As with last year's list, I've avoided choosing any songs from my best albums list since it seems fairly obvious that most of the best songs of the year would come from those artists. Instead, here are 10 songs from artists whose LPs couldn't quite match the brilliance of these tracks.
10) The Long Blondes - "Guilt"
The Long Blondes produced the best album of their short-lived career this year and then promptly split up. It's too bad, because songs like this one suggest they had a future worth paying attention to.
9) Elbow - "Grounds for Divorce"
This year's Mercury Prize winners from Britain made the catchiest rock song of the year -- chances are you heard it in the background of a ton of commercials and the trailer for Burn After Reading.
8) Estelle feat. Kanye West - "American Boy"
R&B artists seem to have mastered the art of the duet, as this song from British songstress Estelle proves. On his own, Kanye West can seem obnoxious and self-involved. Paired with the right singer, though, and he becomes almost a gentleman.
7) Yelle - "Ce Jeu"
Yes, this song is in French. No, I have no idea what she is singing. Fortunately, none of that matters.
6) Blitzen Trapper - "Furr"
This Portland-based band folk band is difficult to classify, mostly because they tend to take their genre eclecticism to levels of quirkiness they can't sustain. Once in a while, though, they produce songs that are both remarkably pretty and deeply weird, like this one about a man who turns into a beast.
5) Lykke Li - "Little Bit"
I don't know what it is about the Swedish, but they're undeniably the best nationality for crafting quirky pop songs (see #2 below). Lykke Li's first album, Youth Novels, was uneven but it had some very enjoyable melodies, the strongest of which was this lovely song.
4) Ben Folds feat. Regina Spektor - "You Don't Know Me"
When you think about it, Ben Folds and Regina Spektor make an obvious duo -- they're the perfect combination of overly-clever and overly-precious. Put it together and you get just the right balance in this charming duet.
3) Liam Finn - "Second Chance"
I saw Liam Finn perform this song on Letterman and couldn't get the haunting beat out of my head. Finn is a one-man band -- he writes all the songs and plays most of the instruments himself. How he manages to perform all the tasks required for this rocking tour de force is beyond me, but it makes the end product all the more amazing.
2) Marching Band - "Gorgeous Behavior"
Another pop marvel from Sweden, this song by Marching Band is from the indie duo's debut album. As the title suggests, they've crafted a gorgeous melody with a surprisingly robust sound for two-person band.
1) Passion Pit - "Sleepyhead"
Boston's Passion Pit produced one of the best EP's of the year, filled with danceable electronic tunes. "Sleepyhead" was the strongest song on it, an incredibly catchy, quirky, and infectious jam. It's practically impossible to avoid bopping your head as it plays.