Unrescuable Schizo feature: Check out our FAVORITE 30 SONGS OF THE 2000S.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My favorite 30 songs of the 2000s

Some of these are guilty pleasures. Some are bona fide classics. They are my favorite 30 songs of the past decade.

These may not necessarily be the best songs of the past 10 years – just the ones I enjoyed the most. Feel free to suggest your favorites.

Click the "YouTube" link after each blurb to see the music video in a new window.

Who needs love when you have music? Brazil's Cansei de Ser Sexy produced a classic with this ode to music itself. "Music is my boyfriend," singer Lovefoxxx screams. The song is too good for me to care that they sold it to an iPod ad. YouTube

AFI conveniently came along at a time when I started wearing a lot of black and going to goth night. "The Leaving Song Pt. II" is one of many fist-pumping anthems from this ever-evolving band. YouTube

"This song is not about John McCain," singer Matt Berninger made sure to point out when the National performed "Mr. November" at Lollapalooza 2008. Its real meaning is a bit cryptic - at songmeanings.net they suggest it's about conflict with the band's English record label. I enjoy the song because of the contrast between the mellow verses and the explosive, vulgar chorus. YouTube

Psych-pop band MGMT is the only act to place three songs in my top 30. And they only have one album to their credit. I can't wait to see what they come up with in the next decade. YouTube

"You liked me til you heard my shit on the radio," snaps Nelly Furtado on this underappreciated song from her debut album. She shares this blog's attitude that just because something is mainstream, that doesn't make it bad. I love the final fadeout chorus, where Nelly keeps repeating the part about staying true to herself. YouTube

While in college I went through a phase where I had just gotten high-speed internet access for the first time and I was just getting into techno, so I spent weeks downloading lots of music, most of which was forgettable. "One More Time" has stood the test of time. And you can't measure the cool factor of two French dudes in robot costumes. YouTube

Robert Smith and blink-182 are an unlikely pairing, but one that worked really well. This dark, depressing track was from blink's 2003 self-titled album, which was a shocking artistic step forward from their previous brand of music that was heavy on bathroom humor. Of course, they went and broke up shortly thereafter. YouTube

"First Day of my Life" is a love song that succeeds because of its simplicity. I love the lyric, "I'd rather be working for a paycheck than waiting to win the lottery." Great relationship advice! Stunning music video, as well.

There's no better proof that music is the universal language than the success of Sigur Ros. Usually, they sing in Icelandic. Sometimes, they sing in complete gibberish. It's always emotional, beautiful, and powerful. My favorite Sigur Ros song changes by the day, but one of the songs that best exemplifies their sound is "Glosoli," which slowly builds until it reaches a massive crescendo. YouTube

Junior and Senior recently decided to part ways, a tragic development for anyone interested in shaking his or her coconuts, but they left us with this gem. The music video featuring low-fi Atari-style graphics is my second-favorite of all-time, behind Johnny Cash's "Hurt." Oh yeah! YouTube

Those peppy Canadian kids in Tokyo Police Club delivered two minutes of delicious punk energy on "Cheer it On." Bonus points for putting the name of their band in the lyrics. YouTube

Antony's unusual voice is jarring at first but once you get used to it, it's just another beautiful instrument. "You Are My Sister" was his most commercially successful song. Boy George took some time off from being a trainwreck to contribute a nice vocal. YouTube

"No One's Gonna Love You" is just an incredibly sweet song. It's the indie rock "You Light Up My Life!" YouTube

"Nineteen" is one of those songs that makes me want to become a drummer, because of the crazy drum shit going on during the verses. The lyrics are equally disjointed, telling the tale of an apparent infatuation and then an apparent breakup, but wait, it's not really a breakup because they were never together! You figure it out. YouTube

It's surprising that only one emo-pop song made this list, given that the genre is my guilty pleasure. Metro Station's self-titled release had several catchy songs ("Control" and "Kelsey" are also recommended), but the best was the addictive "Shake It." That's Billy Ray Cyrus's stepson whispering the verses. I bet Miley's jealous she didn't make the list. YouTube

Okkervil River singer Will Sheff puts together intricately detailed stories that just happen to be set to music. "Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe" was one of his best. Life may be a bummer, but it can still be fun. YouTube

The first time I saw Matt and Kim was at Lollapalooza 2007 when they subbed for CSS, who had canceled. I was so devastated at missing CSS I ran off without listening to any of Matt and Kim's performance, and I immediately hated them by association. Two years later, they're my favorite band. Who could stay mad at the cutest indie pop duo in the world? Big ups to Williamsburg! YouTube

