My Top 300 Songs of the 2000s – 180-171

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

180. Ok Go – Get Over It

Before they were Internet phenoms jumping around on treadmills, OK Go was a brilliant, quirky power pop group tearing up the mainstream rock radio airwaves.  “Get Over It,” the band’s debut single, is quite possibly the loudest, brashest, angriest thing they’ve ever done. And while they’ve maintained their knack for punchy, catchy songs, this track is a raucous introduction from their best album.

179. Jay Z – Izzo (H.O.V.A.)

The Blueprint is probably the most appropriately titled rap album of the last decade.  Jay stepped up his already-tight game and delivered the backbone for all relevant hip-hop that would follow.  “Izzo,” the most successful single off the seminal disc, is a boastful, instantly memorable….well, anthem. And with tight production from future rap star Kanye West, how could you not get ya damn hands up?

178. Daft Punk – Harder Better Faster Stronger

Everyone’s favorite robots would go on to use their trademark repetition gimmick for another massive hit, “Technologic,” but this track, along with a plethora of others on Discovery, took the vocal hook ability utilized on “Around the World” to a higher level.  The slow vocal build to a breakdown of snare pops and chopped up computerized singing is one of the finest moments in electronic music ever, undoubtedly.

177. Papa Roach – M-80 (Explosive Energy Movement)

While most of the nu-metal mainstays faded into obscurity after the kids became bored with the rap/rock aesthetic, a plethora of new bands emerged with a post-grunge sheen and a generic, slow, plodding, sad slew of singles.  Papa Roach took the higher road, abandoning rapping altogether and progressed into what appeared to be a feel-good rock band.  This track, the first song off of the sophomore slump Lovehatetragedy, is a perfect crash course in a P-Roach makeover.  Unfortunately, the album bombed alongside the likes of the dirge of Staind and Nickelback, and the group decided to backslide for success on their un-listenable third album.

176. Green Day – Minority

With Warning, Green Day were molding into the revered rock group they are today, littered with politics and bombastic arena rock tendencies.  After the unbridled success of “Good Riddance,” the trio played around with acoustic-based songwriting more and developed a pretty solid, overlooked star in their back catalog.  Still, “Minority” had enough of the driving punk that made the boys famous, and the first single soared to #1 on the Billboard Modern Rock Charts.  While the sound was softer and the cadence experimental, Billie Joe’s lyrics were still aggressive and sprawling, only this time, he was warming up to delivering a more ambitious message.

175. Jurassic 5 – Influence

Quality Control was pretty excellent, sending the alternative world into a still-flourishing frenzy for old-skool hip-hop sounds.  For many, “Influence,” with its sampled scatting and easy flow from the five-piece, was the introduction.  J5 would continue to deliver their throwback beats and memorable rhymes for two more albums before splitting a few years later, and we can still see the mark they made on indie rap today. Influence, indeed.

174. Osaka Popstar and the American Legends of Punk – Wicked World

Daniel Johnston is an amazing songwriter whose songs are usually better when covered by someone else.  I’ve heard nothing else from this fairly obscure group, but their rendition of “Wicked World” is a driving, happy, upbeat pop-punk ditty in stark contrast to Johnston’s vision and message of a world in a downward spiral into Hell.

173. R.E.M. – Imitation of Life

The 2000s were not kind to the Athens-based elder statesmen in comparison to the decades before.  Radio largely ignored their excellent work, a trend that unfortunately continues today.  “Imitation of Life,” the first single from 2001’s Reveal, was the beginning of a new era for the band, whose peak of publicity was behind them.  Still, their consistent talent remains.

172. Clipse – Wamp Wamp (What It Do) (featuring Slim Thug)

While Lord Willin‘ got their foot in the door, Hell Hath No Fury burst it wide open for coke-rap enthusiasts Clipse.  Screwston legend Slim Thug lends his voice to a Pharrell-produced beat and the duo doing what they do best, and like no other.

171. Minus the Bear – When We Escape

For better or worse, today, Minus the Bear have put their prog-rock tendencies largely aside for a softer, straightforward approach to melody.  We catch a glimpse of this in the spotty Planet of Ice, and prominently in “When We Escape,” one of the few highlights from this band’s hot-and-cold catalog.  A soft verse with a simple hook – “you must be an illusion” – builds into a loud rock instrumental breakdown for a wordless chorus.

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