Saturday, May 28, 2011

Noughtie: The 100 Most Important Songs of the Decade (Part 8)

To view part 1, click here.
To view part 2, click here.

To view part 3, click here.
To view part 4, click here.
To view part 5, click here.

To view part 6, click here.

To view part 7, click here.

30 entries to go now. It will all be over in a month! I hope you're enjoying it though, here's from #30 to #21!

#30. "By the Way" - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Released: 10/6/02
Album: By the Way
Chart Positions: UK - #2, US - #34 (#1 in Mainstream Rock Tracks Chart), Best Elsewhere - Canada - #2

Despite no appearances or accolades of note, this song was huge. It's arguably the Chili's most famous song, it's definitely so from this decade. It just felt like a culmination of nearly 20 years of music making came to an all time high. It can be argued that "Dani California" is the bigger track, I believe chart success wise it is, but this song gets more airplay, it's a more recognised track now, despite being released 4 years prior. And yes, I personally like this song more as well. "By the Way" was just huge, and when you think of the major Chili's songs of their career, this is up there, that's no dispute.

#29. "Best of You" - Foo Fighters
Released: 30/5/05
Album: In Your Honor
Accolades: Nominated for Best Rock Song at the Grammy Awards,
Chart Positions: UK - #4, US - #18 (#1 in Mainstream Rock Tracks Chart), Best Elsewhere - Belgium - #3

I swear this song won an award for Best Single at an award ceremony somewhere... I can't find evidence of this so I'm not going to include it. Anyway "Best of You" is my choice of Foo Fighters track of the decade. I have a cap of three songs per artist in this list and this is the third. "Best of You" was not a bigger hit worldwide as "All My Life", but in America and the UK, this was the bigger song. But it's not just about the sales, it's also about the reception of the track. This song, was so well received. Everyone loved "Best of You", and it's unusual for the Foos to release such an emotional and beautiful song as the lead single of an album. They usually release a heavy hitter ("All My Life", "The Pretender", "Monkey Wrench"), and I think that had an impact too. All the music fans, regardless if they were into pop, rock, or were hardcore Foo Fighters fans, they all loved it. It's just such a strong track.

#28. "Empire State of Mind" - Jay-Z
Released: 20/10/09
Album: The Blueprint 3
Accolades: Nominated for Record of the Year at the Grammy Awards, #8 in MTV's Best Songs of 2009, #2 in Rolling Stone's Best of 2009, #3 in New York Times Best of 2009, #44 in Pitchfork's Top 100 Tacks of 2009
Chart Positions: UK - #2, US - #1 (#1 in Hot Rap Tracks Chart), Best Elsewhere - Czech Republic - #1

This is only the second song in this listing to get to #1 in the US officially (the first being "Butterfly" by Crazy Town). I think this song is the last song (release date wise) of the decade as well. It's not hard to understand why this song was so important. I mean, New York City is such an amazing city as it is, and has many songs paying homage to it already. But recently, no song has captured the essence of the city, whilst talking about it in a positive and negative light. There are amazing landmarks, people and cultures in the city that are just standard knowledge worldwide. Drugs are rife there, which is unfortunate. Gangs are many too. The lyrics, Jay-Z rapping, Alicia Keys' choruses, the beat in the background. The song is just New York on a musical platter. And it was a worldwide success too, it was just a huge song, arguably Jay-Z's biggest yet. It's definitely one of his finer moments in a fantastic alternative rap career.

#27. "Smooth Criminal" - Alien Ant Farm
Released: 21/7/01
Album: Anthology
Appearances: American Pie 2 (movie), Karaoke Revolution (video game), Guitar Hero On Tour: Decade (video game), Rock Band (video game)
Listings: Best Videos
Chart Positions: UK - #3, US - #23 (#1 in Hot Modern Rock Tracks Chart), Best Elsewhere - Australia - #1

One of the biggest cover versions of all time hits the chart at #27. Who would have thought that covering a Michael Jackson song in a rock style would result in such a huge reception? The song was just fantastic. It had the same great riff from the original, just with an modern alternative metel guitar. It was big here, in Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland and Austria, getting into the Top 5 in all those countries. Alien Ant Farm tried to take advantage of the huge reception of this cover version with "Movies" and other tracks, but nothing came close. In fact the band haven't had a Top 5 hit since 2003 (and that was in New Zealand), which is a shame. But it just shows the quality of the cover version, a song by a brilliant and legendary pop musician in Michael Jackson, chewed up and spat out in a hard rock format today produced one of the decade's moments of greatness.

#26. "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" - My Chemical Romance
Released: 13/9/04
Album: Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge
Appearances: Burnout 3: Takedown (video game), Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock (video game)
Chart Positions: UK - #19, US - #86 (#4 in Alternative Songs Chart), Best Elsewhere - New Zealand - #38

It sucks to say it, but this song won't be going aware anytime soon. It's one of the biggest songs of the decade associated with the genre and term "emo", like it or not. It's also the song that really kickstarted My Chemical Romance's career. While they have had more success with other songs chart wise, this track just won't go away. It's just such a well received song, it really describes how a lot of teenagers feel in today's moder world. I don't like the band, but I can see why this song is so well liked, it's the catchy chorus, the (immature) comedy video all to do with school culture. If you're not a teenager, or wasn't a teenager when this track came out, chances are you don't like it. But like it or not as I said, a lot of people who listen to modern music are people in their teens. And this song is hard to be topped in terms of importance to people in that age bracket.

