Today I continue my ongoing feature showcasing my personal picks for the best songs of the past decade, posting ten songs at a time.
120. Prodigy – Girls
Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned fared better across the Atlantic in Prodigy’s native England, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t blaring in my dingy yellow car during high school. Quite the opposite, in fact. “Girls” is a standout from a banging comeback from one of the 90′s most successful, riveting, and interesting electronic groups. And while nothing on the disc comes close to their previous work’s brilliance, and the crew would later shell out typical guitar-driven bore for shillings, this track gives us a glimpse into the progression that could have been.
119. Kelis – Milkshake
Today, we all know what a “milkshake” is, and how it “brings all the boys to the yard.” Before Kelis and the accompanying bootylicious music video, we had no idea. The songstress has come a long way from her lone radio hit (see this year’s stellar euro-dance disc Flesh Tone), but that slick quavering bass, sex-soaked euphemisms, and that random bell ding will forever remain a dance floor classic.
118. Editors – Bullets
A second-rate Interpol is usually the verdict given to Editors, but I would classify them more as a second-rate Idlewild. Their melodies have a more positive vibe than Carlos D’s former NY band, but still, nothing memorable here. Except for “Bullets.” The key here is repetition; verse, chorus, guitar line, thumping bass, everything here is looped for maximum effect, and it delivers the catchiest song Editors have ever penned.
117. Panda Bear – Comfy In Nautica
Animal Collective have since progressed from an experimental critical darling to one of the biggest bands in the indie rock world. Panda Bear, arguably the leader of the band, released his solo success Person Pitch in 2007, paving the way for AC to take over the world. “Comfy In Nautica,” the primary promotional track, shows where the group’s minimalist, reverb-filled, harmonic, Beach Boys-style sound comes into play. For a song that only builds to handclaps as the key percussion, it feels uplifting and explosive.
116. LCD Soundsystem – Daft Punk Is Playing At My House
Name-dropping the biggest house group in the world doesn’t hurt your chances for airplay, but James Mercer had no gimmick when he introduced the music world to his simplistic musical nature, steady dance beats, and stream-of-consciousness wit. For many, this was the first LCD track heard, a vivid description of how the most badass party in the world would go down, featuring a cowbell solo and a never-ending, feels-like-you’ve-heard-it-before bass line.
115. Of Montreal – Gronlandic Edit
Can we talk about the highlight of Kevin Barnes’ career? That would be Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer, an introspective lament on depression and religious confusion, all set to wild upbeat funk and beautiful, acid-laced pop. “Gronlandic Edit” is a mid-album party crasher, channeling Bootsy Collins swagger and overdubbed falsetto the likes of which the universe had never dreamed possible before.
114. The Hives – Two-Timing Touch and Broken Bones
Like most of the early ’00s “the” bands, the Hives trapped themselves in a generic-rock rut by their third album. But before that happened, they had two stellar efforts. Tyrannosaurus Hives, the second and my favorite, is a blistering half-hour of showman punk perfect for road trips, and this song is a definite ear-pleaser in a car stereo. Crank it.
113. Two Gallants – Nothing to You
The best I can interpret it, this song is a half and half insecure/realization, a slow build from a depressed commentary that “I’m nothing to you” to a stunning conclusion that this person our narrator longs for loathes herself behind a mask of false self-realization. At least that’s what it meant to me when I put it on a mix CD I made for my ex. Whatever. This song rules, if only for a clever coin of phrase for self-pleasure – “beating the clay.”
112. Dizzee Rascal – Fix Up, Look Sharp
Remember back when everyone thought grime was gonna be the next big American hip-hop trend? When everyone claimed Dizzee was gonna blow up huge and do duets with Alicia Keys and whathaveyou? Alas, in a perfect world…..but still, this Billy Squier-sampling jam is a grime classic, and a gold star from the awesome debut that was Boy In Da Corner.
111. Rage Against the Machine – Pistol Grip Pump
From the covers album that would prompt the band to break up because of its release (and eventually spawn the nonsense that was Audioslave), this Volume 10 cover represents most of Renegades: it’s the sound of an awesome band making a classic song their own. The Tom Morello licks and Tim Commorford bass slide are all over this heavy hitter about urban territory, spat by the furious Zach de la Rocha like he wrote the words himself. Just goes to show this crew had a lot left to offer.