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Best of 2010: Singles #5-2

Singer Rihanna accepts the Soul/Rhythm & Blues Music

Singer Rihanna accepts the Soul/Rhythm & Blues Music - Favorite Female Artist award onstage during the 2010 American Music Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles, California. (Nov. 21, 2010) Credit: Getty Images

#3 Rihanna

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.

#25-21 #20-16 #15-11, #10-6

5. Robyn, “Dancing on My Own” (Interscope): A rollercoaster of post-breakup emotions that Robyn somehow makes survivable through gurgling synths, an unstoppable beat and a brave delivery.

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4. The National, “Blood Buzz Ohio” (4AD): The driving beat and big groove make the generally unflappable-sounding Matt Berninger seem, well, happy.

3. Rihanna featuring Drake, “What's My Name?” (Def Jam): Oh 'Na 'Na, this is near-perfect pop raised to high art when she quickens the pace during the “Hey boy” bits, singing those lines faster out of sheer excitement like a girl in love.

2. Kanye West featuring Pusha T, “Runaway” (Roc-a-Fella): The epic tribute to self-doubt and self-loathing set to a grand, piano-driven landscape is as lovely as it is desperate. His toasts are so well-crafted and sad-sack that you almost feel bad for Kanye West. And, yes, the expletive-filled version is way better.


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