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1,001 songs to listen to before you die...


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‘Feel Good Hit of the Summer’, Queens of the Stone Age (2000)

Influenced by: Apathy • Subhumans (1985)   

Influence on: Feel Good Hit of the Summer Part 2 • Atmosphere (2009)  

Covered by: Yourcodenameis: Milo (2007)   

Other key track: Regular John (1998) • Avon (1998) • Monsters in the Parasol (2000)

This song never did as much for me as ‘Lost Art of Keeping a Secret’; this album never did as much for me as ‘Songs for the Deaf’. This seems to get here as much for the lyrical content/lack of lyrics and how it announced QOTSA to the wider world for many. Apparently, Rob Halford did backing vocals on this – the more you know.


‘Ms. Jackson’, Outkast (2000)

Influenced by: Strawberry Letter #23 • The Brothers Johnson (1977)   

Influence on: Ms. Jackson • Styles P featuring Jadakiss (2007)  

Covered by: The Vines (2002)

I’m not always entirely sure whether the crossover success of an act from a genre to appeal to a broader section of music fans is always a good thing. That I, a middle aged white man from London, like Outkast maybe doesn’t do a lot for their street cred? I dunno. Whatever people think of them though, this was/is a banger with a heart, and whilst it wouldn’t have the same success as ‘Hey Ya’, it is – by dint of the lack of relative airplay – a more enjoyable listen these days.


‘Romeo’, Basement Jaxx (2001)

Influenced by: Runaway • Nuyorican Soul (1996)   

Influence on: Needy Girl • Chromeo (2004)  

Covered by: Basement Jaxx (2001)   

Other key tracks: Red Alert (1999) • Where’s Your Head At? (2001) • Do Your Thing (2001) • Jus 1 Kiss (2001) • Good Luck (2003) • Oh My Gosh (2005)

Basement Jaxx are a dance act that cross into that realm of acts that I don’t imagine people particularly having a bad word about. Perhaps there might be some who find their brand of music somewhat annoying, but I’ve always thought that they’ve incorporated their musical influences, repeated beats and simple lyrics in a manner that has never been anything but catchy. Romeo probably is my favourite, but they do have a number of really good tunes.


‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’, Kylie Minogue (2001)

Influenced by: Can’t Get It Out of My Head • Electric Light Orchestra (1974)   

Influence on: Can’t Get Blue Monday Out of My Head • Kylie Minogue vs. New Order (2002)   

Covered by: The Flaming Lips (2002) • Jack L (2003) • Carmen Consoli (2003)

I think you have to be impressed by Kylie Minogue’s ability to reinvent herself multiple times and have success across a range of different styles and eras. Her music may not always be my cup of tea, yet her fandom and longevity speaks for itself in some ways. This was a monster tune, somehow usurping ‘Spinning Around’, impressive in and of itself as that was a huge relaunch for her. To top it so soon afterwards? Fair play. Sexy, hypnotic, catchy – it has a lot going for it.


‘Vuelvo al sur’, Gotan Project (2001)

This ‘propelled Argentinean Tango into the 21st century’ apparently. Not for me really, although I can definitely appreciate the talent involved.

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This was my first year of university. I wasn't in the habit of coming home from school and watching music TV anymore and had started losing touch with current music. Gradually, I became interested in older music and from the 00s on pretty much everything will be new for me. I listened to quite a few albums before posting this. Some of it was good stuff, but it's not a year I feel very connected to.

Having said that, Neutral Milk Hotel blew me away and I would rank their album highly on any kind of list you can think of.

That said, I think OutKast was the best act of 1998. Aquemini was a great album.

The usual indie pop:



Some great hip hop albums in '98 -- Black Star, Gang Starr, Big Pun



And of course:


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Most of the new music from here on for me will be hip hop. All the people I was around pretty much exclusively listened to that. Of course I was still discovering metal and eventually punk. '98 was a big tape trading year for me; I was at the very end of that being an underground staple with networks of friends sharing stuff. I had people sending me homemade tapes and whole spindles of CDRs on occasion which was the height of technology right then. Pre-Youtube and Bandcamp was interesting because you still had to work to find stuff. It seemed more special then. 

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‘Clandestino’, Manu Chao (2001)

A word that means illegal immigrants, ‘Clandestino’ the album saw Chao mix Latin flavours with a rock and roll style as he talked about love, the sun, marijuana, and more socially valuable, the plight the aforementioned immigrants. To me, the song isn’t anything special, though it does represent the broader social importance of some acts in the wider canon of world music. The album sold over five million copies, so it enabled Chao to be heard further and wider than ever before. Props.


‘Iag Bari’, Fanfare Ciocarlia (2001)

A lot of the world music stuff included on the list is very ‘mileage may vary’ fare for me. However, this is a banger. Balkan brass that helps to create a raucous, fun soundscape that is hard not to nod or bounce along to. Unsurprisingly, this band began to pop up on festival lineups around this time – they’d be a perfect early morning tonic on a Saturday or Sunday, something lively to get things off on the right foot once more.


