Top 10 songs of the decade

Jeff Yerger

It’s that time of the year again: the holiday season. Not only is it a celebration of faith, family and fake Christmas trees, but it is also a celebration of music. Although we have to endure the annual onslaught of holiday tunes, there is always time to reflect on the great music the year has brought us. However, this year is a little different. We have the opportunity to reflect on the decade in music that was.

It’s amazing how much music has changed since the turn of the millennium. We have seen singers like Justin Timberlake and BeyoncĂ© successfully go solo, and artists like John Mayer prove that it’s okay to step away from pure pop and go back to your roots.

It was also the decade of a thousand reunions, many of which were previously deemed impossible, including the reunions of larger-than-life bands like Cream, the Police and Genesis, as well as the long-awaited return of Diamond David Lee Roth to his rightful throne as the frontman of Van Halen.

This decade even reinvented the way we listen to music, with the rise of the iPod and iTunes. No longer do we have to lug those cumbersome Walkmen around. Now we have access to any song we want with just the push of a button. We even have music blaring on our phones, many of which happen to be iPods as well!

But enough about all the gizmos and gadgets and the musicians who are on them. Instead, let’s remember the amazing music this millennium has brought us so far. Hold on tight, because here are the very best songs of the decade.

10. Phoenix – “1901”

Phoenix has been around for most of the decade, but this past year they broke through with their new record “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix,” thanks to this smashing indie anthem.

With its ringing guitars and electronic backbone, “1901” brings out the secret pop music fan inside of every music snob.

9. Jet –

“Are You Gonna Be My Girl”

Jet stormed the music scene in 2003 with the irresistible hit “Are You Gonna Be My Girl,” breathing new life into a bland alternative rock business. They were Australia’s answer to the Strokes, leading a ’70s rock revival that is still going strong today.

8. M.I.A. – “Paper Planes”

Containing one of the best samples in hip-hop this decade, “Paper Planes” is a knockout, even though it was probably the most unlikely hit of 2008.

M.I.A. caught the attention of the likes of Jay-Z, Kanye West and even Seth Rogen, who she should probably thank for putting her song in his movie trailer for “Pineapple Express.”

M.I.A.’s vocal delivery on the song is confident, mean and downright nasty, and you know she means it when she says, “No one on the corner has swagger like us.”

7. Kings of Leon – “Sex on Fire”

Kings of Leon have been the hardest working band of this decade. Their honest southern rock vibe has caught the eye of Bob Dylan, Eddie Vedder and Bono, and it was only a matter of time ’til they broke through in the United States.

“Sex on Fire” is the big break Kings of Leon have been waiting for. Its grandiose verses, seductive undertones and soaring chorus make it one of the best rock anthems of the decade.

6. Radiohead – “Idioteque”

Hailed as one of the most innovative albums of the decade, Radiohead’s eccentric “Kid A” has become a legendary masterpiece. Like all of the greatest bands in history, Radiohead wasn’t afraid to take a wild leap, making one of the weirdest yet breathtaking albums the music business has ever seen.

“Idioteque” is the quirky highlight of the album thanks to its electronic percussions, eerie synth drones and urgency in Thom Yorke’s vocal delivery.

5. Porcupine Tree – “Trains”

Porcupine Tree may not be well known in America, but it’s hard to deny the brilliance of their song “Trains” from their 2002 album “In Absentia.” It’s a beautifully composed ballad, complete with luscious vocal harmonies, guitars and even a banjo solo!

The great thing about Porcupine Tree is their uncanny ability to be progressive yet accessible at the same time. If there is one song you need to hear before you die, this it it.

4. Coldplay – “Clocks”

Say what you want about these guys, but Coldplay has brought Brit-pop back to the limelight in a big way, filling the shoes that Radiohead grew out of after “OK Computer.”

Coldplay’s blockbuster album “A Rush of Blood to the Head” has become one of the biggest albums of the decade, headlined by the mega-hit “Clocks.” It is Coldplay’s finest moment, built around a urgent piano riff which bursts into a majestic bridge, and consequently gave Coldplay a huge spark of life in a somewhat dreary music scene.

One thing is for sure: without “Clocks,” there would definitely be no “Viva La Vida.”

3. The Shins – “Phantom Limb”

The Shins have always been a quaint little indie band, strumming on their acoustic guitars while being content on staying in the background.

However on 2007’s “Wincing the Night Away,” the Shins progressed into a much deeper band than they’ve ever been, experimenting with new sounds.

“Phantom Limb” is the highlight of their new experimental sound, which boasts a psychedelic ’60s vibe and a sing-a-long chorus.

2. The Killers – “All These Things That I’ve Done”

The Killers took the music scene by storm in 2004. Their new wave, rock-pop is arousing and inspiring, and no song on the album is more exciting than “All These Things That I’ve Done.” Its message has brought lyricist Brandon Flowers to near-legendary status as he puts all his heart into this anthem.

The song’s extended refrain, “I got soul but I’m not a soldier,” has been used as a message against war in Africa and has been re-quoted by the likes of Chris Martin and U2.

1. Muse – “Knights of Cydonia”

“Knights of Cydonia” is the most daring and adventurous song of the decade by far.

This brilliant, three-part masterpiece by Muse gallops and ascends to the highest summit of rock and roll that many wouldn’t dare try to reach. Thanks to this song, Muse proved to listeners that they were more than just a typical rock band.

“Knights of Cydonia” is a musical experience that leaves the listener with feelings of euphoria and triumph when it finally reaches that monstrous mega-riff at the end.

Love ’em or hate ’em, these are undeniably the best songs of the decade. They are fully enriching, and will be sure to stand the test of time. That’s what makes a well written song: its timelessness.

So here’s to a new year, new beginnings and the start of a new decade, which is sure to bring about more exciting, new music.

What will be the unexpected hit this time around, and how will the music industry continue to grow in the near future? We’ll just have to wait and see.