My Top 300 Songs of the 2000s – 90-81

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

90. AC Newman – Drink to Me Babe Then

The head writer for the New Pornographers had an impressive first solo outing – The Slow Wonder combines the melodic superiority with a mellow, easygoing feel.  “Drink to Me Babe Then,” introduced to me by my dear friend Kim way back when we were still on college radio, is a gem and the highlight from the album.  Adding an acoustic sway to the sweet pop Newman is known for, the song easily peaks with a sweet whistling interlude.

89. Weezer – Burndt Jamb

I’ve long been a defender of Weezer’s first two albums post Pinkerton, especially the underrated, hard-rocking Maladroit.  After that one, I join the rest of the fray who have had enough of Rivers Cuomo destroying his rep one sloppy album at a time.  “Burndt Jamb” is a more laid-back track compared to the rest of Maladroit, seemingly the disc’s “Island In the Sun.”  But that doesn’t stop the instrumental chorus from transforming the tune into a head-banging, riffing rocker.

88. LCD Soundsystem – Someone Great

Sound of Silver is an unquestionable classic, a success on every level.  But while most attribute James Murphy’s lyrical candor peak to “All My Friends,” I’m more of a fan of “Someone Great,”  a beautiful, melodically subtle, slowly progressing body of work that is often overlooked when we talk about this great album.  Murphy’s blunt take on a strained relationship is instantly malleable to anyone’s dilemma – “I wish that we could talk about it/But then, that’s the problem.”

87. Toadies – Motivational

Hell Below, Stars Above was a triumphant return for these Texas rockers back in 2001, after their previous studio demos were shunned by a myopic major label.  “Motivational” features a guitar line undeniably regional, and then the chorus chants and yelps “let’s get your head around it,” until the screams slowly evolve into guttural, chaotic, indecipherable madness.  It fucking rocks.

86. The Strokes – What Ever Happened?

The opener to Room On Fire, the Strokes unfairly overlooked (and best) sophomore album, shows a matured, slick new garage rockers, maintaining their slacker status in the form of gurgling frontman Julian Casablancas, yet developing into brilliant pop craftsman.  A catchy start to a phenomenal album.

85. New Pornographers – Falling Through Your Clothes

This song was the first downtempo track from the New Porns I fell madly in love with.  The odd rhythm of the chorus strangely fits the repetition to a tee – I remember, my Freshmen year, lonely walking around Texas Tech campus in the twilight, this song on repeat on my iPod.  It made me feel better when I felt so far from home.

84. Outkast – Hey Ya!

What else could I say about this marvelous track that hasn’t already been said?  While Big Boi is the superior rapper, Andre proved long ago he had the pop star chops with this huge summer hit.  There are so many one-liners in this song that became quickly hackneyed and cliche, but it never hurts to shake it like a Polaroid picture just one more time. Lend me some sugar – I am your neighbor.

83. Kings of Leon – Taper Jean Girl

Today they are grandiose superstars that make disappointing albums (is there ANYTHING good about Come Around Sundown????), but we will always have the fantastic Aha Shake Heartbreak and this Southern pop stomper, which probably says “cunt” more times than I’ve ever heard in a single song.  Listen in stereo; this thing is mixed like a cut off of Revolver.

82. The Futureheads – Hounds of Love

Kate Bush ruled it the first go-around, but how could you resist this punchy, postpunk homage?  It’s true when they say the best covers are the ones when the artists make it their own, and “Hounds of Love” sounds like it was made for the Futureheads glorious three-part harmony, clanging guitars, Clash-like stomp, and British-inflected pining.

81. The Cool Kids – Black Mags

What other rap duo could make tricking out a bicycle sound way cooler than putting rims on your Escalade?  Chi-town’s Mikey Rock and Chuck Inglish, that’s who.  While we patiently wait for the long-overdue followup to The Bake Sale, give this minimally-produced, bass-heavy, comical, straight-up funky jam another spin.

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