Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Songs of the Decade: 70 - 61

70. Tatu - All The Things She Said
Divebombing guitars meet Russian "lesbian" pop. Another band I look at this and think "christ, whatever happened to?"

69. Tsunami Bomb - Take The Reins
Wayyyyy back in the early days of Sky Digital, in the doldrums of the music channels there was a nu-metal/punk channel which played a lot of American artists I hadn't even heard of. This track, with the machine gun instruments and juxtaposing female vocals (oh look, another female vocalist) was one of the few that actually stood out amongst the fledgling emo/Me First & The Gimme Gimmes tracks.

68. Sarah Michelle Gellar - Something To Sing About
Life's a show, and we all play our parts. When the music starts, we open up our hearts... so, there's one of the tracks from the Buffy musical on here. I know Ms Geller's not the best of singers but it's my favourite of the songs featured. Strangely for a Very Special Musical Episode it actually fits in the story, advances the plot and isn't just an excuse for the cast members to sing contemporary tracks.

67. JJ72 - Snow
Possibly the earliest released song on this list, this is one of those "whiny indie vocals with a token hot girl" bands I was into in the early part of this decade. Six years after this song was released I met lead singer Mark Greaney after a Garbage gig where they supported and he gave me his backstage pass. I made it briefly on stage before being humorously removed by a security guard who at least saw the funny side of my pretend rockstardom.

66. Spinnerette - Sex Bomb
Not as good as Distillers, but very few bands would be. Motherhood matured Brody, and the newer releases show a richer, fuller sound. She's still as cool as fuck on stage.

65. Sky Larkin - Keepsakes
Sky Larkin are one of those bands that I got into accidentally. I knew them as part of the Los Campesinos/Johnny Foreigner stable, and when they were playing in a pub 30 seconds from work I went along because it was local. I enjoyed the gig, and saw them again with Petra a few months later, but it wasn't until I saw them at Cargo last month that I really fell in love with them.

Keepsakes is, annoyingly, nowhere to be found, so have the last single Antibodies instead.

64. Shirley Manson - In The Snow
Shirley Manson. Long term idol. One of three people I'll gladly follow blindly without question. (The other two being Andy Hessenthaler and Joss Whedon.) Occasional Terminator. Possible solo artist now that Garbage are on hiatus. She posted this demo on Facebook back in April, and it manages to be haunting, powerful, soaring, depressing and realistic at once.

63. Lily Allen - Not Fair
Lily Allen sings about orgasms. Or a lack of them.

Major label, no embedding. You've probably heard this already anyway.

62. Answering Machine - You Should Have Called
The song that made me realise that people can still be friends even after a breakup.

As it's never been released as a single, there's no video for it on YouTube. So have Cliffer instead.

61. Manic Street Preachers - The Masses Against The Classes
The first new number 1 of this decade, and it knocked Westlife off the top spot. It's the last Manics single that I've liked, as it's like a more polished version of the older, rawer, scarier, Holy Bible era Manics.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Songs of the Decade: 80 - 71

Apologies for being late, I've been travelling. It will return to being a Wednesday night feature soon, I don't have that much of a life.

80. Giant Drag - Kevin Is Gay
One of many duos on this list, and definitely the most bonkers. Towards the end Annie forgets the words and just ends up meowing along. An odd video to go with an odd but kooky song.

It can be found here.

79. MGMT - Time To Pretend
You know this song. Even if you've just read that and thought "no way James, you're talking out of your buttocks once again. I have no idea who or what MGMT be, and I've never heard of this song in my life" you're wrong. (Unless you've been in a coma for the last 10 years and recently woke up, in which case hi Auntie Gwenno!) Just play it and listen, and you'll see. (Note: not the official video. But this one's just so cool.)

78. Eisley - Telescope Eyes
Yeah, it sounds like Avril Lavigne. I don't care. I like them, despite them reminding me of my ex. Bonus points: add this to a playlist with a New Found Glory song and Misery Business by Paramore to pay tribute to American love triangles.

