By Reed Fischer
By Anna Gulbrandsen
By Jeff Gage
By Stacy Schwartz
By Natalie Gallagher
By Erik Thompson
By Jeff Gage
By Loren Green
8. MAROON 5This Love
Keith Richards once said that he adopted a distorted guitar sound because it helped his band make up for its lack of a horn section. Among the charms of this rock 'n' soul single is how the fat guitar functions a bit like a baritone sax, while the dinky guitar does its best maraca. It's true that singer Adam Levine uses his falsetto swoops for evil on the 5's lame U2-ish follow-up single, but here his strutting playfulness is proper and sexy. Call it an exceptional song by an unexceptional artist, or Long Live the Single, Part 4,692.
9. INTERPOLSlow Hands
As is explained in my case study, I'm still jittery from a dream I had in October of '83, a dream in which a fearsome pack of new-wave Anglophiles beat me over the head with my own formerly near-mint copy of Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band's Stranger in Town while chanting "Seg Heil! Seg Heil!" Also I'm irrationally skeptical and/or jealous of people cooler and more coastal than I. These facts help explain why I doggedly resisted Interpol's very pretty, quite funny, and sincerely romantic music. What got me over was Sam Fogarino, who plays the drums very well.
10. GRETCHEN WILSONRedneck Woman
We close our Top 10 as we began, with a festive shout-along co-written by John Rich of Big & fame. But whereas "Save a Horse" sounds like a more or less new amalgam, "Redneck Woman" succeeds by riding a large-tired recreational vehicle over familiar ground. Though the lyrics reference Tanya Tucker and the dreaded Kid Rock, "Redneck" is mostly drawn from Chuck Berry's rulebook: Keep it simple, tell a story, include a few jokes, hire a good drummer, and give them what they want without selling your soul, which you'll need for convincing vocal performances.
For my full Top 40 favorite 2004 singles, see best-music-of-the-year.blogspot.com
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