Wednesday, September 16, 2009

TOP 100 SONGS OF THE 2000's (29-20)

The 2000's are really one of the best eras to be in musically
. Of course both the very wise and the very ignorant will argue against this statement, but no other point in time before this has it been both so easy to create music and share it with the world, and so possible to have it sound like whatever the hell takes your fancy.

I've always described the 2000's as an amalgamation of all of the best parts that have come before it. Whether it's fashion, design or music, all of it cuts and pastes from trends of the 60's, 70's, 80's and (thankfully least of all) the 90's. However due to the wonderful power of hindsight, we can trim off all those ugly fads that took the world by storm when we knew no better, and what we're left with is the best of the best.

And what better way to celebrate the versatility of this great time we live in (creatively at least), than to count down the top 100 songs of the 2000's.


100 - 90
89 - 80
79 - 70
69 - 60
59 - 50
49 - 40
39 - 30



You Only Live Once - The Strokes

With an opening bassline reminiscent of Queen and David Bowie's Under Pressure, You Only Live Once opened The Strokes' third album, First Impressions Of Earth, with a bang. Casablancas took a slightly different approach to the singing style with this one and it's a really nice change of pace from their previous work. Everything sounds so strongly produced and deliberate, every sound and instrument plays its part and the great lyrics tie it all together. Easily one of my favourite songs by The Strokes, It's one of those songs you never skip no matter how many times it comes on.


The Chronicles Of A Bohemian Teenager (Part Two) - Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly

Sam Duckworth, who for all intents and purposes is Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly; combines a strong acoustic focus with electronic backdrops to create some really interesting Indie-Pop that doesn't sound like much else out there. Made to be played on perfect days with cloudless skies, Chronicles has this deeply calming quality to it that really makes the song. Dealing with lost opportunities and past mistakes, the rapid delivery of the lyrics is an interesting touch, while the writing itself is well thought-out and introspective.


Get Free - The Vines

Get Free was the song that started it all. The raw emotio
n and barely contained bad behaviour of Craig Nicholls took the world by storm and ensured The Vines' place on every critic's "To Watch" list. There was something so abrasive and violent about the rough Garage Rock approach, yet it was so marketable, so appreciable, especially to the waves of teenagers who were too young for the angsty grunge movement of the 90's. The Vines were going to be huge. And they were; for a while. The first two albums, Highly Evolved and Winning Days; were incredibly good; taking strong influences from both the 60's and the 90's, splicing them together and creating some truly amazing songs, with an equal distribution of the very loud and surprisingly, the disarmingly peaceful.

But Nicholls' self-destructive tendencies and ongoing battle with Asperger Syndrome eventually tore the band apart, and some serious downtime was necessary. When they did eventually come back for their third album, Vision Valley, it was a much more restrained affair, not without its quality, but it felt like the soul of the band had been ripped out. With the forth album, Melodia, it was dishearteningly clear that The Vines weren't the same band that we heard and fell in love with six years prior. It's true that the most fleeting stars burn brightest, and for a while, The Vines were blindingly good.

I read in NME a few years ago a review of a Vision Valley single, and it really disgusted me actually. They basically went on to say they were completely wrong when they heralded The Vines as an amazing band destined for great things, then proceeded to "admit" that the first two albums weren't that good in the first place. Now while this is obviously indicative of the backtracking NME are notorious for, it really grinds my gears to see two of my favourite albums of the 2000's being dragged through the mud because it's cool to hate the band now due to the awful tragedy of mental illness.

It's clear their latest work isn't up to the quality of their first LPs, but that in no way cancels out that previous quality, those albums are as good today as they were back then. Buy them now.


Cut Here - The Cure

Cut Here is a great example of what makes The Cure great. So
unding both refreshingly new, yet appealingly retro, Cut Here would sound completely at home back in the 80's, but it blends perfectly into the 2000's thanks to the huge New-Wave revival that's taking place. Cut Here is a return to the great songwriting of the "In Between Days" period, and covers the always popular topic of love-lost and regret. The chorus may throw you at first, it certainly took a while to grow on me, but as an overall package this is one of the best songs by The Cure you will hear post-2000.


The Devil's Crayon - Wild Beasts

Wild Beasts have a very unique sound and approach that fra
nkly, you will either love, or hate. The Devil's Crayon is an Avant Garde masterpiece that has a strong sense of nostalgia, drawing forth memories you haven't even had yet and feeling all at once new and familiar. The song alternates vocal duties between the more accessible, though still confronting voice of Tom Fleming and the androgynous, high pitched shrieks of Hayden Thorpe. I can say with great confidence that you won't like this song based on one listen. But if given a chance, something will keep drawing you back to it, again and again, until you can recognise and appreciate all the nuances of its genius.


