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


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The book didn't really go for any obvious hits from 2002. They ignored that Coldplay band. I still like their early tunes. Interpol didn't really work for me. I didn't see the point in a Post-Punk revival. I liked the Wilco song a lot. I thought it sounded even better when listening to the LP. There were a lot of decent records in '02. I liked the stuff The Mountain Goats were doing and old faithfuls like Tom Waits. I spent a few weeks obsessed with these songs:

I wasn't too high on 2002 hip hop. 2002 might be the first year where I don't have a favorite hip-hop record.

Here are the usual lists of random tunes I liked:



Apparently, I liked Death Cab for Cutie a lot. There's a Bowie song in this one!



Last call.




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‘Mein Teil’, Rammstein (2004)

Influenced by: Just One Fix • Ministry (1992)   

Influence on: Blood • Emigrate (2007)   

Covered by: Hayseed Dixie (2007) • Panzerballett (2009)   

Other key tracks: Keine Lust (2004) • Amerika (2004) • Ohne dich (2004)

It doesn’t particularly surprise me to see a Rammstein track end up on the list, considering how successful they have become globally with songs that are in German. However, I’m surprised that this song ended up here – I perhaps would have expected ‘Du Hast’, as that felt like the song that really sent them into the wider public conscious. The lyrical content perhaps explains its choice, focusing on the real life story of a cannibal who ate the penis of another man, though this did also warrant them a Grammy nomination. I think there are better songs in their back catalogue, yet this does do exactly what you’d expect of the band – catchy, aggressive, music to nod your head to.


‘Portland, Oregon’, Loretta Lynn featuring Jack White (2004)

An interesting duet here that is another one based on a real-life story, this time of Lynn pretending to have an affair in order to get the attention of her husband, who threatened violence upon the not just the man who slept with his wife, but Lynn as well. There is a pleasing retro-ness to the song that I like, helped by the use of the slide guitar by White in particular. This choice feels like a celebration of a collision of two musical forces, rather than anything more, but it is a song I leave having at least enjoyed it and valued its inclusion.


‘Points of Authority…’, Jay Z featuring Linkin Park (2004)

Speaking of musical collaborations and collisions… this was an interesting new take on the rap/rock hybrid that had been mined ever since the 80s Run DMC-era. Linkin Park’s nu-metal leanings meant that they already had DJ and rap stylings, so hooking up with Jay-Z who had already showcased an interest in harder/rockier sounds over his career wasn’t at all surprising. A live show that documented it all made it even more exciting and notable than if the two had just slung out an EP and left it at that. An inclusion that affords an interesting window into the music of the time, even though I’m not sure it holds up over time – it is still fun, but the novelty does unsurprisingly wear thing.


‘The Art Teacher’, Rufus Wainwright (2004)

Wainwright is always going to be a ‘your mileage may vary’ type act for me. He has such a distinctive voice that if you aren’t sold on his style, you won’t enjoy what he offers whatsoever. As for me, I’m partial to a bit of singer/songwriter music, so whilst it is at the outer boundaries of what I might listen to, I can enjoy a Wainwright song from time to time. The book talks about how this was recorded live on stage, whilst the lyrics about unrequited love perhaps hit harder coming from a gay man in particular. The sparse instrumentation really lets Wainwright’s vocals and lyrics to shine, for good or bad depending on how that works for you. I like it though.


'Dry Your Eyes', The Streets (2004)

A Grand Don’t Come For Free, the concept album that this is taken from, is probably top ten albums of all time for me. That I was probably the most into alternative, metal and rock I have ever been at the time this album dropped highlights the strength – at least in my opinion – of the music on offer, as it transcended my own interests and I pretty much loved it all from start to finish. Taking the concept album from its usually epic roots to a more everyday tale of money, love and drugs, the album builds to ‘Dry Your Eyes’, a genuinely emotive point within the story of loss and ultimate redemption. The soaring strings and mid-song break for Mike Skinner to lay out his feelings at that moment all help create a song that still gets traction for all the right reasons in my opinion.

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‘Chicago’, Sufjan Stevens (2005)

‘Illinois is one of my favourite albums of all time, even though I am well aware that there are a fair few people who won’t really care for Stevens’ style of singer/songwriter work. However, I do feel that it is hard not to appreciate the compositional skill on show in ‘Chicago’, the best song on the album by some distance. Layered, stirring, and busy, Stevens created a rousing tune that is also very catchy throughout. Strong work.


