Wednesday, October 28, 2009

200 Greatest Tracks of the Decade (150-101)

I'm still toying with the format of this project, hoping to find a middle ground between the information overload associated with reviewing every song in my Top 200, while still aspiring to keep it easy to read and streamlined. My last posting seemed a bit too list-like, and didn't speak to the merits of the songs or what made them so special to me. To bridge that gap, I'm going to do a little something for each song, be it a picture, a snippet of the lyrics, a link to the video, or just a simple synopsis. It's a bit more work, but I think it will do the songs justice. I still don't intend to actually rank the songs until we dive into the Top 100, so they remain in alphabetical order for the time being. Without further adieu:

Animal Collective-Chores (2007)

Animal Collective is guilty as charged for those who paint them as unfocused and out-of-control, but sometimes it works to great effect. Chores is one of those times. They sample babbling brooks, outer-space sizzles, animal chirps, but they none of them distract from Panda Bears Brian Wilson-esque vocal and a drumbeat that challenges you not to tap your toes.

Arctic Monkeys-Mardy Bum (2007)

My favorite track off their debut album, the song starts with an exasperated boyfriend lamenting an edgy girlfriend, reminiscing about simpler times, until it bursts forward into this fantastic frustrated yelp:

You say I don't care,
But of course I do! Yeah I clearly do!

Basement Jaxx-Where's Your Head At (2001)

Never been a huge Basement Jaxx song, but this song is impossible to resist. The music video is stuck in my head also, but for entirely different reasons (shudder)

Bat For Lashes-Daniel (2009)

Beautiful song about Danny (yes, the Danny from Karate Kid) with breathy Feist-like vocals by the gorgeous Natasha Khan, whom I can't resist posting a photo of.

The Big Pink-Dominos (2009)

Not the strongest advertisement for monogamy, but catchy nonetheless.

As soon as I love her it's been too long.
And I really love breaking your heart.
These silver apples will shine on I was wrong.
The hardest love has the coldest end.

These girls fall like dominos, dominos
These girls fall like dominos, dominos

Black Kids-I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You (2008)

Goofy lyrics, saxophone part, snarky subject matter. The indie perfect storm. Sounds good to me!

Bowerbirds-Olive Hearts (2008)

Absolutely gorgeous song featuring some of the best lyrics in recent memory:

And you will know from this
That it's all to start.
Our glasses clink,
And our plastic swords stab our olive hearts

The Bravery-An Honest Mistake (2005)

From the opening notes that bring to mind New Order's Blue Monday, to the awesome Rube-Golbergian music video, it never overstays its welcome.

Bright Eyes-First Day of My Life (2005)

Arguably Conor Oberst's biggest hit with Bright Eyes, from his underrated alt-country I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning. While Conor's warbling voice often brings a sad quality to his songs, this by-the-book love song goes from sappy to heartbreakingly earnest because of it. Music video makes me a bit misty too.

Broken Social Scene-Ibi Dreams Of Pavement (2005)

BSS immediately yank you into their songs with irrefutable guitar riffs that inevitably become engulfed in a wall of noise and something else entirely. Sometimes their songs can feel overfilled, but in this instance, it's really, really great.

Chad VanGaalen-Clinically Dead (2004)

Clinically he was dead,
But the motor inside his head was still working.
So they plugged him into a machine,
And let his brain dream 

The Cloud Room-Hey Now Now (2005)

A one-hit wonder certainly, but most bands spend their entire careers trying to capture something this awesome.

Coldplay-The Scientist (2002)

Arguably Coldplay's greatest song. Inarguably their best music video.

Dan Deacon-The Crystal Cat (2007)

This song sounds like cats in outer space. And then it turns into something that would probably turn any dance club into a riot.

Doves-Black and White Town (2005)

Great stuff from the supremely underrated Brits. Love what they do with echoes. Narrowly missed my favorite music videos of the decade also.

The Dream-Walkin On The Moon (Feat. Kanye West) (2009)

I'm sure you've heard this song. Hokey concept, stellar execution. Great verse from Kanye.

