The 100 best songs of the decade
December 4, 2009 9:08 AM   Subscribe

The 100 best songs of the decade
As you might have guessed from the title, I'm counting down the best songs of the decade -- thanks in no small part to the enormous help many of you gave me in an AskMetafilter question several months ago. I've been posting 10 new songs every week (with embedded video for almost every song), and I'm up to #11 now. The top 10 will be gradually rolled out from Monday to Friday of next week. (There are also 100 runner-up songs in addition to the top 100.)

The week after next, I'll reflect on the list as a whole in an attempt to extrapolate several factors that have made this a great and inimitable decade for music.

The "100-91" post starts out with the limitations on the list (for instance, no instrumentals, and no covers of pre-2000 songs). It also has links to my favorite songs-of-the-decade lists on other sites.

I haven't commented on most of the songs individually -- either because I hope the music speaks for itself, or because I have nothing in particular to say. Under song 96, however, I did list a few of the main questions I've asked myself in selecting the songs:

1) Is it capable of giving me chills? (Or: does it emotionally affect me?)

2) Is it capable of getting stuck in my head?

3) Do I enjoy listening to the singer's voice?

4) Does the music have some sort of dramatic arc or development? (A bridge or other deviation from "verse/chorus/verse/chorus" is especially helpful.)

5) Is there a sense of "inevitability" -- that is, does each note seem to lead naturally to the next?

The more "yes" answers I'd give, the more likely I'd be to include a song on the list.

And now, let the griping about unconscionable omissions and mediocre inclusions begin! (Or, preferably not ... but I guess inevitably so.)
posted by Jaltcoh (3 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

I love year end lists! I think it would be more accurate if you titled it 100 best popular/indie rock songs of the decade (since you say you purposely left out rap aside from Outkast). Kind of like making a list of "100 sexiest men of the decade!" but saying you purposely left out all white men except Brad Pitt because you don't find white men attractive. I love Immi and Psapp and a bunch of songs on the 100-11 though!
posted by cashman at 11:09 AM on December 4, 2009

Thanks! I originally thought of making a list of "best indie songs of the decade," since that does tend to be my leaning. But then I realized I didn't want to imply any genre limitation aside from my own random personal taste. You're absolutely right that I'm not a big fan of rap -- but then, as you said, I did include OutKast because I happen to like their music. And there are raps in Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" (though not in the clip I happened to use) and Rihanna's "Umbrella."

I also didn't want to put an explicit "indie" label on this because that would open up a can of worms. What counts as "indie"? It's used so often that it almost seems like the definition has become "whatever music is considered cool." "Indie" is to the '00s as "alternative" was to the '90s -- it's so ubiquitous that it's lost its descriptive power. It would also seem a bit silly to call many of the bands/artists on the list "indie" if they're on major record labels and can regularly sell out arenas.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:23 AM on December 4, 2009

Also, some of the other lists that I linked to in the first post have more of a focus on rap -- you might be interested in those.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:29 AM on December 4, 2009

« Older The Secret of Invisibility...   |   Your Dancing Chocolate - stop ... Newer »

You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.