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Archive for the ‘10 Years 100 Songs (00s)’ Category

10 Years, 100 Songs: #10. “Stacked Chips for the Rainy Day…”

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on December 15, 2009

Over the final months of our fine decade, Intensities in Ten Suburbs will be sending the Naughty Oughties out in style with a series of essays devoted to the top 100 songs of the decade–the ones we will most remember as we look back fondly on this period of pop music years down the road. The archives can be found here. If you want to argue about the order, you can’t, because we’re not totally sure what the qualifications are either. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy.

I’ve written about this elsewhere, but the career trajectory of Rihanna in the Naughty Oughties was a singular one, and something of a sight to behold. Imagine if Eddy Grant had gone on to have such a fabulous pop career in the last eight years of the 80s that not only was “Electric Avenue” not seen as his only hit, but it wasn’t even one of the songs we really best associated with him. That was Rihanna this decade, whose now-forgotten 2005 single “Pon De Replay”–a dancehall smash kept from topping the charts only by Mariah Carey’s season-long reign at #1–seemed for all the world like it would be her only hit. Then the next summer, she came out with “S.O.S.,” a slippery Soft Cell-aping number that presaged the stomp-pop that would dominate the Top 40 for the next couple years, but it still seemed like it could have been something of a fluke–a two-hit wonder, like Inner Circle or Sophie B. Hawkins. Then “Umbrella” hit, and the fact became undeniable: Rihanna was here to stay, as one of the biggest stars of the decade.

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10 Years, 100 Songs: #11. “Inside You’re Ugly, Ugly Like Me”

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on December 12, 2009

Over the final months of our fine decade, Intensities in Ten Suburbs will be sending the Naughty Oughties out in style with a series of essays devoted to the top 100 songs of the decade–the ones we will most remember as we look back fondly on this period of pop music years down the road. The archives can be found here. If you want to argue about the order, you can’t, because we’re not totally sure what the qualifications are either. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy.

If you want to believe the history books, the Power Ballad probably died sometime around 1989, after the release of Warrant’s “Heaven” and Poison’s “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn.” For reasons I don’t quite understand, you never hear the term–about as worthwhile and useful a musical descriptor as any in pop nomenclature–applied to songs past that point in rock history. In all likelihood f I wanted to talk about the all-time great power ballads and threw songs like Temple of the Dog’s “Hunger Strike” or Oasis’s “Champagne Supernova” into the discussion, I’d get lots of rolled eyes and “well, yeah, but…” type comments. But in my opinion, if you have a striking guitar riff, a majestically chugging rhythm section, and/or especially a great chorus that makes fans want to shout along while waving lighters/cell phones in the air (the latter option arguably being the worst asepct of 21st-century technology), that to me is a power ballad, and every bit as worthy as the “Tuesday’s Gone”s and “Home Sweet Home”s of the world.

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10 Years, 100 Songs: #12. “Now Watch Me YOU…”

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on December 10, 2009

Over the final months of our fine decade, Intensities in Ten Suburbs will be sending the Naughty Oughties out in style with a series of essays devoted to the top 100 songs of the decade–the ones we will most remember as we look back fondly on this period of pop music years down the road. The archives can be found here. If you want to argue about the order, you can’t, because we’re not totally sure what the qualifications are either. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy.

Oh boy. It’s hard to know where to start with this one. I’ll say that I’m still a little disappointed with myself for not seeing this one coming at all. I downloaded the song off Soulseek when it first started climbing the pop charts, and my reaction was something to the effect of “Are you fucking serious? There’s no way this is ever gonna be a hit!” I should probably have had known pop music better than that by then–understood the power it had to make normative any of the strangest, most outlying shit, as long as it had the necessary momentum to get just a little bit off the ground on its own. If I needed reminding about that core principle of the top 40, “Crank Dat Soulja Boy” crammed the point down my throat enough on its way to the top of the charts to make sure that I would never be so dismissive towards a song like it again.

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10 Years, 100 Songs: #13. “I Was There…”

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on December 9, 2009

Over the final months of our fine decade, Intensities in Ten Suburbs will be sending the Naughty Oughties out in style with a series of essays devoted to the top 100 songs of the decade–the ones we will most remember as we look back fondly on this period of pop music years down the road. The archives can be found here. If you want to argue about the order, you can’t, because we’re not totally sure what the qualifications are either. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy.