"Fidelity" instructs that the way to find love is to stop resisting and just go for it, consequences be damned. Don't worry that it might end up breaking your ha-ah-ah, ah-ah-ah, ah-ah-ah, ah-ah-ah-aart. YouTube

I was a latecomer to the Patrick Wolf bandwagon, first drawn in by “The Magic Position," but it was an earlier song, "A Boy Like Me," that I couldn't stop playing, thanks to its haunting electronic effects and ruminations on stereotypes of age and gender. YouTube

Sometimes the acoustic singer-songwriter thing bores me, but "Skinny Love" stands out because of the incredible passion of singer Justin Vernon. We can truly feel his pain. YouTube

No one could resist that Nintendo-ish keyboard. "Time to Pretend" is a cheeky song about living to excess and having fun. “Let’s make some music, make some money, find some models for wives,” Andrew VanWyngarden sings. “What else can we do – get jobs in offices and wake up for the morning commute?” The song made every poor sap stuck in a 9-to-5 job re-examine his life. (Or maybe it was just me.) YouTube

As you can probably tell by now, I’m a fan of silly pop music, and Architecture in Helsinki were one of the best bands of said genre. They released a bunch of cute songs - "Wishbone," "Maybe You Can Owe Me," "Heart it Races" - but "It'5" was the most pointless, the most silly, and the most fun. YouTube

The Dresden Dolls were my favorite band for much of the decade. "Delilah" isn’t as aggressive as most of their "Brechtian punk cabaret" songs - it’s a ballad about a troubled girl: "And you thought you could change the world by opening your legs/Well it isn't very hard/Try kicking them instead." Amanda Palmer’s words are gripping – someone should really name a blog after one of those lyrics. YouTube

This Austin duo has been accurately referred to as "part techno, part 70s glam rock, part futuristic meditational space odyssey." They placed two songs in my top 10, and they’re both so different. "Vibrate" is a dance song with weird electronic programming provided by cape-wearing drummer Thomas Ross Turner. Seeing the song performed live is quite an experience, thanks to the captivating dancing of Aaron Behrens. YouTube

How can you not love the Hold Steady? Craig Finn may be the most unlikely rock star ever. His lyrics are some of the most intelligent words you’ll ever hear in rock music, and his sing-speak delivery ensures we can understand every word. I love a bunch of Hold Steady songs, but "Massive Nights" is my favorite, as it reminds me of all the memorable nights I had going out on the South Side of Pittsburgh. YouTube

Ignore the haters and keep on getting your paper! I love Rihanna's soaring vocals, especially in the final bridge. T.I. does his part by providing several memorable lines: "Unhappy with the riches cause you're piss poor morally," "Whoever having problems with they record sales just holla to me," "Safe to say I paved the way for you cats to get paid today." The "Dragostea din tei" sample was an inspired touch that made the song epic. YouTube

One of the most unique tracks of the decade. The gunshots and cash registers never get old. It's one of those songs that makes you wonder, How did anyone even conceive of something like that? YouTube

It's hard to be patient in the iPod era. I often skip songs that don't excite me in the first 30 seconds. But "The Bleeding Heart Show" is a perfect case study for listening all the way through. It takes a long time to open up, and when it does, it reveals a glorious chorus and sweet "ooh ooh" and "hey la" harmonies that leave the listener wanting more. Somehow, this song ended up in commercials for the University of Phoenix, but that's cool - whatever gives the song more exposure is fine by me. YouTube

I don't know what it is about "Silver City," but from the moment I heard it I've been enchanted. If aliens want to take over the world, they should play this song and we'll be hypnotized and do whatever they ask. The spacey intro, the meandering keyboard bleeps and blips, the computerized vocals, the real vocals later on, and then more spacey-ness. This might be the one song I could listen to over and over and never get sick of it. YouTube

One critic described this song better than I could as “an irresistible slice of '70s disco porn groove overlaid with dreamy shimmering '80s panpipes synth notes.” Best moment: The anticipatory pauses just before each chorus, where you're waiting for the dramatic "Ooh girl!" "Electric Feel" is pretty much a perfect pop song. YouTube


BeckEye said...

You're so very indie. I only know, like, 12 of these songs!

The ratio started improving as we got into the higher numbers. I would put "The Bleeding Heart Show" above "Electric Feel," but they're both good songs.

BeckEye said...

Your list is so pretty, by the way. I love the pics.

I finally got my top 50 up. I guess you were kidding about how I needed to have "Blue (Da Ba Dee)" on it, since it didn't make YOUR list. :)