Archive for December 10th, 2009

Aught Lang Syne: 25 Best Songs of the Decade

So you thought we were done discussing the music of the decade? Well, think again. We didn’t get to what is arguably the most important list of all: The Best Songs of the Decade. When Tim introduced Aught Lang Syne last week, he discussed how certain cultural events will always be linked to events in our lives. Songs may be the best example of this phenomenon. Unlike albums or even music videos, which are generally experienced individually, we tend to listen to songs in groups: They’re on the playlists at the parties we go to; they’re in the background of the bars we drink in and the restaurants we eat at; they’re the songs we dance to when we go to clubs; they’re on the radio when we take road trips. In short, they are the soundtrack of our memory. These are the songs that we will inevitably remember when we think of the Aughts.

Of course, out cultural memory does not always have the best taste: It will probably be impossible to remember the Aughts and not think of the Black Eyed Peas, but God knows I’ll try. What follows, then, is not an attempt to capture the most popular, memorable, or iconic songs of the decade; it is merely a list of the 25 Best Songs. Nevertheless, it is often difficult–and generally undesirable–to dissociate a song from the positive memories of the context in which you heard it. So even without actively trying to incorporate these qualities, the Best Songs of the Decade will inevitably include some of the Most Popular, Most Memorable and Most Iconic.

Anyway, on with the list: Continue reading

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Ruins, The Granddaddy of Them All

My eyes can’t focus, let alone my brain, but I know there’s a good chance KellyAnne’s not going to be able to figure out this puzzle. I feel like if I don’t figure this out I might as well say, “It’s my fault we lost.” —Sarah

Every time there’s a puzzle you can count on this: Kenny, useless. Derrick, more than useless. Johnny’s so tired from this race he’s puking on the sidelines. This is a moment that could define the rest of our lives. —Evan

I feel like I’m part of something and I don’t want to leave. —Sarah

We’ve had people go home punching each other out. We’ve had people quit, and just get beaten mentally. I’m just happy that I wasn’t one of those people, because this is three challenge wins in a row for me, and I just want to dedicate this win to little baby Derrick, a.k.a. Little Awesome. —Derrick

Out, out, brief candle! / Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, / That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, / And then is heard no more. It is a tale / Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, / Signifying nothing.—William Shakespeare (not originally said about Real World/Road Rules Challenges)

Ah, another Real World/Road Rules Challenge comes to yet another poignant end, as the tears flowed in last night’s finale of The Ruins. An upset was avoided, as the Champions managed to defeat the Challengers as expected, but how they did it was quite the surprise. It couldn’t have been scripted any better.

I obviously should not have been so cavalier in my prediction last week, saying that the Champions would “cruise to victory”; MTV knows how to organize a final challenge so that a team is only as strong as its weakest link. The fact that each checkpoint on the final challenge had to be completed by all team members meant that having more players was almost inherently a disadvantage, no matter who those players are. Continue reading