Most of these 11 songs are based on three things:
A. How much do I enjoy the song personally.
B. How much 'cultural relevance' has the song held in the past 10 years.
C. How musically inclined is the song (is the song an intricate piece or is it "Hey There Delilah" by Plain White T's?)
10. "The Underdog" - Spoon/"Paper Planes" - M.I.A. Some may not be thrilled with me splitting my "10" spot, but who gives a shit? I just had way too hard of a time trying to choose one of these over the other. Though very different, both of these songs are fantastic. From start to finish, "The Underdog" has excitement in the sounds of both the guitar, drums, and horns. You have to love the horns and I love that they have a bari sax. That's just cool. When the horns come in, you feel a warm feeling just come about and that's the feeling that this song does so well. As for "Paper Planes", there is a lot that can be said about this song. The baseline has a constant beat that is just really easy to feel, then with the snaps and the synth that carries through this is just a fantastic song. M.I.A. really brought something fresh to the table with this song. Not only was it a gateway for "mnstrmrs" to come over get a taste of some good music, but it really way a fresh, innovative take on hit hip-hop song.
The Underdog - Spoon
Paper Planes - M.I.A.
9. "Jesus, Etc" - Wilco. Everything about this song is smooth. As soon as it starts, it just has a crazy smooth soothing sound with the great keyboard chords, the steady trap beat and of course the amazing violin part throughout the song. The intricate fiddling parts of the violin songs sound so good as a healthy balance to the sailing violin part. As far as the lyrics go, you really don't even to need to have heard this song before to know that the lyrics are cool. With a name like "Jesus, Etc", it had to have great lyrics. This is my favorite Wilco song easily. Jeff Tweedy really wrote a heartfelt tune with this one, "Our love is all we have".
Jesus, Etc - Wilco
8. "High And Dry" - Radiohead. This "Old Radiohead's" best song. If you listen to Radiohead, you know what I mean. This song, for me, defines how very talented Radiohead really is. This song is not really what I would call a prototypical Radiohead song, and you know what, that's alright. Actually, it's what makes it so cool. That's not to say this "type" is better or worse, it's just different. This is just really great, well written, relatable song. "They're the ones who'll spit at you. You will be the one screaming out."
High And Dry - Radiohead.
7. "Touch The Sky (ft. Lupe Fiasco)" - Kanye West. Kanye West, love him or hate him, the guy puts out some pretty ridiculously good music. This is not only one of my personal favorites from Mr. West, but when I hear this song I just want to bust a move. I'm a sucker for horns so naturally I love the horns playing the main melody. Kanye does things like this better than anyone in hip-hop or rap. He takes the best of both worlds in making dope beats and then using classical instruments such as horns and strings to really bring a lot real mass to his music. He is also one of the best persons in music this day in age when it comes to sampling, maybe the best. For this track, he did a wonderful sample of Curtis Mayfield's "Move On Up". Another notable would definitely be "Stronger" when Kanye sampled Daft Punk's "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger". This track also introduced one of my favorite rappers today in Lupe Fiasco. Kanye gives Lupe the final verse in his tune, and young Lupe does not disappoint. I guess you could say the Kanye has an eye for talent. He may very well be our generation's most culturally relevant artist.
Touch The Sky (ft. Lupe Fiasco) - Kanye West
6. "Wake Up" - Arcade Fire. "If the children don’t grow up, our bodies get bigger but our hearts get torn up." I remember the first time I listened to Funeral, to say I didn't fully appreciate it was very much so an understatement. This song is pure bliss. It is an anthem for childhood and youth. It takes me back and really makes me feel sentimental every time I hear. It was appropriately picked out to be used in the theatrical trailer for Where The Wild Things Are. Though the hipster status of the song has gone up tremendously since the trailer was released. It speaks much higher volumes than just that though. This song is a cry out for help from a child who doesn't understand and just doesn't want to grow up because they love their youth. Musically speaking, this song is absolutely incredible. It has one of the most brilliant transitions in a song I have ever heard about 2/3 of the way through. It is just an amazingly cool sound. Right from the start with the guitar part, and the ailing voices in the chorus line that sound like children pleaing with time to stop making them older, and then of course after the transition there is the melodic sound of xylophones and glockenspiels that take you back to an ageless, no worries state of mind.
