The 200 Best Songs of the Decade: 150-101

Continuing from yesterday’s post, I’m still counting down my 200 favorite songs of the 2000s, the very best music of the decade.

Kevin’s Favorite Songs of the Decade: 150-101

150. Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Green Day (2004)

Green Day earns some credit for managing to be just as relevant in the 00s as they were in the 90s – that’s no simple feat. Though I appreciate some of the punk political statements like “American Idiot,” it’s this track that still haunts me a bit with each listen.

149. Dance, Dance – Fall Out Boy (2005)

I commend Fall Out Boy. While they’re never going to be my absolute favorite genre of music, they’re consistently fun and good at what they do. “Dance Dance” is witty enough to be respectable and poppy enough to find mainstream success.

148. Absolutely (Story of a Girl) – Nine Days (2000)

Anyone remember this #1 hit from the beginning of the decade? It’s still pretty silly and hard to take seriously, but as far as mindless pop goes, this one is a winner.

147. Hard Times – Patrick Wolf (2009)

Wolf is a performer in every sense of the word, and this song is no exception. The video is crazy, but you don’t need any visuals to hear the theatrics in Wolf’s voice.

146. Fat Lip – Sum 41 (2001)

Rowdy, trouble-making teenagers making music for the same subset. It’s a little embarrassing looking back, but this song certainly captivated me upon its release. You can’t help but feel badass while screaming, “The doctor said my mom should have had an abortion.”

145. Chasing Pavements – Adele (2008)

I ignored Adele initially, because she was just one of many power-voiced British females emerging at the same time. I’m glad I relented, because she’s earned her positive reputation and knocks this song out of the park.

144. Flare Gun – Final Fantasy (2007)

Make no mistake, Final Fantasy is a strange bird. With a weird voice, weird musical arrangements, and even a weird fashion sense, often I’m not sure what I’m listening to. Still, it’s so unique, I can’t quit it. The strings in “Flare Gun” elevate this song to great.

143. Night – Roommate (2008)

The harmonies on this track are stupendous, particularly if you enjoy the blending of a full choir. Apparently, this is a cover song, but I’ve never been able to track down the original – let me know if you can help me find a version by the band Rhombus.

142. Let It Fall – Lykke Li (2008)

I’m wild for the saccharine-voiced Swedish sweetie, Lykke Li. “Let It Fall” is a good upbeat example of her fine work.

141. Follow Me – Uncle Kracker (2001)

I’ve never cared for Kracker’s “rap” work, but the raw simplicity of the adult contemporary-bound “Follow Me” is endearing and memorable.

140. Move Away and Shine – The Polyphonic Spree (2005)

“Move Away and Shine,” the theme to the great film Thumbsucker is, unfortunately, one song I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing the Spree perform in concert. Sure, it’s sappy, but when you need a cheesy pick-me-up, this is the song to turn to.

139. California – Phantom Planet (2002)

If you first heard this song in association with The O.C., you can resent it to your heart’s content. But if, a couple years earlier, you were a young man moving away from the East Coast to California, this song just might have been your anthem. Not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything.

138. Crazy in Love – Beyonce & Jay-Z (2003)

I know Beyonce has had a string of monster solo hits this decade, but in my (unpopular) opinion – she’s overrated. Sorry “Single Ladies” lovers. “Crazy in Love,” however, will not only make you dance, it’ll make you shake and shimmy. Obviously, that’s good.

137. Rehab – Amy Winehouse (2006)

I still remember when Winehouse magically emerged on the American music scene. “Who is that with the amazingly sultry smoker’s voice?” I wondered. Of course, smoking turned out to be the least of her vices and her debut single “Rehab” was perhaps more autobiographical than initially believed, but despite her faults, her voice still can’t be denied.

136. Shape of My Heart – Noah and the Whale (2008)

It’s hard to describe the appeal of this particular song, but it’s peppy and horny (as in it features horns, thank-you-very-much) at all the right moments. Plain good.

135. Here with Me – Dido (2001)

I love the play between Dido’s gentle voice and the progressively more aggressive backing track that culminates in some furious yet fabulous music.

