Friday, October 2, 2009

Pitchfork’s Top 500 Songs of the 2000’s: A CugeRock Commentary

Out of all of the music sites I check on a regular basis…I go to Pitchfork for news and reviews most every day. News is news and the reviews used make sense to me despite being two paragraphs longer than they should have been. Lately I haven’t agreed with some of their reviews retroactive to me purchasing and listening to the album reviewed. This concerns me.

On a similar note, their “Top x of x time period” lists are always way off the mark in my opinion. Currently on the site they are doing a “Top 500 Tracks of the 2000’s” ( ) or what they view as the top 500 influential songs given the past decade. They also have many other related articles and lists including the top 200 albums of the past decade which oddly enough I completely agree with…aside from a few rankings in question.

Now back to the issue at hand. Someone high up at Pitchfork (I’m acting like its Globex Corp.) or Mr. Pitchfork’s son/daughter (Pete or Penny Pitchfork) must absolutely love the band The Knife cause I feel like they’re on every top whatever-the-fuck list they put out…and they suuuuuuuuuuck. Antony & the Johnsons is a close second. One year I think two of the Knife’s albums were in the top 5 for the year. So I thought…wow…these guys must be good. Notsomuch. I know Pitchfork doesn’t like to make obvious ranking choices but peppering in obscurity for obscurity’s sake or pop-music singles for pop-music singles sake does not do anyone any good. You shouldn’t reward artists who cater to what would sound good at a pro basketball game during a timeout. I used to give Pitchfork the benefit of the doubt as they are music experts (and honestly…I still do) but once you read the disparities below you’ll see how I’m starting to have doubts. Keep in mind…this what they are saying is the top 500…FIVE HUNDRED SONGS OF THE PAST 10 YEARS….top 500….last ten years.

KEY MATCHUPS IN QUESTION - (#Ranking. Artist – “Song” vs #Ranking. Artist – “Song”)

1. Outcast – “Bombs Over Baghdad” vs 301. The Shins – “Kissing The Lipless” (SHOULD BE #1…or at least in the top 10…301? Crickets!)
4. Beyonce – “Crazy in Love” vs 142. Flaming Lips – “Do You Realize?” (I don’t deny Beyonce’s hit track and its importance but #4? Whaaa? #142 for the official state song of Oklahoma!)
5. Daft Punk – “One More Time” vs 99. MGMT – “Time to Pretend” (Time to check your list one more time so I can pretend you’re not serious. Wheeoa!)
7. Missy Elliot – “Get Your Freak On” vs 44. Franz Ferdinand - “Take Me Out” (That’s fair…oh gaaa!)
17. Annie – “Heartbeat” vs 155. Coldplay – “Clocks” (makes ZERO sense)
19. R.Kelly – “Ignition (Remix)” vs 89. Postal Service – “Such Great Heights” (I feel like R.Kelly pissed on my head from a very SHORT height when looking at this ranking. Swish!)
21. Kelly Clarkson – “Since You’ve Been Gone” vs 84. Peter, Bjorn & John – “Young Folks” (So not fair…Young Folks has been played to death but its such a unique and important song within the decade in indie that it should have ranked ahead of “Miss Independent”)
28. Antony & The Johnsons – “I Hope There’s Someone” vs 286. ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - "Another Morning Stoner" (MY GOD THIS GUY SUCKS. WHY? WHY DOES PITCHFORK SUPPORT THIS GUY? He sounds like a cup of vanilla pudding on valium. They gave TOD album Source Tags and Codes a 10.0 rating in which I gave PF the utmost respect but then ranked the top track #286 Arrrrgh!!!)
29. Hot Chip – “Boy From School” vs 175. Usher [ft. Lil Jon and Ludacris] - "Yeah" (More like the boy from drool…hahaha. No? Guys?)
32. Amerie – “One Thing” vs 123. Kanye West – “Jesus Walks” (Ok. Who the f is Amerie? I fully admit my tastes do not skew to the “blazin hip-hop and r&b" genre but I’ve heard of every other artist on this list aside from this one. And she ranks #32? Really? The “one thing” I’m not complaining about is the album cover – sorry ladies...that was inappropriate)
63. The Hold Steady – “Stuck Between Stations” vs 196. NoAge – “Teen Creeps” (why…why do people like the Hold Steady?…they sound like a Thin Lizzy/Springsteen wannabe hybrid. Teen Creeps so out-rocks it)
77. Three 6 Mafia – “Stay Fly” vs 104. Eminem – “Lose Yourself” (I’m sorry…I would like to hear the argument that “Stay Fly” had a bigger impact than this track)
101. Jurgen Paape – “"So Weit Wie Noch Nie" vs 307. Wolf Parade –“Shine a Light” (see my comments below regarding frauline Paape. Ask anyone who’s heard of which artist…you know the result)
106. The Mae Shi "Run to Your Grave" vs 143. Feist – “1234” (makes sense…sigh. wow.)
111. Aaliyah - "We Need a Resolution" vs 364. Elliott Smith - "Everything Reminds Me of Her" (neither are RIP with this unfair ranking. I feel ill)
113. Kelis – “Milkshake” vs 395. Death From Above 1979 – “Romantic Rights” (I take this “diss” personally - I still have a DFA79 sticker on my car for gods sake…look at my shirt in the Cugerock photo!)
125. The Field – “Over the Ice” vs 216. Sleater-Kinney - "Jumpers" (The Field? This isn’t even a genre of music. A 6th grader could make this. Please listen to the song if you don’t believe me. Then listen to Jumpers. Good lord.)
133. Belle & Sebastian – “Your Cover’s Blown” vs 456. Doves – “Black & White Town” (The ONLY B&S song I skip)
141. Britney Spears – “Toxic” vs 186. Fugazi – “Cashout” (Jaaaaaaaaaaaysus f-ing Christmas…perhaps the most influential band of my generation…comes out with a stellar album after a 3 year hiatus…and hasn’t put anything out in 8 years…and you throw them 45 songs behind
Britney….my BPH is going through the roof. IM SEEING RED!!!)
146. Fennez – “Endless Summer” vs 255. At the Drive-In - "One Armed Scissor" (WHAT A LOAD OF FENNEZ CRAP – LISTEN TO THIS – IT’S NOT EVEN A SONG. How can you kick ATDI in the crotch with that ranking?)
158. Art Brut – “Formed a Band” vs 402. My Morning Jacket – “Off The Record” (Like the band formed…don’t understand the ranking or choice of song)
180. Gwen Stefani – “Hollaback Girl” (should be #500,000,000,000) vs 191. Vampire Weekend – “Oxford Comma” (Words…’pause’…sigh. Words can’t even describe how much I hate Hollabackgirl…the kids didn’t stand a chance)
197. Joanna Newsom - "Peach, Plum, Pear" vs 224. The National - "Abel" (Good, God, Why? Ugh. Fausts – back me up on this)
354. Tinariwen - "Matadjem Yinmixan" vs 363. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - "The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth" (clap your hands if you can pronounce that higher ranking band’s name…sheesh)
381. Crime Mob – “Knuck If You Buck” vs 401. The Walkmen – “In The New Year” (wow…I um….wow)

