50 Best Songs of 2012

Taylor made weapons-grade teen pop; Kanye put his brain on cruise-control, dubstep kingpins and stadium rockers invited us all to their parties

15

Usher, 'Climax'

usher
Francesco Carrozzini

Usher has always had a Madonna-esque ear for the sound of the moment. Jumping on a Diplo beat for this smash single was one of his savviest moves ever: The understated electro brings out a stunning sensitivity in Usher's vocals. The lyrics are about a harsh breakup, but the delivery is so heavenly you barely noticed.

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