Once again I've rounded up my 40 favorite songs of the year. This time I ranked them because let's face it, that's more fun.

Let's go over some ground rules: These are not necessarily the "best" songs of the year, just the ones that I liked the best. They didn't have to be released as singles, although many of them were. I limited myself to one song per artist, or else several of these acts would have made multiple appearances; you can probably figure out which ones by perusing my albums list coming at the end of the week.

In the meantime, I'll be posting 10 songs a day until revealing the top 10 on Thursday. Then I'll unveil my favorite albums list on Friday. Regular content-Lunch Break Links and What To Do Tonight-will resume in January.

The list's first installment and some comments are after the jump. I included as many videos or MP3s as I could find, so listen up! And enjoy.

Once again I've rounded up my 40 favorite songs of the year. This time I ranked them because let's face it, that's more fun.

Let's go over some ground rules: These are not necessarily the "best" songs of the year, just the ones that I liked the best. They didn't have to be released as singles, although many of them were. I limited myself to one song per artist, or else several of these acts would have made multiple appearances; you can probably figure out which ones by perusing my albums list coming at the end of the week.

In the meantime, I'll be posting 10 songs a day until revealing the top 10 on Thursday. Then I'll unveil my favorite albums list on Friday. Regular content—Lunch Break Links and What To Do Tonight—will resume in January.

The list's first installment and some comments are after the jump. I included as many videos or MP3s as I could find, so listen up! And enjoy.

40 Shop Boyz – “Party Like a Rock Star” It's no coincidence that the year I started reading Tom Breihan regularly is the year I started appreciating "ringtone rap." Even Soulja Boy has grown on me, and I know that's a terrible song. Or is it? I'm starting to think this kind of song is like an adult beverage; your first reaction is to spit it out, but over time you develop a taste for it. Of course, instead of developing a more sophisticated palette, songs like "Party Like a Rock Star" make you dumber. At least a hook like "T-t-t-totally dude!" leaves a dopey grin on your face while it kills your brain cells.

39 Modest Mouse – “Dashboard” I had forgotten Modest Mouse put out an album this year until I heard "Dashboard" on the radio the other day. I appreciate the reminder; even if We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank wasn't very memorable, this song's a keeper. Isaac Brock (my most painful interview of the year, by the way) delivered another shiny, poppy package to the airwaves, but while "Float On" was comfortable and easy, this one pulls out all the stops—powerful horns, zippy strings, a dance beat and those familiar unhinged vocals.

38 Ne-Yo – “Because of You” Ne-Yo had a huge year, and while he scored big hits through so-so duets with Fabolous and Rihanna, this instant R&B classic set the highest bar for the sex-obsessed singer. That silky-smooth piano/vocal line hooked me within seconds.

37 The Blow – “Parentheses” Making the love song fun again.

36 Bone Thugs-N-Harmony f. Akon – “I Tried” Way too much Akon on the radio this year, but if all his songs were this good, there'd be no such thing as too much. Plus it's great to hear Cleveland's finest switch hitters back at the plate.

35 UGK f. Outkast – “Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You)” This is one of those songs that many folks went wild for immediately, but it took me many months (and Pimp C's death) to finally appreciate. Well, I appreciate it now. I get all the hype about four of rap's greats at the top of their game, but what really sold me is that chorus and its glorious melody spiraling downward.

34 Dr. Dog – “My Old Ways” Innovation, nostalgia, whatever—who can front on a perfect pop song like this?

33 Wussy – “Rigor Mortis” Few bands have brought me more joy over the past two years than Cincinnati's Wussy. Columbus is blessed that Lisa Walker, Chuck Cleaver, Mark Messerly and Dawn Burman make so many trips up here to play their music, a no-nonsense breed of rock that nevertheless manages to incorporate saccharine melodies gone wild, noise freakouts and whatever else they please.

32 Jay-Z f. Pharrell – “Blue Magic” American Gangster (the movie) seemed great but didn't hold up to repeat viewings, and American Gangster (the album) was flawed but fun. Meanwhile, "Blue Magic" only grew more epic over time. I guess I'm not that sad the Neptunes aren't working with Clipse anymore as long as they keep making minimalist masterpieces like this and the best rappers in the game keep spitting crime sagas on them.

31 The White Stripes – “Icky Thump” The best White Stripes song in years, and one that tricked me into thinking I'd love the new album as much as I loved White Blood Cells. I don't, but at least I still have this mastodon of a rock song to stomp my feet to.

Check back tomorrow for Nos. 30-21.