Sunday, November 22, 2009

Top 100 Songs of the 2000's: #100-81

Well, my readers, we're getting to that point. The decade is drawing to a close and it's time to start unveiling "Best of" lists by the score. Of course, I will be jumping on this bandwagon and offering my opinion on the best albums (already in progress with a new installment soon), films and, starting now, songs (a couple others may pop up depending on time restrictions). As I mentioned before, I am not a music critic. Unlike with movies, I don't have refined, highbrow taste; I know what I like and that's usually ridiculous, poppy-as-music-can-get pop music (I've literally said before, "If you want poetry, listen to Bob Dylan. But if you want to shake your ass, listen to Fergie. And that's okay by me"). So, naturally, that posed a problem for me: how do I approach this list? Should I go with sentimental favorites? Pop tracks that even non-pop fans might enjoy? The "best" of what pop had to offer this decade? After some soul searching, I decided to combine all three, hopefully creating a good mix of legitimately great songs with ones that I'm personally attached to for reasons beyond "greatness." I'm giving you fair warning so if you don't like pop music, please don't leave a comment saying something along the lines of, "THIS LIST SUCKS! What about *insert random British indie band that only 5 people have heard of, Girls Aloud mocks in 'Hoxton Heroes' and makes me sound like a pretentious twat*????"

So, without further ado, here's Part 1 of my Top 100 Songs of the 2000's:

100. Ashlee Simpson 'La La'
2005. From Autobiography
What better way to start off the countdown then with the decade's one and only true masterpiece of pop trash. Ashlee Simpson is the triple threat of badness (can't sing, can't act, can't dance) so it seems fitting that she achieves so much with 'La La,' a song with hilarious "so subtle they're not subtle anymore" lyrics ("You make me wanna la la/In the kitchen, on the floor") and obvious innuendo (Gee, I wonder what "la la" is referencing...). Only Ashlee, in all of her awful glory, could make this song work in all the wrong ways.

99. Phantom Planet 'California'
2004. From The Guest
Hate or love The O.C., everyone knows this song, or, at the very least, the infamous "California, here we come" line. Who knew that something so simple could define not only an entire TV show but also said show's devoted following?

98. La Roux 'Bulletproof'
2009. From La Roux
Who would have guessed that one of the most new, refreshing and forward-sounding artists of the decade would be this Neo-80's Synth Pop group? It's a tough call between this one and 'In for the Kill,' but 'Bulletproof' was my first exposure and immediately cemented my love for La Roux.

97. DJ Sammy & Yanou featuring Do 'Heaven'
2002. From Heaven
If nothing else, DJ Sammy proved that shitty Bryan Adams songs could be turned into addictive dance club staples. There's hope for you yet, 'Everything I Do (I Do It For You).'

96. Dream 'He Loves U Not'
2000. From It Was All a Dream At the height of this song's popularity, I thought Dream was going to be around for forever. Who knew that after their second single, 'This Is Me,' Dream would be no more? Oh well. At least we'll always have this insanely catch pop number to remember the good times.

95. Sean Paul 'Get Busy'
2003. From Dutty Rock
Sean Paul is usually bearable in small doses (Beyoncé's 'Baby Boy' and Blu Cantrell's 'Breathe' come to mind) but I find him to be generally awful. The stars aligned, however, for a brief moment in 2003 with this explosive, unrelenting dancehall track.

94. Michelle Williams 'We Break the Dawn'
2008. From Unexpected
Beyoncé may have hogged all the attention after the break-up of Destiny's Child, but eternal third-wheel Michelle Williams had at least one stunner of a track buried up her sleeve on her first non-Christian solo album. It's a shame (and somewhat surprising) that this song never caught on with American audiences. T-Pain can have five #1's yet 'We Break the Dawn' can't even get a little love?

93. Martina McBride 'Where Would You Be'
2002. From Greatest Hits
One of the most underrated belters in all of music really belts it out in this ode to love gone awry. Martina may be country, but her pure vocals and the raw emotion of this song quickly make you forget those negative connotations.

92. Brandy 'Full Moon'
2002. From Full Moon
Right before Brandy became almost irrelevant on the pop music scene (she has apparently made some great albums afterwards but I haven't bothered listening to them), she left us with this smooth and sexy R&B track, proving that sometimes the most rewarding songs are the ones that make it seem effortless.

91. Sophie Ellis-Bextor 'Murder on the Dancefloor'
2001. From Read My Lips
My first exposure to SEB before I really knew who she was. She may have produced technically superior work afterwards, but there's something about the relative simplicity and repetitiveness of 'Murder on the Dancefloor' that sticks with me above anything else.

