CJ's Best Of The 00s Volume 5: One Shot To Keep Me High All Day
41. Run Into Flowers-M83(2003)
Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts is more or less what it sounds like when Godspeed You! Black Emperor hits the club, and in a beautiful alternate reality where that description leads to profitability, "Run Into Flowers" is a #1 hit single. For a song with only one line-"Give me grace and chemicals, I want to run into..."-it sure does stay in your head. The synthlines and ghostly guitars warp and swirl around each other, turning into one moving, haunting vision. Closer in essence to trip hop than it's rather confusing label of shoegaze, "Run Into Flowers" is not just a gorgeous experience but a spiritual, psychedelic approximation of synesthesia that can only be called spiritual when all is said and done. Intelligent and heavenly, the bar for reflective electronica music has been set almost impossibly high by this song.
42. Biblical Violence-Hella(2002)
Math rock is not to everyone's taste, it never will be, but holy Jesus, those drums? What the fuck? That song is fucking maniacal. It's two dudes, Spencer Seim on guitar and Zach Hill on drums, just tearing ass. Just fucking going completely insane. I'm sure there are a bunch of music school terms you could use to describe this song and why it's brilliant on a technical level, but I'm going to use one of my own: "Biblical Violence" sounds like a robot having an orgasm. You're welcome.
43. Silver-Ozzy Osbourne(2007)
Ozzy Osbourne albums have a long, proud tradition of sucking, but Black Rain was Ozzy's admission that he had essentially quit trying, and his music has never been better because of it. Take "Silver" as a prime example. It's about the most basic kind of old-school metal song you can think of-lyrics about thrillseeking, a widdly-widdly-widdly guitar solo, a crowd of meatheads shouting "GO! GO!" during the chorus. That's what's sort of excellent about the song-it doesn't really consider itself to be anything more than it actually is, and that admission, combined with the thrashing tempo, make it sort of a thrill. There's a real "semper fi do or die" kind of aura to "Silver". There was no other song released this decade that made me more excited to lift weights.
44. One Armed Scissor-At The Drive-In(2000)
Progressive punk sounds like a losing gamble at best, but remember, At The Drive-In was halfway composed of the lunatics who would later form The Mars Volta, and if there's one thing that these guys are not it's musically conservative. Cedric Bixler-Zavala is more than willing to squeal out abstractions like "Yes this is a campaign slithered entrails in the cargo bay"(???) and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez's clean, eerie guitar tone only add to the "something's not right here" feeling of the song. The clean production was a staple of the entirety of Relationship Of Command-it made the whole album feel like it was bouncing inside a very tight rubber cube, the sounds trying their hardest to get out. "One Armed Scissor" is unique in that it took that production, took the bizarreness of the lyrics, and made a bonafide radio hit out of it. When a freaky prog-punk song can crack onto a list of Billboard's top singles, you know you're living in interesting times for music.
45. Twilight of the Thunder God-Amon Amarth(2008)[video is fucking awesome]
A couple installments ago I said that no other song in the past 10 years was more epic than Mastodon's "The Last Baron", and I stand by that. "Twilight of the Thunder God" definitely deserves an honorable mention, however. "Thor, Odinson, protector of mankind/Ride to meet your fate, your destiny awaits" is the most badass chorus in memory, and the fact that it's sung in a deathgrowl makes it all the more awesome. And if we're being honest, that's really the only thing that separates Amon Amarth from a power metal band. The only reason they're allowed to sing about Norse gods and trolls and dragons and crap without being called fruitcups is because they sound like a group of big, hairy shitkickers(they actually are-look up a picture of them). My friend James was wearing a dragon T-shirt recently, and he said that his logic was that he was "taking it back from the nerds", that he wanted it expressed that no, dragon fights aren't all that nerdy, they're actually hella cool. I feel sort of like that's what "Twilight of the Thunder God" is-it's dragon slaying music as preformed by a dragon slayer.
46. Tokyoto-The Velvet Teen(2006)
Man, there really has never been a better decade for noise rock, or even just...experimental pop, which might be a better phrase for "Tokyoto". It's dissonant, for sure, and it's chaotic as hell(the drums in particular are all over the place), but it's tender, above all things. If the singer's voice wasn't so fuzzed the melody would almost be closer to something you'd find in a Warren Zevon song than a noise rock jam. The crackling noises, the videogame beeps, those nutty drums I mentioned earlier and that soaring guitar riff, in a different song, wouldn't work, but sequenced together they sound like they're forming a wonderland, a favorite childhood stuffed animal's dying hallucination. Even the wandering lyrics sound like they're completely in love with the world, but the singer sounds more accepting of the beauty in the world than he is completely enamored by it. Confusing and possibly even off putting at first, "Tokyoto" is a song that graciously rewards repeated listens.
Radiohead makes way better techno than they ever did rock and roll, so when they finally picked a side and stopped awkwardly straddling the middle (hi, OK Computer!), they turned out their best album, Kid A. That said, most of it is still composed of dull soundscapes and bleepty-bloopty type twaddle, but "Idoiteque" is a killer song. It's the only song on the album you can dance to, and among 3 that won't instantly put the listener to sleep, but it's not great just because it's environment is strictly "meh"(not a big fan of Radiohead, as you can probably tell). It's a cold, creepy song that sounds like it's about to burst into the shakes-Thom Yorke's panicked, paranoid vocals contrast with the thumping mechanical flow, which makes the whole thing kind of sound like the inside of a crazy person's head. Importance isn't generally an indicator of quality, but it's good to know that future musicians probably paid more attention to this song than "Treefingers".
48. Anna Lee-Strung Out(2004)[quality is horrid]
I'm not really going to set out to justify myself on this one. It's basically whiny pop punk about relationships. Mostly I just like it because it's catchy and it feels sincere. Dude's not making his feelings up and I respect that a bunch. This angst tastes angsty and that taste is pretty good in small doses. I'm kind of a sucker for angry teen romances in the first place, so chalk this bitch up to "guilty pleasure", I guess. I ain't gonna feel no guilt from it, though.
49. Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With-King Crimson(2003)
The Crimson Kings are still rolling through the music landscape and still showing other prog bands how it's done-they were doing it when Rush threatened global music aesthetics and they're still around to embarrass Dream Theater. For "Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With", though, they took a break from being total geniuses in the traditional sense and decided to make fun of nu-metal. Adrian Belew's excited shouts of "I guess I'll repeat the chorus! We're gonna repeat the chorus!" near the end are basically hilarious, and even though the style of guitar playing Robert Fripp adopts is intentionally mocking nu/alt metal's chugalug chords, he still manages to pull off a guitar solo that's more interesting than all the Symphony Xs or Glass Hammers of the world combined. You know what? I am happy with what I have to be happy with...'cause I have King Crimson!
50. Is It Medicine-The Knife(2003)
Of course this one had to show up somewhere-the chorus of the song is this blog's tagline. "Is It Medicine" is classic Knife-really happy but incredibly paranoid. It's bouncy and sexy and nervous and I think it'll bite if you get too close. That's the Knife.