#16 Janelle Monae
Welcome to the Backstage Pass year-end countdown. Happy holidays! Last week, we looked at the best albums of 2010. This week, we tackle the singles.
20. Rocket Summer, “Japanese Exchange Student” (Island): Bryce Avary's interesting take on stardom is also a pretty moving sing-along.
19. Jenny and Johnny, “Big Wave” (Warner Bros.): Only Jenny Lewis could make the bank bailout sound this adorable.
18. Glee Cast, “Teenage Dream” (Columbia): It took the “Glee” kids' removal of all of Katy Perry's vocal tics and bad approaches to make me realize this is a pretty great song.
17. Superchunk, “Digging for Something” (Merge): Mac McCaughan says this comeback for the indie-rock veterans was “almost too catchy.” But that's like being “almost a billionaire” – in other words, pretty darn great.
16. Janelle Monae feat. Big Boi, “Tightrope” (Bad Boy/Wondaland): Musically brash and flashy, Monae freshens up '60s soul and puts some futuristic style into today's hip-hop.