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Friday, January 15, 2010

Millennium Playlist Day Five: #20-1

20. Elkland - Apart (2005)
Best bit - 0:49 That fractured, staccato second half of the chorus.

19. The Sounds - Dance With Me (2002)
Best bit - 0:00 One of my favorite synth hooks of the 00's.

18. The Callahan - Melody That Counts (2005)
Best bit - 1:48 Comes back more aggressive than ever. Love the lyrics in this song.

17. Melody Club - Baby (Stand Up) (2004)
Best bit - 0:00 The breezy, wordless hook that opens the song. Perfection.

16. Scissor Sisters - Take Your Mama (2004)
Best bit - 1:02 When the electric guitar comes in, signaling the chorus, resistance is futile.

15. Daggers - Money (2007)
Best bit - 0:39 What a freakin' chorus. I mean... c'mon!

14. The Mo (with Kris Le Mans) - Nostalgia Locomotive (2004)
Best bit - 3:01 The ending of this is transporting. The drums, the harmonies. So beautiful.

13. Bodies Without Organs - Sunshine In The Rain (2005)
Best bit - 1:17 When those Beach Boys-esque harmonies join the verses.

12. Delays - Lost In A Melody (2004)
Best bit - 0:01 Okay, so maybe this is the most striking synth hook of the 00's?

11. Melody Club - Take Me Away (2004)
Best bit - 2:39 The funky guitar adds yet another hook to a song already infused with them.

20-11 by milproj3

10. The Similou - All This Love (2004)
I first heard this song in conjunction with the video and was taken with the bright colors, the keytar and the scenery straight out of Super Mario, so it's hard to separate the image and the music. Even without the visuals, it's one of the sunniest, happiest songs I've ever heard. Surprisingly, the lyrics are actually pretty dark and depressing. Come to think of it, a lot of my favorite songs are like this. There's a contrast that I find very provocative in a pop song (see track #3 for an even better example). I can't think of anything else that sounds like this. The vocals, the bubbling synths. It's one of a kind.

9. Moneybrother - They're Building Walls Around Us (2005)
One of the biggest sounding songs I've heard, Moneybrother took about five hundred string ensembles and worked them to the bone. It adds up to something as adrenaline-fueling as a good action movie. It grabs you right from the start and keeps building until it reaches the frantic climax. It's the best use of strings in a pop song that I can remember, and totally galvanized this guy's career. It will rightfully be considered his masterpiece.

8. The Ark - Calleth You, Cometh I (2003)
Galloping. Sheer, unbridled joy. I'm not even writing in full sentences here, but you get the idea. From the two and a half minute on, it's the best thing the Ark has ever recorded, and may just be the best musical experience of all time. It is literally the sound of Heaven opening up. I'm not sure if you can fully experience it unless you've been to one of the band's concerts and heard an entire audience singing this back. Chills. Total chills.

7. The Ark - Father Of A Son (2003)
Probably the ballsiest, most controversial song on my list. I don't think the Ark always get the credit they deserve for their lyrics. They're a pop band, yes, but the things Ola writes about, and the way he tackles them, are unique, important and, more often than not... pretty damn life-affirming. This is a big fuck you in the faces of many, and done with a sense of fun and panache that makes it completely irresistible. It's the best example of gutsy glam rock that the decade has to offer.

6. Melody Club - Electric (2002)
Melody Club have a lot of great songs, but if I were to pick one that encompasses them completely, it would be Electric. It's one of the brightest, most anthemic songs of the decade. If I'm in need of a song that'll make me feel good, this is the one I choose. It's about dancing, and really nothing more than that. And if you're gonna release an ode to dancing, you better be sure that it makes people wanna get up. I can't imagine anyone sitting down to this. It's so massive. The chorus was ripped from the stars, I swear.

5. The Ark - It Takes A Fool To Remain Sane (2001)
This was the single that introduced the Ark (who, if you hadn't guessed it by now, are my band of the decade) to the Swedish and International public. It's still their rallying cry, a timeless message delivered in an impossibly dynamic, dramatic way. Lyrically, Ola's at his best here, crafting an anthem for anybody who ever felt different (aka: everybody). It's one of those songs that, when I first heard it, I swore was a remake of some older hit. It has that timeless quality to it, a melody and sentiment that's universal.

4. Laakso - Norrköping (2007)
A television season's worth of coming-of-age drama condensed into a three minute pop song, this has some of my favorite imagery of any pop song. It was never a single, but remains my favorite track in Laakso's stellar catalog. It represents everything I love about this band. They're storytellers, but more than that they manage to put their finger on a certain type of mood. They're masters at conveying the emotional battlefield of adolescence and early adulthood and setting it to music that's as varied and unpredictable as the lyrics. This track in particular obviously comes from a personal space. It's nostalgia done right, with just a little bit of sentimentality.

