8. Deadmau5 and Kaskade -- I Remember
There are scant few DJs who can make the transition from the clubs to the singles charts: BT, Paul Oakenfold, DJ Shadow, the Crystal Method -- only a handful seem to know how to turn skills at the turntables into an ability to put together great songs of their own. In late 2008, Canadian DJ Deadmau5 (AKA Joel Zimmerman) teamed with Chicago-based American DJ Kaskade (AKA Ryan Raddon) and created one of those boundary-smashing singles that reminds even listeners who've never been into the rave/club scene what the draw is for so many. I Remember was gorgeous, intoxicating stuff -- a silky-smooth blast of warm air you wanted to close your eyes and drift away on, compliments of the two DJs' stylish and perfectly restrained beats and the lovely, hopeful voice of singer Haley Gibbby. It was the rare techno single that worked on every level, which is why it spent a good portion of 2009 on the UK Singles chart and Billboard's Hot Dance Airplay chart here in the United States.
7. Spinnerette -- Baptized by Fire
Most fans of punk rock loathe change. Like their metal and hardcore counterparts, they consider growth to be a sign of the dreaded (and completely ridiculous) notion of "selling out." With that in mind, you can imagine what greeted the Distillers' punk goddess Brody Dalle when she teamed with journeyman musical genius Alain Johannes -- and unofficially with husband Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age -- to create Spinnerette. One listen to the new direction Dalle was heading in and the battle lines were instantly drawn in the punk-alt community. As usual, though, the hold-outs and naysayers were letting juvenile prejudices get in the way of a hell of a listening experience, because Spinnerette's debut album sounded exactly like what it was: the perfectly natural evolution of a singer and songwriter who was always destined to be more than just punk's prettiest face. The record's first single, Baptized by Fire, showed a startling level of maturity. It still had an edge and a now-subtler sneer to it, but this tale of abandoning a bad relationship wasn't about smashing furniture and petulantly flipping off the one who's caused so much pain; it was about turning away and never looking back -- which any adult will tell you is the biggest "fuck you" of all.
Tomorrow: 6 & 5
The 20 Best Singles of 2009: 9. The Dead Weather -- Treat Me Like Your Mother; 10. My Chemical Romance -- Desolation Row
The 20 Best Singles of 2009: 11. Little Boots -- New In Town; 12. Miike Snow -- Silvia
The 20 Best Singles of 2009: 13. The Sounds -- No One Sleeps When I'm Awake; 14. Blue October -- Dirt Room
The 20 Best Singles of 2009: 15. Jay-Z (w/Alicia Keys) -- Empire State of Mind; 16. Company of Thieves -- Oscar Wilde
The 20 Best Singles of 2009: 17. Yeah Yeah Yeahs -- Heads Will Roll; 18. Doves -- Jetstream
The 20 Best Singles of 2009: 19. Mos Def -- Quiet Dog; 20. Florence + the Machine -- Kiss With a Fist