50 Best Songs of 2010 - Rolling Stone
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50 Best Songs of 2010

Katy Perry’s ‘Teenage Dream,’ Sade’s ‘Soldier of Love,’ Kanye’s ‘Monster’ and more

In 2010, Eminem got sober, Arcade Fire got spooked, Katy Perry flashed her hits, and Kanye sang one for jerk-offs everywhere. Read on for our obsessively curated list of the very best songs of the year.

Written by Jon Dolan, David Fricke, Will Hermes, Melissa Maerz, Jody Rosen, Rob Sheffield and Jonah Weiner.

Harry Scott/Redferns


Elizabeth Cook, “El Camino”

A twangy, hilarious vignette about a schoolgirl who becomes powerless against the charms of a mulleted, El Camino-driving skeezeball.

Roger Kisby/Getty


Das Racist, “hahahaha jk?”

NYC trio transcend joke-rap status by making a song about transcending joke-rap status, set to a finely stoned beat.

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Spoon, “The Mystery Zone”

2010's most mesmerizing guitar groove — a dark, dubby burner with lyrics about basement gigs and lost love.

Henry S. Dziekan III/Getty


Lloyd Banks feat. Juelz Santana, “Beamer, Benz, or Bentley”

Two New York badasses team up over the year's rawest beat to celebrate paying way too much in car insurance.

Johnny Nunez/WireImage


Drake feat. Nicki Minaj, “Up All Night”

One of the year's great driving songs, with Minaj "doing doughnuts in a six-speed."

Rick Smee/Redferns


Wavves, “Post Acid”

The San Diego trio turn in a sweetly psychedelic punk nugget: part Buzzcocks, part acid-damaged beach rock.

Michael Burnell/Redferns


Gil Scott-Heron, “I’m New Here”

The long-lost Seventies rap pioneer rasps his way through an acoustic version of a Smog ballad. He turns indie-rock melancholy into the darkest, deepest country blues.

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Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, “The Trip to Pirate’s Cove”

A classic Petty road story, outfitted with black-ice organ and sneering guitar.

C Brandon/Redferns/Getty


Band of Horses, “Laredo”

A country-rock ballad about needing to get away, built around shimmering guitars that go on for miles.

Nigel Waldron/WireImage

Robyn, “Dancing on My Own”

The Swedish diva spots her beloved with another girl — then turns her sadness into sparkling pop, perfect for solo freakouts.

Michelly Rall/Getty


Rick Ross feat. Styles P, “B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast)”

Ross flows like the Barry White of white powder on this lush drug-lord fantasia.

Tim Mosenfelder/Getty


Jenny and Johnny, “Scissor Runner”

Power pop finds its own George Burns and Gracie Allen. Her best borscht-belt joke? "I'll forgive you/If I outlive you."

Paul Morigi/WireImage


Mavis Staples, “You Are Not Alone”

A modern hymn, written by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy and sung with maternal assurance by the voice that once told you to "Respect Yourself."

Kevin Mazur/Child/WireImage


Sade, “Soldier of Love”

Nobody knows where Sade disappears to for years at a time between hits, but "Soldier of Love" proves she knows how to make a hell of a re-entrance. She sings about emotional devastation over a beat that mixes quiet-storm synths with acid-damaged riffs straight out of TV on the Radio's playbook. It's as close as she's ever come to blowing her cool.

Joe Kohen/WireImage


Cee Lo Green, “F**k You”

The title alone would have guaranteed hundreds of thousands of Web clicks. But Cee Lo didn't just say "Fuck you" — he said it with humor and serious panache. Despite the bummed-out lyrics, the Motown-style beat is DayGlo-bright, and Cee Lo's lovelorn lament doubles as an anthem for lean times: "If I was richer/I'd still be with ya/Ha, now ain't that some shit?"

Video: Cee Lo's Official "Fuck You" Video

Kevin Mazur/WireImage


Kanye West feat. Pusha T, “Runaway”

It takes a special kind of dark, twisted genius to raise the white flag of surrender while raising a middle finger. Kanye West is that genius. "Runaway" is Kanye's musical response to the Taylor Swift affair, but it's much more than that: a nine-minute meditation on romantic failure and public infamy. Kanye creates a huge, eerie beat out of thunderous drums and plinking piano, and he turns the phrase "Let's have a toast for the douchebags" into a refrain nearly as catchy as "She loves you — yeah, yeah, yeah." In 2010, no other song was so crazily epic or jaw-droppingly gorgeous — not on the radio, not anywhere. Now, everyone raise your glasses.

Gallery: Kanye West's Career Highs — and Lows

In This Article: The Black Keys

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