Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My 20 Favorite Songs of the
First Decade of the 2000s
(Part Two)

Loving the feedback I've been getting on Facebook and Twitter for the first half of the countdown - now if only I could get you guys to actually comment HERE...

But enough of my whining, let's finish up this countdown, shall we?

#10 - "Because I'm Awesome" by The Dollyrots (2007)
Kelly Ogden and her band The Dollyrots actually are awesome, and so is this song, which was the title cut from their second album (which also includes a killer cover of Melanie's "Brand New Key"). Getting national attention via airplay on Little Steven's Underground Garage, The Dollyrots have had their music turn up on TV shows ranging from CSI: NY to Ugly Betty. About time for a new album from them (pleasepleaseplease...)

#9 - "Lighten Up, Morrissey" by Sparks (2008)
A perfect example of what makes Sparks such an amazing band: an inherent sense of what a pop song should sound like coupled with an adamant refusal to write pop songs, and subject matter that no one else ever thought to tackle (here, the tribulations of dating a girl who is WAY too into the former Smiths singer) handled with some of the most brilliantly clever lyrics ever written. Recording since the early 1970s, Sparks show no signs of slowing down, thankfully. You can find this on last year's Exotic Creatures of the Deep album.

#8 - "Fell in Love with a Girl" by The White Stripes (2001)
Hard to believe this song is almost ten years old already! The White Stripes' brand of minimalistic lo-fi exhuberance is easy to spot, although the duo of Jack White and Meg White (who have claimed to be brother & sister, boyfriend & girlfriend, husband & wife, and divorced couple at various times throughout their career - they actually have been three of the four) have tried their hands at a number of genres. This, from White Blood Cells, is easily my favorite thing they ever did.

#7 - "Maneaters (Get Off the Road)" by Josie Cotton (2007)
Yep, the same Josie Cotton who had an underground hit back in the early 1980s with "Johnny, Are You Queer?" She's made something of a comeback this decade, releasing two albums. Most recent was Invasion of the B-Girls, from which comes this wonderful cover of the theme song from Herschell Gordon Lewis' 1968 cult classic She Devils on Wheels. Out-frickin'-standing!

#6 - "Too Bad About Your Girl" by The Donnas (2002)
It's easy to spot that these girls grew up listening to The Ramones, AC/DC and Kiss; it's also clear that they studied their Joan Jett records. Although they get lumped into the Punk and Alternative category, what The Donnas do is really just good ol' rawk 'n' roll with no apologies. Gotta love that! Annoyingly, they are also the band that I have had the most chances to see live but haven't yet seen - something always comes up! I will get to see them eventually; until then, their records, such as Spend the Night (where this song can be found), will have to do. Oh, and major props for the PJ Soles cameo in the clip!

Watch more Spend the Night videos on AOL Video

#5 - "Hot Night Crash" by Sahara Hotnights (2004)
If The Donnas represent the musical fruition of the seeds Joan Jett planted, then Sweden's Sahara Hotnights evolved directly from Suzi Quatro: a litle glammier, a little poppier, but every bit as tough. This song, which boasts one of the catchiest damn choruses of the decade, is one of those "any time it comes on the volume MUST be turned up" tunes. Pick up the Kiss and Tell album to hear more!

#4 - "Extraordinary Machine" by Fiona Apple (2002/2005)
First thing you'll notice here is that there are two years given for this song. This represents the three-year wait that we had to endure before Fiona Apple's label would officially release the Extraordinary Machine album. Early (and, I believe, superior) demo versions of the album were leaked online and a grassroots "Free Fiona" campaign helped to finally get the songs released in some form. What was officially released was, of course, something closer to the polished, shiny radio product that the label wanted. But you cannot hide pure talent, which is what Fiona is. Here's hoping we don't have to wait so long or fight so hard for the next record!

#3 - "Maps" by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2003)
Majestic, soaring, hypnotic..."Maps" exploded onto college and alternative radio playlists in 2003, and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs have never looked back. Led by the fascinatingly exotic Karen O, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs have released three albums of amazing music, ranging from tuneless shrieking to beautiful washes of melody, all of it demanding your attention in much the same way Karen herself does onstage. This, from their debut, Fever to Tell, remains their most awesome creation.

#2 - "Science Genius Girl" by Freezepop (2000)
It's hard to tell sometimes whether Bostonians Liz Enthusiasm, The Other Sean T. Drinkwater, and The Duke of Pannekoeken (collectively, Freezepop) are being serious or are doing a deadly-sharp parody of '80s synthpop. They've got the playbook down pat, and certainly are capable of writing great songs, but when those songs include odes to former Growing Pains star "Tracy Gold" and trendy '80s mall store "Chess King," you have to wonder how hard they're laughing while you're dancing. "Science Genius Girl," from their debut album Freezepop Forever, is a perfect example: catchy, undeniably danceable, but all done with a coy wink. Hmmm...

#1 - "Terminal Boredom" by The Cute Lepers (2008)
Ordering this list was difficult; picking the #1 song was easy. The Cute Lepers' Can't Stand Modern Music has seldom left my CD changer in the last year or so, and this song is the standout on that excellent album. No new ground being broken here - it's good ol' punk rock done the right way: power chords, a healthy dose of snarkiness, and chant-along lyrics about there ain't being nothin' to do. It's great from start to finish, a wonderful musical time machine. Perfect!

So there you have it - my picks for the Top 20 songs of the decade. I'm sure you have comments, or your own lists. Bring 'em on!

And, wherever or however you are celebrating New Year's Eve this year, please be safe, and have a happy, healthy, and joyous 2010!

1 comment:

  1. I just found this cool playlist online: