Sonic Sunday Thursday: My Favorite Songs of the Decade

Tonight we ring in a new decade that will, hopefully, be full of great music. But before we say hello to the...uh...Tens (boy, we need a better name than that for the new decade — someone think of something quick), let's take a look back at the tunes that helped get me through the Naughties.

I must preface this list by explaining that it's probably not THE MOST ACCURATE representation of my favorite songs of the last ten years. But the problem I ran into when making this list (besides the huge headaches and heartburn) was that the bulk of the songs I picked were coming from the last two or three years. (Probably because my attention span isn't what it used to be.) Since I wanted to highlight what was good about each year without giving myself more gray hairs than I already have, I had to impose some rules.

Rule #1: All songs had to have been released as singles. It doesn't matter if they charted or were only released in the UK; as long as they were singles, they were eligible. (The non-singles I mourned for most were The New Pornographers' "The Bleeding Heart Show" and Pearl Jam's "Thumbing My Way." Let's all bow our heads in remembrance of these fine songs.)

Rule #2: Only one song per artist per year allowed. Obviously, Pearl Jam is going to show up on this list more than once, but they can only be represented by one song in each year that they had an eligible single.

Rule #3: The third rule is more of general method for selecting songs. I wanted a fair representation of each year between 2000 - 2009, so I picked my five favorite singles from each year, ranking each group of five in order of preference. Then I ranked all the #1s, all the #2s, etc. until I came up with the final ranking order.

Like I said, this isn't a perfect science, but it was the easiest way I could think to take on an entire decade of music. And if someone gave me a CD with these 50 songs on it, I'd be pretty happy.

50. "Without Me," Eminem (2002)
49. "Get The Party Started," Pink (2001)
48. "Hey Ya!," Outkast (2003)
47. "Take Your Mama," Scissor Sisters (2004)
46. "Parallel World," Glenn Tilbrook (2000)
45. "Here It Goes Again," OK Go (2006)
44. "Electric Feel," MGMT (2008)
43. "Soul Meets Body," Death Cab For Cutie (2005)
42. "Bad Romance," Lady Gaga (2009)
41. "What Goes Around...Comes Around," Justin Timberlake (2007)
40. "Fix It," Ryan Adams and The Cardinals (2008)
39. "Hands Clean," Alanis Morrisette (2002)
38. "Black Sweat," Prince (2006)
37. "Glad Girls," Guided By Voices (2001)
36. "Beautiful Day," U2 (2000)
35. "Harder To Breathe," Maroon 5* (2003)
34. "The One I Love," David Gray (2005)
33. "Formed A Band," Art Brut (2004)
32. "1234," Feist (2007)
31. "Whole New Way," The Horrors (2009)
30. "The Rising," Bruce Springsteen (2002)
29. "World Wide Suicide," Pearl Jam (2006)
28. "New York, New York," Ryan Adams (2001)
27. "Mixed Bizness," Beck (2000)
26. "(Reach Up For The) Sunrise," Duran Duran (2004)
25. "Messing With My Head," Tinted Windows (2009)
24. "Crystal Village," Pete Yorn (2003)
23. "I Never," Rilo Kiley (2005)
22. "Chick Lit," We Are Scientists (2008)
21. "Let's Dance To Joy Division," The Wombats (2007)
20. "I Am Mine," Pearl Jam (2002)
19. "Evil Urges," My Morning Jacket (2008)
18. "The Funeral," Band Of Horses (2006)
17. "Since U Been Gone," Kelly Clarkson (2005)
16. "Light Years," Pearl Jam (2000)
15. "Somebody Told Me," The Killers (2004)
14. "Bootylicious," Destiny's Child** (2001)
13. "Pain Killer," Turin Brakes (2003)
12. "Breakin' Up," Rilo Kiley (2007)
11. "Just Breathe," Pearl Jam (2009)
10. "You Said Something," PJ Harvey (2001)
9. "Stop Crying Your Heart Out," Oasis (2002)
8. "Shiver," Coldplay (2000)
7. "Out Of Time," Blur (2003)
6. "Valerie," The Zutons (2006)
5. "Feel Good Inc.," Gorillaz (2005)
4. "Use Somebody," Kings Of Leon (2008)
3. "Kiss Of Life," Supergrass (2004)
2. "Song Away," Hockey (2009)
1. "I'll Stick Around," Arckid (2007)

*The one and only good song this band of douchebags ever put out.
**Oh, I am dead serious. Don't even start.

