My greatest songs of the decade

Quite simple. The songs which rocked my world the most from 2000 through 2009. As with any list, there is a personal aspect to this so it is coloured by my musical tastes and personal experiences, through to the memories they draw of good times. Building this has been a fairly big task, involving a thorough trawl through my iTunes libary, and even locating and opening up the box of records stored at my parent’s house.

Initially I built a list of what turned out to be 102 songs, with a strict one song per artist rule from which the final ten have been selected (the list is in a PDF here, in artist order.) The full list more accurately reflects a slightly broader taste in music than the top ten below might suggest. My tastes have evolved (and mellowed) over the course of the decade.

Anyway here they are, in reverse order:

10: The Hives – Hate To Say I Told You So

Makes the ten not only for being a great song, but reflected probably the most vital, alive period of music in the whole ten years, at least from my point of view. Memories of Saturday nights in The Underworld in Camden flood back when I hear this song. This (and some of the other songs on this list) came along at the height of my active gig and festival going. It also represents the huge contribution to the 2000s from Scandanavia. Following the path trodden by The Cardigans and The Wannadies before them came Soundtrack Of Our Lives, Leaves, Kings of Convenience, Erlend Øye, Alphabeat, Röyksopp, Peter Bjorn and John, The Raveonettes and Sondre Lerche to name but a few.

9: Muse – Plug In Baby

One of my biggest musical regrets is staying in the pub instead of going to see the first band on at a Feeder gig at the Portsmouth Pyramids in 1999. To be fair, Feeder were in the pub itself at the time! First support act on? You guessed it. So many Muse songs could make any greatest songs list, but Plug In Baby gets the vote for the awesome intro.

8: Kings of Leon – Molly’s Chambers

The date: 9th February 2003.
The place: Oxford Zodiac
The occasion: Kings of Leon’s first official gig in the UK (I believe they played a warm up at the High Wycombe White Horse the night before though)

One of those true “these guys are going to be huge” moments that don’t come along very often. Despite the assault of the senses of warm up band Winnebago Deal, Kings of Leon simply blew us away that night. Once again, there are other songs that could contend to represent them here, but Molly’s Chambers is the standout of Youth and Young Manhood for me.

7. The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army

Dum, dum dum dum, dum dum, dum. Dum, dum dum dum, dum dum, dum

The White Stripes fall into the same period of intensity as The Hives and The Strokes (see below) but have outlived and outperformed both. It was a hard choice between this and Fell In Love With A Girl. Or Hotel Yorba. Or The Hardest Button to Button. Or…

Honourable mention goes to the awesome Adam Freeland remix.

6: The Strokes – Last Nite

The Stone Roses of the decade? In any case, The Strokes were, undoubtedly, the coolest band on earth for a good period around 2001/2002, and they had the songs to justify that title. Last Nite reminds me of Friday nights at Nexus in Southampton (as, to be fair, do a lot of this top ten) Whilst not making the top ten, the Hard To Explain / Christina Aguilera Genie in a Bottle wins the “Best Mashup of the decade” prize, so here’s a bonus video:

5: The Libertines – Can’t Stop Me Now

Maybe another contender for the “Stone Roses” comparison. It was criminal (quite literally) that such a good band fell apart. Whilst probably not the best example of Pete Doherty’s lyrical genius, it is the intro and first verse of this song that stick so solidly in my mind and cause me to play it over and over again.

4: At The Drive In – One Armed Scissor

A band that just managed to get into this decade before splitting up. Only the fact that I’d been tipped off about them by a friend led me to the new bands tent at Reading 2000 to see them. Definitely one of the bands that had to be experienced live to be appreciated. In any case, One Armed Scissor is a track which defines them.

This station is non-operational.

3: Queens of the Stone Age – No one Knows
2: Foo Fighters – All My Life

These two songs are inextricably linked in my head. They represent yet more memories of Nexus, but also of meeting my now wife. Both are mosh-tastic air guitar anthems that saw me lose all sensibilities whenever they were played. In the case of No One Knows, it’s even one of those rare air-bass classics!

1: The Killers – Mr. Brightside

I was late to wake up to The Killers, and to be honest, this passed me by at first. However, it wormed it’s way into my consciousness as I heard more and more stuff from them. Proof of this is the fact that it remains the most scrobbled song by me on last.fm. Other Killers songs (most notably When You Were Young) could reasonably contend this list, but Mr. Brightside is the daddy. It is also one of those rare songs that has so entered the consciousness that, not only can I recite every word, it also takes on a different set of lyrics whenever I hear it in certain company. If you happen to be in a bar, club or football stadium and hear “I’m Norman Whiteside!” being shouted out by a bunch of drunken blokes then I’m probably not far away!

2 thoughts on “My greatest songs of the decade

  1. Some good calls there, particularly the top three. The Killers (in my humble opinion) failed to live up to their debut album with the next two – personally I would have gone for ‘All These Things That I’ve Done’.

    ‘No One Knows’ by QotSA – absolutely, great track, but I’d have gone for ‘The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret’ which I think just squeaked into the decade.

    I fear that my own top 10 list would be 80% Incubus, maybe with something by The Flaming Lips or Supergrass taking one of the remaining spots.

  2. “Chelsea couldn’t put one past me… I’m Norman Whiteside”.
    And I couldn’t care less about Man U. It’s just funny.

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