Elbow-Grounds for Divorce (2008)

Sounds like an angrier, older Chris Martin, features a chunky guitar lick for a chorus and hilarious  grammatically correct lines like the following:

There's a hole in my neighborhood, down which, of late, I cannot help but fall

Eminem-The Way I Am (2000)

Great stuff from Eminem, back when he was angry but less violent/disturbing. Some biting lyrics on the perils of celebrity.

Estelle - American Boy (feat. Kanye West) (2008)

Another song you probably know. Another song featuring Kanye West. Have you noticed a pattern? Kanye is awesome.

The Exploding Hearts-Modern Kicks (2003)

Retro-punks taken way too soon in a bus accident. You'd be hard-pressed to cram more into 3 minutes than these guys were able to do.

Feist-One Two Three Four (2008)

Yes its the song from the iPod commercial. While it borders on being too cutesy at times, Feist is irresistible.

Fleet Foxes-He Doesn't Know Why (2008)

Glorious song from the folk ensemble.

Hot Chip-Boys From School (2006)

No one really combines nifty little techno grooves, cymbals and a folky vocals like Hot Chip.

Interpol-Evil (2004)

More upbeat than typical Interpol fare, coupled with a playful video, it was refreshing proof that even the gloomy can have a little fun.

Justice- Stress (2007)

Herky-jerky strings roped into a techno-beat, steadily taken over by a deranged Jack-in-the-box. At least thats what it sounds like to me. If the sounds weren't scary enough, the controversial music video adds a whole new dimension:

Justin Timberlake-Cry Me a River (2002)

Yes you've heard this before. Yes you forgot all about it. Yes you love it. You're welcome.

Kanye West-Jesus Walks (2004)

The song that first convinced me that Kanye West was the real deal. Who else can rap about Jesus, quote bible verses, dealing cocaine and police interrogations all in the same breath? Not even Lil Wayne. Sorry Weezy.

Kate Nash-Foundations (2007)

Before you dismiss her as a Lily Allen britpop clone, give her a chance. Irresistable chorus, cheeky British lyrics, check it out.

The Killers-All These Things That I've Done (2004)

Not sure why The Killers get so much crap. They really write some stellar songs. Except that last album, that was complete shite. Very few people write catchier songs than Brandon Flowers. Also, this song is featured brilliantly in Southland Tales with Justin Timberlake no less!

Lil' Wayne-Let The Beat Build (2008)

Some of the best verses from THE BEST rapper alive. What more I can say.

Lily Allen-Ldn (2006)

The original Britpop sensation. And so, so, SO cute. Doesn't have the strongest voice, writes sappy lyrics, but my oh my, she has that certain je ne sais quoi in spades.

Los Campesinos!-You! Me! Dancing! (2007)

Another mind-blowing British band of youngsters that are able to make me feel unaccomplished and old at the same time.

M. Ward- I'll Be Yr Bird (2005)

M. Ward is one of the most reliable indie artists working today. Every other year he comes out with a brilliant collection of acoustic material that makes you wonder why you don't listen to him every day.

I'm not the tiger, he never had,
I'm not the first hit when you got it bad.
I'm not your second, I'm not your third but
I'll be your bird.

Justice\MGMT - Electric Feel (Justice Remix) (2008)

These days, if you want to launch your song into the strasosphere, the formula is as simple as getting Justice to remix it. This remix blows MGMT's version so far out of the water, that I can't bear listen to the original anymore. It's that good.

The National- Mr. November (2005)

Before The National got all depressed and introspective on Boxer, they could rock pretty hard. This song is proof.

The English are waiting
And I don't know what to do
In my best clothes

I'm the new blue blood,
I'm the great white hope

I won't fuck us over, I'm Mr. November
I'm Mr. November, I won't fuck us over

The Notwist-Gloomy Planets (2008)

Beautiful, beautiful stuff. Just a guitar and a dreamy voice. In the words of Levar Burton: but you don't have to take my word for it!

