Monday, August 31, 2009

Top 20 Songs of the 2000s: Another Opinion

Everyone has their list of the top 20 songs of the decade whether they know it or not. And everyone uses different criteria to make that list. My process was to take my subjective favorite songs from the decade and then try to pick the objective best 20 of those. While I didn't have a hard rule, I made an effort to keep it one song per artist for a little more variety. Thus, this isn't a true top 20. Also, the order would probably change on any given day. I'm kind of surprised that some bands didn't make the cut (The Strokes, The Knife, McLusky), but they will all certainly appear on any future albums of the decade list. Anyway, enjoy.

20. "You Know You're Right" - Nirvana
Why: This might be cheating a bit because it was recorded in the '90s, but it's my favorite Nirvana studio song by far and, I think, their best. Listening to it makes me sad that we tragically didn't get to hear an album of this stuff.
Best Part: 0:57 - "Paaaaaaaaiiin!"

19. "Paper Tiger" - Spoon
Why: It's an odd song, to be sure, built on a few austere organ chords. But because it is odd, it stands out on Kill the Moonlight and becomes that great album's heart.
Best part: 2:43 - "I will be there with you when you turn out the light."

18. "Emily Kane" - Art Brut
Why: It's a perfect punk-pop song. Not pop-punk. That shit sucks.
Best Part: The last, fist pumping minute.

17. "PDA" - Interpol
Why: I'm pretty sure I have Turn on the Bright Lights to thank for getting me into anything British from the '80s. It's a very big thanks. "PDA" is, by a nose, my favorite song from that album.
Best Part: 3:55 to the end. It's pretty.

16. "Toxicity" - System of a Down
Why: It perfectly straddles the line between rock and metal and is a killer song in either genre.
Best Part: 3:02 - When Tankian's incredible voice comes back for an encore.

15. "Kissing the Beehive" - Wolf Parade
Why: It's long, it's weird, it has some uncomfortable time signatures, and it has distinct parts, but it's probably the high point of Wolf Parade's lifespan, including anything they do from here on out.
Best Part: 10:27 - The reprise of the chanting first heard at the 3:36 mark.

14. "Hounds of Love" - The Futureheads
Why: Best cover ever.
Best Part: 2:24 - When the drums reset everything and the Futureheads begin to tear through to the end.

13. "The Grudge" - Tool
Why: Story time. I was in Myrtle Beach for post-exams when Lateralus came out. I went with two friends to buy it (along with REM's Reveal, and Weezer's Green Album) at some mall we found somewhere. One of these friends is a huge Tool fan and had been waiting for this album for, I don't know, six years or something. We got back to the house we were renting and went to separate rooms to listen to it on the Discmans (Discmen?) we brought for this one purpose. We must have started listening at about the same time because right after "The Grudge" ended on the copy I was listening to, my friend came into my room with the biggest fucking smile I have ever seen plastered on his face. I knew why.
Best Part: 6:58 - Maynard's scream.

12. "Empty Cans" - The Streets
Why: Spoiler alert: he finds his money. It was in the TV. In the TV. Yes, you're right, that doesn't make any sense. And it doesn't matter.
Best Part: 3:30 - When the piano kicks in. Might be my favorite three notes of any song I've ever heard.

11. "Kissing the Lipless" - The Shins
Why: Oh Inverted World was cute. This first song from its follow up was a statement announcing that The Shins were serious and were here to stay.
Best Part: 0:52 - When it, sort of shockingly, picks up.

10. "A Certain Romance" - Arctic Monkeys
Why: It's a really, really smart song disguised as NME hype-of-the-week. Alex Turner is good.
Best Part: 2:06 - "There's only music so that there's new ringtones"

9. "Postcards From Italy" - Beirut
Why: How did a teenager write this? God, this is heartbreaking.
Best Part: 1:08 - When the horns kick in.

8. "Leaf House" - Animal Collective
Why: Play it in the fall when it's raining. You'll see.
Best Part: 2:00 - The abrupt change from sleepy to uplifting.

7. "The Rat" - The Walkmen
Why: Needs no explanation.
Best Part: 2:30 - "When I used to go out I would know everyone that I saw / Now I go out alone if I go out at all"

6. "Time For Heroes" - The Libertines
Why: Every decade, there's a song that just sounds like England. This is the '00s version.
Best Part: 1:24 - "There's fewer more distressing sights than that of an / English man in a baseball cap".

5. "Reckoner" - Radiohead
Why: The best band of the decade's best song of the decade. This does not automatically make it the best song of the decade. Anyone using this logic (best player on best team) to vote for Mark Teixiera for AL MVP over Mauer is a fool and an asshole.
Best Part: The fade-out at the end.

4. "Goin' Against Your Mind" - Built to Spill
Why: It's just fucking epic.
Best Part: 5:30 - "Thought it was an alien / turned out to be just God."

3. "3rd Planet" - Modest Mouse
Why: While "Float On" is, understandably, the more popular song, "3rd Planet" is the band's best.
Best Part: 0:55 - "Your Heart felt good / it was dripping pitch and made of wood / and your hands and knees / felt cold and wet on the grass to me." One of my favorite lyrics ever.

2. "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)" - The Arcade Fire
Why: I've heard this song maybe a hundred times and it still gives me cold chills.
Best Part: 3:00 - When the tempo picks up again, this time for good.

1. "Hey Ya!" - Outkast
Why: Lost of great songs have a simplicity that makes me think "I could have done that if I knew how to play a guitar/use Protools/use a 4-track." Not this one. It is expert and mad, complicated, unique, and perfect.
Best Part: 2:46 - "Shake it like a Polaroid picture."

--Jim Powers

1 comment:

Alex said...

"Neighborhood #1" is such an amazing song. And I wonder if any other album has ever started off with "...And".

That Mauer comment made me laugh out loud twice. Once when reading it, and again when realizing how true of a statement that is.

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