nought n also naught ought aught
(Mathematics) another name for zero: used esp in counting or numbering.
Let’s give a warm bumpershine welcome to guest contributor Chris Molanphy, former Idolator scribe, and self-described, “mild-mannered communications consultant by day, pop geek by night”. For the month of December he’s tweeting down his favorite songs of the decade and he’s been kind enough to share them here as well. You can follow Chris on Twitter @cmolanphy, or search his descriptive (yet less than pithy) hash tag #cmolanphytopsongsof00s. -ed.
Chris Molanphy’s Top 75 Songs of the Noughts
All through December, I’m tweeting my Top 75 favorite songs of the Noughts. This lousy decade has actually been chockablock with pretty great pop. Why 75? ‘Cuz 100’s too much, 50 too little. Unlike some other lists, I’m okay with including multiple songs by the same act. Also I’m a centrist—not out to be hip or defy conventional wisdom.
75. Jimmy Eat World, “The Middle.” The bridge between ’90s alternamall and ’00s emo. Never went away.
74. Junior Senior, “Move Your Feet.” Two homophilic Danes love rock, dance, R&B and ask, Why choose?
73. Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx, “Gold Digger.” His biggest, not best hit; but that “ambition…fries” bit kills me.
72. Miley Cyrus, “See You Again.” She’s just being Kelly. Or the Runaways. Or Pet Shop Boys. Whatevs.
71. Doves, “Catch the Sun.” Former techno guys pick up guitars, keep the hooks and the headtrip.
70. The Game and 50 Cent, “Hate It or Love It.” I wanna give all credit to that Cool & Dre hook, but I can’t front—Fitty owns it.
69. Interpol,”PDA.” How’d they not get huge after this? True, they had a small bag of tricks. But this—godhead.
68. Nelly, “Ride Wit Me.” Is he rapping, or singing? Presaged regional rap’s ’00s takeover—matched with a monster hook.
67. Fall Out Boy, “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down.” In retrospect, this was the rock-vocalist debut of the decade, a showcase for Patrick Stump. And yeah, Pete Wentz can write a tune.
66. J-Kwon, “Tipsy.” Unlike Soulja Boy, he had the decency to drop his hit, then go away. My wife’s ’00s jam.
65. Passion Pit, “To Kingdom Come.” Not just their best song, their most fearless: vulnerable, mad.
64. Beyoncé, “Irreplaceable.” Came from songwriter Ne-Yo fully formed, but B’s vocal/sass is what sells it.
63. Belle & Sebastian, “Blues Are Still Blue.” Stuart Murdoch, sad-bastard god, morphs into pop king.
62. Avril Lavigne, “My Happy Ending.” Daughter of “Since U Been Gone” and a faux-punk’s best hit: wry, soaring.
61. Kanye West, “Heartless.” For a guy with so busy a songbook, this is admirably simple—and a rebuke to his haters.
Check out numbers 60-11 after the jump. According to Chris, we should hit no. 1 by Christmas eve.
60. LCD Soundsystem, “Losing My Edge.” Diminishes hipsterdom while warmly hugging actual hipsters.
59. Mary J. Blige, “Family Affair.” What’s a “dancery”? The crunk era drops a coin into the nickelodeon.
58. Peter Bjorn & John, “Young Folks.” Indie’s top handmade (mouthmade?) sample—resistance is futile.
57. Coldplay, “Clocks.” The decade’s all-around prettiest recording, and an oddly influential one (even they kept trying to rip it off)—which must explain all the Coldplay hatred.
56. Annie, “Heartbeat.” Not as amazing as the hipsters said but essentially perfect as pop songs go.
55. Modest Mouse, “Float On.” Hipsters sell out, rewrite “Life Is a Highway,” somehow make it pretty great.
54. Amy Winehouse, “Rehab.” Write what you know—good advice in life and in pop. Who knew this really was Amy’s statement of purpose?
53. R Kelly, “I Wish.” For me, this is ideal Kells—faux-gospel crossed with the skittery beats he does so well. And self-aggrandizing BS lyrics he somehow makes you believe.
52. Madonna, “Don’t Tell Me.” Her last great tune—the final moment she was still pushing the Zeitgeist where she wanted it to go.
51. Hot Chip,”My Piano.” A personal favorite from one of the decade’s great new acts: warm, vintage synths + perky beats = airy beauty.
50. Kanye West, “Stronger.” Prophetic lyric, inspired mashup. Because of this, we owe him one for Daft Punk’s comeback.
49. The Rapture, “House of Jealous Lovers.” Made the NYC dance-rock fad real. Raucous and booty-shaking.
48. Mystikal, “Shake Ya Ass.” A James Brown-worthy MC + one of the Neptunes’ friskiest hooks = N’awlins genius (pre-Lil Wayne, of course).
47. Death Cab for Cutie, “Soul Meets Body.” So why didn’t they go to a major label sooner? Exquisite autumnal pop.
46. Belle & Sebastian, “I’m a Cuckoo” (especially the Avalanches remix) Like a mixtape in a single song: knowing, personal.
