Nelly Furtado reinvented herself in 2006; Jose Gonzalez, below right, plucked on
Nelly Furtado reinvented herself in 2006; Jose Gonzalez, below right, plucked on "Heartbeats"; Justin Timberlake broke new barriers; and Cassie delivered the goods for "Me & U." (By Mark Mainz -- Getty Images For Aol Music)
By Chris Richards
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Sure, the music industry is slumming of late, but music fans are doing just fine. Meeting attractive singles online is easier than ever! Of all the tunes that made their mark in 2006, here are the 25 I fell in love with.

1. Justin Timberlake featuring T.I.: "My Love"

This was the year Justin melted our hearts while Timbaland melted our minds. "My Love" combines dreamy falsetto with futurist funk in what essentially sounds like a marriage proposal in deep space -- not to mention the most baffling, brilliant song of the year.

2. Cassie: "Me & U"

Cuter than R2-D2 and colder than the HAL 9000, R&B upstart Cassie delivered her crystalline club-banger in a robotic mien that would make Kraftwerk jealous. With pop music this minimal, there's little margin for error.

3. Nelly Furtado featuring Timbaland: "Promiscuous"

Taking the career path less traveled, Furtado goes from tree-huggin' folkie to dance floor vixen. Next up for Timbaland: transforming the Wiggles into the next Wu-Tang Clan?

4. Cham: "Ghetto Story"

Haunted by a childhood spent in poverty, Sno-Cone slush reminds Cham of a bloodied friend. By the time the rising dancehall star reaches the chorus, he can't help but lash out in a cathartic roar.

5. Phoenix: "Long Distance Call"

How awesome is this song? Imagine Hall & Oates jamming with the Strokes in Paris! Wait a minute . . . . that sounds horrible. Still, this French four-piece hits the sweet spot between soft-rock and garage-rock with a distinctive je ne sais quoi.

6. Ciara featuring Chamillionaire: "Get Up"

CONTINUED     1              >

© 2006 The Washington Post Company