3. Delays - Valentine (2006)
A damn near post-apocalyptic love song set in a New Orleans under the impending threat of Hurricane Katrina. Conversely, one of the sunniest sounding pop songs of the decade. Completely original. And listen to the album version, I beg you. The single release loses all momentum. It's like ripping out the climax of a novel before you read it. This came and went when it was released in early 2006, and is one of the most under appreciated singles of the past few years. It's a moving, cinematic pop song of the highest caliber, and really epitomizes what this type of music is capable of if pushed to the limits.

2. The Mo - The Right World (2004)
This song, along with one or two others on the countdown, was the inspiration for starting this blog. This is the song that changed the musical landscape for me. I discovered the Mo and Melody Club on the same night, a few months after listening to the Ark's first two albums. It's when I really discovered Swedish pop music for the first time, and more specifically, the exact genre of music that really connects with me. It's reminiscent, in ways, of Europe's The Final Countdown, a song that (according to my parents) I was OBSESSED with as a toddler. This is even better, though. Flawless. The synths, guitar, drums, lyrics. Everything comes together perfectly. I've played it hundreds of times, but each time it's like that first night I heard it. It still gives me shivers.

1. The Ark - One Of Us Is Gonna Die Young (2004)
Oh god, where to start? This is just everything, isn't it? The Ark writes songs about the big picture. Life and death. On first look, this is a fun, simple pop song, but the lyrics are something else. The twisting of Summer and mortality, youth culture and higher purpose. It's a c'est la vie type of song, but it's one that really gets it and, in turn, yanks you off your butt and convinces you to go do something. And, on top of all that, it's... well... a fun, simple pop song. Not easy to pull off, but this ticks every box. And did I mention the drums? The fill that leads into the final chorus is as rattling as a round of bullets.

10-1 by alienhits

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Follow me on twitter and facebook)


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Millennium Playlist Day Four: #40-21

40. Pikko - Kill With A Dance (2007)
Best bit - 0:32 The vocals, unlike anything else out there. You love it or you hate it.

39. Surferosa - Saturday Night (2003)
Best bit - 2:07 The guitar riff returns, stripped of everything else. A brief respite before more craziness.

38. Hedwig & The Angry Inch - Wig In A Box (2001)
Best bit - 1:34 Guitar pops up and heralds the shift from piano ballad to rollicking, theatrical glam anthem.

37. Melody Club - Destiny Calling (2006)
Best bit - 1:54 The build-up towards the end. Great lyrics, great melody.

36. Alphabeat - Touch Me, Touching You (2008)
Best bit - 2:17 I can't even describe how awesome this guitar is. One of the funkiest things ever.

35. The Zutons - Valerie (2006)
Best bit - 0:29 Beautiful bridge to a fantastic chorus. My favorite indie-ish guitar song of the decade.

34. The Ark - Absolutely No Decorum (2007)
Best bit - 0:00 Massive opening, with choirs or synths or guitars or whatever they are. It's like Heaven opening up.

33. The Mo - Howl In The Jungle (2004)
Best bit - 2:26 "C'mon town!" Always loved that.

32. Lil' Chris - Gettin' Enough?!? (2006)
Best bit - 2:30 Last chorus. My favorite teen-singer song of the 00's.

31. Lady Gaga - Bad Romance (2009)
Best bit - 3:39 Thus begins the final build-up. So dramatic.

30. Scissor Sisters - Don't Feel Like Dancing (2006)
Best bit - 0:18 The moment, on the album version, when the beat drops in.

29. The Ark - Tell Me This Night Is Over (2003)
Best bit - 3:35 Enter the gospel choir. Best use of a choir this decade.

28. Superfamily - The Radio Has Expressed Concerns About What You Did Last Night (2007)
Best bit - 0:38 The synths take you to the stratosphere. Huge track.

27. The Ark - Echo Chamber (2001)
Best bit - 1:11 Delicate, than scolding. Love the lyrics in this song.

26. Robyn - Be Mine! (2005)
Best bit - 0:00 The moment those Eleanor Rigby strings kick in, you know you're in for something special. Robyn's reinvention.

25. Laakso & Peter Jöback - Italy vs. Helsinki (2006)
Best bit - 0:51 The first time the voices come together. It's magical from here on.

24. Bodies Without Organs - Open Door (2005)
Best bit - 2:06 I love it when ballads break out the beats for a few seconds. A jolt of urgency.

23. Alphabeat - Fascination (2007)
Best bit - 2:18 As the chanting grows more frantic, this reaches pop perfection.

22. Bodies Without Organs - Sixteen Tons Of Hardware (2005)
Best bit - 0:47 So ridiculously cheesy/stupid that it becomes absolutely epic.

