40. Betty Who, “Somebody Loves You”
Maybe the decade’s greatest one-shot? This Aussie singer has put out other stuff since, but nothing as pitch-perfect as this totally ‘80s dance pop wonder that somehow never became a big radio hit. Perhaps Kylie Minogue should cover it.
39. Sinead O’Connor, “Queen of Denmark”
O’Connor’s had another troubled decade, but she seemed on the verge of a comeback with her pretty good 2012 album, the highlight of which is this gloriously incensed John Grant cover. The original’s fine, but Sinead was born to sing lyrics like, “Why don’t you bore the shit out of somebody else?”
38. Hot Chip, “Let Me Be Him”
Man, these Brit dweebs had so many good singles (and albums!) this decade; out of all of it, I’ll go with this extended, shimmering prog-pop gem if only because it was an album track that should have been everywhere.
37. Jessie Ware, “Wildest Moments”
Ware’s first major single is a breath of fresh air—with a Sade-like presence, only a tad more buoyant, it traverses both pop and r&b and lands somewhere in-between, only “lands” seems incorrect as, despite the resounding beat underneath, the whole thing positively glides.
36. LUMP, “Curse of the Contemporary”
Laura Marling was my artist of the decade until her considerable output actually petered out about 2/3 of the way through it. However, this most recent project, a collaboration with Tunng’s Mike Lindsay, suggests an intriguing way forward, especially on this sinewy, beautifully dark travelogue.
35. Marina and The Diamonds, “I’m A Ruin”
Froot made my top ten albums of the decade, but the track from it I always want to hear most is this miraculous, mid-tempo number where she utilizes the best bits of past weirdos such as Sarah McLachlan and Kate Bush, bringing it all into her own domain.
34. Joe Goddard feat. SLO, “Music Is The Answer”
Goddard’s a member of Hot Chip (see #38); I still have no clue who female vocalist SLO is. Together, they made this cool, catchy and most of all immediate disco/dance throwback whose straightforward but profound lyrics absolutely sell it.
33. Jessica Lea Mayfield, “Blue Skies Again”
If Amy Rigby ever had the resources and gumption to hook up with a member of The Black Keys, the results might’ve turned out like this. Mayfield’s made other, much different music since, but none of it registers like this lovely, slightly warped, twangy power pop.
32. Alex Lahey, “Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself”
I might’ve been more receptive to Sleater-Kinney’s return this decade if their punk-pop was still as catchy and urgent as this, but then, they never would’ve incorporated a rousing, Clarence Clemmons-like sax solo into one of their songs.
31. Tori Amos, “Reindeer King”
Her last two albums have retreated from the wilderness somewhat, but Amos remains a worthy iconoclast open to kicking off an album with a seven-minute mood piece akin to a stroll through endless, foreboding terrain—thankfully, you can still see through to the other side.