I keep thinking I'm going to get to a year where I have nothing to say about any of the chosen songs. But there is at least one here that was so massive even I, at 56 years old, knew it. I also keep waiting for the year when I haven't seen any of the artists in concert. I guess as long as Bruce Springsteen keeps showing up, that won't happen, but there is one other act here that I have actually seen twice.
Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, "Empire State of Mind". How big was this one? Let's ask Wikipedia: "A critical success, 'Empire State of Mind' was included in multiple critics' top 10 list of the best songs of 2009; including Rolling Stone magazine and The New York Times. It was also nominated for three Grammy Awards, winning Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. The song achieved commercial success worldwide. It peaked within the top 10 in many countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, France, Italy and Sweden. In the US, the song topped the Billboard Hot 100 for five consecutive weeks, becoming Jay-Z's first number-one single on the chart as a lead artist. It appeared in 2009 year-end charts in Italy, Australia and the US, where it was also the last number one hit of the 2000s. As of June 2014, the single has sold over 5.5 million copies in the United States."
Animal Collective, "My Girls". One of the dozen (at least) tracks sampled for Beyoncé's Lemonade.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Zero". Almost as ubiquitous as "Empire", but it didn't make it into my own sheltered existence. Featured in everything from Ugly Betty and Gossip Girl to a Tony Hawk video game.
Fuck Buttons, "Surf Solar". Hard to argue with their name, if nothing else.
Florence + the Machine, "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)". Here's a band where I know they are important (this track comes from their successful debut album) but I couldn't tell you a thing about them.
Sonic Youth, "What We Know". This is the band I've seen twice, the second being in 2009.
The Roots, "How I Got Over". 2009 marks the first year The Roots worked as Jimmy Fallon's house band, first on Late Night and later on The Tonight Show, immediately becoming arguably the coolest house band in late-night history.
Neko Case, "People Got a Lotta Nerve". Trivia you won't get elsewhere: Neko Case and Raekwon are the same age.
Bruce Springsteen, "Wrecking Ball". The album of the same name contained some of Bruce's angriest lyrics, but this title track was written as a tribute to a football stadium. Not to be confused with the Miley Cyrus song.
Spotify playlist, with a substitute for "Empire State of Mind" since Jay-Z doesn't do Spotify.
Bonus: an inspired version of Miley's "Wrecking Ball":