Let's have bizarre celebrations
July 22, 2009 7:34 AM   Subscribe

I'm compiling a list of the best songs of the 2000s. The ones that aren't just "Ah, that's kinda nice," but that you have to stop yourself from listening to on a repeat loop. The songs you'd make sure to put on a mix CD for a friend who hasn't paid attention to new music in this whole decade and wants to know what they missed. (This is for a blog post.)

Yes, this is ridiculously subjective, but I'd love to hear anyone's suggestions.


1. I'm already including these bands/artists and don't particularly need any more suggestions for them:
- The Arcade Fire
- Camera Obscura
- Cut Copy
- Death Cab for Cutie
- Decoder Ring
- Dntel
- Dresden Dolls
- Franz Ferdinand
- Frou Frou / Imogen Heap
- Goldfrapp
- Hot Hot Heat
- Hanne Hukkelberg
- Mika
- Ms. John Soda
- My Brightest Diamond
- The Notwist
- Of Montreal
- The Postal Service
- Psapp
- Radiohead / Thom Yorke
- Rilo Kiley / Jenny Lewis
- Shout Out Louds
- Regina Spektor
- Spoon
- St. Vincent
- The Strokes

2. By "song," I mean a piece of music that is sung. So instrumentals are out.

3. Please, no suggestions of bands or albums, just songs.

4. The original version of the song must have been released in 2000 or later. For instance, Alien Ant Farm's cover of Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal would not qualify, since the original version is from before 2000 (even though the cover is from after 2000).

5. As you can see from the aforementioned artists, my tastes run toward the indie and electronic, but you don't need to try to fit it within any particular genre -- I'm open to all suggestions. I'll just specify one restriction, which is that I'm not a big fan of hip-hop (sorry).

6. I would especially like to include something by the Flaming Lips (I unfortunately can't include any of the great songs from Soft Bulletin, which is from 1999).

My eMusic account for this month just refreshed, so I plan on buying a whole playlist's worth of songs based on the answers I get here!
posted by Jaltcoh to Media & Arts (123 answers total) 181 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I would especially like to include something by the Flaming Lips

I would think Do You Realize? should take care of that.
posted by Adam_S at 7:39 AM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]

The Knife - Heartbeats
posted by fire&wings at 7:40 AM on July 22, 2009 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Off the top of my head, I'd include:

New Pornographers - The Laws Have Changed, or It's Only Divine Right
White Stripes - Seven Nation Army, or Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground
Modest Mouse - Float On

Pretty straightforward, mainstream pop/rock, but I think they fit the theme and your list.
posted by brozek at 7:41 AM on July 22, 2009

You mean 'The Knife - We Share Our Mother's Health'... surely?
posted by einekleine at 7:45 AM on July 22, 2009

The Hold Steady: Your Little Hoodrat Friend, Lord I'm Discouraged, How a Resurrection Really Feels, Banging Camp, Chips Ahoy, Stuck Between Stations, First Night, You Can Make Him Like You, Sequestered in Memphis, Both Crosses, One for the Cutters.

I like the Hold Steady.
posted by scratch at 7:47 AM on July 22, 2009 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Agreeing with all of brozek's suggetsions.

I would also add in "Trouble is a Friend" by Lenka.
posted by gwenlister at 7:48 AM on July 22, 2009

Best answer: Blitzen Trapper- Furr
Grizzly Bear- Two Weeks or "Fix It," which I can't find online
Akron/Family- Shoes or Lumen
Animal Collective- Peacebone
Phoenix- Lisztomania
posted by oinopaponton at 7:53 AM on July 22, 2009 [4 favorites]

Oh, and ABSOLUTELY Joanna Newsom- Cosmia
posted by oinopaponton at 7:54 AM on July 22, 2009 [3 favorites]

The Knife - Silent Shout (or the other mentioned)
Peter Bjorn and John - Young Folks
Bat for Lashes - Trophy
Chromatics - Healer
Fischerspooner - Emerge
Jenny Wilson - Love & Youth (hard to choose that album is great)
LCD Soundsystem - you coudln't not include Losing My Edge
Midlake - Roscoe
tegan & Sarah - Walking with a Ghost.

Depends how pop you want to go?
posted by mary8nne at 7:54 AM on July 22, 2009

Stars- Your Ex-Lover Is Dead
posted by stray at 7:56 AM on July 22, 2009 [3 favorites]

Leave the Light On -Chris Smither
Origin of the Species -Chris Smither
Ping Pong Song -Optimus Rhyme
Arthur Nix -Jupiter Sunrise
posted by chiefthe at 8:00 AM on July 22, 2009

Best answer: Jack's Mannequin - Into the Airwaves, Dark Blue
Sufjan Stevens - Chicago
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Maps
Muse - Supermassive Black Hole
Something Corporate - Konstantine (!!!)

I'd post more, but I'm afraid I've already revealed too much.
posted by Phire at 8:00 AM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Depends how pop you want to go?

Oh, as far pop as you want! I'm going to include a song or two from Sophie Ellis-Bextor, and it doesn't get any poppier than her.

Thanks for all the suggestions so far, and please keep them coming ... I'll definitely be including something by The Knife -- I should have put them on the list.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:01 AM on July 22, 2009

No Iron and Wine? not *the* most popular, but I'd put Beam's stuff up against anyone in the 2000s.
posted by notsnot at 8:03 AM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]

I consider "Mississippi" one of the best songs that Bob Dylan has written in the last two decades or so, really one of his best songs, period. It's on his highly regarded album Love & Theft which was released on September 11, 2001.
posted by sid abotu at 8:04 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Guster - Satellite
posted by Phire at 8:05 AM on July 22, 2009

Response by poster: No Iron and Wine?

