[artist id="1940303"]Rihanna[/artist]'s "We Found Love" didn't have that many days on the calendar to make an impact — after all, it was just released in October. But that didn't stop it from being the chart monster of the fall as well as #3 on MTV's Best Songs of 2011. It was a classic upon arrival, a song that immediately felt like it had been here forever instead of just three short months.
The leadoff single from Talk That Talk is where Rihanna fully embraced EDM. Produced by Calvin Harris, "We Found Love" is a swirling party track about love and loss, the rare song that manages to be sad and joyous all at once. And it is a pinnacle of the pop/dance crossover, a throwback to '90s raves that could make even the most stoic lover of pop want to break out a glow stick and just dance.
MTV correspondent Sway Calloway moderated a spirited roundtable discussion with some of our very own experts: James Montgomery and Rob Markman (MTV News), Yomi Desalu and Malika Quemerais (MTV Music and Talent) and Tamar Anitai and Nicole James (MTV.com). The panel managed to narrow down the Best Songs of 2011, with "We Found Love" besting top 10 tracks from the Throne, Chris Brown and Katy Perry.
"That song came out and went to #1, and when a song has that kind of impact that quickly, it deserves to be recognized," Quemerais said during the discussion.
Montgomery went even further in his personal Top 25 Songs of 2011 column: "A few weeks ago, someone told me 'We Found Love' would ultimately end up being Rihanna's signature hit, and at the time, I sort of laughed him off. But the more I think about it, he may be right. Or at least on the right track.
"From the icy synth strains to Calvin Harris' hard-charging pre-chorus, it most certainly is the song that best represents pop, circa 2011, and given RiRi's standing in the field, perhaps in time, it will become her set-closing number too. For now, at least, I'm content to bask in "Love" 's masterful mix of the carnal and, well, the club."
Beyond being a definitive pop dance track, "WFL" was also a historic single for Rihanna. "Love" just completed its climb to the top of the Billboard Hot 100, giving Rihanna her 11th #1 hit, which puts her one ahead of Stevie Wonder and Janet Jackson. "It's the symbolic one that breaks the record and she gets credit for that," Markman said during the debate.
Our panel of experts thinks there's no stopping "We Found Love" from dominating the year ahead.
"I think this song is going to carry over into much of 2012," Anitai said.
"Then maybe it will be on next year's list," Montgomery added.