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19. St. Vincent, "Chloe in the Afternoon"
Taking its title from the Éric Rohmer film of the same name, "Chloe in the Afternoon" is a wonderfully skittish portrait of that rarified adulterous meet n' greet: the nooner. "Send you home / Find my heels / Heal my hurt / Grab my choke / Back to work," Annie Clark coos, as the guitars swoon and the bass bumps. It's ecstatic, unsure, and guilty, like the best affairs always are.
18. Donny Hathaway, "Jealous Guy"
Arguing about which version of this song is "best" is pointless. Let's just say that John Lennon wrote a great tune, and that many people have performed it effectively. We just want to give space to a lesser-known, positively incredible reading of a beautiful song, and whether you prefer the original, or the Roxy Music version, you can't argue with the passion Hathaway puts into his rendition. The pathos he puts into the line "I was shivering inside" is indescribable. Put aside the partisanship and call it a win for contrite cheaters everywhere.
17. Michael Jackson, "Girlfriend"
Michael sounds positively gleeful about the position he's putting his lover in in "Girlfriend," which is kind of messed up. We're tempted to call this song a complex analysis of the psychosexual mind games that infidelity engenders against the participants' will, but we can't stop singing it long enough to expand that theory. Also, it has a saxophone break.
16. Carrie Underwood, "Before He Cheats"
One thing modern country definitely has going for it is bombast, and "Before He Cheats" has it in spades. The funny-until-it's-true specificity of the lyrics and that soaring chorus add up to one unfuckable-with ode to a wayward lover and what must have been some thoroughly satisfying auto destruction.
15. Jimi Hendrix, "Hey Joe"
Jimi Hendrix's guitar chops were such that he could take a standard, ageless blues conceit ("Woman has done undesirable thing x / Woman must now die") and turn it into an apocalyptic, existential lament. It's hard to convey heartbreak, dread, rage, and resignation with six strings and a slab of wood, but Hendrix made it look easy.