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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Numbers 249 - 226 - "Sign 'o' the Times"

So what the hell happened in the noughties?

Seriously. There are gaps you know ....

You don't really start from anywhere meaningful to say in terms of earth shattering events of the decade, the one that shattered the Twin Towers of New York City and with it so many lives is inescapably the defining one for the entire globe.

Across vastly different cultures and regions, the impact of these events came to define the decade  for so many - arguably any culture with any significant access to media to an extent that has certainly been rare in human history.

Do we see this new zeitgeist reflected in the music of the age? This is one issue we will ponder.

On a musical level, I have a few theses to extend progressively here.

My main one is that the decade really saw the end of all things monolithic in rock in particular, maybe pop and rap less so. Who are the big stadium acts now? They're all guys, and I do mean guys, from the 80s or earlier doing reunions.

It seems like Blur v Oasis are the last meaningful monoliths we are ever to see if there's any trend to be evinced from the handing of these sorts of titles to Snoop Dogg, Beyonce, Rihannon, J Lo, Gaga, etc. The thing that unites them is a large-scale vacuousness, a sense that all these beings are mannequins to more or less overt extents.

They're brands built by marketing, they themselves are just sites for discourse, billboards. So much so that even though they are at one level all about MEEEE as a global marketing force, the actual 'self', the sense of all this being about a real, living person rather than someone who descends daily from Mount Olympus, is entirely lost.

And technology pushes us ever more into this ever more self-enabled, atomised world. And we, and young folk in particular spin a very positive narrative about these discourses of narrative and freedom.

Yet at the same time we feel betrayed and jaded with what we see as outmoded structures in government and in the broader political/social sphere, we claim to crave a better sense of engagement with an ideal something in so many areas of our lives. Yet we're getting torn apart by the atomisation discourse on the one hand and the communitarian on the other.

In musical terms, file sharing and related technologies have impacted an entire artistic discourse. The self-proliferation and DIY ethos has much in common with punk. But at the level upon which distribution is still reliant upon industry models we have seen considerably less investment in new artists and innovation than at any time probably since the dawn of rock itself.

It must be pointed out, this survey doesn't bear that lack of innovation out. It shows that artists are always going to find a way to make great music. But the look of the whole 'scene' is very different to how it the 90s would have appeared looking back from 2005.

In this list, we see a profusion of artists and styles pointing off in a million directions, where in the 90s we'd be stoking the chart with Britpop and Madchaster or derivatives thereof. Subcultural forms were either established and survived and evolved within themselves.

In the case of rave, it started out as a wildly innovative and deeply counter-cultural movement, but it was soon coopted by the entire corporate superDJ/superclub/superfestvial scene with such depressing speed and completeness, this has to be one of the key stories of the 90s.

That decade started with the promise of a 'Peace Dividend' from the Cold War, but was bookend by the events of September 11, 2001 that led the US at least into a War that accrued public debt at such a rate that government couldn't drag the US economy out of recession, giving us ten years of stagnant growth.

So, this isn't the nineties, but it's obviously an extension of it. Why should an arbitrary point in time affect any of this anyway?

Technologies that enhanced social atomisation and individualism were already well advanced, even if we didn't have social media yet. Probably the other great universal global trend to emerge this decade.

