Category Archives: Life

The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: The Best Songs of the 2000s, Discussed

Jesse

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

If there’s one thing we at SportsAlcohol.com love just as much as making a big, unwieldy song list, it’s talking (and griping!) about our big, unwieldy song list, so of course after we ranked the 101 best songs of the 2000s, a bunch of us got together to talk about the results. Listen to Marisa, Craig, Sara, Ben, and Jesse badmouth each other’s choices, bicker about LCD Soundsystem and Bruce Springsteen, and talk about a bunch of music we all love in a wide-ranging, sometimes contentious, but surprisingly concise discussion. And that’s not all! A little later, Marisa and Jesse decided to talk to SportsAlcohol.com co-founder Rob about his arduous list-making process, resulting in even more insult into our weird, nerdy, music-loving minds! This Best Songs of the 2000s double feature is not to be missed. Plus, it has much better sound quality than our ’90s episode!

We are now up to SEVEN (7) different ways to listen to a SportsAlcohol podcast:

    • You can subscribe to our podcast using the rss feed.
    • I’m not sure why they allowed it, but we are on iTunes! If you enjoy what you hear, a positive comment and a rating would be great.
    • I don’t really know what Stitcher is, but we are also on Stitcher.
    • SportsAlcohol.com is a proud member of the Aha Radio Network. What is Aha? It’s kind of like Stitcher, but for your car.
    • You can download the mp3 of this episode directly here, and the bonus episode here.
    • Our most recent episode or two will sometimes be available on our Soundcloud
    • .

    • You can listen to both episodes in the players below.


The Top 101 Best Songs of the 2000s (Part 3)

Jesse

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

You’ve seen 101 through 61 and 60 through 21, right? So go ahead and dive in to the final stretch, our best-of-the-best top 20 songs of the 2000s.

The Top 101 Best Songs of the 2000s: Part 3

(The Top 20)

20. “Heartbeats” – The Knife (2003)

I want to preface this by saying fuck all covers of this track. Stripping “Heartbeats” to its barest elements to highlight the power of the lyrics does it a disservice. It’s more than just a tender love song; it’s so clearly a first love song. Jose Gonzalez picking away on his acoustic guitar captures just a single dimension of both the ecstatic joy and the inevitable doom of first love. The performance and instrumentation of the original recording strike a balance that makes the song legendary. Bathing in sawtooth waveforms right at the start of the analog synth revival and supplanted by impressionistic ESL lyrics, the one true recording of “Heartbreats” deftly contains multitudes. – Rob

19. “Idioteque” – Radiohead (2000)

This perfect crystal song; it would take little more than this one track for Radiohead to earn legend status. For a decade’s worth of bands-to-be, Radiohead was the unattainable horizon. Despite the pursuit, in the nearly two decades since “Idioteque,” we’ve heard very little that compares well to it. Perhaps music has gone elsewhere and the project is over. Nonetheless, this is not trivial music. Radiohead try harder. – Chris

Continue reading The Top 101 Best Songs of the 2000s (Part 3)

The Top 101 Best Songs of the 2000s (Part 2)

Jesse

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

We got the intro and bottom of the list out of the way yesterday, so let’s just hit it straight into the next 40 songs!

The Top 101 Best Songs of the 2000s: Part 2

(60 through 21)

60. “International Players Anthem (I Choose You)” – UGK (2007)

I admit it, I was way late to “International Players Anthem.” Though it came out on UGK’s 2007 album Underground Kingz, I didn’t really hear it until 2009 or 2010 when my wife Becca put it on a mix CD that she gave me when we were dating. So I’m a late convert to “International Players Anthem” and, as the saying goes, there’s no zealot like a convert, so…HOLY HELL THIS IS AN AMAZING TRACK! I mean, it has everything, EVERYTHING – the beat and sampling is peerless and brimming with confidence; there are virtuoso raps in a variety of lyrical styles, from Andre 3000 rapping (as usual) about spaceships and getting sunburned on his bum, to the casual references to Paul McCartney’s marital woes and crashing Bentleys. And (of course) a terrific performance by one Pimp C (RIP). And that doesn’t even take into account the music video. There may well be more “important” hip hop tracks higher up on this list, but you can’t tell me that there are any that are more fun to listen to. – George

59. “Me and Mia” – Ted Leo and the Pharmacists (2004)



Continue reading The Top 101 Best Songs of the 2000s (Part 2)

The Top 101 Best Songs of the 2000s (Part 1)

Jesse

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

It started, appropriately enough, on LiveJournal. Back in 2010, we here at SportsAlcohol.com were still active enough on the preferred platform of Russian bots to use it as a vehicle for something we assembled purely for fun: a list of the best songs of the just-completed 2000s. A bunch of friends got together and voted, we counted up the votes, and put the list online with some notes. No big write-ups, really just a matter of trivia.

