The Decade: A Retrospective The Best Songs 100-86

"Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)"
I Am...Sasha Fierce (2008)

Kanye West wasn't kidding, Beyonce really did make on of the best music videos of all time for "Single Ladies". All it took was a black and white dance video that could easily translate to a dance craze involving only a wrist twist. How could you ignore a fire breathing Sasha Fierce in a song like this? Jay-Z didn't. He liked enough that he did put a ring on it.

"Gotta Have You"
The Weepies
Say I Am You (2006)

The Weepies' simple "Gotta Have You" is a heartfelt plea for love and a convincing argument that America needs to spend more time listening to folk-pop. It's melodic, blissful, and honest. "No amount of coffee, no amount of wine, no amount of whiskey or wine...nothing else will do, I've gotta have you," sings Deb Talan.

"Fit But You Know It"
The Streets
A Grand Don't Come For Free (2004)

Most British singers are indistinguishable from American ones, but with British rapper the Streets, nothing could be further from the truth. Inspired by former S Club 7 beauty Rachel Stevens, Mike Skinner describes a “fit” (British slang for “hot”) woman as he talks in a strong cockney accent over a snappy but simple rock beat providing hilarious lines about tan lines and queues.

"I'd Rather Dance With You"
Kings of Convenience
Riot on an Empty Street (2004)

This quirky number from indie duo Kings of Convenience (who hail from Bergen, Norway, also home to electro-pop singer Annie) recounts the all too familiar experience of dancing with a girl who wants to talk. Will they ever learn to just let their hips do the talking? The delicate strings and piano are a perfect match for the groups’ calming vocals.

"Love Story"
Taylor Swift
Fearless (2008)

Taylor Swift didn’t break any new ground with “Love Story”. It’s the tried and true model of boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, girl’s dad doesn’t approve, and boy convinces girl’s dad to let him marry her. Swift’s simple lyrics and heartfelt vocals provided the soundtrack millions of teenage girls’ first relationships as she sang, “Romeo save me, they’re trying to tell me how to feel. This love is difficult but it’s real."

"Pork and Beans"

Weezer’s commentary on life in the late 00s made us nostalgic for this decade before we even got over 80s nostalgia. Written in response to their record label asking for a hit single, Weezer delivered although they had their tongue planted firmly in their cheeks as they mocked Timbaland, bathroom mirror pics, and the whole idea of writing records for the radio. And the video? Instant classic.

"One Word"
Kelly Osbourne
Sleeping in the Nothing (2005)

Kelly Osbourne seems like the last person who would have a number one dance record in the country, but thanks to writing and production from heralded songwriter Linda Perry, she did. “One Word” is a slice of futuristic new-wave pop, complete with French dialogue to set the mood and Osbourne gently cooing about the one mysterious word that can change the future.
Linkin Park
Meteora (2003)

Don’t turn your back on Linkin Park because they won’t be ignored. As the kings of nu-metal, LP rammed rap together with metal to create inventive music you could feel like a B.A.M.F. listening too. “Faint” is a stirring declaration of war made up of screeching samples, hard hitting hip-hop beats, and heavy guitar. Sticking it to the man never sounded this good.

"Gimme More"
Britney Spears
Blackout (2007)

“Gimme More” perfectly captures Britney Spears' darkest days. From the immortal opening, “It’s Britney bitch” to the last blip of the minimalist synth, the song portrays an insatiable appetite for hedonistic self destruction. Her panting “gimme”’s are looped and followed by a host of robotic voices demanding “more” mirroring the bizarre relationship Spears had with the blog fueled tabloid industry.

"Me and Mia"
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
Shake the Streets (2004)

When coming up with ideas for songs, I doubt eating disorders is ever at the top of the list. In fact, Leo and the Pharmacists might be the only band to ever do it. Referencing Mia (bulima) and Ann and Anna (anorexia), Leo both empowers and rocks as he sings about fighting for self control despite “bourgeois social angels telling you you’ve got to change”.

"Sound of the Undergroud"
Girls Aloud
Sound of the Underground

Reality television has largely failed to produce any great songs but “Sound of the Underground” is an exception. The pulsating track employs surf guitar and a neo drum and bass beat to annihilate any preconceived notions of what kind of music reality pop stars are allowed to make. In fact, the Aloud’s debut single makes pop out to be the most exciting, underground, electric, and overpowering medium known to mankind.

"Supermassive Black Hole"
Black Holes and Revelations

Supermassive black holes are black holes with the highest classification of mass and Muse’s song of the same name is probably one of their heaviest songs. A dance rock song that borrows from Kanye West and Prince just as much as it does from Radiohead, it was so good that it ended up on the soundtrack to a very popular vampire movie. That marked the first and last time millions of pink iPod nanos had a Muse song on them.

"Sweet Dreams My L.A. Ex."
Rachel Stevens
Funky Dory (2003)

Originally an imagined response to Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River”, “Sweet Dreams My L.A. Ex.” was given to former S Club 7 star Rachel Stevens after Britney Spears wrote her own retort (“Everytime”). In the end, everyone won. Stevens’ sexy performance is a perfect complement to the juxtaposed acoustic guitars and brazen synth buzz. Sweet dreams indeed.

"Seven Nation Army"
The White Stripes

There is no mistaking the baseline and thumping drums of "Seven Nation Army". Its role as the flagship garage rock revival song of the decade means it still gets plenty of spins and plenty of artists clammering to cover it. The song never gets too wild and out of control, but it still packs enough punch that the queen of England, the hounds of hell, or even a seven nation army can hold it down.

Timbaland feat. OneRepublic
Shock Value (2007)

All Timbaland did was add some percussion and his trademark "eh" but somehow he got the lead in the featuring credit. Not fair, but it's too late to apologize. Singer and songwriter Ryan Tedder has gotten his fair share of bad press for recycling songs but "Apologize" was the cream of the crop, lamenting late requests for forgiveness and the pain of having to move on even though you don't want to.


mckay said...

So glad Kings of Convenience and Leo and the Pharmacists made the list! I'm excited to see the rest of this thing...

hun*ter said...

They wouldn't have made it there without you McKay!

Chioma said...

Yay! You took my suggestion and included the songs. Something must be wrong with my computer because I don't see Lady Gaga on this list...

hun*ter said...

Don't worry, she made it. You'll just have to keep reading to find out where she landed!

bcb said...

Interesting choices... If these songs are the bottom of the list I can't wait to see the rest!

Nathan said...

How did Gimme More make this list?......that song is atrocious. I can't support that decision. There are way better songs in this decade that deserve to be on a top 100 list.

Spencer said...

LOVE "One Word" by Kelly. Man that brings me back. And Ted Leo. And Kings of Convenience. And the Weepies!

hun*ter said...

Nathan, I respect your opinions, but you think Circus is better than Blackout? Seriously? Go back and listen to them haha.

Glad you know "One Word" Spencer. No one's heard of it, but its great.

Nathan said...

I respect your opinions as well. Yes, Circus is worlds better than Blackout. The only good song to come from Blackout was Radar...and they put that on Circus too. Blackout was a bunch of whining, it was made with no creative artistry. I will stand by saying, that it was her worse album. Yeah it reflected the worse time in her life, but Stripped represented a dark time in Christina Aguilera's life and deserves way more credit for its dark nature. All her stuff aside, I'm not just talking about her, I'm sayin there were far better songs in this decade, from other artists as well.

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This decade was really known because all the great music rang in the radio. some of them are really cool!!!

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Don't worry, she made it. You'll just have to keep reading to find out where she landed!

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Interesting choices... If these songs are the bottom of the list I can't wait to see the rest!

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