The best No 1 records: Cher Lloyd – Swagger Jagger

2011: On first listen it was the awful work of a pop Frankenstein. A few plays on and you had to submit to the onslaught of hooks

Swagger Jagger makes this list because it was the only chart-topper in a dreary year that was actually surprising. Surprisingly terrible, you might argue, and on the first play I completely agreed: Cher Lloyd stomping around puffing herself up with the chorus of Oh My Darling Clementine stitched in by some terrible pop Frankenstein. But that's the charts for you: for every love at first play there's a huge WTF, and in this case shock turned to grudging respect for Lloyd's chutzpah, and then outright enjoyment at quite how many hooks and tricks the producers try to grab you with. In a way it's like pop's turned a 50-year circle: high-trousered impresarios masterminding cheap but sometimes thrilling rip-offs of American stars, only now it's the Black Eyed Peas and Far East Movement they pillage, not Elvis.

See every No 1 hit from 2011


Tom Ewing

The GuardianTramp

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