‘Oiça lá ó senhor vinho’, Mariza (2001)

A song about drinking too much, it is entirely pleasant, yet not something I quite understand making the list. Even after reading the entry in the book, it doesn’t feel like it has anything of note to make it a worthwhile slice of music to listen to above and beyond numerous others. They talk about how Mariza performed the old-fashioned ‘fado’ style, yet this isn’t even an example of that apparently. An odd choice.


‘You and Whose Army?’, Radiohead (2001)

This is the era of Radiohead where I rarely ever delve as they moved significantly away from ‘The Bends’-style rock to something that was admittedly more musically interesting, yet not for me. This is a song aimed at Tony Blair apparently, one that involved Thom Yorke singing through an eggbox to get the interesting vocal delivery, amongst other more technical innovations. Still – it is all a bit boring. The final minute goes a way to redeeming it, but doesn’t do enough for me.


‘Romando y tomando’, Lupillo Rivera (2001)

I want to really like this based solely on the guy’s album cover. Apparently, this is a good example of a modern take on a narcocorrido, or drug-ballad. However, the brass element speaks to a style of Austrian music, therefore giving this another layer or two. Fun enough, though clearly on here as much to be a representation of the style more than anything.

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I feel like I'm discovering indie pop for the first time with a lot of these years, but here is the stuff I liked from my scoot around '99:



A few more plus some Japanese stuff:



Plus one country song that struck a chord with me:

As for the book itself, I liked that Magnetic Fields album a lot. I have nothing bad to say about Slipknot considering how much extreme metal I enjoy. Scar Tissue is a good song. I'm kind of surprised that Mother's Milk doesn't have a better rep, but I don't really care enough about the RHCP to go into bat for it, Mos Def wasn't the first socially conscious rapper. There has been socially conscious rap since day one. Heck, the even put The Message in this book. Moby was huge for a while. It's impossible to overstate how big he was. I will admit that I borrowed his album from my mom and dad to listen to. I still listen to that Macy Gray song when the mood strikes me. It always reminds me of the end of Spin City, though. 

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‘New York City Cops’, The Strokes (2001)

I was never as big a fan of The Strokes as I was of some of the other ‘The…’ bands, but I guess I could see the appeal. There was a rawness about the vocals in particular that was appealing, whilst there was also an energy to the music they pumped out as a band. I feel the book missed a trick by not including ‘Last Night’, though this seems to have primarily made it as it was dropped from the US version after 9/11. Casablancas’ vocal style is one I’ve always liked enough, but I could imagine it is an acquired taste for many.


‘Fell In Love With A Girl’, The White Stripes (2001)

Speaking of ‘The’ bands I liked more than The Strokes, enter The White Stripes. In the moment, I don’t think I appreciated them as much as I do when I look back at some of the absolute bangers they released from this single onwards. This isn’t my favourite song of theirs – I have a penchant for ‘The Hardest Button to Button’ – but it is the one that saw them burst onto the scene for the mainstream music fans so deserves its place here. Raucous, loud, but undeniably catchy.


‘Get Ur Freak On’, Missy Elliott (2001)

Influenced by: Naag Wang • Jazzy B (1994)  

Influence on: Love Will Freak Us • Dsico (2002)   

Covered by: KT Tunstall (2005) • Eels (2008)  

 Other key tracks: The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly) (1997) • Beep Me 911 (1997) • One Minute Man (2001) • Work It (2002) • Teary Eyed (2005)

Now, I have no idea about whether Missy Elliott is considered good, bad or indifferent in the grand scheme of things, but this is a banger of a tune. Elliott is really great, though it is hard to look bast the bhangra-style beats of Timbaland that get things going from the opening beat and give the songs its enduring legacy for me. A song that still feels as good as the day it was released.


’21 Seconds’, So Solid Crew (2001)

Influenced by: Da Mystery of Chessboxin • Wu-Tang Clan (1993)   

Influence on: Pow! (Forward) • Lethal Bizzle (2004)  

Covered by: Ambulance (2002)   

Other key tracks: Haters (2001) • Way Back When (2001) • Solid Soul (2001) • Broken Silence (2003)

Is this good? Is it so bad it’s good? Is it just awful? I can never really tell if my enjoyment of this song is one that comes from a place of irony or genuine enjoyment. It doesn’t feel as big or important as some of the songs that came out of US urban scenes in the 90s, yet it is the biggest song that is representative of the UK garage scene, so I guess it makes it noteworthy. The fact that it remains a song that I, and other people I know, will burst into singing from time to time…hmm, I’m not sure if that is a positive thing or not, but it suggests some enduring interest that still persists today.


