives it all. You're the one that always calls. When I need you, everything stops. Finally, you put my love on top!"

All Ben can do at this scene is stare, his jaw hanging wide open.

BEN: What?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Short Rants on Game Change

"What do they think I am, dumb or something?" There's a surprisingly striking similarity between Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin in Game Change and silent screen star Lina Lamont in Singin' in the Rain. When each film begins, both characters are at the top of their game: Lamont is "a shimmering, glowing star in the cinema firmament" while Palin has risen from small-town mayor to governor of Alaska in just 18 months. As they are thrust upon a bigger stage with new challenges and raised stakes, they falter under the pressure of trying to fit their new image. Palin and Lamont are both walking punchlines no one in their respective films take seriously or, even worse, completely underestimate. Neither of them are book smart (one painful scene in Game Change shows Sarah Palin being taught Germany's role in World War I and II), but with the right tools, they are far more dangerous than any Ivy Leaguer. Game Change almost unfairly vilifies Palin as much as The Iron Lady did to Margaret Thatcher (I'm looking at you, unnecessary scene where someone "suggests" that Palin is mentally unstable). I don't agree with her, but Palin's polarizing politics and meteoric rise to the top makes her immensely fascinating. A better director might have been able to better capture this essence of Palin without relying on cheap, degrading name calling. Because, as someone once said, nice women don't make history. Moore is very good as Palin, but if this is the role that (finally) convinced you that she is one of our greatest living actresses, you clearly need to be paying better attention. Woody Harrelson, adding to a fine body of work in the past five years or so, is the best in show.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Grammy Predictions

I don't normally care about the Grammys, nor do I really watch them--particularly in a year such as this one where they dissed A+ pop music for "quality" shit--but I just wanted to share who I think wildly guess will win and who should win in the main categories.

Record of the Year
The Black Keys "Lonely Boy"
Kelly Clarkson "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)"
fun. featuring Janelle Monaé "We Are Young"
Gotye featuring Kimbra "Somebody That I Used to Know"
Frank Ocean "Thinkin About You"
Taylor Swift "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"

Will Win: "Somebody That I Used to Know" seems like the safest pick: a monster Top 40 hit that you can see "real" musicians supporting.
Should Win: "Stronger"

Album of the Year
The Black Keys, El Camino
fun., Some Nights
Mumford & Sons, Babel
Frank Ocean, Channel Orange
Jack White, Blunderbuss

Will Win: Mumford & Sons for selling as many albums as Bieber and One Direction
Should Win: Is the fun. album really the only one on this list I've listened to?

Song of the Year
"The A-Team" (Ed Sheeran)
"Adorn" (Miguel Pimentel)
"Call Me Maybe" (Tavish Crowe, Carly Rae Jepsen & Josh Ramsay)
"Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" (Jörgen Elofsson, David Gamson, Greg Kurstin & Ali Tamposi)
"We Are Young" (Jack Antonoff, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Dost & Nate Ruess)

Will Win: "We Are Young". Sheeran's too green, "Call Me Maybe" and "Stronger" are too mainstream pop
Should Win: As I've stated on Twitter, people underestimate just how hard it is to write a catchy pop song. For this reason alone, Jepsen & Co. should win for "Call Me Maybe". But, honestly, I'd be fine with anyone but Ed Sheeran.

Best New Artist
Alabama Shakes
Hunter Hayes
The Lumineers
Frank Ocean

Will Win: The Lumineers, I guess? That song of theirs is completely awful but sounds like the kind of shit Grammy voters will go apeshit over.
Should Win: Not exactly sure how they got nominated here as they've released an album a couple years ago, but fun. I guess? But, seriously, how many albums do One Direction have to sell to be included in a category that previously nominated the Backstreet Boys, the Jonas Brothers and The Biebz?

Best Pop Solo Performance
Adele "Set Fire to the Rain [Live]"
Kelly Clarkson "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)"
Carly Rae Jepsen "Call Me Maybe"
Katy Perry "Wide Awake"
Rihanna "Where Have You Been"

Will Win: Adele. They nominated a live performance just to award her again.
Should Win: But, by all means, Adele is the most deserving of the award.

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
Florence + The Machine "Shake It Out"
fun. featuring Janelle Monaé "We Are Young"
Gotye featuring Kimbra "Somebody That I Used to Know"
LMFAO "Sexy and I Know It"
Maroon 5 featuring Wiz Khalifa "Payphone"

Will Win: fun. or Gotye. I'm guessing Gotye.
Should Win: Florence Welch.

