December 23, 2009
And now, for the top three songs of the decade.
The first track off of Arcade Fire’s debut album Funeral, also the first of the four part “neighborhood” saga, is a dreamy track about a snowed-in neighborhood free of parental supervision. Tunnels kicks off one of the best, if not the best, albums of the decade, starts of with a wandering piano, painting a vivid picture of a snowbound town: “And if the snow buries my/My neighborhood/And if my parents are crying/Then I’ll dig a tunnel/From my window to yours/ Yeah, a tunnel from my window to yours”.Â Behind a heavy bass drum (hinting at things to come on Neighborhood #3 (Power Out) and the album closer Rebellion (Lies) later on the album) and an impressive collection of instruments (Arcade Fire is after all a band of 9-10 people), the song builds towards an impressive and frantic climax just a few seconds from the end of the song.Â The song works well as an opener (feeding later songs and setting the tone for some of the themes off the rest of the album), but it’s also remarkably successful as a single and is an exceptional piece of rock music.
Rarely does a song capture so much of both the rap and rock crowds, but “Hey Ya” did that better than just about any other track in my lifetime.Â Honestly, few songs fill a dance floor faster than this song and few songs have more memorable lines.Â Musically, the song is brilliant: it’s a unique beat, with superb lyrics and delivery.Â Â But really, it’s just that this song is just about the most original and most fun song that came out this decade (save for maybe Outkast’s “Bombs Over Baghdad”).Â Because let’s face it: If you clicked the link and watched the video, you’re going to have this song stuck in your head all day. Whether it’s “What’s cooler than being cool” or “shake it like a Polaroid picture”, this song delivers some of the most memorable lines of the decade.Â Plus, it gave us one of this amusing acoustic cover from Scrubs.
No surprise here, if you know my tastes.Â I’ve been hooked on this song since the first time I heard it nearly three years ago.Â The wobbly piano guides a song about the pre-party build up, the party, the post-party, and dealing with growing up.Â It’s a simple beat, that basically doesn’t really change throughout the 7:21 seconds of this song.Â But this song is about the lyrics: they are clever and brilliant and they drive the song from the start to finish.Â James Murphy’s near-spoken delivery is pensive and uplifting.Â Even the throwaway lines are gold: “It comes apart/The way it does in bad films/Except in parts/When the moral kicks in”.Â But by the end of the song, you can’t help but feel better.Â “And with a face like a dad and a laughable stand,/you can sleep on the plane or review what you said./When you’re drunk and the kids look impossibly tan/you think over and over, ‘hey, I’m finally dead./Oh, if the trip and the plan come apart in your hand/you look contorted on yourself your ridiculous prop./You forgot what you meant when you read what you said/And you always knew you were tired, but then/Where are your friends tonight?”