Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The 30 Best Singles Of 2009: 30-16

30. Wilco
You Never Know


Chicago’s finest dive into one of their (far-too-infrequent) light-hearted romps, arguably their breeziest concoction since Summerteeth.

29. Kelly Clarkson
I Do Not Hook Up


Nobody wants to be a role model… except perhaps Ms. Clarkson. Great hook, great production, great message; why wasn’t this bigger?

28. Lady Gaga


Given the choice between this or, say, the soul-crushing banality of the Black-Eyed Peas, I’ll take the weird art-project Madonna wanna-be every time.

27. The Avett Brothers
Slight Figure Of Speech


For those who think the brothers Avett went all “soft” on their major-label debut, a nicely raucous throwback to the old days. Hilarious video too.

26. The Very Best featuring Erza Koenig
Warm Heart Of Africa

[Green Owl]

Invigorating Afropop with an electro sheen... and a Vampire Weekend cameo to boot!

25. Raekwon featuring Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck & Method Man
House Of Flying Daggers

[Ice H2O/EMI]

The hip-hop equivalent of the Seinfeld reunion on Curb Your Enthusiasm, and probably the closest we’ll ever get to the glory days of Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).

24. Muse

[Warner Bros.]

Stadium-rousing anthem from the heir apparent to Queen: gloriously big, vaguely ridiculous, and with the Gary Glitter beat to boot.

23. The Lonely Island featuring T-Pain
I'm On A Boat

[Universal Republic]

That a “joke” club banger from the SNL guys turned out to be a better—and more successful--hip-hop track than most of the actual hip-hop released in 2009 tells you all you need to know about the lousy state of modern urban music. That, plus T-Pain is always hilarious.

22. Röyksopp featuring Robyn
The Girl And The Robot

[Astralwerks/Wall Of Sound]

At some point, Robyn will finally release a lousy song; until then, her hot streak continues, this time with a standout from the Norwegian duo’s third album.

21. Phoenix


The age-old struggle of art vs. commerce, as filtered through the lens of a 19th century Hungarian composer. “From a mess to the masses,” indeed.

20. Maxwell
Pretty Wings


Has it really been nine years? Maxwell rolls back the clock with this effortless comeback single, instantly showing up the entire R&B genre with one achingly pretty ballad.

19. Thom Yorke
Hearing Damage

[Chop Shop/Atlantic]

A busy “down” year for Thom Yorke—four new solo tracks, plus two more from Radiohead—capped with a dark-tinged number so great, you can (almost) forgive the whole horrible Twilight connection.

18. The Flaming Lips with Stardeath & White Dwarfs

[Warner Bros.]

Bad idea? Warner Brothers’ Covered: A Revolution In Sound, featuring “highlights” like Adam Sandler impersonating Neil Young. (Seriously.) Great idea? The Lips turning early, chirpy Madonna single into freak-out jam. The ability to support this song, but not its heinous album counterpart, is the entire reason iTunes exists.

17. Paramore
Brick By Boring Brick

[Fueled By Ramen]

Yet another catchy-as-hell single from my favorite pop-punkers of the decade—this time with a fantastically messed-up video to boot.

16. Alicia Keys
Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart


Pretty great fourth quarter for Ms. Keys: first the inescapable Jay-Z collab, next the best slice of Prince-styled heartache since Sign ‘O’ The Times. Can't wait to see what she does in 2010.

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