Thursday, December 17, 2009

Best of the 2000s: Songs

The first in two-part Best Of series in this here blog will focus on the best songs of the decade. I took into account general greatness and also effect in popular culture and music. Stay tunes for the top albums of the 2000s.

1. "Crazy" - Gnarls Barkley

The biggest song of the decade was the one your mom and dentist liked too. Dark, paranoid, and catchy as hell, it was completely unavoidable. Danger Mouse's spacious production left a lot room for Cee-Lo's haunting vocals to breathe. When the age of YouTube and the death of radio seemed to be a reality, in came this true worldwide hit, and with it the retro feeling of a song taking over the world. The Raconteurs, Nelly Furtado, and Ray LaMontagne are a few of the artists who have covered this song so far.

2. "Hey Ya!" - OutKast

Who would have thought that a solo Andre 3000 song would be one of the best songs of the decade? Especially considering that it's not a hip-hop tune, but an electro pop nugget. The bubblegum chorus was inescapable even before the video came out. After seeing the eight Andres and the jockey-looking background vocalists, it absolutely exploded. And yes, the tune still sounds weird today.

3. "Paper Planes" - M.I.A.

Arguably the best production in a hip-hop song this belonged to M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes." Yet it was her unification of production to content that elevated the song to its current status. The tribulations of the hustler, trying to make a living when odds have been stacked against, is not only the theme of the tune, but of masses trying to persist. Not only bangin' and dope, but significant too.

4. "Seven Nation Army" - The White Stripes

Delta blues via Detroit lo-fi. Wailing slides and thunderous percussion. Jack and Meg White. "Seven Nation Army" is heavy with a purpose, it rocks with rhythm and Jack's E-String lick, and with the most memorable riff of the decade. If you wanted to melt your face with aggressive, stratosphere reaching guitar work, you could do worse than picking this tune.

5. "B.O.B." - OutKast

What is this? Gospelfunk on electro hip-hop steroids? Yes, indeed. Andre 3000 and Big Boi rap about the end of times for contemporary humans without irony. When the choir comes in at the end singing of "Power music/electric revival," it is as much a prayer for hope as an acknowledgment of the song's greatness.

6. "A Milli" - Lil Wayne

The baddest man in the planet, freestyling his way to immortality, Lil Wayne takes this hot, menacing beat and creates a song about his awesomeness. Too many hilarious and surprising lyrical moments to highlight, but let's try: "Tell the coppers hahahaha/you can't catch 'em;" "Look at that bastard Weezy/he's a beast, he's a dog/he's a motherfucking problem/OK you're a goon/but what's a goon to a goblin?"

7. "How To Disappear Completely" - Radiohead

"That there, that's not me," Thom Yorke begins singing. It's not a portrait of invisibility, but a confession of alienation and loss of identity. The song's atmospherics allow the listener to imagine and actually observe the evaporation of the narrator. It's an exquisite song, and one of the very best Radiohead have composed.

8. "Electric Feel" - MGMT
9. "Reptilia" - The Strokes
10. "Stan" - Eminem
11. "Shakey Dog" - Ghostface Killah
12. "Idioteque" - Radiohead
13. "Crazy In Love" - Beyonce
14. "99 Problems" - Jay-Z
15. "Ms. Jackson" - OutKast
16. "Taper Jean Girl" - Kings of Leon
17. "Stronger" - Kanye West
18. "Last Nite" - The Strokes
19. "Lay Low" - My Morning Jacket
20. "Hot Night" - Meshell Ndegeocello

(Photo credit: Bao Nguyen)

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