December 3 , 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 53  

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The Single guy's biased Top 20 list of 2003

the single guy
by brian wong

The battle for the top 20 spots in The Single Guy’s best singles of 2003 was as bloody as the limb-littered Kill Bill. With so many hot tracks out this year, Radiohead had to be severed, as did R.Kelly’s, er, ignition. The New Pornographers’ “The Laws Have Changed” was another sad casualty and as good as Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” was, the song was overplayed until it made me just crazy and not in love. So now, the victors:

20) The Dears: “Lost in the Plot”: Montreal romantiques channel Morrissey and let their love bleed on this gorgeous piece that hits complete brutality at the 3:30 mark.

19) Jason Mraz: “The Remedy”: Mraz has the remedy and the rhythm as he breezes through verses like a rapper before hitting the best sing-along chorus on radio this year.

18) Interpol: “Obstacle 1”: Weighty, tumultuous and intense love songs easily win me over, though the repeated line, “She can read,” makes me jealous.

17) Kylie Minogue: “Slow”: Oh, that wily minx that is Kylie simply slithers all over this sparse slow-burner.
16) The Roots f/ Cody: “The Seed 2.0”: Live drums, a kinky guitar riff and Chesnutt crooning about his infidelity urges while using “bush” in the chorus.

15) Benny Benassi & The Biz: “Satisfaction”: Thumping, Speak ’n’ Spell, electro-goodness. Another reason to do the robot. Or DO the robot.

14) Buck 65: “Wicked and Weird”: A buoyant and completely infectious gem from the Canadian hip-hop Johnny Cash. Long live the banjo!

13) Bright Eyes: “Lover I Don’t Have to Love”: The most majestic, sexy and bleakest song about wanting a fuck buddy ever.

12) The Postal Service: “Such Great Heights”: Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard glides over the caffeinated swoosh-whap beats of DNTL’s Jimmy Tamborello. Get ready for everyone to poo-poo on emotronic in 2004.
11) Panjabi MC f/Jay-Z: “Beware of the Boys”: Breaking out bhangra-hip-hop into the mainstream with help from Jigga and the Knight Rider bassline.

10) Stars: “Elevator Love Letter”: Like fellow soft revolutionaries Belle & Sebastian, the Stars of Montreal deliver a sweet valentine of yuppie love. Step into my office, baby.

9) Junior Senior: “Move Your Feet”: I c-c-c-can’t ever get sick of this s-s-soul-disco-funk mash-up. D-D-Denmark rules.

8) Yeah Yeah Yeahs: “Date With the Night”: Or how about a date with the fiery Karen O, who lets out one big O of a sigh at the end of this two-and-a-half minute romper.

7) The Rapture: “House of Jealous Lovers”: Instead of cluttering a song with stupid lyrics, these New Yorkers shout out a few lines over a dangerous disco beat and a mean guitar, reminding everyone about a time when rock used to be fun.

6) Broken Social Scene: “Stars and Sons”: The melodic bassline, geeky handclaps and buildup into a layered jungle of sounds all help to make the Scene’s You Forgot It In People a soon-to-be classic — if it isn’t already.

5) Basement Jaxx f/Dizzee Rascal: “Lucky Star”: Chock up Dizzee as another of hip-hop’s loons as he fights with the kung-fu-meets-Moulin Rouge chaos on the densest number of 2003.

4) Outkast: “Hey Ya”: A song almost as mentally unstable as Ol’ Dirty Bastard. Still shakin’ it like a Polaroid picture — or a schizophrenic.

3) Thursday: “Signals Over the Air”: Nothing we haven’t heard before, but well-crafted, catchy and scorching intensity makes it easily one of the best hard rock singles to come out in a while.

2) The White Stripes: “Seven Nation Army”: Sexy guitar lines, Jack White’s vocals that veer between nasal antagonism and ’60s soul falsetto and Meg White’s beginner’s drumming — amazing what you can do with a basic rhythm and a guitar, isn’t it?

1) The Hidden Cameras: “Ban Marriage”: The Single Guy’s top of the pops this year is a rollicking, organ-backed, vibraphone-and-timpani stomper. Gay marriage was lead news in 2003, but this subversive single from the gay-church-folkies asks for equality by eliminating the holy union altogether. Ban it all!



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