10 Years, 100 Songs: #180 – #161
Posted by Andrew Unterberger on May 22, 2009
#180. Queens of the Stone Age – “No One Knows” Not too many stone classics (no pun intended, surprisingly) in the QOTSA back-catalogue, but they provided mainstream hard rock a huge boon during the 00s by putting out solidly, reliably above-average radio hits for pretty much the entire decade. “No One Knows” gets the nod over “Little Sister,” “Go With the Flow” and the hugely underrated “Monsters in the Parasol” by virtue of being the biggest and the grooviest, and for the absolute hell its solo section put me through trying to get a grasp on the “Hard” difficulty level on the original Guitar Hero.
#179. The Fratellis – “Flathead“ I feel like the Fratellis still have some sort of greater potential to be living up to (one one side of the pond at least), but even if not, there are worse fates to be had than settling for immortality through iPod and Amstel Light commercials. Go Blackhawks, apparently.
#178. The Dropkick Murphys – “I’m Shipping Up to Boston“. Speaking of Go Blackhawks, note to professional sports teams: If You Are Not Playing In Boston, You Can Not Use This Song In Any Capacity. I don’t care if you grew up in Boston, I don’t care if your last name is Murphy, I don’t care if you just love the sound of bagpipes (accordian?)–this is absolutely a one-city song, and anyone else using it should be ashamed of themselves. You don’t see “I Love LA” getting played outside of the Staples Center, or, uh, Will Smith’s “Miami” getting played outside of Dolphins stadium.
#177. Bubba Sparxxx – “Ugly“ It should say something about Mr. Mathers that Bubs was probably about as close as the 00s got to producing a decent rival to Eminem’s otherwise completely unassailed throne as the Best White Rapper Alive. In retrospect, we were lucky to get the one cool song out of it (even if producer Timbaland had to end up ripping off his own song to make it possible).
#176. Against Me! – “Thrash Unreal“ Credit American Idiot for making arena rock credible again, I guess–I would never have imagined that Against Me! would’ve been capable of something this legitimately anthemic, at least not based on my unreasonable prejudices against them for having a name like Rise Against and for my cool friend in college being embarrassed to still be going to their live shows. “No mother ever dreams that her daughter’s gonna grow up to be a junkie / No mother ever dreams that her daughter’s gonna grow up to sleep alone” was one of the choruses of the decade.
#175. Death Cab for Cutie – “Transatlanticism” Death Cab for Cutie were always one song away from true greatness. Thing is, this was the one song–except that it was eight minutes long, and more importantly, was released before The O.C. was around to properly take advantage of it. I can think of at least a dozezn huge scenes in the first season alone in which this song would have absolutely slaughtered. Instead, it had to make do with being used in a throwaway scene in Six Feet Under where Claire and her annoying friends tripped on mushrooms and made stupid art. “Soul Meets Body” was poor consolation.
#174. Amy Winehouse – “You Know I’m No Good“ The real-life drama, the tattoos, and the awful paparazzi photos will always dwarf the songs. But the songs were very good.
#173. The Klaxons – “Atlantis to Interzone” This is the way it always seems to be with UK hype bands and mini-movements these days–by the time you even hear about them in the States, you’re supposed to already be sick of them. Nu Rave, I’m still interested in what you have to offer, hit me up sometime.
#172. Weezer – “Island in the Sun“ The true halfway point between Weezer mks. 1 and 2–still catchy, cute and sunny, but with a slowly emerging undercurrent of complete mental breakdown. Hip hip.
#171. Natasha Bedingfield – “These Words” This was such a nice, sweet, clever little song that just makes it so tragic that Natasha refused to go gently into that good night, sticking around long enough to be responsible for two of the most deplorable songs of the decade (one of which is still among the primary reasons I’ll never get completely into The Hills). And the video! Ugh, what a waste.
#170. The Ting Tings – “Shut Up and Let Me Go” Best use of the word “Hey!” in 00s pop, hands down. And definitely one of the top two “Constantly Zooming Into Triangles” videos of the decade, to boot.
#168. Bloc Party – “I Still Remember“ The best gay love song of the decade not engineered by cynical Russian pop svengalis.
#167. Kevin Rudolf f/ Lil’ Wayne – “Let it Rock” The logical successor to the “Remember the Name” mantle of Song That Can (And Will) Be Used To Hype Up Any Athletic Competition Currently Available. Fun fact: Rudolf’s album In the City, despite being released well into the “Let it Rock” radio run, peaked at #94 on the charts, meaning that it sold approximately 52 copies. You mean that people thought that Lil’ Wayne might have actually been more of a reason for this song’s success???
#166. Chamillionaire f/ Krayzie Bone – “Ridin’” So many things to be thankful to this one for. One of the best choruses this decade to sing along to. The resurrection of the careers of both Krayzie Bone and Tiny Lister (without which, we might not have had that godawful scene in The Dark Knight). The endless debates over whether the fact that Cham and Krayzie both seem to admit to being legitimately inebriated behind the wheel during this song undercuts their anti-racial profiling message a little bit. And of course, another song still yet to come on this list.
#165. Lily Allen – “Smile” Lily’s smug dismisiveness gets closer to being completely intolerable with each passing Too Cool for School single. But this one went a long way towards justifying the hype, with its bouncy reggae beat making its (at the time, anyway) surprisingly chipper tale of heartbreak and revenge imminently palatable, and with Lily’s singing still seeming more cute than obnoxious. And again, kids, I can’t stress it enough–without the Sophie Muller video, I think Lil’ ends up meaning about as much to Yanks as Jamelia or Anastacia.
#164. Lady Gaga – “Poker Face“ Seeing the “Lovegame” video on TV last night confirmed what I’d already long suspected, that we are closer to the end of the Lady Gaga era than we are to the beginning (and if we aren’t, then God help us all). Still, if the first two singles were the totality of her contributions to pop music, the Lady Gaga experiment was still a relatively worthwhile one, and “Poker Face” was probably the better of the two. You can never say no to a good stutter-hook.
#163. Papa Roach – “Last Resort” And to think, back in the 80s, The Replacements’ “The Ledge” was all MTV had to get all up in arms over. I’d love to sing this in Rock Band sometime, but I still don’t think I’ve ever even heard this song all the way through without half the lyrics getting censored out.
#162. Cobra Starship – “Snakes on a Plane (Bring It!)” Like the movie that birthed it, a fascinating, unforgettable failure.
#161. Madvillain – “All Caps” 132 seconds of great one-liners and better flute hooks. If all underground hip-hop was half this much fun, the lame civil war its serious fans so often seem to be fighting would be a completely moot point.