On Thursday, MTV News began our countdown of the Top 25 Songs of 2010, revealing our picks for 25 through 18. On Friday (December 3), we're unveiling 17 through 11, a list that includes heavy-hitters like Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and B.o.B.
And if seeing those kinds of names outside the top 10 shocks you, well, you're not alone. But in a year with so many really great songs, some tough decisions had to be made — and MTV News staffers were the ones making the calls. Over the past month, we asked them to come up with their own lists of their 25 favorite songs of 2010; they didn't have to be singles and, really, they didn't even have to be released in 2010. We were looking for any song that made an impact this year, be it commercially, culturally or critically. When we finally received all the lists, we had proof of just what a year it was: More than 300 different songs from some 200 artists were chosen, and it was up to a select few to tabulate the results and create a top 25.
Using a point system — the #1 song on each list received 25 points, the #25 song received 1 point — we spent the next few weeks whittling down the lists. Finally, after some frantic addition (math was never our strong suit) and some rather spirited debate, we had our list — and we feel it's a great one, full of songs by artists both big and small, yet all impactful in some way. It wasn't easy, but we got it done.
This week, we'll roll out 25 through 11, and then on Monday, we'll begin to unveil our top 10. Oh, and we're interested in seeing your lists too. Feel free to add them in the comments below. But now, without further ado, let's look back on the year that was, by continuing our countdown of the Top 25 Songs of 2010:
17. Rihanna, "Rude Boy"
Total Points: 65
A straight-up sex jam from the formerly demure Ms. Fenty, "Rude Boy" was the third single from the Rated R album, but unlike most everything else on the disc, it's not a morbid, morose affair. Rather, it's full of swirling synths and rushing handclaps, jerking along on a dancehall lilt and RiRi's newfound ragga swagger. Straying from the drama that had enveloped her life during the recording of the album, "Rude Boy" is Rihanna looking for love — or, more specifically, a man to give that love to her. And on this night, it may be you. Can you get it up? Is you big enough? No pressure or anything.
16. Lady Gaga, "Alejandro"
Total Points: 77
It's perhaps the most, uh, oddball track in Lady Gaga's increasingly odd arsenal — in that it sounds like Madonna's "La Isla Bonita" (or an Ace of Base B-side) — so it should come as no surprise to anyone that she decided to release it as a single, complete with a nine-minute video in which she swallows a rosary and pouts like Marlene Dietrich. Sure, Katy Perry might not have liked it all that much, but the rest of us marveled at Gaga's bravado, not only to transform a breezy ode to summertime love into a curio from the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, but to carry such a retro-leaning song all the way to the upper reaches of the Hot 100. There truly isn't anything she can't do.
15. Rihanna, "Only Girl (In the World)"
Total Points: 90
By the time she released Loud, Rihanna was telling anyone who would listen that she was done being dire and just wanted to have some fun. And, well, there were few songs released this year as flat-out fun as "Only Girl," a bubbly slice of club pop with — arguably — 2010's best chorus, a super-charged, positively life-affirming thing that somehow sounded best when it was shouted very loudly from the middle of a packed dance floor. Or in the shower. The greatest pop songs work no matter where you hear them, and "Only Girl (In the World)" is most definitely a great pop song.
14. B.o.B (featuring Bruno Mars), "Nothin' on You"
Total Points: 91
The first of B.o.B's two heart-on-his-sleeve hits, "Nothin' on You" is a sweet, almost hokey love letter to the girls that rock both his — and crooner/producer Bruno Mars' — world, and it's notable not only for its downright viral level of catchiness (seriously, listen to it and see how long it takes you to start singing "Na-na-na-nothin' on you, babe!"), but because it introduced the world to two of the year's biggest breakout stars. They'll travel far and wide, but B.o.B and Bruno will always come back home to you. Shout-out to girls who pay their taxes!
13. Kanye West (featuring Bon Iver, Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj and Rick Ross), "Monster"
Total Points: 94
The year's most appropriately titled track, "Monster" is a menacing, maniacal posse cut, growling along on a beastly backbeat (courtesy of King Kanye) and downright angry verses from Ross (who proudly proclaims himself to be a "fat mother----er"), Jay (who raps about Sasquatch and whines that he doesn't get enough loooove), West (who would like to put your lady parts in a sarcophagus) and, most notably, Nicki (who more than stands up to her heavyweight competition; she K.O.'s them all). If most of 'Ye's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is an exploration of his madcap life, "Monster" is a look deep inside his own psyche. More terrifyingly, it's his snarling superego.
12. B.o.B (featuring Hayley Williams), "Airplanes"
Total Points: 99
Like Kanye, B.o.B isn't afraid to point out the fact that everything in the fabulous life isn't necessarily all that fabulous, that no matter how many ringtones you sell or how many people you surround yourself with, you're still going to be unhappy and, ultimately, alone. So instead you spend your nights wishing on airplanes and holding your phone in your lap, hoping against hope, thinking about how that job as a sandwich artist wasn't really all that bad, in retrospect. And then in the morning, you get up and do it all over again. Because you have to. Swoony and somber, "Airplanes" is proof that even rappers can get emo. Do people even use that word anymore?
11. Katy Perry, "Teenage Dream"
Total Points: 102
The beauty of "Teenage Dream" is its simplicity: It is a song about being helplessly, head-over-heels in love and nothing more. It doesn't matter that, at the time of this writing, Katy Perry is 26 years old, or that she's happily married to a famous British comedian; you still believe her when she's singing it (it probably has something to do with the way she hits the chorus: "You! Make! Me!"). Shoot, as "Glee" proved, you don't even have to be a girl to record a convincing version of the song. "Teenage Dream" proves that, when it comes to matters of the heart, it's always best to keep it simple — truthfully, swooningly so.
MTV News' Top 25 Songs of 2010 countdown continues Monday, when we roll out our top 10 picks. So make sure to keep checking back to see what song we've named #1, and don't forget to share your picks with us in the comments below!