(Only full-length version I can find on YouTube. Weird but kinda works.)

James Murphy was something of an unlikely underground rock hero for the Naughty Oughties. An irascible, pudgy thirty-something, Murphy made some sense as the producer / brainchild behind DFA Records, one of the most important record labels for both rock and dance in the 00s, but he made much less sense as the frontman for one of its signature acts.  Basically, he looked and acted like a rock critic–had the same fashion sense, the same anal tendencies, and as soon would become abundantly clear, the same insecurities. And all Blue Oyster Cult and Saint Etienne-type anomolies aside, critics are not supposed to be even competent music creators themselves, let alone artists that would so hit a nerve with their target audience that they would be considered definitive, even anthemic of their respective eras.

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10 Years, 100 Songs: #14. “And We Got it On Tonight…”

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on December 7, 2009

Over the final months of our fine decade, Intensities in Ten Suburbs will be sending the Naughty Oughties out in style with a series of essays devoted to the top 100 songs of the decade–the ones we will most remember as we look back fondly on this period of pop music years down the road. The archives can be found here. If you want to argue about the order, you can’t, because we’re not totally sure what the qualifications are either. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy.

The Diplomats were one of the more enjoyable musical and cultural sub-plots to follow in the Naughty Oughties. None of the collective’s biggest names (Cam’Ron, Juelz Santana, Jim Jones) could ever really be ranked as among the decade’s biggest stars–they were generally too grounded in the underground to max out on their crossover potential–but they were still a consistent presence in the mainstream, whether it was Juelz getting a verse on Chris Brown’s breakout #1 hit “Run It!,” Jones getting his one-word moment in the sun co-opted by everyone from Giants defenseive end Michael Strahan to WWE wrestler MVP, or Cam getting interviewed by Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes about the specific tenets of the Stop Snitchin’ philosophy. They even managed to indulge us with one true moment of pop bliss, too, when Cam and Juelz swapped late-night stories on 2002’s top-five hit “Hey Ma.”

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10 Years, 100 Songs: #15. “The World is About to Feel…”

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on December 1, 2009

Over the final months of our fine decade, Intensities in Ten Suburbs will be sending the Naughty Oughties out in style with a series of essays devoted to the top 100 songs of the decade–the ones we will most remember as we look back fondly on this period of pop music years down the road. The archives can be found here. If you want to argue about the order, you can’t, because we’re not totally sure what the qualifications are either. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy.

It’s pretty well established that it usually takes a little while for a decade to really start to find its identity musically. Often it takes something like two or three years of clearing away the leftovers from the previous decade, straining out all but a few true keepers to make room for the new. In the first couple years of the Naughty Oughties, hip-hop was finding its way, but still struggling a little under the burden of the late-90s, where Puff Daddy and Master P’s reign on top brought the genre’s mainstream to disturbing new extremes. Nelly, Ludacris, Missy, OutKast, Jay-Z and others were already doing their best to help establish the culture of 00s hip-hop, but it wasn’t until 2002 that the turnover was really complete. That was when The Clipse first hooked up with The Neptunes to make the world feel something that they never felt before.

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10 Years, 100 Songs: #16. “If I Could Fall Into the Sky…”

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on November 30, 2009

Over the final months of our fine decade, Intensities in Ten Suburbs will be sending the Naughty Oughties out in style with a series of essays devoted to the top 100 songs of the decade–the ones we will most remember as we look back fondly on this period of pop music years down the road. The archives can be found here. If you want to argue about the order, you can’t, because we’re not totally sure what the qualifications are either. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy.

I know you remember the scene. Even if you missed actually seeing the Naughty Oughties cinematic standard-bearer that was White Chicks–and if so you’re misisng out, on something, probably–you no doubt were inundated with the endless previews for it on network TV, so you probably saw the scene at least a dozen times. A car full of the titular group (two of which are actually Wayans Brothers in whiteface/drag, undercover as a couple of WASP heiresses for reasons long since lost to time) are listening to the radio when Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” comes on. The girls (who are actually Kim Kelly from Freaks and Geeks, Deb from Dexter and one of the first chicks to get killed in Valentine) declare it Their Jam, and start to sing along to it in perfect unison–minus, of course, the two Wayanses, who stammer awkwardly through the chorus. Then Valentine girl changes the channel to a BIG and 50 Cent duet (which I swear was actually “Get Low” in the previews, a much more logical choice) and the undercover black dudes start rapping along, much to the (initial) consternation of said White Chicks.