‘Todo cambia’, Mercedes Sosa (2005)

Unlike some of the ‘world music’ choices, this isn’t on the list necessarily as an indicative representation of a song style, more so due to what it represents. Initially written by Julio Numhauser, a leftwing musician who had to flee Chile in the 70s, it was then covered by many, including Sosa, a woman who had to flee Argentina also in the 70s. Therefore, it was a perfect marrying of artist and writer, both able to empathise with the lyrics about the constancy of love against an ever changing world. A symbolic choice and a decent enough song.


‘I Bet That You Look Good on the Dancefloor’, The Arctic Monkeys (2005)

Influenced by: Disco 2000 • Pulp (1995)   

Influence on: The Age of the Understatement • The Last Shadow Puppets (2008)   

Covered by: Sugababes (2006) • Tom Jones & Joe Perry (2007)   

Other key track: Fake Tales of San Francisco (2005)

The relative interest/importance of The Arctic Monkeys may be a little lost on non-UK music fans. Ultimately, what makes them an interesting proposition for me is how they were the first of many bands who were able to channel the power of the internet to create a fanbase that eventually led to significant wider success. When coupled with a keen eye for a pop hook, a very Sheffield vocal delivery, and wry observational lyrics, the Monkeys blasted onto the scene and this is a perfect three minute encapsulation of what they offered. There are better songs on their first album, but this was the one that launched them into the public conscious so fair play.


‘Hard To Beat’, Hard-Fi (2005)

Influenced by: Music Sounds Better with You • Stardust (1998)   

Influence on: Vogue vs. Hard to Beat • Madonna vs. Hard-Fi (2006)  

Covered by: Studio Group (2006)

This feels like a bad choice to me. Very UK-centric, no lasting legacy, not even a particularly big song at the time from my remembrance. The musical equivalent of the shrug emoji.


‘Fix You’, Coldplay (2005)

Whilst I’m not their biggest fan, I do think Coldplay occasionally get a bit of a rough ride from some people. What they contribute is largely inoffensive pop music for the masses and there are many worse bands out there. This is an unsurprising choice considering how huge it is as a media entity – it must have been in a shit load of television shows and films over the years – and it is pleasant enough sentimentally, but it isn’t exactly a song that would win over non-Coldplay fans. Your mileage may vary, yet it earned its place on the list I feel.

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2003 is a year that means nothing to me musically, but even living under a rock, I still knew Hey Ya! and In Da Club. I don't really have much of an affinity for any of the songs the book chose from this year. I like Belle and Sebastian, but the music video distracted me from the song.  Dizzee Rascal had an interesting sound. Just so you know how out of touch I was in '03, I wasn't aware of that White Stripes song until 2016 or so. 

A band I discovered on my own from this year is Mew. 

I also liked The Postal Service. 

A few more (not always from bands I would expect):



I am still struggling with hip-hop aside from MF DOOM in all his guises. Brother Ali was all right, and the Canibus, Little Brother, Immortal Technique, and CunninLynguists records weren't bad, but nothing is really doing it for me. At least Three 6 Mafia were still banging. 


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‘Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death From Above’, CSS (2005)

I think I actually know more songs by Death From Above than I do CSS, but that’s largely irrelevant. I was expecting to know this when I heard it, yet it didn’t stand out to me at all – I assumed it would have been played at the various poncey Indy club nights I used to attend at this point in my life. Not sure exactly what makes this make the list, though it is a playful, jaunty little tune to go along with a fun, jaunty little video. Again, snapshot of the time song choice perhaps?


‘Best of You’, Foo Fighters (2005)

Influenced by: Something I Learned Today • Hüsker Dü (1984)   

#Influence on: Armor and Sword • Rush (2007)   

Covered by: Pieter Embrechts, Thomas De Prins & The New Radio Kings (2009)   

Other key track: Friend of a Friend (2005)

This feels like a ‘getting the Foo Fighters on the list’-type selection. When I initially thought of what I might have included by the band, I definitely thought they had a number of better songs than this, yet this did feel like probably their biggest song in terms of the mainstream so I guess it makes sense. That FF are diminishing returns in the last fifteen years or so might cloud some views on this inclusion, but I get the desire to include a song by a band who have been a big deal for as many years as the Foos have.


‘Hoppipolla’, Sigur Ros (2005)

Influenced by: Wake Up • Arcade Fire (2004)   

Influence on: Poppiholla • Chicane (2009)   

Covered by: We Are Scientists (2006) • Wenzel Templeton & Robert Pegg (2008) • Vitamin String Quartet (2009)

This is a beautiful song and a great choice for the list, if only for how ubiquitous this song became when ‘Takk’ was released. The book reveals that this song had the working title of ‘The Money Song’, so the band definitely seemed to know what they had created, whilst ‘Hoppipolla’ itself translates to ‘jumping in puddles’ – the more you know. The swirling rhythms and crescendos feel like they were built to soundtrack epic moments, something that they will ultimately do for (probably) years to come.