That's a perfect example of a band that's definitely worthy of being on the list but who I just haven't listened to enough. I probably should have emphasized that the artists I listed in the original post are by no means the ones I consider "the best" -- they're just the ones I know for sure which songs I'm going to pick.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:08 AM on July 22, 2009

Hey Ya is the single best song every created by mankind and if it is not on your list then your list is wrong. There is no subjectivity to that. That is just fact.
posted by ND¢ at 8:09 AM on July 22, 2009 [14 favorites]

Best answer: Band of Horses, The General Specific
Bon Iver, Skinny Love
Fleet Foxes, White Winter Hymnal
The Morning Benders, Damnit Anna
The Flaming Lips, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1
TV on the Radio, Wolf Like Me
Cold War Kids, Something is Not Right With Me
The Mountain Goats, No Children
Vampire Weekend, Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa
Kanye West, Love Lockdown or Jesus Walks (both are also good for workout mixes)
o'death, Busted Old Church
Dr. Dog, My Old Ways
LCD Soundsystem, Daft Punk is Playing at My House
The Weepies, Nobody Knows Me At All
Old Crow Medicine Show, Wagon Wheel (though part of it is based on an older, unreleased Dylan song). Maybe Caroline.
The White Stripes, Seven Nation Army, The Hardest Button to Button, Icky Thump, Black Jack Davey, or Tennessee Border
Voxtrot, The Start of Something
The Features, Wooden Heart or Dark Room
Feist, 1234
Mason Jennings, Your New Man or Beautiful Man
Motion City Soundtrack, The Future Freaks Me Out
Neko Case, This Tornado Loves You
OK Go, It's Tough to Have a Crush
Wilco, Candyfloss or I'm the Man Who Loves You

I hate to say it, but Amy Winehouse should be on here, too. I think Rehab is still kind of catchy, but I also really like Me & Mr. Jones (Fuckery), You Know I'm No Good, and Back to Black. And from the "embarrassing" genre in my iTunes: Boom Boom Pow by the Black Eyed Peas. You could also include My Humps.

Man. Wanna trade mixes, or did I ruin it with BEP?
posted by runningwithscissors at 8:09 AM on July 22, 2009 [9 favorites]

Yeah, you definitely need some Iron & Wine. Maybe Jezebel or Freedom Hangs Like Heaven.
posted by runningwithscissors at 8:11 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Can I have a copy of your CD when you finish? I am familiar with quite a few artists but not necessarily the songs listed here. What a cool idea!
posted by coolsara at 8:13 AM on July 22, 2009

The Faint - Agenda Suicide
posted by transporter accident amy at 8:18 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

This might just be me and my love for sweeping violins and tinkling pianos but I put "Hoppipolla" by Sigur Ros on repeat ALL THE TIME. Even though it's been used in 50,000 movie trailers, I still love it.
posted by kerning at 8:22 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Huge seconds to Blitzen Trapper - Furr & The Hold Steady - Stuck Between Stations.

The Broken West - Down in the Valley
The Brendan Hines - Hard to Kill (not a direct link)
Dr. Dog - The Rabbit, The Bat & the Reindeer or Heart It Races
Eric Hutchinsen - Rock & Roll
Frightened Rabbit - The Twist
Ike Reilly - Hip Hop Thighs
Jeremy Fisher - High School
Josh Ritter - Girl in the War
M. Ward - Headed for a Fall
M. Ward & Zooey Deschanel - Never Had Nobody Like You
Noah & The Whale - 5 Years Time
Romantica - The National Side

Are you going to show us your list that you already drew up?
posted by diamondsky at 8:26 AM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]

You'd be criminally insane not to include Head Home by Midlake.

I listened to that so hard that my ears bled.
posted by greenish at 8:29 AM on July 22, 2009

Second a lot of the nominations above (The Hold Steady, Sufjan Stevens, Bon Iver, and TV on the Radio particularly). I'd add a couple bands I haven't seen on the lists above:

- The National: "Mr November", "Abel" or "Mistaken for Strangers"
- Wolf Parade: "Shine a Light", "This Heart's on Fire" or "California Dreamer"
posted by trox at 8:31 AM on July 22, 2009

It would certainly take me at least one weekend to compile a complete list, but loosely based on memory and my last.fm charts these would be very likely included (I'd try to force myself to use only 1 track per band):

stellastarr* - Sweet Troubled Soul
stellastarr* - Jenny
Bloc Party - Blue Light
Bloc Party - Banquet
Bloc Party - This Modern Love
Placebo - Because I want you
Placebo - The Bitter End
Placebo - Infrared
The Go! Team - Panther Dash
The Go! Team - Huddle Formation
The Knife – Heartbeats
Maxïmo Park – The Coast Is Always Changing
Maxïmo Park – Girls Who Play Guitars
Maxïmo Park – Books from Boxes
Muse – Starlight
Kings of Leon – Sex on Fire
Editors – The Weight of the World
Editors – Munich
Interpol – Evil
Interpol - The Heinrich Maneuver
Los Campesinos! – Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks
Los Campesinos! – You! Me! Dancing!
Metric – Help I'm Alive
Metric – Combat Baby
Metric – Poster of a Girl
Gaslight Anthem - Meet Me By The River's Edge
Gaslight Anthem - Great Expectations
The Stills - Lola Stars and Stripes
City and Colour – Hello, I'm in Delaware
The Hold Steady - Stuck Between Stations
William Fitzsimmons – Find My Way Home
Tegan & Sara - I Know I Know I Know
The Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition
The National - Fake Empire
British Sea Power - It Ended on an Oily Stage
Strays Don't Sleep - For Blue Skies
Iron & Wine - Upward over the mountain
posted by starzero at 8:32 AM on July 22, 2009

