Quintessential Songs of the ’00s: #7 “Last Nite”

“Last Nite” was the Strokes’ biggest hit of the ’00s, as it hit #5 on Billboard’s Modern Rock chart and put the band on the map nationwide.

Does the opening riff seem familiar? From the song’s wiki page:

The guitar riff that begins the song is similar to the intro of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers’ “American Girl”. In a 2006 interview with Rolling Stone, Tom Petty said “The Strokes took ‘American Girl’ [for their song “Last Nite”], and I saw an interview with them where they actually admitted it. That made me laugh out loud. I was like, ‘OK, good for you.’ It doesn’t bother me.”

That’s pretty cool.

From the song’s Songfacts page:

British music magazine NME placed Is This It in first place in their list of the albums of the decade. Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas said of the award: “It’s totally crazy! I don’t know what that means. Does it mean it’s a good musical decade or a bad musical decade? I don’t know, I’m such a bad judge of my own stuff. But I thought it was great when I heard. Recording the album was fun, it was stressing, it was exciting. I think if I was to know then that I’d be having this conversation now I couldn’t be more pleased. I’m restraining myself now, I don’t want to get carried away, but I’m pretty damn psyched with myself. Mental high five!”

It’s funny that this was not the first single released off of Is This It, but I guess “Hard to Explain” is pretty damn catchy too.

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Quintessential Songs of the ’00s: #6 “Mr. Brightside”

The heavily promoted “When We Were Young” actually hit #1 on Billboard’s alternative chart, but “Mr. Brightside” climbed to #10 on the Hot 100, which is an impressive feat these days for a rock song.

Here are a couple of interesting facts from the song’s wiki page:

The song was named “Song of the Decade” by UK radio stations Absolute Radio and XFM, and in April 2010 Last.fm revealed that it was the most listened to track since the launch of the online music service, with over 7.66 million plays scrobbled

Not only do the Killers own the most-played song on Last.fm, but probably have the lyric of the ’00s as well, in another song (“All These Things I’ve Done”) — I’ve got soul / but I’m not a soldier.

Per the Songfacts page:

Killers guitarist Dave Keuning wrote this about lead signer Brandon Flowers’ ex-girlfriend who cheated on him. Flowers recalled to Q magazine March 2009 how he discovered her with another man at the Crown and Anchor pub in his hometown of Las Vegas: “I was asleep and I knew something was wrong. I have these instincts. I went to the Crown and Anchor and my girlfriend was there with another guy.” Flowers added that the song was “born” at the Crown and Anchor.

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Quintessential Songs of the ’00s: #5 “Use Somebody”

Truth be told, there are about 45 other Kings of Leon songs that I’d like to plug in here — I’ve been a huge fan since Youth and Young Manhood in 2003 — but there’s no doubt that “Use Somebody” is KoL’s signature tune. It hit #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, won three Grammys and is by far the band’s biggest hit.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great track. It has the kind of soaring, arena-filling chorus that the Followills weren’t even trying to write until about four years ago.

It always puzzled me why the band didn’t hit it big earlier in their career, especially with the way the UK adores them. But hey, better late than never.

From the song’s wiki page:

On U.S. radio, the song was a multi-format smash, becoming just the fourth song in history to top the Mainstream Top 40, Adult Top 40, Alternative Songs, and Triple A charts.[9] The three prior being “Slide” by the Goo Goo Dolls, “Every Morning” by Sugar Ray, and “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” by Green Day.

From SongFacts:

Caleb told Uncut magazine October 2008 the story of the song: “The meat of song was written on tour. When I came up with ‘I could use somebody,’ I didn’t know if I was talking about a person or home or God. I felt immediately that it was a big song, and it scared me away. Then, when we were writing the record, Matthew kept sayin’, ‘What’s that song, man?’, and I acted like I didn’t know what he was talking about. Then, finally, I went, ‘All right, we’ll do it,’ and as soon as we started playin’ it, the producers looked up and said, ‘Whoa, that’s a good song.’ I was like, ‘OK.'”

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Quintessential Songs of the ’00s: #4 “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?”

With arguably the most memorable opening bass line of the decade, Jet burst onto the scene in 2003 (with a little boost from Apple, who used it in its first iPod commercial) by asking, “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?”

Of course, they were accused of ripping off another song (Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life”) though lead singer Chris Chester recounts a meeting he had with Iggy Pop:

“It’s funny because I asked him point blank about that. He said I was crazy. He said that when he and David Bowie were writing “Lust for Life”, they were ripping off Motown’s beat. It’s funny that he said that to me because we also thought we were ripping off Motown more than “Lust for Life”. To be honest with you that kind of annoyed me a lot, because I always thought it was really lazy. People just go well Lust for Life is more well-known so that’s what they go for, but if you listen to a song like “You Can’t Hurry Love” (The Supremes) I think you’ll find its closer to “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” than “Lust for Life” ever was. And that’s what Iggy said as well.”

Criticism aside, no one can argue that this track isn’t wickedly catchy.

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Quintessential Songs of the ’00s: #3 “Float On”

It wasn’t until Modest Mouse’s fourth album (Good News for People Who Love Bad News) that lead singer Isaac Brock figured out how to fully combine his pensive lyrics, warbled vocals and catchy hooks into one beautiful mess of positivity. “Float On” is the album’s signature song and it was a big departure from the band’s previous work. From the song’s wiki page, Brock had this to say:

“It was a completely conscious thing. I was just kind of fed up with how bad shit had been going, and how dark everything was, with bad news coming from everywhere. Our president is just a fucking daily dose of bad news! Then you’ve got the well-intentioned scientists telling us that everything is fucked. I just want to feel good for a day.”

And we’re lucky he did.

More Quintessential Songs of the ’00s.

  

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