‘Stay Together for the Kids’, Blink 182 (2001)

Influenced by: Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses • U2 (1991)   

Influence on: Emergency • Paramore (2005)  

Covered by: Madelyn (2007)   

Other key tracks: First Date (2001) • The Rock Show (2001) • Give Me One Good Reason (2001)

An odd choice to include a song that saw one an interesting, if sophomoric, band turn, dare I say it, boring. Maybe that is being a tad too harsh for a song that I do genuinely like, but it is indicative of my interest in the band this album and onwards. That they wanted to explore a big subject like divorce is admirable, yet this has nothing on the better songs from ‘Enema of the State’, nor even some of the bangers from their earlier albums. There are worse choices, but there are many better choices.

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‘Schism’, Tool (2001)

Influenced by: Larks’ Tongues in Aspic • King Crimson (1973)   

Influence on: Question! • System of a Down (2005)   

Covered by: The String Tribute to Tool (2001)   

Other key tracks: Sober (1993) • Intolerance (1993) Ænema (1996) • Parabola (2001) • Lateralus (2001)

There were two albums I bought when I was younger – I guess around 15 or 16 – that I was not ‘ready’ for when I bought them. That is not to suggest that they were some shift in the music world that I couldn’t handle, more that someone who had largely just listened to radio pop up until this point couldn’t quite comprehend the music he was hearing. One was ‘White Pony’ by the Deftones; the other, ‘Lateralus’ by Tool. I think I bought it because I was just getting into alternative music and the box art looked really cool. It took me a few years for things to finally click, which led to me going back and rediscovering what had come before. Beyond Lateralus, I care less for Tool’s offerings, though I am a big fan of Maynard James Keenan as a singer and performer (having seen him with A Perfect Circle once before). However, this was such an eye opening experience and whilst this isn’t my favourite song on the album, it is a really good song in my opinion. The ‘Parabol’ ‘Parabola’ duo is still one of my favourite parts of any album, if you were wondering.


‘Rock Star’, N.E.R.D. (2001)

Whilst I was listening to Tool and Deftones and struggling to get it, my older brother by two years was big into N.E.R.D. Of all of the R&B and rap-inspired music he liked, stuff like ‘Rock Star’ had the most crossover appeal for me and this was a perfect showcase of Pharrell Williams’ writing chops. Admittedly, they’ve thrown in the original and I get why, but the Jason Nevins remix – in my head at least – was better. That, or perhaps I just liked listening to it when playing Burnout or SSX.


‘Fallin’’, Alicia Keys (2001)

There was a period of time where I was sure that either Alicia Keys or Norah Jones was the perfect woman for me. Between their obvious beauty, there was something very attractive about the quality of their singing that appealed to me at a time when I was much more into music than I am now. Keys was talented, but not overly showy with it, as I think is perfectly highlighted in ‘Fallin’’. This was – according to the book – also a song that Keys wrote herself and fought long and hard to keep for herself. She won out and it helped successfully launch her career, so fair play to her.


‘More Than A Woman’, Aaliyah (2001)

A sadder release than I had first realised – recording on this video finished two weeks before the plane crash that ended her life at the tragically young age of just 22. Not really a song for me, but there is a hypnotically enticing rhythm that underpins it all which makes it an easy listen. I really don’t know to what extent Aaliyah was a talent who may have gone on to do more. However, no-one deserves to have their best years taken away from them in such a manner.


‘911’, Gorillaz (2001)

This seems to be included for the novelty rather than the importance, but no less of a good song because of it. D12 minus Eminem were stuck in London following 9/11, so ended up recording this song with the Gorillaz and – randomly – Terry Hall from The Specials. There are echoes of ‘Ghost Town’ throughout, whilst the lyrics explore the frustration and anger of the men after the terrorist atrocities. Whether this deserves to be in the book or not, it is a song I never even knew existed. Perhaps that is what the book needed to do in places – shine a light on novel and interesting output alongside the classics?

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‘Tiempo de Solea’, Ojos de Brujo (2002)

A collection of artists from or who live in Barcelona called ‘La Fabrica de Colores’ ended up with this as one of the more significant outputs of their artistic endeavours. An interesting song with a mixture of classic Spanish sounds with reggae, funk and hip-hop – probably amongst the most interesting and enjoyable of the ‘world music’ entries that I have listened to thus far. Ultimately, it is the brooding feeling that pervades throughout the song that I like, with some danceable flourishes provided by the flamenco elements.


‘Freak Like Me’, Sugababes (2002)

I have always maintained that whoever wrote songs for the Sugababes were able to conjure up some of the best pop songs of the ‘noughties’. I do believe they had better than this, yet this seems to be on the list as much because of it being the first ‘mash-up’ to top the UK charts as it took elements of ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’ and the lyrics from the original ‘Freak Like Me’ by Adina Horward. This was also a change in their presentation as a band; pushing the cool and sexy factor much more than in their debut. That Sugababes are a true-life example of the philosophical thought puzzle of Theseus’ Ship always makes me happy.