(had to go with a live version as Youtube didn't let me embed another version)

‘Hope There’s Someone’, Anthony and the Johnsons (2005)

Influenced by: In This Hole • Cat Power (2000)   

Influence on: We’re All Going to Die • Malcolm Middleton (2007)   

Other key tracks: You Are My Sister (2005) • Fistful of Love (2005) • Free at Last (2005) • For Today I Am a Boy (2005) • Spiralling (2005)

This is an interesting choice. I went through a spell where I absolutely loved this song, from the otherworldly delivery to the dark lyrical content, but your mileage may vary on the overall package I feel. That Anthony and the Johnsons had a brief moment of real success is heartening though, as it – to me – shows that real talent (Anthony has a great voice, no question in my opinion) can be recognised whilst staying true to what makes that person or band themselves.


‘Welcome to Jamrock’, Damien Marley (2005)

Influenced by: World-A-Music • Ini Kamoze (1984)   

Influence on: Stand Up Jamrock • Bob Marley (2005)  

Covered by: DJ Shepdog (2009)  

Other key tracks: The Master Has Come Back (2005) • Road to Zion (2005) • Confrontation (2005) • Pimpa’s Paradise (2005) • Hey Girl (2005)

I feel Damien Marley definitely at least deserves a lot of kudos for managing to form a successful career outside of the shadow of his father. As for this song, it is really not my area of expertise, yet it was a song I was aware of which speaks to how it had crossover appeal during this time period. Add two Grammys to the mix and I can see why this ended up getting the nod over some other songs from this time period.

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The main things I remember from this year are the Usher songs. I was heavily into funk and soul in 2004 and was only listening to records from the 60s and 70s.

It seems the most acclaimed album from the year was Arcade Fire's Funeral. I remember hearing Wake Up for the first time when it was used in the Where The Wild Things Are trailer five years later. I've always loved that song, but strangely I haven't listened to anything else by the band. I tried listening to Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) and a few other songs this time, but none of the songs had an immediate impact on me. I should probably listen to the album in full. I really liked a lot of the songs the book chose for this year, especially that run of Kaiser Chiefs, The Libertines and Modest Mouse. Those songs may seem tired to younger folks, but to me they're as fresh as they day they were released. I've grown to love Modest Mouse since joining this thread and Float On is arguably their masterpiece as far as singles go.

I found myself appreciating the post-punk revival a lot more during this year. My biggest discovery were Les Savy Fav, who released a singles compilation in 2004.

I also dug The Go! Team.

Other choice cuts:



More songs:



I think I enjoyed this year the most of the 00s, thus far. 


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‘Little Bear’, Guillemots (2006)

I’m pretty sure my younger brother is a Guillemots fan, whilst I couldn’t pick them or a song by them out of a line-up. This is pleasant enough, but an odd choice that seems like a gamble by the writer/producer that people would give a shit about the band still…people don’t, do they? The lead singer does have a pretty good voice and I can hear the appeal, so that’s at least something.


‘Consolation Prizes’, Phoenix (2006)

A French band who sound like they are cosplaying about a million indie bands from the UK (The Kooks, The Coral, some other The bands I’m sure), this is another ‘shrug’ of a choice. This has a lively beat and catchy moments, yet doesn’t really stand the test of time.


‘Not Ready To Make Nice’, The Dixie Chicks (2006)

Influenced by: Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American) • Toby Keith (2002)   

Influence on: Dear Mr. President • Pink (2006)   

Covered by: Wanessa (2007)   

Other key tracks: Everybody Knows (2006) • I Hope (2006) • The Long Way Around (2006)

A choice that is all about encapsulating a political moment as much as anything else. The Dixie Chicks had suffered death threats and radio blacklisting for speaking out about their lack of support for George Bush, and this was the first song (I believe) released after that controversy. I’ve never knowingly listened to a Chicks song before, though this does ring somewhat of a bell. It went on to win a whole host of awards, so good for them.


‘Crazy’, Gnarls Barkley (2006)

Influenced by: Nel Cimitero di Tucson • Gianfranco & Gian Piero Reverberi (1966)  

Influence on: American Boy • Estelle featuring Kanye West (2008)   

Covered by: The Kooks (2006) • Alice Russell (2008) • Violent Femmes (2008)

An absolute banger of a pop tune. Interesting titbit: it became the first UK number one off of the strength of downloads alone. Cee-Lo Green has gone on to let himself down a fair bit in the media, but the guy has a really good, really soulful voice. Mixed with great production and ridiculously catchy hooks throughout, this rightly became a complete smash globally.


