P.J. Harvey, "What the Fuck?" (Island). On the surface, this threadbare tantrum seems like P.J. Harvey's most intense outburst, but her less-obvious material is much more rewarding.
Snow Patrol, "Run" (A&M). Its Light up/As if you have a choice chorus makes "Run" seem like a dull documentation of drug addiction, but it's actually a treacly ode to optimism set to lukewarm Coldplay.
The Beastie Boys, "Ch-Ch-Check It Out" (Capitol). Regressing to remedial rhyme skills isn't kickin' it old school; it's more like a pathetic putz trying to pick up younger girls with baby talk.
The Donnas, "Fall Behind Me" (Atlantic). The Donnas bring convincing chops and feminine flair to hair-metal rock, but the genre remains inherently irredeemable.
Ashlee Simpson, "Pieces of Me" (Geffen). A baffling ringer on many otherwise respectable year-end lists, Ashlee Simpson fooled some gullible listeners by dying blandness black.