Monday, December 28, 2009

To the surprise of no one, I’ve made some end-of-decade lists. Well, I’ve made a few—not just here, either, but the lists I did for specific polls and surveys only apply here insofar as they’ve provided fuel for these lists. There are five altogether: 100 albums (already posted) and four separate lists of singles and tracks totaling 500. I’ll roll them out over the next few weeks, finishing by the end of January. I’ve got as much list fatigue as anyone, but I couldn’t resist.

The way singles and tracks are organized bears explaining. In 2000, Pazz & Jop began allowing for non-singles. The proliferation of downloading had made it impossible not to, and while the rule was later modified to cover “focus tracks,” the cat was out of the bag. The two critics polls I oversaw for Idolator made no such specifications: tracks were tracks, and you could vote for whatever. Before that, I’d put together three writers’ compendiums of year-end mixes for Seattle Weekly, the only rule for which was that the mix had to fit onto a single, 80-minute audio CD. With the polls, people still stumped for real-world singles, or their digital equivalents, more often than not.

Looking at Pitchfork’s Top 500 Tracks of the ’00s this summer, I wondered idly about the hits-to-personal-favorites ratio—eyeballing it, somewhere in the 50-50 to 60-40 range, with the hits bunched up toward the top, as usual. A list that mammoth is always a bit unwieldy, which is part of the point; musically, the ’00s were an musical decade. The idea was to suggest a wider context for both the stuff everyone knew and the stuff only a few people knew and thought you should too, as I’d tried to have the writers do with the SW mixes. Digital culture encourages that kind of big-stew approach, and part of writing about music is drawing parallels and making connections. But there’s a lot to be said for more specific contexts.

So I decided to keep my own tracks lists within specific orbits, as follows:
  • Songs that made the Billboard Hot 100
  • Singles (7- and 12-inches, digital one-offs, “focus” tracks, etc.) that didn’t make the Hot 100
  • Album tracks that I played and/or focused on as if they were singles
  • Remixes
(It turns out I wasn't the only one to think this way; Steve Mannion did too, very similarly so.)

Within each (yes, even the Hot 100) there is a good amount of variety. Nevertheless, I figured these parameters, loose as they are, might make the selections’ affinities a little more obvious. Whether that occurs or not remains to be seen, but I can’t help but think that a list of songs that were competing for the same airplay, to however limited a degree (and as the years go on, it becomes more limited, as Billboard began tracking digital sales more intensely), might make a coherent snapshot, just as an all-personal-favorites list might in its own way. Dividing things that way also made it easier to focus my thinking and decision-making with regard to the selections themselves. As Dave Marsh put it in The Heart of Rock and Soul, 1,000 is a small number—and 500 is smaller still, especially in a time as dauntingly bountiful as the ’00s.

As with the albums list, the singles/tracks reflect countless limitations of taste and sensibility. It was tempting to go back and give another shot to any number of tracks I’d never gotten around to, or overlooked, or that others had rated, be it Pitchfork’s writers or the public that ultimately decides the Hot 100. The lists reflect what I latched onto, valued, and ultimately learned from, and as much as possible I didn’t want to revise that history. If a choice looks token-like or dated or overly trendy, figure that it is, and that neither of us should lose any sleep over it. I’ve lost enough already putting these lists together. I’ve lost more than that playing these records, and I’d do it again in a minute. It’s my fondest hope that someone else might too.

Top 125 Hot 100 Hits of the 2000s
1. R. Kelly, “Step in the Name of Love (Remix)” (Jive, 2003)
2. R. Kelly, “Ignition (Remix)” (Jive, 2002)
3. Beyoncé, “Irreplaceable” (Columbia, 2006)
4. Nas, “Made You Look” (Columbia, 2002)
5. Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott, “Get Ur Freak On” (The Gold Mind/EastWest, 2001)
6. Kylie Minogue, “Love at First Sight” (Capitol, 2002)
7. Clipse, “Grindin’” (Star Trak/Arista, 2002)
8. M.I.A., “Paper Planes” (XL, 2008)
9. Lil Wayne, “A Milli” (Cash Money, 2008)
10. Ne-Yo, “Because of You” (Def Jam, 2007)