‘Love Is A Losing Game’, Amy Winehouse (2006)

Influenced by: Remember (Walkin’ in the Sand) • The Shangri-Las (1964)   

Influence on: If He Should Ever Leave You • Tom Jones (2008)   

Covered by: The City Champs (2009)

There is probably some debate as to whether Winehouse merits two choices on the list. There is also some debate to be had over passing up putting ‘Rehab’ on here. Outside of that, nothing much to say about this. It feels like an R&B standard and she does Amy Winehouse things with it. If that’s your thing, then this will be a very enjoyable few minutes.

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‘Ain’t No Other Man’, Christina Aguilera (2006)

Influenced by: Car Wash • Christina Aguilera featuring Missy Elliott (2004)   

Influence on: Until I Stay • Jully Black (2007)   

Covered by: Frida Sanden (2007) • David Davis (2008) • Jordin Sparks (2008)

I don’t think it has ever been particularly in doubt that Christina Aguilera is a very strong singer. What I can definitely debate is whether this is really the best song to showcase her if this is the only song that ends up on the list (and that’s a big if as I wouldn’t be surprised to see her find her way back on later). It was her first platinum single since ‘Genie In A Bottle’, so for pure recognition, it perhaps has earned its way onto the list and it is a decent enough bop with blaring horns and upbeat hooks…I just always come away feeling a little underwhelmed by it.


‘Supermassive Black Hole’, Muse (2006)

Influenced by: Do Somethin’ • Britney Spears (2005)  

Influence on: Where Did All the Love Go? • Kasabian (2009)   

Covered by: Threshold (2007) • Billy Lunn (2009) • Tiffany Page (2010) • Theshold (2010)   

Other key track: Knights of Cydonia (2006)

The inclusion of Muse on a list like this could be fairly divisive, as I find that you either like them or you hate them. However, in terms of a single and an album that took a band from being noteworthy to being megastars, this is a perfect example. Stepping away from the proggy rock stylings to embrace a more groovy take on the genre, this catapulted Muse above pretty much any other band in the UK outside of…Coldplay? That’s definitely what it felt like in the mid 2000s and in the years that followed. I remember being very surprised by the change in style at the time, though the song has held up as amongst the band’s best songs in my opinion.


‘We Are Your Friends’, Justice versus Simian (2006)

There are some songs that you really don’t know who created it, but could pick it out from a mile away. The moment the first beat hit, I knew exactly what this song was, which says a lot considering even the title didn’t spark a note of recognition for me. This could only have been an absolute banger of a tune in the clubs around this time. An electro bop with great lyrics to sing along to? Sign me up.


‘Pop The Glock’, Uffie (2006)

This isn’t really in my wheelhouse whatsoever, though it sounds oddly in debt to earlier records whilst being somewhat ahead of its time. It doesn’t feel too many steps away from the type of song that someone like Sia would become popular off of the back of in the next decade. It doesn’t really do anything for me if I’m honest, though I’m sure with the correct audience this is rightly lauded.


‘Ovenque proteggi’, Vinicio Capossela (2006)

A piano ballad that apparently took Italy by storm at the time, this signified a transition (according to the book) of the artist to a more eccentric, yet successful, addition to the musical landscape. From setting up studios in caves to refusing to perform anywhere but in stone auditoriums, Vinicio sounds like an interesting character. As for the song, it is pleasant enough, if not particularly mindblowing.

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‘Please Read This Letter’, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss (2007)

Considering this felt like it was everywhere during 2007, I never actually got around to listening to anything by Plant and Krauss. This was originally recorded by Plant and Page, before turning up on what I believe to be an album of covers. This feels – for lack of a better way of describing it – very grown up, and I like the adding of the fiddle partway through to add another sonic layer to what is a largely straightforward song. I really like it, and I guess its success at the Grammy awards is enough of a reason for it to end up on the list.


972. ‘Crank That (Soulja Boy)’, Soulja Boy (2007)

The desire for songs to offer a dance or move for people to do felt like it was very 90s or early 00s, until (probably some other songs I’m forgetting…) this song came along. The inclusion on the list is inarguable in some ways as this was a huge song, one that you couldn’t really avoid. Primarily, it is a fun slice of rap with a hint of reggae in the steel drums – little more than that really, but sometimes that is all things need to be to sell millions of record.


