Yep, we're counting down the top 50. Click here for overview and criteria.
The first time I heard "Take Me Out" was at a friend's wedding. He and his new wife were gleefully stomping around the dance floor at the song's first few notes. My friend happens to be a huge music fan who is always up on the latest trends. I have no idea if he gave the DJ some helpful requests (read: demands) or I was simply behind the curve. Either way, in that moment I knew I was hearing something special.
For all the fawning heaped upon The Strokes when their wholly derivative debut became a smashing success, Franz Ferdinand was the band taking punk rock into the next millennium. Their hit single didn't sound identical to Tom Petty's "American Girl." It was something new. If I were counting down the top songs of the 00s, there is no question that it would end up in the top ten. I must confess that this has been my go-to karaoke song ever since that wedding. It's easy to sing and nobody can hear it without being won over. That it's shown up in countless commercials and hasn't lost its luster is testament to its greatness.
"Take Me Out" is the unquestionable triumph on the album. None of the other songs can compete with it. But "The Dark of the Matinee," "This Fire," and "40'" are all respectable tracks. As the band has shown on two subsequent releases, that's pretty much how they roll. Put together two or three superb songs and let the rest of the tracks just hang around. That's not to say the other songs are bad. They do a decent job of hanging around, supporting the real winners. Outside of "Take Me Out," it's not the most relistenable album, but gets high distinction for what it accomplished - bringing 1960s pre-punk to 2000s pop. The decade was littered with "Post-punk / New Wave Revival", from The Killers to The Bravery to The White Stripes, but nobody did a better job of adhering to those roots and making something compelling. They deserve credit for standing out from the crowd.
#35 - Rodrigo y Gabriela - Rodrigo y Gabriela
#36 - Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer
#37 - Crooked Fingers - Red Devil Dawn
#38 - The National - Boxer
#39 - Hot Water Music - Caution
#40 - Eels - Daisies of the Galaxy
#41 - Gogol Bordello - Gypsy Punks Underdog World Strike
#42 - Okkervil River - Black Sheep Boy
#43 - Ladyhawk - Ladyhawk
#44 - José González - In Our Nature