I’ve fluctuated awkwardly around my yearly “singles” list each year, at one point keeping a steadfast commitment to only including legitimate, record-company approved releases. Last year I abandoned it completely and produced my mixtape project instead. Now, the decade’s conclusion at hand, I once again return to a singles list as an artificial –- but useful –- construction for looking at some of the decade’s biggest and best tiny moments of glory.
I’ve made a list of 100, but I’ll only be providing writeups for the top 50 (which will begin tomorrow). You’ll probably look through and say “how is POP SONG X higher than ALTERNATIVE SONG Y?” to which I say, so what? I think we do –- and should –- ponder the individual song under slightly different terms than the album, especially if that song is part of a broader conversation and not just something you enjoy in the comfort of your living room. It’s got to be about distilling an idea or emotion to something lean and essential, which is why it’s perfectly reasonable to have a number of Top 40 songs alongside some of the decade’s biggest standards in rock, hip hop, indie rock and so-forth. (If anything, my list includes several mainstream rock tracks which Internet tastemakers have, in my view, neglected. I only hope I’m not artificially inflating them to make a point, but hey, none of us are perfect).
Also, one last disclaimer: don’t presume that any 2009 singles or albums on these decade lists will be in the exact same order on my yearly list (to come at the end of the month). I totally reserve the right to change my mind. That’s why Internets are awesome.
Without further ado, songs 100-51.
100. The New Pornographers – Use It
99. Arcade Fire – Rebellion (Lies)
98. Broken Social Scene – Lover’s Spit
97. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Y Control
96. M.I.A. – Paper Planes
95. Stars – Your Ex-Lover is Dead
94. Gorillaz – Feel Good Inc.
93. Sloan – Who Taught You to Live Like That
92. No Doubt – Hella Good
91. Hot Chip – Ready for the Floor
90. Ted Leo + Pharmacists – Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone?
89. Annie – Chewing Gum
88. Animal Collective – My Girls
87. The Darkness – Growing On Me
86. Queens of the Stone Age – The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret
85. La Roux – Bulletproof
84. U2 – Vertigo
83. The Flaming Lips – Do You Realize?
82. The Futureheads – Hounds of Love
81. The Shins – Kissing the Lipless
80. Britney Spears – Toxic
79. Gwen Stefani – What You Waiting For?
78. The Organ – Memorize the City
77. MGMT – Kids
76. Kanye West – Touch the Sky
75. Manic Street Preachers – Your Love Alone is Not Enough
74. R.E.M. – Imitation of Life
73. Stars – Elevator Love Letter
72. Coldplay – Clocks
71. Japandroids – Young Hearts Spark Fires
70. Beyonce ft. Jay-Z – Crazy in Love
69. Bloc Party – This Modern Love
68. Metric – Dead Disco
67. Sigur Ros – Untitled #1
66. LCD Soundsystem – Tribulations
65. Camera Obscura – Lloyd, I’m Ready to be Heartbroken
64. PJ Harvey – This is Love
63. Rihanna ft. Jay-Z – Umbrella
62. The Postal Service – The District Sleeps Alone Tonight
61. Scissor Sisters – Take Your Mama.
60. The White Stripes – Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground
59. The Knife – We Share Our Mother’s Health
58. Death Cab for Cutie – The New Year
57. Interpol – Obstacle 1
56. Sam Roberts – Don’t Walk Away Eileen
55. The Roots ft. Cody Chestnut – The Seed 2.0
54. The Killers – When You Were Young
53. The Gaslight Anthem – The ’59 Sound
52. The Hold Steady – Stuck Between Stations
51. Radiohead – Idioteque