‘Mundian to bach ke’, Panjabi MC (2002)

Influenced by: Knight Rider • Stu Phillips & Glen Larson (1982)   

Influence on: Beware of the Boys • Panjabi MC featuring Jay-Z (2003)  

Covered by: Countdown Singers (2004)

This was HUGE back in 2002/2003 and clearly makes the list for being one of the most high profile examples of bhangra music in the mainstream, though clearly dosed with a liberal amount of other styles. This is unarguably catchy, with or without knowledge of what Panjabi MC is actually rapping about, especially as the dhol (drums) and tumbi (strings) create a hypnotic and pulsating rhythm throughout.


‘A Little Less Conversation’, Elvis Presley vs JXL (2002)

Influenced by: Save Me • Aretha Franklin (1967)   

Influence on: Rubberneckin’ (Paul Oakenfold Remix) • Elvis Presley (2003)   

Covered by: The Bosshoss (2005) • Nicholis Louw (2008) • Elvis Lounge featuring Andrea Canta (2009)

Another song that was absolutely huge when it was released, the remix was not only the first allowed by the Presley statement but it was one that shone a light on a song that had apparently performed poorly when first released back in the 60s. Beefier and funkier than the original, it took a decent song and made it appeal to a modern audience. It isn’t something I’d listen to time and again, but it clearly has a reason for its appeal.


‘Gimme the Light’, Sean Paul (2002)

An ironic favourite of mine; ironic moreso that a very lame middle aged English teacher likes it than the song not being good. For a while, it felt like Sean Paul was everywhere and this was the song that put him in the public conscious. Undeniably cool and who doesn’t like a song about sparking up a spliff?  

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I listened to a bunch of stuff from this year. There were a lot of good records but nothing that blew me away like that Neutral Milk Hotel album. I was taken with the Flaming Lips, though. I had never heard their 00s stuff. To me, they were that band who did the She Don't Use Jelly song in the 90s. I really like the lead singer's voice (at least in the studio, he's pretty bad live), but I guess I'm partial toward singers who can't sing. 

There were a lot of great hip hop records in 2000. A friend of mine was really into hip-hop around this time and would make mix tapes for me. I'm still making my way through a few records, but I think hip hop was the champ as far as musical styles go in 2000.

Here is the usual collection of songs:



Part two:




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‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’, The Darkness (2002)

I’m guessing that this is a pretty UK-centric pick and has the concept of ‘songs to listen to before you die’ at a bit of a stretch, but fuck it, I do really like this song. At a time when pop music was all a bit bland and samey, at least in my eyes, The Darkness came along and shook things up a little bit with their 70s/80s rip-off sound that did nothing really new, just took it to a different context. Their debut album is really strong to be fair, with this a particularly strong showing of their songwriting chops. I saw them live at Reading off of the back of this; a perfect example as to why you don’t give a two hour headline spot to a band who had about 30 minutes of material…


‘Ashes of American Flags’, Wilco (2002)

Wilco are a name that I’ve seen before, but I couldn’t have ever guessed the type of music they did. This a post-9/11 America, so I feel that there are elements here (the cover of the album, some of the lyrics, other songs on the album) that might mean more to a citizen who had experienced the tragedy of that terrorist event in a way beyond my own interpretation. If I was in a less charitable mood, I could suggest this was a bit boring, but I do like the slightly stilted, lurching nature of the whole song. What makes this an interesting release in general was that Reprise, the label which the band were signed to, initially rejected the album, forcing Jeff Tweedy to release some of the songs online to show that it had an audience. Point proved, he released the album on the Nonesuch label instead. Whatever I feel about the song, I like the idea of artist willing to stand up to a label in such a manner.


‘Quelqu’un m’a dit’, Carla Bruni (2002)

This is a pleasant song. That is about all I really have to say about it as it seems a song placed on the list due to it being one by Bruni more than anything else. To give her credit, she sold millions of albums, and her French delivery is impressive considering her Italian roots. I’ve heard worse, I’ve heard better.


‘You Know You’re Right’, Nirvana (2002)

Around the late 90s, early 00s, I was a pretty big Nirvana fan – they acted as a bit of a gateway band to other rock and metal acts that I subsequently went on to listen to. However, I wasn’t the type of fan who wanted to hear every last demo, hidden song, etc that the band had produced. To some fans, I’m sure ‘You Know You’re Right’ was a great unearthing and filled a Nirvana-less hole in their lives, yet I just wasn’t really a big fan of the song. It probably wouldn’t crack a top 15 songs by the band in my eyes, let alone deserve a place on this list. Maybe it gets shorter shrift from me due to the lack of nostalgia attached to it or the dearth of listens I’ve genuinely given it? I will say that it appeals more today than it ever has done to me, so who knows?


