10 Years, 100 Songs: #160 – #141
Posted by Andrew Unterberger on May 24, 2009
#160. DJ Casper / Mr. C the Slide Man – “Cha Cha Slide” Strange as it sounds, I’m almost disappointed that this song wasn’t more ubiquitous. Every decent decade needs one dance craze song to drive everyone under the age of 55 absolutely nuts, and this otherwise respectable entry never quite got to that territory.
#159. The Knife – “Heartbeats“ It’s probably not actually true, but I feel like all the hype and acclaim that the Knife got after “Heartbeats” was just a make-up call for how long it took people to realize how great this song actually was. That Jose Gonzales cover kinda sucked, by the way.
#158. Asher Roth – “I Love College“ Does Asher Roth really have to move on to the 2010s, or can he just stay in the 00s for the rest of his life?
#157. Simple Plan – “Perfect“ No song really personified the commercial peak of emo quite like this–all you have to hear is “Hey, Dad,” and you say to yourself “Ah yes, I understand where this song is going.” The rest of their career could not have been much more abhorrent, but the 00s absolutely needed this song to exist.
#156. Regina Spektor – “Us“ Another thing every decade needs–a nutty redhead to get behind a piano and pronounce vowels strangely. Somehow I don’t think she’s been used in an Apple ad yet, but give it time, I suppose. (For the record: There is a frighteningly large number of YouTube covers of this song.)
#155. DJ Sammy – “(We’re In) Heaven” The point at which America at large apparently decided that any electronic dance music that wasn’t a skittery, sped-up 80s cover was strictly for Europeans and homosexuals. Don’t understand why we couldn’t have had it both ways, really.
#154. The Shins – “New Slang“ This is such a nice little song (and video) that it makes me so upset that I ever had to hear The Shins (or hear about The Shins) beyond it. Oh, and it’s time to give Garden State another chance–unlikeable characters and this scene aside, it was actually quite good.
#153. Lupe Fiasco – “Kick, Push” I’m still not really sure what Lupe’s ceiling is–we might already have seen the best of him–but this was about as promising a debut single as could be found in hip-hop this year. That said, I can never get past the fact that the trumpets on this song sound ridiculously out of tune–as a former fourth trumpet in my middle-school jazz band, I can’t help but take minor umbrage.
#152. !!! – “Me and Giuliani Down By the Schoolyard (A True Story)“ Hard to overestimate just how much this song blew my mind back in 2003, but unlike some of its discopunk brethren, time has scraped away a good deal of its luster. Still, none of their class had the sheer passion and unbridled enthusiasm for dancing itself as !!!–in fact, they might have been better off bridling it a little–and “Me and Guiliani,” with its cowbell, handclaps/kneeslaps, organ, bad puns, questionably politics and peerless energy, was unquestionably their finest nine minutes. Props to Out Hud’s “It’s For You” while they’re in the building, as well.
#151. Jim Jones – “We Fly High” You only need one word to explain the presence of “We Fly High” on this list, and if you don’t know what it is, then my condolences on your being comatose for the great majority of 2006 and 2007.
#150. “Weird” Al Yankovic – “White & Nerdy“ It’s hard to decide what about “White & Nerdy” was more improbable–that it would give “Weird” Al Yankovic a top ten hit in the year 2006 (his first ever, by the way) or that it would be good enough that even Chamillionaire himself would kind of have to give it up for Yankovic’s rap skills.
#149. Animal Collective – “Who Could Win a Rabbit?“ If more freak folk ended up sounding like this–you know, both legitimately folky and legitimately freaky–it might not be my #1 “OK, guess I won’t be checking these guys out” music descriptor for this decade.
#148. Gnarls Barkley – “Crazy“ Yeah, the seven weeks this song spent at #2 on the charts were quite fun (FURTADO!!!!!!), as were all the goofy movie pics. But really, I can think of at least two other hit “Crazy”s that I still prefer.
#147. P.O.D. – “Boom“ The “nu metal-as-Jock Jam” thesis put forth by this song (and perhaps moreso, the Crystal Method remix) was an interesting one, and one I wish more of their contemporaries had done research into. Not to be confused with Saliva’s satisfactory and remarkably similar (but markedly inferior) “Click Click Boom.”
#146. M83 – “Run Into Flowers“ Nu-Gaze didn’t quite have the hype potential of Nu-Rave, but it likely produced exponentially greater amounts of quality music. Close call here with “Don’t Save Us for the Flames” (and its excellent Superpitcher remix), but “Flowers” gets the nod for starting the whole thing.
#145. Basement Jaxx – “Where’s Your Head At??” I dunno. Fun one.
#144. The Libertines – “Time for Heroes“ In the UK, the sound of youth revolution. Over here, the sound of American Wedding. Great song, regardless.
#143. TV on the Radio – “Wolf Like Me“ Man, if only more of the indie rock of this decade could sound this…apocalyptic? Always good to see a band with such promise end up living up to it unreservedly.
#142. Amerie – “One Thing” Calling it the “Poor Man’s ‘Crazy in Love'” would sound too much like an insult, so I guess “The Upper-Middle Class Man’s ‘Crazy in Love'” will have to suffice. And a lesson to be learned by aspiring hip-hop producers out there–when in doubt, sample The Meters.
#141. Spoon – “Everything Hits At Once” A half-decade later, their songcraft became so immaculate that it was almost creepy in its claustrophobic perfectionism. No other Spoon song would ever hurt, love, or show any such emotion like this again, and no song by anyone this decade had an opening line as good as “Don’t say a word / the last one’s still stinging.”