Now it’s 2018, and maybe we have some more perspective on the time from 2000 and 2009. Or maybe not. Or maybe it seems so much better now because of what happened since, or it seems so far away because time continues to pass, or we just talk about how that was the beginning of music-culture fragmentation because we can’t figure out what other identity will stick. But for whatever the reason (mainly, that we really like lists, and apparently free labor), we decided to revisit this list idea as a companion piece to our list of the Best Songs of the 90s from a few years ago.

In true niche-driven fashion, there was no consensus on whether this proved easier or harder than putting together a ‘90s list. All I know is that we finished it, and that the final product does at least some justice to the eclecticism of that decade, from the rock revival of its early years, to the domination of hip-hop near the top of the charts, to the anthemic-but-sensitive indie revival that took hold around mid-decade, and any number of retro mini-movements that flashed in the pan. Plus also the Postal Service. Because, you know: 2000s.

Before we begin the countdown in earnest, a word about methodology: Contributors, around 20 in total, were asked to send a list of 50 songs. Point value was assigned by ranking; that is, a #1 ranking received 50 points, a #2 ranking received 49 points, and so on. A few contributors took our alternate option, wherein all 50 songs were given an equal number of points (approximately the total number of points on a regular ballot divided by 50). Ties were broken by number of mentions and, if necessary, by which song had the highest individual ranking. Though some individual voters made rules for themselves involving, say, the number of times they could mention a particular artist, there were no formal rules except that the song in question had to come out between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2009. Accordingly, we didn’t futz with the results. If an artist charted three songs when good sense said probably one or two would be fine, well, all three are on the list. If a beloved and/or important figure split votes or just plain didn’t make it with our crowd, we didn’t try to correct for it to make ourselves look hipper or smarter or savvier. The list is the list, and good luck to us.

“Us” would be the all-star team of nerds working on this, including some SportsAlcohol.com founders and regulars: your old pals Rob, Marisa, Jesse, Sara Batkie, Ben Morrison, Tim DeLizza, Jeremy Bent, Chris Adams, and Craig Iturbe.

We were joined by some more writers listed below. Several of them have written for us in the past, but this was a massive project that required even more stepping up. So super-special thanks to these contributors old and new:

Jeremy Beck runs the website MovieManifesto, where he writes many, many movie reviews that nobody reads.
George Briggs is a high school teacher who lives in Rhode Island.
Catherine Burgess is a first-time contributor to SportsAlcohol.com. She went to her first concert (Fall Out Boy) in 2005 at the tender age of fourteen, where she got involved in “moshing” and consequently lost a shoe but received a black eye! Her mother was not pleased.
Evan Dent is a writer living in Brooklyn, a candidate in the New School’s MFA program, and is a better looking person with better ideas, more talent, and he’s really, really nice.
Randy Locklair is a dad, software developer, cellist, and manages to exist in Brooklyn while being a fan of just three Arcade Fire and zero Hold Steady songs.
Michelle Paul runs a technology company and lives in Delaware. She enjoys both sports and alcohol, as shown in her blog about pumpkin beer and postseason baseball.
Bayard Templeton is a teacher, Mets fan, theater enthusiast, and dad.

We also received vital ballot contributions from A.A. Dowd, Jillian Quitko, Josh Sheff, Cristin Stickles, Erin Styne, and our buddy DH.

The first part of our opus appears below; songs from 60 through 21 will run on Wednesday, while the top 20 will finish things up on Thursday. We’ll also have two different podcast episodes making a deeper dive into the list-making process with several of our beloved writers, and some other ancillary materials in addition to yesterday’s kickoff pieces.

