CJ's Best Of The 00s Volume 1: I Hope The Fences We Mended Fall Down Beneath Their Own Weight

Some people are saying that this was a terrible decade for music. Those people suck, in a big way. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the 00s were the best decade for music since the '70s, which...doesn't mean a lot if you don't like the '70s, I guess. The point is that there was a ton of amazing music released over the past 10 years, and I can prove it.

What's coming up are my personal favorite 70 songs of the decade-a box-set I would assemble if a market for best of the decade stuff existed and I was allowed to assemble the tracklist.
This will go on for 7 days, and hopefully after the week has passed you'll agree with me: The '00s were killer when it came to music, if nothing else. Thanks for all your hard work, Mr. Bush!

1. D.G.A.F.L.Y.F-Super Mash Bros.(2008)

Mashups don't typically work incredibly well, simply because they're either too boring or too schizophrenic. "D.G.A.F.L.Y.F" managed an impressive feat, though-it took three songs that I/a lot of people hate, "Crank That(Soulja Boy)", "Sandstorm" and "Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom!!" and turned it into an incredibly fun dance number. Hearing Soulja Boy rap over the beats of a Eurodance song has to rank as one of the funniest musical moments of the decade. Though possibly the least significant of any song on this list, Super Mash Bros. crowning moment also happens to be one of the funnest.

2. No Children-The Mountain Goats(2002)

Speaking of hilarious songs, "No Children" is certainly the most bleakly hysterical song to come out of this decade, and one of the best examples of dark humor in popular songwriting ever. Probably most famous for it's use in an episode of Adult Swim program Moral Orel, "No Children" is a blistering tirade from a husband who has just. Fucking. Had it with his wife. Biting, unsuppressed rage is what the song is based around, but it's the lyrics that'll stand out in your mind. Jabs like "I hope our few remaining friends give up on trying to save us/I hope we come up with a fail safe plot to piss off the dumb few that forgave us" and "I hope you blink before I do/And I hope I never get sober", combined with John Darnielle's deadpan delivery and a misleadingly upbeat piano line, make "No Children" one of the most unforgettable songs released this decade, if not the past 20 years. You'll wish you had less to laugh about.

3. Little Secrets-Passion Pit(2009)

Make no mistake, you will feel disgusted with yourself when you listen to "Little Secrets". The goofy falsettos, the blaring synths, the child chorus, the feel-good lyrics-everything about this song is an attack on good taste that's meant to make you feel as rushingly happy and jumpy and sugary as it possibly can. It is a Joy Blitzkrieg that misses the brain entirely and heads squarely for the chest. And that's why you hate the song: Because it works. And that's why you love the song: Because it works.

4. Empty Walls-Serj Tankian(2007)

I've never had a lot of use for System Of A Down, but I rather like Serj Tankian by himself. As far as modern radio rock goes, "Empty Walls" has practically been a breath of fresh air. Make no mistake, the lyrics are utter nonsense and you're not going to come away from this feeling like you've learned something new about yourself, but it has all the staples of a classic anthem. Serj's voice is dramatic almost to the point of hilarity, but he keeps it just grounded enough to stop you from laughing. It also barely holds to a verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure, almost seeming to degenerate as time goes on. It's not uncommon to hear "dark" music released for mass consumption these days, but rarely is it placed in such an odd, almost purposefully meaningless context. All things told, "Empty Walls" was probably the most interesting song played on the radio during the second half of the decade.

5. The Eruption-Emperor(2001)

The two things needed for a great black metal song is intensity and drama, and Emperor had always carried both in spades. By 2001 they had moved in a decidedly more symphonic, progressive direction, and the greatest triumph of this new direction was "The Eruption", the opening track off of the (for some reason) controversial Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire and Demise. The chorus of "And he beheld the ruins/Of an empire torn apart" is delivered with captivating gravity, a quick operatic interlude in a firestorm gnashing, snarling drums and vocals. It's a pummeling song for sure, but the orchestral aspects also serve to make it tragic sounding in the sense of ancient Greek literature, making the album title that much more appropriate.

6. Machine Gun-Portishead(2008)

"Booming" is not a word typically used to describe Portishead-at least, it wasn't until 2008. After hearing nothing out of the band for more than a decade, "Machine Gun" tore out of the gates and blasted all expectations of the group from here to God knows where. Focused around one haunting drum loop, Beth Gibbons' haunting vocals run almost parallel to the rest of the song, creating one of the most melodious interpretations of paranoia that can be remembered. The way that the loop fractures every 5 seconds holds attention without being jarring and stays the same until the last 1:30, at which point the listener is absolutely mesmerized. Few songs in this or any decade are quite so captivating, doing so much with so little.

7. Black Betty-Spiderbait(2004)

Question: How do you cover one of the most enduring blues/marching songs of all time without ripping off someone who already has covered it and making sure the listener isn't bored with it before they even turn it on? Answer: You strip it down to spare parts and just fucking go. Spiderbait's cover of "Black Betty" is a simple affair: Distorted guitar. Distorted vocals. Words. Kickpedal. Banjo. Combined, they make for an intensely catchy song that rips like no other version can manage. The reason Ministry's cover of the song failed was because they tried too hard to make it sound like every other Ministry song. Spiderbait's version is it's own entity entirely, almost sounding like any hard-rock band could have done it if they thought of it first. But they didn't. Spiderbait did, creating the definitive version of the song-yes, even more so than Ram Jam's more famous cover.

8. The Grudge-Tool(2001)

This song basically covers Tool in a nutshell. Lyrics that are pretentious or deep, depending on your point of view? Check. Drummer using a ludicrous amount of toms and triggers? Check. It's fucking long? Check. If Tool isn't your thing, I think it'll be hard for you to imagine a worse song than "The Grudge" being released this or any decade. Personally, though, I think you're missing out. Spirituality from a cosmic standpoint isn't something that's discussed much in music, and when it is the reflex is to write it off as juvenile. Fuck that, though-Tool's appeal is only kind of in the lyrics. They create an atmosphere of spiritual aggression that's only comparable to possibly Pink Floyd or Black Sabbath and the lyrics, the "Saturn comes back around, lifts you up again" type lines enter into that. I don't know of a better song that exemplifies that quality than "The Grudge"-in other words, I don't know of another song where it's possible to meditate or headbang to. The rage comes off as sincere and the way the song travels from beginning to end makes it something of an experience. Tool is one of those bands you just have to go with, and if you let yourself do that you'll find "The Grudge" to be one of the most satisfying songs in your library.

9. Reborn-The Living End(2006)

If you asked me to explain why I like this Living End song and not a whole lot of others, I don't think I'd be able to tell you. It has the same qualities as most of The Living End's output-bad lyrics, generic instrumentation and all. This one catches me a little bit, though. It grooves, it rumbles a little more than it feels like it should. It menaces without being menacing, and it's got something of an anthemic quality to it, despite being about nothing in particular. I don't know, like I said, I'm having a hard time with this one. I like it. That's the long and short.

10. Floor Shaker-Boris(2008)

Man, I don't know what the fuck this song is about, but I know that I feel it. Boris are the masters of all they survey, and I don't really know what...this is-speed metal, noise rock, stoner rock?-but I know that I love it. It feels important as hell, it feels like the soundtrack to a race to stop the end of the world. Those drums are some of the most intoxicating I've heard in a long time and the riffs are nothing short of inspiring. I don't know what kind of music this is, I don't think anyone can seriously classify Boris at this point, but whatever they are, they are uniquely amazing at it, and I hope they keep it up for many, many years to come


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