134. If Only – Hanson (2000)

I’m not going to apologize for this. I almost feel compelled to for some reason because it’s Hanson, but this is a damn catchy song. On two other occasions, I’ve found non-Hanson fans who are equally gaga for this song, so I feel like it’s as commendable as I think.

133. Nothing Better – The Postal Service (2003)

“Nothing Better” is a duet between two parties in a broken relationship. While the male begs for a reunion, the female shoots down his suggestions. Heartbreak has never sounded so sweet.

132. Gotta Tell You – Samantha Mumba (2000)

Gotta love a woman who has a vocal range that goes into a deeper register. Mumba created an unlikely pop hit with this song that is still memorable ten years later.

131. Poker Face – Lady Gaga (2009)

Most songs that are embellished this heavily devolve into an unlistenable mess, but Gaga kills it with “Poker Face.” I’m pretty ambivalent to her first hit, “Just Dance,” but this follow-up single showed she had some deserved longevity in the pop world.

130. Lost Cause – Beck (2002)

A diverse artist, Beck has had a number of incarnations in the 00s alone. That said, my favorite song of his from the past decade is “Lost Cause,” notably one of the saddest, slowest tunes he’s ever released. It’s surprisingly refreshing to hear Beck break it down and wallow for a change.

129. Fall to Pieces – Avril Lavigne (2005)

Here Avril goes with another rock-esque ballad. The fact that she writes songs this good and still is forever blemished by “Sk8r Boi” is a shame.

128. The Rake’s Song – The Decemberists (2009)

Though the Decemberists’s career has spanned the entire decade, it’s their latest release that is my favorite. I love that storytelling goes hand-in-hand with music, a real treat for the listeners.

127. Run – Snow Patrol (2004)

Moody and full of melancholy, “Run” is just as much about the ambiance it is creating as the story the lyrics are telling. Stripped down to sheer emotion, this song is stunning.

126. Stellar – Incubus (2000)

“Stellar” has both originality and a signature edge, making it a great example of modern alternative rock music.

125. Hollaback Girl – Gwen Stefani (2005)

Who would have guessed that spelling bananas would actually spell H.I.T.? This song might be too contagious for its own good, Gwen released a beast with this one.

124. D.A.N.C.E. – Justice (2007)

On paper, it looks like a recipe for disaster: children singing Michael Jackson references. Somehow, it’s amazing, however. In 2007, this was the song played at parties trying to lour you onto the dance floor.

123. Bootylicious – Destiny’s Child (2001)

Borrowing a sample from a classic Stevie Nicks song, Destiny’s Child not only created a smash song, but a new word that is forever part of our lexicon as well. Talk about an impact.

122. New Slang – The Shins (2001)

“New Slang” is the song that introduced the world to The Shins and ushered in a renewed era of indie rock. It’s a song that’s subdued yet solid, and very friendly to whistle to.

121. Don’t Make Me a Target – Spoon (2007)

With the steady series of chords, it’s possible to bounce along to the entire song. The strained vocals at the chorus add to the despair and urgency, making this tune more cathartic than pop-friendly.

120. Stronger – Britney Spears (2000)

It’s actually cool to like Britney, she is an on-and-off critical darling. My favorite Britney song ever, however, is “Stronger” a minor chart hit in 2000, and one that is rarely still mentioned in her career retrospectives, but I think the song packs a punch and is definitely a highlight of hers.

119. If I Ain’t Got You – Alicia Keys (2004)

“Fallin’” may have brought Keys to the limelight, but this song is even better at showcasing the full range of her vocal and piano talents. Simultaneously beautiful and soulful.

118. But for You Who Fear My Name – The Welcome Wagon (2008)

Full-disclosure: The Welcome Wagon consists of a minister and his wife who write Christian music. It’s mostly allegory, though: I didn’t even realize the religious leaning until well after I was obsessed with their music. If you like Sufjan, you’ll like this – he produced it, after all.

117. Island in the Sun – Weezer (2001)

Oh how the mighty have fallen. Weezer was a quintessential band of the 90s, but has struggled to remain relevant (or good even, really) in this decade. They’ve put out a lot of songs I can’t even stand to listen to in the past several years, but “Island in the Sun” marks the last enjoyable song they released to radio.