For now, though, let’s kick things off and think about the earliest years of the millennium, and feel our conflicted feelings!.
Continue reading The Top 101 Best Songs of the 2000s (Part 1)

The 2000s: The Decade the Sad Ladies Took Over

Tim

Timothy DeLizza lives in Baltimore, MD. During daytime hours, he's an energy attorney for the government. His novella 'Jerry (from Accounting)' was published by Amazon's Day One imprint. His work can be found at timothy-delizza.com.

Latest posts by Tim (see all)

This week, SportsAlcohol.com will be counting down our 101 Best Songs of the 2000s. Before and after we publish our three-part list, some of our contributors will be offering additional thoughts on the years 2000-2009 in music.

The 2000s saw an unprecedented explosion of brooding female songwriters.

Women writing sad songs were not an entirely new phenomenon. Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You” and “Into Dust” were ’90s mixtape staples. Well before then, Tracy Chapman and Joni Mitchell added feminine touches to sad folk. The influence of Nina Simone’s “Black is the Color of My True Loves Hair” and Janis Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee” can be heard in many 2000s brooders.

But the 2000s brought a bumper crop that felt like a breakthrough. Amy Winehouse was likely the most commercially successful (and tragic) example. But the decade features career-defining albums from numerous regions and styles: from a Canadian indie-pop scene that included Tegan & Sara, Emily Haines/Metric, and Stars, to more class-conscious and gritty alt-country bands like Lucinda Williams and The Everybodyfields. American indie-darlings Cat Power and Jenny Lewis/Rilo Kiley reached broad audiences, while plenty of dream pop bands like Trespassers William, Camera Obscura and garage rockers Those Darlins never fully broke through, but should have.

I grew up on a steady diet of ’90s grunge, bands headed mostly by sad men, with Radiohead bridging the gap from grunge to the indie rock of the early 2000s. As this new wave built, the 2000s also marked a shift such that melancholy women became the majority of the artists on my rotation.
Continue reading The 2000s: The Decade the Sad Ladies Took Over

40 Things You Didn’t Know About Alien 3

Jesse

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

40 Things You Didn’t Know About Alien 3

  1. Today is the 25th anniversary of the release of Alien 3. It came out on May 22, 1992.

  2. Alien 3 was directed by David Fincher, who went on to make no fewer than three movies about serial killers: Seven, Zodiac, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The unstoppable killing machine of Alien 3 must have been good practice!

  3. Tomorrow is the 25th anniversary of me going to see Alien 3 with my dad when I was eleven and a half.
    Continue reading 40 Things You Didn’t Know About Alien 3

The SportsAlcohol Podcast: Reliving the 1996 Billboard Chart

Rob

Rob

Rob is one of the founders of SportsAlcohol.com. He is a recent first time home buyer and it's all he talks about. Said home is in his hometown in Upstate New York. He never moved away and works a job to pay for his mortgage and crippling chicken wing addiction. He is not what you would call a go-getter. This may explain the general tone of SportsAlcohol.com.
Rob

If you’re anything like us, this year has been a hard one for living in the moment. That’s why we’ve spent a number of podcast episodes reliving moments of the past, both in our own lives and in the culture. Today, Marisa leads Jesse, Rob, and Sabrina down a guided trip of a representative cross-section of Billboard Magazine’s top songs of 1996. It was a simpler time, one when we were all in high school and Bob Dole was the worst thing that could happen to us. Some topics covered:

  • Every band is someone’s favorite
  • Getting into a band you don’t like before they make it big
  • Sheryl Crow dishing dirt on the seedy underbelly of the music industry
  • Rob and Jesse’s AP English class
  • Mickey Rooney’s worst role is good argument for a 1984-style regime
  • Friends (both the tv show and the concept of a close bond with others)

How To Listen

We are now up to SIX (6) different ways to listen to a SportsAlcohol podcast:

As a bonus, here is some content we discussed below (please note: none of these songs are on the list)

Continue reading The SportsAlcohol Podcast: Reliving the 1996 Billboard Chart

What ‘The Girl on the Train’ Gets Wrong About Westchester

Marisa
Gripes

Marisa

There are contrarians, there are iconoclasts, and then there is SportsAlcohol.com co-founder Marisa. A contraiclast? Her favorite Springsteen album came out this century, so she is basically a controversy machine.

