Brooklyn hipsters! Anthropomorphized tornados! London dubsteppers with chainsaw samples! Michael McDonald! 2009 (the sonic part of it, anyway) was messy and exhilarating, and definitely not for the faint of heart. Here are the year's top songs:
1. Dirty Projectors: "Stillness Is the Move"
How good was it? Good enough to forever separate the Projectors from their Brooklyn brethren, most of whom we've already forgotten about (except for No. 23). So good that Solange's brave, groovy cover version was the remake of the year, just by association.
2. Neko Case: "This Tornado Loves You"
This twisted tale, which reinvented the tornado as a modern day King Kong, was the year's most lyrically inventive; it was gut-wrenching and sweet in equal measure.
3. Pill: "Trap Goin' Ham"
The up-and-coming ATL MC turns in one of the year's grittiest and most riveting tracks, with a video to match.
4. Keith Urban "Kiss a Girl"
His ostensible rival Brad Paisley got all the love this year, but Urban released 2009's most infectious single, three-plus minutes of pop bliss masquerading as a country song.
5. Miley Cyrus: "The Climb"
The only teen empowerment anthem anyone over age 20 will ever need.
6. Kid Cudi: "Sky Might Fall"