24 September 2016

top 100 of the '00s | 61. m.i.a. - "paper planes"

Art is, by nature, political, so I always love to see an artist who embraces that fact. M.I.A. goes beyond embracing; she cuddles with this fact like a body pillow.

Written in frustration in the wake of difficult treatment by the US government, the chorus is a mouthful that hits on both the difficulty of immigration to the US and the treatment and stereotyping of immigrants once they're here. M.I.A. told The Fader that she used sound effects instead of lyrics in part of the chorus to leave it open to interpretation, a call that had every chance to be awkward but works incredibly well here.

The hypnotizing beat will have you swaying side to side, snapping your fingers, and questioning your stances on a globalized economy.

23 September 2016

top 100 of the '00s | 62. holiday - "echo in my head"

There isn't really a single thing special or remarkable about this song, but 10 years later, it's like a PB&J in the brain as soon as I hear those opening notes. It's with me the rest of the day.

It's a classic pop rock progression played just grungy and low-fi enough to be interesting to a college radio audience. The vocals are a perfect match. Not one thing is out of place, yet it doesn't feel overproduced.

They really just knocked this out of the park. It typifies to me everything that was done right by indie pop/rock artists of this era.

10 September 2016

top 100 of the '00s | 63. toadies - "song i hate"

I have done no scientific data collection to back up this statement but roughly 99.8% of songs are breakup songs. The first song ever written was probably a breakup song. Some caveperson probably went back to their little cave home, feeling all brokenhearted and confused and tenderfooted (they didn't have shoes) and let it all out by banging rocks together and wailing into the night sky, and they rhymed "you" with "do."

However, as recently as 2008, people are still finding creative new ways to write them, presumably because people are still breaking up, and they have to do something with those feelings, so here we are.

I love the idea of an ex being an obnoxious earworm. It's a fair parallel: Something that you loved the first time you encountered it, but it betrayed you, or was too annoying, or made you feel things you didn't want to feel, so it had to leave your life. But you can't quit thinking about it, because the parts that you liked are still infesting the corners of your brain.

I'm in a weird mood today. This is a great song. Thanks for this one, Toadies. You rock.

07 September 2016

top 100 of the '00s | 64. corinne bailey rae - "put your records on"

A sweet ditty of empowerment sung with angelic delicacy. Bailey Rae's beautiful voice floats like a leaf in the fall breeze across sweet guitar motifs and a minimal drum track, neither of which overpowers her (mostly) soft singing.

It's as if she wrote this song to her younger self, much like Brad Paisley's "Letter To Me." Be yourself loudly and proudly, she encourages, and never let anybody make you feel bad about yourself.

Everyone has things they'd like to say to their teenage self, so cheers to Bailey Rae for wrapping a bunch of them up into this sonically sweet little package.

02 September 2016

top 100 of the '00s | 65. my chemical romance - "cancer"

Pulling off a concept album geared toward teenagers in 2006 is an accomplishment that needn't be overlooked. I was 20 when this album was released, and would never have even considered listening to it were it not for the encouragement of a couple of friends about four years after its release. Granted, I was a bit more closed-minded about the music I listened to then and was quick to judge, but the band's aesthetic and reputation had nothing to do with it; they simply weren't on my radar. I had long ago written them off as emo kid stuff, and that wasn't my thing.

The album follows a character known only as "The Patient" through the last bit of his life, his death, and his crossover to whatever happens after death. It's dramatic, it's sad, and it's a bit kitchy in places, but it's incredibly well written and can touch your heart even if you aren't a 2000s teenager.

This track takes place in the moments before The Patient's death. He has already accepted his fate and is now coping with the sadness of leaving those he loves behind and the deterioration of his body. In the context of this album, it's a piece in a big, dramatic puzzle, but taken as a solitary work, this song can be extremely comforting to anyone who's had to watch someone they love suffer from a terminal illness. It can help you see things from their perspective and understand their real pain.