Top 20 Songs of the Decade-2000s!

Over the past few months I have slowly been performing the difficult task of compiling my lists of my favorite songs and albums for the entire decade.  The year 2000 found me just a couple of months into my freshman year of high school, and then the decade spanned the length of the rest of my high school and college years, as well as these past couple of years as a post-college “adult”.  Over that time my taste in music has changed almost as much as I have as a whole, going from listening to bands like Korn, Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit to the vast array that I am a fan of these days (a list that no longer includes Korn, I am proud to say).  So of the thousands of songs that I have enjoyed this decade, how does one choose the top 20?  There are a number of factors to consider about a song: newer songs have a feeling of freshness and are less likely to be ruined by radio overplay, whereas older songs offer familiarity and a sense of nostalgia.  Many songs for me are the ultimate zeitgeist, vividly recalling memories of dorm-life in college or my wacky high school phases.  Other songs feel timeless, as if I have always loved them and always will.  Some songs are special to me because they changed the way I thought about music or even life in general, whereas a large number from my top 20 list are included just because they make me want to fucking DANCE!  There may be some worthy songs that I have forgotten about over the course of ten years, and there are plenty of worthy songs that I am aware I have left off my list, but this is to the best of my knowledge my top 20 (actually kind of 25) songs of the 2000s.

Just missed the top 20:

Hustler-Simian Mobile Disco: I have heard a lot of remixes and various cuts of this songs, but my favorite is just the original off of “Attack Decay Sustain Release”.  A good dancey song and one of my favorite push-the-pace running songs.

Stronger-Kanye West: Not my favorite Kanye song, but he rode Daft Punk very mainstream which I enjoyed.

Boy From School (version from Live at KEXP vol. 3)-Hot Chip: I really love this song, but Hot Chip is already well represented up ahead, so there was no room in the top 20.

Hard to Concentrate-Red Hot Chili Peppers: Kind of a cheesy love song, but I have always really enjoyed it.  I feel like there is so much emotion behind Anthony Kiedis’ voice in this one.

The Past is a Grotesque Animal-Of Montreal: A full-blown emotional purge with an infectious background rhythm and UFO-like synths near the end.  It always feels so much shorter than 12 minutes.

20. Goin’ Against Your Mind-Built to Spill: This was probably my primary party anthem of summer 2006.  My two fondest memories of this song (1)Listening to this song with Mark and Nate while trying to pack up our stuff before going in to a Gorge concert, but being too drunk and excited and riled up by the music so we keep falling down and running into one another, and (2) Going with Nate out to Woodenville or someplace to hang out with some girls, but I had to leave early, so I tried to drive out of the apartment complex but got really lost in the parking lot and spend the entire 8:41 length of this song trying to escape the parking lot. (you would have to be there to understand, it was a very complicated apartment complex)  My main reason for putting this song #20 is because when I listen to this list later in descending order, I really want the drums at the start of this song to kick it off.

19. Float On-Modest Mouse: Not my favorite Modest Mouse song, hell, probably not one of my top 10 favorite Modest Mouse songs, but it is the song that made me a fan of the band so I need to give it some props.

18. The Funeral-Band of Horses: First time I ever heard this song was the same Gorge trip I mentioned at #20, Mark timed his playing of it so that the guitars kicked in right as we were getting on the freeway and it sounded pretty awesome and I think gave us good luck the rest of the trip.  Then on the way back he managed to time that same part so that the guitars kicked in just as a sunny Seattle came into view and we were heading on to the floating (520? 405? I never drive…) bridge.  We tried to recreate similar moments later on with this song, but they always ended in failure, but I think two epically memorable moments with one song is pretty darn good.

17. Hips Don’t Lie-Shakira (ft. Wyclef Jean): Because Enrique’s Bailamos narrowly misses out on the window of this countdown, I had to put something on the list with that latin dance flavor.  This song always gets me pumped up for partying.

16. House of Jealous Lovers-The Rapture: I love the cowbell!  Probably my favorite cowbell song of all-time.  

15. Lose Yourself-Eminem: Whether for a school presentation, a race, or even just an average day: the greatest “pump-up/time to get serious” song ever in my opinion.

14. Fireworks-Animal Collective: I think Mayme summed up pretty well why I really enjoy this song: it just makes me think of hanging around a campfire with a group of friends on a warm summer night.

13. Ms. Jackson-Outkast: I forgot about this song for a long time, but I love it.  I liked the music video with that singing owl, I love singing along to it, and it contains one my most memorable hip-hop lyrics, “You can plan a pretty picnic, but you can’t predict the weather…”

12. I Will Follow You Into the Dark-Death Cab For Cutie: The first time I ever heard this song was at a wedding and the couple chose this song as their “first dance” or whatever it is called.  I was very touched by the song and that moment, then they followed up that song with Johnny Cash’s cover of the the Beatles “In My Life”.  It all wraps up together as just one big beautiful night in my mind and so this song has always had a special place in my hard even though it sounds kind of cheesy now.