116. One Thing – Amerie & Jay-Z (2005)

Amerie flat out commands attention with this song, announcing herself as a powerhouse. It’s a shame that this hit didn’t parlay into long-term success, because she might be the most consistently great R&B performer out today.

115. She Don’t Want Nobody Near – The Counting Crows (2004)

The Counting Crows haven’t been nearly as big of a presence in the 00s as they were in the 90s. Their song with the most success was “Accidentally in Love” the theme to Shrek 2 (it’s cute, but eh…), but the song I was pleasantly surprised to discover, “She Don’t Want Nobody Near,” was the throwaway single on the greatest hits album. It’s a greatest hit in my heart, anyway.

114. Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get out of – U2 (2001)

This past decade, U2 could audio record themselves pooping and win Grammys for it, but I’d deem most of their award victories to be a lot of hype and little substance. In my opinion, the sole song that earned its Grammy win was “Stuck in a Moment,” a simple, soulful tune.

113. I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow – The Soggy Bottom Boys (2002)

The Soggy Bottom Boys may be a fictional band (from the film O Brother, Where Art Thou?), but this song is a real hit and, better yet, you don’t have to be a country aficionado to find it enjoyable.

112. Extraordinary Machine – Fiona Apple (2005)

Apple’s album of the same name was a long time in the making, its first draft of sorts leaking a full year before its legitimate release. Though most of the tracks had been reworked, the title track remained the same, and it’s easy to hear why: inspiring lyrics and dulcet instrumentals topped with Apple’s breathy voice make this a solid song.

111. They – Jem (2005)

Songs with a message are a dime a dozen, but Jem’s “They” is a meticulously crafted song with a message. It’s so good, it makes you want to listen to the cryptic lyrics and decipher a deeper meaning.

110. Yellow – Coldplay (2000)

Coldplay earned its long-lasting reputation practically overnight with this song. It’s a classic even if you can barely stand to listen to it anymore.

109. Smiley Faces – Gnarls Barkley (2006)

The title says it all: this song is not just happy, it’s ecstatic. Get dancing!

108. The Bomb Inside the Bomb – We Are Scientists (2002)

Before they were signed to a major label, We Are Scientists, who formed at my college consortium, played on my campus frequently. I’ve never liked their label-backed releases nearly as much as their initial songs, including “The Bomb Inside the Bomb,” which are pure fun.

107. Ladyflash – The Go! Team (2004)

This band has moxy. Listening to the Go! Team’s music is like receiving a jolt of energy. They’ve got so much energy when they perform that it transfers right into your body until you’re dancing right along – not that it would take any convincing.

106. Sex on Fire – Kings of Leon (2008)

Musically, Kings of Leon isn’t doing anything too different from the status quo, but lead singer Caleb Followill’s voice is like some strange gift from the heavens. He could sing anything and it’d be worth listening to.

105. R U Professional? – The Mae Shi (2009)

Featuring audio samples from Christian Bale’s notorious rant, “R U Professional” does what few comical songs manage to do: stand on its merits. It’s a fun, dance-worthy hit in its own right. The fact that it’s also a skewering of a ridiculous celebrity is just icing on the cake.

104. If She Wants Me – Belle and Sebastian (2003)

It’s impossible to pinpoint Belle and Sebastian musically since their songs are all over the place. This song is particularly noteworthy because it features a male exploring falsetto; normally, I cringe, but he actually makes it sound good.

103. Lose Myself – Lauryn Hill (2007)

Everyone’s dismissed Hill as having gone crazy, but I will always be a fan. For me, she is the symbol of beauty in the face of imperfection, even though there’s nothing imperfect about her beauty. Does that make sense? It probably doesn’t, but that’s okay, because it’s imperfect, hence beautiful. Same goes for this song.

102. Try – Nelly Furtado (2004)

A minor hit at best, “Try” is beautiful and complex. This is the style of music that Furtado excels at, even if it’s not radio friendly.

101. Myriad Harbour – The New Pornographers (2007)

The lyrics to this song don’t paint a complete picture, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to finish it for them. I am especially crazy about the lyric “Someone somewhere asked me, ‘Is there anything in particular I can help you with?’ All I ever wanted help with was you.”

I’ll right, I’ll be back tomorrow with songs 100-51. In the meantime, comment if you’ve got the urge.

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