MUSIC: THE 10 BEST SINGLES OF 2007 (cont.)
5. ''Upgrade U,'' Beyoncé (feat. Jay-Z)
Both halves of music's power couple pay tribute to the virtues of materialism over a blaring synth-horn backdrop crafted by producer Swizz Beatz. ''Partner, lemme upgrade U, Audemars Piguet U,'' offers Jay's lady friend, name-checking the luxury watchmaker. And who are we to stand in her way?
4. ''LoveStoned/I Think That She Knows,'' Justin Timberlake
The dude who brought you-know-what back last year did it one more time in '07 with this spacey jam. It ends with a contemplative coda of echo-chamber guitars, but the meat of the tune is totally jittery, funky lust. Consider us seduced all over again.
3. ''No One,'' Alicia Keys
If Keys' wrenching ballad doesn't give you the shivers, then you, friend, have no ears. Or soul. Keys, always lovely and well composed, found something deeper here; her voice hoarse with love and longing, she summoned her most mature and moving composition yet.
2. ''You Know I'm No Good,'' Amy Winehouse
Don't be so hard on yourself, Amy. As a matter of fact, we know you're great. Whatever tabloid you end up in next, this tale of infidelity full of swaggering brass and suggestive lyrics will be there to remind us why we took notice of you in the first place.
1. ''Umbrella,'' Rihanna (feat. Jay-Z)
Will weather protection ever be the same? All it took was one simple, slowed-down drum loop from the music-software program GarageBand (Vintage Funk Kit 03), one legendary ''retired'' rapper (Jay-Z), and one redonkulously hot Barbadian pop songstress (Rihanna). Just add water and...voilà! Witness the year's most inescapable smash, which indubitably yielded one of its most provocative videos as well thanks to a saucy rain dance.
Want more year-end music coverage? See Chris Willman's picks for the 10 best albums of 2007