Hafdis Huld - Tomoko
posted by IanMorr at 8:33 AM on July 22, 2009

You already have many of my favorite bands (and therefore songs) on your list. But here's a few more personal favorites from fairly varied genres:

Beirut -- Scenic World (The Lon Gisland EP Version), Nantes
Pretty Girls Make Graves -- The Teeth Collector
Interpol -- Stella Was A Diver and She Was Always Down, Obstacle 1
Katatonia -- Deliberation
The Birthday Massacre -- The Dream, Unfamiliar, Red Stars
Blonde Redhead -- Spring and Summer By Fall
Jimmy Eat World --Authority Song, Work, 23
Nickel Creek -- Somebody More Like You
Flunk -- Spring to Kingdom Come, I've Been Waiting All My Life to Leave You
Los Campesinos! -- Documented Minor Emotional Breakdown #1, My Year in Lists
Metric -- Combat Baby, Patriarch on a Vespa, Monster Hospital
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart -- Come Saturday, Stay Alive
posted by adjockey at 8:34 AM on July 22, 2009

Mind if I ask why you're forbidding instrumentals? Because Makkuro Kurosuke was one of the best tracks I've heard in recent memory. And I consider some of Jon Hopkins' music ("Wire" especially) to be some of the best released this year.

But staying within your confines: The Rural Alberta Advantage - "The Deathbridge in Lethbridge" (But almost anything off their album Hometowns, really) is magnificent.
posted by nostrich at 8:38 AM on July 22, 2009

Falling Slowly -- Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova
posted by rikschell at 8:45 AM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Are you going to show us your list that you already drew up?

I didn't want to get specific about that since I wanted to avoid turning the thread into my own little blog post. I won't have the final list up till much later (December-ish). I'll probably post a discreet link to it at that point (if that's not too self-linky).
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:46 AM on July 22, 2009

TV on the Radio, Young Liars, from the album Young Liars.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:46 AM on July 22, 2009

Seconding Josh Ritter's "Girl in the War"

TV on the Radio's "Golden Age"

Animal Collective's "My Girls"

New Order's "Turn My Way"
posted by pasici at 8:53 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Mind if I ask why you're forbidding instrumentals?

1. I enjoy adhering to the literal definition of "song."

2. Even limited to vocals, the list is borderline-manageable; if I started including instrumentals, there'd be just too much music to consider.

3. I like the purity of comparing relatively similar things.

4. Music w/ vocals is simply more popular than instrumentals, so instrumentals would tend to get lost in the shuffle.

5. If I feel like it, I can always create a separate list of the best instrumentals.

posted by Jaltcoh at 8:53 AM on July 22, 2009

Johnny Cash - The Man Comes Around - One of the last songs he ever wrote, released in 2002, and tends to get stuck in my head for days.

Gorillaz - Feel Good, Inc.

Trick with this sort of thing is to set limits, otherwise you'll end up with a 200+ song playlist. 10 songs per year would give you a 100 song playlist, which is a bit better.

Or you could seed a bracket and start a website. Given the number of replies (and musical bickering) threads like these tend to generate, you could get something pretty popular out there.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:55 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: i'd go with:
Wolf Like Me - tv on the radio
A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left - Andrew Bird (or maybe Fake Palindromes?)
Portions for Foxes - Rilo Kiley

and I'm seconding (or thriding or whatever):
Maps - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Chicago - Sufjan Stevens (x 10!!)
Evil - Interpol
Falling Slowly - Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova
pretty much anything by Bloc Party

Also, fwiw I know that pitchfork is terribly pretentious but sometimes when I do things like this, it helps me think of things if I see what other people's oppinions are, and they have lists of the 'best singles of the year' from 2003 on. I'm not saying to take their word as gospel or anything (lord knows I don't), but in all those lists there must be some good suggestions.
posted by nuclear_soup at 9:01 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Think I Wanna Die by Someone Still Loves You Boris Yelstin
Trolleywood by Eisley
The Littlest Birds by The Be Good Tanyas
Carol Brown by Flight of the Conchords
Gotta Get Thru This by Daniel Bedingfield
Ain't No Other Man by Christina Aguilera
That's Not My Name by The Ting Tings (though I prefer Fruit Machine)
posted by lampoil at 9:03 AM on July 22, 2009

M83 - Don't Save Us From the Flames
Animal Collective - Fireworks
Microphones - The Glow Pt. 2
...Trail of Dead - Another Morning Stoner
Spoon - The Underdog
Justice - D.A.N.C.E.
Architecture in Helsinki - Do the Whirlwind
posted by naju at 9:05 AM on July 22, 2009

The Frames - "Finally"
posted by Amby72 at 9:08 AM on July 22, 2009

Response by poster: Chicago - Sufjan Stevens (x 10!!)

