MTV News’ Top 25 Songs of 2010 has reached an end. We’ve already counted down the rest, and now it’s time to get to the best: Usher’s “OMG,” the song that perfectly sums up the past 12 months of popular music — and makes you wanna move until you can’t move no more.
If 2010 proved anything, it’s that a DJ really can save your life … or at least get you to #1 on the Hot 100. After years of staring at each other from across the room, hip-hop, pop and R&B all decided to finally get in bed with dance music, and the results weren’t always pretty, but they were certainly successful. To date, only 17 songs have made it to the top spot of Billboard’s singles chart in 2010, and nearly two-thirds of them — from Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” to Far East Movement’s “Like a G6″ — were, in some way, dance songs.
In that regard, no song better sums up 2010 pop music quite like Usher’s “OMG,” the dance song to end all dance songs. Sure, it may not have matched the swagger of Kanye West’s “Power,” the snarl of Rick Ross’ “B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast)” or the inbox-clogging spread of Cee Lo’s “F— You,” but it didn’t have to. None of those songs went to #1, after all. “OMG” did. Twice.
Even among songs that managed to snag that top spot — Eminem and Rihanna’s “Love the Way You Lie,” Katy Perry’s “California Gurls,” B.o.B and Bruno Mars’ “Nothin’ on You” — “OMG” stood out from the pack, mostly because of its pedigree. It’s not a stretch to say that any of those tracks could’ve (and probably would’ve) been #1 in any other year; “OMG” could only have done it in 2010, because it was crafted to do nothing else. No other song this year was as of the moment, as singular and shiny and downright undeniable. There’s a reason it was named on more ballots than any other song on our countdown and justly takes the title of MTV News’ #1 Song of 2010.
And while all that is important, it’s largely beside the point. “OMG” is the kind of song that truly defies deep inspection, because it’s not exactly headphone music. Rather, it was made for the clubs, designed to envelop you on the dance floor and not let go until the final “oh-ohh-oh-ooh-oh.” And in that regard, it succeeds in spades. It is a masterful melding of R&B, and Euro dance, all icy synths and handclaps, starbursts and stutters and sing-along chants. It ebbs and flows, stops and starts, pumps and preens. Simply put, you cannot listen to it without moving in some way. (MTV’s Dee Caligiuri, who voted on our countdown, probably put it best one night when she declared: “There are so many dances you can do to it!”) And if that’s not the definition of a success, well, then I don’t know what is.
A large portion of the credit for “OMG” has to go to will.i.am, who not only produced the track (I know!), but was smart enough to see this whole dance thing coming when he teamed up with producer David Guetta last year. Those songs — “Boom Boom Pow” and “I Gotta Feeling” — were, of course, massive, but neither of them are as good as this. Given full control, Will goes off the deep end, cramming the song with every dance trick in the book — and probably some new ones he just invented on the spot. And Usher, whose career, truth be told, was sort of in need of a shot in the arm, is the beneficiary. He floats and gloats above the mix, suave and cocksure, knowing that he is exactly the right man at the right time. That time, of course, had to be 2010.
Because in a year when so many big-name acts embraced the DJ, he flat-out did it better than any of them. “OMG” represents the peak of the dance-pop era in which we live, a song as undeniable as it is of the moment. We can only speculate as to what next year will bring, but there’s really no denying that, as 2010 comes to a close, Usher stands above all else, reinvigorated and ready for more. It’s enough to make you say “Oh My God,” really.
How does Usher’s “OMG” rank among the year’s best songs? Let us know in the comments!
MTV News’ Top 25 Songs of 2010 have all been counted down. But the fun isn’t over yet: We still want to see your picks in the comments below!