Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Aughts have Ended

I want to say I had a dumb debate with Josh over the summer if this really is the end of this decade, it may have been someone else. Well, it is. The decade goes from 00-09, just like the 90’s went from 90-99. Whomever I had the argument with was saying that 2000 didn’t belong in the aught or some shit, because there was no year 0 so the decade went from 1-10, then 11-20 and so on. Well, that stupidity aside, as this decade comes to a close you are bound to see many lists and things to help define a decade which so far has yet to be defined by cynics.

We have already addressed movies of the decade in a post a few months ago. The other day a friend of mine brought up the query, what is the song of this decade? Well like any of these sorts of questions you cant necessarily say just one song defined a decade. Looking back as long as commercial music has been in the mainstream (1950’s-present) each decade has a myriad of songs that mark the time. I can only think of one decade where the defining song is fairly inarguable and that is the 90’s with Nirvana’s “Smells like Teen Spirit.” (Of course that statement will now spawn massive arguments)

This decade feels so segmented to me. People claim to have eclectic taste in music, but they really don’t. Part of that is because the music isn’t all that different. This is the “American Idol”/boy band generation; manufactured musical artists who have no creativity or artistic talent made to sound good through advance recording techniques and packaged marketing. They are like the Frankenstein’s of music world.

To quote my favorite artist in a poignant song written in 2007, Radio Nowhere:

I was spinnin' 'round a dead dial
Just another lost number in a file
Dancin' down a dark hole
Just searchin' for a world with some soul

This is radio nowhere, is there anybody alive out there?
This is radio nowhere, is there anybody alive out there?
Is there anybody alive out there?

I just want to hear some rhythm
I just want to hear some rhythm
I just want to hear some rhythm
I just want to hear some rhythm

I know there are quality artists out there, but you do really have to dig nowadays. And I mean come on people, I am a busy person. I got emails to send, text messages to receive, Bret Michaels dating shows to watch and internet porn to download.

However, there are still some songs that have resonated through this decade of decadence, ipods, octomoms, terrorism, Omorosa, war and of course “Change we can Believe in.”

I decided to do more of an informal poll of friends and acquaintances and see what they said. The thing that kept coming up the most were certain artists but not necessarily a certain song. So maybe this is the decade of artists and not songs, who knows. Those artists that came up repeatedly were Eminem, Outkast, Coldplay, Jay-Z and Foo Fighters. I was left to my own devices to decide which songs would be placed as the quintessential songs of this decade though most of them were the most popular of these artists.

“Lose Yourself” Eminem- The top selling artist of the decade was clearly more popular on the front end than the back end. He went through as swoon of personal problems which limited his artistry in the middle part of the decade. In 2004 he released a semi autobiographical movie, “8 Mile”, which featured Lose Yourself. A song about the characters inner conflict about rising up and performing to the best of his ability rather than giving into his fears. It is a rap ballad of a personal nature and is Eminem to the core.

“Hey Ya” Oukast- One of the most intriguing and experimental mainstream hip hop artists. The duel album SpeakerBox and the Love Below was a daring experiment by a group who didn’t need to take the chance. The bombastic outrageous personality of Big Boi and the classic styling and flow of Andre 3000 make this song a certain type of classic hip hop party anthem of a generation.

“Clocks” Coldplay- I think this is a no talent song by a group of no talent ass clowns. But is seems to resonate as the pop/rock song of this decade which I guess says a lot about popular music of this era. Maybe this is the most defining song of this decade, a sad terrible definition.

“99 Problems” or “Empire State of Mind” Jay-Z- While Eminem was the best selling rap artist (and overall artist) of the decade, Jay-Z may be its most important. 99 Problems was a creative production using the combination of the era’s foremost artist and the genre and generations best producer Rik Rubin. It a classic rock rif with a new school flow. The latter song was released right near then end of the decade but is proving to may be his biggest hit yet, and this during a decade in which he retired. Empire has became a new wave anthem for the City that never sleeps and was featured prominently during the Yankees world series championship and subsequent parade.

Foo Fighters- I couldn’t come up with a Foo Fighters song to put here but they are clearly the best rock and roll band of the decade which makes them essential to this list. While most other bands will fade into the ether, 30 years from now people will still be listening to the Foo Fighters. What’s amazing is the fact that Dave Grohl has been in the most important rock group of back to back decades, yet doesn’t always get the credit he so richly deserves.


Twinkie said...

The one song that could bring up the entire decade (and fail to do so) could be "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley.

Good production by Danger Mouse and the half-singing, half-rapping style of C-Low. It was catchy, it held a lyric/chorus structure similar to Margaritaville.

I heard Rolling Stone had this as their song and if they have it, you know it's good.

Kris said...

You make all good points my friend. Only problem for me is I have never heard of the song or Gnarls Barkley as you call him.

zoltan said...

That's completely impossible unless you didn't have access to TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, or the internet from 2006 to 2007.

Dan Filowitz said...

Seriously. You could not have not hear "Crazy" even if you made it a point to not hear it. It was everywhere for at least a year.

I agree, by the way, that it's a good example of a 2000s song that was popular and interesting and will probably hold up better than some of the other choices for 'song of this decade.' Especially "Empire State of Mind" which kind of sucks.


Okay, so I just you tubed it and realized I have heard it. I would have never guessed that songs was "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley, I truly wouldnt have. And Dan, while I dont think "New York State of Mind" is a great song I think it has a chance to mark the time which is essentially what I was getting at.

I dont think Clocks by Coldplay should ever be played by anyone ever again and I think Coldplay should be shipped off to a remote planet somewhere in the solar system but I think there ong resonates with this decade/era, which like I said is sad. But that was the overall point of my post and Springsteen's "Radio Nowhere."

And again Dan, I dont necessarily agree with the choices I put up there but it wa after sampling opinions from almost 100 people of all diffferent ages/races etc that I made those choices