Yeah, people could fairly dismiss the whole list out of hand if it didn't include that song.
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:08 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Days Go By, by Dirty Vegas
posted by heather-b at 9:08 AM on July 22, 2009

Best answer: I'm going to keep coming back to this all day... And I'm stealing ideas for a party this weekend.

Black Kids, I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance with You
Jack Johnson, Better Together, Banana Pancakes, or Bubble Toes
Ben Lee, Catch My Disease
The Blow, Hey Boy
The Be Good Tanyas, The Littlest Birds
Damien Rice, The Blower's Daughter
The Decemberists, July! July!
Devendra Banhart, Lover
Elbow, One Day Like This
Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine
The Format, Tie the Rope or The Compromise
The Good Life, [November] Lovers Need Lawyers
Kings of Leon, Milk, Taper Jean Girl, Molly's Chambers or Talahina Sky
No Doubt, Bathwater
Norah Jones, Don't Know Why
The Shins, Kissing the Lipless or New Slang
Sleater-Kinney, Jumpers or Modern Girl
Ray LaMontagne, Trouble

I'm sure Belle & Sebastian and Andrew Bird should be on here, too, but I'm not that familiar with them.
posted by runningwithscissors at 9:11 AM on July 22, 2009 [3 favorites]

John Mayer: Gravity, Split Screen Sadness
The Joel Plaskett Emergency: Nowhere With You
The Philosopher Kings: Out of the Blue
Justin Timberlake: SexyBack
Chantal Kreviazuk: Feels Like Home
Jason Mraz: I’m Yours. (This is a love it or hate it song. I think it’s perfect in its simplicity).

And nthing Falling Slowly and Float On.
posted by yawper at 9:14 AM on July 22, 2009

There's a lot of great stuff on Orphans - it is three full-length albums in one after all - but "Never Let Go" is easily my single favorite song released this decade and probably in my top-5 Tom Waits tracks of all time, which is saying a *lot*.
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:18 AM on July 22, 2009

Islands - Creeper
Why? - Fatalist Palmistry or Simeon's Dilemma
The Unicorns - I Was Born A Unicorn
Beulah - A Good Man Is Easy To Kill
Menomena - Weird or Evil Bee
nthing something by Dr. Dog!
posted by yaymukund at 9:18 AM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]

Okkervil River - Song of Our So-Called Friend, The Latest Toughs, ,
Andrew Bird (wtf, nobody's suggested him yet?) - Dark Matter, Spare-Ohs, Fake Palindromes
Elvis Perkins - While You Were Sleeping
Sondre Lerche - Sleep On Needles, Modern Nature
Feist -
Beirut - Carousels, Postcards from Italy
Cocorosie - By Your Side, Armageddon
Mason Jennings - Confidant,
Broken Social Scene - Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl
The Format - Dog Problems
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Underwater (You and Me), Is This Love?
Why? - Gemini (Birthday Song)
Jens Lekman - Maple Leaves, Your Beat Kicks Back Like Death
Wolf Parade - You Are a Runner..., Grounds for Divorce, I'll Believe in Anything
State Radio - Keepsake
Rasputina - Our Lies
The Elected - Fireflies in a Steel Mill
Cake - End of the Movie
Interpol - Specialist, Slow Hands, NYC
The Brunettes - Loopy Loopy Love
posted by scarykarrey at 9:18 AM on July 22, 2009

The Magic Numbers - "This Love"
posted by Amby72 at 9:21 AM on July 22, 2009

Ha, I forgot to fill in some of my list! More Okkervil River: Unless It's Kicks, A King and a Queen, Okkervil River Song
Feist - Mushaboom, I Feel It All, Inside+Out (Apostle of Hustle Unmix Live @ the BBC)

I'm glad some others suggested Andrew Bird while I was drafting up my list. He's got to be on there.
posted by scarykarrey at 9:23 AM on July 22, 2009

Best answer: Beck - Lost Cause
Beck - Missing
Beck - Cellphone's Dead

*not very diverse, sorry.
posted by kiwi-epitome at 9:27 AM on July 22, 2009

Early Day Miners - "Errance"
Junior Boys - "FM"
posted by Neilopolis at 9:30 AM on July 22, 2009

I was under the impression that Belle and Sebastian hadn't put out anything really great since the 1990s, but hey! Storytelling came out in 2002! "Storytelling" and "Big John Shaft" are both great songs.
posted by oinopaponton at 9:31 AM on July 22, 2009

Best answer: Gnarls Barkley - Crazy
posted by Chick Pea at 9:35 AM on July 22, 2009 [5 favorites]

Dashboard Confessional - "Stolen"
Ben Folds Five - "The Luckiest"
Badly Drawn Boy - "How?"
The Decemberists - "We both Go Down Together"
Flogging Molly - "Black Friday Rule"
Ted Leo & the Pharmacists "Hearts of Oak"
posted by Amby72 at 9:38 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Hot Snakes - "Our Work Fills the Pews" or "Plenty for All"
Pinback - "Prog"
posted by Atom12 at 9:40 AM on July 22, 2009

Rogue Wave - "Bird on a Wire"
The Wrens - just about anything from The Meadowlands, but "She Sends Kisses," "This Boy Is Exhausted" and "13 Months In 6 Minutes" are particularly good.
The Real Tuesday Weld - "Blood Sugar Love" and "Dorothy Parker Blues"
posted by EvaDestruction at 9:46 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Just throwing these out there.

