50 Songs I Liked This Decade
feat. Overly Sincere Commentary Genuinely Proffered (straight into a vacuum)
50. NO RULES IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM
If I had a band we would close every show with a 26 minutes long version of this song. We would have to schedule our shows a week apart because by the end our voices would have ditched our throats for shouting “No RUUU-LES” for 19 minutes straight.1
49. THAT’S THAT#
” Ignoramuses – enlist and sound dumb / Found ’em drowned in cows’ dung – crowns flung // Rings a tinkerbell – sing for things as frail as a fingernail” The perfect ending to a pretty quality decade. “Civil liberties – these little titties’ abilities riddle me / Middle C – [shotgun blast, throatclear]”
48. LOVER’S SPIT
Best song about blowjobs ever?2
One of those songs that remind you of a (specific) person and you have no idea why.3 “Hang your holiday rainbow lights – in the garden ” I am and will always be a sucker for last songs; it is probably my best feature.
In an alternate universe of my omnipotent preference, an predominately a capella TV On The Radio doesn’t abandon the songs of theirs I like.4 It pleases me greatly.
45. GET A ROOM
44. ENJOY YOUR WORRIES
In between all this death, preparation for disappointment life.
43. TEACH ME SWEETHEART
Like a hallway full of ghosts, I’m obviously running out of things to say.8
42. GREAT DAY TODAY
Meek, boastful; could be any of five or six others from that album, but the electric organ(?) sample(?) wins the day.
41. PUNKS IN THE BEERLIGHT#
Upholding the proud tradition of Rock and Roll songs that trump hypersincere, almost humiliating lyrics by way of pure, unchained melody comma awesomeness. I LITERALLY LOVE IT TO THE MAX!9
40. KID A
39. THE WAYWARD GRANDDAUGHTER
But little did I know, they knew. They knew. Slash speaking of weak points (two songs from now)– the stringing together and playing out of alternate futures, comparable lives.
38. STILL ALIVE
I feel a little guilty putting this before anything, let alone a song I genuinely love (if in small bursts). But, I mean, seriously: as clever as a thing can be and as perfectly integrated a reward as you could ever want or hope for. “I think I prefer to stay inside” even elicits a small heart break. HOW CAN THAT BE??12
37. POCKETFUL OF MONEY
Snaps + Disembodied Calvin Johnson Voice + Effusive and Bottomless Romance = Massively Damaged Weak Points.
36. THE SECOND LINE
Tikki Tikki Timomanon. Also: ? http://www.unit9.com/cs/clinic/clinicgame.swf
35. FUNNY LITTLE FROG
Separated, at birth, from “I Don’t Really Love You Anymore”; a full-fledged partner in the school of ostensibly, falsely upbeat songs starring absolutely devastating, unassuming lines hidden somewhere in the back.13
34. FRONTIER PSYCHIATRIST
Epic + (Fucking) Ridiculous = Sublime.
The Dissolution Between Sincerity and Irony.
33. JESUS, ETC.
Just a pretty, quiet song.
32. WALTZ (BETTER THAN FINE)
The perfect, wist-resisting, ‘giving up of youthful notions of romance/passion’ complement to “I Know,” aka The Best Song Ever Written.14
31. ME AND MIA
Do you believe in something beautiful that can never be?
30. THE PAST IS A GROTESQUE ANIMAL
12 Solid Minutes.
29. HERE WE GO
Remember being so nervous about being alive/being in public that, rather than work customer service, you would want to plow your station wagon into a telephone pole? Use (or have used) this to calm yourself down enough to make it one piece.15
More ghosts. Immaculate ones, though. Spectres, really. Or shades.17
Sneak into bed with a pre-ordained loved one (romantical, not familial) and kiss them on the neck while they are sleeping. Record their dreams in the morning, scientifically methodical. Later: fuck, dumpy and cumbersome, in the shower.18
27. NOT ABOUT LOVE
Why won’t America’s Greatest Living Songwriter (Lady Division) write more songs?19 I miss that stupid age when she at least put albums out every 5 years or so.
26. LET’S GET READY TO CRUMBLE
Pure pop gold. Hits that honeycomb hideout inside your mind where endorphins are made. Or whatever chemical = happiness. Seratonin? Is that different? Brain Juice.20
25. THESE FEW PRESIDENTS
Reminds me of when I could only run for minutes at a time
“I thought I had a pebble in my sock
I pulled it off and shook out a wasp
that stumbled out lost
and unstung as I was
Still I stomped it”
24. ANGKOR WAT THEME FINALE
Makes me want to whisper secrets21 into trees.
23. THERE IS A PLACE#
I saw God’s shadow on this world,
OR The dissolution of irony and sincerity.
Could go on for another six minutes and I’d be fine with that.
/I hope, live, they Sister Ray’d/No Rules In The Animal Kingdom’d it out to a half hour or so.
22. SHAKEY DOG
Q: Is there a better song to run to?
Also: wall to wall story, crafted in miniature (with exquisite detail) and then spat shouted, unrelenting.
21. SLOW EDUCATION#
That one idea again.24
A pneumatically raising and lowering spinning platform on which the most attracted-to-whom person you’ve ever known is begging for you to join (them).25
Steady and effortlessly grasping that slightness of being. “It’s still day, though”. Sort of makes me wish I were an (for real) adult.
18. POWER SUPPLY
ΑScientifically proven to make even the most depleted feet run at least 46% faster. 112% if you’ve been dogging it. IT IS NAMED AFTER WHAT IT LITERALLY IS!!!!!!!!!Ω
17. LAST DAYS OF DISCO
As fragile as a thing can be, pretty much.
16. OUR ANNIVERSARY#
Restraint plus craftsmanship plus non-trivial slightness.
