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  • What's the Essential Song of the 2000s?

       December 30, 2009

    With the decade coming to a close, I've been trying to think of what is the definitive song of the 2000s. For some decades, it's easy. For the 1990s it's obviously "Smells Like Teen Spirit". For the 1980s maybe it's "Pride", "Like A Virgin" or "Born in the U.S.A". For the 1970s it's probably something like "Baba O'Riley" or "Feel Like Makin' Love" by Bad Company. For the 1960s it's probably something by The Beatles. In fact, back in 2005, we had an ongoing series of polls to figure out what the greatest song of all time was (and the winner? uh, I have no idea). Back then, our poll said that the best song of the 2000s was OutKast's "Hey Ya!" Yeah, not so much.

    Anyway, this isn't really about the best song, that's too subjective. It's about the song that best represents the decade in music. By that I mean a song that both represents a groundbreaking or popular music style of the decade yet also has something to say about the events of the decade or to the generation that came of age during those years.

    For a long time, I thought the most representative, or at least evocative, song of the decade was Wilco's "Jesus, etc." for the way it conjured up the imagery of 9/11 (despite being recorded before it) as well as that lost feeling we experienced in the days and months after. Unfortunately, the song just isn't well known enough to stand for the decade and fortunately, as the years have passed those feelings about 9/11 have faded.

    Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie" was the world's top selling song this decade and it sounds like the decade with its Latin influence and fusion of pop and hip hop. Or maybe it's something like Coldplay's "Yellow" or Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out" - both examples of popular indie music. Or what about something by Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood or Daughtry to show the influence of American Idol. Or even M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes" with its Asian influences and genre-busting sound?

    The point is, is that it's not obvious. At least not yet.

    Posted by at December 30, 2009 09:26 AM

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