#20 “Bird flu” M.I.A. (2006)
One of the most important and subversive artists to come out of this decade was Sri Lankan-born London art student, Maya Arulpragasam. But it’s not the political and gender insurgencies that I love about this song – it’s the onslaught of percussion and the loop of an agitated chicken squawk. When asked why she chose “Bird Flu” as the song’s title, M.I.A. has responded, “Because this beat gon kill everyone!”
#19 “Parting Gift” Fiona Apple (2005)
“I opened my eyes while I was kissing you once (more than once) / and you looked as sincere as a dog / just as sincere as a dog does / when it’s the food on your lips with which it’s in love”.
#18 “Off You” Breeders (2002)
Kim Deal makes creating genius music seem so easy. There’s always a strong sense of melody in her songs and this one is very touching and mysterious with just a sprinkle of creepiness and unease to keep you on your toes.
#17 “Elbows” Darren Hanlon (2006)
This is a song by my favourite Australian singer-songwriter of the decade about brushing shoulders with a “beautiful actress” on a dancefloor, “We only touched elbows, felt our bones clank together / and then the moment was over in a falling feather / an accident, sure, but it happened, I’ll wrangle / our elbows did touch, our arms at right angles.” Drummer Bree Van Ryke is a little-known national treasure.
#16 “Troubled Waters” Cat Power (2000)
This is the most moving vocal performance of the decade.