22 July 2016

top 100 of the '00s | 69. little t and one track mike - "shaniqua"

There are very, very,


few things that I like about white-dude hip-hop culture, but this song will always be one of them.

I think it really hearkens back to some of the goofy things rap was doing in the '80s (e.g. Bobby Jimmy and the Critters). It's just some goofy bullshit about moving into a place with a former tenant who was really popular, and you're tired of getting her calls. Like, who can't get into this?

This song dropped in early 2001 and was a big MTV hit, but although this duo went on tour with Blink-182, Green Day, and even Outkast (!), fate was not on their side. A large release party was planned for their well-reviewed debut album, scheduled to happen on -- you guessed it -- September 11th of that year. They broke up the following year.

I wonder if the real Shaniqua still listens to this song and smiles? I know if I annoyed someone (by doing literally nothing) enough for them to write a song about it, I could die happy.

17 July 2016

top 100 of the '00s | 70. tullycraft - "the punks are writing love songs"

This was the only Tullycraft song I ever got into, but it really is a stroke of musical brilliance.

"Twee" was very much an established *whatever* (scene? sound? thing?) in the indie rock world by the time this album dropped in 2007, and Tullycraft's name seems to be associated with its genesis dating all the way back to the mid '90s. (Imagine what going to a "twee" show was like in 1995 -- it's pretty funny.) For the uninitiated, twee is lighthearted, lo-fi indie pop, sung in a carefree, almost jaunty manner and with no abrasive instrumentation. It's like the musical embodiment of a children's book or that guy at the office who has potted plants on his desk.

What Tullycraft did so cleverly here is draw a very clear connection between twee and '80s punk. It's a pretty clear nod in particular to the Dead Kennedys.

I took this as their own little way of saying that twee was, in fact, not all that different than punk. It's just its less-aggressive little brother.

10 July 2016

top 100 of the '00s | 71. gorillaz - "dare"

Gorillaz' second album Demon Days was released in 2005. They used it to expand upon the aesthetic they established with their 2001 debut, comprising dark, kinda-weird hip-hop with a gritty anime shell.

"DARE" is the album's farthest reach, but is also its biggest success. The three "dude" members are swept aside and sweet lil Noodle is given the spotlight, gently singing (voiced brilliantly by singer Roses Gabor) as Shaun Ryder of Happy Mondays mechanically coughs out a few phrases.

If this doesn't make you dance your ass off, nothing will.

07 July 2016

top 100 of the '00s | 72. battles - "atlas"

Nine years have passed and I have still never heard another song that sounds like this.

Battles was formed in NYC in 2002 and, after a few EP releases, they finally put out their debut album Mirrored in 2007. This was the first single. It did not chart, but it received considerable music blogger and college radio buzz.

This track is nerdy, mechanical, noisy, rhythmic, and catchy. You'll stomp your feet through the whole thing but probably won't understand why.

05 July 2016

top 100 of the '00s | 73. green day - "american idiot"

Green Day is one of those few musical artists that's managed the intricate balance of maintaining a core sound while also growing as an artist.

Their 1994 album Dookie is one of my favorite albums of all time. It brought so-cal punk-influenced alt rock to the mainstream, and is just a flawless set of killer, memorable tracks. If you go back to their two earlier EPs and one album that they released on smaller labels -- 39/Smooth, 1,000 Hours, and Kerplunk -- you'll find that their sound didn't really change in between. They pretty clearly just got access to better equipment when writing and recording Dookie.

Their subsequent albums have followed this trend. They explore new themes (usually finding new targets for their ever-aging angst), but what is distinctly Green Day has always remained.

The W Years effected a resurgence of punk and protest music the likes of which the world hadn't seen in over 20 years, so it would have been ridiculous for Green Day not to chime in. And when they did, they followed through on what we all expected of them, saying what many of us were feeling at that time.