Friday, December 04, 2009

Top Songs of the Decade: 10-1

Here are my top 10 favorite songs of the last decade. There really aren't a lot of surprises here as most of these tunes placed on the top of or near the top of my previous best of list's for their year. I didn't do a list from '00 to '04 but there are four tracks from those years including two from 2001 and one each from '02 and '04. Five of these songs are on my top 50 favorite songs of all times list, and five of the acts represented here were also part of my favorite bands of the decade list.

10) Wake Me Up When September Ends - Green Day. This is one of the quintessential songs of the decade from one of the best mainstream rock records of all time.

9) Bunk Trunk Skunk/Bicycle, Bicycle You Are My Bicycle/WildCat! - Be Your Own Pet . I'm kind of cheating here by actually grouping three songs from BYOP's debut record, but even at that the track is only 5 minutes long. The songs flow together perfectly and I wouldn't ever think to listen to one without the other two.

8) Roll On - The Living End . This pro-labour anthem from early in the decade is and example of great radio rock that is also about something. I just wish there was more of it.

7) One Crowded Hour - Augie March. More from Oz with one of the finest written songs I have ever heard. The lyrics may be a bit nonsensical but they are beautiful nonetheless. Coupled with the raising and lowering tempo of the song you get the feeling that you are being told a mystical yet important story that, while you may not fully understand it, still resonates with you.

6) Why I Lie - Liz Phair. While there are legions of 90's Liz Phair fans who can't be bothered to listen to anything she'd done since Guyville, I think this is one of her best songs ever. It's wonderful lyrically and has one of the best guitar lines that she's ever played and brought me one of my favorite lines ever: "If you ask me why I hurt you, I don't understand it. I can't help myself. It's a special combination of predatory instinct and simple ill will."

5) Lies - The Waifs. This is a song that I think should be played on every radio station, iPod and loud speaker for a week straight leading up to every election. In just over 4 minutes the Waifs pretty much sum up everything that's wrong with the modern media and the sheep that line up to listen to whatever they have to say. Plus, it's a catchy little number. (Also on the list at #93)

4) Songs for the Rich - Tristan Prettyman. The slowest of my top ten, this song is also one of the most somber. I think Tristan Prettyman has a simply beautiful voice which is amazingly showcased on this stripped bare song about addiction with only a lone guitar as accompaniment. It's also a great example of what a simple production choice can do for a song, as in this case the guitar itself was miced allowing for the sound of fingers on strings to be recorded rather than lost in the recording of an amp.

3) Eighties Fan - Camera Obscura. This track from the band's debut CD is reminiscent of countrymen Jesus and Mary Chain's song Just Like Honey. Based on the title, and singer Tracyanne Campbell's admission that she was inspired by the 80's group that would be a safe bet. However, it would be wrong to assume that the song is anything less than brilliant all on its own. (Other CO tracks on the list at #62 and #78)

2) Going North - Missy Higgins. This song of determination and destination is poignant and motivating. With Inky and I determined to undertake an Australian adventure in 2011 the only thing keeping us from using it quite literally as our theme song, as it were, is the directionality of the title. Maybe one day we'll get her to sing it as I'm Going South. (Missy is also on the list at #13, #47 & #85)

1) What Sarah Said - Death Cab for Cutie. As much as I love this song, it's one I have to be careful to not listen to when I'm in a down mood. Unlike #2 which can pep me up right away, What Sarah Said is just far too spot on in its description of waiting in a hospital while someone you loves dies to listen to on any but your best days. But pain is the impetus for some of the most impactful art in the world and in this case, Death Cab did a great job of capturing one of the most base experience of any one's life. (Death Cab also placed #69 and #92 with Ben Gibbard also featured with The Postal Service at #15)
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