‘My People’, The Presets (2007)

Who? Having read the entry for the song, this seems to go back to ticking the Australian music box that hadn’t been addressed for a little while. Disco-pop-punk melds together into a fun enough song, but it does little for me and feels very much shoehorned onto the list.


‘Flux’, Bloc Party (2007)

Influenced by: Swastika Eyes • Primal Scream (1999)   

Influence on: Mindestens in 1000 Jahren • Frittenbude (2008)   

Covered by: Brand New Rockers (2009)  

Other key tracks: Banquet (Phones Disco Edit) (2004) • Hunting for Witches (2007) • Waiting for the 7:18 (2007)

This is where I do my usual thing whenever Bloc Party is mentioned and state that Kele Okereke went to my school, though we probably were passing ships in the night at best. This is a song I absolutely love, up there with some of my favourite songs of all time. I wasn’t a huge Bloc Party fan, but what this song ended up doing was making me check out and re-evaluate what had come before. The whole tune feels so urgent and full of forward momentum, all accompanied with a pretty catchy chorus. The screaming guitar in the background alongside the pulsing techno beats pull everything together – a great song.


‘My Moon My Man’, Feist (2007)

Influenced by: Lover’s Spit • Broken Social Scene (2004)   

Influence on: Drumming Song • Florence & The Machine (2009)   

Other key tracks: 1234 (2007) • I Feel It All (2007) • Sea Lion Woman (2007) • Honey Honey (2007)

Feist sits in a style or ouvre of music I have merely dabbled in but have never really immersed myself in – the North American singer/songwriter/indie singer or group. There is probably a better way to describe it, but stuff like Feist, Broken Social Scene, etc. ‘1234’ was a bigger song in the UK than this was, yet this is a jaunty little tune that makes the most of some entertaining string work in particular. Maybe I should have spent more time getting into this…

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‘D.A.N.C.E.’, Justice (2007)

Justice were another of those bands that seemed to be everywhere for a brief minute, but I can only assume either cease to exist/bash about on the peripheries once more (delete as appropriate). This is apparently not a tribute to Michael Jackson, but the lyrics kinda give things away. I appreciate the bass and the synth work and it is all very fun for the most part, yet nothing particularly exciting beyond that for me.


‘re: Stacks’, Bon Iver (2007)

I think there might have been a time when this did something for me, but the bitterness of age leaves me feeling somewhat cold to what I assume is quite a touching end to an album that I remember getting a fair bit of press. I want to reward competent songwriting that goes beyond the norm, which this does, so I’ll give it that much at least. However, the wispy vocals and simplistic instrumentation don’t excite out of context. Maybe the album as a whole would be worth checking out…I’ll probably never know.


‘With Every Heartbeat’, Robyn featuring Kleerup (2007)

Influenced by: La Ritournelle • Sébastien Tellier (2004)   

Influence on: The Girl and the Robot • Röyskopp featuring Robyn (2009)   

Covered by: Athlete (2007) • Girls Aloud (2008) • The Hoosiers (2008)

Now this is a song I can get behind. One of the best pop songs of this time period in my belief, ‘With Every Heartbeat’ was arguably the pinnacle of the electro-pop-females that seemed to burst into popularity around this point. The song that broke Robyn out into the worldwide mainstream (she had had over a decade of relative success in Sweden), it went to number one in the UK. As the book quotes her saying, it is a weird number one – no real chorus, a string break in the middle. Whatever it is, it is a powerful piece of pop.


‘Someone Great’, LCD Soundsystem (2007)

Influenced by: Me and Giuliani Down by the Schoolyard (A True Story) • !!! (2003)   

Influence on: Can I Be • Kid Cudi (2009)   

Covered by: Winter Gloves (2008) • Lissy Trullie & The Fibs (2008) • Banjo or Freakout (2009)   

Other key track: All My Friends (2007)

This feels a bit to me like missing the obvious (‘Daft Punk Is Playing At My House’) for a deeper cut, but as this also spiralled out of their work advertising Nike, maybe it has a backstory that makes it worthy of making the list. LCD Soundsystem were always a band I felt I should like more. This song to me lacks that heft in a dance track that I want – it all feels a bit lightweight, even if the lyrics are deeper than a lot of what they usually cover.


‘Paper Planes’, M.I.A. (2007)

Influenced by: Rump Shaker • Wreckx-N-Effect (1992)   

Influence on: Swagga Like Us • Jay-Z & T.I. featuring Kanye West & Lil Wayne (2008)   

Covered by: Ryu Maginn & Veze Skante (2007) • Rihanna (2008) • Built to Spill (2008) • Street Sweeper Social Club (2009)

I know that this is a song that many people think very highly of, and I can see why. With lyrics about the reality of the immigration experience, references to the Clash, and use in cult movies around the time give this an undoubted feeling of cool throughout. I’m not as high on it as some, if I’m being honest, though it is hard not to caught up in it the moment that laid back intro hits. A worthy inclusion, unlike some of the recent songs.

