My Top 300 Songs of the 2000s – 280-271

Today I continue my ongoing feature showcasing my personal picks for the best songs of the past decade, posting ten songs at a time.

280. Say Anything – Wow! I Can Get Sexual Too

At this point I feel I need to make a quick reminder (especially to my music snob friends) that a lot of the songs in this list are not really songs I listen to on a regular basis.  Most of them are here for nostalgic purposes and to give a perspective of my preference and its evolution over the past ten years.  Having stated that, I love all these songs; they all hold a special place in my….uh, music heart.  And, as they say, much like most countdowns, as the numbers get smaller, the hits get bigger.  So hang in there, hipsters!

That being said, this song is really dumb.  The lyrics are stupid, in a Bloodhound Gang kind of way (look for them later in the list, kids!), and this band really does nothing for me.  But when this song came out, I rocked this bitch like it was “Stairway to Heaven.”  And just try not to smile once while listening.  The guy’s voice is humorously absurd, much like the story he’s telling.

279. Korn – Beat It Upright

Korn’s best three albums are their first three: Korn, Life Is Peachy, and Follow the Leader.  All of which were released in the 90’s.  So, yeah, this decade, this band pretty much fell off the “success” radar.  And the quality of their worn-out sound began to wane, obviously.  But there were some shining moments for me on their albums in the 2000s.  They just weren’t consistent in their delivery.

Nowadays, Korn sounds best when they’re having fun (i.e. not producing over-zealous, over-produced, “serious” shit – we get it, Jonathan Davis, you’re still mad at your parents).  They need more songs like “Beat It Upright” – a straight-up simple crunchy rock song, old-fashioned Korn style.  A novel little send-up to sado-masochism is delivered, while the instruments create a ditty perfect for stomping in the mud circa Woodstock ’99.  ARRR YOU READY?!

278. Gorillaz – Dare

The mark of a great artist/band/project is its staying power over time.  I initially didn’t think Gorillaz were that great – they still aren’t one of my favorites.  However, their music, on every single album, took time for me to get used to.  I had to acquire the taste for Gorillaz; their music sounds accessible, but its dance-pop delivered uncharacteristically.  It’s like a guy in a Britpop band decided to make dance music all of a sudden (cough), and the result is unusual compared to the typical.  And that’s why Gorillaz have staying power, maybe even more than Blur.

This is best shown in “Dare” – a tune with a pretty straightforward beat, but its the high-pitched vocals and deceiving British hype-man that bring signature Gorillaz in the mix.  It takes a while to wrap your head around, but that’s why it’s so damn good.

277. OPM – El Capitan

What happened to these guys?  Wait, I know.  The inevitable.  They got too stoned to make any more music.  Yes, even I, the “Santeria”-hating, Sublime/Pepper-despising activist, had a little Cali-phase in high school.  I was hanging out with a skater punk named Eric, and we jammed OPM’s Menace to Sobriety with gusto.  Cuz, you know, it was what skaters listened to, brah.

It was my good buddy, Sheldon, however, that I teamed up with and learned every single word to this tribute to Captain Morgan, a beverage I had, at the time, never even tasted.  I un-knowingly rapped along to lines like “Heineken/shots of 151/and a bottle of what we call EL CAPITAN!” with no foreknowledge of what the hell 151 was.  Innocence?  Stupidity?  Probably.  Bored in a dry county during the prime drinking years of your life?  Definitely.  Say what you will, Sublime couldn’t have written this high school gem.

276. 311 – Come Original

I unintentionally put two SoCal songs together. Tragic.  However, while OPM had only one album I loved, I was, for a long while, a genuine 311 fan.  Sadly, their progression towards more Caribbean-style ballads and less punk/rap/rock fusion has forced me to abandon that title.  But I can safely say that these guys deliver a fun live show.  My first “date” was a 311 show with a girl I cared little about.  I just wanted someone to go with me to the show, and while I sang and danced, she stared like a clueless, calm Hindu cow.  Whatevs.

