Eminem got sober, Arcade Fire got spooked, Katy Perry flashed her hits and Kanye sang one for jerk-offs everywhere.
(RollingStone.com) -- 5. Arcade Fire, "We Used to Wait"
"Now our lives are changing fast," sings Win Butler, spooked and sleepless. But his empathetic croon -- and his band's orchestral- rock wallop -- make high anxiety sound almost sublime.
4. Katy Perry, "Teenage Dream"
Co-written by Max Martin and Dr. Luke, this buoyant electro-pop singalong is 2010's catchiest tune. As for that "teenage dream," Perry doesn't mince words: "Let's go all the way tonight."
3. Sade, "Soldier of Love"
Nobody knows where Sade disappears to for years at a time between hits, but "Soldier of Love" proves she knows how to make a hell of a re-entrance. She sings about emotional devastation over a beat that mixes quiet-storm synths with acid-damaged riffs straight out of TV on the Radio's playbook. It's as close as she's ever come to blowing her cool.
2. Cee Lo Green, "F*** You"
The title alone would have guaranteed hundreds of thousands of Web clicks. But Cee Lo didn't just say "F*** you" -- he said it with humor and serious panache. Despite the bummed-out lyrics, the Motown-style beat is DayGlo-bright, and Cee Lo's lovelorn lament doubles as an anthem for lean times: "If I was richer/I'd still be with ya/Ha, now ain't that some shit?"
1. Kanye West feat. Pusha T, "Runaway"
It takes a special kind of dark, twisted genius to raise the white flag of surrender while raising a middle finger. Kanye West is that genius. "Runaway" is Kanye's musical response to the Taylor Swift affair, but it's much more than that: a nine-minute meditation on romantic failure and public infamy.
Kanye creates a huge, eerie beat out of thunderous drums and plinking piano, and he turns the phrase "Let's have a toast for the douchebags" into a refrain nearly as catchy as "She loves you -- yeah, yeah, yeah." In 2010, no other song was so crazily epic or jaw-droppingly gorgeous -- not on the radio, not anywhere. Now, everyone raise your glasses.
Copyright © 2011 Rolling Stone.