Not to complain, but best of lists are like a window into the vacuous soul of our country's musical tastes.
10. Vampire Weekend, “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa”
The coolest song to name-check Peter Gabriel since…well, actually, we can’t think of another song that name-checks Peter Gabriel.
9. Death Cab for Cutie, “I Will Possess Your Heart”
Ben Gibbard may sing like a wuss, but it takes some serious balls to make the eight-minute, space-rock stalker jam the first single from your new album. Other mainstream rock acts’ 2008 “experiments” paled in comparison (we’re looking at you, Coldplay).
8. Lil Wayne, “Lollipop”
The last time a hip-hop act this weird made a track this perfectly calibrated to conquer mainstream radio, the group was called OutKast and the track was called “Hey Ya!”
7. Friendly Fires, “Paris”
This gushing synth-rock epic is already massive overseas. Look for it to conquer America in ’09.
6. She & Him, “This Is Not a Test”
Anyone who saw “Elf” knew Zooey Deschanel could sing, but no one could have predicted that, by teaming up with folk-rock icon M. Ward, she could create music this gorgeously timeless.
5. MGMT, “Electric Feel”
If any song this year had a better come-on line than “Ooh, girl, shock me like an electric eel,” we didn’t hear it.
4. The Ting Tings, “That’s Not My Name”
Bubblegum party pop didn’t get any better in ’08 than this U.K. duo’s epic ode to those inconsiderate wankers who can’t be bothered to remember a girl’s name. For the last time, people—her name is Katie!
3. TV on the Radio, “Golden Age”
Sounding like the lovechild of Prince, George Clinton and “Fame”-era Bowie, New York’s preeminent art punks anchored one of the year’s best albums with this funky little gem of a track.
2. M.I.A., “Paper Planes”
With a little help from a Clash sample and a “Pineapple Express” trailer, Maya Arulpragasam became the year’s unlikeliest breakout star.
1. Estelle feat. Kanye West, “American Boy”
Kanye West’s greatest accomplishment in 2008 wasn’t discovering Auto-Tune—it was helping American audiences discover this deliciously soulful U.K. songbird. If Obama can do half as much for trans-Atlantic relations, the next four years are looking up.
Here's my own count down of the above songs.
Vampire Weekend? yuck.
Death Cab for Cutie? Every one of their songs sounds absolutely the same, and the above mentioned one is no different.
Lil Wayne? Rap is crap, of course.
Friendly Fires? I don't even know what to make of this song.
She & Him? Not bad, but BEST? See what I'm talking about? Best?
MGMT? Perhaps the best of the bad bunch.
The Ting Tings? Oh, make them stop.
TV on the Radio? Don't get it. Don't get them. You can interpret that as meaning I don't LIKE them.
M.I.A.- I absolutely LOATH this song. I mean, really. My ears bleed.
Estelle/Kayne West: The Estelle part is OK and kinda catchy. Make Kayne West go away.