Friday, December 4, 2009
The 100 Singles Of The Decade: 90-81
90. Alicia Keys
In which the ingénue from Hell’s Kitchen marries the girl-and-her-piano fragility of Tori and Fiona with the ragged hurt of the best soul music, then rides that sound all the way to the Grammy Awards... and beyond.
89. Arcade Fire
[Rough Trade, 2005]
A culmination of all that made Funeral so amazing, as Win Butler and company build and build with the conviction of prophets and the open-eyed wonder of schoolchildren.
1 2 3 4
Indie quirk meets mass acceptance in a song so universal, it works as both iPod commercial and Sesame Street skit.
87. Jay-Z featuring UGK
Easily dismissed as a joke upon first release, “Big Pimpin’” now seems more a milestone in NYC/Dirty South relations, Bun B & Pimp C battling Hova to a draw while Timbaland’s burgeoning far East fetish anchors the whole damn thing.
86. Christina Aguilera
Teen pop attempted to grow up in the 2000s, with mixed results (assless leather chaps? mud wrestling? Xtina??), so it’s hard to decide what’s more surprising: that a former 4 Non Blonde could write a torch song this perfect, or that a former Mouseketeer could drop her “dirrty” act long enough to sing the hell out of it.
85. Red Hot Chili Peppers
By The Way
[Warner Bros., 2002]
Inevitably, the Peppers tipped over completely into caricature—the song was “Dani California,” and it was #1 for 12 weeks—but before they did, “By The Way” was a 3:36 lesson in all that made RHCP great: Flea’s manic bass, Anthony’s spastic rapping, and a to-die-for chorus anchored by John Frusciante’s sweet harmonies.
What You Know
[Grand Hustle/Atlantic, 2006]
The hip-hop anthem of 2006, in which a diminutive Atlanta rapper swaggers over a massive synth hook that makes him sound seven feet tall.
83. nine inch nails
The Hand That Feeds
Trent does disco as a political statement and crafts a “Head Like A Hole” for the Iraq war generation... not to mention the best NIN single since the glory days of The Downward Spiral.
82. Lil Wayne
I Feel Like Dying
Here’s the real reason Young Weezy sold three million in 2008. Throughout the highlight of an outstanding mixtape career, Wayne raps about trips to Mars while locked behind Xanax bars in the voice of someone whose best art is weirdly, hypnotically effortless.
81. Bon Iver
Heartbreak stripped to its bare essence: one guitar, one voice, and a desolate cabin in the woods.