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‘Mercy’, Duffy (2008)

Influenced by: Stand By Me • Ben E. King (1961)   

Influence on: Choo Choo • Diane Birch (2009)   

Covered by: OneRepublic (2008) • The Fratellis (2008) • John Mayer (2008)   

Other key tracks: Rain on Your Parade (2008) • Rockferry (2008) • Warwick Avenue (2008)

I feel Duffy will be a divisive choice, but I always enjoyed what I heard from her. I appreciated the older sounding take on pop/soul that clearly channelled earlier decades, whilst I also like anyone who has something of a unique voice especially when compared to successful pop acts of the time. Her overall story is a sad one – you do wonder how successful she could have continued to be off of the back of a debut that sold in excess of 6 million records.


‘Sabali’, Amadou and Mariam (2008)

A Malian couple who crossed paths with Damon Albarn of all people for this single, Amadou and Mariam had produced music for some years before charity involvement with Albarn saw them bring him in on their 2008 album ‘Welcome to Mali’. The added electronic elements add a hypnotic feeling to things, whilst Mariam’s voice is given a chance to shine over and above Amadou’s guitar work. A curio perhaps more than a song you have to have to hear…but it is a pretty good song, that’s for sure.


‘Divine’, Sebastien Tellier (2008)

A very, very odd choice. Eighteenth place in the Eurovision Contest and with the book then saying it went to Number 4 in the Swedish charts doesn’t exactly suggest that this is a world beater of a track. However, having the concept of Eurovision covered within the book is a nice touch, whilst the inclusion of this song seemingly looked to celebrate the musicianship compared to your standard Eurovision entry, so fair enough. Add a member of Daft Punk on production and there are enough quirks to make this an interesting, if largely unworthy, addition.


‘Mykonos’, Fleet Foxes (2008)

Influenced by: Suite: Judy Blue Eyes • Crosby, Stills & Nash (1969)   

Influence on: Wild Honey Never Stolen • J. Tillman (2010)   

Covered by: Rock Paper Scissors (2008)   

Other key track: White Winter Hymnal (2009)

This sounds like a song I feel that I’ve heard before, though that might be as much about the song’s ability to hearken back to other notable acts who largely put vocals at the forefront of their sound. I really liked the first part of the song, though I was less fussed by the second part where more noise gets thrown at the listener. It does build well to this, but I was just enjoying the brooding, moody opening section a lot. I don’t know whether this deserved a spot or not…I enjoyed it thought.


‘Time To Pretend’, MGMT (2008)

Influenced by: Overpowered by Funk • The Clash (1982)   

Influence on: One More Time to Pretend (MGMT vs. Daft Punk) • Immuzikation (2008)   

Covered by: Kaiser Chiefs (2008) • Digital Leather (2009) • Paolo Nutini (2009)

I never really liked MGMT the way that some people did, but I can see the appeal. Jangly synths, spacey vocals – I do get it. This apparently caused a furore due to the lyrical content, though as with most things that cause outrage, the controversy just drove the sales. I’m surprised ‘Kids’ didn’t make the list (…unless it comes later). This somewhat marks a time period where I was pretty meh about music in general, so it does very little for me.

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‘Sweet Disposition’, The Temper Trap (2008)

By no means do I think this song should be on a list like this, but it is a song that evokes a time and a period for me in a way that many others on this whole thing don’t really. From the opening falsetto-esque vocals to the insistent guitar work, layer upon layer building up before the release about a minute and a half into the song – I love it. Oh, to be young again or something like that.


‘L.E.S. Artistes’, Santigold (2008)

I remember when Santigold was the next big thing, and you can see where that attitude came from when listening to this song. Spiky and catchy all at once, this is a fun mix of indie, reggae, hip-hop – it doesn’t really sound much like anything that has come before to me, which is what makes it so memorable. I feel that there has to be more to its inclusion here, but for the time, I can just enjoy the music.


‘Sex on Fire’, Kings of Leon (2008)

Influenced by: I’m on Fire • Bruce Springsteen (1984)   

Influence on: Sometime Around Midnight • The Airborne Toxic Event (2009)   

Covered by: James Morrison (2008) • Sam Winters (2009) • Alesha Dixon (2009) • Tina Cousins (2009) • Sugarland (2009)

Maybe I’m overstating things, but I do feel that this is a song that most people, whether they like Kings of Leon or not, enjoy, if only for how fun it is to sing along to when you are several pints deep. This was the song that seemed to take the band from an interesting novelty to a global phenomenon and it isn’t hard to understand why. Punchy, driving, simplistic; a hit from the moment it hit the airwaves.


