Rob Sheffield's Top 25 Songs of 2016

Beyoncé's ultimate kiss-off, Rae Sremmurd's sublime Beatles ode and other standout tracks from the year that was

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12. Young Thug, "RiRi"

Thugger's salute to Rihanna flips her hit "Work" – but it's really about him, as he buries the thug persona and reclaims his government name. His Jeffery mixtape is full of diary entries disguised as fan letters, named after his idols: "Wyclef Jean," "Gucci Mane," "Harambe." But "RiRi" is the funniest and realest, as he throws himself into his seal-bark mutations of "work work" and "earn earn earn it," as if Jeffery Williams can only discover his true self by pretending he's Rihanna. He craves a vicarious glimmer of Ms. Fenty's diva self-esteem – like all of us, right? Thug's just trying to fix his inner issues with a bad bitch, striking his RiRi pose the same way he models that blue dress on the cover.

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