Danielle Brisebois — “Five Friends” (from Portable Life) — Five

Cute li’l Stephanie Bunker from All in the Family became a bad-ass rocker chick with a sensitive soul when she grew up, and — wouldn’t you know — America yawned. Brisebois has achieved substantial success as an in-demand songwriter and producer, having landed hits with the likes of Kelly Clarkson, Natasha Bedingfield, and Leona Lewis, but her own magnificent work — the best chunk of which had the fabulously ill-timed bad fortune to fall into that deep dearth between the end of Courtney Love’s reign at the top of the heap and the start of Pink’s — has woefully fallen by the wayside. With a dazzling, dynamic performance here, Miss Danielle reminds us that even though we can ultimately only count on ourselves in this world, the ability to take that hand that you’ve been counting with, interlock it with someone else’s, and hold on for dear life, is still pretty damned essential.

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