Thursday, April 01, 2010

Songs: 2000-2010 (#1-10)

Number of months I spent working on this list: 9

Number of rap songs (counting the Streets but not M.I.A.): 146 (at least two of which - both Lil Wayne - are alleged freestyles)

Number of R&B songs (counting Prince): 27

Number of country songs (counting Taylor Swift and some "alt-country" but not Clem Snide, Bright Eyes, Jenny Lewis, Wussy, Drive-By Truckers, Marah, Old 97s or Wilco): 25

Number of songs not sung in English: 3 (I'm very disappointed in this, but most of the non-western music I listen to goes long and resists singling out individual tracks - hard to do that with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan say, though I feel like I should've noticed some Youssou N'Dour)

Number of female vocals (no samples or features): 183 (Not even a quarter of the list. Disappointing. 5 in the top 10 though. 23 in the top 100.)

Number of instrumentals (counting the Books and Burial but not Squarepusher or "A Glorious Dawn"): 6

Number of songs I realized I forgot and wrote down the day the first entry of this went live: 18

Number of cover songs: 9

Number of songs with the word "Oops" in the title: 3

Number of songs where I considering listing the Weird Al parody instead because it arguably destroys the original: 2 (Chamillionaire and Usher, though I'm serious, "White & Nerdy"'s probably better)

Biggest surprise omission: Beyonce solo scored three times, but as many of you probably noticed, I lost my taste for Destiny's Child. I tried to force myself to reconnect with most of the hits, but nothing post-"Say My Name" in 1999 (which would've made it) stuck. Not "Survivor," not "Lose My Breath," not even "Independent Women Part I." Freelance Hellraiser's genius novelty, a mash-up of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Bootylicious" tickled me more than all of them.

Biggest number of entries: Eminem with 12 entries counting D12. Other big winners included Liz Phair, Jay-Z, Wussy, Weezy, Ghostface, The Roots, The Mountain Goats, Kanye, Yo La Tengo and (who says he peaked with Illmatic?) Nas.

Biggest embarrassment: 6 Death Cab picks + 2 Postal Service = 8 fucking Ben Gibbard entries. I hate myself.

Biggest 180s: Declared "A Milli" unlistenable the first time I heard it. Deemed Burial too basic. Called "When You Were Young" something like the worst song of the year at the time. I'm pretty sure I called Arcade Fire "disco Bright Eyes ripoffs." People change.

Bassline of the decade: "The Bad Touch." You know it, I know it, stop complaining.

Number of Panda Bear songs: 1

Number of songs from High School Musical 2: 1

Number of lists I plan on making ever again: 0

Without further ado, because this shit took forever, my 800 favorite songs of the last decade. Here are #1-10:

10. Miley Cyrus - 7 Things (2008)

9. Lil' Wayne - A Milli (2008)

8. Be Your Own Pet - Food Fight (2008)

7. Ghostface Killah - The Champ (2006)

6. Sleater-Kinney - The Fox (2005)

5. Wussy – Jonah (2007)

4. Jay-Z – Takeover (2001)

3. The Cardigans - Give Me Your Eyes (2005)

2. Eminem - The Real Slim Shady (2000)

1. Jay-Z - 99 Problems (2003)

The Breakdown:

Year: # of entries (highest ranked song of year)

2000: 91 (#2 Eminem - The Real Slim Shady)
2001: 66 (#4 Jay-Z - Takeover)
2002: 86 (#17 The Mountain Goats - No Children)
2003: 58 (#1 Jay-Z - 99 Problems)
2004: 74 (#34 Nas feat. Olu Dara - Bridging the Gap)
2005: 84 (#3 The Cardigans - Give Me Your Eyes)
2006: 81 (#7 Ghostface Killah - The Champ)
2007: 101 (#5 Wussy - Jonah)
2008: 118 (#8 Be Your Own Pet - Food Fight)
2009: 40 (#36 R. Kelly – Echo)

Analysis: Looks snobbish but numbers don't lie. Exponential growth took place in 2007, the year I began doing rockcrit professionally. 2008, which some people consider a weak year especially for rap, was a juggernaut: three songs crashed the top 10 at the last minute. I assume the big dropoff in 2009 (when I started making this list) has more to do with the lack of hindsight than any quality difference. It's already picking up for me; when I voted in Pazz & Jop in December, I ranked R. Kelly's "Echo" #5 or so. In retrospect it certainly would've been my #1. Likewise, it took years for me to realize how often I played personal favorites like the Cardigans' "Give Me Your Eyes" or say, Yo La Tengo's "Today Is the Day," for pleasure. I'm surprised 2003 was the runt of the litter - I had 2004 pegged for sure. "Crazy in Love" (well, Beyonce's anyway) and "Seven Nation Army" never did move me much. I suppose with time I finally conceded what a big deal "Float On" and The College Dropout were. Animal Collective killed that perspective quick.

Thanks for reading.