Death From Above 1979 - "Romantic Rights"

Justice - "D.A.N.C.E"

Daft Punk - "Robot Rock"
posted by hellojed at 9:56 AM on July 22, 2009

Life is Beautiful - Vega4
Pretty Voice - Cloud Cult
Save Your Day - Jose Gonzales
Your Sweet Voice - Reindeer Section
As Tall As Cliffs - Margot & the Nuclear So & Sos
I Like Giants - Kimya Dawson
Meadowlake Street - Ryan Adams
posted by crayz at 9:58 AM on July 22, 2009

If you're considering Amy Winehouse, please consider Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings - "Tell Me" or "Nobody's Baby"
Balkan Beat Box - "Adir Adrimi"
Firewater - "Electric City" or "Banghra Bros"
posted by EvaDestruction at 10:06 AM on July 22, 2009

Grizzly Bear - Knife
Roots Manuva - Colossal Insight
The Futureheads - A To B
posted by droplet at 10:11 AM on July 22, 2009

Exploding Hearts - "Modern Kicks"
posted by chinston at 10:16 AM on July 22, 2009

Gomez, See the World
Ryan Adams, Answering Bell
posted by runningwithscissors at 10:19 AM on July 22, 2009

Black Mountain - Druganaut
Ladyhawk - the Dugout
Devendra Banhart - Just like a child
Annie - Heartbeat
Friendly Fires - Paris
posted by dobie at 10:20 AM on July 22, 2009

"Heartache Vs. Heartbreak" by Ozma has not gotten any love yet, and so I offer it to you with my sincere recommendation.
posted by Tesseractive at 10:21 AM on July 22, 2009

Seconding the suggestion for Black Kids - "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You" and/or "Hit the Heartbrakes"

Also, Antony and the Johnsons - "Fistful of Love"
The Black Keys - "I'll Be Your Man"
The Hold Steady - "Stay Positive"
Ladytron - "Destroy Everything You Touch"
The Magnetic Fields - "Too Drunk To Dream"
The New Pornographers - "Sing Me Spanish Techno" and/or "Letter from an Occupant"
Titus Andronicus - "Fear and Loathing in Mahwah, NJ" and/or "Upon Viewing Brueghel's
'Landscape With the Fall of Icarus'"
posted by katie at 10:22 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Seconding a few songs people have already mentioned:

LCD Soundsystem's "Losing My Edge." Perfectly represents an important segment of millennial culture.
Grizzly Bear's "Two Weeks." Pretty much as good as indie pop will ever get.
Fleet Foxes' "White Winter Hymnal." Iconic of a band destined for greatness.


Battles' "Tonto." No one else makes music that sounds like this.
Fuck Buttons' "Sweet Love for Planet Earth." Expresses a modern, utterly unique aesthetic.
posted by martens at 10:24 AM on July 22, 2009

Best answer: For Iron and Wine, I recommend The Trapeze Swinger. Seconding 23 by Jimmy Eat World, and adding My Sundown.

Adding these:

Cat Empire - Lullaby
Flobots - Combat

And if I dare ago a bit more mainstream:

Alicia Keys - Fallin'
Dido - Thank You
Britney Spears - Womanizer, Toxic
Gwen Stefani - Sweet Escape
John Mayer - Daughters
Rihanna - Take a Bow
posted by Phire at 10:25 AM on July 22, 2009

Best answer: If you include Rihanna, make it Umbrella or S.O.S.
posted by runningwithscissors at 10:36 AM on July 22, 2009

I'm really hoping someone makes this into a playlist on Last.FM or a similar service.
posted by mecran01 at 10:38 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

I know you're probably overloaded by now, but these are my absolute favorites.

The Bucket - Kings of Leon
Your Eyes - Aloha
Emily Kane - Art Brut
Twin Cinema - New Pornographers
Take It Down - John Hiatt
The Golden Age - Beck
Mississippi or Sugar Baby - Bob Dylan
Freedom - David Gray
Danko/Manuel - The Drive-By Truckers
Extraordinary Machine - Fiona Apple
All My Friends - LCD Soundsystem
What A Wonderful Man - My Morning Jacket
Heavy Metal Drummer - Wilco
posted by JamesWilson123 at 10:40 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Going to second "No Children" by The Mountain Goats and "Silent Shout" by The Knife.
posted by reductiondesign at 10:48 AM on July 22, 2009

More mainstream stuff:

Outkast - BOB
Gorillaz - Clint Eastwood
Talib Kwelli - Get By
The Roots - The Seed 2.0
Eminem - Lose Yourself, maybe Stan
Daft Punk - Harder Better Faster Stronger
50 Cent - In Da Club
Santogold - LES Artistes
posted by AceRock at 10:48 AM on July 22, 2009

Also, I don't remember if Dre's 2001 actually came out in the 00s, but if it did then add on Forgot About Dre and Next Episode.

Shame, but Latyrx - Lady Don't Tek No was released in the 90s.
posted by AceRock at 10:50 AM on July 22, 2009

Could you really listen to "Stan" on repeat, though?
posted by runningwithscissors at 10:51 AM on July 22, 2009

(I'll stop soon, I promise.)

