Friday, December 18, 2009

10 favorite songs of the decade

As the decade comes to close let's take a moment to look back on some of the best song from the first 10 years of the 21st century.

“Yellow” - Coldplay (2000)
With Radiohead moving away from the purer joys of Brit pop on their acclaimed “Kid A” a need was left that Coldplay filled. “Yellow” is a simple and honest love song and although it only hints at what would come from the band, it remains one of their most endearing songs.

“Thank You” - Dido (2001)
The song first appeared in 1998, but wasn't officially released as a single until 2001 after the song was sampled on Eminem's “Stan.” The song became a hit in its own right and for good reason: it is a sweet, unpretentious song about how being loved can make your day.

“Fell in Love With a Girl” - The White Stripes (2002)
Clocking in at less than two minutes, the song is an infectious blast of fast, furious, raw rock that heralded the mainstream arrival of The White Stripes, a duo that can rock harder than some full bands.

“Hey Ya” - OutKast (2003)
OutKast is one of the more inventive hip hop acts of the decade and “Hey Ya” is their pinnacle, an inordinately catchy track that masks some painful break up lyrics. Of course there's also that wonderful breakdown: shake it like Polaroid picture.

“Take Me Out” - Franz Ferdinand (2004)
The song starts out with a piercing repeated basic guitar riff before making one of the most fantastic transitions of the decade. “Take Me Out” morphs into a thumping dance track for the rock crowd with ambiguously dark lyrics.

“Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” - KT Tunstall (2005)
A deceptively simple song that with some well placed “woo hoos” and a catchy beat became one of the more surprisingly hits of 2005. Featuring lyrics that are smarter than the average pop song, it reminds that pop music doesn't need to be superficial.

“Crazy” - Gnarls Barkley (2006)
Gnarls Barkley, a collaboration between hip-hop artist Cee-Lo and producer Danger Mouse, produced one of the truly great songs of the decade, a massive crossover hit that sounds both classic and modern. It is a seemingly indestructible song. I've heard at least a dozen covers in varying style and the song always works.

“1234” - Feist (2007)
Feist bounced around the indie music scene for years, but, thanks to an assist by an iPod commercial, “1234” propelled her into the mainstream in a big way. With its childlike lyrics like “1, 2, 3, 4 tell me that you love me more” and cheery acoustic sound it is an undeniable feel-good song.

“A-Punk” - Vampire Weekend (2008)
Vampire Weekend blends “Graceland”-era Paul Simon with the the quirker tendencies of artists like Peter Gabriel, who they name check in another song, to create a sound not entirely their own, but one that is sorely lacking from radio. This is a quick, fun danceable track.

“1901” - Phoenix (2009)
This French band released a few albums this decade with moderate success, but this year's “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix” struck a cord. “1901” is a solid pop song that hooks you quick and holds on. It will make you bop your head and feel happy.

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