Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The 50 Best Singles Of 2010: 50-41

[Welcome back to my yearly countdown of the finest individual tracks of the year. As always, the rules and regulations: This list is limited to commercial singles and/or videos released in 2010. Album tracks and fan-made clips, good as they might be, don't count. Official YouTube links are included when possible to avoid unwelcome deletions. Thanks and happy listening!]

50. Band Of Horses Laredo

Jaunty county-rock standout from BoH’s otherwise underwhelming (and inexplicably Grammy-nominated) third album, Infinite Arms.

49. Katy Perry – Teenage Dream

Not in any way a validation of Katy Perry, but rather an acknowledgement of the continued greatness of Swedish hitmaker Max Martin; with the right vocalist (Gay Lead #2 from Glee, for example), this is a pop song for the ages.

48. M.I.A. featuring Jay-Z – XXXO (Main Mix)

Revolutionary-turned-spoiled-brat Maya Arulpragasam borrows a beat from Gaga and a guest verse from Hova for an uncharacteristically poppy single. About the emptiness of online hookups, natch.

47. The Band Perry – If I Die Young

Forget Taylor Swift: This was as good as contemporary county got in 2010, un-ironically heartfelt and unabashedly romantic.

46. How To Destroy Angels – The Space In Between

The new Trent Reznor project sounded a lot like the old Trent Reznor project, albeit with ex-West Indian Girl vocalist (and current Mrs. Reznor) Mariqueen Maandig handling “creepy vocal” duties.

45. Bruce Springsteen – Save My Love

A fantastic outtake from 1978 gets an E Street makeover thirty years after the fact, finding new life as the lead single from Springsteen’s justifiably-acclaimed The Promise.

44. Lady Gaga featuring BeyoncĂ© – Telephone

On its own, this Fame Monster track offers little more than a beat and a collection of producer tricks, but of course the music is only a part of Stefani Germanotta’s multimedia assault; as a soundtrack to the epic Michael-Jackson-meets-Tarantino video clip, “Telephone” works like gangbusters.

43. The Black Keys – Next Girl

A love song dressed in swamp-blues rags, skuzzy and infectious and further proof that the Keys could do no wrong this year.

42. Erykah Badu – Window Seat

The bare-it-all video grabbed most of the attention but did a disservice to Badu’s sultry, understated vocal, possibly her finest work since the glory days of Baduism and Mama’s Gun.

41. Rihanna – Only Girl (In The World)

Rated R only confirmed that dark and depressing doesn’t suit Rihanna, which made this Loud standout all the more intoxicating; freshly recast as a Euro-house-disco queen lost in 1998, she’s never sounded more alive.

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