21. MGMT - Time To Pretend (2008)
Best bit - 2:14 Just love these lyrics.

40-21 by milproj3

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Follow me on twitter and facebook)


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Millennium Playlist Day Three: #60-41

60. Nicklas Stenemo - This Summer (2007)
Best bit - 0:31 The perfectly sunny, feel-good beat officially kicks in.

59. Lady Gaga - Poker Face (2008)
Best bit - 0:07 One of the most stunning intros to a pop song this decade. It's just huge.

58. Juvelen - Hanna (2007)
Best bit - 0:19 That twinkly little synth accent that reappears throughout the song.

57. The Lovemakers - Gonna Find (2005)
Best bit - 0:32 The modern equivalent of a lost Cyndi Lauper hit. Should've been huge.

56. Kylie Minogue - Can't Get You Out Of My Head (2001)
Best bit - 0:33 And thus, the reinvention of Kylie in the States. Resistance is futile.

55. No Doubt - Simple Kind Of Life (2000)
Best bit - 2:25 Far more revelatory and personal a song than anyone was expecting.

54. Scissor Sisters - Laura (2004)
Best bit - 2:50 Kicks fully into gear with one of the best lines on the album.

53. The Killers - Somebody Told Me (2004)
Best bit - 1:05 That chorus was practically heaven sent to American radio in 2004. Breath of fresh air.

52. Janet Jackson - All For You (2001)
Best bit - 0:18 Janet's best groove of the decade. Yeah, it was sampled. Sampled and improved upon.

51. Kite - Ways To Dance (2008)
Best bit - 0:07 The percussion. Seriously, air-drum worthy.

50. Kylie Minogue - I Believe In You (2004)
Best bit - 0:00 The opening synths get me every time. So out of otherworldly and dreamlike.

49. Robyn - With Every Heartbeat (2007)
Best bit - 0:57 The bubbling synths duel with Robyn's lovelorn vocals.

48. Under The Influence Of Giants - In The Clouds (2006)
Best bit - 0:21 "Hello." Yep, that little bit is so 80's I can barely stand it.

47. Bodies Without Organs - Conquering America (2004)
Best bit - 0:58 "Lips are kissing the ground." They wish. Actually... I wish, too.

46. Delays - Long Time Coming (2004)
Best bit - 0:33 Jeez, those vocals. It takes a while to get to them, but they knock me flat every time.

45. Don Juan Dracula - Run Away With You (2005)
Best bit - 2:50 After a rest, the synths come back in, followed by that soaring chorus.

44. September - Cry For You (2005)
Best bit - 1:14 Even in the original, non-amped-up version, that kiss-off chorus kills.

43. The Galvatrons - When We Were Kids (2008)
Best bit - 1:06 That guitar just builds and builds until it explodes into the second verse.

42. Bodies Without Organs - Temple Of Love (2006)
Best bit - 0:14 The chorus. Of course, the chorus.

41. The Attic - In Your Eyes (2005)
Best bit - 1:00 Just when you think the chorus is over, it bursts into something even more dramatic.

60-41 by milproj2 >

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Follow me on twitter and facebook)


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Millennium Playlist Day Two: #80-61

80. Pleasure - Out Of Love (2006)
Best bit - 0:16 When the beat kicks in, followed by some sublimely heavenly vocals.

79. Moneybrother - Blow Him Back Into My Arms (2005)
Best bit - 2:30 The longing and anguish is incredibly affecting, and leads up to the final release in the frantic chorus.

78. Linda Sundblad - Oh Father (2006)
Best bit - 0:40 The naughty, Madonna-worthy chorus reveals that Sundblad's solo career is going to be anything but boring.

77. Hedwig & The Angry Inch - Origin Of Love (2001)
Best bit - 3:01 The anthematic, sing-along part that will be familiar to fans of the movie as it's rehashed at a critical point.

76. Daggers - Forsaken (2008)
Best bit - 1:13 Can't beat that second verse.

75. Girls Aloud - The Promise (2008)
Best bit - 1:58 Song goes from nice and pretty to full-on soaring.

74. Daniel Bedingfield - Gotta Get Thru This (2000)
Best bit - 0:21 Thus begins the catchiest melody of 2000. Everyone thought he was a lady when they heard this.

73. Melody Club - Killing A Boy (2004)
Best bit - 1:11 Break it and break it and break it and break it 'til it's gone!

72. The Killers - Mr. Brightside (2004)
Best bit - 0:31 Are we relieved or disappointed that he says "chest" instead of rhyming properly with "sick"?

71. Alcazar - Stay The Night (2009)
Best bit - 2:13 The drums completely take over, and the drums, honestly, are what make this song brilliant.

