Thursday, December 31, 2009

Decade reviewed (7): 10 songs I liked

Franz Ferdinand, Take Me Out (2003). Reissued in 2004, there was a time this song was literally everywhere.

I remember hopping to now defunct Benji's on my lunch break, late 2003, and even there they were playing it. Kapranos & co may have already outstayed the music 'journos' attention span, but for a while they brought some songs, style and witty lyrics to a grey UK 'indie' scene.

Morrissey, First Of The Gang To Die (2004). I wasn't overly keen on his much trumpeted 'comeback' album You Are The Quarry. With this extremely hummable track, however, El Mozzo managed to pull one more rabbit out of his hat.

Richard Hawley, Hotel Room (2005). Not because it's his best (picking 'one' best song from Hawley's back catalogue is impossible) but because this is the song that made me fall in love with his world- making him one of the most cherished musical 'encounters' of my life, and the first one since my late teens. By a mile, the most underrated British artist alive.

Tindersticks, My Oblivion (2003). This theatrical, melancholy and stripped down song is an example of the landscapes Nottingham's best band are able to draw. Another spectacularly underrated band.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! (2008). An incredibly rare example of a prolific artist improving with age and turning wittier and more mental. I could have picked any of the stuff he released this decade, but this distorted/dysfunctional/fascinating track is the one that stands out the most.

Depeche Mode, Wrong (2009). Another band that is showing no intention of running out of steam, Depeche Mode released three very strong albums this decade. Wrong, the disturbing first single from their latest one, can sit comfortably amongst the very best of their career. The video is also worth checking.

Pulp, Bad Cover Version (2001). From my least favourite Pulp album (We Love Life), this quirky song deserves some belated credit - if only for its hilarious pisstake of the BandAid video. And, incidentally, it's also a very good track.

MIA, Paper Planes (2008). Cannily based around a sample from The Clash's legendary Straight to Hell, London-born MIA confirms she is one of the most articulate, political and interesting singers of her generation.

Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros, Bhindi Bhagee (2001). His premature death in 2002 meant his solo career didn't have time to take off. After a 15-year-long silence, the Clash legend returned with a quirky mashup of genres that reprised the work of his old band's Sandinista. A touching and clever antidote to these days' oppressive anti-immigration discourse, Bhindi Bargee stands out as Strummer's own celebration of multi-ethnicity. "Welcome stranger, there's no danger, welcome to this humble neighbourhood", he sang.

Gwen Stefani, What You Waiting For (2004). I can't believe it myself now, but at the time I got almost addicted to Gwen's annoying debut album, spanning every style from indie to hip hop, electro, or pop - the epitome of a decade where nothing musical was invented and everything recycled.

Also rans: Scissor Sisters, Filthy/Gorgeous (2004), George Michael, Round Here (2004), Kaiser Chiefs, I Predict A Riot (2004), Bloc Party, Blue Light, (2005), Sophie Ellis Bextor, Murder On the Dancefloor (2003), Jarvis, Black Magic (2006), Glasvegas, Geraldine (2008).

And here's 10 extremely irritating songs
that marked the decade: Good Charlotte, Lifestyles of the Rich and the Famous (2002); Wheatus, Teenage Dirtbag (2000); Axel F, Crazy Frog (2005); Avril Lavigne, Sk8er Boy (2002); Hard-Fi, Hard to Beat (2005); DJ Pied Piper, Do You Really Like It Is it is it Wicked (2001); Babyshambles, Kilimangiro (2004); Paris Hilton, Stars Are Blind (2006), Gnarls Barkley, Crazy (2006); Katy Perry, I Kissed A Girl (2008) .

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just seems such a long time now, the last decade maybe 'cos I feel old. I have kept up with a lot of things but not music unfortunately.... which is strange 'cos I used to. Anything for me by Nitin Sawhney and Massive Attack. I am kinda into Florence and the Machine.
Out of your list I liked Hard to Beat by Hard-Fi, Crazy Frog, Kaiser Chiefs, Franz Ferdinand, Sophie Ellis-Bextor...
Can't believe how Depeche Mode have matured over the years musically, seems like yesterday listening to their pop-electronic style pre and post Vince Clarke.