Experimental Music Love

October 25, 2009

Top 150 Songs of the Decade: 10 – 1


And so we conclude. With ten songs in impeccable brilliance. No, really. This was worth it, wasn’t it? Yes? Good. Albums next.



10. Kanye West –  Jesus Walks
There’s a parellel universe where Mr. West keeps his mouth shut, wears clothes from Matalan and generally isn’t the biggest douchebag on the planet, instead concentrating on making brilliant music and revitalising a flagging rap genre, too interested in the things it should be demonstrating against – the oppulence, the pussy and the violence. This sort of did – it’s good to hear a nice young man telling us all about another very nice young man. It’s all about the gospel choir though. And those vocal basslines. And that wonderful production bringing all these voices and ideas together, creating some rap zion most rappers this decade could only dream of. Worth building an illegal settlement on.

9. The Libertines –  Don’t Look Back Into the Sun
Not their most successful – that would be ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’. Nor the one that kickstarted it all – ‘I Get Along’. Or even the one the made them take over the world of British indie – ‘Time For Heroes’ – or the one that both defined one of rock’s most celebrated relationships, and heralded its bitter end – ‘ What Became Of The Likely Lads’. No, this was just their best. A moment of pop for us all to unite under and cherish, and remember the good all days.

8. Yeah Yeah Yeahs –  Maps
Karen O remains rock’s most desired female, all glamour, chic and indivuality. And holder of the most bittersweet, blisstrip vocals since Nico. And it all started with such excitement here – this awesome new New York sound, cool and cynical; sparse yet epic. Ultimately, the height of 21st century romance.

7. Radiohead –  Idioteque
The song to shut up all critics of their technological minded approach, this was more powerful than anything they had succeeded in previously, full of torture and torment and the need to move, or shout, or panic, or jump, or scream or anything that nerves forced to overdrive can do.

6. The Delgados –  American Trilogy
The Scottish national anthem. Or it should. Bleak and hopeless, yet with an underlying, dramatic, knowing optimism that constantly undermines itself and couldn’t give a fuck. The most under-rated band of the decade, and the best Scotland, Britain, and indeed Europe had to offer. And their most lovely four minutes.

5. Sufjan Stevens –  Majesty Snowbird
At number 11 too, when Sufjan’s good, he is VERY good. A true musical genius, able to turn the most bellowing, world-shattering ideas into the most elegant, graceful melodies. This is still yet to be recorded in proper studio conditions, but from its live performances taking from its eponymous tour, this is where his craftmanship just spreads its wings and pulls heaven to Earth.

4. MIA –  Paper Planes
Taking one of The Clash’s blandest moments and turning it into one of the most essential songs of a decade takes both guts and skill. MIA has both. And more than most. Cutting words of ideas on immigration and a beat so cool it took a piss on Fonzi’s jacket whilst Henry Winkler was still wearing it as Scott Baio watched then vomited in surprise, this made her into the star she deservedly is.

3. The National –  All the Wine
The highlight of an album so full of spectacular depth and romance, and one that managed to be so whilst you remain completely unaware. 6 months after picking up the album you realise this has twice has many plays on iTunes or WMP as any other song, yet each listen seems like the first. The sneaky, beautiful shit.

2. Avalanches –  Frontier Psychiatrist
My personal number one, but not quite worthy of topping this list, mainly due to its divisive nature. I love it. Many won’t. Those people are idiots. But I respect them. They’ll just never experience the joy of a song so unique, funny, creative and cared about. Sorting through thousands of samples, replaying each one a hundred times and editing them all together again and again to come up with this gem is something we should all thank the Avalanches for very much. Ace video too.

1. Outkast –  Hey Ya
This had to be number one didn’t it? Like ‘God Only Knows’ and ‘Eleanor Rigby’ in the 60s, ‘Life on Mars’ and ‘Waterloo’ in the 70s, ‘There Is A Light’ and ‘Billie Jean’ in the 80s and ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and ‘Waterfalls’ in the 90s, this is a song of such universality, indeed combining elements of each song mentioned above in its pop/motown/rock/disco/soul mix that journeys through the last 60 years of popular music, sounding as if it should have been the very first such song written. The mix of joy, hope and reality that every classic work of pop needs – impossible to hate and easy to love.


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