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