More on this. And specifically on how everything has impacted music later this week.
#NameArtistAlbum (Year)
249WomanizerBritney SpearsThe Singles Collection (2008)
248Down Down DownThe PresetsBeams (2005)
247Living With WarNeil YoungLiving With War (2006)
246DeparturesCloser MusikKompakt Total 3 (2010)
245The Lisbon MaruFuck ButtonsTarot Sport (2000)
244IncinerateSonic YouthPrime Cuts (Promo) (2006)
243Fingers Become Thumbs!Future Of The LeftCurses (2007)
242Club FootKasabianKasabian Empire ()
241EpocaGotan ProjectLa Revercha Del Tango (2001)
240Little RhymesMercury RevAll Is Dream [Bonus Track] (2001)
239Running The LopingSmogA River Ain't Too Much To Love (2005)
238Hate To Say I Told You SoThe HivesTyrannosaurus Hives (2000)
237Bewitching CattleMoon Wiring ClubShoes Off And Chairs Away (2009)
236 The Empty PageSonic Youth(2002)
235Death to DeathThe CrucifiedTake Up Your Cross/Nailed (2008)
234Inside OutsideThe GratesGravity Won't Get You High (2006)
233You And MeHer Space HolidayThe Past Presents the Future (2005)
(Beautiful Days)
MonoWalking Cloud And Deep Red Sky, Flag Fluttered And The Sun Shined (2004)
231I Feel Just Like A ChildDevendra BanhartCripple Crow (2005)
230Take Me To Your LeaderAdd N To (X)Loud Like Nature (2002)
229The Modern AgeThe StrokesIs This It? (2000)
228Drop It Like It's HotSnoop DoggShark Tale Motion Picture Soundtrack (2006)
227Pon De FloorMajor Lazer Feat. Vybz KartelGuns Don't Kill People... Lazers Do (2009)
226Empire State Of MindJay-Z Feat. Alicia KeysThe Blueprint 3 (2000)

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Numbers 275 - 250 - Beginnings

And here it all is.

The beginnings of it all. The dregs as some might have it, but reality is that of all the horns blown and all the things struck and strummed in undoubtedly billions of permutations down the decade, of all those countless notes and the nuances between them, THESE ONES I HAVE CHOSEN ARE THE VERY BEST OF ALL. I've whittled the universe to a pinhead for you.

I'd be really grateful to hear any and all feedback. What I'm really NOT interested in is "how can you possibly think x is a better song than y?" If you want to do that sort of binary nit-picking, go de-louse a zebra. You don't get it.

This IS a hierarchy, let's be clear, but if I gave myself another 24 hours it would all look different again. It's not authoritative in the sense of it being final. It's authoritative because it's the best it can be at this moment. Or any theoretical one.
  • Song must have been released between Jan 1, 2000 and Dec 31, 2009 (by single OR by the date of the album on which the track debuted)
  • A maximum of three tracks per artist in the LONGLIST of over 500 tracks
  • Each song graded and LONGLIST reduced accordingly to Top 275
  • All titles in Top 275 are then ranked individually
And at the end of the day, that only took me just on five years to complete!


#NameArtistAlbum (Year)
275Diamond DancerBill CallahanWoke On A Whaleheart (2007)
274Golden AgeTV On The RadioDear Science (2008)
273Smiley FacesGnarls BarkleySt. Elsewhere (2006)
27219-20-20The GratesGravity Won't Get You High (2006)
271Two Silver TreesCalexicoCarried To Dust (2008)
270International DatelineLadytronWitching Hour (2005)
269That's Not My NameThe Ting TingsWe Started Nothing (2008)
268Pageant SquareThe Kingsbury ManxThe Kingsbury Manx (2000)
267No GhostThe AcornNo Ghost (2010)
266Last DanceThe RaveonettesIn And Out Of Control (2009)
265La Rock 01VitalicOK Cowboy (2005)
264Plaster Casts Of EverythingLiarsLiars (2007)
263Processed BeatsKasabianPre-Release Singles Compilation [2641660] (2003)
262Prayer to GodShellac1000 Hurts (2000)
261Your Hand In MineExplosions
In The Sky
The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place (2003)
260PiratesBurialBurial (2006)
259GalangM.I.A.Arular (2005)
258I Have Forgiven JesusMorrisseyYou Are The Quarry (2004)
257PendulumBroadcastPendulum [EP] (2003)
256Tom The ModelBeth Gibbons & Rustin ManOut Of Season (2002)
255Southern HospitalityLudacris Feat. PharrellBack For The First Time (2000)
254I'll Send My Face To Your FuneralHis Name Is AliveDetrola (2006)
253Neighborhood #3
(Power Out)
Arcade FireFuneral (2004)
252Song 4 MutyaGroove ArmadaGreatest Hits (2007)
251Carve Your NameThe GratesTeeth Lost, Hearts Won (2008)
250Drop The PhoneShy ChildNoise Won't Stop (2007)