Idle Time’s Ultimate Mixtape: YOU Rank the Top Ten!

…and then there were ten.

Idle Time started celebrating its tenth birthday back in January with a renewed commitment to honoring Will’s promise of a follow-up to 2009’s Decades book. “Next year,” he proclaimed, “500 Favorite Tracks!”

An entire post could be dedicated to the several failed attempts and guideline revisions that ultimately produced nothing more than rabid controversy and a graveyard of abandoned Google docs. We tried, but no amount of compromise or ranking modification could elicit anything close to a list we felt good about. “I don’t think you even know what a song is!” concluded one “meeting.”

Then this past January, with goodwill at its highest, Will picked the scab and suggested a fourth attempt at a list of favorite tunes. This time, however, the parameters were different, and the enthusiasm renewed. Our favorite songs from the Idle Time decade, 2002-2011. And the Ultimate Mixtape was born.

Hundreds of plastic-coated playing cards, dozens of Sharpies, and hours upon hours on barstools and in backrooms around Sacramento raging, rouletting, and ranking. We came up with more ad hoc rules and conditions than a D&D campaign, and ended up winnowing it down, just last week, to our Top 100 tracks.

Numbers 100 through eleven are ranked, but this time we’re leaving the endgame decision up to the world at large. We’re inviting the extended Idle Time family to vote on the Top 10. We have a pretty good idea as to how this list would shape up if left in our hands, but we’re more excited to see how it shapes up in your hands. So help us out, please. Choose your favorite song from the remaining finalists and vote in the poll at the end of this post. Use the Spotify playlist and Soundcloud links (while they last; most are not from licensed sources and Spotify sucks) to refresh your memories or listen for the first time. Then stay tuned for the published list of all 100 songs, with plenty of added surprises, sometime this winter.

Songs are listed here in order of release. Some exceptions were made for songs either released officially in 2002, or included on studio albums after 2001.

  • “Fell in Love with a Girl” – The White Stripes (2001)
  • “Jesus, etc.” – Wilco (2001)
  • “Grace Cathedral Hill” – The Decemberists (2002)
  • “The Way We Get By” – Spoon (2002)
  • “Heartbeats” – The Knife (2003)
  • “Hearts of Oak” – Ted Leo and The Pharmacists (2003)
  • “Take Me Out” – Franz Ferdinand (2004)
  • “The Rat” – The Walkmen (2004)
  • “All My Friends” – LCD Soundsystem (2007)
  • “In the New Year” – The Walkmen (2008)

4 thoughts on “Idle Time’s Ultimate Mixtape: YOU Rank the Top Ten!”

  1. This list makes me really sad…Half those bands are no longer relevant and didn’t make much of an impact on music that came afterwards (ie. it was a FAD!). 2 Walkman songs?!?!?! C’mon Mike I expect better from you.

    1. Jesus, LeJerm, it’s hard to tell when you’re kidding. Fads? LCD, Stripes, Franz, Wilco..? Absolutely shaped what every band since has been emulating. All still very relevant, and all (with the obvious exception of LCD), still recording. These ARE the bands of the last decade, no question. And these are our favorite tracks. By all means, make your own list.

      Oh, and, on the topic of relevance: The Walkmen have released the best album of 2012.

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