Scissor Sisters, Laura
posted by runningwithscissors at 10:56 AM on July 22, 2009

Florence and the Machine's "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) - I cannot get enough of this one.
Also Okkervil River's "Unless It's Kicks", "Starlight" by Muse, "Another Sunny Day" by Belle & Sebastian, and "O Valencia!" and "O New England" by the Decemberists.
posted by pocketfluff at 10:57 AM on July 22, 2009

Panda Bear - Bros
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 10:59 AM on July 22, 2009

Oh I'm glad you did this because I want to do the same thing.

Seconding Wilco: I think YHFT is one of the most important records of this decade.

Since there isn't a lot of dance music on here:

MIA -- Paper Planes for iconic-ness (or Bingo for badassness)
Rod Lee- Dance my pain away
Fannypack -- Hey Mami
Justice vs. Simian - We Are Your Friends
cansei de ser sexy - let's make love and listen to dfa which leads to:
MSTRKRFT - Sexy Results

Kate I wait- Ariel pink
Dr. Dog must be something off the early albums-- like Easy Beat
Casiotone for the Painfully Alone - New Year's Kiss
Jeffrey Lewis - Back When I Was 4

and in the rawk department:
Death Set -- Negative Thinking (started a genre, basically)
Eagles Of Death Metal - Only Want You
Black Angels, "Black Grease"
The Briefs -- Stuck on You
The Cribs - Hey Scenesters

More later probably via CNTRL+F!!!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:03 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

I was under the impression that Belle and Sebastian hadn't put out anything really great since the 1990s, but hey! Storytelling came out in 2002! "Storytelling" and "Big John Shaft" are both great songs.

Oh gosh, I beg to differ! I like "Piazza, New York Catcher," "I'm a Cuckoo," and "Sukie in the Graveyard" especially.
posted by feathermeat at 11:07 AM on July 22, 2009

Royksopp - Remind Me
posted by cotterpin at 11:08 AM on July 22, 2009

And for Andrew Bird, I vote for "Sovay" or "Tables and Chairs." Or, like, anything else. Because Andrew Bird is the best!
posted by feathermeat at 11:13 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Also for your consideration: Malcolm Middleton - "Fight Like The Night"
posted by Neilopolis at 11:37 AM on July 22, 2009

Dead Confederate - The Rat
posted by dizziest at 12:02 PM on July 22, 2009

I recommend "Imitosis" by Andrew Bird.
And seconding "The Trapeze Swinger" by Iron and Wine.
Amazing songs.
posted by derogatorysphinx at 1:07 PM on July 22, 2009

You Are My Sister by Antony and the Johnsons
Run by Snow Patrol
Beat Control or Pot Kettle Black by Tilly and the Wall
Amie or The Blower's Daughter by Damien Rice
Feel Good Inc by The Gorillaz
Guarantees or Yesterday by Atmosphere
New Shoes by Paulo Nutini
In For the Kill by La Roux
Albion by Babyshambles
For the Girl by The Fratellis
Jesus Walks by Kanye West
Mouthwash by Kate Nash
Read My Mind by The Killers
She Moves in Her Own Way by The Kooks
Operate by Peaches
You Can Never Hold Back Spring by Tom Waits
Renegade Master by Wildchild
Warwick Avenue by Duffy
posted by triggerfinger at 1:17 PM on July 22, 2009 [2 favorites]

Some of my favourite songs since 2000.

Life Without Buildings - The Leanover

Woods - Rain On I like a lot by them, just some of the older ones are hard to find.

Arab Strap - The Shy Retirer There is a version which is a lot more downbeat and I prefer. (The strange lyric in this is "cunted" played backwards to make it radio friendly...well as radio friendly as the strap get.)

The Cinematic Orchestra (feat Roots Manuva) - All Things to All Men. No vocals until after the 3 minute mark, so maybe not that compilation-friendly, but I think it's so good.
posted by multivalent at 1:20 PM on July 22, 2009

Bad Religion - Sorrow
posted by krieghund at 2:15 PM on July 22, 2009

Jesus the Mexican Boy is the best IAW song so there.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:26 PM on July 22, 2009

And this is my favorite the best Rougue Wave song: Publish My Love

Come on people dang, get it straight!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:33 PM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: quickly, just a few from iTunes where year > 1999 order by highest rated:
  • "Her Morning Elegance" - Oren Lavie
  • "Zero" and "Maps" - the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs
  • "Timebomb" - Old 97s
  • "My Coco" - Stellastarr*
  • "Mondo Bongo" - Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros
  • "Counting Down the Hours" - Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
  • "Salty Coffee" - The Usuals
  • "C'mon C'mon" - The Von Bondies
  • "One Sure Thing" - The Walkingbirds
  • "Blue Carolina" - Alkaline Trio
  • "Skeleton" - Bloc Party
  • "Pennsylvania" - Bloodhound Gang
  • "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" - Dropkick Murphys
  • "Flathead" - the Fratellis
  • And, of course, every track from Green Day's "American Idiot" album.
  • And -- because no matter how much you deny it you know you really like -- "See You Again" by Miley Cyrus.

posted by GatorDavid at 2:43 PM on July 22, 2009

Best answer: I see three different Animal Collective suggestions ("Peacebone", "My Girls," and "Fireworks") but I would like to offer "Winter's Love" as a potential trump card.

