Curtis is back once again to feed you the next five songs in his Top 25 of the Decade countdown. In case you missed them, have a look at #25-21 and #20-16. Today it’s #15-11. And hopefully next week we’ll get into the Top 10.
We’re starting to get to some of the songs that really had an emotion effect on me through my formative years as well as just in the last years. You can be sure any song from here on out is important to me in some strange way, not simply just a great song.
15. Outkast – Hey Ya!
Rather than talk about how great this song is (because everybody knows), let me just talk about what an effect this song had on me. When I was 14 (or so), I never even bothered to figure out what was on the radio. To me, the radio was just an endless round of shit and didn’t have anything of worth. Well, as I found out, I apparently just wasn’t listening hard enough. Outkast had always had some brilliant hit on the radio, whether it be “B.O.B.,” “Ms. Jackson,” or countless other classics, but it wasn’t until “Hey Ya!” that I really took notice, the reason being that EVERYONE loved this song. Not only did I, my mother, and my sisters like it, but my too cool for school friends liked it, liked a song popular on the radio. The song is just irresistible, not to mention intelligent. While Outkast may not be on the radio now a days (due to their years long hiatus), I’ve learned to never ignore the radio. It’s not as stupid as you think.
14. The Cadets – Cowford-Promised Prince
It’s hard to talk about a song that practically no one has heard by a local band that practically no one has heard of due to them breaking up before the album said song came off of even came out. But I’ll try anyway. Many songs are said to encapsulate a city. Nas had “NY State of Mind,” Iggy had “1970,” etc. etc. Well “Cowford-Promised Prince” is what I think of when I think of Jacksonville. The melancholy, heart-breaking melody practically tells the story of a city that just keeps on trying but in all the wrong ways, a city that, despite itself, can never put one foot in front of the other. Listening to this song is almost like hearing generations of Jacksonville residents sigh in disbelief in unison. Like the aforementioned “city songs,” it’s not flattering but it’s spot on.
13. Lil Wayne – Let The Beat Build
I’ll let the hip hop purists handle their business, foaming at the mouth at the mere mention of Lil Wayne. Hell, even the otherwise intelligent Mos Def does it. The rest of us will be left listening to the best technical rapper to grace the radio this whole decade. This song is almost too good for words and almost too good to believe. First off, you have the beat (by Kanye of course), which (derp) builds up and down, taking the listener through a roller coaster ranging from stark minimalism to a saturated, bombastic gospel chorus. And then you have Wayne, rolling with the punches each step of the way, changing his flow, adjusting to the beat, and overall just destroying the song. Did I mention he freestyles it? Oh wait I didn’t need to because he freestyles everything. But it’s even more impressive here, considering the dexterity of the production. He must have listened to this shit about a hundred times to get his cadence right. I’d like to see any other punk rapper even try this shit.
12. Jay-Z – Takeover
This isn’t even fucking fair. Nas mentions one little thing at his concert and Jay-Z responds with this? No wonder Nas stooped to little 12-year old boy insults on “Ether.” After this shit he must have felt like he had his dick cut off. I dare anyone to find a more vicious diss song. With this song, Jay-Z took diss songs to a whole different level. Sure, “Dre Day” was fun because Eazy-E did kind of look like a penguin, but actually speaking the truth on a diss song? “Four albums in ten years n—-? I could divide / That’s one every let’s say two, two of them shits was due / One was – NAHHH, the other was “Illmatic” /
That’s a one hot album every ten year average.” It stings even more when you tell the truth. “Had a spark when you started but now you’re just garbage.” Ouch. Nas never even had a chance.
11. Sufjan Stevens – Casimir Pulaski Day
I’m still waiting for the other 48 albums he promised us, but Illinois has enough straight up classics to where I can still wait a few more years. It was hard picking which one constituted the best pf the bunch, but, when it came down to it, only one made me feel like crying and that has to count for something. Unassumingly placed in the middle of this gauntlet of an album, this song starts off innocently enough, but really starts to creep up on you until you get to the heart of the song. Every time, you pray the girl in the song won’t die, that she can’t die, but it only makes it worse, every single time. Just heartbreaking. This kind of emotionally honest music just needs to be made more.
Next week: #10 – #6!