Apr 27 2011

My Top 300 Songs of the 2000s – 30-21

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

30. Johnny Cash – Hurt

Some artists are so talented they have the capability to make a cover song sound like their very own creation.  The Beatles, Tom Waits, and, most recently, Lissie, come to mind.  But no one did it like the Man In Black.  Johnny took Soundgarden’s grunge-ridden “Rusty Cage” and made it a Wild West, gun slinging, outlaw affair.  And then he took Nine Inch Nails’ haunting, spooky “Hurt” and turned it into a somber deathbed lamentation.

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Jan 21 2011

The Top 50 Albums of the 2000s – Power In Numbers

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

43. Jurassic 5 – Power In Numbers

By 2002, the rap game was well aware of the J5 MCs and what they had to offer – a badass EP and the debut Quality Control had established the LA crew as a formidable presence on the scene.  They were certainly getting a lot of attention for their sound – a stripped-down, lyrics-based, old-skool approach, focusing on wordplay and intricate flow rather than heavy beats and sloppy sex rhymes.  As the group said it best on the hit “What’s Golden,” they weren’t “ballin’ or shot callin” but rather taking you “back to the days of yes-y’allin’.”  In the early 2000’s, J5 were a welcome break from the overproduced dreck that was just beginning to litter Top 40 radio (Ja Rule was still a prominent hit-maker at the time).

When their sophomore effort Power In Numbers dropped, the immediate reaction was mostly of praise, but overall the consensus was that, while darker, it certainly wasn’t as good as the previous two efforts.  I disagree wholeheartedly.  With this disc, Chali 2na, Akil, Zaakir, and Mark 7even demonstrated their versatile flow even further, alongside some of the finest work from the then-relatively unknown disc jockeys Nu Mark and Cut Chemist.  Big Daddy Kane shows up for the chorus-less highlight “A Day At the Races,” and Nelly Furtado, who had recently scored her first big hit “I’m Like a Bird,” appears for a commentary on complicated friendships between members of the opposite sex on “Thin Line.”  And stay tuned for the insect-infested and hilarious freestyle “DDT.”

In 2006, the crew released the lackluster Feedback and called it quits.  The majority of lyricists disappeared; Chali 2na continued to disappoint on his own, releasing a weak solo album.  Meanwhile the two scratchers in the background pursued their own projects and came up gold – both DJ Nu-Mark and Cut Chemist are two of the present day’s finest turntable masters.  Still, some of their finest work can be found on J5’s best album.

Jurassic 5 – A Day At The Races (Feat. Big Daddy Kane & Percy P)

Jurassic 5 – What’s Golden

Jurassic 5 – Thin Line (Feat. Nelly Furtado)

Sep 6 2010

My Top 300 Songs of the 2000s – 180-171

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

180. Ok Go – Get Over It

Before they were Internet phenoms jumping around on treadmills, OK Go was a brilliant, quirky power pop group tearing up the mainstream rock radio airwaves.  “Get Over It,” the band’s debut single, is quite possibly the loudest, brashest, angriest thing they’ve ever done. And while they’ve maintained their knack for punchy, catchy songs, this track is a raucous introduction from their best album.

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