77. Delays - Long Time Coming
Back story. I bought this single on the day of release on the say-so of a girl I had a thing for at the time. Listened to it a few times, wasn't grabbed by it, then sold the vinyl when me and girl had a falling out. Fast forward a few years and it soundtracks a scene in my favourite ever Veronica Mars episode. Suddenly I realise just how awesome it is. (So awesome, that there are 76 better songs released in the last 10 years.)

76. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Ain't No Easy Way
Sometimes you need a bit of a bluesy sounding steel guitar. I loved this song so much I had it on my mp3 player twice, and considering it was only a 512mb capacity back then that shows my devotion.

Listen to it here.

75. Wolfman feat. Pete Doherty - For Lovers
I'm not Pete Doherty's biggest fan. Not by a long shot. However, this song tugs at the heartstrings. Maybe it's the Francophile in me loving the location of the video, but still it snuck onto this list.

74. Tilly And The Wall - Reckless
Instead of a rhythm section, Tilly and the Wall have a tap dancer. Sadly I felt that they didn't live up to the standards on the album set by this song, but that doesn't stop this track from managing to be cute, sweet, hopeful and depressing at once.

73. TV On The Radio - Staring At The Sun
I have to say, I first heard this song via the Subways' cover of it on an early single. Way back when I adored the band and didn't just follow them on Twitter to argue with the lead singer, I hunted down the original and liked it even more. It's a very original sound, difficult to describe but worth listening to.

72. The Stills - Still In Love Song

Way back when I was mooning over the girl mentioned in #77 this was on MTV2 all the bloody time. It was one of those songs that just happened to sync up perfectly with my mood.

71. Sons And Daughters - Johnny Cash
I first downloaded this song thinking it was a mislabelled mp3 on Limewire in early 2004. It wasn't, but I gave it a listen anyway. I'm fairly sure it wasn't intended as a tribute to the man in black, but the freight train beat, the dry country sound and the dark lyrics means it's damn near as good an epitaph as a song which will feature higher in this list. Much, much higher.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Songs of the Decade: 90 - 81

90. Muse - Feeling Good
I've never really bought into the hype about Muse (the only time I saw them live, at Reading 2006, I was more interested in my cheesy chips) but I do love myself a nice interesting cover version.

89. Katy Rose - Overdrive
Katy Rose was one of those in the same mould as Avril Lavigne and Ashlee Simpson - one of those 'edgy' but tween safe female pop stars who have the guitars turned up higher in the mix than normal. For whatever reason Katy didn't quite work out, but then we did get this gem from the Mean Girls soundtrack:

88. Polly Scattergood - I Hate The Way
From the popular, teen comedy soundtrack songs directly to Little Boots' evil younger sister. Ok, they're not actually related, but it's electro-synth-pop with an extremely dark edge to it. This song, and a track in the low 30s, are the reasons why I'll blindly accept any music Hannah sends me.

87. Coldplay - Fix You
Despite most of their output being bland and dull (I spent 40 minutes of Parachutes thinking "ok, the guitars'll kick in now, and it'll get better) this song really touched me at Glastonbury in 2005, standing in a soggy field drunk up to the eyeballs on vodka.

Big band, proper record label, no embedding. Boo.

86. Lady Gaga - Paparazzi
One of those songs that I like despite myself. I blame hearing it too much at work. Mind you, it does have a proper vampire in the video (real vampires don't sparkle!). Bonus fun fact: this video was directed by the same guy who directed Rammstein's latest, somewhat naughty, music video.

Major act, no embedding.

85. The Knife - Girls Night Out
More electro-pop. I'm noticing a theme here. Me liking this band is completely down to club night Never On A Sunday - what's even more impressive is that the club night doesn't exist outside of a comic book series called Phonogram.

84. White Stripes - I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself
I'm not even going to comment on the song, just let the video do the talking.