Also, she is totally not a dude!
Marisa
Gripes

The novel The Girl on the Train takes place across the pond in the good old U.K., but the move adaptation imports it to Westchester County, NY. It’s a pretty good match for the subject matter, in that there is a train that runs alongside some big freaking houses, which is basically the main building blocks you need for the story. Since Westchester is my turf, I’m in charge of WC fact-checking,  just like I was with the X-Men movies. Here’s what they messed up.

train01

You Can’t Live in Ardsley-on-Hudson

At least I don’t think you can. It my 20 years of living in Westchester, I never met anyone who said they were from Ardsley-on-Hudson. Ardsley-on-Hudson is more of a hamlet than a village. There is a college (that uses a Dobbs Ferry street address), a country club (home to Westchester’s only curling team), and, yes, a Metro-North station, but that’s about it. There’s no mayor. There’s no elementary school. If you look for Ardsley-on-Hudson real estate, you’ll find houses in Irvington.

It’s funny, because if the movie had transplanted the events of The Girl on the Train to any other “-on-Hudson” town, they’d be fine. Irvington-on-Hudson is a place, which is also just called Irvington. Hastings-on-Hudson is a wonderful village, and you can get away with calling it Hastings. But the village of Ardsley—which is a real village with its own mayor, school system, mailing addresses, and the like—and Ardsley-on-Hudson are two different places, and they’re in two entirely separate locations. Sadly, Ardsley has no Metro-North station of its own, so many times people hop on the train assuming the Ardsley-on-Hudson stop is close enough, only to wind up with an expensive cab ride. The New York Times even made this mistake.

That stuff about being a routine baby factory, though, is pretty spot-on.

WTF Is NY1?

For updates on the seedy crime that’s being investigated throughout the movie, the characters often turn to TV staton New York 1. NY1 is unavailable in the county. We’re a News 12 Westchester region all the way.

train03

The Train Itself

Sometimes, the Metro-North seats looked a little off to me. Sometimes, though, they were dead on, so it could’ve just been the shooting angle. But the fact that I could see enough of the seats to scrutinize them is a fundamental mistake in the movie. If Rachel was really commuting at a time that would be convincing for someone who had a real job in a city, all those seats would be taken. And forget sitting in the same window seat in the same car every day—if she was getting on around Ardsley-on-Hudson, she’d either be squished in the middle, or standing.

And One Last Note

Ardsley is a teeny, one-square-mile village, and Ardsley-on-Hudson is less than that. It’s not odd to me that few movies are set in any of the Ardsleys. As far as I know, there are only two: The Girl on the Train, and Unfaithful.

In the cinematic world, “Ardsley” is shorthand for one thing: murderous infidelity. In our Tim Burton podcast, we talk about how the suburbs are usually only given one treatment in film: the whole American Beauty, materialistic souring-of-the-American-dream/seedy-underbelly thing. You go from zero to The Ice Storm in 60 seconds. (Though The Ice Storm took place just over the border in Connecticut.) That’s not to say that it never happens, or that it never works. (Cheever, man.) But I do hope that someday filmmakers find a different color to paint the suburbs in the way Burton does.

 

Observations You May Have If, Hypothetically, You Somehow Get Yourself Into The Press Room at a Presidential Debate

Marisa
Gripes

Marisa

There are contrarians, there are iconoclasts, and then there is SportsAlcohol.com co-founder Marisa. A contraiclast? Her favorite Springsteen album came out this century, so she is basically a controversy machine.

Also, she is totally not a dude!
Marisa
Gripes

You are asked to arrive two hours early. With nothing but your laptop, a communal wooden table, and large TV screens playing hours of CNN, you’re more productive in those two hours than you were in your previous eight at work.

The venue has left freebies on the seats. By the time you get there, two hours before the debate, the freebies are already gone. Journalists are fast.

You wonder if anyone else in the bullpen had a previous stint as a wedding magazine editor and was mentally converting the press room into an event space. (It’s easy—turn the desks into banquet tables, swap out the laptops for place settings, turn the TVs into centerpieces, and you’ve got an industrial-chic thing going on.) You decide that the Venn diagram for political reporters/weddings editors probably has little overlap, at least outside of D.C.

There is a clear delineation in dress between on-camera reporters, print/web reporters, and you.

You find that the hardest working people at the debate are not the campaigns, the staffers, or the security. They’re the people manning the food trucks out back.

