Songs Of The 00s

25
Sep 09

DIXIE CHICKS – “Not Ready To Make Nice”

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I’ve never really cared about the Dixie Chicks beyond this record, and I had to look up what they did that was so terrible. So I don’t like “Not Ready To Make Nice” (embedding disabled) because of its political relevance, but because of its cultural and personal resonance. Even though it’s not really ‘about’ this at all, it’s the best song I’ve heard concerning the moment when some ridiculous situation tips over from “WRONG ON THE INTERNET” into actually surreal rage and wild, disproportionate hate.

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29
Sep 09

BEENIE MAN ft MYA – “Girls Dem Suga”

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One of the really glorious bits of early-decade fusion pop: a Neptunes beat, a dancehall star, a supersweet pop-R&B chorus from Mya, everything bubbling and blending in the summer heat.

But that beat! The Neptunes could be frustrating, especially when the whole NERD thing got going, but their best stuff just seemed miles beyond anyone else. As in, even as someone who’s never tried to put a beat together, the Neptunes stuff was baffling, so ramshackle and thin it ought not to work and yet…

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6
Oct 09

ARCADE FIRE – “Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)”

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The version of Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up” on the Where The Wild Things Are trailer edits out the song’s peak line, that scornful frustrated sad “I guess I’ll just have to ADJUST”, spat full into the face of nasty summer-crushing adulthood. I suppose it counted as a spoiler.

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7
Oct 09

H TWO O – “What’s It Gonna Be?”

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Obviously when bassline house poked its way into the 2007 charts what I hoped – and I wasn’t alone – is that this heralded UK Garage 2.0, one of those convergences of dance music trends, pop, and sales that lights up the Top 40 for a year or so. Didn’t happen, and there are a lot of reasons why that even a barely informed observer like me could pick up on: the scene is a regional one and lacked really committed metropolitan support, the follow-up singles weren’t always up to much, and importantly the bassline scene didn’t need chart success, whether as sales indicator or ‘validation’. As The Lex pointed out when the subject came up on Poptimists, there was no failure here.

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27
Oct 09

RACHEL STEVENS – “Nothing Good About This Goodbye”

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During the 00s pop boom there was much talk of “blankness” as a vocal quality – the kind of competent, unaffected but largely inexpressive singing women like Rachel Stevens do on their records. This was making a virtue of necessity to some extent – Stevens, and Sophie Ellis-Bextor, and Girls Aloud en masse simply didn’t have barnstorming voices. But also I guess a subset of pop fans don’t really like singing all that much, they don’t want it to get in the way of the hooks or the ‘production ideas’, and certainly Rachel Stevens’ voice never did.

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3
Nov 09

CLIPSE – “Young Boy”

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What I said about “Young Boy” back in 2002 on this site:

My favourite Neptunes production trick is their most retro- the explosive-horns-and-shouting thing you get here and to some extent on Beyonce’s ‘Work It Out’. It’s where their digital funk thing comes together best – they keep filling their tunes with zap-gun blips and dinky keyboards which are madly enjoyable but never quite top the first Kelis album, so the newer Neps directions you hear on the Clipse record are more rewarding. ‘Young Boy’ was my favourite Neptunes track this year, because the Clipse themselves are so laidback and contemptuous and because the hook is so coiled and compressed. (Plus their topics may be nasty but Pusha T and Malice are great storytellers – check Malice’s verse about his supertough Grandma!)

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3
Dec 09

In Praise Of Folly

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Well, I gave it a shot. But this is formally announcing that my tracks of the decade list was one project too far, so I’m discontinuing these write-ups. While I think some of the posts were good, and I enjoyed doing them all, I didn’t have the commitment I have for Popular and I didn’t have the time to fit it in around the paid writing I do (and, you know, my actual job.)

Apologies to you all, O lovely readers.

There are LOADS of other good end-of-decade blogs out there: I will talk about some of them in another post, probably next week but maybe this.

And what about the remaining 169-ish tracks? Well, starting tomorrow I’m going to turn the @freakytrigger Twitter feed over to listing them with Youtube links, probably at a fair old clip – 7 or 8 a day – so if you want to know what they are, follow that. I will see if Alan can rig up some jiggery-pokery that feeds it to here, too.

And before that you can hear a selection from my top 50 or so at POPTIMISM at the Horse Bar on Friday evening, when we do our end-of-decade roundup.

10
Dec 09

Songs of the 00s: 200-151

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My list of my songs of the 00s is still counting down at @freakytrigger. Because it’s mostly YouTube links some of the tracks aren’t available to everyone looking, so here’s the first 50 on the list in raw form.

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31
Dec 09

DAFT PUNK – “One More Time”

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(This review, of my favourite song of the decade, was originally written for The Pitchfork 500, which I recommend you own a copy of. Oh, and happy 2010!)

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