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Showing posts from December, 2009

A Decade of Compilations

To properly summarize the decade, many music-loving individuals and organizations create lists of favorite albums. I considered doing that, and then realized that all the information is already available. It's right here.

For me, songs tell the real story of my musical decade. The just-completed Top 100 of the 2000's list are songs that my friends and I feel both define and transcend the Aughts, but they aren't necessarily my personal favorites. So what about those?

In the last couple of years I've posted the tracklists for my annual compilations (here's 2007 and 2008; scroll to the bottom), but my compilations from 2000 to 2006 (I didn't start officially making them until 2003, the first three are retroactive) haven't been revealed on the blog.

Let's fix that.

2000

1) The Strokes: Hard To Explain, 2) Ghostface Killah: Saturday Nite, 3) Supergrass: Mary, 4) Lloyd Cole: Past Imperfect, 5) Aimee Mann: Ghost World, 6) Ultimate Fakebook: Tell Me What You Want, …

Top 100 of the '00s: By the Numbers

Songs 10 through 1 of the Top 100 of the '00s are now posted, completing the countdown. I'll wait while you go check it out.

Thanks for coming back. I thought it might be interesting to share some information about the list itself, so here goes.

The Song Selection Process
I thought very hard about the 2000s and spent a lot of time looking through my iTunes as sorted by year. From there I created a four-part ballot for my voters.

Part one: A list of 30 songs. Voters were asked to pick their top 15.
Part two: Either/or options (eg. The Killers' Mr. Brightside or Somebody Told Me?).
Part three: A list of artists for whom I couldn't settle on a single song. Voters were asked to fill in the blank.
Part four: Open nominations.

The hope of all of this was to see some consensus among voters. For the most part, that happened. Because I limited the list to one-song-per-artist, it created some interesting conundrums. For example, Coldplay's Clocks and Viva La Vida both received three…

2009: Thirteen Albums I'm Glad I Bought

Change is in the air. It's actually been there awhile, but I've been trying to ignore it.

Please allow me a slightly awkward extended metaphor. Let's say instead of a music blogger/obsessive I was a professional sports star. Instead of ERA, rebounds, or touchdowns, my statistical categories are CDs bought, CDs reviewed, and number of times posted on the blog.

In my early career I was a phenom, putting up gaudy numbers. Witness:

2003 - 2006
I posted on the blog 155 times, at an average of 4.1 posts per month.
I wrote 135 reviews, 115 of which were of new (at the time) CDs. That's 85%.
87% of my posts were album reviews.
I bought between 80 and 100 new release CDs PER YEAR.

Big numbers, right? That's a stat line anyone can be proud of. But let's look at what happened in the last three years. It's a slightly smaller sample, but only by 2 months (In 2003 I only wrote in November and December).

2007 - 2009
I posted on the blog 167 times, at an average of 4.6 pos…

247. "Weird Al" Yankovic: Off the Deep End (1992)

In my review of the UHF soundtrack, I forgot to mention that I didn't buy it when it came out. I saw the movie, but I didn't even think about the fact that it might have an accompanying soundtrack. 12-year-old Paul was not so quick on the uptake.

So in 1992 when I discovered there was a new "Weird Al" album, I couldn't have been more excited. It had been four years since Even Worse(the last new Al album as far as I knew), and a long four years at that. It was the difference between me being in 5th grade and me being a freshman in high school! Despite that, my love for Al was undiminished. In fact, "Weird Al" Yankovic on the Off the Deep End tour was the first concert I went to of my own volition.

But what about the album itself? Let's dive in.

Parodies
Smells Like Nirvana is Al's take on what would become the most influential song of the decade, Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit (Off the Deep End's Cover also parodies Nirvana's Nevermin…

No More No More Songs About

A couple of weeks ago I introduced what I intended to be a new ongoing feature for 3 Minutes, 49 Seconds. No More Songs About... was to be a forum for me to complain about the proliferation of songs on certain topics. The first entry concerned California.

After some reflection, I've decided not to continue the feature. Here's why: As I've been working on subsequent entries, I'm finding they're all ending up the same: a list of songs on the topic, the conclusion that there are already too many of them, and a plea for songwriters to write about something else. There's not much to that pattern that's worth my time or yours. Plus, I feel like kind of a prick telling songwriters what they should and shouldn't be writing about. It seems vaguely Communist.

However, I still think we could put a moratorium on the following: songs about satellites, New York, and flying; faithful cover songs; and, yes Virginia, new versions of old Christmas standards. Anything you&#…

2009b

Things have been a little quiet around here as I focus my energies on the Top 100 of the 2000's list, but I have do have a couple of annual 3 Minutes, 49 Seconds traditions coming up. One is my end-of-the-year top 10, which I plan to post sometime in the next couple of weeks. The other is the second half of my annual mix CD (see the first here).

The tracklist is as follows:

1. Weezer - (If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To2. Flight of the Conchords – (Too Many Dicks) On the Dancefloor3. Robbie Williams - Bodies4. Phoenix - Lisztomania 5. Wilco - You Never Know 6. Jay-Z - Off That7. Mos Def - Priority8. Grizzly Bear - Two Weeks9. Temper Trap - Sweet Disposition10. The Hopefuls - Idaho11. Brendan Benson - A Whole Lot Better12. Owl City - Tip of the Iceberg13. P.O.S. - Goodbye

246. "Weird Al" Yankovic: UHF (1989)

With four hit albums under his belt and a proven ability to make entertaining music videos, Al got the chance to write and star in his own movie in 1989. The result was the not-spectacular-but-very-watchable UHF (you can read my extended thoughts on it here), about a man who takes over his uncle's TV station.

Of course it came with an album too, but the strange part is that despite being called an "Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" only about half the songs actually appear in the film.

Let's tune in:

Song Parodies
Money For Nothing / Beverly Hillbillies is just what it advertises, the Clampett clan's TV theme song put to the tune of Dire Straits' 1985 hit. Reportedly, using the Hillbillies theme was an old idea of Al's. He'd previously done it to the tune of The Rolling Stones' Miss You, and tried to create a version based off Prince's Let's Go Crazy (Prince declined to authorize it, unsurprisingly). Speaking of authorization, Dire Straits m…

Top 100 Songs of the '00s

Looks like we made it to the end. Yes, the '00s are shutting down, and that means it's time to look back at them and become instantly nostalgic.

So, just like I did for the '70s, '80s, and '90s, I've enlisted some help to create a list of the best songs of the decade. Now, of course "best" is a subjective term, and I realize that the list will not please everyone, nor will it include every single song you think it should. It's not a list of the most popular songs of the decade (you can go to Billboard online for that), nor is it a list of my favorite songs of the decade (that's too self-indulgent, even for me). And the song list pretty much sticks to the hip hop and pop mainstream, with a few detours into the indie world. That mostly means that there are quite a few sub-genres not represented.

Along with my pickers and choosers, I tried to select songs that meant something to the '00s, were memorable, and that will stand the test of time (or…