11. Brandy ft. Kanye West, “Talk About Our Love” (Atlantic, 2004)
12. Kelly Clarkson, “Since U Been Gone” (RCA, 2004)
13. Jay-Z, “99 Problems” (Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam, 2004)
14. Justin Timberlake, “Rock Your Body” (Jive, 2003)
15. Three 6 Mafia Featuring Young Buck & Eightball & MJG, “Stay Fly” (Hypnotize Minds, 2005)
16. Daft Punk, “One More Time” (Virgin, 2001)
17. Amerie, “1 Thing” (Rise, 2005)
18. OutKast, “Ms. Jackson” (LaFace, 2000)
19. Jay-Z ft. UGK, “Big Pimpin’” (Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam, 2000)
20. Jay-Z, “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)” (Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam. 2000)

21. The White Stripes, “Seven Nation Army” (V2, 2003)
22. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Maps” (Interscope, 2004)
23. Maxwell, “Pretty Wings” (Sony, 2009)
24. Rihanna, “Don't Stop The Music” (SRP/Def Jam, 2007)
25. Jay-Z, “Roc Boys (And the Winner Is . . .)” (Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam, 2007)
26. Carrie Underwood, “Before He Cheats” (Arista, 2006)
27. Kanye West Featuring Adam Levine, “Heard 'Em Say” (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam, 2005)
28. Eminem ft. Dido, “Stan” (Aftermath, 2000)
29. Nelly ft. City Spud, “Ride wit Me” (Universal, 2001)
30. Petey Pablo, “Raise Up” (Jive, 2001)

31. Nelly, “Hot in Herre” (Universal, 2002)
32. Brad Paisley, “Ticks” (Arista Nashville, 2007)
33. Rihanna ft. Jay-Z, “Umbrella” (SRP/Def Jam, 2007)
34. Gnarls Barkley, “Crazy” (Downtown, 2006)
35. Gretchen Wilson, “Redneck Woman” (Epic Nashville, 2004)
36. Britney Spears, “Toxic” (Jive, 2004)
37. E-40 ft. Keak Da Sneak, “Tell Me When to Go” (Sick wid’ It, 2006)
38. Miranda Lambert, “Famous In A Small Town” (Columbia Nashville, 2007)
39. Usher ft. Ludacris & Lil Jon, “Yeah” (Arista, 2004)
40. Ne-Yo, “Sexy Love” (Def Jam, 2006)

41. Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley, “Welcome To Jamrock” (Ghetto Youths/Tuff Gong, 2005)
42. Tweet, “Oops (Oh My)” (The Gold Mind/Elektra, 2002)
43. Kanye West ft. Lupe Fiasco, “Touch the Sky” (Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam, 2006)
44. Pink, “Don’t Let Me Get Me” (Arista, 2002)
45. No Doubt, “Hella Good” (Interscope, 2002)
46. Petey Pablo, “I Told Y’all” (Jive, 2002)
47. Kelis, “Milkshake” (Star Trak, 2003)
48. Panjabi MC ft. Jay-Z, “Beware of the Boys (Mundian To Bach Ke)” (Sequence, 2003)
49. Eminem, “Without Me” (Aftermath, 2002)
50. Truth Hurts ft. Rakim, “Addictive” (Aftermath, 2002)

51. Brad Paisley, “Alcohol” (Arista Nashville, 2005)
52. Lloyd Featuring Lil Wayne, “Girls Around The World” (The Inc., 2008)
53. Jay-Z, “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” (Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam, 2001)
54. Pink, “Get The Party Started” (Arista, 2001)
55. Britney Spears, “I’m a Slave 4 U” (Jive, 2001)
56. UGK ft. OutKast, “Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You)” (UGK/Jive, 2007)
57. Paul Wall ft. Big Pokey, “Sittin’ Sidewayz” (Swishahouse, 2005)
58. Kanye West Featuring Jamie Foxx, “Gold Digger” (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam, 2005)
59. Beyoncé ft. Jay-Z, “Crazy in Love” (Music World, 2003)
60. N.O.R.E., “Nothin’” (Def Jam, 2002)

61. Kylie Minogue, “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” (Capitol, 2002)
62. Nelly Furtado, “Say It Right” (Mosley, 2006)
63. Estelle ft. Kanye West, “American Boy” (Home School/Atlantic, 2008)
64. Christina Aguilera, “Ain’t No Other Man” (RCA, 2006)
65. Destiny’s Child, “Bootylicious” (Columbia, 2001)
66. DMX, “Who We Be” (Ruff Ryders/Def Jam, 2001)
67. The Hives, “Hate to Say I Told You So” (Epitaph/Sire/Gearhead, 2002)
68. Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott, “Work It” (The Gold Mind/Elektra, 2002)
69. Justin Timberlake, “Cry Me a River” (Jive, 2002)
70. U2, “Beautiful Day” (Interscope, 2000)