Best Pop Vocal Album
Kelly Clarkson, Stronger
Florence + The Machine, Ceremonials
fun., Some Nights
Maroon 5, Overexposed
P!nk, The Trouble With Love

Will Win: Going out on a limb and picking Florence. fun. can't win everything and I don't think any of the others are quite beloved enough to win.
Should Win: Cut about four or five songs and Stronger would be unstoppable. As it stands, it's quite a good album.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Top 50 Songs of 2012

It's that time of the year again! Great year for pop music, a lot of interesting new artists this year, etc. I know you're eager to get to the list. Just a couple of quick notes:

1. This year, I decided to expand my list to include album tracks, remixes and other assorted "releases" in addition to singles. The best song last year, Selena Gomez & The Scene's "My Dilemma," wasn't eligible because it wasn't released as a single, so I decided that I needed to make a change. Why screw over something amazing just become some idiot at the record label is too dumb to release it?
2. One Direction "What Makes You Beautiful" and The Wanted "Glad You Came," both of which were big hits here in the States this year, are ineligible because they were already featured on my Best of 2011 list.
3. My eligibility cut-off is the beginning of December, so all the songs from Ke$ha's Warrior album (except "Die Young") and Swedish House Mafia "Don't You Worry Child" will have to wait until next year's list.


Almost Made It: Drake featuring Lil' Wayne "HYFR (Hell Ya Fucking Right)" | Alphabeat "Love Sea" | Aiden Grimshaw "Is This Love" | Calvin Harris featuring Florence Welch "Sweet Nothing" | Saint Lou Lou "Maybe You" | Darin "Nobody Knows" | Miley Cyrus "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go" | Foster the People "Color on the Walls (Don't Stop)" | Carly Rae Jepsen "Hurt So Good" | Lana Del Rey "Diet Mountain Dew"

50. Queen of Hearts "Shoot the Bullet"
49. Calvin Harris featuring Example "We'll Be Coming Back"
48. Samantha Jade "What You've Done to Me"
47. Justin Bieber featuring Nicki Minaj "Beauty and a Beat"
46. Robbie Williams "Candy"
45. Madonna "I'm Addicted"
44. Jessie Ware "No to Love"
43. Foster the People "Houdini"
42. Natalia Kills "Kill My Boyfriend"
41. Conor Maynard "Can't Say No"

40. Little Boots "Headphones"
39. Lawson "Taking Over Me" (The Alias Radio Edit)
38. Cheryl Cole "Under the Sun" (The Alias Radio Edit)
37. David Guetta featuring Nicky Romero & Sia "Wild One Two"
36. Ellie Goulding "Anything Could Happen"
35. Minnie-Oh "You and I"
34. Le Kid "Human Behaviour"
33. Ricki-Lee "Raining Diamonds"
32. Justin Bieber "Thought of You"
31. Karmin "Brokenhearted"

30. Kris Allen & Meiko "Loves Me Not"
29. Diana Vickers "Music to Make the Boys Cry"
28. Lana Del Rey "Ride"
27. Carly Rae Jepsen "Turn Me Up"
26. Dream Beats featuring The Face "Love Stuck"
25. Rihanna "Where Have You Been"
24. Rebecca Ferguson "Glitter & Gold" (Cahill Radio Edit)
23. Kelly Clarkson "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)"
22. Stooshe "Black Heart"
21. Taylor Swift "Red"

20. Lana Del Rey "National Anthem"
Don't you know who you're dealing with?
The video, which imagines Lana as Jackie O, is really what sold this song for me. See also: the WestFunk and Fred Falke remixes as evidence of Ms. Del Rey's versatility.

19. Loreen "Euphoria"
Forever, we sail into infinity
Another year, another stellar Eurovision entry from Sweden. And this time they won the fucker with this gutsy, almost schizophrenic track, probably the most interesting mood pop song since "Say It Right."

18. Tome Damli & Eric Saade "Imagine"
And I can't forget about you/I'd rather be lonely instead
The fact that this carefree, sunny-sounding track is actually one of the most heartbreaking, depressing songs of the year is a great reminder of how masterful the Swedish are with pop music.

17. Ke$ha "Die Young"
Young hunks, taking shots/Stripping down to dirty socks
The Glitter Trash Queen returned with what is her most mature work to date. Well, "mature" for the woman who brushes her teeth with Jack Daniels, that is.

16. One Direction "I Would"
I can't compete with your boyfriend/He's got 27 tattoos
While a few too many of Take Me Home's tracks sound like they could have been sung by other artists, "I Would" is one that only could have come from My Boys. Their vibrant personalities are all over track, elevating an already cleverly written song into the album's standout.

15. Carly Rae Jepsen "Call Me Maybe"
Hey, I just met you/And this is crazy
Deceptively simple, endlessly addictive, one of the most genius hooks in ages. Bow down to Queen Carly Rae, peons.

14. Taylor Swift "I Knew You Were Trouble"
Pretends he doesn't know that he's the reason why/You're drowning
Dismissed as "The Taylor Swift Dubstep Song," "I Knew You Were Trouble" broke Taylor's last tie to the country community and, according to some rather dim individuals, every ounce of credibility she ever had. All I have to say is: Welcome to the Pop World, Taylor.