Also, I find the lack of Bjork sad. I know some may think she could never top her work from the 1990s, but I think "Hidden Place" or "Pleasure is All Mine" are two of her best songs, both from this decade.
posted by Muffpub at 2:54 PM on July 22, 2009

Maybe some of this is too pop but if you're looking for songs that are put-on-repeat, essential mix tracks I'd add (although not necessarily in this order):
Gwen Stefani - What you waiting for
Diplo - Must be a devil
Maximo Park - Apply some pressure
Fourtet - She moves she
Hot Chip - Over & Over
Vampire Weekend - The Kids don't stand a chance
MGMT - Kids
Dizzee Rascal - Dance wiv me
Wiley - Wearing my rolex
Friendly Fires - Jump in the pool
The Kills - No Wow
Kings of Convenience - Parallel Lines
The Gossip - Standing in the Way of Control

CSS - Let's make love and listen to death from above
MIA - Paper planes
Peter Bjorn & John - Young folks
Andrew Bird - Nervous tic motion of the head to the left
Bloc Party - Banquet
Justice - D.A.N.C.E
LCD Soundsystem - Daft Punk is playing in my house
Daft Punk - Harder Better Faster Stronger
Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc

Dammit I need to put this mix together now...
posted by Skaramoosh at 3:07 PM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Kylie - Can't Get You Out of My Head

Evanescence - Bring Me To Life

OutKast - Hey Ya

Scissor Sisters - I Don't Feel Like Dancin'

Silverchair - Straightlines
posted by trialex at 3:43 PM on July 22, 2009

Man this is pretty interesting.

Especially the fact the Glitter came out on September 11th. All cruel jokes aside, it was a pretty catchy Electro-pop album, which instantly seemed like the symbol of the self-importance and materialism of the 90s. I know music didn't change overnight, but it seems like it's in a different era than stuff like John Vanderslice - Exodus Damage.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:16 PM on July 22, 2009

I'm just going to keep going because I'm still at work and things keep occurring to me.
Josephine Foster - Crackerjack Fool
or something off of All The Leaves Are Gone.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:47 PM on July 22, 2009

The Weakerthans - Civil Twilight
posted by just_ducky at 5:26 PM on July 22, 2009

Oh, and really, what list would be complete without Flight of the Conchords - Business Time?
posted by just_ducky at 5:27 PM on July 22, 2009

Raconteurs, "Old Enough"
Kaiser Chiefs, "Ruby" or "The Angry Mob"
Sondre Lerche, "My Hands Are Shaking"
Jamie Lidell, "Wait for Me"
The Frames, "Perfect Opening Line"
Flight of the Conchords, "Business Time"
Spoon, "I Turn My Camera On"
Gomez, "Girlshapedlovedrug" or anything from the How We Operate album
Cold War Kids, "Saint John"
Guster, "One Man Wrecking Machine" or "Manifest Destiny" or "Amsterdam"
posted by stennieville at 5:30 PM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Chromatics I Want Your Love
Low Monkey
Yeasayer Sunrise
Cat Power He War
Aeroplane Whispers
Autolux Turnstile Blues
The Knife Marble House
Moldy Peaches Steak for Chicken
Yeah Yeah Yeahs Y Control
Lykke Li Breaking It Up
Miss Kittin and Golden Boy Rippin Kittin (jeez remember electroclash? what?)
Rapture House of Jealous Lovers (hey remember when indie rockers decided it was OK to kind of dance?)

The-Dream Rockin that thing
Justin Timberlake Cry Me a River
Young Dro Rubberband Banks
Keyshia Cole I Just Want It To Be Over
Yung La/Young Dro/T.I. Ain't I (the beat on this.. probably have played it 100 times!)
Ne-Yo f/Mary J Blige (remix) Do You
Tweet - Call Me
Baby / Clipse (uh pretend Baby isn't on this) What Happened To That Boy
Lil Wayne A Milli, Hustler Musik
T.I. What You Know or Rubberband Man
Faith Evans You Gets No Love
Bilal Fast Lane
Mystikal Bouncin Back
Three Six Mafia Stay Fly
Ciara Oh
Outkast Ms Jackson
Sunshine Anderson Heard It All Before
Nelly Furtado Say It Right
T-Pain Bartender (you can't not have the auto-tune.)
Aaliyah More Than a Woman
Missy Elliott Get your freak on
Lumidee Never Leave You (adorably off-key)
Brandy Full Moon (totally slept on.. gorgeous)
Usher Yeah (before the auto-tune, there was Lil Jon yelling over top of everything on the radio)

man, i really really hate the Hold Steady..
posted by citron at 4:02 AM on July 23, 2009

Response by poster: Wow, I knew that any question asking for song suggestions would get a lot of responses, but I'm still floored by all this. I've already started listening to these one by one, but that's just the tip of the iceberg, so I can't mark any best answers. I'm really impressed and appreciative that every single commenter has not only recommended the songs they're passionate about, but done so within my unwieldy set of restrictions. Thanks so much to everyone. Whether or not I use your suggestions, you'll all be credited in the blog post.
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:19 AM on July 23, 2009

The Lonely Island - I'm on a Boat
The Lonely Island - Jizz In My Pants
posted by chalbe at 9:36 AM on July 23, 2009

Best answer: And I can't believe nobody's mentioned:
The Killers - Mr. Brightside
Maroon 5 - This Love
John Mayer - No Such Thing
John Mayer - Your Body is a Wonderland

These are the songs that put their respective artists on the scene!
posted by chalbe at 9:44 AM on July 23, 2009

Best answer: Mew - The Zookeeper's Boy
The Clientele - Bookshop Casanova
Sun Kil Moon - Lost Verses
Yeasayer - 2080
Magnolia Electric Co. - The Dark Don't Hide It
posted by codefinger at 1:16 PM on July 23, 2009

Joe Purdy- Wash Away
posted by jschu at 10:03 PM on July 23, 2009

So when will all this be compiled into the MeFi greatest hits volumes 1-10?