71. Pitbull ft. Trina & Young Bo$$, “Go Girl” (TVT, 2007)
72. Alicia Keys, “You Don’t Know My Name” (J, 2003)
73. Baby ft. Clipse, “What Happened to That Boy” (Cash Money, 2003)
74. Kanye West ft. Dwele, “Flashing Lights” (Roc-a-Fella, 2007)
75. The Game Featuring 50 Cent, “Hate It Or Love It” (Aftermath/G-Unit, 2005)
76. OutKast, “Hey Ya!” (Arista, 2003)
77. Coldplay, “Clocks” (Capitol, 2003)
78. Jay-Z, “Excuse Me Miss” (Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam, 2003)
79. Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz Featuring Ying Yang Twins, “Get Low” (TVT, 2003)
80. Ne-Yo, “Closer” (Def Jam, 2008)

81. Amy Winehouse Featuring Ghostface Killah, “You Know I'm No Good” (Universal Republic, 2007)
82. Webstar & Young B Featuring The Voice Of Harlem, “Chicken Noodle Soup” (Universal Republic, 2006)
83. Big & Rich, “Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy)” (Warner Bros. (Nashville, 2004)
84. Mystikal, “Shake Ya Ass” (Jive, 2000)
85. Alan Jackson, “Remember When” (Arista Nashville, 2003)
86. D’Angelo, “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” (Virgin/Cheeba Sound, 2000)
87. Nelly, “(Hot S**t) Country Grammar” (Universal, 2000)
88. Rihanna, “SOS” (Def Jam, 2006)
89. Mary J. Blige, “Be Without You” (Geffen, 2005)
90. Modjo, “Lady (Hear Me Tonight)” (MCA, 2001)

91. LFO, “Every Other Time” (J, 2001)
92. Lily Allen, “Smile” (Capitol, 2007)
93. Amy Winehouse, “Rehab” (Universal Republic, 2007)
94. Ne-Yo, “So Sick” (Def Jam, 2005)
95. Destiny’s Child, “Jumpin’, Jumpin’” (Columbia, 2000)
96. Ludacris, “Roll Out (My Business)” (Disturbing Tha Peace/Def Jam South, 2001)
97. Kelly Clarkson, “I Do Not Hook Up” (19/RCA, 2009)
98. Twista, “Overnight Celebrity” (Atlantic, 2004)
99. Franz Ferdinand, “Take Me Out” (Domino, 2004)
100. Gretchen Wilson, “Here for the Party” (Epic Nashville, 2004)

101. Brad Paisley ft. Alison Krauss, “Whiskey Lullaby” (Arista Nashville, 2004)
102. Brad Paisley, “Online” (Arista Nashville, 2007)
103. Prince, “Black Sweat” (NPG/Universal, 2006)
104. Eminem, “The Way I Am” (Aftermath, 2000)
105. Lil’ Kim ft. Mr. Cheeks, “The Jump Off” (Atlantic, 2003)
106. Luke Bryan, “Country Man” (Capitol Nashville, 2008)
107. Ghostface Killah ft. Ne-Yo, “Back Like That” (Def Jam, 2006)
108. Eminem, “The Real Slim Shady” (Aftermath, 2000)
109. Ludacris, “Southern Hospitality” (Disturbing Tha Peace/Def Jam South, 2001)
110. Justin Timberlake, “SexyBack” (Jive, 2006)

111. Ne-Yo, “Mad” (Def Jam, 2008)
112. Gretchen Wilson, “When I Think About Cheatin’” (Epic Nashville, 2004)
113. Erykah Badu, “Honey” (Universal Motown, 2008)
114. Snoop Dogg ft. Pharrell, “Drop It Like It’s Hot” (Doggystyle, 2004)
115. R. Kelly, “Feelin’ on Yo Booty (Remix)” (Jive, 2001)
116. Justin Timberlake Featuring T.I., “My Love” (Jive, 2006)
117. Beyonce, “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” (Music World, 2008)
118. Kanye West ft. Syleena Johnson, “All Falls Down” (Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam, 2004)
119. Cam’ron ft. Juelz Santana, “Oh Boy” (Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam, 2002)
120. Queens of the Stone Age, “No One Knows” (Interscope, 2002)

121. Clipse, “When the Last Time” (Star Trak/Arista, 2002)
122. Justin Timberlake, “Like I Love You” (Jive, 2002)
123. Santana ft. Michelle Branch, “The Game of Love” (Arista, 2002)
124. Cascada, “Evacuate the Dancefloor” (Robbins, 2009)
125. New Boyz, ”You’re A Jerk” (Warner Bros., 2009)