11. 12:51-The Strokes: I really love this song!  I think I like it more today than I ever did in the past.  It completely reminds me of my freshman year of college, which remains probably the most wild and fun year of my life, especially the line “We could go and get 40s, fuck going to that party”.  I love the handclaps, the early nintendo-esque background rhythm, and just the feeling of youth that comes with this song.

10. Ready for the Floor-Hot Chip: My #1 tune of 2008, and still rocking me steady in 2009.

9. Over and Over-Hot Chip: There is so much going on this song, from the wind-chimes at the beginning, to the non-Sesame Street-approved counting throughout, and the angry-bee-like noise in the background.  My favorite part though is the climax after the first counting session when the angry bee goes buzzing all over the place.  I have a fond memory of Mark and I driving around the beaches of his hometown in Laguna Beach doing all sorts of crazy goon-ball dancing with the windows down when the music hit the climax.

8. Ignition (Remix)-R. Kelly: Hot Damn!  What can I say about this song?  It is ridiculous but I absolutely love it.  If I had a nickel for every time in the past 7 years I have done a group sing-a-long to this song I would have at least…oh…maybe $1.40?

7. While You Were Sleeping-Elvis Perkins: One of my favorite songs I have ever seen performed live.  Elvis Perkins was opening for My Morning Jacket and they started off the set with this song.  Elvis started out on stage alone singing and playing his guitar surrounded by a variety of other instruments, and then about every minute a different member of the band would come on stage and start playing drums, bass, trombone, piano, etc.  It was pretty awesome and flowed very well.  This song also has some of my favorite lyrics ever.  

6. B.O.B.-Outkast: I have never been very good about learning song lyrics, but in high school there are three songs that I went to painstaking lengths to make sure that knew every single word: Colors of the Wind (from Pocohontas), Under the Sea (from the Little Mermaid) and B.O.B.  Let’s see how well I still remember it…”1,2,1,2,3 YEAH!  In-slum-national, underground, thunder pounds when I stomp the ground, WHOOP, like a million elephants with silver-backed oragutans, you can’t stop the train, who wants some, don’t come un-pre-pared, but when I leave there, better be a household name, weatherman tellin’ us it ain’t gonna rain…”   Believe me, I could go all the way through but I won’t bore you.  

5. Wolf Like Me-TV on the Radio: I love how fast this song moves, it always makes me want to dance or run fast or simply live my life to its fullest.

4. All My Friends-LCD Soundsystem: This song does two big things for me, it reminds me of traveling around Europe and it reminds me, whenever I get too serious about a career, or school, or the future to simply take a little time to enjoy youth and my life now.

3. Human After All/Together/One More Time (reprise)/Music Sounds Better With You (Alive 2007 encore)-Daft Punk: Wow…I don’t think I can ever properly explain what this song means to me.  The night of this concert, and especially the climax of this song, are some of the greatest moments of my life.  Imagine a night of special-brownie influenced dancing and hi-jinks leading up to this finale.  The lights go completely out so you can’t see anything except for the occasional camera flash or cell-phone light, and the expectation of the song is building and continuing to build, “TOGETHER………TOGETHER….TOGETHER”, you know something is coming but you aren’t entirely sure what, the pressure wells up inside of you, and then the climax hits with the “BUH NUH NUH NUH BA NA NA NUH” just before “One more time”, and a bright red outline lights up the suits of the two Daft Punk guys in their pyramid with a bright red “Daft Punk” behind them, and all of your expectation an curiosity is let out at once in a single burst of pure joy.  I still don’t think you really understand what it was like, but it is the closest thing that music can ever be to terrific sex, and was very likely even better than terrific sex.

2. Idioteque-Radiohead: The song that made me a fan of Radiohead back when I thought that I hated them.  Idioteque has possibly shaped my ability to appreciate various types of music more than any other single song in history.  It opened the door for me to begin to like more types of electronic music and helped shape me into the music fan that I am today.

1. Blind-Hercules and Love Affair: Everything about this song is so perfect to me, the lyrics and the trumpets and how well Antony’s voice is suited to the disco-like sound of Hercules and Love Affair’s music.  This is my #1 go to song.  It’s my sunshine on a cloudy day.  If I just want to mope around the house alone, Blind makes me want to go out and party.  If I’m not really in the mood to be running, I can’t help but run a 6-minute mile during the length of this song.  Blind is a song that makes me live my life at the fastest speed possible.

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