Oh and thanks for integrating “Lala” as a partner for this listing. Id say 90% of the tracks require you to register before listening. Now bands that I wanted to preview (given they’re on this list) and possibly purchase in the future I swiftly dismiss and move on cause I’m pissed…30 second sample…that’s all I would have needed. Bad marketing…bad. There’s other ways to drive conversions. Don’t piss off the potential consumer. Hmph!

Maybe it’s just me but the list seems to have too much LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip, Robyn and of course…Outcast. Don’t get me wrong most all of the pop-songs I detail above are no doubt important and should be a part of this list as they have had relevance across the decade…I mean…especially Jurgen Paape – “So Weit Wie Noch Nie”…no one could deny the catchiness of that one (eyes rolling like a slot machine). Seriously, just because I personally don’t like them doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be included or are important (except for Jurgen…I mean…c’mon). Outcast songs like “Hey Ya”, “Ms. Jackson” and “Bombs Over Bagdad” are great tracks. I love them…any normal human being would. “I am foreaaaaal”. I only have issue with the ranking…I just have issues in general. Bombs Over Baghdad…the top song that defines the decade? I’m sorry….am I being completely biased to rock songs here?

TRACK MIS-STEPS: No tracks on the list were off of the latest Fucked Up album? They threw an older track on for indie cred I guess. No New Pornographers songs off of Twin Cinema? Sing me Spanish Techno? Bones of an Idol?

BANDS LEFT OFF THE LIST ALLTOGETHER: Mates of State, The Anniversary (No DANB tracks?), Quasi, Maritime or Promise Ring (No Electric Pink EP tracks? That was 2000), Stephen Malkmus, Stereolab, Blood Brothers, Matt & Kim, Pilot to Gunner, Radio 4, SLOAN (you have something against Canada?), Rainer Maria, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Beulah. Really…no Stereolab…nothing off Sound Dust. Really? WTF LMAOOL OMG Pitchfork.

My friends will tell you that I enjoy making people mixes…often. I do repeat bands within the mix on RARE occasions. In terms of the top 500 songs of the decade so many tracks could have been cut from bands who appear multiple times on the list (albeit good bands) and so many great tracks could have been included from the aforementioned bands left off.

I could go on but I feel so jaded that there is a sense of physical pain. I’m not an angry person…but when it comes to music...I can get spicy. I just don’t understand the logic applied in terms of what songs are considered more important or more influential than others not to mention the bands that were left out entirely. Please give me a job at Pitchfork and we can discuss…as frienemies.
(Special thanks to Ms. Cathy Cribb for her awsome graphic design skills. Not easy to marry Brit with Ian with Carrie. "Great Job!")

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