When it comes to pop music, assembling a best-of list can be awfully difficult these days. Everyone is obsessing about their own iPod playlists, and, given the breadth of options, few people can agree on the appeal of individual artists -- let alone albums or singles. That’s why we decided to ask some of our favorite established and innovative artists, as well as a few of our favorite music writers, which songs blew their mind this year. Unsurprisingly, the picks from Girl Talk, Annie, Duran Duran’s John Taylor and our 18 remaining contributors had little in common, ranging from the well known (The National, Lady Gaga) to the stubbornly obscure (Anika, Io Echo). (Though one expletive-laced track managed to draw in both Taylor Hanson and Outkast’s Big Boi -- you might know which one)
Click below to get started -- and let us know about your own picks in the letters section.
John S. W. MacDonald is a New York-based freelance writer who has contributed to Spin and the New York Times among other publications.