Equals if Raymond Carver had a beautiful manvoice,
an immaculate guitar carved from an ice swan.26
15. I DON’T REALLY LOVE YOU ANYMORE#
“Think of me as just a fan / who remembers every dress you ever wore”27
14. EVERYTHING IN ITS RIGHT PLACE
If only for– after making it through all those hype-ridden, web-scouring, 56k live track collecting months– the moment that (on the way back from Richie’s) I put the disc in the car’s CD player and those first notes completely filled the car and washed |soothingly|28 over everything.
Makes me envious of my past self/ves– who had legs to race with, a car in which to swerve/cut off Pennsylvania highway suckers.
85 miles per hour, at least.
12. CRAZY IN LOVE
11. GEMINI (THE BIRTHDAY SONG)#ish
A little bit breathless, but I could sooner denounce it than I could my own (stupid) geometry.31
10. DO YOU REALIZE??
As effective a spiritual as any hymn; as affective of death as the most fire-breathing sermon.
9. AT LEAST THAT’S WHAT YOU SAID
I would trade a dozen Yankee Hotel Foxtrots for this song plus (the song) “Summer Teeth” and feel like I’d completely ripped off my imaginary trading partner in this odd scenario where the appreciation of music is exclusionary and combatative, and the songs themselves mutually exclusive scarce resources the value of which NEEDS TO BE QUANTIFIED.
Protip: If you can manage to time it so that, while waiting for your race to start, exactly the first one minute and fifty-eight seconds of this song elapses, you are GUARANTEED at least a third place finish3233
8. NEIGHBORHOOD #1 (TUNNELS)
And our parents’ bedrooms and the bedrooms of our friends.
7. HEY YA
Somehow continues(, in spite of all odds,) to defy overplay. Scientists in labs around the country puzzle over it, hope to isolate its singular charm to use as a preservative for the Infinitely Enjoyable Aesthetically Engineered Pop Songs Of The Post-Milennium.34
6. ALL I NEED#
The song you35 hate to admit (freely, in public, on a poorly attended blog) was written about you. Fine– I’ll confess!/: I was the man on the grassy knoll– aka “lying in the reeds”– okay? God. Vultures…
I actually, honestly, do feel a (little) bit better now.
Sometimes a song is perfect just by concisely, succinctly expressing/being what it is. Just by being unable to be improved upon. All the right imperfections/all the imperfections of life itself.36
4. IN METAL
3. EMILY KANE
A perfect pop song with an exquisite gimmick/bit that makes you wonder how it wasn’t already come-up-with. Completely Refreshing (and good to run to).
2. ONLY SKIN
The fastest sixteen-and-a-half minutes in music.39 When Bill Callahan comes in on “bones” my heart skips. I mean, more than the slight murmur it usually does.
1. BOB SEGER#
All the best comedy is ineffable.40
“…Makes me forget / all of the steakhouse – small dancefloor dancing / makes me forget – all the co-workers groping / to “We’ve Got Tonight” / Yeah? – But we’ve also got families” vs. “I was lying on a pile of coats – my face painted ‘Happy Birthday’ / It was a conceptual joke: – it was nobody’s birthday”
This decade’s “Summer Teeth”/ as frail as a fingernail.
1As singularly vicious a set of lyrics as there has ever been and yet completely freeing. Pretty sweet.
2Eat it, “Big Girl”!
3Oh wait, it’s (exactly) because of “Let me come over I can waste your time – I’m bored”
4i.e. Also “Mr. Grieves”
5pretentious, but true all the same
6also, not so much breathless as in “effusive” but as in “sucks all the air from the room, you chest”
7/”And you try to move towards her…”
8were written on shuffle, you know
9give or take 40 songs or so
12impeccable craftsmanship, extremely well-cast voice talent; remarkable context
13“I don’t dare to touch your hand – I don’t dare to think of you / In a physical way – and I don’t know how you smell” (emphasis mine). As in an explosive deposit of emotionally crippled and crippling emphasis.
14Non-“God Only Knows” Division
15Ditto “Your Cover’s Blown”
16If not, I’m saving it
18“I love your thighs, and your catapult, and your elision of laughter”
19Is she plotting regicide? Someone Paypal Stephin Merritt some bodyguards!
21that I wasted my life constructing
22“At Least That’s What You Said,” “I Found Out,” “No Dancing,” maybe “Grass,” maybe “Reach Out, I’ll Be There,” and, OF COURSE, Hall of Fame Closer “Power Supply” (aka “The Mariano Rivera of Songs”
23respect against one’s own rooting interest = twice to six times as valuable
24|Luckily|, I am still, and forever will be, the same
25Your milage will, likely, vary
26“But do you know what Nicole had to sell to Scientology in exchange for all that stuff? Her vagina, Katie. She had to sell her vagina to Scientology, where it’s being cryogenically frozen in the world’s largest ice swan.” – Jessi Klein
27Just a bad comedian
28again, the absolute value of “soothingly”
29does she even apply here? I couldn’t think of another possibly applicable “Lady”/I mean, definitely fewer “Lady Marmalade (2001)”s– but shouldn’t that go without saying?
30No. “More Beyonces, fewer Ladies Gaga, Sov, or Marmalade Parentheses 2001 (End Parentheses)”
31what would you dream up while I tongue you down?
32scientifically proven; held up in 100% of (one) trials
33Jesus Christ I miss my legs
34“If you want a picture of the future, imagine the cast of Peanuts dancing on a human face forever”
35the distended first-person “you”
36A little too long in the just the right way, a little too simple in just the right way
37this is not, actually, an example of synecdoche; but– in failing to be– isn’t it exactly that?38
39so fast my mind and fingers shave 23 seconds off (each time I write good things about its junk)
40well, an incredibly small but deeply affecting minority, at least