1. Missy Elliott, “Work It”. Most people would kill for one killer hook. This song has (at least) two: the insistent repeating notes throughout, and the backwards trick in the chorus. Hat tip to Timbaland, and video director David Myers, but this is about Missy.
2. Nelly, “Hot in Herre”. More killer hooks.
3. DJ Shadow, “Six Days”. The video is directed by Wong Kar-wai, which should be all you need to know.
4. Sleater-Kinney, “Sympathy”. Corin runs 9/11 through her feelings as a new mother and belts out perhaps the greatest of her many great vocals for S-K. To this day, I can’t listen to Sleater-Kinney without wishing they were still here.
5. Bruce Springsteen, “Mary’s Place”. The Rising was Bruce’s 9/11 album. “Mary’s Place” celebrated the wake. This one goes on my list of “you can play this when I die” songs.
6. Johnny Cash, “Hurt”. If you’ve somehow missed seeing this video over the years (or even if you’ve seen it a dozen times), you should watch it now. In 2011, the New Musical Express named it the best music video of all time.
7. Eminem, “Lose Yourself”. I recently asked my son who my favorite rapper was. He said it was Eminem.
8. Elvis vs. Junkie XL, “A Little Less Conversation”. Twenty-five years after his death, The King was still topping the charts.
9. Pink, “Don’t Let Me Get Me”. Album came out in 2001, single released in ‘02. I find this song, and the video, fascinating. Pink sings that she doesn’t want to be herself, she wants to be somebody else. At the end of the video, various people morph into Pink, but she’s not being someone else, she’s the vessel for her fans to be someone else. The fans want to be someone who doesn’t want to be who she is. Might as well mention that this was more than a decade ago, for those who thought Pink would fade away.
10. Norah Jones, “Don’t Know Why”. Come Away with Me, which featured this song, sold 26 million copies.
[Edited to add Spotify playlist]