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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Number 1 - "Sea Within a Sea", The Horrors

The Horrors. They wrote the best song of the Noughties. You now it.

Sea Within a Sea
- The Horrors

Primary Colours (2009)

No, I'm not entirely sure where this came from either. Their first album gave frankly little indication of how brilliant the sophomore effort would be. That's not the way it's supposed to be done.

And just look at these punks. They look like they're auditioning for Baby Edward Scissorhands. They can't possibly have the experience, the gravitas, the canniness to occupy this echelon, surely?

Well they flipping well CAN. And they did. We're not assessing artists here, we're assessing songs. Their body of work is by now impressive and solid, and we've heard them once already in the countdown with "Scarlet Fields". But this is the masterwork - it's an epic, grandiose, sprawling beast that touches all the standard bases for musical greatness while coasting into home.

It sounds at one level like an extended jam session, the rhythm section is basically CAN's "Mother Sky". So base one would be doing structured improvisation to sound like the best of them. Jog on by.

I'm getting this on borrowed wisdom, since I've rescinded my qualifications to keep doing this, but I did come across one reviewer who claimed copiers of the rhythm section became so many that it had been "reduced to the late noughties equivalent of the 'funky drummer.'" I wonder if they're aware they're just following in a fine tradition.

So that's it. There's no other track from the entire decade that I find myself NEEDING periodically to return to for musical sustainance. There's no other track that continually seems to present hitherto hidden facets of itself on repeated listings.

It's not the track you spent most time flinging yourself around a dancefloor to. It's not the single that's going to get you all nostalgic for the decade in years to come because it speaks to some significant event. It's probably not going to stay on any list of songs anyone recalls from the decade for long.

But none of those invalidate it. Remember the criteria. It's simply the finest song that was released during the last decade. And this story is over.

A very big thanks to those who have been following along this absurdly epic project from the beginning. I literally first began making this list in 2011. First blog post was about eighteen months back. That's all a measure of LOVE, not incompetence, readers can be reassured.

But y'know what? The reality is that I don't think this decade was up to much. How many of this top ten would make my all time top ten? Not many. Recapping the theoretical palaver that I first pushed this bat out with, the lesson here is welcome to postmodernity.

Welcome to a world with fewer genuinely inherently stellar things. But also a world where the ability of everyone to participate in the "making of stellar things" in a genuine way has never been greater. There is a greater chance of a given unknown artist being 'found' than ever before because the barriers to global music distribution have been torn down.

But there's a significantly lower chance that your society is going to have a body of people within it called "musicians" who genuinely make a meaningful living from their art.

Is this a better world? And does it matter? Because we're not going to be able to wish it away. We're going to have to live in it.

Or you could take this author's own approach, and remember very regularly to look backwards. Nostalgia actually performs a vital role for humanity's collective psyche. It grounds us in higher ideals, elevates our eyes to nobler horizons.

The Top Ninety of the Nineties starts Monday. A real decade. MY decade. We are done here. With a very large and sustained thanks to those who have sustained me, endured all of this and taken the time to give feedback.

Remember this started out as an exercise in right of passage, my letting go of being eighteen forever. It's actually been quite painful. I never started that band ... and now ...

But The Horrors might just have said it as well as I ever could...

Though youth may fade with boyhood's cares
New fear will catch us unawares
I know it will

So you might say
The path we share is one of danger
And of fear
Until the end

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