Sleepyhead - Passion Pit

Sleepyhead is the closest Passion Pit have come to the greatness they have been touted as. Every critic, professional or otherwise, will put Manners as one of the be
st albums of 2009, a move which has perplexed me from day one. There are at most, three standout songs from the self titled debut that are worth having, the rest all blend together into an annoying, campy, overly sentimental mush that rarely breaks rank to try something interesting or different. Sleepyhead is definitely the exception to the rule.

This is an example of Michael Angelakos' shrill vocal qualities perfectly executed, and used in the best way possible. The synthline that comes in after the first verse is in a word, genius and really adds something to the track you just can't find anywhere else on the album. The chimpmunk-skewed backing vocals, while initially reminiscent of an awful Hip-Hop track, really do combine into the overall cacophony very well and drive home the high energy output of the relatively short track. Sleepyhead has an indie credibility that isn't present in the rest of Passion Pit's songs, It's not overtly romantic and sappy (although it actually is) like the rest of their songs, and the electronic elements are far more at the forefront than most of their other work. Sleepyhead made me fall in love with what Passion Pit could have been, Manners brought my lofty expectations crashing down to earth.


Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine - The Killers

Hot Fuss was the best The Killers will ever get. Almost every track on it was of the highest quality, It wore its 80's influences on its sleeve and it didn't try to be or say anything more than it was. It was The Killers unencumbered by the burden and ego-warping
qualities of fame, it was simple well written songs with both mainstream appeal and Indie sentimentalities. Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine opens with a Morning Glory-esque helicopter flyover, the bass and synth enter, and then the impassioned vocal work of Brandon Flowers kicks in and you just know this is going to be an amazing song. The song itself deals with the murder of a girl and presumably the suspect's interrogation by the authorities. Of course, read into it deeper it could be a metaphor for the death of a relationship, rather than the death of an individual, and a rather interesting spin on it I must say. A great opener for a great album, Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine shows us what made The Killers so great in the first place.


Growing On Me - The Darkness

Channeling the awful/awesome Glam-Rock modus operandi of every rubbish band in the 70's and 80's, The Darkness create truly amazing anthems while taking the piss out of everything their sound stands for at the same time. It's this self referencing parody that makes it all the more surprising that Growing On Me is such a good song, I'll admit it took me a while to actually give it the chance it deserves, but once I did it found itself on high rotation in my music library. I
t's one of those songs you initially laugh at, perhaps expressing ironic jubilation in much the same way you would with a Cindi Lauper or Bon Jovi track, but at the same time, there's a quality to this, and many other songs by The Darkness, that pulls you in and leads to you genuinely loving it, singing along, and missing it when it's gone. There's something in that I think.


Someone Great - LCD Soundsystem

Someone Great is a track that really displays James Murphy's versat
ility in spades. Although the whole of his second album, Sound Of Silver, is an overall much more mature affair, Someone Great has a melancholy to it that isn't shared by any other song LCD Soundsystem has released so far. The simple synth and percussion work creates a moody atmospheric feel, but still retains this warmth that permeates throughout the song. For me, the song reminds me of early winter mornings, when the sun has only just come up and the chill is almost numbing, but there's a feeling of approaching change that is impossible to ignore. There's an interesting synergy there, as the song itself is about the surreal nothingness associated with sudden unexpected death. Nothing changes, but nothing feels the same. When people pass away, unimportant things are never altered but the way we see the world is distinctly different, and that in turn changes everything. It's that hollow emptiness that is conveyed so well in Someone Great. I still find it hard to imagine something this evocative and human coming from the man who created Daft Punk Is Playing At My House.


One More Time - Daft Punk

One More Time was the herald of a new era for Daft Punk. Gone were the House and Techno sounds that heavily featured in their debut album; Homework, replaced instead by Synth-Pop 70's and 80's tributes, Space Disco anthems and robotic auto-tuned vocal work. Matching their new sound, the duo were transformed into robots in a freak accident when a sampler exploded at 9:09am on the 9th of September 1999. What resulted is one of the most highly regarded Electronic albums released in the 2000's.

One More Time is a party track through and through, it utilises Daft Punk's unique skill of repetitious lyrics that surprisingly never get old, vocoded singing and a sonic identity that always reminded me of the space concert in Jetsons: The Movie. One More Time, and Discovery, are examples what Daft Punk should sound like all the time, instead of the mostly average Homework and the truly awful Human After All.

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