Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What are my songs of the decade?

Q: What's the latest mixtape?
A: "Best of 2000s" is the title, although it can also be called "Best Music of the Century to date."

Even though the decade is technically 2001-2010, we all know that's no fun.
I've been reading a ton of blogs that have posts titled "Best Ten (blank) of the Decade" and wanted in on the fun.

However, when I was compiling this list I realized that some years (like 2005 & 2008) were much more deep than others. Therefore, I've decided to make the list a tad bit simpler and limit one song per year plus two bonus entries for special circumstances.

My first thought when I was done with this list was my amazement that neither "Clocks" by Coldplay or "Hey Ya" by Outkast made the list. Both these songs were super huge in their time. Each was in heavy rotation by yours truly, but other songs just hit me a certain way that earned their inclusion.

SONG OF 2000:
"I've Seen It All" by Björk (featuring Thom Yorke)
Those that have been in my condo know that I have a framed movie poster for Dancer in the Dark. It was that 2000 film that deeply moved me, although most don't like it at all. This song is from that film, and the version from the album Selmasongs is a track that still holds weight for me today.

SONG OF 2001:
"Sing" by Travis
An upset pick. One that if I was making a top ten songs of the decade probably wouldn't have made it. I had to think back to who I was in 2001. For some reason I remembered my friend Paul coming over to me one night when I was studying in my favorite place in Marquette (the large cafeteria located in our Union). I was holed up in some table with my portable CD player and ungodly large headphones. He gave me Travis' first album and told me, "they're better than Coldplay." Soon after that handoff Travis released a new album - with this "Sing" song as their first single. This decade was easily the decade of friends finding music before me, and my thankfulness for their various recommendations... And with all those considerations I'm going with this track for this spot.

"Walk On" by U2
Before all the TV stations went back to "normal" after that Tuesday morning, MTV had made their own music video featuring clips of the aftermath to "Walk On." (The link above is to that music video, which is not able to be embedded, per request, here) However, the video I am able to embed is the version of the song u2 played to conclude the "Tribute to Heroes" telethon telecast. Note that Ringo is helping them out here as well. For me, this song will always be attached to those events.

SONG OF 2002:
"Star Guitar" by Chemical Brothers
I have to say this is my most favorite song of the past ten years. Every meaningful playlist I have made, just for me - not for mixtape distribution, has had this song as the 4th track (4th because that's where it lied on the Come With Us album). It is nearly a requirement, no necessity, that I listen to this song while commuting by train or a traveling on a plane. If I was a hoity-toity music critic I'd write a review that called it's orbital grooves and cascading beats transcendent. It may not be your style, but hey - this is not your list.

SONG OF 2003:
"Where I End And You Begin" by Radiohead
I loved this song so much, I used to type out all its lyrics to keep me from accepting reality at my first job out of school. Radiohead would win Band of the Decade for me, even though the album this track is from, Hail To The Thief, was the bands third best effort of the decade. (In Rainbows is my choice for best album of the decade) 2003 was spent in the worst job of my life. This song hit me perfectly thanks that that awful fact. Sorry "Clocks" and "Hey Ya" but my life was just too depressing to have those songs rescue me.

SONG OF 2004:
"Take Me Out" by Franz Ferdinand
I bought a laptop in 2004. My friend T-Bone downloaded iTunes without me asking. I didn't think I needed it at the time. Pretty soon I was making mixtapes for anyone and anybody regardless if they wanted them or not. And this year, nearly every damn CD I burned for somebody had this Franz Ferdinand song on it.

SONG OF 2005:
"E-Pro" by Beck
This was a great follow up guitar hook heavy rock track to follow up the Franz Ferdinand hit. It also correctly translates my upbeat mood as I had finally left the soul prison of my previous job and began the one that I am still at today.

"The Saints Are Coming" by Green Day and U2
This song was debuted at the Louisiana Superdome before the Saints' Monday Night Football game - the first game played there since Hurricane Katrina.

SONG OF 2006:
"Shampoo Suicide" by Broken Social Scene
I'm cheating here with the dates. This song was actually released in 2004. However, it was the 2006 film Half Nelson that introduced this song, and more importantly, this band to me. Finding BSS was the single greatest musical discovery for me this decade. This list would be inadequate without a track by them.

SONG OF 2007:
"Young Folks" by Peter Bjorn and John
If I was in college in 2007, I would've found a way to write a very long essay analyzing this song's lyrics. This is a rarity for me, one who barely can understand the words in his favorite songs. But this song has themes that resonate for me.

SONG OF 2008:
"Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Pt. 2" by My Morning Jacket
I first heard this song on a SXSW Preview podcast from NPR's All Songs Considered. It blew me away and propelled me to seek out more MMJ music.

SONG OF 2009:
"1901" by Phoenix
This song took an early lead and although other songs tried, none was able to top it... Also, I'm extremely confident that nothing in the next 30 days will be able to change that fact - especially when you consider that I'll be hearing this song live for a sanity-challenging thrid time later this month.

I hope this post can inspire some sort of debate or controversy. After all, that's basically the point of these kinds of lists. Which songs do you think were wrongly omitted? How much does one of these songs make your skin crawl?

Better yet - I hope you make your own list and share it with me.

1 comment:

  1. Okay Tom, you have forced me to comment on your blog, which I admit to checking about once a week. But no music blog can go without my 2 cents. I will put together a more well-thought post later, perhaps I'll create my very first blog, but first I'll comment and make a few suggestions.

    Your choice of In Rainbows as album of the decade is perfect.
    A few songs that I would consider for my decade list are:
    Beck, "Paper Tiger," from Sea Change (2002)-love the crescendo!
    Bon Iver, "Flume," from For Emma, Forever Ago (2008)
    Brand New, "Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't," from Deja Entendu (2003)-this is where I was in life.
    Bright Eyes, "First Day of My Life," from I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning (2005)-first song Kim and I attached to our early dating relationship.
    Coldplay, "Yellow," from Parachutes (2000)-I don't know why I love this song so much.

    This is too much fun. I will post more later.