‘All The Things She Said’, t.A.t.U (2002)

This is a worthy addition to the list as much for the controversy surrounding the ‘under age sex project’ (as dubbed by their manager, bizarrely) as the song itself, though that probably does the song a disservice as it is very good. I seem to remember the video being a bit sexier, but maybe that is me imagining the song seen through a 2002 lens. Between the angsty yearning vocals and the moody electronica in the background, it isn’t hard to see why this has not only had some relative longevity, but also why it has been co-opted and covered by any number of acts in the years that followed.

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‘Untitled’, Interpol (2002)

This is another band for me that were really big for a time, yet never really caught my attention. However, when I have heard their songs ‘in the wild’ so to speak, I’ve generally enjoyed what I’ve heard. The book talks about this song being bigger than the sum of its parts and it isn’t hard to see why – this is all pretty simplistic stuff, though it is put together in a way that creates a hypnotic sound. Like always, this is an Interpol song I like enough, but I won’t exactly be rushing to check out anything else by them.


‘Slob’, Weezer (2002)

I always think that the enduring popularity of Weezer and my parallel lack of desire to really ever engage with them beyond the odd breakthrough hit that they have speaks volumes. I just don’t really care about them. This is apparently a fan favourite song, which probably explains why it does very little for me. I guess it at least showcases a slightly different sound from them than what I’ve heard before…that’s something.


‘Strange and Beautiful (I’ll Put A Spell On You)’, Aqualung (2002)

This is such a beautiful song in my opinion, which makes it all the more ironic that this was conceived primarily for an advert for the Volkswagen Beetle. Crass commercialism aside, this has a haunting beauty that I’ve always enjoyed, a lilting, waltzing, simple piano tune accompanied by lyrics that I enjoy, even if they aren’t exactly deep or revelatory. I can imagine people not being keen on this one – it could be labelled as boring – but to me, it comes together to create something memorable.


‘Like I Love You’, Justin Timberlake (2002)

Whatever my thoughts on this song, I do think it deserves some kudos for making Timberlake feel like a legitimate solo artist – not an easy task considering the usual fate of boy band members who try and go solo. To be honest, I also think it is a legitimately good song, one that propelled him to the top of the charts. Pharell Williams’ sound is all over this, which is by no means a bad thing. To give Timerberlake credit, he also showcased an impressive versatility in one song. A good entry as far as I’m concerned.


‘Heartbeats’, The Knife (2002)

Influenced by: Falling • Julee Cruise (1989)   

Influence on: When I Grow Up • Fever Ray (2009)   

Covered by: José González (2003) • Scala & Kolacny Brothers (2006) • Emmerson Nogueira (2008)   

Other key tracks: You Take My Breath Away (2003) • Pass This On (2003)

I, like many, heard this song first through José González’ cover version, a song that I did genuinely enjoy. This is the first time I’ve ever heard the original and I do prefer it at first listen. It is a quirkier take, synth and electro tones at the forefront, though the biggest boon to this is the lead singer’s vocals. Haunting in sound especially when compared to the relatively upbeat sound of the music, it is this clash that makes it a really good song.

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I listened to quite a lot of music from 2001, and I actually came up with a laundry list of songs I like, but I couldn't really find that one defining album that will stick with me. I really, really liked Nick Cave's album. That was probably my favorite. The most acclaimed record of the year seemed to be from The Microphones. I liked it fine, but it wasn't something that I'll return to. Reading through my list of songs, it seems I liked the New Order stuff from this year. That surprised me. 

Bjork was still putting out amazing music in 2001. I don't know if people have forgotten about her these days, or if she's still respected, but she definitely strikes me as one of the most important artists of the era.

I thought the book got the wrong Strokes song. 

The awesome Nick Cave.

And those New Order songs I was talking about.

The rest of my discoveries:



Discoveries cont.



I told you it was a laundry list.



This is it, I swear.



I still like these tracks as well:

And how can I forget Andrew W.K.?


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‘Fuck Me Pumps’, Amy Winehouse (2003)

Influenced by: Afro • Erykah Badu (1997)   

Influence on: Mercy • Duffy (2008)   

Other key tracks: Help Yourself (2003) • (There Is) No Greater Love (2003) • Take the Box (2003) • Round Midnight (2003) • Stronger Than Me (2003) • What It Is (2003) • Know You Now (2003)

This seems to make the list not only because it comes from Winehouse’s debut album, but because the lyrical content arguably parallels the person she would eventually be portrayed as in the media. Winehouse was always someone that I thought had undeniable talent, yet was never a huge fan of her work, and I feel the same about this song for the most part. What interested me was that I felt it had a Fugees-esque sound, only for the book to mention how the producer had worked with that group, perhaps explaining the similarity in production and sound. Winehouse definitely needed to be on here, but a better song probably should have made the list.


