Tracking Down the Decade: #50-#41

These are just some of our thoughts on the songs we chose, so feel free to tell us how you feel! Here it goes…

50. “The Hand That Feeds” – Nine Inch Nails: “Will you bite the hand that feeds you?” asks Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor as the band cranks through one of the most mainstream songs in the catalog. The industrial rock that is NIN has always seemed to unfamiliar to most, but with his 2005 album With Teeth, Reznor found himself with tracks that actually did appeal to listeners he’d never had before. The track still maintains that NIN sound while incorporating some new tricks that brought about this hit as one of the best of the decade. The song’s rapid pace would fly by you if you weren’t paying attention, but you would most definitely feel sore afterwards even if you somehow missed it.
If you’ve never heard of it, check it out here:“The Hand That Feeds”

49. “One Big Holiday” – My Morning Jacket: The howl of Jim James never ceases to end comparisons to Wayne Coyne or even Neil Young, but it never sounded so good as it did throughout It Still Moves, which contains standout track “One Big Holiday”. The song could get even the lamest music fans bobbing their heads to the intro guitar loop to the slow moving chorus. My Morning Jacket catalog contains some tunes that sound huge in the same ways as some tunes that barely register a pulse, but this track stands out because it encompasses all of what the band is about, solid lyrics, top-notch vocals, and a southern sound that is coveted by most and cherished by a band like this.
If you’ve never heard of it, check it out here: “One Big Holiday”

48. “Cause = Time” – Broken Social Scene: With as large of a group, both in number of members and renown, as Broken Social Scene, only great things can be expected. 2002’s You Forgot It in People is exemplary of why this is expected, and “Cause = Time” shows exactly why this album was Broken Social Scene’s breakthrough. With a variety of instruments, lyrics that make a statement on religion, and a song structure that starts with a laidback feel and travels through stages of more upbeat periods with great guitar riffs, to end in the eclectic and dense instrumentation that is present on much of Broken Social Scene’s works, the song is an instant success, and definitely one of the highpoints of the band’s catalog.
If you’ve never heard of it, check it out here: “Cause = Time”

47. “A-Punk” – Vampire Weekend: Afro-pop sensations Vampire Weekend stumbled onto the scene in late 2007 after they were much hyped before their debut self titled record dropped in January of the next year. Anyone with ears can understand why. “A-Punk” could be the catchiest song of the decade, but on this record it fits so well right in between slower singles “Oxford Comma” and “Cape Code Kwassa Kwassa”. Some people turn their heads as to why this band is as popular as they are, but there’s no question about their originality and blend of textures and influences in their music. This song epitomizes the band’s ability to create a song that’s short and simple and to the point, which makes it such a fantastic song. Remember, it’s quality, not quantity in this case.
If you’ve never heard of it, check it out here: “A-Punk”

46. “Eraser” – No Age: Randy Randall plays guitar, Dean Allen Spunt plays drums—that’s it. From the opening chords, palm-muted and drenched in distortion, No Age plays a song a happier Kurt Cobain might have written back in 1989. By the time the guys scream “Watch Him Die!” you’re swirling in a noisy, thrashing masterpiece that blares for less than three minutes.
If you’ve never heard of it, check it out here: “Eraser”

45. “Flashing Lights” – Kanye West: Yeah, he can be a handful and get in too deep at times, but he can sure write a catchy song. “Flashing Lights” is pure Kanye—he talks about expensive stuff, makes reference to being important, and still manages to be emotionally vulnerable. Even when you’re cool enough to say “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” on live TV, a girl can still break your heart.
If you’ve never heard of it, check it out here: “Flashing Lights”

44. “Stuck Between Stations” – The Hold Steady: Drinking and partying with your friends on a Saturday night: this is what most Hold Steady songs are about. Have no fear however; they all take different angles of gritty guitars and Craig Finn’s Springsteen-esque croon as to how he and his buddies spent those times together. “He likes the warm feelings but he’s tired of all the dehydration” pretty much sums up that fact, but it all gets mixed between the crunch of the guitars and that piano that just works perfectly for this band. The standout track from their 2006 album Boys & Girls In America most definitely keeps our attentions and the bartender keep pouring rounds for the crew.
If you’ve never heard of it, check it out here: “Stuck Between Stations (Live)”

43. “Crazy” – Gnarls Barkley: Do you remember when (remember when) it seemed like this song was played ad nauseum on every radio station during 2006? At least it’s a damn good song! Cee-Lo plays with some dense philosophy (How should one live life and who’s in control of it?) while Dangermouse chills in the background with a genuinely funky drum and bass line. By the time the chorus hits, Cee-Lo’s singing gets so intense it’s hard not to hum along with this song’s hook. You didn’t have to be crazy to ignore Gnarls Barkley…just stupid.
If you’ve never heard of it, check it out here: “Crazy”

42. “D.A.N.C.E.” – Justice: Before he was stealing the stage from Taylor Swift, Kanye West was busy jumping on the stage at the MTV Europe Music Awards as Justice received an award. Despite this little incident, Justice was stilled honored, and rightly so. As their song “D.A.N.C.E.” shows, Justice is creating some of the best electronic music to date. With a heavy cut-up bass line, a children’s choir, and multiple Michael Jackson references, “D.A.N.C.E.” is one of the standout tracks from 2007’s . This song belongs present on the dance floor for a long time to come.
If you’ve never heard of it, check it out here: “D.A.N.C.E.”

41. “Actor Out Of Work” – St. Vincent: “I just love dirty, disgusting guitar tones.” These are Annie Clark’s (stage name St. Vincent) own words as she was working on her follow up to the splendid debut Marry Me. Her curly-haired self graces the cover of both of her albums, and with her second album and breakout Actor, she’s finally turning heads. “Actor Out of Work”, the first single from the album, would be considered one of the best songs she’s ever written, and to know it was mostly written on Garageband. Who would’ve thought? The track displays what St. Vincent does best, her charming melodies and craftiness all mashed into one hard hitting hunk of guitar tone. Don’t let her looks fool you, she’ll sock one to you if you don’t take it seriously, and on this track she’s displaying everything she’s got and more.
If you’ve never heard of it, check it out here: “Actor Out Of Work”

Check back for #40-#31…

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