1. All The Lovers - Kylie Minogue. This is as close to perfect as a pop song gets. Kylie's vocal is downright angelic, wafting atop a fluttering melody and a groove that is taut and spine-crawling. It's a watershed moment proving that La Minogue's best recordings undeniably still lie ahead.
2. Helium Hearts - Jason Reeves. Simple and infectious, poetic and picturesque. Jason comes as close to capturing the lighthearted rush of emotion that comes during the early days of romance.
3. Love Part II - Bright Light Bright Light. The hi-NRG rhythmic fervor of vintage Erasure and Pet Shop Boys underlines a wonderfully matter-of-fact tale of lads in love. If only this music was this comfortably queer and sweetly romantic when I first came out so many years ago.
4. Stuck On You - Sugarland. It takes the proverbial balls of steel to drop a ragga-pop breakdown in the middle of a strummy, Middle-American country music tune. But that's what Sugarland compadres Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush are all about. They have become masters of down-home country songwriting that has just the right amount of stank on it.
5. Kites - Gravitonas. It's taken a hot minute for producer/composer/musician Alexander Bard to finally match the artful sophistication of the late, great Army of Lovers. In frontman Andreas Ohn, he has found the perfect voice to give life to his meditations of life, love, and spirituality in the disco round.
6. Bad Girl - DeeDee Loves Me. On the surface, DeeDee comes off as a sassy, teen-friendly combination of Lily Allen and Katy Perry. Dig deeper, and you'll discover an intensely sensitive and soulful young woman who will make you want, by turns, to be her BFF and bad-boy deflector/protector. This single is the start of something special.
7. Leave It All Behind - Jason Walker. The clubland belter has reinvented himself into a soul singer of depth that belies his youth. This song is more than a "you-can-make-it" anthem. It is a declaration of independence and renewed statement of creative purpose for a singer who has the potential to make a million hearts soar.
8. If (When You Go) - Judie Tzuke. After 30 years as a journeywoman singer/songwriter, it would be reasonable for Miss Judie to simply retread one or two previous ideas, while cruising on auto-pilot. This sterling moment from her underappreciated Moon On A Mirrorball opus reveals the exact opposite. Teamed with pop maestro Steve Anderson, Tzuke has never sounded more creatively engaged or emotionally available. Her performance of the song's gentle, yet painfully sad prose could be a masterclass in emotional subtlety.
9. Sugarbaby - Morningwood. Remember when rock-and-roll was carefree and just a little naughty? Morningwood's Chantal Claret clearly does. From the contagious tribal chants to the sweeping air-guitar chorus, this jam will make you feel like you're speeding in a convertible down Any-Highway USA with your bestie in tow.
10. White Room - The Dirty Disco. Ornery, acidic, aggressive and sometimes downright funny. This is an air-puncher for anyone who has ever felt locked outside of life's mainstream, and treated like a psycho-loser just for being different. Frontman Adam-Boy performs with empathetic venom that is undercut with subtle, yet palpable sadness.