Friday, December 04, 2009

"We're off to the land of hot middle-aged women": Top 100 Songs of the '00s, Part 8: #35 - #31

Reading the AV Club's Top 50 Films of the decade list has gotten me feeling a bit down. How did we go from the 1990s - with at least 20 great films, 3 of which are in my all-time top 5 - to the 2000s and its stunning lack of cinematic greatness? This is something I never do: I never bemoan the present and go on and on about how things used to be better. In movies, music, literature, and every other art form except album cover art, things have always gotten better with time. Until now. Until film in the last 10 years. Make that 11 years; 1999 wasn't all that great. I 'm not declaring "film is dead." It has survived other difficult times - 1986, for example. But in a decade that may be the best in TV and music... in a decade that has held its own in fiction and non-fiction literature... one art form has not been holding its own and it's you, cinema. There were three great films in the last 10 years. On the linked list, they appear at #4, #3, and #1 (brave choice). I wish I could explain what it is about movies that I find less than inspiring. Is it "rejected screenwriter" bitterness? No, rejection is nothing new to me. Is it the ubiquity of Edward Norton? Yeah, that's it.

But this is supposed to be about music.

35. Hello 2morrow - Moodymann (2008)
This is a dance song. I generally don't dance. At least not with my body, with my feet. I dance in my mind. My thoughts get sweaty but my body stands still against the wall in the darkened nightclubs (only 3 of which I have visited this decade). If I were to dance with my feet, with my body, this is the song I would dance to. A mysterious veteran Detroit DJ reappears every few years, exciting the few people who have been waiting for him. Frustrating the new fans who take forever to figure out that maybe he was spelling 2morrow in a freaky special way.. By the way, this song's lyrics are essentially comprised of the following: "...Talking about Leo. Talking about Aries....And Canc-ah... And all you Scorpios....Hello 2morrow...Goodbye yesterday" and so on. Enjoy. I bet you will.

34. New Slang - The Shins (2001)
I know people who hate this song more than they hate hybrid meter maid/tow-truck drivers. I know people who would rather massage Dick Cheney than listen to this song. Granted, it gets knocked down 13 notches for being featured in Garden State, the worst movie of the decade and nearly the most awful two hours of my life. But there was a time when I worked at the school district office in downtown Los Angeles. My parking space was four levels underground and radio stations couldn't be heard as soon as I entered the garage. I could only listen to CDs or silence for that spiraling trip down. So, for a few weeks, I listened to New Slang every day as I descended into the pits of the garage. It would inspire me to be good, to be strong that day, to change the system or at least create something wonderful. Why did this song stir these feelings in me? It pretty much came to one of the best first lines I can remember "Gold teeth and a curse for this town." Strangely, that line line never made me think of L.A.

33. Tennessee - Silver Jews (2001)
I'll just repeat what I always say about this song:
Goodbye all you suckers and steady bad-luckers
We're off to the land of club soda unbridled
We're off to the land of hot middle-aged women
We're off to the land whose blood runneth orange
Nitpick if you will about the concept of land bleeding. But that's a stanza for the ages if there ever was one and the third line might be the most poetic thing anyone has ever said about any state. Just think about it. They are hot. And if you're looking for a good Christmas present for a person who likes poetry, head Jew David Berman's book of poetry Actual Air is worth the effort it will take finding it. There's actually a poem called Community College in the Rain. I could write a movie about those five words.

32. You Are the Generation That Bought More Shoes (And You Get What You Deserve) – Johnny Boy (2004)

I'm not sure if they're singing to me. I have too many shoes. Or if they're singing to the generation after mine. I'm sure they have even more shoes. No matter - that's an evocative title if there ever was one. I can't understand a damn word they're singing but wow it's catchy. Listen here (embedding disabled).

31. Buriedfed - Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson (2008)
If you're someone who was promised a mix CD by me in the past 18 months AND I have not (yet) delivered on said mix CD, this would have been the opening track. So yeah I would have remained an enigma.

1 comment:

Erika said...

Awesome choices. Especially 33 and 31. I haven't heard New Slang in such a long time and I never realized how much I really loved it. I guess people hate it because it's cool to hate it, if that even makes any sense. It's a really good song regardless of the hype.