10) The New Pornographers - "The Laws Have Changed"
The best of the many power pop anthems from The New Pornographers, from their 2003 album Electric Version.
9) Kelly Clarkson - "Since U Been Gone"
Clarkson remains the best of the American Idol winners, and this song featured a powerful melody coupled with tremendously catchy lyrics. What puts it over the top, though, is Clarkson's cathartic yell on the chorus. Who doesn't want to start yelling with her?
8) Phoenix - "If I Ever Feel Better"
Before they reached mainstream popularity this year, Phoenix was best known for this wonderful dance pop song that was an early sign of their eventual success.
7) M.I.A. - "Paper Planes"
The perfect distillation of M.I.A's rebel aesthetic, with gunshots adding to the hypnotic beat. It's no wonder it was used in nearly every movie that came out last year.
6) Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Maps"
Karen O's impassioned belting and the intensity of the refrain are what make this song unforgettable.
5) The Knife - "Heartbeats"
The Swedes have always been good with pop melodies, and The Knife combines their country's knack for tunes with addictive electronic beats that prove irresistible.
4) R. Kelly - "Ignition (remix)"
R. Kelly is puerile, crude, and probably a criminal. But he's also some strange kind of idiot savant and this song remains his masterpiece.
3) LCD Soundsystem - "All My Friends"
The song starts with a very spare melody and then crescendos into a rush of emotion. Amazing how such an exuberant song can actually be about twin challenges of aging and loss.
2) Arcade Fire - "Rebellion (Lies)"
"Tunnels #1" is the song that is showing up on all the end of decade lists, but for my money this is the track that captures the band at its best -- radical, thrilling, and full of vitality.
1) Outkast - "Bombs Over Baghdad (B.O.B)"
I remember playing this song on an infinite loop during late nights in college when the coffee had started to wear off. It's encapsulated, full-throttled energy, from beginning to end.