28 August 2016

top 100 of the '00s | 66. the epoxies - "everything looks beautiful on video"

The Epoxies took new wave rock and performed it with modern punk sensibilities. They released two albums of consistently clever candy-coated guitar riffs and Roxy Epoxy's husky-yet-humble vocals.

This cut has always been my fav, because it came out around the time that I solidified my career path decision to work in live TV, and it became somewhat of an anthem to me. To the band and all other listeners, though, it's a song about how pictures and video give us a tool to be whoever we want to be, despite how inadequate we may feel in person.

Some time after this album's release, I saw on Roxy's MySpace (lol) that she was doing a show on a college radio station in Portland. I Googled and called up their request line, and to my surprise, she answered, and I got to tell her that I was playing her music on my college station. How cool is that?

The Epoxies - Everything Looks Beautiful On Video by hillslink

24 August 2016

top 100 of the '00s | 67. heloise & the savoir faire - "trash, rats & microphones"

Dance music was in such a bizarre place during this decade. For the first half, the majority of it was sleek, trance-inspired eurodance. As we neared the end of the decade, it still wasn't quite cool to like '80s music again yet, so disco had a resurgence in kind of a weird way. It sort of blended with the electroclash sound that had risen in the early '00s and became this hybrid of old and new that worked really well when it was done correctly.

Heloise & The Savoir Faire are a great face for this movement. They were all over this -- as I call it -- "trash disco" sound, making songs that aren't exactly fit for club floors but definitely aren't headbanging rock songs either. It's just sort of this super gay, super glittery, kinda synthy, kinda dance-rocky groove that white people in their 30s were just all over at this time.

This track was included on Heloise's debut EP, which a friend brought back to me in 2007 from his SxSW trip. I immediately fell in love and got it into rotation on the college station, but was bummed when they finally released an album a year and a half or so later, titled it Trash, Rats, and Microphones, and then left this song off.

The song is so rare, in fact, that this YouTube posting seems to be its only digital presence. I shot it myself when I saw the band live in fall 2007 at the CMJ music fest in New York at a bar called Mo Pitkin's, which was evidently only open for two years. I remember talking to Heloise after the show and telling her that this was my favorite of their songs, and she said, "That song is my diary." So don't let the disgust she feigns at the beginning of this video or its eventual omission from their album fool you; it's in her heart.

17 August 2016

top 100 of the '00s | 68. kelly clarkson - "my life would suck without you"

I remember thinking how cool and edgy it was for someone to use the word "suck" in the title of a Top 40 song, almost exactly one year before Cee Lo dropped his solo debut on the world.

The layering of guitars and synths is just perfect here. It pushes and pulls between verse and chorus, working in tandem with the emotional roller coaster of the singer.

It was the first song since Sheryl Crow's "My Favorite Mistake" to put some hope into the idea of being stuck in (what often feels like?) a hopeless relationship.

We probably are not, in fact, better off without most people who piss us off.