‘Strict Machine’, Goldfrapp (2003)

Influenced by: Knock on Wood • Amii Stewart (1978)   

Influence on: Some Girls • Rachel Stevens (2004)   

Other key tracks: White Soft Rope (2003) • Hairy Trees (2003) • Train (2003) • Lovely Head (2003) • Deer Stop (2003) • Sartorious (2003)

It felt like there was a time where Goldfrapp were everywhere, as much as you can be for a band who produce music that isn’t conventional pop. I don’t believe I know any other Goldfrapp songs if I’m being honest, though this one is a very strong offering. The synthy 70s vibe and electronic elements give it an otherworldly feel that ties in nicely with the lyrical content. Not much more to add – a good song is a good song.


‘Step Into My Office, Baby’, Belle and Sebastien (2003)  

Influenced by: Conventioneers • Barenaked Ladies (2000)   

Influence on: Lovers in the Backseat • Scissor Sisters (2004)   

Other key tracks: Love on the March (2003) • Desperation Made a Fool of Me (2003)

Belle and Sebastien are an act that I’ve always felt should have been in my wheelhouse musically, yet I’ve never listened to much of their stuff outside of incidental stuff on television. Perhaps if I give them a try, a whole new world of musical fulfilment will open up for me? Who knows? The interesting thing here is that it was produced by Trevor Horn, famous for his work with the Pet Shop Boys. This afforded the band the production to make an assault on the Top 40 with this song, a jaunty take on an office romance. It maintains what I believe to be their jaunty style, with a real ear for a hooky melody. Fun stuff, though a debatable choice as I’m not entirely sure the methodology behind its inclusion.


‘Run’, Snow Patrol

Influenced by: Promenade • U2 (1985)   

Influence on: SRXT • Bloc Party (2007)   

Covered by: Tre Lux (2006) • Three Graces (2008) • Leona Lewis (2008) • Voice Male (2009) • Jennylyn Mercado (2010)

This, and the subsequent by Leona Lewis, were huge songs, at least in the UK. The production makes things feel big, whilst the song has lyrics that beg to be chanted along by festival fans who have had a beer or three. Is it any good though? I think your mileage may vary. It is another that some will see as affirming; some will just see it as plainly boring. As for myself, I can see the appeal, but it isn’t really for me.


‘Maps’, Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2003)

Influenced by: U.F.O. • E.S.G. (1981)   

Influence on: The Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack • Liars (2006)   

Covered by: The White Stripes (2004) • Arcade Fire (2005) • Dept. of Good and Evil featuring Rachel Z (2007) • Rogue Wave (2009)

I’m not a particularly huge fan of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but there is an argument I could make for ‘Maps’ being one of my favourite songs of all time – it usually sits up there alongside ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’. The stripped back yet hypnotic rhythm section, the genuine lyrics about a tortured relationship, the quavering vocals that feel so real within the moment – I love everything about it.  Every flourish, whether vocal or musical, works to create a song that never fails not to move me or engage me. Excellent song, excellent inclusion.


This is the first five song selection (I believe) where all of the songs have been given an 'Influenced by/Influence on' box. Maybe underserving in some circumstances, but worthy of note.

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On 6/6/2021 at 7:58 AM, Liam said:

I’m not a particularly huge fan of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but there is an argument I could make for ‘Maps’ being one of my favourite songs of all time

This begs an interesting question: Is there a band you absolutely love a single song (or two) of, but can't stand the rest of their output? For me it's probably U2. I love "New Year's Day" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday" but the rest is execrable. 


On 5/23/2021 at 7:23 AM, ohtani's jacket said:

I also liked Immortal Technique and Aesop Rock.

The early 2000s were a very good era for so-called "backpack rap". Aesop, Atmosphere, Doom, etc. put out some of the best music of the entire era. I don't know if I'd slot Tech in with those guys but Revolutionary Vol. 1 and 2 and later on The Martyr blew me away. 

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1 hour ago, Curt McGirt said:

This begs an interesting question: Is there a band you absolutely love a single song (or two) of, but can't stand the rest of their output? For me it's probably U2. I love "New Year's Day" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday" but the rest is execrable. 

Being 55, I have a different perspective on U2.  You should be 15 years old and hear "I Will Follow."  You should be 16 and hear "Gloria".  It was amazing.  Then all the other music in the world happened.

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I wonder about these things. Would I have been more into New Wave from being turned off by the violence in the hardcore scene in the '80s? Maybe I would have been beaten into it? I'm not a tough guy, but who knows. The metal scene has always appealed so I'm sure I would have been a tape trader (I was the last of that entire generation matter of fact). When I was 16 I was getting into Joy Division and Big Black as well. Perhaps that says a lot... but then my favorite band is still Blue Oyster Cult so who knows. The question seems to be Upbringing vs. Preference, which is a rocky one.

