Each day this week, we will be debuting ten more songs as we count down our favorite songs of 2010.  We couldn’t have possibly listened to every song in 2010, but these are our favorites out of everything we listened to.  Today we present 30-21.  Read below to see our picks!

Previously: Songs 40-31

30. “Only Girl (In the World)”


Rihanna’s latest album is titled Loud, and rightly so — and nowhere is she more in-your-face loud than on lead single “Only Girl (In the World).”  On the chorus of this Euro-pop jam, she is nearly yelling the massive hook, “Want you to make me feel like I’m the only girl in the world!”  But yet behind this dance exterior, it is one of the most personal confessions in Top 40 music.  With the vulnerability and sincerity with which Rihanna sings the colossal hook, she demands your attention: for these three minutes and fifty-five seconds, she really is the only girl in the world.

29. “Go Outside”


“Go Outside” begins with this quote from real life cult leader Jim Jones: “To me, death is not a fearful thing. It’s living that’s treacherous.”  But songs as joyous and sparkling as this help to brighten the monotony of everyday life.  The track uses glockenspiel, a bassline and almost childlike vocals that advocate taking advantage of the daylight rather than staying “inside and [sleeping] the light away.” Even though still very little is known about the band, it’s almost refreshing that the band has let its music stand on its own: music this good speaks for itself.

28. “Madder Red”


Yeasayer lead singer said that on their sophomore album Odd Blood, he hoped to “sonically challenge Rihanna in the clubs,” and with “Madder Red” they come pretty close to that goal.  The impeccable production is matched by its lyrics about wronging the other person in a relationship and the song is one of the most dance-ready tracks to come from indie rock this year.  A hook consisting solely of “oooh” never sounded so catchy.

27. “Up All Night”

Drake [ft. Nicki Minaj]

Nicki Minaj drops an insane and crazy guest verse and outshines the lead artist: this fact has been a common thread throughout rap music this year.  Her collaboration with Young Money labelmate Drake proves no different.  Over a beat of synthesized strings and clattering drums produced by Boi-1da, Drake brushes off criticism from others.  The beat drops and hand claps announce the entrance of Nicki Minaj, who brags about her dominance and asks, “Which bitch you know made a million off a mix tape?”  When two of rap’s youngest and brightest stars get together, you know the resulting track will be magic.

26. “Rill Rill”

Sleigh Bells

“Maps” was the breakout hit for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs in part because it was a divergence from the art-rock of the rest of their debut album.  In many ways “Rill Rill” is that successful song for Sleigh Bells.  Standing apart from the noise-pop of the rest of Treats, the song is constructed with a Funkadelic sample with Derek Miller’s jangly guitar.  Allison Krauss’ cool voice is in the forefront here with subtle ah’s in the background and confident lyrics: “Wonder what your boyfriend thinks about your braces/What about them? I’m all about them.”  This lyric seems to sum up Sleigh Bells very well — they embrace their differences and relish in them, and all while making great music.

25. “Fuck You”

Cee Lo Green

Sure, the profanity in the chorus is what initially made this song an Internet sensation, but it’s not the reason this Cee Lo Green song sounded like an instant classic.  Contrary to the song’s title, the sunny soul throwback production by the Smeezingtons is paired perfectly with the cheery lyrics about a breakup.  Rather than wallowing in sadness, Cee Lo moves on and offers an upbeat kiss-off to the girl he loves.  “Fuck You” isn’t just a attention-grabbing novelty hit, it is catharsis through one of the best pop songs of the year.  We’ll take this Atari of a hit over an Xbox anyday.

24. “Boyfriend”

Best Coast

Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino says what she means.  She doesn’t deal with metaphors; she just flat out explains how she’s feeling and it’s a quality sorely lacking in modern indie music.  This sun-drenched California surf pop track finds Consentino pining for a guy who is in love with a girl who is “prettier and skinnier” and “has a college degree.”  All she wishes for in the song is that “he would know how much I want him”: an impressive song like this will do the trick.

23. “Lewis Takes Off His Shirt”

Owen Pallett

Owen Pallett debuted “Lewis Takes Off His Shirt” at a music festival in Ontario during a heavy rainstorm.  Despite warnings to leave the stage, Pallett endured the rainfall and played through the entire song.  It’s fitting that from the initial flurry of keyboard, the song is almost like being swept up in a pouring rainstorm.  Strings and Pallett’s magnificent violin pick up as the song builds and up through the final, glorious refrain of “I’m never gonna give it to you!”  The rain may be falling, but we’re dancing along with it.

22. “Heaven’s on Fire”

The Radio Dept.

Swedes are well known for their excellent pop music, and dream pop band The Radio Dept. are no exception.  “Heaven’s on Fire” begins with a quote from Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore: “Some people see rock and roll as youth culture, and when youth culture becomes monopolized by big business, what are the youth to do?” Apparently they write pop songs like this while concurrently criticizing the state of the modern music industry.  This is irony at it’s greatest — and a fantastic song to boot.

21. “In the Sun”

She & Him

The music video for “In the Sun” shows Zooey Deschanel happily dancing through a high school, with an enormous smile on her face the entire time.  That feeling of pure joy is exactly what this collaboration between Deschanel and M. Ward sounds like.  Ward lays down a piano riff and shimmering guitar for Deschanel’s sweet and sincere vocals.  The chorus is a sing along affair as the background vocals echo Deschanel’s “Well all right/It’s OK.”  All of this adds up to a song with a 1970s feel and one of the best feel-good songs of the year.

Next: Songs 20-11