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.


Blogger Ally Brown said...

nice work Dan. Except on the Ben Gibbard thing. And the Miley Cyrus. OK I'll stop there.

I wonder if the 2007/08 peak could be a matter of lag i.e. the songs you listened to then are fresh enough in your mind to remember them, and remember how it felt to discover them, and your taste hasn't changed too much since then (as opposed to songs from the earlier part of the decade, you were much younger when you discovered them so you're not so impressed by some of them now, and they're harder to remember too). And 2009 suffers because it's TOO recent, and we're always running a little bit behind... (well I am anyway). So if you kept updating this list every year (!) the peak might continue rolling 2-3 years behind you like a wave...?

3:28 AM, April 02, 2010  
Blogger dony coi said...

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3:40 AM, March 15, 2011  
Anonymous Veste abercrombie said...

You have done an excellent job of research and writing.

1:03 AM, November 28, 2011  

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