Today I continue my ongoing feature showcasing my personal picks for the best songs of the past decade, posting ten songs at a time.
70. Band of Horses – Is There a Ghost
The first track off Cease to Begin is a great introduction to Band of Horses’ second disc – it’s a beautiful rising track with the simple, repeated lyrics “I could sleep” and “When I lived alone, is there a ghost in my house.” What follows is a near-flawless album that embodies the Southern spirit and indie charm this now-immensely popular group delivers.
69. Mr. Oizo – Flat Beat
The gimmick was the headbanging puppet commercials, making this track a huge early 00′s hit in the UK. As for the song itself, it’s pretty straightforward – the shuffling percussion, the wavering bass, and the plunking keyboard line give it no discernible melody. In fact, rhythm is the key to the aptly titled “Flat Beat,” an immediate electro classic.
68. The National – Fake Empire
The dark doom and gloom of the National burst into mainstream recognition in 2007 with the release of the seminal Boxer. “Fake Empire,” the first single and track from the album, is still probably the group’s most popular live track. The soft tension is built to a giant beautiful crescendo, featuring a horn section and banging piano lead, characteristic of what we’ve come to expect from this brilliant band.
67. One Wolf – Don’t Take It Personal
It’s probably still likely this is Daniel Markham’s most recognized tune, at least from One Wolf’s self-titled debut. An ode to a crowd of indifferent losers at a snobby bar, Markham isn’t subtle about how he feels about dumb frat boys and sorority girls who pay no attention to the band playing their hearts out: “I wanna stick an ice pick through your head/And if you see me laughing/Don’t take it personal.” As drunken patrons raise their glasses and shout along, they have no idea Markham is singing about them.
66. Does It Offend You Yeah? – Dawn of the Dead (Station X Remix)
The original became a 2009 modern rock radio hit, but this remix builds to a fast-break club smash, from the rise at the beginning to the chopped vocals throughout. Maintaining the catchy melody, the chorus is split up as an infectious hook, while repeated as a first verse; the original first verse, then, is transformed into a breakdown bridge. The electro pop cadence is switched into straight up dance floor madness.
65. Jimmy Eat World – Hear You Me
This song has a fascinating history – the phrase “hear you me” was repeatedly said by the legendary Mykel and Carli, the two founding members of the original Weezer fan club. The girls were arguably Weezer’s biggest and most dedicated fans, and were concert-goers for a number of similar bands, Jimmy Eat World included. Tragically, Mykel and Carli were killed in a car crash returning home from a Weezer show; this song first appeared on a tribute album for the girls, also featuring the awesome Weezer B-side “Mykel and Carli.” It then was re-mastered for JEW’s self-titled breakout album in 2001, and has since become a staple tribute for lost loved ones everywhere.
64. Radiohead – Everything In Its Right Place
Kid A‘s opening track is kind of a mindfuck, at least, it was for me when I first heard it back in November 2000. It sets the tone for the classic album – the 90′s were over, and so Radiohead made the transformation from their finest work, 1997′s OK Computer, to a creepy, electronic-based, and ultimately genius group delving out their creative peak’s finest offerings.
63. Best Fwends – Skate Or Live
When I saw Best Fwends live, they proceeded to break all of their equipment and props due to sheer madness (a thrown chair landed right on their iPod, rendering it completely useless). Still, the show was, if anything, a good time, especially when they played this, their greatest achievement, a pure nerd-dance bit of sweet sweet candy.
62. Vampire Weekend – A-Punk
For those who insist Vampire Weekend are just Paul Simon wannabes, try this track on for size – the prep school rockers incorporate the sounds from several third-world cultures, string instruments, and musical histories. For something so smart, it also feels slightly punk.
61. Jose Gonzalez – Teardrop
No one will deny the sheer eeriness of the original “Teardrop” by Massive Attack, which now serves as the creepy theme music for the Fox medical drama House, M.D. Like Tom Waits and Johnny Cash before him, however, Gonzalez has a way of making a cover his own, similar to his acoustic interpretation of the Knife’s “Heartbeats.” The foreboding melody is still there, but creepy all on its own in a new, different, stripped-down approach.