End of Decade Blowout pt 3: Top 60 Singles, 30-16
30. Marit Larsen - "Only a Fool"
Chart Peak: n/a
Youtube: "Only a Fool"
Commentary: Very fun and original country sounding song out of Norway, featuring a catchy melody and amazing, unique instrumentation. Truly, one of the most re-playable songs of the decade. Marit's got a great voice too, which just adds to everything.
29. Kelly Clarkson - "Behind These Hazel Eyes"
Chart Peak: #6
Youtube: "Behind These Hazel Eyes"
Commentary: This is the song that made me love pop again, so it's indirectly responsible for about 90% of the other entries on the list. I still love the dark instrumentation and melody combined with the incredible power of Kelly's voice and the lyrics. It makes for a truly emotional, original, and ultimately wonderful experience. For personal influence, it probably deserves top 10, but I've decided to slot it here.
28. Eminem - "Stan"
Chart Peak: #51 (#22 Rap, #1 UK)
Commentary: Speaking of totally original songs, this is possibly the most original on the whole list. Note that the youtube linked above is the single version, which is edited for language and significantly worse. The thing is, I don't really like "Thank You" that much ("White Flag" and "Hunter" are so much better), but it just sounds so perfect here. A really weird choice for an extended sample, but so perfect. Not much to say about this song; Eminem is a great rapper and this song has really great dark lyrics.
27. Aly & AJ - "Rush"
Chart Peak: #59
Commentary: Aly & AJ (oh sorry, 78violet) have come a long way since their debut album, as their album Insomniatic is a much better overall work than Into the Rush. But I still think that "Rush" is their best individual single ("Not This Year" is better, but never a single). It has a wonderful driving rhythm, great harmonies, and good inspirational lyrics about drug use (just kidding! But they really do sound like they are about drugs). A catchy, rocking song that holds up very well.
26. Anna Nalick - "Breathe (2AM)"
Chart Peak: #45 (#4 AC)
Youtube: "Breathe (2AM)"
Commentary: I feel like I've already said my piece on this song: "Thhis song is perfect. It find a genre and sticks to it to the letter and just perfects it, just like that. The lyrics provide insight without being big or cliched or uplifting. Anna's voice is nice and kinda generic and forgettable, but she's a good singer and she's got great phrasing. The verse rolls along with a nice little groove to it, into the pre-chorus, which feels like it's leading to something BIG and TRIUMPHANT. Something like "White Flag", some declaration of freedom or some kind of big catchy melody. It leads instead, in a nice bit of misdirection, to a flowing, fading harmony. Friend calls her having troubles. She details all the crap she's going through. Anna tells her, well you've gotta live life, there's nothing you can do about it. So cradle your head in your hands, and...do what, go out? Solve your problems and be proactive and have fun and make the best of it? No, just BREATHE. Just sit down and take stock of the situation. And there's a light at the end of the tunnel and you'll keep making mistakes so what's the point in getting so upset. And it flows through and fades away from the building melody, dropping into a beautiful breathy harmony. A relaxing, soothing harmony. Something that just makes me smile. It doesn't have to be so bad."
25. A*Teens - "Floorfiller"
Chart Peak: n/a
Commentary: Besides the Bloodhound Gang, this is probably the silliest song on the entire list. It's just really silly catchy melody with truly awful lyrics and a generic dance beat. So why do I love it so much? I don't really know, but it just makes me happy to listen to and it's been known to get stuck in my head for days. Definitely a personal pick here.
24. Keith Urban - "Stupid Boy"
Chart Peak: #43 (#3 Country)
Youtube: "Stupid Boy"
Commentary: It seems odd to follow up arguably the most silly song on this list with arguably the most serious song on the list, but that's how it goes. I love this song to pieces, with it's long epic melody, great guitar sound, and amazing lyrics, with a nice heartbreaking twist at the end. Probably the most genuinely affecting song on the list, and even if the pure melody isn't as catchy as a lot of the other songs on the list, it's still works fine in the context of the song. The song doesn't really get kicking until a few minutes in, with a scorching guitar solo and heart rending finale. Incredible.
23. New Pornographers - "Letter from an Occupant"
Chart Peak: n/a
Youtube: "Letter from an Occupant"
Commentary: While the song does initially sound grating, I found that the melody and guitar sound, which sound so at odds at first, really come together on multiple listens. Neko is a great singer, and what she's given here is one of the hookiest songs of all time. And as a lover of a good hook, that's really saying something. The fact that the lyrics are 100% nonsensical doesn't even really matter when the sound of the song is so good otherwise.
22. Rachel Stevens - "Sweet Dreams My LA Ex"
Chart Peak: n/a (#2 UK)
Youtube: "Sweet Dreams My LA Ex"
Commentary: Rachel Stevens (spoiler alert!) has two songs on this list, despite the fact that as a singer and a pop star she's pretty bland. BUT, she's been given some pretty amazing songs to work with, and this is definitely one of them. The guitar riff is one of the catchiest, the melody in the chorus is amazing, and I love love love the bridge. Truly a triumph of pop music.
21. Shooter Jennings - "4th of July"
Chart Peak: n/a (#26 Country)
Youtube: "4th of July"
Commentary: Almost certainly the best country rock song of the decade, as well as one of the rockinest, this has a really fun tempo and rhythm. Combined with a simple but great melody and some great rock singing by Shooter. Definitely one of the most fun songs I've heard.
But what's in the top 20??? Let's see.
20. Alizee - "Moi...Lolita"
Chart Peak: n/a (#2 UK)
Commentary: Fun fact: This is the only foreign language song on the list. Funner fact: I think the melody in the chorus of this song is the very best melody of the entire decade. The verses are good too, the beat is serviceable, and Alizee has a good pop voice. But man, the melody in the chorus.
19. Lee Ann Womack - "I May Hate Myself in the Morning"
Chart Peak: n/a (#10 Country)
Commentary: Deservedly extremely acclaimed at the time, for it's wonderful understated melody, sweet sounding country guitar, incredible vocals, and interesting, original lyrics. All of those factors still hold up today and this deserves recognition as one of the very best country songs of the decade.
18. Annie - "Heartbeat"
Chart Peak: n/a
Commentary: It feels like such a cop out here to have THE indie approved pop song charting so high on my list, but it's a genuinely great song. I don't know why indies love this song and not a similarly amazing song like "Sweet Dreams My LA Ex", but like that song this one has a great melody and beat combined with fairly bland singing. Enough to land it here though.
17. Twista ft. Jamie Foxx & Kanye West - "Slow Jamz"
Chart Peak: #1
Youtube: "Slow Jamz"
Commentary: Here it is, my very favorite #1 hit of the decade. There are many huge US hits to come, but none with hit the top of the charts. I don't even really like Kanye that much, but he slots 2 songs on this countdown. This song has funny lyrics though, the chorus is catchy and the sample is amazing. Plus Twista's super fast rapping! Awesome.
16. t.A.T.u. - "All the Things She Said"
Chart Peak: n/a (#1 UK)
Youtube: "All the Things She Said"
Commentary: The lesbianism gimmick was clearly genius from a marketing standpoint, but I think it actually does t.A.T.u. a disservice from a critical standpoint. I think more critics would realize the brilliance of this song and "Cosmos (Outer Space)" (just as good, but never a single) if they were just put out there as straight pop songs. Because they are good singers and this one has amazing instrumentation and melody. Another one known to get in my head for weeks straight.
Tune in for the top 15.