‘One Day Like This’, Elbow (2008)

Influenced by: Hey Jude • The Beatles (1968)   

Influence on: Lifelines • Doves (2009)   Covered by: Snow Patrol (2008)   

Other key tracks: Lullaby (2008) • Every Bit the Little Girl (2008) • Li’l Pissed Charmin’ Tune (2008) • Grounds for Divorce (2008)

A huge song, at least in the UK. Some could (with some validity) make a complaint that is a little boring, a little long, a little safe. However, it does feel quite rousing to me, and its ubiquitous use on television and in films hasn’t quite dampened its ability to get an emotional response from me.


‘Viva La Vida’, Coldplay (2008)

People really don’t like Coldplay, but for the most part I don’t really mind them. There are more egregiously lauded bands and acts out there who have made money with arguably less songwriting/musical talent, so I’m always fairly sang about the plaudits people give the band. This feels like another song chosen as it was the one that took a big band into a global phenomenon, so you can’t argue too much with it. The song does just sound big in a way that none of their songs had been up until this, so it wasn’t too surprising that it was the tune that took them to superstardom.

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‘Dog Days Are Over’, Florence + The Machine (2009)

Some of the songs on this list are just good songs that are worth a listen, whether they’ve had much longevity, changed the scene, etc etc. This is one of them. It builds engagingly, spotlights the lead singer’s vocals (which are the strength of it all, really), before finishing with a release of the tension and energy that had been built up over the course of the three minute run time. That it was still charting off of the strength of downloads two years after its release does also speak to how big the song was, at least in the UK.


‘The Fear’, Lily Allen (2009)

Influenced by: I Hate Camera • The Bird and the Bee (2007)   

Influence on: Starry Eyed • Ellie Goulding (2010)   

Covered by: Elviin (2008) • Ehda (2009) • JLS (2009) Tinchy Stryder (2009)   

Other key tracks: Fag Hag (2009) • Kabul Shit (2009)

This, I feel, will be a divisive choice as I genuinely don’t think Lily Allen had much traction anywhere else but the UK. I do like a lot of the stuff she has released, with ‘The Fear’ probably being her ‘best’ song, if not necessarily my favourite. There is a good electro-pop song with some cutting and sarcastic lyrics that touch upon her own brushes with fame. This felt less gimmicky than some of her earlier stuff and the production helped it to shine even further.


‘Summertime Clothes’, Animal Collective

Influenced by: Comfy in Nautica • Panda Bear (2007)   

Influence on: Glazin • Black Dice (2009)   

Other key tracks: My Girls (2009) • Brother Sport (2009) • Bleeding (2009) • Taste (2009) • Lion in a Coma (2009) • Also Frightened (2009) • In the Flowers (2009)

Animal Collective was a band that had their name on people’s lips enough around this time that I’m pretty sure I illegally downloaded one of their albums to listen to it. That I can’t remember what it was like is more indicative of me than them, a point made even stronger by how enjoyable this tune is. Apparently their most radio friendly offer, it does what the book says it does: mixing Beach Boys-esque blissed out harmonies and synthesizers with a touch of dance and electro. I enjoyed it, that is for sure.


‘Rain Dance’, The Very Best featuring M.I.A (2009)

A collaboration between Esau Mwamwaya, the producers Radioclit, and M.I.A, this seems to be on the list as much due to this eclectic selection of people and the way in which it was created/promoted (the song was a demo due to a hardware crash; the use of Myspace to drum up interest). However, it is very good song to listen to, mixing up M.I.A’s edgier sounding raps with the pleasant vocal stylings of Esau. One that I’d never heard before and am pleased to have checked it out through this project.


‘Empire State of Mind’, Alicia Keys and Jay-Z (2009)

A tour de force of a song. Jay-Z had always shown an ability to create songs (or be attached to songs) that have appeal to the underground and the masses, with this song perhaps being one of his highest profile offerings. Ultimately, this – to me – is all about the hook from Alicia Keys. I’m a huge fan of her voice (and her looks, I’ll be honest) and it is the bit that takes the song from good to an impressive piece of work.

