Friday, July 22, 2011

Noughtie: Important Songs? Important Artists? Really Johnny Mercyside?

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. 
To view part 8, click here.
To view part 9, click here.
To view part 10, click here.
To view the winner, click here. 

Hey everyone, I've finally posted the entire of the Noughtie series. The whole thing is nearly six months long, some would argue it's been too long, and in a way I definitely agree, but regardless, it's been a heck of a ride and I've enjoyed it. But some people still weren't sure where I was coming from with some of my suggestions. Some found them baffling. I want to draw a line behind both the Most Important Artists list and most importantly, the Most Important Songs list. At the end of this article is a list of 50 songs that in the end didn't make the 100. I'm revealing them as alternatives, but also to show you other songs that you could argue are also important. But let's hit some of this criticism head on.

The most frequent criticism I've had for my listing is for the word 'important'. It was difficult what word to choose to describe what I was trying to pinpoint in my listings, both important artists and songs. For the artists list, I was looking for the artists that have had an incredible amount of success throughout the decade, in the singles department and the albums department. Sales did have a say as well. It was primarily success in this country, but America also plays its part and worldwide success. In the end Nickelback was my choice for #1, a band I personally really REALLY dislike but you'd be an idiot if you were ignorant to their success and popularity. I pissed off a lot of people with that decision, mainly because I found out there's a lot of people who dislike Nickelback as much as I do. They haven't gone away, they haven't dipped in popularity, they had huge hits in the US and the UK, they have sold a ridiculous amount of albums.

Consistently throughout the decade, Nickelback made hit after hit after hit. Their albums were always well received. Their songs were always on the radio, or on music television. As far as I'm concerned, frustratingly, they are the most prominent band of the decade.

My intention was to balance all the criterias that define what is a good or successful artist, this include success, hits, memorable songs, albums, critics and fans, all of it. That's what makes it important. And that's what I felt I achieved.

I want to talk about some artists that didn't make the important artist listing. Someone mentioned it being quite a disgrace that I never put The Strokes down in the important artist listing. I can see why they would think The Strokes deserve a mention, I mean they definitely have the critics love them. But how popular are they commercially? Also throughout the decade? I can't say they performed much in the second half of the decade. Chart success is important, if you like it or not. And it played a part in my listing. Another band that follows a similar vein is The Streets, although they did get a #1 hit (which featured in my 100 Important Songs). Same applies to The Libertines, and Arcade Fire. Arcade Fire, and another band that do this is Fleet Foxes, they sell albums, but they don't do well with singles. This is a broad search in terms of consistency in the decade, album sales, single sales, critical and commercial success, and their songs standing out as being memorable in the decade. Arcade Fire and Fleet Foxes are what I call album bands, they produce critically praised albums, they have a cult fan base. They don't have mainstream popularity, unfortunately Nickleback do.

There's a band that I've not drawn much attention to in this entire series that I need to address. That band is Radiohead. Now Radiohead is a difficult one for me, because while you can argue that Radiohead are an 'album band' not too dissimilar to Arcade Fire, they do sell music well. They're a band who have broke through the critic favourites yet uncommercially successful barrier, and have done so for some time. They are also a band that released material throughout the decade. But... how many of the songs released in this decade really stand out? I mean personally, one of my favourite songs by them is "2+2=5", but when did you last hear it? I can't say any Radiohead single released in this decade gets much airplay anymore, if any. "Just" gets played much more, so does "Paranoid Android" "Street Spirit" and "Just". The songs from this decade just don't stand out much, in terms of prominence unfortunately.

Some people say that Radiohead deserve immediate entry because they were the first major band to release their album for free on the internet, and this was a major event in music history, so therefore that makes the band important. It's a good point no doubt, but the Important Artists listing wasn't about a history lesson, it was about consistency throughout the decade, a mixture of consistent success in the album and singles chart as well as the impact they had. And... on the grand scale of things, Radiohead as a band didn't make much of an impact. Their decision to release their 'In Rainbows' album for free is most certainly an important moment, and it was extremely innovative, but that doesn't take away that Radiohead didn't really stand out much in this decade.

Another criticism I've had in both listings was Green Day's part. Some felt that I made Green Day seem like their success was more significant in this decade than in the last. It's a valid opinion. "Dookie" was a huge hit in the early nineties, it's no doubt. The singles off that album are still played today. But I just feel "American Idiot" had a bigger impact in all faces of music, and also, as much as it sucks, pop culture. The 'emo' fad is horrible and can't be ignored. I'm sorry I have to say it, but Green Day played their part in that. Their 'modern punk' was just that on Dookie, 'modern punk'. But this new 'emo' genre that was surfacing around this time, was all new. And that's why I think ten, twenty years down the line, "American Idiot", the song and the album, will be forever seen as the band's biggest work. I didn't say finest, I said biggest. It'll go down as their important album.

