11. Keane, "Somewhere Only We Know"
The interview I caught makes me pray that they never have another hit ("our fans sense our honesty..." charming!), but in a year loaded with cooing British toolbars, this one actually got to me. Maybe it was because none of the others copped to need or sounded willing to offer fidelity. Maybe it was because the singer shaved.
12. Akon, "Lonely"
Color me sappy, but by the end of the third verse I don't even remember how ridiculous the sample is.
13. Usher, "Caught Up"
A dizzy tribute to Michael Jackson's Bad featuring the Pips and some of the funniest maneater lyrics ever penned. We can debate whether he's using his powers for good, but he's definitely using them.
14. Avril Lavigne, "Nobody's Home"
Just when I couldn't take another unsympathetic tale of being failed by life, Lavigne finally suggests somebody on the planet may have it worse than her. The crazy thing is how assured and natural it sounds. Maybe she's tired of complaining too.
15. Rob Thomas, "This Is How A Heart Breaks"
Starts with tribal drums and piano before guitars explode, synths stab and Rob throbs. We get a drum'n'bass interlude, a searingly compressed solo, and Rob having a gospel showdown with his back-up singers. An MOR horror-show more flamboyant than anything on Guero and just as eclectic. This dude is a trip.