90. Mark Ronson featuring Amy Winehouse 'Valerie'
2007. From Version
As if all of their epic collaborations on Back to Black weren't enough, Ronson and Winehouse teamed up one more time for Ronson's Version in 2007 and produced this soulful cover of The Zutons' original. The end result is further proof that Winehouse's two year long drug-induced haze is one of the decade's biggest tragedies.

89. Jennifer Lopez featuring Styles P and Jadakiss 'Jenny From the Block'
2002. From This Is Me...Then
To prove how real and humble she is, J. Lo wrote a song about how she's real "even on Oprah." I think it goes without saying that 'Jenny From the Block' only proves how high in the clouds she is. But that's okay- I wouldn't have my divas any other way.

88. Fergie 'London Bridge'
2006. From The Dutchess
So out there lyrically and stylistically I pretty much did a double take the first time I heard it; did she really just say that. Hell yes she did and it soon became apparent who the real driving force behind the Black Eyed Peas' recent success was. Oh shit indeed.

87. Madonna 'Hung Up'
2005. From Confessions on a Dancefloor
Only Madonna could turn an untouchable ABBA hook into one of the decade's greatest Europop numbers. The fact that this song was a monster hit in every country in the world except the USA is still a major embarrassment.

86. Girls Aloud 'Something Kinda Ooooh'
2006. From The Sound of Girls Aloud
Most artists couldn't have made this song's wacky, onomatopoeia-filled chorus sound like anything other than complete and utter gibberish. Girls Aloud, however, aren't most artists and turn 'Something Kinda Ooooh' into a ridiculously addictive ridiculous pop gem.

85. Mary J. Blige 'Family Affair'
2001. From No More Drama
Now this is my jam! MJB was a success on the urban charts for close to a decade before this massive crossover hit, but 'Family Affair' proved that she could hang with both sides and still be true to herself. The song may not be as deep and emotionally resonant as some of her other great songs ('I'm Goin' Down,' 'No More Drama') but this one is simply damn fun.

84. M.I.A. 'Paper Planes'
2008. From Kala
If I could say one thing nice about Slumdog Millionaire, it's that it finally made me understand the genius of this M.I.A. track. I really have no idea what's it about but the combination of cash register sound effects and the line "Third world democracy/I've got more records than the KGB" make this song truly epic.

83. Christian Falk featuring Robyn 'Dream On'
2006. From People Say
Right before Robyn returned to the top of the charts around the world (except for the US, natch), she was featured on this slick, beat heavy, ultimately weird song about personal safety and security in the modern world (Yeah, I know. Who knew such an odd topic would make such a fascinating song?).

82. Jesse McCartney 'How Do You Sleep'
2009. From Departure
One of the best pure pop songs on this lists. With its chill, laid back groove, 'How Do You Sleep' is the perfect summer song to jam along to in the car with the windows rolled down.

81. Alesha Dixon 'The Boy Does Nothing'
2008. From The Alesha Show
Everytime I hear the opening outburst of "I've got a man with two left feet," I have to immediately stop whatever I'm doing and sing this song at the top of my lungs. Alesha's vibrant energy shines through impeccably on this single, proving that she could be a pop powerhouse in the coming years.


Emma said...

Love Jenny from the Block, Hung Up and Bulletproof.

Adam M. said...

Ugh. London Bridge is one of the worst songs I've ever heard.

And if I didn't know otherwise, I'd think you were from the UK... Do you think the fact that a song doesn't catch on in the states puts it in better standing with you for some reason? Or do your eardrums like having crumpets with tea maybe?

But YAY to Dream!! :) I think their second single 'This Is Me' was even better (but maybe it too will pop up on this list?).

Dame James said...

Emma: Glad to hear from another 'Jenny From the Block' fan! It always seems to be one of her most maligned songs but I absolutely love it.

Adam: I'm so British I have the Union Jack coming out of my ass.

But, seriously, it's funny you mention that because I thought this list was too American so far. Only six of the songs were exclusively UK hits. The reason I love British pop music so much is because it's so unapologetically pop. American music, especially in the last decade, has been so afraid to call itself pop and great pop artists either have to "go urban" or resort to roping in dumb rappers on their hits just to get some love and respect.

And I'm glad there's another Dream lover in the house! Sadly, 'This is Me' doesn't appear later on, but it was an admittedly close contest between the two. I only chose 'He Loves U Not' because I have a more sentimental attachment to it (and it's still a kickass song!).

Lee Ee Leen said...

Love Sophie EB!

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