My Top 300 Songs of the 2000s – The Top Ten

Today I conclude my ongoing feature showcasing my personal picks for the best songs of the past decade, posting the final ten songs.

10. Justin Timberlake – SexyBack (feat. Timbaland)

JT’s sophomore solo album was miles different from the R&B-influenced debut Justified.  For one, it was dirtier, sexier, raunchier.  Timberlake had all but washed himself clean of the boy band label he had established in ‘NSync, and on the other side was a sharp dressed man with smart production and crisp, Prince-leaning erotic pop.  The surprisingly simple, yet undeniably infectious “SexyBack,” the album’s first single, is producer Timbaland at some of his most creative, and catchy, creations.

9. Ben Folds – Not the Same

The song talks about, as best as I can interpret, a friend who takes acid and finds Jesus, only to become overzealous and dogmatic because of his need to belong and be heard.  Like most Folds tracks, it’s vague when referring to controversial material, but the consistency in haunting melody makes this the underrated highlight from an underrated album, Fold’s first proper solo outing Rockin’ the Suburbs.

8. The Kicks – MIR

Little Rock heroes Ashtray Babyhead had one album on a major label back in 2003, which they recorded as the Kicks.  The lone single “MIR” is power pop heaven from the surprisingly solid Hello Hong Kong; I heard it for the first time, ironically, and tragically, on the day of the Columbia space shuttle disaster.  It has stuck with me ever since, and is, like the rest of the band’s material, unjustly overlooked.

The Kicks – MIR

7. Battles – Atlas

I don’t normally make huge statements about how songs “changed my life” or whatever, especially if they lack pathos (and this song completely does), but between this and Of Montreal’s Hissing Fauna album, my musical palette was trying some seriously awesome new things in the spring of 2007.  I consider this song to mark a pivotal point in my life for a number of reasons, as I’m sure Battles does with theirs.  This math-rock “My Sharona,” with its prolonged buildup to beautiful chaos, was a breakthrough track for the band.

6. The Knife – Heartbeats

Beautiful, glorious, melancholy, irresistible, classic.  I used to play this all the time during my shift at KTXT, perfect for any occasion – a Friday drive home from work, a Saturday night dance party, or a pensive late Sunday night alone.  A dance track from the past decade that will no doubt stand the test of time.

5. MIA – Paper Planes

I immediately think back to the release of Kala and that scorching 2007 summer in Lubbock with my friend Kim, blaring this in her little Pontiac as we cruised the streets and drove around in the country out of boredom.  Throwing the entire album in rotation and Burgers, the program director, being livid about it.  And then, a year later, hearing it all over the radio, watching sorority girls dance to it like it was brand new.  Will MIA ever be able to top this?

4. M83 – Kim and Jessie

In October 2008 I went with my sis to the Texas Tech observatory outside of town.  While she went inside to do school work, I stayed in the car and put Saturdays=Youth on.  I leaned back and looked up at the stars, just me and the music.  I thought about a girl I had been involved with during that time (who will remain nameless, for all I know she reads this blog), and soaked in this amazing song.  Every time I hear it, which is all the time, I think about that night and that girl.  Good times. Great soundtrack.

3. Daft Punk – One More Time

When I was in 8th grade, our foreign exchange student Rosa made me watch this video, premiering on MTV2; she knew I would love it, and she was right.  My mom hated it, and she still does.  This was my first taste of Daft Punk, a duo I would later see at Red Rocks in 2007, and a group that would become one of my all-time favorites.

2. Radiohead – Idioteque

I grew up on OK Computer, so needless to say, like the rest of the world, Kid A blew my mind.  I really wasn’t sure what to think of it, or if I even liked it.  Then I saw Radiohead play this song on Saturday Night Live, and I was hooked.  Something special was going on here, and so I listened again. And again. “Idioteque” was the track that stood out to me, the one I blared repeatedly, the sharpest, prettiest song on Kid A, which initially seemed like a jumbled mess with no guitars.  Eventually I got there, as did everyone else.

1. Green Day – Boulevard of Broken Dreams

The finest album of the past decade produced a Broadway musical and is on its way to the big screen.  But when it was fresh, I was a lost, lonely, angry, ambitious senior in a high school of a town I didn’t belong in.  The album spoke to my ideals and emotions, and it didn’t hurt that the music killed too.  “Boulevard” is the first number one pop song in a long while (maybe the last) to FUCKING ROCK, and it fits me to a tee, as it always has.

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