Now was I wrong to use the word 'important'? The more I think about it, the more I might be wrong to have used it. What I define before you might not be important, some say it should be just successful. But if I were to make a listing of the most successful songs and bands, then I can just pull out a load of facts and stats to do with commercial success. So that's why I refrained from using that word, and I still think it's the wrong word. I sometimes think using 'impactful' might be a better word. These bands and artists are what I believe will create a legacy for this decade that has passed. Bands like Arcade Fire won't be remembered in ten, twenty, thirty years time, neither will Sigur Ros. Unless they have a freak surprise hit, in which they will then get the fame they arguably deserve, they will fade away. One of my favourite bands from the eighties is Bauhaus. You barely hear their music now. Yet they are arguably responsible for goth rock and metal of today. But you hear of The Smiths, The Cure and Metallica don't you? I hope this makes sense a little. Is 'impactful' the right word?

Moving on to the Important Songs listing, the idea behind the 100 songs is that it is an unbiased list of songs that were popular, successful, well received and have longevity going into this decade. It's not a list of my favourite songs and there are many songs in this list that I don't like. This listing is about many things, which tally up to the important 100 songs of the decade, in my opinion. The listing is about its impact on the decade, the awards it may or may not have won, its chart success predominantly in Britain but also in America, and other countries too. But most importantly, this is a list about what songs will be played from the last decade, in the decades of the future.

It sucks to say it, some people hate the fact that popularity of a song comes into this listing, but sales are important, it’s a form of measuring stick of success. It’s not the be or end of, but if your song was successful, chances are it will be remembered for years to come.

I set a single cap of three singles per artist, so that a lot of artists would get a chance for a song on the list. I also tried to cover all ten years of the decade, instead of concentrating on the early part of the decade. Take for example, "All the Small Things" by Blink-182, is pretty much a rock classic now. You'll hear this song played many years down the line as one of the biggest and best songs from this decade. I'd put money on it. But that song is currently eleven years old. Yet higher up in the listing was "You've Got the Love" by Florence and the Machine. Am I saying that as of right now, "All the Small Things" is a less important song than "You've Got the Love"? Not necessarily. But I needed to cover all ten years, and in an unbiased fashion. The former song as I said is eleven years old, the latter is only two. There's nine years of airplay between the tracks. So keep that in mind if you look at the listing again. Tomorrow I'm going to run down a load of stats, you'll see that there's a fair bit of balance between the ten years of music, I mean some years have more songs than others, but one thing is for certain is that all ten years have been considered to some degree.

Another thing to think about. Think of what songs are always played from the eighties. Those new wave tracks? Those post punk tracks? Those electronica songs? And what of the nineties? Brit-pop? Boybands? Girlbands? Dance music? This is what this listing is about. What songs people will associate with this decade, for good or for bad, is what this listing is about. I'm predicting what songs will be played for many years from now. What songs will be played on the radio when people reminisce about the decade gone past? What songs will be available on a CD, or a more advanced music playing device, as the "Best of the Naughties"? That's what this listing is about.

Trying to put them into an order that respected all ten years of the decade AND on vibes that I feel from critics and music fans, from rock and metal (with alternative rap and dance) was a difficult task. I hope you all respect that if you look through the list again.

I'd also like to mention about the appearances and accolades of each song. I chose the order of the listing before I checked out the appearances and accolades, so I think it's only fair to explain that they didn't affect my charting, they were there to emphasise why each song is important, in different ways. It was also to bulk out each entry.

Some songs people felt should have been higher. One was "Last Nite" by The Stokes, or just Strokes songs in general. In fairness I think The Strokes deserve more praise than I gave them in the singles listing, especially "Last Nite". If I were to redo the list some time, it's something I'm open to doing in the future, I think I'd put some more emphasis on this band and that song.

Another song was "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley. Someone said that this song should be very high, if not #1, based on the fact that it was downloads alone that got the song to #1 in the UK charts, a first for this country. While that was a very important landmark in the decade historically, I feel there are other songs that will be played more, remembered more, and thought of more in the decades to come. But I do, once again, feel it should merit a higher place on the listing.

