1.20. (Tie) Cascada, "Evacuate the Dancefloor"; Wilco, "Wilco (the Song)"

1/21

You choose -- agroup grind at the Eurodisco with knee-high leather boots and Goldschlager shots or agroup hug at the backyard barbecue with microbrews and onesies. Hopefully, we all have room for both in our lives.

WATCH: Cascada, "Evacuate The Dancefloor"

WATCH: Wilco, "Wilco (The Song)"

SONG PICKS AND TEXT BY CHARLES AARON

2.20. (Tie) Cascada, "Evacuate the Dancefloor"; Wilco, "Wilco (the Song)"

2/21

You choose -- agroup grind at the Eurodisco with knee-high leather boots and Goldschlager shots or agroup hug at the backyard barbecue with microbrews and onesies. Hopefully, we all have room for both in our lives.

WATCH: Cascada, "Evacuate The Dancefloor"

WATCH: Wilco, "Wilco (The Song)"

SONG PICKS AND TEXT BY CHARLES AARON

3.19. Maxwell, "Pretty Wings"

3/21

Can I offer you another Atlanta Braves souvenir coffee mug of Syrah? (FYI, my roommate won't be back until late tomorrow.)

LISTEN: Maxwell, "Pretty Wings"

4.18. Dorrough, "Ice Cream Paint Job"

4/21

The summer's most distinguished car song, and Dallas rapper Dorwin Demarcus Dorrough boasts the creamiest interior, the cleanest exterior, the biggest rims, the widest trunk, the hardest wood steering wheel, and the jumbo-est dice. Plus, he's watching Saved by the Bell on the in-dash TV. Consult urbandictionary.com for all relevant double entendres.

WATCH: Dorrough, "Ice Cream Paint Job"

5.17. La Roux, "Bulletproof"

5/21

F-you, random sorta-hot art-school dude in the vintage swim trunks (that left nothing to the imagination) who I hooked up with at that rooftop pool party but who never even texted me back, I mean really, just go die already, OK?

WATCH: La Roux, "Bulletproof"

6.16. Crocodiles, "Summer of Hate"

6/21

And your winner in the Bored Nihilistic Suburban Youth division!

WATCH: Crocodiles, "Summer of Hate"

7.15. The Big Pink, "Dominos"

7/21

Cavernous beat, "sugar kisses," fuzz guitar, synth squiggles, jaded Britrock croon, etc. Word to the wise, ladies: Never allow yourself to fall in love with a guy in a band during the heat of summer (or ever).

WATCH: The Big Pink, "Dominos"

8.14. The Drums, "Let's Go Surfing"

8/21

Most deftly deployed pop-music whistle since "Young Folks," but the only surfing going on in the area of Brooklyn where these indie boys reside involves a couch.

WATCH: The Drums, "Let's Go Surfing"

9.13. Brad Paisley, "Welcome to the Future"

9/21

This Obama-era anthem -- with a frisky guitar and matter-of-fact line about how we used to burn crosses in black football players' yards for asking out the white homecoming queen -- celebrates an optimistic 2009 reality where multicultural kids actually get to live out their dreams and Nashville stars refuse to be jingoistic clowns. Yes we can, Brad Paisley!

WATCH: Brad Paisley, "Welcome to the Future"

10.12. Basement Jaxx, "Raindrops"

10/21

Proving Auto-Tune's power for good, the Jaxx's ode to love's refreshing downpour gets ye olde mirror ball spinning double-time.

WATCH: Basement Jaxx, "Raindrops"

11.11. Kings of Leon, "Use Somebody"

11/21

One day, there will be a book written about the 2019 equivalent of karaoke that uses this song as its driving inspiration -- and Journey legacy's will desperately hump the leg of another generation.

LISTEN: Kings of Leon, "Use Somebody"

12.10. Jay-Z, "D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)"

12/21

Like the bumper sticker says: "There is no good Auto-Tune. There is no bad Auto-Tune. Auto-Tune in the hands of a bad man is a bad thing. Auto-Tune in the hands of a good man is no threat to anyone, except bad people." No threat to anyone, period, "D.O.A." was more of a coup for producer No I.D., who really killed it with his sample of the guitar riff from "In the Space" off 1970's Psyc Impression, a rare "library" record by Paris-based pianist/ composer Janko Nilovic and the unfortunately named Dave Sucky.