80-61 by milproj

70. The Sounds - Living In America (2002)
Best bit - 0:52 This song doesn't get the credit for being as snotty and controversial as it is. Screw the American dream, apparently.

69. Neon Neon - I Told Her On Alderaan (2008)
Best bit - 2:51 Love the final chorus, accented with that gorgeous counter-melody.

68. Lil' Chris - I Never Noticed (2006)
Best bit - 0:00 From the atmospheric opening, you know this is gonna be different from anything else on the album.

67. Delays - You And Me (2006)
Best bit - 0:17 The strings come in, signaling the start of one of the best albums of the decade.

66. Prozzak - Saturday People (2000)
Best bit - 0:53 Those stompy clappy things (how else to describe them?). There's nothing better.

65. Dyno - Don't Speak Love (2008)
Best bit - 0:50 The aftermath of the chorus.

64. Private - Stranger In The Night (2007)
Best bit - 1:08 Seriously, did Michael Jackson sing on this track? It's uncanny.

63. Superfamily - Warszawa (2007)
Best bit - 0:01 What a grand, majestic opening.

62. SuperJupiter - Got To Get Some (2007)
Best bit - 0:34 Try not moving to this. It's a physical impossibility.

61. Ola Svensson - S.O.S. (2007)
Best bit - 0:38 One of the most bombastic, pure pop choruses of the decade. Sure it's cheesy. Who cares?

70-61 by user9369018

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Follow me on twitter at nickajames and facebook)


Monday, January 11, 2010

Millennium Playlist Day One: #100-81

100. The Attic - Sail Away (2007)
Best bit - 2:16 The chorus comes in again, this time with trumpets and a full boost of epic schmaltz.

99. Kaiser Chiefs - I Predict A Riot (2004)
Best bit - 3:09 The final, endless build-up. Enough to incite a riot.

98. Girls Aloud - I Don't Really Hate You (2005)
Best bit - 0:30 Good enough to be the chorus, but it's not. Ditto for this song. Good enough to be a single, but it's not even an album track.

97. The Pipettes - Pull Shapes (2006)
Best bit - 1:55 The music stops, but the song starts to officially become an anthem.

96. Private - Crucify My Heart (2007)
Best bit - 0:35 The first time that brilliant Michael Jackson meets Like A Prayer chorus comes in.

95. The Crash - Still Alive (2003)
Best bit - 0:35 The moment where this reveals itself as a full-blown synth epic. Van Halen would be proud.

94. The Ark - Death To The Martyrs (2007)
Best bit - 2:43 You've gotta love a children's choir singing "you sorry ass" over and over again. Unexpected, to say the least.

93. The Galvatrons - Cassandra (2009)
Best bit - 0:00 That dramatic 80's intro kicks things off right at the start. For those who were kids in the 80's, it sounds just like the theme to the original Transformers movie.

92. Robyn - Konichiwa Bitches (2005)
Best bit - 2:18 The "dog on a bone" part. It just cracks me up every time.

91. Carpark North - Human (2005)
Best bit - 0:02 The beat. Wow, the beat.

90. Outkast - Hey Ya! (2003)
Best bit - 2:47 "Shake it like a polaroid picture." Probably one of the best lines of the decade.

89. Ladyhawke - Back Of The Van (2008)
Best bit - 0:23 The first time we hear the vocals and are reminded instantly of the best of female 80's singers.

88. My Chemical Romance - Welcome To The Black Parade (2006)
Best bit - 1:47 The moment when the song explodes. It goes absolutely crazy from this point on.

87. Darren Hayes - Casey (2008)
Best bit - 0:54 That glorious, soaring chorus. Hayes' best solo song, and his best of the decade.

86. The Darkness - I Believe In A Thing Called Love (2002)
Best bit - 0:48 When the song abandons all hope of being credible. Whether you like it or hate it, you'll remember Justin Hawkins' falsetto.

85. Do Me Bad Things - Time For Deliverance (2004)
Best bit - 0:54 The song at full thrust, with a chorus sung by what sounds like a rock and roll choir.

84. Dyno - Deliverance (2009)
Best bit - 2:04 A fantastic middle eight that builds the song into something even more dramatic.

83. Keane - Lovers Are Losing (2008)
Best bit - 0:00 From the get-go, this was more grand and stately than anything Keane had done before.

82. Scissor Sisters - Mary (2004)
Best bit - 0:14 The beautiful opening couplet sets the tone for the rest of the song.

81. Superheroes - Rich And Famous (2002)
Best bit - 1:19 A welcome return for that dynamic, sunny synth hook.

100-81 by milproj

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Follow me on twitter at nickajames and facebook)