Singles scene

Our music critics take on the year one song at a time

Chamillionaire, “Ridin’”/ Weird Al Yankovic, “White and Nerdy”Chamillionaire's commentary on police brutality and racial profiling, a huge hit earlier this year was given an extra set of legs by Yankovic's spot-on parody. Weird Al is at his ridiculous best on “White and Nerdy” which proves just how good “Ridin'” was in the first place. Chuck Teed

City and Colour, “Coming Home”This is a song that simply leaps out from Sometimes and latches onto your heart. Dallas Green knows all too well what it takes to tour in support of an album and the opportunities it affords. But being home is not one of them—this amazing single highlights the loneliness that accompanies the road. Trevor Savory

Gnarls Barkley, "Crazy"Looking like an approachable Dr. Doom, singing about going insane while sounding similar to an ultra sweet K-OS. Gnarls Barkley created one the best pop tunes this year with "Crazy." Old school beats with a string section sampled chorus by British wunderkind DJ Danger Mouse and smooth R&B vocals by former Goodie Mob member Cee-Lo Green. "Does that make me crazy? Probably." Trevor MacLaren

John Legend, “Save Room”A short melodic bassline repeated by an organ and you’re into this gorgeous song by American R&B saviour John Legend. He respects and refers to the old ways—the classic, sweet soul and R&B of the late ’60s and ’70s—without pilfering it. A classy tune about love’s labour. Sean Flinn

My Chemical Romance, “Welcome to the Black Parade”Ridiculously, gloriously bombastic, the centrepiece of the great Black Parade is this surprising single choice—it runs over five minutes, a radio and video no-no—which plinks its way into military-drums overdrive and hits its peak at the singalong manifesto that declares “this world will never take my heart.” Why do we hate emo again? Tara Thorne

The New Pornographers, "The Bleeding Heart Show"For a song that starts slow—with a melody that seems like a total toss-off—this song just keeps building and building to a truly exalted climax where neko case belts out the final lines over top a jubilant chorus of “hey la”s. If only music could always feel this good. Dave Hayden

Corinne Bailey Rae, “Put Your Records On”The brightest new voice of the year promotes an active approach to pop, that for some evokes playing a tall stack of meticulously selected 45s and dancing to every one. The sun mysteriously shines with each playing, and is that a cowbell? UK soul finally nails the Memphis groove. Doug Taylor

Scissor Sisters, "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'"I see you hanging out in the back of the club. Pretending you don't want to take a ride on the electric slide. Work those funky hips honey, I know you wanna. Sue Carter Flinn

She Wants Revenge, "Tear You Apart"This Joy Division-esque duo scored with the catchphrase "I want to fucking tear you apart." Is it a misogynistic ode about a stalker? A song about an S&M tryst? Or maybe it's about a young couple into really rough sex? Whatever the case, this catchy and dark guilty pleasure is the best use of the f-word on a radio single since Nine Inch Nails' "Closer." Johnston Farrow

Justin Timberlake, "My Love"It’s almost hard to deal with how good this song is. It’s not something you want to let into your life, but all of a sudden it comes on and you want to dance in ways you’ve only seen on re-runs of The Real Life. The lyrics could have written by a crushing 14-year- old, but the combination of the bottom end and the gliding synth work is undeniable. Matt Charlton

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