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10 Years, 100 Songs: #17. “Gonna Have You Naked By the End of This Song…”

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on November 24, 2009

Over the final months of our fine decade, Intensities in Ten Suburbs will be sending the Naughty Oughties out in style with a series of essays devoted to the top 100 songs of the decade–the ones we will most remember as we look back fondly on this period of pop music years down the road. The archives can be found here. If you want to argue about the order, you can’t, because we’re not totally sure what the qualifications are either. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy.

The funny thing about Justin Timberlake–well, not funny, but mildly notable–is that I don’t even remember him being a real standout member of N Sync back in the day. You’d see the monstrous success that followed in his solo career and think that he probably always seemed like he was biding his time in his boy band life, just humoring the other members and management until all the pieces were in place for him to make a clean break for a solo career, like Beyonce with Destiny’s Child. And maybe that was true if you were paying close attention, but to me, he was just one of the guys (well, one of the guys who happened to be dating Britney Spears, but still). To find out that he was going solo seemed like a matter of little consequence–boy bandery in general seemed on its way out, and Nick Carter’s solo album (released just a couple weeks before JT’s solo debut Justified) came out to predictably little fanfare. I don’t see how anyone could have known that Justin Timberlake was about to become Justin Timberlake.

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10 Years, 100 Songs: #18. “And Now There is This Distance…”

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on November 20, 2009

Over the final months of our fine decade, Intensities in Ten Suburbs will be sending the Naughty Oughties out in style with a series of essays devoted to the top 100 songs of the decade–the ones we will most remember as we look back fondly on this period of pop music years down the road. The archives can be found here. If you want to argue about the order, you can’t, because we’re not totally sure what the qualifications are either. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy.

Ever since I started getting back into basketball, there’s only one phrase that comes to mind whenever I think of Interpol: Draft bust. Interpol arrived on the scene in the summer of 2002 with a self-titled EP of three songs, which was greeted with a whole lot of Joy Division comparisons and a great deal more rapturous acclaim. The hype was tremendous, and it seemed mostly deserved, but even debut album Turn on the Bright Lights–which relied heavily on two of the songs from the EP–was maddeningly inconsistent, scattered with moments both beautiful and stupefying. Then like The Strokes, Interpol never really evolved particularly–but unlike the Strokes, they were never reliably good enough at any one thing to coast for the rest of the decade. Interpol ended the Naughty Oughties like Kwame Brown, Darius Miles, or any other of a number of preps-to-pros disappointments: Endless potential, flashes of brilliance, little to no development.

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10 Years, 100 Songs: #19. “Power, Music, Electric Revival”

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on November 18, 2009

Over the final months of our fine decade, Intensities in Ten Suburbs will be sending the Naughty Oughties out in style with a series of essays devoted to the top 100 songs of the decade–the ones we will most remember as we look back fondly on this period of pop music years down the road. The archives can be found here. If you want to argue about the order, you can’t, because we’re not totally sure what the qualifications are either. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy.

I don’t want to sound too negative in a series that should be mostly if not entirely about love, but I have to get it out of the way first and foremost: OutKast were probably the biggest disappointment of the Naughty Oughties. There was greatness there, no doubt–maybe too much of it, too soon. The frenzy surrounding the release of Speakerboxxx / The Love Below, hot off the juggernaut success of lead single “Hey Ya!,” was like nothing I can remember before. OutKast seemed prepared–destined, even–to become the first musical act since Nirvana (possibly Eminem) to assume the status of being both the most popular and critically beloved artist in the world, a feat only a handful of outfits have done in all of pop history. They seemed a perfect fit for the position–a roots-grounded, forward-thinking rap duo with grand aspirations who could appeal to just about all markets. The world was theirs for the taking. And they just couldn’t seal the deal.

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