An artist that didn't get one song in the Top 100 was Eminem. Now there's a few reasons for that. The first was that I felt that all the big hits from Eminem's career were released in years where I felt there were big rock and metal songs also released. I prioritised rock, indie and metal over rap and dance, as these are popular genres with alternative fans. Eminem had many big hits in his career, and tomorrow when I release the "50 runner ups", you'll see what songs marginally mised out of the Top 100. You might find this to be a lame excuse, but at the time it made sense. Once again looking back on it, Eminem deserves at least one placement in this decade listing.

To emphasise, the only thing I'm trying to refrain from is dance, pop and RnB, unless it has an alternative audience (eg Eminem, The Prodigy). I'm predominantly sticking to indie, rock, punk, and metal and any subgenre around these genres.

One song that got under people's skins was "All Summer Long" by Kid Rock, which got to #15 in my list. I don't like "All Summer Long". It's a shit song. "All Summer Long" got to #1 in 6 different countries. How many other songs on this listing to to #1 in 6 different countries? Not many.

Sorry this post is in note form but there are was a lot of criticism for a lot of different things to do with these aspects of my work. And while I don't mind criticism (as long as it's constructive) I want to try and get people to understand where I'm coming from. I don't want to just concentrate on the critisicm, I've had a lot of praise for my efforts on this project and also some of the decisions I've made on route. It's not all bad, in fact it's mainly been good, the site is still quite new and this project has brought a lot of attention to my work so I'm happy about that. I just want to you all to understand this project, if you understand and still disagree then that's fine by me. The least I can do is explain where I'm coming from.

So there you go. I hope you understand the logic behind some of the decisions I made. There are songs on this list that you don't like. There are songs on this list I despise. But they were successful, they are thought of well by other people. Don't be ignorant to other people's feelings. Respect that some people like Nickelback, or other artists that are debated to be crap.

To finalise, here are the 50 'rejects' that didn't make the Top 100. Keep in mind these songs also work with the three song cap (for instance, Coldplay had three songs in the Top 100 so I didn't have any more songs by them in the listing). They're in order of what year they were released.

  • Girl All the Bad Guys Want - Bowling for Soup
  • The Real Slim Shady - Eminem
  • One Step Closer - Linkin Park
  • Original Prankster - The Offspring
  • One More Time - Daft Punk
  • Purple Hills - D12
  • Beautiful Day - U2
  • With Arms Wide Open - Creed
  • It's My Life - Bon Jovi
  • Hate to Say I Told You So - The Hives
  • Weapon of Choice - Fatboy Slim
  • Buck Rodgers - Feeder
  • Burn Baby Burn - Ash
  • Toxicity - System of a Down
  • Somewhere Only We Know - Keane
  • No One Knows - The Queens of the Stone Age
  • Sk8er Boi - Avril Lavigne
  • Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous - Good Charlotte
  • Too Bad - Nickleback
  • The Hindu Times - Oasis
  • Without Me - Eminem
  • Can't Stop - Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Faint - Linkin Park
  • Jerk it Out - Ceasars
  • Stacy's Mom - Fountains of Wayne
  • mOBSCENE - Marilyn Manson
  • Underdog - Kasabian
  • Do You Want To - Franz Ferdinand
  • Vertigo - U2
  • I'm Not Jesus - Apocalyptica
  • The Importance of Being Idle - Oasis
  • Spitfire - The Prodigy
  • Lyla - Oasis
  • Woman - Wolfmother
  • Roses - OutKast
  • Here it Goes Again - OK Go
  • Dani California - Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • White and Nerdy - Weird Al Yankovic
  • Hard Rock Hallelujah - Lordi
  • Goodbye Mr A - The Hoosiers
  • Zero - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  • Baby Fratelli - The Fratellis
  • A Beautiful Lie - 30 Seconds to Mars
  • Saturday Superhouse - Biffy Clyro
  • Granite - Pendulum
  • Since U Been Gone - A Day to Remember
  • No You Girls - Franz Ferdinand
  • Ignorance - Paramore
  • We Made You - Eminem
  • Rusted From the Rain - Billy Talent
Overall this has been a great experience. I really enjoyed this project. So much in fact, I'm going to start going backwards through the years, starting with 1999. But it won't be done in the same style as this Noughtie series. You'll see it when it happens. Stay tuned.
Tomorrow I'll be back with the final FINAL piece to do with this project, and that's a load of statistics and fact to do with the Noughtie 100. I hope to see you then.

To view a full archived stats index of the songs listed, click here.

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