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100 songs of the decade: Roar – Katy Perry

‘I guess that I forgot I had a choice’

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Written by: Katy Perry, Dr L***, Max Martin, Bonnie McKee and Henry Walter
Produced by: Max Martin, Cirkut and Dr L***
Album: Prism
UK release: September 2013
UK chart peak: 1

Roar is a bit Katy Perry By Numbers in the sense that it taps into the same theme as tracks like Firework and Part Of Me, delivering messages of empowerment and self-belief that you couuuuld say are a little on-the-nose and trite. You could also make arguments for songs like Chained To The Rhythm and Wide Awake being technically ~better~, and I very nearly did include the latter in this 100 Songs set.

But fuck it, Roar is massive.

I had a show on at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2013, and this song had its premiere the day we arrived in the city. I listened to it every day on the walk to the performance venue, and ladies, I GOT my LIFE. An anthemic call-to-arms, it builds to one hell of a pyro-friendly finale (I absolutely love Katy’s ad-libbing over the last chorus) and – sidebar! – it’s also deservedly THE big showstopper in Max Martin’s new musical & Juliet. Six years on from its release, it still gives me the get-up-n-go, you know?

  • I’ll be writing about my favourite 100 pop songs of the decade; one a day for the last 100 days of 2019. They’re in no particular order, except the Top 10 – which will (obviously) come in late December.
  • See the full list so far here.
  • You can follow the rolling, daily-updated playlist below, or here.

Music

100 songs of the decade: I Know A Place – MUNA

‘They will try to tell you you’re not free – don’t listen’

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Written by: MUNA
Produced by: MUNA
Album: About U
UK release: December 2016
UK chart peak: –

This is one of those songs that can easily make me cry. The Big One in the MUNA repertoire, I Know A Place was initially inspired by US Supreme Court’s legalisation of same-sex marriage, but its lyrics took on so much more poignancy when it was released six months after the Pulse shootings in Orlando.

About the spirit and solidarity of the LGBTQ+ community, it’s a tear-stained embrace of a track – an acknowledgement of queer trauma that invites you to put your hands in the air and feel pure euphoria, if only for a few minutes. Seeing it performed live is an emotional experience, I tell you.

  • I’ll be writing about my favourite 100 pop songs of the decade; one a day for the last 100 days of 2019. They’re in no particular order, except the Top 10 – which will (obviously) come in late December.
  • See the full list so far here.
  • You can follow the rolling, daily-updated playlist below, or here.

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Music

100 songs of the decade: On A Mission – Gabriella Cilmi

‘I never miss a trick just like a magician’

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Written by: Gabriella Cilmi, George Astasio, Jason Pebworth and Jon Shave
Produced by: The Invisible Men
Album: Ten
UK release: March 2010
UK chart peak: 9

The pressure to sex up her image was gross, but the actual music Gabriella Cilmi was divvying up during the Ten era was exciting, immaculate electropop; led by this Invisible Men-produced first single.

On A Mission is an 80s-tinged femmepowerment banger that packs – and I cannot stress this enough – one of the best spoken middle-8s of the decade. Whenever it’s on, I HAVE to chant along. I just HAVE to, it’s the law.

Gabriella didn’t stay in this lane for long: since she’s gone down a more independent route, her music has returned to the ~earthier vibe of her debut, which has been great (especially some of the stuff she’s put out this year). But! I will aaaalways have a massive soft spot for this brief moment when she was the under-rated Queen Of The Disco.

  • I’ll be writing about my favourite 100 pop songs of the decade; one a day for the last 100 days of 2019. They’re in no particular order, except the Top 10 – which will (obviously) come in late December.
  • See the full list so far here.
  • You can follow the rolling, daily-updated playlist below, or here.

Continue Reading

Music

100 songs of the decade: Don’t Hold Your Breath – Nicole Scherzinger

‘A bad movie ends and the screen fades to black’

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Written by: Josh Alexander, Billy Steinberg and Toby Gad
Produced by: Carl Falk, Steve Angello and Rami Yacoub
Album: Killer Love
UK release: March 2011
UK chart peak: 1

Remember that brief, divine period in UK history when Nicole Scherzinger could score a solo Number One single in the UK? Halcyon days!

Where the excellent Poison is a glass-shattering, absolute-racket-in-a-good-way banger, its follow up Don’t Hold Your Breath is… a glass-shattering, absolute-racket-in-a-good-way ballad. Scherzy sounds full of tear-stained resolve, and the full-pelt fist-pumpy production feels like stepping into a time machine to the turn of the decade.

Like Alesha Dixon, I’m happy Nicole has managed to remain a successful part of celebrity culture, but – even though this track in particular was a chart-topper – listening back to the likes of DHYB and Your Love just makes me sad that we didn’t give her more success when she was churning out the hits.

  • I’ll be writing about my favourite 100 pop songs of the decade; one a day for the last 100 days of 2019. They’re in no particular order, except the Top 10 – which will (obviously) come in late December.
  • See the full list so far here.
  • You can follow the rolling, daily-updated playlist below, or here.

Continue Reading

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