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Soviet Pandaís top 12 singles of 2002

Not much of a preface necessary. Year of the rock. You know. And really, number 2 should be number 1. But I told myself not to do that for some reason a while ago, and Iím stickin to it. Cause Iím a smart guy, ya heard? oh yeah, and itís 2 AM and Iím finishing this, so Ö yeah.

12. "Lose Yourself" Ė Eminem

Right now I hate this song. I mean itís been made fun of everywhere, even in that brilliant "8 Crazy Nights" commercial. And Iím really sick of it now. But when I first heard it in my car, my jaw dropped and I was like "shit, dog, I really feel you man." Seriously, his intensity has, dare I say, never been captured on tape like this before. Even if it is forced. Itís quite remarkable.

11. "Walking With Thee" Ė Clinic

I seriously couldnít believe that Clinic would be on the radio. Like ever. Seriously, I donít know anyone who listens to the radio that would WANT to hear this song, nor could I imagine it. But as soon as I figured out that I could sing the phrase "walking with thee" to both the line "What can I be" and the main organ riff, I was very pleased with myself. Oh yeah, and the song. And you gotta dig when he says, "NO!" and then tricks you.

10. "Hot in Herre" Ė Nelly

Neither me nor my friends actually listened to this song. But we sang it all the time. Like the dorky version: "It is getting much warmer inside/ so remove some pieces of your clothing/ I am getting very warm so I am going to remove some of my clothing." And when we were outside: "Itís getting cold outside/ so put your jacket on." And uh.. that was really it. I canít stand Nelly.

9. "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground" Ė the White Stripes

I donít really like the fact that this song was a single. Or that everytime I thought to myself "maybe this is on the radio now," and turned on the radio, it was actually on the radio. But did you see the SNL performance? No man, you could FEEL it. I donít know. It was fantastic live. And the video, albeit a bit freaky, kicks ass too. And fuck that "Fell in Love with a Girl" song, man.

8. "Work It" Ė Missy Elliott

"Itís yer flippa dippa bang fwang." Admit it. You got it stuck in your head, and you have NO idea what she just said. And Missy is really, really dirty.

7. "Obstacle 1" Ė Interpol

Jagged, interlocking guitars, that line "Youíll go stabbing/yourself in/ the neck," and the fact that it was played on TV during a football game put this on the list.

6. "Pillars Were Hollow and Filled With Candy, So We Tore Them Down" Ė Liars

Crap. So Iím writing these from 1-10, but Iím going to list them from 10-1. If you look ahead I say "Machine" is the best dance rock freak out ever. Oh wait, I say that itís evil sounding. So this is the most kick-ass, weird sounding, dance rock freak out ever. When Angus literally rose up from the stage, finally and immediately making himself visible to the audience, started mumbling, "Do something magical or disappear," and the drums broke into an all out tornado, was precisely the moment that every calculated indie-rock kid in the house exploded into a frenzy of flailing limbs, bobbing heads, and tossing bodies. Itís minimal: the bassist plays one note on the sampler, the guitarist plays non-notes, and the drums are constant; but itís effective. When the drums kick into a four-on-the-floor break, and Angus starts counting down "Six sir! Five sir!" hunched over and screaming into the microphone, which is almost shoved into his mouth, and the song builds back up to itís fastest speed to explode into the drum beat, I think itís impossible to not lose control of every function in your body. At least for me.

5. "Machine" Ė the Yeah Yeah Yeahs

I was anxious to hear them play this live since I hadnít heard it yet. Karen O sang the opening lines, they hit their four spastic funk outbreaks, and Nick dropped the guitar line just as my jaw dropped to the floor. I literally said to myself, "Holy shit." Just.. justÖ I get goosebumps everytime I hear this song. Which is a lot, since I just put the single on repeat most of the timeÖ The most kick-ass, evil sounding, dance rock freak out ever.

4. "Hard to Explain" Ė the Strokes

A pop masterpiece of intertwining guitar melodies, fuzzed out bass, and the unyielding drum beat ("Itís not a drum machine!" Ė Fab), all accompanying Julianís best lyrics about failing attention spans and who knows what else, and it all sounds like youíre listening to something thatís old, but youíre in the future. Of course, itís about short attention spans, and itís like a three minute pop-song, so itís also ironic and allÖ good freakin song.

3. "Hate to Say I Told You So" Ė the Hives

Let me begin by saying I first heard this song on the radio. THE RADIO. Who knows why I turned the radio on that one lazy morning in bed. I heard it again in the car with friends, after telling them about this insane song I heard on the radio. After thatÖ well, sitting at a family get together, it got to the point where I was beating myself in the head, wanting to jump up, vomit, push everyone over, and run upstairs to hear this song over and over again. I proceeded to download the music video, learn all of Pelleís dance moves, and advertise freely to begin a Hives cover band. Of course, I never formed that band. But, umÖ I get a shot of adrenaline each time I hear this song. No joke.

2. "House of Jealous Lovers" Ė the Rapture

The drums kick in, and itís pretty hot, but youíre unsure. The bass line gets going and you want to dance, but itís still a rock song, right? The guitar and vocals just add to it: not really playing a melody, not really singing, you look around blankly for what to do. But when that man opens his mouth for the fourth time and screams "House of/ Jealous Lovers Shake DOWWWWWWWWWNNNNNNN!" thereís no turning back. Youíre outta yo seat shakin it like you got the fever and youíre takin everyone down with you. I have to sayÖ this song is just SO FUCKING GOOD. This list shouldnít be numbered, because really, this kicks every songís ass EVER.

1. "Get Free" Ė the Vines

Before you tell me how over-produced, blatantly commercial, and forgettable Highly Evolved is, let us again play this song at full volume. Where? ANYWHERE. My bedroom. The car. Best Buy. No other song has made me want to go completely nuts on air guitar in public. Or induced throat-ruining sing-alongs in the car with friends, arguing over who will sing lead and back ups. Or put it on repeat and thrash around my bedroom like there is no tomorrow. I kept trying to tell myself that this couldnít be the best song of 2002Ö but it kept playing over my speakers and I kept jumping out of my seat and acting like a maniac. Itís dumb, itís derivative, itís blatantÖ itís wonderful. And donít tell me itís just how much money went into the studio, because way back in spring I was listening to the crappy 4-track version and doing the same thing. And learning it on drums, and learning it on guitar, and playing it on bassÖ And they freaking blow up in the video. Now how cool is THAT?