#25. "Clocks" - Coldplay
Released: 10/12/02
Album: A Rush of Blood to the Head
Accolades: Winner of Record of the Year Award at the Grammys, #155 in Pitchfork's 500 Greatest Songs of the 2000's, Nomianted for Best Single at the Q Awards, #68 in Pitchfork's Top 100 Singles from 2000-04, #490 in Rolling Stones' 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
Appearances: In America (movie), ER (TV series), Confidence (movie), The Sopranos (TV series), Third Watch (TV series), Peter Pan (movie trailer), The Wild (movie)
Chart Positions: UK - #9, US - #29 (#9 in Hot Modern Rock Tracks Chart), Best Elsewhere - Netherlands - #2

It probably has occured to you, this is Coldplay's first entry into this listing. So yeah... you might not be surprised (or happy) to find that yes, there are three Coldplay songs in the Top #25.
I'm amazed about the fact that "Clocks" has gone slightly off radar to be honest. You couldn't get away from the song in the early part of the decade. It's that fantastically catchy piano riff (it's so odd using the word riff about a piano, but that's what it is), it's one of the most memorable piano pieces in modern rock. It's really the song that set Coldplay on the path to superstardom, they had "The Scientist" before this, that got them very popular very quickly in this country, but after "Clocks", Coldplay was a band that was popular around the world, hell, it charted higher in the Netherlands and Poland than it did anywhere else. "Clocks" set everything up that was to follow for Coldplay, they had a winning formula musically, that they would use to top the UK and US charts with.

#24. "Misery Business" - Paramore
Released: 15/7/07
Album: Riot!
Appearances: Saints Row 2 (video game), NHL 08 (video game), Guitar Hero World Tour (video game), Lips (video game), Rock Band 3 (video game), Hollyoaks (TV series), Degrassi: The Next Generation (TV series)
Chart Positions: UK - #17, US - #26 (#3 in Alternative Songs Chart), Best Elsewhere - Germany - #12

A little known fact. This song got into the Top 20 in South Africa. I found that to be pretty amazing too, as I can't recall any of the 75 songs before this entry to even get into the South African charts.
If you want proof that this listing is unbiased then look no further than this entry. As I said earlier in the Least Favourite Artists of the decade list, I hate Paramore with a passion. I hate this song more than I hate the band as well. I can't stand this track.
But this, like many songs on the listing, was the song that got Paramore mainstream popularity. It made the band. It was very successful, and the video was well received too. A song about bitchiness, with contradiction definitions, this song was very well recieved by the teenage community. The lyrics are vague enough to fit into many different situations, so many young people related to the track. Paramore have had better chart success with other songs than this, but this song still stands the test of time in terms of being their biggest hit. I doubt this song is going away for a while yet either (unfortunately).

#23. "Human" - The Killers
Released: 22/9/08
Album: Day and Age
Accolades: #1 in Rolling Stone's Best Songs of 2008, #77 in XFM's 100 Greatest Songs of All Time, #25 in Absolute Radio's Best Songs of the Decade
Appearances: Guitar Hero World Tour (video game)
Chart Positions: UK - #3, US - #32 (#1 in Hot Dance Club Play Chart), Best Elsewhere - Norway, Spain - #1

2008 personally for me was an incredibly busy year. I started a new job, I welcomed my newborn baby into this world. I didn't do much listening to music that year unfortunately, I was far too busy and commited to other things. But this song just wouldn't go away that year. From the summer of 2008 to the summer of 2009 everywhere you went, you heard this track. You heard the odd chorus lyrics. You heard the soft 80's dance beat. You heard Brandon Flower's relatively distinct vocals. You saw the music video. Radio, TV, or live performance, this was the definitive Killers track at the time. There are other songs that are more impoirtant however, in my opinion, and you'll see them soon.

#22. "Welcome to the Black Parade" - My Chemical Romance
Released: 12/09/06
Album: The Black Parade
Accolades: #17 in Rolling Stone's 100 Best Songs of 2006
Appearances: Rock Band (video game), Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock (video game), Formula 1 (sports coverage)
Chart Positions: UK - #1, US - #9 (#1 in Alternative Songs Chart), Best Elsewhere - Israel - #1

My Chemical Romance's biggest hit to date just narrowly misses out on my Top 20 songs list. To this day I don't understand the massive appeal to the song, even from an unbiased point of view. Not many heavy rock songs get to the top of the UK charts, so kudos to MCR for that. They did a lot of advertising for the track and the very well received video did favour in its success. I don't even think the band expected to top the UK charts to be honest. "Welcome to the Black Parade" fails to hit the Top 20 because as interest in the song has waned in the last few years, but that being said it's still got a solid amount of airplay, and it's still seen as a big moment for a very popular band in the last decade.

#21. "In the End" - Linkin Park
Released: 9/10/01
Album: Hybrid Theory
Accolades: #1 in Z100's Top 100 Songs of 2002, #121 in Blender's 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born
Appearances: Rock Band 3 (video game)
Chart Positions: UK - #8, US - #2 (#1 in Modern Rock Tracks Chart), Best Elsewhere - Canada - #2

"In the End" is still Linkin Park's highest charting song in America, and is only second to "What I've Done" here in the UK. Yet despite the band's immense worldwide popularity, this song is just one of those songs that are beyond the band in terms of popularity. I doubt Linkin Park can top it for quality, worldwide success and reputation. That's not to say it's my favourite song, but as I've said a few times this is an unbiased listing. And in that mindset, this is their "best". It's the song that really caught a lot of people's attention, although they were very popular by this point already. It solidified their place as one of the most exciting new bands, that's for sure.

To view part 9, click here.
To view part 10, click here.
To view the winner, click here.
To view my methods and explanations, click here. 
To view a full archived stats index of the songs listed, click here.

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