Friday, November 20, 2009

The 100 best songs of the first decade of the 2000s (40-31)

(Click here for the whole list.)

40. The New Pornographers — "The Laws Have Changed"

It's always fun to hear both A.C. Newman and Neko Case singing lead in the same song.

39. Daniel Merriweather — "For Your Money"

Sean Lennon plays some nice guitar leads on this.

38. Faded Paper Figures — "North by North"

I love the male/female vocal harmonies in this song.

37. Bat for Lashes — "Daniel"

36. Mika — "Grace Kelly"

And here's a solo unplugged live performance.

35. Grizzly Bear — "Two Weeks"

34. Sara Bareilles— "Love Song"

Here a few of the main questions I've asked myself in selecting the songs:

1) Is it capable of giving me chills? (Or: does it emotionally affect me?)

2) Is it capable of getting stuck in my head?

3) Do I enjoy listening to the singer's voice?

4) Does the music have some sort of dramatic arc or development? (A bridge or other deviation from "verse/chorus/verse/chorus" is especially helpful.)

5) Is there a sense of "inevitability" — that is, does each note seem to lead naturally to the next?

A song where I'd answer "Yes" to all those questions is probably a good contender for the list. A song where I'd answer "No" to most of those questions probably won't be on the list.

So, if I have to choose between (1) a sappy, top-40-ish song that might not be too well respected, where the answer to all those questions is "Yes," or (2) a song with all the indie cred and critical acclaim in the world where the answer to some of the questions is "No," the first song will easily win out.

This song — which has a casually effervescent quality that reminds me of Paul McCartney — gets a "Yes" answer to all 5 questions.

33. Dntel — "(This Is) the Dream of Evan and Chan"

This song was created by the same lineup as The Postal Service.

Another blog, The Factual Opinion, ranked this the best song of the decade, saying:

The 2001 people imagined decades ago must have sounded like this--the electronic squall, the nearly overwhelming surge of drums, the drifting grasp on reality. ... 8 years on, “(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan” sounds like a future that we still haven't caught up with.
The Factual Opinion quotes the line, "He then played every song from 1993," and says, "I always imagine that he’s talking about hearing every song from 1993, from 'Whoomp (There It Is)' to 'Mr. Jones.'" Although that's what the line would seem to literally mean, I always imagine that he's talking about Kurt Cobain in the last full year of his life, and "every song from 1993" means every one of his songs from 1993 — in other words, In Utero, Nirvana's last studio album. That's why (I imagine) Ben Gibbard wittily accentuates the next line, which I hear as a reference to Cobain's famously conflicted feelings about his own success: "The crowd applauded as he curtsied bashfully."

32. Polydream — "Hollywood"

(Full disclosure: I'm friends with them.)

31. Camera Obscura — "Lloyd, I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken"

When I listen to Camera Obscura, I imagine a band from the early '60s traveling through time to the '00s and trying to fit in.


summer anne burton said...

I love, love, love, love that DNTEL song and what you've shared about it here. Thanks.

Your list is great, in general, but I've always listened to and enjoyed that song without contemplating the specifics of the lyrics much and I'm glad to have the opportunity to do so.