Wednesday, 2 December 2009


So it's the end of the Noughties and the music from the past decade has been pretty good. We've had Arctic Monkeys prove that rock can still be exciting, and in Alex Turner, we have uncovered a lyrical genius. Coldplay dominated the decade from the rock point of view, with three excellent albums, but the quality of their last release questions whether they can last into the next decade.

Male singer songwriters flew high during the mid decade, with James Blunt the most successful, and we've had quality stars from the States like Jason Mraz finally make it in the UK. But latterly it's been females dominating as record bosses search for a replacement Amy Winehouse. So far they've failed, as no one has matched the excellent Back to Black album.

From a pop point of view, it took Take That to reform to give mainstream pop a good kick up the arse, with Robbie Williams ending up the decade needing the band more than they need him - and that was never going to be predicted in 2000!

Anyway here is my pick of some of the songs of the decade. Please add your own with a line about why.

ELBOW - ONE DAY LIKE THIS: Reward for years of hard work finally came the way of this lot and this song shows why. It's a dream of a song - timeless with its sentiment, mood and music.

JAMES BLUNT - YOU'RE BEAUTIFUL: I sat my wife down and player her this song three months before it was released and said it'd be huge. You might not want to hear it again, but for a time in 2005/06 you had no choice.

MUSE - HYSTERIA: Here was the evidence that this band were going to be big. Just like Elbow, they worked hard and it paid off. Now selling out Wembley Stadium, to be the best live band in the country.

KEANE - BEDSHAPED: Emotive final track on their debut album. They could have been together with Coldplay, but in the end it's great for us they stayed apart.

COLDPLAY - YELLOW: The breakthrough track and a truly classic pop/rock song.

KILLERS - SOMEBODY TOLD ME: Did this start the Eighties revolution? Well you can;t hold it against it if it did. At exactly 1 minute 19 is the best example of keyboard use this decade!

ARCTIC MONKEYS - I BET YOU LOOK GOOD ON THE DANCEFLOOR: It's where it all started and although there are a dozen tracks you could pick, you have to go with the song that enthralled, excited and energised young fans in a way that hadn't happened since Cigarettes and Alcohol.

KANYE WEST - HEARTLESS: The master of pop hip-hop and his finest moment. Just stop using that auto-tune now.

THE EAGLES - LONG ROAD OUT OF EDEN: 10 minutes long and as epic as Hotel California, this was one of the better comebacks from the comeback decade.

MANIC STREET PREACHERS: AUTUMNSONG: The Manics bit the bullet and went commercial for the Tigers album and here embrace Queen. Who'd have thought it?

AMY WINEHOUSE - BACK TO BLACK: Who knows if she'll ever be this good again?

DIXIE CHICKS - NOT READY TO MAKE NICE: A big f off to Bush and his devotees, this is lyrically and musically superb. A great album too with the help of the under-rated Dan Wilson (Semisonic)

BEN FOLDS - LANDED: He went solo and he kept on producing quality, until a slight swerve ball in 2008! This is pounding classic piano pop.

JUSTIN CURRIE: NO, SURRENDER: This one's for all those who know me. he had to be in the list and this underlines he genius status. Glasgow's finest. Just make more records you lazy sod!

DAMIEN RICE- THE BLOWER'S DAUGHTER: What a discovery this man was, with a truly stunning debut of which this was just one of the highlights.

Okay that's 15 - and I have now disappeared up my own arse and said the word classic too many times.

Any thoughts?


  1. A top 25 I'm afraid! In no particular order:

    ELBOW - STATION APPROACH Red used to be my favourite Elbow song, then I moved around the corner from Piccadilly station and it became Station Approach. Always uplifting.

    LAURA MARLING - GHOSTS Sometimes you encounter someone so much younger than you, and so much more talented than you, that it makes you realise just how old and mediocre you really are.

    THE ARCADE FIRE - REBELLION (LIES) In the tent at Reading, 2005. About as good a festival gig as you'll ever see.

    BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE - CAUSE = TIME It's been a good decade for Canada. This is both subtle and dramatic.

    THE ANTLERS - TWO The best song from the last great album of the decade. Great storytelling.

    BEIRUT - POSTCARDS FROM ITALY Hazy and woozy just like those long summer days on holiday.

    A GIRL CALLED EDDY - PEOPLE USED TO DREAM ABOUT THE FUTURE Produced by Richard Hawley. No idea what happened to her since, but this song Is. Just. Perfect.

    PJ HARVEY - YOU SAID SOMETHING There have been some good winners of the Mercury Prize this decade and some dodgy ones. PJ Harvey's Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea is the best by a wide margin.

    THE WHITE STRIPES - FELL IN LOVE WITH A GIRL It's easy to forget just how exciting this record sounded when it came out. Music at the start of the decade was dominated by faceless dance nonsense and dreary RnB.

    ARCTIC MONKEYS - WHEN THE SUN GOES DOWN The editor of Word magazine described this as the greatest single ever released. That's pushing it a bit, but it's definitely pretty great.

    FRANK TURNER - REASONS NOT TO BE AN IDIOT It's difficult for serious musicians to do 'optimism' without sounding like an over-earnest idiot. This song manages it beautifully.

    YEAH YEAH YEAHS - MAPS Like the very best songs, this one takes an emotion (in this case, please don't go on tour because I'll miss you) and puts it into words and music in such a way that leaves you almost able to feel that same emotion. The fact she later broke up with the guy she wrote it about is neither here nor there.

    THE WALKMEN - THE RAT Turn it up, the drumming is amazing.

    PHOENIX - TOO YOUNG Who says the French just listen to Johnny Hallyday records? Perfect dreamy indie pop.

    STARS - YOUR EX-LOVER IS DEAD More great storytelling. The bit where the girl starts singing is ace.

    DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE - THE NEW YEAR If they'd put this song out in 1999, people would have been falling over themselves to talk about how it perfectly summed up 'pre-millenial angst,' whatever that might have been. It came out in 2003, but it still sounds wonderful.

    RYAN ADAMS - COME PICK ME UP A few years ago it looked like Ryan Adams might become one of the all-time great songwriters. But he's taken too many drugs and made too many albums. This is probably the best song on his Heartbreaker record.

    LIAM FROST - THE CITY IS AT STANDSTILL The sound of going out on a Friday night. If you're a white guy who wears Converse and a band t-shirt (ie - me).

    DOVES - POUNDING A proper hands-in-the-air indie rock triumph.

    THE HOLD STEADY - STUCK BETWEEN STATIONS Sometimes older people can made good records too. This is fun, clever and catchy.

    LADYTRON - DESTROY EVERYTHING YOU TOUCH This is probably the most inexplicable non-hit of the decade. If it had been recorded by Kylie it would have been the biggest single of the noughties.

    PETER, BJORN AND JOHN - YOUNG FOLKS Unavoidable, but that whistling solo is undoubtedly ace. Add it to the list of great songs with whistling parts - Jealous Guy, Sittin On The Dock Of The Boy, Step On, er, Wind of Change by the Scorpions?

    LCD SOUNDSYSTEM - ALL MY FRIENDS A rare example of an electro/dance track that tries to be serious lyrically, and carries it off in fine style.

    SEBASTIEN TELLIER - LA RITOURNELLE It's almost an instrumental, which has condemned it to use on all manner of adverts and TV shows. That and the fact it's so superb.

    GRAND DRIVE - A LADDER TO THE STARS A band to treasure. This is a beautiful song.

  2. Forgot some curve ball suggestions:

    Rock song of the decade = VERTIGO by U2
    Emo song of the decade = BUT IT'S BETTER IF YOU DO - PANIC AT THE DISCO
    Morrissey song of the decade = IRISH BLOOD, ENGLISH HEART


    Jason Mraz - Worldplay

    They are more mainstream suggestions.