The end of 2010 is almost upon us, which is why MTV News is rounding up the Top Songs of 2010. We had over two dozen MTV News staffers submit their own personal lists of their 25 favorite songs, and from those lists we derived a master list whose top 10 will be slowly rolling out over the course of this week. Check out one of the 25 lists below, with an argument or two for the greatness of some of the under-appreciated tunes of the year.
By Joel Hanek
1. “Power,” Kanye West
2010 is Kanye’s year. Just to illustrate how far this man has risen, two presidents have directly commented on his actions. After his incident at the 2009 VMAs, he disappeared, and everyone anticipated that the loquacious West would have some retort to his vilification. Months of silence passed when all of a sudden in May he dropped “Power.” The Internets promptly exploded. The song is eclectic without sacrificing being organic or risking contrivance as it bounces from powerful African-influenced chants to heavy guitar riffs to a vocal sample from the classic prog-rock band King Crimson. But the lyrics are the reason why “Power” is my song of the year. While it may or may not be a response to his actions at the 2009 VMAs, West was aware people would make it such regardless. The song is an unapologetic acknowledgment of having done wrong while simultaneously an admission of having a heavy conscience. It is the pop music version of “Henry IV,” with Mr. West lamenting “uneasy lies the head that holds the crown.” Or it’s just a really good song.
2. “O.N.E.,” Yeasayer
When I first heard this song, I thought the lyrics were “Hold me like the phone/ Hold me like you used to/ Control me like you used to” only to then later find out they actually sing “Hold me like before.” While I prefer my own interpretation of the lyrics with the metaphor about possession, I still think this is one of the best songs of this year. It’s a sexy-sensitive-indie-pop-dance-rock-ballad that will be stuck in your head for days.
3. “Dancing On My Own,” Robyn
4. “F— You,” Cee-Lo Green
5. “On Our Own,” Diamond Rings
My friends Brendan and CJ recommended Diamond Rings and I fell in love instantly. I think if Morrissey, Lady Gaga, Ian Curtis and Adam Lambert all made a baby it would be something like Diamond Rings. The band is actually just one person who, with just a couple keyboards, a guitar, and a laptop produces some of the catchiest and moving synth-pop anthems this side of 2000. I have a feeling that if he plays his career-cards right, 2011 could be a good year for this fellow.
6. “Telephone,” Lady Gaga featuring Beyoncé
7. “Monster,” Kanye West featuring Nicki Minaj, Jay-Z, Rick Ross and Bon Iver
8. “Crossfire,” Brandon Flowers
9. “Tightrope,” Janelle Monae
10. “Bulletproof,” La Roux
11. “Stylo,” Gorillaz featuring Mos Def and Bobby Womack
12. “OMG,” Usher
Even though this song is infectious, I believe “OMG” still ranks behind will.i.am’s other big release this year.
13. “Animal,” Miike Snow
14. “Change,” LCD Soundsystem
15. “Giving Up the Gun,” Vampire Weekend
16. “We Used to Wait,” Arcade Fire
With The Suburbs, indie crossover sensation Arcade Fire knew exactly how to appeal to the masses. The song (and the whole album, really) is filled with childhood archetypes that are generic enough to pull at the heartstrings of nostalgia for most suburban-emigrants but profound enough to provoke reflection. This is one of the most beautiful and haunting songs I’ve heard in a long time (even if I did discover it through a Google Chrome ad).
17. “Stay Close,” Delorean
18. “Shutterbug,” Big Boi
19. “Mine,” Taylor Swift
20. “Helicopter,” Deerhunter
21. “Tik Tok,” Ke$ha
22. “Tighten Up,” The Black Keys
23. “Tail of a Jet Black Swan,” Idiot Pilot
24. “Teenage Dream,” Katy Perry
25. “Night by Night,” Chromeo
This is my own personal “Eye of the Tiger.”
26. “When a Woman Loves,” R. Kelly (Yes, I know it’s 26)
27. “Live Fast, Die Young,” Rick Ross featuring Kanye West