Monday, November 30, 2009

1. The White Stripes "Fell in Love with a Girl" (2001)

Jack White, rock's MVP this last decade, was responsible for two incredible albums (Elephant and White Blood Cells), three great albums (De Stijl, Get Behind Me Satan, and Icky Thump), a pretty good side-band (the Raconteurs), an awesome collaboration (with Loretta Lynn), and some interesting one-off work (like the Cold Mountain soundtrack). The consistency of his output was unmatched by any other artist.

"Fell in Love with a Girl" is his greatest achievement. Its brilliance is its simplicity: it is as stripped down to essentials as music gets; with just three musical voices -- White's vocal, an electric guitar, and a drum kit -- and clocking in at less than two minutes, it is pure hook, with not a single extraneous note. It's noisy and breathless, a pure shot of adrenaline.

No one has embraced the garage-rock aesthetic like White, and no one is as responsible for its embrace in this decade. In a way, "Fell in Love with a Girl" is like a modern rewrite of "Louie, Louie," the apotheosis of irresistibly fun DIY rock. Both songs sound like they were tossed-off in a day, yet they contain the power that eludes the most bloated anthems.

"Fell in Love with a Girl" is as good as rock and roll, and as good as music, gets. Period.

Click here to view the entire list.