Mar 21 2011

My Top 300 Songs of the 2000s – 40-31

Today I continue my ongoing feature showcasing my personal picks for the best songs of the past decade, posting ten songs at a time.

40. Junior Senior – Move Your Feet

Lost to the forgotten one-hit wonder ether that is the early 2000’s indie world, Junior Senior’s most memorable track is one of the decade’s best, and definitely one of the danciest.  The duo was a profile-worthy pairing – a skinny little straight guy and an overweight, flamboyantly gay guy.  The spirit was one of fun-loving shimmying and partying, and “Move Your Feet” is the highlight.

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Nov 20 2010

The Top 50 Albums of the 2000s – From Under the Cork Tree

Today I continue a series of posts dedicated to the best albums of the last decade, posting analysis of one album at a time.

47. Fall Out Boy – From Under the Cork Tree

Coming home from the Green Day concert I attended in 2005, we stopped at a mall somewhere and my sister purchased Fall Out Boy’s second album From Under the Cork Tree. Because of the source, I was admittedly biased from the start – if my sister introduces me to it, I am unfairly skeptical of its validity.  In retrospect, I can see how this is utter idiocy; turning a blind eye to a young pop-punk group immediately after watching the elder statesmen of pop-punk live in concert is incredulous.  Once “Sugar We’re Going Down” hit Fuse, I was officially hooked, and I begrudgingly asked my younger sibling if I could burn a copy of the disc.

The appeal to Fall Out Boy, other than their uncanny ability to write something undeniably catchy and radio-ready, is their experimentation with several standard rock rhythms in one song.  It’s pretty typical today in the emo/power pop circuit, but back in 2005, I hadn’t really heard anything like it.  Combining elements of punk, emo, and even rap cadence, the group expanded from their mostly standard pop-punk debut Take This To Your Grave.  To the untrained ear, this is just a conventional album – the key is the passionate Pete Wentz-penned, sex soaked lyrics, crooned by the effervescent Patrick Stump.

Take for example, the unusual rhythm of “Of All the Gin Joints In the World,” a start-stop guitar-led anthem about a superficial, purely sexual relationship.  The chorus is blunt: “All the way/Your makeup stains my pillowcase.”  Or observe the so-honest-it’s-sexy pick-up lines in “Dance Dance” – “Why don’t you show me a little bit of spark you’ve been saving for his mattress?”  And of course, who could forget the candid observation from “Sugar We’re Going Down” – “I’m just a notch in your bedpost, but you’re just a line in a song.”

The best pop albums, whether they be backed by instruments or computers or whatever, are ones that feel instantly familiar, yet provide a unique, progressive approach all their own.  Much like most music for the masses, pop-punk is a slowly progressing medium.  With mainstream success, Fall Out Boy opened the next chapter in that book with this album, a brilliantly accessible, glossily produced power-chord love affair with something subtly new to offer.

Fall Out Boy – Of All The Gin Joints In All The World

Fall Out Boy – Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down

Fall Out Boy – 7 Minutes In Heaven (Atavan Halen)

Sep 28 2010

My Top 300 Songs of the 2000s – 160-151

Today I continue my ongoing feature showcasing my personal picks for the best songs of the past decade, posting ten songs at a time.

160. Jimmy Eat World – Authority Song

The band’s breakthrough was in the form of a pretty spectacular power pop album, and while their new sounds reveal the group to have eased into generic territory, this self-titled disc (originally called Bleed American, but changed due to the post-9/11 attack on media and music) was a welcome escape from the over-saturation of bland hip-hop and post nu-metal radio dreck.  “Authority Song” is a forgotten album track that has more hooks than the uplifting, cheesy lead single “The Middle.”

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Jun 29 2010

My Top 300 Songs of the 2000s – 230-221

Today I continue my ongoing feature showcasing my personal picks for the best songs of the past decade, posting ten songs at a time.

230. Grizzly Bear – Two Weeks

Plinking pianos, soaring background vocals, and an accessible approach to the band’s quiet tendencies brought Grizzly Bear their breakthrough track in 2009.  While Veckatimest still had the trademark off-kilter minor keys and dark lyrics, “Two Weeks” came out of the oven ready for Gossip Girls.  And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.

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