Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2008

The Best Pop Songs of 2008

By Evan Rytlewski
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1. Leona Lewis - "Bleeding Love"
For an expensive, industry-produced ballad, "Bleeding Love" sure is violent. With Pussycat Doll looks and Mariah Carey's voice, reality TV winner Leona Lewis sings of scars and severed veins. Taken literally, it's a scathing song about a woman cutting herself and blaming the object of her infatuation for making her do it—"You cut me open," she cries, voicing the type of sentiment you'd expect more from an early Smiths single than a major R&B/adult-contemporary hit.

2. Kanye West - "Love Lockdown"

That sparse bassline rattles around in your head, taunting you for minutes until relief comes from a final barrage of percussion. It's cathartic in the same way punching a pillow is.

3. T.I. - "Whatever You Like"
T.I. picks up the tab and flaunts his new-found cordial streak. That the song packages its money hook in a clunky "Kidz Bop" arrangement somehow only makes T.I.'s romantic overtures seem more genuine.

4. Flo Rida ft T-Pain - "Low"
Last winter's biggest hit set the tone for commercial rap in 2008: relentlessly chipper and danceable. Aside, perhaps, for a suggestive slap on the rear, "Low" was as good natured as apple pie.

5. Ne-Yo - "Closer"
Once again, Ne-Yo finds himself trapped it love's spider web. "I just can't bring myself away," he moans. "I don't want to escape/ I just can't stop/ I just can't stop." The implication, of course, is that he should.

6. Katy Perry - "Hot N Cold"

Katy Perry tones down her noxious man-eating, jock-jamming persona for this amiable New Wave throwback, out Gwen Stefaning Gwen Stefani.

7. Atmosphere - "You"
One listen and it's in your head forever.

8. Lil Wayne - "Mrs. Officer"
Tha Carter III yielded bigger hits this year, but none that so perfectly captured Lil Wayne's over-sized heart. The track plays out like a racy update of some forgotten Motown oldie. Wee-ooh-wee-ooh-wee, wee-ooh-wee-ooh-wee.

9. Eselle ft Kanye West - "American Boy"

The most PG track on this list, which is saying something, "American Boy" is a breezy little jaunt that images young adults innocently just want to kick it (or get down) and that America's standing in the world is as strong as ever.

10. The Game ft. Lil Wayne - "My Life"

Is it cheating to just pay Lil Wayne to carry your whole single for you? Does it matter?

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