"Beamer, Benz, or Bentley"

Aaaaaaaaand the most regrettable throwaway rap punch line of 2010 award goes to "Got a girl named Cigar/Call her that because she Cuban."



Amusing. Just when this outfit's flipped uncertainty into a near-virtue—when, all of a sudden, waffling doesn't have such a bad name and the perpetually wishy-washy are redeemed—the un-tethered, conversational vocals vanish and actual, like, decisions are made, bringing the song to a satisfying, skronk-y conclusion but sorta forsaking its core conceit.

Solar Temple Suicides

"Stranger Among Sounds"

Okay, admit it: You were ready for this to be three-incense-stick, stoner-rock quicksand through and through—until they went and gave the drummer some, and the drummer turned around and gave some back. See? The element of surprise.

Vinny Vegas

"Mallets (Acoustic)"

Adult life doesn't leave much time for moments of quiet reflection, for taking stock on personal and societal levels. Vinny Vegas offer an adult-contemporary Christian-emo antidote to this, usually with lotsa strings and atmospheric studio oomph, but as it turns out, unplugged treatments can do the tunes justice, too.

Kendl Winter

"Cotton Skies"

Winter's country-as-a-chicken-coop vibe on Apple Core is a weird fit for a veteran indie label (K) that's inextricably linked to twee despite a prolonged, continuous diversification effort. The folkie storytelling streak that runs through her work, a motherly warmth, and a willingness to wink at genre no-nos—willowy, horn chart-strewn "Cotton Skies" verges on Brill Building girl-group pop—make the lineage connections that her lived-in twang can't, or won't.