Hilarious photo by Jinjin Sun, Yale Herald.


Bar L. said…
Great list! You gave me some ideas of what to add to my iPod next. Hope 2010 is a great year for ya!
Ed said…
That's some weird taste in music.

Haven't even heard of half of those.
Anonymous said…
I like most of those songs. And since Death Cab was on there.....
katrocket said…
Niiiice. Santa put an iTunes gift card in my stocking, and there's some great stuff on your list that I'll go and buy later. The record industry really should send you flowers. And candy. And Eddie Vedder.
Nicely listed. The amount of work that must have involved makes even the head of a list junkie like me EXPLODE!

Glad to see Kanye weighing in on the debate too.
Malcolm said…
With a title like "Let's Dance to Joy Division", I had to give the song by The Wombats a listen. That's a damn good tune!
McGone said…
Nice placement for PJ Harvey. "Stories from the City..." is a great album.

I love Kings of Leon, and "Use Somebody" was my original favorite on "Only by the Night," but I can't listen to it for a few more years at least. In fact, I've been going back to the "Aha Shake Heartbreak" and "Because of the Times" discs lately. Man, when that band finally broke stateside, they broke big.
1. I LOVE arcane and complex rules for things like this, your description of the process was like porn for me. Not even kidding. However...what if one year's #2 was better than another year's #1?

2. I am a HUGE Springsteen fan, but I thought the entirety of The Rising was crap.

3. We might be the only two people to pick "Harder To Breathe" as the best Maroon 5 song, but we are right.

4. You correctly picked the best U2 song of the decade!

5. I think "Use Somebody" might have made my list, but "The Bucket" might be one of my top ten favorite songs ever.

6. This comment is officially too long.
Oh, and the decade should be the Teens. Duh.
Claire said…
You might or might not see two comments from me; I'm having technical difficulty. This is an outstanding list (by which I mean that I'd have chosen many of these songs for my list, if I had one). Happy New Year!
dmarks said…
"Mad World" by Gary Jules. Looks like it was a single. Nothing else I can think of that was really great (in my view) probably was.
Red said…
I like, but wasn't "Portions for Foxes" released as a single? There are about 5 better songs from More Adventurous than "I Never". Just sayin'.
bearockr said…
Great list Becky ! Full credibility to it .... You have done a wonderful job indeed ....
rcubed said…
my dream is to be able to embed songs all cool like this on my blog. If only my passion for music trumped my incredible laziness.
Great list, good to see Pete Yorn and Ryan Adams on there.
That was incredible. I don't know 100 songs from the year.
No Radiohead, but still a lot of great songs; Bootylicious- now I know you didn't hold anything back if you included that.

P.S. Despite what I wrote on my post about such things, I liked your best of the decade list.
Anonymous said…
I have only one thing to say. You want to do it with the hairy one from Supergrass.

The hairier one.
Penny said…
Love love love it.
Also Lady Gaga :)

Sad about Jim not making it..oh well..maybe next time :)
Scott said…
Pretty nice list. I love Crystal Village. I think I'm gonna expand my top 30 to a top 100, because there are so many great songs I didn't get to recognize. It's tough to narrow it down!
Richard said…
Great list! I hate to admit it sometimes, but Without Me is a truly amazing song.

I'd have put Hey Ya much higher, though! :D
Red said…
The only Kelly Clarkson song I've ever really liked is "My Life Would Suck Without You."

Glad to see "Mixed Bizness" on there. _Midnite Vultures_ is an awesome album.