YouTube Cash rules everything around Fat Joe, Wiz Khalifa and Teyana Taylor in…
- Posted on Dec 20th 2012 5:16PM by Spinner
When people defend pop as a genre, this is a masterclass in why. The failed "Canadian Idol" contestant certainly benefited from boarding the Bieber express, but Jepsen's already-released, pretty-much-perfect song was what got her the ticket -- and it won Team Biebs over the same way it won over the rest of us. Its cotton-candy lightness is given substance with violin stabs, subtle beats and an all-time-classic hook, earworming its way onto the playlists of every archetypal "Breakfast Club" clique, even the too-cool Judd Nelson one. -- Joshua Ostroff
19. Nicki Minaj, "Beez in the Trap"
Nicki Minaj is frustrating not because she makes both pop and hip-hop, but because her former efforts are mostly mediocre while her latter tracks have the potential to be transcendent. Stealing "Monster" from 'Ye and Jay set the bar high, and "Beez" is where she finally vaults over it. With an echo-based beat so minimal this might as well be a cappella and a 2 Chainz verse that barely registers, Nicki reminds the purists why they cared with a track that's among the year's hardest without ever raising its voice. -- Joshua Ostroff
18. Kanye West, Jay-Z, Big Sean, "Clique"
This the track you'll still be hearing drunk kids recite on the subway well into 2013, and with good reason. Kanye and Co. effortlessly pulled off another massive hit with a hook so simple it's almost to the point of parody. Here the three powerhouse emcees each showcase their unique shit-talking abilities (as per usual), but it's producer Hit-Boy -- hip-hop's Wonder Child -- who really deserves bragging rights for his instant-classic beat. -- Adam Horne
17. Plants and Animals, "The End of That"
Though their album The End of That deftly blends vintage rock twang with more modern indie grooves, the Canadian trio reached a gloriously nostalgic high point on their single of the same name. Don't miss the accompanying music video, which features frontman Warren Spicer's spot-on '70s variety-hour shtick. One view and we were swooning. -- Adam Horne
16. JEFF the Brotherhood, "Sixpack"
Imagine yourself on an inflatable raft, floating down the Bourbeuse river. You're a mouth-breathing 17-year-old, ass hanging out of your shorts -- ready for the catfish to take a nibble -- drunk and stoned. This is what we think of every time we hear "Sixpack," a glorious ode to the country life of Nashville's new punkers. May their beer be always plentiful and cheap. -- Cameron Matthews
15. Beach House, "Wild"
While virtually half of the duo's fourth LP, Bloom, could have made this list, Alex Scally's catchy guitars and Victoria Legrand's soaring, ethereal vocals take "Wild" over the top. Steeped in melancholy, haunting and beautiful. -- Theo Bark
14. Rufus Wainwright, "Out of the Game"
Rufus spent several years delving ever deeper into the first half of his baroque-pop one-man-genre, but on this title track he finally gets back to the pop part. This is not to say that you'll be confusing Wainwright with Rihanna -- in fact, tsk-tsk lyrics like, "does your mama know what you're doing?" could very well be referencing pop's current queens. But producer Mark Ronson, well-schooled in working with retro-infused artists, imposes a pop structure upon Rufus that, ironically, makes him feel perfectly contemporary. -- Joshua Ostroff
13. Crocodiles, 'Endless Flowers'
Crocodiles' title-track single is grown on a lush bed of noise. Psychedelic roses pop up amongst the slap-back fuzz of morning dew and mellowed grass. From start to finish, "Endless Flowers" is a reminder of just how organically rich the San Diego rock band can be. -- Cameron Matthews
12. Divine Fits, "For Your Heart"
Heavy, brooding synth beats reminiscent of LCD Soundsystem give way to Britt Daniel's plaintive yearning for the woman who just can't get her heart straight. She may not settle down with him, but damn if this song better make her at least think twice. -- Dan Reilly
11. Leonard Cohen, "Going Home"
As a songwriter nearing 80 years old, it's no wonder that Leonard is getting even more existential. Sung from the viewpoint of a higher being who tells Cohen -- the lazy bastard in a suit -- what to say and sing, it's almost as if the legendary musician feels guilty about his craft. Cohen was once asked where he was when he wrote this song. His reply? "In trouble." -- Dan Reilly