I wasn’t gonna do this list. But now I did it. You wanna fight about it?
20. Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – “In Pairs”
Life ain’t like Noah’s ark – human pairings are little more complicated. But this ragged little sing-a-long reminds you that it’s OK to smile, even if nobody’s there to see it.
19. M.I.A. – “XXXO”
This thunderous dose of electro-pop warns that bad sex leads to social media. M.I.A.’s narrator discovers that tweeted love notes are too easily tossed-off – just like those symbols for hugs and kisses.
18. The Body – “A Body”
A delicate choral passage reaches its crescendo, only to be mercilessly deconstructed, resulting in a 10-minute hurtle from heaven into hell.
17. Big Boi – “Shutterbugg”
Funky, buoyant and celebratory, Big Boi’s single didn’t just make for mandatory summer listening, it also showed that the talkbox might be about to give AutoTune a run for its money.
16. Eels – “Little Bird”
Nobody does melancholy quite like Eels. Here, their bandleader E is so hard up for affection, he bemoans his unrequited love to a bird that hops onto his porch. How gorgeously pathetic.
15. Kanye West – “Runaway”
“You’ve been puttin’ up with my shit just way too long” – the closest thing to an apology you’re ever gonna get from a rock star.
14. She & Him – “I’m Gonna Make It Better”
Reassuring lyrics, floating on a bed of lightly twanging guitars. For fans of ’70s AM pop, it’s the cure for what ails you.
13. Vampire Weekend – “Diplomat’s Son”
I thought nostalgia trips resulted in some kind of sadness or regret. But when your memories are of lying around dressed in white, smoking joints with rich kids, they result in exhilarating synth-reggae songs.
12. The Roots – “Right On”
On a record about the power of positive attitudes, a beat that’ll make you feel invincible.
11. Rihanna – “What’s My Name”
How do you know you’re in love? When somebody gives you goosebumps, just by saying your name.
10. Sleigh Bells – “Crown on the Ground”
So. Damn. Loud.
9. Ke$ha – “Your Love is My Drug”
A melody that’s as tough to shake as lovesickness.
8. Jamey Johnson – “Heartache”
Heartache isn’t just a state of mind, it’s an evil entity. Johnson sings from the perspective of this grim reaper of relationships, breaking up everyone from caveman couples to Charles and Diana.
7. Janelle Monae – “Dance or Die”
Latin rhythms, undulating raps, soap opera organ – a lean, propulsive sonic assault unlike any other.
6. Antony & The Johnsons – “The Great White Ocean”
Spare, stunning chamber folk about family dynamics in the afterlife. Should be sung in church.
5. Gorillaz – “White Flag”
A Lebanese orchestra, a pair of imaginative British MCs, and Damon Albarn’s ever-expanding vision make for the most successfully eclectic track of 2010.
4. Bruno Mars – “Just the Way You Are”
The love song of the year, with a mighty catchy chorus to boot.
3. Cee Lo Green – “Fuck You”
The love child of “I Want You Back” and “Gold Digger,” brilliantly arranged and sung by the most expressive vocalist in R&B. Adorable.
2. Erykah Badu – “Window Seat”
An empowering anthem for both frustrated lovers and claustrophobic travelers, sung with the kind of quiet confidence we last heard on Baduizm.
1. Kanye West – “Monster”
The drums are huge, the personas even huger – a six-minute running time is barely enough to contain all the chest-beating rants and paranoid fantasies. The year’s illest track, in both senses of the word.