While the best work from this band was in the 90’s, “Come Original” has stood the test of time better than any other 311 song this decade, even though its lyrics are somewhat untrue.  There are many bands that sound like 311; they’re just the most popular.  But what a catchy little ditty from Soundsystem, possibly the band’s last “great” album, before the stale-ness started to set in.

275. Timbaland and Magoo – Indian Flute

This decade was, at least for pop and hip-hop, the decade of the producer.  The boys behind the beats stood out from behind the control board and became new celebrities.  The most prominent of these were Kanye and Timbaland.  And while the former came into his own as a rapper, the latter has relied on collaborations from established superstars (Timberlake, Furtado) to pave his way.  On his own, Timbaland only has a few minor hits, and his production innovation is wearing thin as of late.

But “Indian Flute” is solo Timbaland doing what he does best, before he hit it too big.  The guy never tries to be anything he’s not (a decent lyricist) and sticks to the basics: beats, bass, humor, and a killer flute line.  One of his best tracks ever, hands down.

274. Ludacris – Move Bitch

Atlanta and the Dirty South have taken over the hip-hop game, sometimes introducing the public to worthy newcomers, sometimes not.  Outkast and Ludacris remain the best products of ATL (and T.I. holds his own as well), the latter mixing his snide humor and wit with some of the fastest, most talented rhyming I’ve ever heard.  Even when Luda is on a terrible song, his verse makes it so much better (see “Lovers and Friends“), and he is a welcome relief to the dreck that mainstream rap has churned since Ja Rule showed up.

On “Move Bitch” Chris shows everyone up, including the inferior, un-incarcerated Mystikal.  Luda substitutes speed for enunciation to get his point across – get the fuck out of his way.  But his humor is intact – the charming thing about Ludacris is the ability to laugh at himself and his tough-acting peers in the genre.  “I’m doing a hundred on the high-way/So if you do the speed limit, get the fuck outta my way.”  And it’s all set alongside a pro-wrestling-ready repetitive chorus that was practically edited to silence on the radio.  Even when he’s threatening to throw ‘bows, Luda knows it’s all about having fun.

273. Skindred – Pressure

Mixing nu-metal with a Jamaican flavor was a novel idea, but one that ultimately wouldn’t pan out for these one-hit wonders.  I would’ve joined the fray and forgotten  completely about this band, but my sister fell in love with this song, claiming it pumped her up for basketball games.  And so it stuck – it is now a staple for our road trips.  But don’t ask; I still have no idea what this song is about or what the hell the guy is even saying other than “PRESHA!”  Just nod your head in rhythmic agreement – it’s hard not to, anyway.

272. Junior Senior – We R the Handclaps

An indie gimmick destined to fade away, Junior Senior consisted of one skinny straight guy (Junior) and one fat gay guy (Senior) making ABBA-channeling dance-pop, singing about picking up members of the opposite/same sex.  Always fun, always funny, and never relevant.  But that’s okay.  With album titles like D-D-Don’t Stop the Beat and Hey Hey My My Yo Yo, the guys were obviously getting the point across.  This album track, taken from the latter, was, other than “Stacy’s Mom,” the best song this last decade to feature the best natural instrument ever: the handclap.  And I’m a sucker for the handclap, y’all.  Listen and love.

271. R.E.M. – Horse to Water

Name another band that is 30 years old, still pumping out hits, and doesn’t suck.   There might be a few, but no one can top R.E.M.  Case in point: “Horse to Water” from Accelerate, the band’s latest album, marking a return-to-roots compilation for the group.  Much like the unforgettable “It’s the End of the World As We Know It,” Stipe, Mills, and the rest drive the point home.  It’s uptempo, it’s energetic, and it’s a welcome rocker from one of the best bands ever.  Every once in a while, it’s good to be reminded of what we still have around.

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