Or a spotify playlist? Please!
posted by channey at 10:05 PM on July 23, 2009

Yelle - Je Veux Te Voir
Devin The Dude - Lacville '79
posted by neroli at 11:08 PM on July 23, 2009

I'm shocked that "Comfy in Nautica" by Panda Bear hasn't been mentioned yet. It seems so... MeFi-ish.
posted by Gotham at 12:09 AM on July 24, 2009

Ooh. Yeah, Beyonce's "Single Ladies" definitely has that repeatability thing going for it. I have to listen to it like five times in a row to get it out of my head.
posted by runningwithscissors at 7:57 AM on July 24, 2009

Well, you might not ever get down this far, and I'm not really into the indie scene that everyone else loves so much, but some of my most looped songs of the 2000s are:

Harvey Danger - "Wine, Women and Song" and "Sometimes You Have to Work on Christmas"
Murder by Death - "Ash" and "Comin' Home"
Bad Religion - seconding "Sorrow" and adding "Before You Die"
Flogging Molly - seconding "Black Friday Rule" and adding "Life in Tenement Square"
Amanda Palmer (from her solo CD; it's only cheating a little) - "Guitar Hero" and "The Point of It All"
Cake - "Wheels" and seconding "Short Skirt/Long Jacket"
Jason Webley - "Still" and "Icarus"
Jonathan Coulton - "Re: Your Brains" and "Still Alive"
Modest Mouse - "Dashboard"
The Killers - "Read My Mind"
Weezer - "Pork and Beans"
Barenaked Ladies - "Testing 1, 2, 3" and "War on Drugs"
Counting Crows - "Hard Candy"
Rasputina - "Hunter's Kiss" and "In Old Yellowcake"
They Might Be Giants - "The Bird of the Bee of the Moth" and "Another First Kiss"
Nine Inch Nails - "Every Day is Exactly the Same" and "Capital G"
Carbon Leaf - "Desperation Song" and "What About Everything?"

I'm sure there's more, but I don't have all day. Good luck!
posted by Caduceus at 11:09 AM on July 25, 2009

OK - for those who would like to hear all of this on a playlist (I hope you weren't planning on fitting in on a C90) I have taken the first step by compiling the posts to date into a list of songs by artists. I have posted it as a LastFM journal article for now and plan on slicing it up to turn into some playlists soon.

I am unfamiliar with many of the songs and artists mentioned so my apologies for any omissions or errors in transcription. I have also taken no steps to verify that songs on the final list do indeed meet all of Jaltcoh's rules.
posted by rongorongo at 4:08 AM on July 26, 2009

...and an initial playlist. More will follow when I get time to add. LastFM set a ceiling at 200 tracks so will have to split.
posted by rongorongo at 5:05 AM on July 26, 2009 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks so much, rongorongo! I just bought a paid last.fm account for the next month so I can listen to it. My apartment cleaning just got a lot more productive.
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:04 AM on July 26, 2009

All three playlists - one, two and three all done now. About 36 hours of music in all. I have left in tracks which do not have a playable LastFM match for me just now as I've found that music which fails to play in one place sometimes works OK in others. There are some greasemonkey scripts - such as this - which allow exporting of LastFM playlists if anybody wanted to do that.
posted by rongorongo at 4:52 PM on July 26, 2009 [11 favorites]

So, uh, I know this is late, but come on, it was THE event of summer 2006:
Cobra Starship - Snakes on a Plane (Bring it)
posted by subbes at 2:14 PM on July 28, 2009

Though most of the duo's work would get tossed under "hip hop," Serengeti & Polyphonic's track "Sunrise" is sublime.

Buck 65's Secret Splendor is a lovely little ditty from his 2001 album "Man Overboard."

I had this Sigur Rós single track CD playing in my car and it was 15 or 20 minutes before I realized it was only one song. This is the video, with a school bell and noisy kids to wake you from your reverie.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:37 PM on July 29, 2009

Red, White and Black by Thea Gilmore
posted by questionsandanchors at 5:32 PM on August 3, 2009

Oh, wrong question. My bad.
posted by questionsandanchors at 5:33 PM on August 3, 2009

Response by poster: I don't know if anyone's still reading this, but ... since several people expressed an interest in seeing my list, I should point out that you can find it on my blog (see my profile) starting today, with a new post every Friday for the next 12 Fridays.
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:44 AM on September 25, 2009

I'm a little late to the party, but here are the last few songs I've had stuck on repeat that I haven't seen mentioned:

Eels - Fresh Feeling (2001)
Jimmy Eat World - The Middle (2001)
Silversun Pickups - Lazy Eye (2007)
Bright Eyes - Take It Easy (Love Nothing) (2004)
Jack Johnson - Flake (2002)
posted by cosmic.osmo at 8:43 PM on November 17, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks, cosmic.osmo, but at this point the whole list is set in stone since I'm in the middle of posting it to my blog.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:37 AM on November 18, 2009

Best answer: The list in Projects.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:51 PM on December 4, 2009

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