13. Agnes "One Last Time" (Extended Remix)
I let you down/And then I woke up next to a stranger
The album version is great and probably fits the mood of Veritas better, but this (somewhat) more uptempo version somehow makes the melancholy and heartbreak that much more palpable. 

12. Justin Bieber "Die In Your Arms"
There's no way that I could share you/That would break my heart to pieces
Like most male popstars, Justin Bieber wants to be the next Michael Jackson. Unlike most male popstars, Justin Bieber could actually be the next Michael Jackson. No, don't snicker at that. It's entirely true. If "Die In Your Arms" proves anything, it's that Bieber can do a smooth, midtempo love song and do it extraordinarily well.

11. Charlotte Perrelli "The Girl"
Of all the mistakes that I know I've done/Breaking your heart was the biggest one
Easily, the year's most epic chorus. The rest of the song ain't too shabby, either.

10. Girls Aloud "Something New"
We're the leaders of the pack/Tell me, can you handle that?
In the years since Girls Aloud's last album, the "girl group" has fallen on some hard times. The last Sugababes album bombed, The Saturdays have grown increasingly generic and new girl groups like Little Mix aren't even fit to carry Nadine's Tesco Club Points card . The Aloud, reuniting with Xenomania, reaffirmed their status as the greatest pop act in the world with "Something New," producing a song that introduced the "something new" pop music sorely needed by late 2012.

09. Cheryl Cole "Call My Name"
I love you too much to let go
The moment my love for Calvin Harris became heart-racingly, like-a-punch-in-the-gut real.

08. Dragonette "Let It Go"
We don't need a cure for the weight of the world
Very rarely do I ever love a song on first listen. But the moment I heard "Let It Go" on the band's SoundCloud page, I was so enamored by this rapturous, pulsing beat that I had to listen to it over and over and over again. Dragonette are often hit or miss for me, but I would hit this song all night long if I could.

07. Avicii "Levels"
Oh, oh, sometimes, I get a good feeling
Given the fact that one 2012 hit sampled it (Flo Rida's "Good Times") and another outright ripped it off (Ke$ha's "Die Young"), "Levels" feels more and more like one of the most important songs of the year.

06. Nicki Minaj "Starships"
But fuck who you want and fuck who you like
The moment when Nicki Minaj either jumped the shark or became reborn as the most atypical, genre-bending popstar around. Obviously, I believe the latter.

05. Justin Bieber "Boyfriend"
I can take you places you ain't never been before
Ten months later and "Boyfriend" is just as clever--both as a single choice and as a song itself--as it was back when it was released.

04. One Direction "One Thing"
Something's gotta give now/'Cause I'm dying just to know your name
To the unconvinced, "One Thing" is teen pop tripe, a generic song that can't even be bothered to come up with something more creative than "You've got that one thing" as its hook. But, in its own way, "One Thing" is a tribute to the boyband songs of yesterday, when times and pop hooks were much simpler. The lyrics may read inane on paper but they reveal a level of depth and longing few songs can muster.

03. Florence + The Machine "Spectrum (Say My Name)" (Calvin Harris Remix)
We are shining/And we will never be afraid again
I've always admired Florence Welch far more than I liked her music ("Dog Days Are Over" and "Shake It Out" notwithstanding). But the moment I heard her wail, "Say my naaaaaaaame!" like a drugged up acid queen over that Calvin Harris beat, I knew that Florence and I would get along just fine.

02. Lana Del Rey "Off to the Races"
I'm your little scarlet starlet/Singing in the garden
Everything a pop song should be but so rarely is: moody, mysterious, lush, yet ever so fragile. A popstar is born.

01. Demi Lovato "Give Your Heart a Break"
You try to smile it away/Some things you can't disguise
Before Miley and Selena eventually caught up to her, Demi was the be all and end all of the Disney pop princesses. Her 2009 album Here We Go Again was a mature-beyond-her-years masterwork which proved (to me, if no one else) that, hey, maybe these Disney kids were on to something. In the three years since that album, I have been a huge supporter of Demi, eagerly awaiting her big mainstream breakthrough. After a rough year for her in her personal life, Demi, almost out of nowhere, achieved just that with "Give Your Heart a Break." Picking up on my favorite trend of 2012, "Give Your Heart a Break" sounds like a light, summery pop song but is actually quite melancholic when you dig beneath the surface. A beautiful, sad love story pours out of Demi about a guy who has been damaged by past relationships and a girl desperately trying to convince him to take a chance on her. "Give Your Heart a Break" wasn't the first time Demi proved that she could hang with the Katy Perrys and Rihannas of the pop world, but it's certainly the most convincing argument that the rest of the world has finally figured this out, too.