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‘Tenalle Chagret’, Tinariwen (2009)

Written about the fallout of the Touareg rebellion in Mali, this song is interesting due to the way it incorporates modern touches like electric guitars with modern Malian musical stylings. This is a slow, loping tune, but it is almost hypnotic as the twangs of the guitar play alongside the chorus of voices. This is about the list showing a broad scope, sure, yet it is also an interesting musical choice in and of itself.


‘Harry Patch (In Memory Of)’, Radiohead (2009)

I’m surprised I’ve not heard of this one. Recorded in an abbey with strings as the only accompanying sound, Thom Yorke used the words of the last surviving soldier from the First World War and turned it into a single (with all proceeds going to the British Legion). The scope of this, in terms of production and vision, is admirable. Realistically, Radiohead are a bit like Marmite, so if you like what they offer then this is them at near-peak Radiohead, so that will do it for you.


‘Go Do’, Jonsi (2010)

Influenced by: Wedding Dress • Samamidon (2008)   

Other key tracks: Animal Arithmetic (2010) • Boy Lilikoi (2010) • Grow Till Tall (2010) • Sinking Friendships (2010)

A curio as much as anything. This is from the solo project of the lead singer in Sigur Ros, as well as being his first release in English. There is an energy about the song I admire, plus I’m not sure how many songs I’m going to hear that use the piccolo so prominently, so it has that going for it/working against it (delete as applicable).


 ‘Me and the Devil’, Gil-Scott Heron (2010)

Influenced by: Me and the Devil Blues • Robert Johnson (1937)   

Other key tracks: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (1971) • The Bottle (1974) • “B” Movie (1980) • New York Is Killing Me (2010)

Gil-Scott Heron is a notable blindspot in my musical journey, so it is nice to (almost) end up with a chance to hear some of his work. This was his first work after getting out of prison for a parole violation, so tonally this feels about as legitimate as you can get. The background music was apparently created by Damon Albarn, which wasn’t necessarily the name I’d expect to be attached to a song like this. What the music does do is dial up the ominous feeling, as well as providing the momentum that keeps things on the tracks. A good song.


‘Stylo’, Gorillaz (2010)

Influenced by: Planet Rock • Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force (1982)   

Other key tracks: Clint Eastwood (2001) • Tomorrow Comes Today (2001) • Dare (2005) • Feel Good Inc. (2005) • Superfast Jellyfish (2010)

So, to what nominally should be the end of my journey (see the next post for why it isn’t) and we have some more Damon Albarn. I don’t think I’ve ever listened to any Gorillaz beyond the first two albums, and whilst I’ve never particularly minded what I’ve heard, I’ve never felt compelled to delve beyond that. That isn’t to say this isn’t a good song, though the bulk of the heavy lifting is done by Bobby Womack’s involvement, his impassioned and soulful voice giving some heft to what had otherwise been a pleasant enough electro-indie song.

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A song that explored the Jamaican government’s decision to effectively place the country under martial law, this became a bigger song in the UK as it coincided with issues at the Notting Hill Carnival. This song isn’t for me at all really, though it was inspiring enough to Joe Strummer as The Clash covered it on their first album release, setting their stool out as a punk band who were willing to play around with politics and reggae.

I got to the end of the book and realised I had missed one, so had to go back through all of my posts to find what I missed. Seemingly I'd listened to this, but not actually wrote about it. So yeah, 1001. Done.

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4 hours ago, Curt McGirt said:

Thanks for doing this, man! It was really interesting to hear what ended up in the book, both print-wise and audio-wise. It also being capped off by me having never heard the original version of "Police and Thieves" is fitting. Good times. 

Been a pleasure for the most part. Thanks for your contributions - made it all a lot easier when I was able to interact with people about it. @ohtani's jacketdid a lot of heavy lifting as well, which I appreciated. Cheers all.

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Congrats on getting to the end, Liam.


I ended up listening to Arcade FIre's Funeral album, and I think their music works better for me as an album than as singles. Definitely one of the best albums of the 00s for me, at least through 2004-05.

2005 was the last year that I lived in New Zealand, but I was busy exploring music from the past. Now I'm busy exploring music from that past. Sufjan Stevens was recommended to me some years ago, so I am familiar with his work to an extent. The songs that blew me away from the book were the Sigur Ros & Anthony & the Johnsons songs. I've listened to a few Sigur Ros albums before, and they're challenging albums to listen to, but Hoppipolla is a beautiful song. I listened to the Anthony & the Johnsons' album, I Am a Bird Now, on the strength of Hope There's Someone, and I thought it was a great album. 

As usual, here is a selection of songs that moved me one way or the other:



Round 2



Round 3



For hip hop, I listened to a dozen or so albums. Little Brother's The Minstrel Show as my favorite. Common's Be album was also good. 

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