Monday, September 7, 2009

TOP 100 SONGS OF THE 2000's (59-50)

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



Maybe - N*E*R*D

Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo's band project set out to sound like Rock, infused with elements of Hip-Hop/Rap, Funk, Electronic, Pop and all points in betwe
en. Maybe was an instant stand-out from the second album, Fly Or Die, featuring a surprisingly heartfelt direction, covering the degeneration of a relationship and its long-lasting effects. When I first heard it, I was instantly hooked, I then subsequently played it on repeat, exclusively, for roughly 7 months or so, putting it on every mix CD i burnt that year. Other tracks would be swapped and removed, better songs came and went, but Maybe was perennial. The decidedly simple instrumental identity of the song, with marching band drums, uncomplicated piano and a memorable, but unobtrusive guitar riff; helped put the focus on Pharrell's ambiguous faux-rap quasi sung vocals, and the meaning behind them.


The Hardest Button To Button - The White Stripes

Elephant is the one of the best albums from The White Stripes. There's at least four or five songs from it that I could easily replace with The Hardest Button To Button on this list, with one pretty obvious track coming to mind. But the reason why The Hardest Button To Button won out for me was basically because of the music video. Both songs are incredibly strong, and although while it could be quite successfully argued that Seven Nation Army was more iconic, the stop-motion video for The Hardest Button To Button stuck in my mind from first viewing. Directed by the same man who created the famous Lego-animation music video for Fell In Love With A Girl; Michael Gondry returned to direct The Hardest Button To Button, which featured no less than 80 identical Bass Drums and Fender Amps.


Such Great Heights - The Postal Service

The hugely successful collaboration between Death Cab For Cutie's Ben Gibbard and the guy nobody knows from Dntel spawned a heap of great tracks for those waiting for Transatlanticism's October release in 2003. Reflective of an electronic spin on the best years of Gibbard's musical career (rather than the rubbish ones of today), every track on The Postal Service's debut, Give Up, was well thought out and catchy. Yanking the heartstrings out of everyone's chests was the lead single, Such Great Heights, which was a message to a lover far from home that's being missed terribly by their significant other. One of the best moments of this song is unbearable headache the opening electronic blips give you when you listen to this track with quality headphones and the volume cranked up to 11.


If You Got The Money - Jamie T

Sounding like a strangely compelling mix of The Kooks and Bob Marley, Jamie T fell into the shortlived resurgence of a genre of indie music generally from South London called "Thamesbeat". If You Got The Money was the lead single from his impressive debut album, Panic Prevention. Featuring only an acoustic guitar and a reggae style rap combined with bubbly, carefree lyrics, it was essentially the most effortlessly feel-good song to come out of 2007. You just can't help but sing along, even if you can't keep up.


Paris - Friendly Fires

Paris was the second single from the 2008 eponymous debut LP by Friendly Fires. With Electro-Rock sensibilities, and covering the common desire to l
ive in one of the greatest culture capitals of the world; it's no wonder this song was a huge hit in the UK and around the world in slightly more indie circles. The simplicity of the idea behind the song, and the core lyrics of the song; "One day we're going to live in Paris, I promise, I'm on it." is its key to success, taking a concept that's so universally appealing and summing it up so succinctly ensured the promise, and the song itself, became instantly accessible. A highlight of the track is the inspiring and uplifting instrumental fade-out of coming in with about 50 seconds left of the song. It really creates this euphoric state of mind that drives home the message of the song that anything's possible.


California Waiting - Kings Of Leon

Contrary to the popular belief of their recently gained tweenage fanbase, Kings Of Leon had a successful music career and three albums previous to the massive release of Only By The Night. During this time they released a slew of standout tracks that really complimented the Alternative Guitar-Band movement co-led by The Strokes, TV On The Radio and similar
bands. California Waiting was one such track, with the idiosyncratic catchy southern vibe that is strangely absent from all their recent work. The sing-along chorus is the undeniable hook of this song, and it's clear pretty quickly that this is one of the best California-related songs to be released in the 2000's.


Mind's Eye - Wolfmother

Australian Classic Rock revivalists Wolfmother are one of tho
se bands that grow on you. For a very long time I really despised their sound, the endless and numerous guitar solos, and the cat-strangling vocals of Andrew Stockdale. As of late I have warmed up to them, but Mind's Eye was always a track that sounded like the very best of the band; what they could achieve if they went less Led Zeppelin and more Pink Floyd. Suitably epic, and ultimately unique within the rest of the self-titled debut album, the psychedelic keyboard solo two thirds in is a definite high-point of the song.


Daydreamin' - Lupe Fiasco

Sampling a cover of a cover of a cover, Daydreamin' is
one of Lupe Fiasco's most interesting works lyrically. Literally about a giant robot rampaging through a city, piloted by a daydreaming Lupe, and featuring the passionate, soulful vocals of Jill Scott, its a very memorable track. Reflective of Lupe's tendency to favour melody and lyrical structure over shameless self-promotion and ego massaging, Daydreamin', like most of Fiasco's work, really does stand out against the over-saturated Hip-Hop/Rap genre this decade.


Apply Some Pressure - Maxïmo Park

Fast paced indie rock from UK Post-Punk Revival b
and Maxïmo Park. One of the best tracks from their first, and best album, A Certain Trigger. The constant change in tempo, Paul Smith's iconic vocals and the angular guitar work creates an incredibly compelling package from start to finish.


Shadowland - Youth Group

Ok, I'm man enough to admit when I'm wrong (when there's no escaping it at least). I was positive that Youth Group were going to be huge. I really was. Not because of the initially interesting, but ultimately infuriating cover of Alphaville's Forever Young. But because of the main single from their second album; Shadowland. Great melody, a punchy, repeating drum line, strong vocals with abstract lyrics. The overall sound of the song had a sort of timeless quality that borrowed from retro teenage anthems of decades gone, the single cover followed suit, and about a hundred or so plays in it still hadn't lost its appeal. This song was the start of something, you can just feel it when you hear it, when you slowly learn the lyrics and feel the urge to sing along, by the way it makes you feel when you hear it on a lazy summer afternoon. While Forever Young was eternal in name only, Shadowland really feels like a link to long lost times of youth where days could last an age and limitless free-time was taken for granted. Youth Group found a way to bottle and mass produce nostalgia in song format.

Unfortunately it turns out Shadowland was the band's only encounter with greatness. And while it was always amazing live, the rest of their show was really pretty bland, the quality of Shadowland was more hurting than helping, really driving home the fact that they didn't have much else worth hearing. Apparently they are up to their fourth album now but you probably wouldn't even know it. It's a real shame that they couldn't keep a good thing going, but even though they understandably fade into obscurity, it would be a real shame if Shadowland disappeared forever with them.

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