Peter Bjorn & John-Young Folks (2006)

This is that whistle-song that was popular a few years ago. Now it's stuck in your head all over again. Sorry!

Phoenix-1901 (2009)

A synth heavy gem and the best song to be featured in a Cadillac commercial, probably ever. If you've never heard of Phoenix, may god have mercy on your soul.

Radiohead-Myxomatosis (2003)

Another synth-heavy song, but this one is SCARY. Thom Yorke sings his standard cryptic, nonsensical lyrics in a lazy slur. The whole thing makes me very uneasy, but is completely captivating. Interesting fact: Myxomatosis is a disease affecting rabbits with localized skin tumors. All google images of this word were terrifying, so here is a cute bunny instead

The Roots-Seed 2.0 (2002)

A song I didn't completely understand until I looked up the lyrics a few years ago. Now I do and it's still awesome:

I push my seed in her push for life
It's gonna work because I'm pushin' it right
If Mary drops my baby girl tonight
I would name her Rock-N-Roll

The Shivers-Beauty (2004)

I don't know where I got this song. I'm not even sure that it's from this decade. But all I know is that I heard it this decade and it's absolutely gorgeous.
Note: not sure why the video with the song features Japanese underwear commercials. A thousand pardons.

Sigur Rós-Hoppipolla (2005)

One of my favorite songs from one of my favorite bands. I don't care what language you sing in, if you can write melodies and crescendos like this, you're a-ok in my book.

Spoon-I Turn My Camera On (2005)

Simple drum beat. Even simpler guitar chords. Amazing how Spoon can make something so catchy and spectacular with so little.

Stars-Your Ex-Lover Is Dead (2005)

One of my favorite break-up songs of the decade.

God, that was strange to see you again
Introduced by a friend of a friend
Smiled and said, "Yes, I think we've met before"
In that instant it started to pour

Captured a taxi despite all the rain
We drove in silence across Pont Champlain
And all of that time you thought I was sad
I was trying to remember your name

The Streets- Dry Your Eyes (2004)

Just when I think The Streets are gimmicky and sophomoric, he writes an amazing song like this. I can scarcely remember the disbelief, panic and every bit of body language described in such heartbreaking detail. I take it all back Mike Skinner.

She pulls away my arms are tightly clamped round her waist
Gently pushes me back as she looks at me straight
Turns around so she's now got her back to my face
Takes one step forward, looks back and then walks away

The Strokes-Someday (2001)

You know the Stokes. You know their formula. This is them doing what they do best. Bouncy guitars, catchy hooks, Casablancas singing too close to the microphone. All in a days work.

Sufjan Stevens-John Wayne Gacy, Jr (2005)

A haunting portait of the deranged serial killer from the indie community's foremost biographer. He endears you to him, only to flip the entire song on it's head. Bastard.

Tap Tap-100,000 Thoughts (2005)

I pored over most of Youtube to try and find a link to share this fantastic song with ya'll but alas, it doesn't exist in that medium. If my praises aren't enough for you to seek out this song, you'll be happy to know that they have a fan in DAVID BOWIE as well.

Update: I found a link to the song for your downloading pleasure. Do yourself a favor and click here to get it. Don't forget to thank me.

The Unicorns-Jellybones (2003)

My favorite song from the now defunct Unicorns. From a band called The Unicorns, a song entitled Jellybones, from an album with this artwork:

You can't say I didn't warn you.

Vampire Weekend-Oxford Comma (2007)

Vampire Weekend reeks of pretension. They use words like Dharamsala, United Nations and reference Lil' Jon for chrissake. Heck, watch the high-falutin' shmoes waltz around in a white suit in this Wes Anderson knock-off music video. Yet despite all of these reasons, I. LOVE. THEM. Note that this video was done in a single take.

The White Stripes-I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself (2003)

I'm just going to cut out the baloney and post this video because it features a scantily-clad Kate Moss. I will not apologize for being a man. It really is an awesome song though. I'm serious. Seriously.

Well that just about does it for this monstrous blog-post. Tune in next time when I'll countdown songs 100-76 and hopefully be a lot better at this!


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