45. Ne-Yo, “Miss Independent” An exemplar of the Ne-Yo sound: a pillowy Stargate melody and shimmery production, topped with his smoove-ness.
44. Dirty Projectors, “Stillness Is the Move” Impossibly awesome: white hipsters do handmade R&B.
43. Kanye West, “Jesus Walks.” His talent isn’t really rapping and it isn’t just producing—it’s recognizing that a hip-hop track could sound like this.
42. Nelly Furtado, “Say It Right.” Icy, shimmering and oddly haunting—a Timba/Danja high point and her most enduring single.
41. MGMT, “Kids.” The “Hot Child in the City” or “1979” of this decade: tousle-haired and vital.
40. Gorillaz, “Feel Good Inc.” So surreal and improbable, I feel like I must have dreamed it.
39. T.I., “What You Know.” The hip-hop boast track of the decade: TIP rides DJ Toomp’s hook like a golden god.
38. Spoon, “The Way We Get By.” Kicked off the decade’s most amazing streak of indie-pop greatness.
37. Rihanna, “Disturbia.” In retrospect, the only good thing Chris Brown did for her was writing this.
36. The White Stripes, “Fell in Love with a Girl.” Jack missed his calling—bluesman my ass, he’s a punk.
35. Eminem featuring Dido, “Stan.” Earned years of my goodwill as he became ever more dull and lame. A now-prophetic song re: this starfucking decade.
34. Britney Spears, “Toxic.” And speaking of goodwill: a song so good, we stuck around through her subsequent wacko phase.
33. The New Pornographers, “The Laws Have Changed.” Outsider pop at full power: Newman’s hook massed by Neko’s voice. (Hey, “Letter to an Occupant” fans, I say this beats it.)
32. Shakira featuring Alejandro Sanz, “La Tortura.” Cooler than any of her English hits: like reggaeton refined.
31. Scissor Sisters, “Take Your Mama.” Imagine if Elton exited the closet, THEN scored all those glory-days hits of his.
30. Justin Timberlake, “Cry Me a River.” (View Video) His own “Positively 4th Street.” All about the tension.
29. Kylie Minogue, “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” (especially the New Order “Blue Monday” mix). (View Video) Eight years later, this still feels like futurepop.
28. The Hives, “Hate to Say I Told You So.” (View Video) Did the Swedish have to try and dominate yet another of our genres?!
27. Missy Elliott, “Get Ur Freak On.” (View Video) Bhangra-pop so far ahead of its time, it took the Oscars another eight years to catch up.
26. The White Stripes, “My Doorbell.” (View Video) Completely atypical for them, but so pleasurable. Jack White has much greater range than his rock peers.
25. Estelle featuring Kanye West, “American Boy.” (View Video) Breezy soul the Brits do best—even as they envy us for our parties and our sneakers.
24. The Killers, “Mr. Brightside.” (View Video) Who knew disgust could be so bracing? Doesn’t just rock—it gallops.
23. John Legend, “Ordinary People.” (View Video) Five years later, I still can’t believe will.i.am wrote this. Mature, in the very best sense.
22. The Arcade Fire, “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out).” (View Video) Did they change rock? No, but they had such grandeur. Rocks the bells harder than Run-DMC.
21. Franz Ferdinand, “Take Me Out.” (View Video) How exactly was dance-rock a NYC thing if it turned out a bunch of Scotsmen did it best?
20. Freelance Hellraiser, “A Stroke of Genie-us” (Strokes vs. Xtina). (View Video) Try “ingenieus”: this dropped in ’01 and single-handedly launched the Mashup Decade.
19. Talib Kweli, “Get By.” (View Video) The “Paid in Full” of this decade: Kanye drops his best pre-fame beat for a rhyme deity at the height of his powers.
18. Radiohead, “Idioteque.” (View Video) It’s like they channeled 9/11 anxiety one year early, then repackaged it into a danceable mantra.
17. Robyn, “Be Mine!” (View Video) A towering symphony of teenage ache and longing—and the pop comeback of the decade.
16. Arctic Monkeys, “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” (View Video) What was that Alex Turner said about hype? Exhilarating.
15. Rihanna featuring Jay-Z, “Umbrella.” (View Video) There was so much focus on “eh-eh-eh,” but it’s the classic pop lyric and the mighty wall of sound that sell this.
14. Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z, “Crazy in Love.” (View Video) That’s not a sample, it’s a fanfare: a Queen makes her entrance.
13. The Knife or José González, “Heartbeats.” (View Video) Theirs: commanding. His: piercing. A perfect song?
12. Missy Elliott, “Work It.” (View Video) Arguably more imp’t than “G UR F On”—redefined what pop could be.
11. MIA,”Paper Planes” (View Video) Like Missy she redefined pop in her image. Cashbox sample beats Floyd’s!