WATCH: Jay-Z, "D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)"

13.9. Atlas Sound feat. Noah Lennox, "Walkabout"

13/21

The best expression yet of the idyllic-yet-heartbreaking 8mm home movie that seems to run on an endless loop in Bradford Cox's head. With the help of Animal Collective's Panda Bear, Cox somehow evokes a tableau in which a mid-'60s Panama City Beach carousel repeatedly playsMerriweather Post Pavilion. Idyllic? Perhaps with the aid of hallucinogens. Heartbreaking? In so many ways.

LISTEN: Atlas Sound feat. Noah Lennox, "Walkabout"

14.8. Japandroids, "Young Hearts Spark Fire"

14/21

These eager punk bashers drop the year's sagest couplet: "I don't wanna worry about dying / I just wanna worry about sunshine and girls."

LISTEN: Japandroids, "Young Hearts Spark Fire"

15.7. Kid Cudi feat. Kanye West & Common, "Make Her Say"

15/21

One of hip-hop's historic tricks is to flip a pop song you think you loathe (Lady Gaga's "Poker Face") into a jam that has you decimating the dancefloor like a hood rat after 14 Cuervo belly shots. Best Kanye contribution to Western Civilization in eons.

LISTEN: Kid Cudi feat. Kanye West & Common, "Make Her Say"

16.6. Drake feat. Trey Songz, "Successful"

16/21

If Drizzy is the next greatest rapper alive, then maybe hip-hop really should look to Grizzly Bear for ideas. But on this sly whiff of sweet-scented silliness, the DeGrassi High vet plays the cars/clothes/hoes paradigm like a pro.

WATCH: Drake feat. Trey Songz, "Successful"

17.5. Miike Snow, "Animal"

17/21

If MGMT were brooding, agoraphobic Swedish studio hacks: "I change shapes just to hide in this place, but I'm still, I'm still an animal." Come on, guys, you wrote the most blogworthy wisp of indie-pop wistfulness in at least ninth months -- perk up and embrace the human carnival!

WATCH: Miike Snow, "Animal"

18.4. Girls, "Lust for Life"

18/21

Christopher Owens' poignantly strummy checklist of the basic provisions -- a boyfriend, a father, a suntan, a pizza, a bottle of wine, a beach house, etc.—one might need to survive the season.

WATCH: Girls, "Lust For Life"

19.3. Animal Collective, "Summertime Clothes"

19/21

A sweltering electronic romp through the fragrant garbage heaps and exhilarating open hydrants and otherworldly traffic blare of a New York summer. It's like the music's throbbing inside the sweat on your skin.

WATCH: Animal Collective, "Summertime Clothes"

20.2. Phoenix, "1901"

20/21

They'll be teaching this in Pop Song 101 university classes one day, dissecting the perfect phonetic placement of the stray ESL lyrics -- "Watch, you're moving in elliptical patterns"; "For a minute thought I couldn't tell how to fall out"'; "Think it's not gonna stay anyway, think it's overrated." More importantly, where the hell did they get that drummer?

WATCH: Phoenix, "1901" Live on Letterman

21.1. Your Favorite Michael Jackson Song

21/21

We'll all remember this past summer for one bewildering and devastating musical event, and though the now-chilling "Man in the Mirror" became the unofficial soundtrack of Michael Jackson's sordid departure from this thoroughly undignified plane, I kept clinging to the joyful yearning of 1972 hit "I Wanna Be Where You Are," written by Motown hand Leon Ware and Diana Ross' younger brother T-Boy. As the tabloid bone-picking and pharamaceutical freak show ensued, it was an immeasurable relief to hear the then-13-year-old star crying out to a world that still held some shred of possibility.

WATCH: Michael Jackson, "I Wanna Be Where You Are"

LISTEN TO ALL 20 SONGS: