Sunday, November 01, 2009

"Become something strange and beautiful": Top 100 Songs of the '00s, Part Three: #80 - #71

Your initial thirst was quenched with #100 to #91. You started to cry a little when you realized that #90 to #81 was all you would be getting for the weekend. And then another work week passed and all of the sudden you're concerned for my welfare. Fear not. Sunday is a perfect day (night) to fall (rise) from #80 to #71.

80. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1 - Flaming Lips (2002)
Sure the story is preposterous - robots, karate, evil machines, Yoshimi (we crucified Styx for the same
crimes we celebrate the Flaming Lips for) - but the song is pretty and well-played.

79. I’m a Cuckoo – Belle & Sebastian (Avalanches Remix) (2004)

Good song. Amazing remix. I'll save for later my long drawn-out argument that Belle and Sebastian's long and brilliant career is marked by a consistency surpassed only by Ween.

78. Trouble - Pink (2003)

If I've boasted to any of you that Pink is the most famous graduate of my high school, Central Bucks-East in Buckingham, PA, I apologize. This is incorrect. She is the most famous graduate of our rival high school, Central Bucks-West in Doylestown, PA. She is also a badass. She's a manufactured badass perhaps but we're still waiting for P.J. Harvey to write a song this solid. Anyway, with Pink never actually attending C.B. East (Go Patriots!), who is the most famous alumnus? Buffalo Bill safety Bryan Scott? American Idol Season 1 runner-up Justin Guarini? Me? I'll let time answer that question.

77. Firewalker - Liz Phair (2003)
Her big mistake was the album cover for the self-titled Liz Phair album: the guitar soaring out of her vagina, comet-like; the hairstyle way too glamorous for a girl like Liz (short, mousy, ill-dressed for the most part, no concept of how to work or not work make-up into her overall look); and the lack of a album title that could push the bad taste of the bad reviews a few steps away from the names Liz and Phair. But hidden on that album - one of only 12 to ever receive a 0.0 review on Pitchfork - are some gems, this being one of them. It should also be noted that Liz is a genius and there is not one bad song on Liz Phair or on anything she's ever put out. Yep, even Ant in Alaska. (And Liz gets the credit for this entry's title lyric.) Go here to hear the song and look at a graphically reprehensible blurry still photo.

76. Tremendous Brunettes - Mike Doughty (2005)
In the 1990s, I attended an absurdly large number of Soul Coughing concerts in Minneapolis, five to be exact. At the beginning, I was skeptical of the New York band's larger-than-expected Upper Midwestern fan base. Even Mike Doughty, the band's lead singer, always seemed bemused by the Beatlemania-like reaction to
Janine, of all songs. Then, the 90s ended and Doughty went solo and - aided by a seeming recovery to seeming substance abuse problems - put out some awesome solo albums. This song pretty much sums up my pre- and post-marriage dating career. Yes, there was that one redhead and that other redhead but they're probably both brunettes really. I can't seem to find a link for this one. Sorry. Wait, I found this. Let's see if it works:

75. All My Friends - LCD Soundsystem (2008)
I have this song at #75? Wow, this was a good ten years for music.

74. The Old Days - Dr. Dog (2008)

I associate certain songs with certain times and certain places. This certain song? That late-Hollywood period in which I could see the great change on the horizon, in which I couldn't see the meaning of the past. I first heard it on a late-night talk show. I then heard it in a chain book store. I then chose it as my first legal download on my first Macbook.

73. Sweetheart in the Summer - Ween (2008)

Not only did I not go to the same high school as Pink, I missed out on hanging out with Dean and Gene Ween by a couple of years (they're younger) and a couple of miles (they lived in the next town to the north).
I'll save for later my long drawn-out argument that Ween's long and brilliant career is marked by a consistency surpassed by no one. Oh and this might only be the 73rd best song but it may be the best video. Haunting.

72. Manpark - Lifter Puller (2000)

My favorite band of 2009 is a band that released only one official album in the 2000s and they released it 39 days into the decade. That album, Fiestas and Fiascos, is a masterpiece rich with the folklore that Craig Finn and co. worked so hard to put in place with their previous albums and E.P.s and singles. Finn continued the storytelling with a few stray Lifter Puller singles and compilation appearances and the whole output of The Hold Steady. I could put it all together myself but the opening paragraph of the Lifter Puller folklore wikipedia page says it best:
"Lifter Puller folklore consists of a number of stories about the nightlife in a fictional American town as chronicled by the lyrics of the Minnesota indie rock band Lifter Puller. These lyrics are primarily concerned with the activities and interactions of a few principal characters, primarily Craig (the narrator), Nightclub Dwight, Katrina, Juanita, and The Eye-Patch Guy. The songsare typically rife with dubious sexual encounters and the use and sale of drugs. The Nice Nice, a nightclub won by Nightclub Dwight in a game of dice, serves as the setting for many of the songs. At the end of Fiestas and Fiascos, Lifter Puller's final album, Juanita is hired by Eye-Patch Guy to burn down the Nice Nice. The fire is referenced in the song Star Wars Hips on the first Lifter Puller LP."
(No video or audio link exists; the album is out of print. You have no chance of ever hearing this song. Ever. Unless that anthology ever comes out. Or... unless you go here or if you don't want to spend anything, here.) And though I'm wary of embedding Lala links because they will eventually want your money, here you go:

71. Ms. Jackson - Outkast (2001)
During our marriage, Laurel and I would make up fake lyrics for this song. Like: "I'm sorry Ms. Jackson, I don't eat veal; don't feed me no baby cow oh no..." So, at least something was accomplished during those 4+ years. (No embedding allowed. Go here.)

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