83. AC/DC - Rock n Roll Train
Sometimes you want cheery electro-pop, sometimes weepy music. Others, you just want to rock the fuck out, and who better than AC/DC?

82. We Are Scientists - Ram It Home
And from genuine cock rock double entendre bands, to those taking the piss with a lack of subtlety. California's We Are Scientists performing their cock rock pisstake at The Old Blue Last.

81. Hellsongs - Paranoid
This week's section is topped and tailed with a pair of covers. The first one was a rocked up version of a mellow song, so it's only fitting that the closer is a mellow version of Black Sabbath's most famous hit/wrist-killer on Guitar Hero.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Songs of the Decade: 100 - 91

A few weeks ago in a copy of the Times that I found on a train I noticed that they did their own run down of the best 100 songs from this decade (1st January 2000 to 31st December 2009). Lacking in inspiration I nicked the idea and have been compiling my own top 100 as a counterpoint. Aside from the obvious chronological restraints I also set myself another rule: each named artist can only appear once. As per normal I bent this rule, as you'll see with 64 & 16, 42 & 17, and 19 & 1.

100. Shakira - Hips Don't Lie
I will admit, the first ten are somewhat shaky, as I had the top 90 easily, and then scrabbled around looking for filler. But it's still a fun song, even if it does remind me of the pre-Google days of youtube, when it had banner ads on the site that would start playing songs when loaded. This is one of the songs played.

As embedding's been disabled, you'll have to click through to watch the video on YouTube itself, here.

99. Pixie Lott - Mama Do (Uh Oh Uh Oh)
It's not all going to be industrial German metal and female fronted indie bands. Occasionally I go for female fronted pop acts too.

Another one that I can't embed. Spoilsports.

98. Harry - Imagination
By now you might be wondering "is this list just going to be blondes cavorting around in their underwear?" to which my answer would be "no, there'll be some brunettes and redheads too". In all seriousness, I can link my introduction to Auf der Maur, The Subways and Blood Red Shoes (and all the weird and wonderful people thereafter) directly back to this artist. If the list was calculated on importance of songs rather than song quality, this would probably be number one. But it isn't, so it's not.

97. Robin Sparkles - Lets Go To The Mall
We've had latin American pop. We've had Kentish pop. Now, we have Canadian pop! Not the only one-hit wonder on this list, but this song from early in the decade is just fun in every way. Trivia - since leaving the music business, Robin's since become a news anchorwoman on a New York TV station.

96. Papa Roach - Last Resort
Ah, nu-metal. While this fad gave us some truely atrocious songs, there was a time when you couldn't put Kerrang TV on without hearing this song. Yes, this list is driven by nostalgia too.

More anti-embedding from UMG, spoilsports.

95. Kylie Minogue - Can't Get You Out Of My Head
More unashamed pop. It's designed to seduce new readers in with familiar acts, before blindsiding them with obscure acts like Metallica, Paramore, Girls Aloud...

Again, no embedding. No fun.

94. Girls Aloud - Sound Of The Underground
After overcoming my initial disappointment that it wasn't 3 minutes of tube trains, "mind the gap" and "there is a part closure on all London Underground lines", it's a rather rocky song. Especially for a group described as "the new Hear'say".

93. Beyonce feat. Jay Z - Crazy In Love
Pop with an r'n'b flavour. One of those summer songs that everyone seems to like, regardless of stereotype.

More lack of embedding. Boo.

92. Kaiser Chiefs - I Predict A Riot
"Wow, what a fun and inventive new band!" we all thought when we first heard it. It got a bit tiresome being rereleased a dozen more times under different song names though.

Yet more lack of embedding. It'll get better when the bands get smaller.

91. Arcade Fire - Rebellion (Lies)
Unlike others, I've never bought into the hype around this band. However, I do love my big, epic songs, and so this appears on the list. Despite not having on my computer until last month.