Music: Best of the Aughts – Part I
Last week Pitchfork ranked its top 500 songs of the 2000s (I think “aughts” sounds so much cooler). Why they didn’t wait six months until the aughts are actually over, I don’t fully understand. Needless to say, there won’t be much movement at the top over the next few months – the number 1 song (spoiler warning) was Outkast’s “B.O.B.” (2000), and six more were from 2004 or before. Only Animal Collective’s “My Girls” was from 2009.
I spent countless hours reading through all 500, and even listened to most of them, thanks to the Lala player. My feelings towards Lala are quite mixed; it’s super convenient to be able to listen to a song instantly on the page (after logging in), but also super annoying to only hear it once. That’s where the beauty of YouTube needs to be leveraged.
So, some of these song rankings had me really excited or really riled up (though mostly the former), and I thought I’d share Biased Cut’s edit of the Pitchfork 500. And before anyone starts thinking, “oh great, here we go with another indie music ranking that doesn’t acknowledge the best and most successful mainstream songs”, hold up – Pitchfork’s list include Brittney, JT, Rihanna, Jay Z, Missy Elliott, Destiny’s Child, Kelly Clarkson, and Gwen Stefani. So eat that.
- 398. Chemical Brothers – “Star Guitar“: many people would consider this generic “techno”; and I guess they wouldn’t be that far off. But have an open mind here (and on a few more below). Check out the video here and tell me you don’t want to instantly put this song on your next workout mix, or cruise the highways in your make-believe Porsche. Off of 2001 album Come With Us.
- 331. Andrew Bird – “Fake Palindromes“: Well I guess I’m relieved to see him on the list, but this is hardly the song I would choose. A good one, to be sure, but why not include the dreamy guitars of “Anonanimal“off his latest album, Noble Beast? Or “Lull” from back in 2003? If you aren’t familiar with Andrew Bird, I recommend throwing on his MySpace page and letting it play through – it instantly soothes the highest level of stress or most painful headache.
- 271. Arcade Fire – “Intervention“: Arcade Fire has long been a fixture in the Pitchfork/indie music scene, and appropriately makes multiple appearances on the Pitchfork list, including the top 10. I choose “Intervention” because of the video and Win Butler’s escalating croons.
- 270. Damian Marley – “Welcome to Jamrock“: Of all of Bob Marley’s spawn, Damian seems to get it the most right. Ziggy was close, but couldn’t quite find it; Damian embraces the hip hop influences and has a much more raw sound. Great song of summer 2005.
- 255. At the Drive In – “One Armed Scissor“: These afro (as in the hairstyle, not music style) rockers were so volatile and combustible they broke up soon after this album. Critically acclaimed, yes, these guys had energy and passion that lacked any of the pretense and superficiality of most other hard rock groups.
- 254. Radiohead – “Reckoner“: For a song that ended up being my second favorite, only behind “Let Down“, I sure wish offered more than the $0.75 I paid per song on this album (recall they put it online and customers decided what they wanted to pay).
- 237. Cut Copy – “Out There On the Ice“: I’ve liked Cut Copy for a couple years, but as soon as In Ghost Colours came out, I instantly became one of their biggest fans. I’m thrilled to see two of their songs on this list (“Hearts On Fire” made it to 102). But, I think they’re missing two of the greatest not only of the album but the decade!?! How about “Feel the Love” and “Nobody Lost Nobody Found“? And. And. It must be said. They must be seen live. Light show, live mixing, solos, and lots of partying.
- 206. Bat For Lashes – “Daniel“: It’s a beautiful song, artfully done video, it’s about Daniel the karate kid, and Natasha Khan is hot. ‘Nuff said.
- 199. Portishead - “The Rip“: And, speaking of beautiful songs, Portishead masterfully makes use of Beth Gibbons’ gorgeous vocals. Playing to their script, the video is but a little creepy…
- 170. Guillemots - “Trains to Brazil“: Just a totally uplifting, fun tune… until you find out it’s about the Brazilian dude wrongfully killed by British police in the aftermath of the London Tube bombings.
- 166. Gui Boratto - “Beautiful Life“: Picking up on the beauty theme yet? Another electronic piece here, but this is one to just kick back and literally enjoy… simple yet euphoric. And if you like this, you’ll almost certainly enjoy his reprise to Beautiful Life in his second album, the song called “No Turning Back“. This Brazilian really knows how to make them stick.
- 148. Air France – “Collapsing At Your Doorstep“: Air France is going to round out this phase in the list of the dreamstate / ecstasy-influenced / pop electronica. But in fitting fashion – Air France is one of a few recent groups following in the sampling footsteps of The Avalanches (a group that includes label mates and Spanish upstarts Delorean). We’ll definitely be seeing more of this more sophisticated blend of old school loops and modern electronica synth. And even if not, this is catchy enough to stay with you for a very long time.
So that rounds out part one of our (Pitchfork) Top 500 Songs of the Aughts analysis. Stay tuned for the rest, coming soon. If I can stop actually listening and write instead.