Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Top 20 Songs of the 2000s

I mentioned in the last post that Pitchfork recently listed what they thought were the top 500 songs of the 2000s. It was a pretty good list, and as I was reading it I found myself thinking, "Yeah, that would be on mine," (or "Who the hell is Jackson And His Computer Band?"), and as this list was forming in my brain, I grabbed a pen and started to jot them down. Of the 30-35 that came to mind, 20 seemed to really stick out as songs that "define the decade." What does that mean? That means ten years from now they will all be lumped together on some terrible compilation album that can only be purchased by dialing some 1-800 number. No, actually, it really doesn't mean anything. These are just songs that I have a feeling I will remember. And these aren't necessarily my favorite songs of the decade, although some of them are, and the others I like very much (that was a prerequisite), but more like songs from 2000-2009 that I feel have the ability to pull numerous people into the wonderful world of music and are damn good. The number one song notwithstanding, there really is no significance to the order, it took approximately two minutes to put together and just seemed right at the time. This list is not comprehensive, and no less than five seconds after this is posted, some song will pop into my head that should have been on it, but I'll just save that for the comments. Feel free to do the same. Here we go:

20. "Stuck Between Stations" - The Hold Steady
19. "Wolf Like Me" - TV On The Radio
18. "The Funeral" - Band Of Horses
17. "Last Night" - The Strokes
16. "Crazy" - Gnarls Barkley
15. "99 Problems" - Jay-Z
14. "Clocks" - Coldplay
13. "All My Friends" - LCD Soundsystem
12. "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart" - Wilco
11. "The Rat" - The Walkmen
10. "Chicago" - Sufjan Stevens
9. "Mr. Brightside" - The Killers
8. "Such Great Heights" - The Postal Service
7. "Float On" - Modest Mouse
6. "Idioteque" - Radiohead
5. "Do You Realize??" - The Flaming Lips
4. "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)" - The Arcade Fire
3. "Paper Planes" - M.I.A.
2. "Hey Ya" - Outkast
1. "Fell In Love With A Girl" - The White Stripes

"Fell In Love With A Girl" is not the best White Stripes song from the past decade. "Seven Nation Army" probably is. In fact, it probably isn't even the best White Stripes song from White Blood Cells. "Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground" might be. But this song matters more and here's why. I remember watching the MTV Video Music Awards in 2002 back when the VMAs were a total train wreck, but also extremely watchable if not completely unavoidable. (I presume they are now just a train wreck.) The usual suspects were there: Eminem, Nelly, Avril Lavigne, etc. But because of a pretty cool lego-like animated video, so were the White Stripes. They seemed out of place, the song seemed out of place, and I loved it. Maybe it wasn't as monumental as my memory suggests, but at the time it seemed to hint that decent rock music was seeping back into the mainstream for the first time in about ten years. And if the other 19 songs are any indication, it is one of my earliest memories in what turned out to be a pretty good decade in music.

--Alex Crisafulli


Travis said...

Good list Alex-

Myself, I'm not exactly sure yet which songs "Define the decade", but my list of the best songs of the decade (which puts more weight on my personal favorites, though I do take into account the effect on the indie zeitgeist) looks like this:

5. 3rd Planet - Modest Mouse
4. Hey Ya! - Outkast
3. Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) - Arcade Fire
2. The Rat - The Walkmen
1. All My Friends - LCD Soundsystem

Alex said...

"New Slang" - The Shins

That was actually supposed to be on my list, not sure how I forgot about it.

Travis, I think "3rd Planet" is a better Modest Mouse song than "Float On," but I took the "song that made them huge" route.

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