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‘Toxic’, Britney Spears (2003)

This is a very good, edgy pop song that served as the ultimate transition of Spears from bubblegum pop starlet to something a little sexier (though her previous time spent in a red all in one catsuit wasn’t exactly pitched at the child fans). There’s a sweatiness to the whole sound – I can’t think of a better way of putting it – and the lyrics are catchy, whilst also mimicking the transition that a lot of teenage Britney fans themselves were heading towards in their own lives: a world of sex and (occasionally toxic) relationships. The enduring nature of this song, one that still finds airplay on radios today, speaks to how good it is in my opinion.


'Destroy Rock and Roll’, Mylo (2003)

This is a song from an album that I primarily remember just for how eyecatching the cover was – it was the type of album that stood out on the shelves of the various HMVs I’d find my way into in my teens and 20s. This is an interesting choice as it was largely done by Myles Macinnes’ bedroom and involves a list of musical acts alongside some samples and disco beats. I’m guessing it is the DIY nature of the song that sees it onto the list, though it is a pretty catchy little number in its own right.


‘Mr Brightside’, The Killers (2003)

I remember first hearing this song in 2003 and being absolutely blown away by it. From the opening guitar to the urgency of the drums, all coupled with the lyrics about a cheating partner in a relationship, I was hooked. I bought the album and genuinely enjoyed it all, though my interest in the Killers largely lived and died with that debut album. This was almost designed to be a song for singalongs, drunken or otherwise, and was always a massive hit when at the indie clubs I frequented when I was younger (and cooler) in the mid 00s.


‘Televators’, The Mars Volta (2003)

There are moments in your musical fandom when you run into something that makes you realise that there is music beyond what you are currently entrenched in, music that can challenge and sounds weird and wonderful all at once. ‘Deloused in the Comatorium’ was an album that had that impact upon me. It took several weeks, many listens, before it really all clicked, but when it did, I was left with one of my favourite albums of that time in my life. Admittedly, I wouldn’t have chosen this song for the list, but as it is a step away from the punky proggy deluge of other songs and one that (I believe) got a music video, I can see why it ended up being the choice. Again, my interest in the Mars Volta didn’t really last much beyond the first couple of albums, but this is still a CD that I will enjoy from time to time.


‘Through The Wire’, Kanye West (2003)

Influenced by: Through the Fire • Chaka Khan (1984)   

Influence on: Through the Wire (L.L.T. Remix) Lo Life Thugs (2003) 

Covered by: Soul Providers (2006)   

Other key tracks: All Fall Down (2004) • Slow Jamz (2004) • Jesus Walks (2004)

Whether you like him or not, it is hard to argue that Kanye West doesn’t have some serious musical chops. Whilst this is another example of a song which I wouldn’t have chosen personally compared to others in his back catalogue, the story of this being recorded after a car crash left him with his jaw wired shut as well as the sped up Chaka Khan hook that gave the songs its unique sound explain away that decision. It wouldn’t really be the list without some acknowledgement of Kanye, so this is as good a shout as any.

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‘Seven Nation Army’, The White Stripes (2003)

Influenced by: Symphony No. 5 in B flat • Anton Bruckner (1878)   

Influence on: It Takes a Seven Nation Army to Hold Us Back • Apathy featuring Emilio Lopez (2004)   

Covered by: Vyvienne Long (2004) • The Flaming Lips (2005) • Hard-Fi (2005) • C. W. Stoneking (2008)

A song that perhaps loses some of its allure due to its ubiquitous nature, ‘Seven Nation Army’ has been an absolute powerhouse in the years since its creation. I do remember listening to it for the first time and being pretty much blown away – relatively simple, but the escalating aggression of the main riff does so much heavy lifting for the tune as a whole. People may have fatigued on it, yet it isn’t hard to see why it made the life.


‘Fix Up, Look Sharp’, Dizzee Rascal (2003)

A choice that I’m sure speaks to the UK-centricness of the book at times, this is a song I absolutely love. Now, this means it is another song that falls into the category of ‘is a rather lame middle aged white man who was expected to like this?’, making me question what people who like this style of garage/grime think about the more commercial take on it. The sample used throughout gives it a rockier edge that I particularly appreciate. In terms of referencing lyrics in my day to day life, there are few that come close to ‘fix up, look sharp’, so the song has that going for it at least…


‘Crazy In Love’, Beyonce featuring Jay-Z (2003)

This is like the better version of ‘Like I Love You’, inasmuch as being a song that effectively launched a solo career off of the back of celebrated group success. However, I do always think that I don’t have the same love for it that you do see some people give it. Still, as a launching pad for the global mega superstardom that Beyonce has since achieved, it was a great starting point.


