1 of 10
''Skyscraper'' Demi Lovato (2011) vs. David Lee Roth (1988)
A troubled teen star rising from the Mouseketeer ashes with a laid-bare power ballad, or the dude who bailed on Van Halen to sing spandexed pseudo-prog odes to space travel? Sophie never had to make a choice like this.
Winner: Lovato Sorry, Diamond Dave — Demi's defiant battle cry soars above.
2 of 10
''Monster'' Paramore (2011) vs. Kanye West (2010)
The titular beasts in Paramore's guitar-fueled growler may or may not be the group's departed band members; Kanye is merely trying to slay the demons that nest in his own cerebrum on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy's cornerstone posse track.
Winner: West Guest star Nicki Minaj stomps her verse like Godzilla over Tokyo.
3 of 10
''Smile'' Avril Lavigne (2011) vs. Lily Allen (2006)
Avril is smiling because she's finally found her soul mate — he's ''f---ing crazy rock & roll'' and, apparently, slips roofies in her drinks. Romance! Lily is smiling because her cheating ex wants her back, and she's so over him.
Winner: Allen Lavigne's punchy snarl-pop comes close, but Allen wraps her schadenfreude in the sweetest island lilt.
4 of 10
''Tonight Tonight'' Hot Chelle Rae (2011) vs. The Smashing Pumpkins (1996)
Hot Chelle Rae aren't worried about the evening's festivities, casually tossing off this ambling sing-along (currently a top 10 Billboard hit) about maybe hitting up a party later. The Pumpkins, meanwhile, are too overwhelmed with orchestras and crucifixions to show up at some shindig.
Winner: Hot Chelle Rae If Billy Corgan had any hair, he would really need to let it down.
5 of 10
''Out of My Head'' Lupe Fiasco (2011) vs. Fastball (1998)
In a rare departure from the Sturm und Drang of his socially conscious spitting, Fiasco invites Trey Songz along for a seductive party-starter. At no point does he channel Elvis Costello's dewy-eyed croon, which is what wry Texas rockers Fastball do on their groovy love ballad.
Winner: Fastball Bow down, Lupe, to the power of the Hammond organ.
6 of 10
''Pieces of Me'' Ashlee Simpson (2004) vs. Ledisi (2011)
These ladies both want you to know that they contain multitudes: Ledisi says it with jazzy ''I am woman'' instructionals; Ashlee's just happy that her new guy loves her for all of her Sybil tendencies.
Winner: Simpson That killer pop-rock hook makes us miss mid-aughties A. Simp — ''punk'' phase, SNL lip-synch debacle, and all.
7 of 10
''So in Love'' OMD (1985) vs. Jill Scott (2011)
Though OMD's waterfall of weeping synths and Scott's backyard-barbecue jam share a title, their subjects deviate: Scott can't believe how smitten she is, while OMD are bleeding at the end of a doomed love affair.
Winner: OMD Heartbreak and falsetto always lead to triumph.
8 of 10
''Novacane'' Beck (1996) vs. Frank Ocean (2011)
The king of '90s pastiche buries his trash-can funk in kitschy bleep-bloops and a wall of feedback fuzz; the Odd Future crew's standout delivers bedroom R&B with a crisp, mentholated cool.
Winner: Ocean The man nearly out-Becks Beck with absurdist lyrical riffs on Coachella and Stanley Kubrick.
9 of 10
''Tomorrow'' Chris Young (2011) vs. Silverchair (1995)
Australia's teen-grunge exports never tell us what we're waiting for (or why they're calling us ''fat boy''), but on his country smash, the Nashville Star winner knows exactly what he wants: one more swoony roll in the hay before he heads on up the road.
Winner: Young He may be leaving you forever, but at least he's not mean about your weight.
10 of 10
''Good Life'' One Republic (2010) vs. Kanye West (2007)
The pop-rockers' Little Song That Could — it's the fourth single released from 2009's Waking Up, and only really impacted the charts in 2011 after several memorable placements on the big screen (Easy A, One Day) — is all airy aspirations to far-flung area codes (lots of London, plus ''Paris to China to Colorado''). Kanye's ''Good Life'' involves more domestic frequent-flier miles (''It feel like L.A., it feel like Miami / It feel like N.Y., summertime Chi'') and some naughty mile-high high jinks.
Winner: This one may be a draw. More than any others on this list, both seem to be saying pretty much the same thing: that being young, famous, and geographically mobile feels very nice, thank you. And it sounds good, too.