My Top 300 Songs of the 2000s – 130-121

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

130. Flaming Lips – Do You Realize?

Just a couple of days ago, I talked about how awesome this song is, but as fate would have it, the list compels me to elaborate.  In three-and-a-half glorious minutes, Wayne Coyne sums up our life….or at least it feels like he does.  With a simple question, he gives the most personal compliment to everyone listening, then continues to examine the beauty we take for granted – the sun, our friendships, our life.  It’s a sweet call for a simple enjoyment of who we are and what we’re doing, in this very moment of our fleeting lives.  Because it’s hard to make the good things last….

The Flaming Lips – Do You Realize?

129. The Postal Service – The District Sleeps Alone Tonight

Ben Gibbard’s finest recorded hour is Give Up, make no mistake.  An effervescent, bold production of electro-pop, the Postal Service’s only album is now a blueprint for some of the finest music of our times.  “The District….” is an amazing highlight, bubbling under until that final beat-heavy chorus as Gibbard proclaims with head hung, “I was the one worth leaving…”  How can you not love this music?

128. The Go! Team – We Just Won’t Be Defeated

When the Go! Team burst onto the scene with Thunder, Lightning, Strike, I didn’t know what to make of them.  Were they hip-hop?  Were they cheerleaders with a marching band accompaniment?  Was this actually Toni Basil?  Did it matter?  No.  Because sometimes the music tells you all you need to know – that this crew writes uber-catchy tunes that are parts rap, chamber pop, high school band, 70’s rock, and whatever else they feel like throwing in there.  In short: they rule.

127. Beck – Que Onda Guero

After the masterpiece that was Sea Change, it was remarkable to see Beck return to his unique brand of alt-rap/rock space-age funk.  And with the Spanglish hit “Que Onda Guero,” it turns out it was a banging breath of fresh air.  I love me some sad Beck, but quirky, happy Beck is also awesome, and it was good to see Mr. Hansen reminding us.

126. Surfer Blood – Swim (To Reach the End)

Lo-fi Weezer is how I would describe Surfer Blood, as I have before.  This, their breakthrough song, blew me away with how well it could have fit onto the Blue album, and not just because of similarity in topic to “Surf Wax America” or the band’s hang-ten name.  At the same time, though, this Florida band brings their own distorted punch to the mix, combining noise with sublime Caribbean-style guitar licks.  And then that power-chord chorus kicks in, and all hell breaks loose.

125. R. Kelly – Ignition (Remix)

The Teddy Pendergrass of our generation, Mr. Kelly combines the sex, swagger, and seductive stance to his smooth jams.  And like Teddy before him, Kells is known for not taking himself too seriously.  After all, when you’re making bank making music that makes babies, you just gotta smirk a little.  “Ignition” took the car-sex metaphor to an absurd level, while the remix brilliantly cranked up the bass for a Friday night party of epic proportions.  “It’s the freaking weekend,” indeed.

124. Nine Inch Nails – Capital G

In a time of plight and dismay with authority in America, Trent Reznor brought our anger to its simplest terms.  There’s no poetic symbolism here, no flower-child protest bullshit – would you expect such nonsense from this badass? With verses written in the voice of George Dubya and the chorus in the voice of a disenchanted American voter, Reznor delivered, with crescendo, the message we were all thinking: we’re fucked.

123. Les Claypool’s Frog Brigade – Buzzards of Green Hill

After a Primus hiatus, Claypool released Purple Onion, his first proper solo outing, and the results were mixed.  One of the finer, funkier tunes off the disc is “Buzzards of Green Hill,” a delightful stomper reminiscent of Primus classics.  This time around, however, Claypool utilizes his “Frog Brigade” and their array of instrumental talent.  The signature storytelling, the slapping liquid-bass, the sweet boogie – this is a Claypool career gem.

122. The Hold Steady – Party Pit

The Springsteen swagger of this Brooklyn band never grows old – “Party Pit” is a treat from Boys and Girls In America.  Craig Finn’s sing-speak vocals tell a plain-spoken American tale, completely relate-able to anyone who hears it.  Then that rousing repetition bursts through the fiery guitar solos and kicking piano line: “Gonna walk around and drink some more.”  Yes, yes we are.

121. Eminem – I’m Back

Marshall Mathers was the man, Eminem was the celebrity, but Slim Shady (RIP) was the interesting one – a violent, funny, witty alter-ego from a prodigal white rapper.  The first two Eminem albums are largely narrated by Slim, and thus they are his best.  “I’m Back,” featuring that trademark Dre production, showcases the slick, technical, offensive, and utterly hilarious wordplay Shady was best known for before he got all sentimental and started completely sucking.

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