‘Rebellion (Lies)’, The Arcade Fire (2004)

Influenced by: Transmission • Joy Division (1979)   

Influence on: You’re All I Have • Snow Patrol (2006)  

Covered by: The Penelopes (2008)   

Other key tracks: Brazil (2004) • Wake Up (2004) • Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) (2004) • Crown of Love (2004) • Neighborhood #2 (Laïka) (2004)

Amongst the seemingly more knowing musos around this time period, The Arcade Fire were on everyone’s lips or so it felt. That I’ve never really digged much beyond this song – even though I do enjoy it – does speak a little bit to my own opinion: they can clearly write a song, I’ve just never felt too compelled to listen to anything else off of the back of the rest of what I’ve checked out. There does feel like there is a lot going on in the song, from the various vocals to jangly guitars, all building up to a fun four minutes. That they licensed this to a charity working to quell the spread of AIDS in Africa is worthy of note.


‘Take Me Out’, Franz Ferdinand (2004)

Influenced by: Damaged Goods • Gang of Four (1978)   

Influence on: I Can’t Give You What I Haven’t Got • The Living End (2004)   

Covered by: Scissor Sisters (2004) • Biffy Clyro (2005) • The Magic Numbers (2006) • Guillemots (2006)

To me, this is just good fun. It is a song that I feel gets a bit forgotten at times, mainly when you compare it to other songs of the time period such as ‘Mr Brightside’ and ‘Seven Nation Army’. In the book, the lead singer is quoted as saying how the song did everything a good song shouldn’t do – changing all the time and slowing down – but that was what the band wanted, and it is what makes the song stand out. It lurches all over the place, whilst still maintaining a great hooky chorus. It was, as the band wanted, music to get girls up on the dancefloor, and it still gets me boogying along 17 years later.

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‘Perfekte Welle’, Juli (2004)

I don’t really get why this is on the list, outside of a suggestion that it revitalised the idea of German bands singing in German. I mean, it is ok enough, but doesn’t really do much for me. It was actually taken off of the radio as it was about a surfer catching a perfect wave, an image that was deemed to be possibly upsetting in the wake of the tsunami that hit Indonesia in the same year. Yeah, not a lot to say really.


‘I Predict A Riot’, Kaiser Chiefs (2004)

Do I think this HAS to be on a list of 1001 songs to listen to before you die? No, not really. Do I enjoy it? Yes. I feel that the appeal of KC might be somewhat UK-centric, especially when it comes to the verse lyrics for this song, but the chorus affords most people a pretty good time…usually depending on how much alcohol they’ve enjoyed by that point.


‘Can’t Stand Me Now’, The Libertines (2004)

Influenced by: Janie Jones • The Clash (1977)   

Influence on: Skag Trendy • The View (2007)  

Covered by: Apache Raid (2009)   

Other key tracks: Cyclops (2004) • Dilly Boys (2004) • Never Never (2004) • What Became of the Likely Lads (2004) • Music When the Lights Go Out (2004)

I struggled for a while to really get the appeal of The Libertines. The songs never particularly stood out for me and most of the appeal seemed to be a desire for a rockstar (in Pete Doherty) that might burn out rather than fade away. However, it did briefly click for me and this was one of the songs that got some decent rotation before I put The Libertines away once again for the last decade. Reading the book, the idea that this was largely recorded at a time when the two men needed security to stop them from beating each other up at least spoke to the validity of the tension explored in the lyrics. The jangly guitars build to a memorable enough chorus in a song that encapsulates a time and a story, yet not much more beyond that for me.


‘Float On’, Modest Mouse (2004)

Influenced by: Monkey Gone to Heaven • Pixies (1989)   

Influence on: Shine a Light • Wolf Parade (2005)   

Covered by: Ben Lee (2004) • Goldspot (2006)  

Other key tracks: I’ve Got It All (Most) (2004) • The World at Large (2004)

I’ve always liked the idea of Modest Mouse more in theory than in practice. Something has never quite clicked for me…apart from ‘Float On’, which is up there amongst my favourite songs of all time. It is another on the list that gets the Rock Band/Guitar Hero push as I often would be found warbling away to the song after have a beer or three and thinking I can song. It shouldn’t really work – the yelpy vocals and the spacey instruments – but when juxtaposed with the gang vocals and that chorus, it all just fits together brilliantly.


‘Jesus of Suburbia’, Green Day

Influenced by: Summer of ’69 • Bryan Adams (1984)   

Influence on: American Eulogy: Mass Hysteria/ Modern World • Green Day (2009)  

Covered by: CMH Band (2007)   

Other key tracks: Boulevard of Broken Dreams (2004) • American Idiot (2004) • Holiday (2004)

I’m a much bigger fan of Green Day’s earlier work, but I feel that there almost needs to be some kudos given for their willingness to break out of their niche and try something different. Whether you thought the politics were a bit much, or the songs a bit long and overbearing (and overplayed), they pretty much shot for the moon and it was a very successful and enduring album (in particular for a subset of alternative music fans who saw something in this pop/punk/rock melange that had something to say). I get its conclusion and I honestly believe it is a good song, though the mileage for many will vary just as the song moves between its five different parts.

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