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The Dead Weather, “Hustle and Cuss”

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Jack White and Alison Mosshart howl over the dirtiest riff of the year, generating ungodly amounts of sexual electricity.

Video: The Dead Weather Live at Bonnaroo 2010

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6

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."

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3

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.

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2

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

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1

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

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