Wake Up - Arcade Fire
5. "Roses" - Outkast. That goddam Caroline. I absolutely love this song. Everything about this song is just flat out cool. People may not agree on my choice of Outkast song, but this song is pretty much the tits. I feel like most Outkast picks would be "B.O.B." and "Ms. Jackson." Outkast is the ultimate combination of rap/hip-hop/jazz. This track is a great dance jam, extremely relatable and very culturally relevant. "Yo shit don't stank" is just one of the many lines that Andre 3000 has made cool. "She's the reason for the word, bitch." Damn Andre, what the hell did that "crazy bitch" do to you? Think she regrets it?
Roses - Outkast
4. "Digital Love" - Daft Punk. This song is a love song. Whenever I hear this song, no matter where I'm at, I have hard time not dropping everything I'm doing or thinking about and just start dancing. I love this song. It holds a bit of sentimental value for me. Maybe you can relate, maybe you can't, but if you can then you know exactly why this song is #4 on my list. When this song is played and done, I can't help but feel a bit of nostalgia to hear it 'one more time'.
Digital Love - Daft Punk
3. "Postcards From Italy" - Beirut. Zach Condon is the most impressive singer/songwriter/composer/instrumentalist of our generation. A mere 23 years old, his track record is impressive to say the least. His voice, rich in sound, hauntingly carries across the accompaniment of ukulele with blends lustrous melodies coming from the piano, trap, and of course, the horns. The horns really capture the essence of this song. The hook where the song transitions into a horn duet with the soft accompaniment of the ukulele until Zach's haunting voice comes back in truly shows off the capabilities yet regularities of the horns in Beirut. The lyrics of this song literally give me goosebumps. Beautifully written in a poetic manner, the words, soft, hold such heartfelt longing. "And I would love to see that day, her day was mine." This beautifully written masterpiece that should be experienced by all.
Postcards From Italy - Beirut
2. "Fireworks" - Animal Collective. Euphoria. State of feeling when listening to "Fireworks" by Animal Collective. To quote Carles of HRO, "Animal Collective is a Band Created By/For/On the Internet". Hate them or love them, this is true and we live in an internet time of age. This song is similar for me to "Wake Up" by Arcade Fire in that it takes me back to a childhood state of mind yet different because unlike "Wake Up", "Fireworks" makes me want to jump up and down, yell, and throw things, like I'm four years old again. And that's a good thing. I could literally listen to this song on repeat all day. I have a newfound appreciation for this song after watching 15 minute long version at Lollapalooza, jumping up and down hysterically for the entirety while sweating my balls off. And it was the best 15 minutes ever.
Fireworks - Animal Collective
1. "Twilight" - Elliott Smith. Having discovered Elliott Smith about two months before he died, I never had the chance to see him live. This is one of my top "if you could turn back time's" and will be forever. Most people will not/wouldn't agree with this pick and frankly I don't care. The amount of sentimental value that lies with me in Elliott Smith's music is far too vast and means so much to me personally that I had to put this song as my number 1. I really honestly believe that Elliott Smith is the singer/songwriter of our generation. Some of his work just amazes. Not only was a quill-man of songwriting, his guitar skills were off the chart. He also had easily recognizable, whispery-thin vocals that send shivers down my back. I really do feel that I have a valid case for making this my number 1 pick on my list. If you have never heard this song before, then you may not have the appreciation for the accolades I give it, but please take my word in that you will not regret taking 4.5 minutes to listen to this song. Even if you have heard this song before, take another listen and enjoy his mastery again. Here is a link for to the lyrics. R.I.P. Elliott (10/21/03). XO.
Twilight - Elliott Smith
"Twilight" live version
Please feel free to comment on this list and leave your feedback on great/terrible you think this list is. I can take the heat, trust me.