You only ask two questions the entire night: What is the WiFi password, and where are the aforementioned food trucks. You are embarrassed to admit that you asked the second question first.

You watch the other journalists take photos and shoot video. You wonder if all of their B-roll have footage of you chowing down on the fare from said food trucks.

When the Broadway performer sings the National Anthem, you wonder about whether or not to stand. What are the rules about standing when you’re watching the Anthem being performed on a TV showing footage from the building next door? You glance at the person next to you for guidance; he’s German.

The coffee is free. It’s good. A half-hour into the debate, you get one for yourself. You reach for the milk; it’s empty. Journalists are fast.

You’re constantly struggling between the desire to go use the ultra-fancy porta potties and the worry that they’ll talk about the one issue you’re professionally interested in while you do.

Relief washes over you when it becomes clear that you and the German will become please-watch-my-stuff-while-I-use-the-fancy-porta-potties buddies.

Looking around sheepishly, you wonder if anyone would catch you searching, “When does the debate end?”

You don’t have Imposter Syndrome; you are an imposter.

TRACK MARKS: “False Alphabet City” by Eleanor Friedberger

Jesse

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

Eleanor Friedberger used to live in my neighborhood. I’m pretty sure I passed her walking down my block once. Other people I’ve passed on the street in my neighborhood include Craig Finn and Ray from Girls, which is to say I might be priced out of Brooklyn before I’m done writing this. Back when Eleanor Friedberger lived in my neighborhood, she played a show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, just south of here; the vast majority of times I’ve seen her play, either as a solo act or as part of her band the Fiery Furnaces, have been in Greenpoint (here, until I get priced out) or Williamsburg (just south of here, until I get priced out). At that Music Hall of Williamsburg show, I was in the front row, and toward the end of her encore during the song “My Mistakes,” she lowered herself from the stage onto the floor, using me and the guy next to me to help herself down. Offhand, I would call that brief moment the most intimate one I’ve shared with a professional rock and roll musician, especially if that sex dream I had about Shirley Manson doesn’t count. (It doesn’t count.) That moment, combined with passing her on Calyer Street, combined with the time I saw the Fiery Furnaces play at a club a block away from my old apartment that no longer exists (before you ask: both. The club no longer exists, and the apartment no longer exists, at least in the form it did when we lived there), combined with the lyric in “Owl’s Head Park” about posing for a photo on Manhattan Avenue, has lodged Eleanor Friedberger firmly into my head as one of the New Yorkiest of indie rockers. It’s a selfish distinction; she feels like New York City to me because I know that she knows my New York City – even if most of her New York references talk about further-flung places like Coney Island, Roosevelt Island, and Owl’s Head Park, places I go maybe once a year if ever; Owl’s Head Park being someplace I went mainly because of the song.

Those New York references I shouldn’t care that much about continue with “False Alphabet City,” her new single that doesn’t appear on her new album New View. She recorded it for some kind of film-based art project (oh, New York) but it stands alone just fine, even for a New Yorker who rarely finds himself in Actual Alphabet City. The way it starts with a stuttery creep throws back to her Fiery Furnaces days; the way the guitar swings in after seconds feels like a veer away from the Furnaces’ weirdness (though their pop instincts, occasionally deployed, were not too shabby). Where it really opens it up is its New York City sentiment: “Everyone’s searching for their own letter in the false alphabet city.” She’d know better than most, having spent over a decade in the city and only recently decamped for upstate. The NYC-centric lyrics, plus the tempo and instrumentation, don’t really fit in on New View, so it makes sense that it was left off; you wouldn’t want the best song on an album to be one that sounds nothing like the rest of it.

For most of her show last night at the Bowery Ballroom, I didn’t think Eleanor Friedberger was going to perform “False Alphabet City.” She played every song on New View, and had to play some older stuff, too (impeccably chosen), which didn’t seem to leave much room for a one-off single based on an art project. But she played it, late in the show, telling the crowd it was for us. That would sound like a cheesy rock-star sentiment coming from a lot of singers, but one of the more remarkable things about Eleanor Friedberger is the way she combines real, sometimes inscrutable charisma (that voice, those mysterious bangs) with a slight hesitation – she’s not a wild dancer on stage, but when she moves with her music, it looks natural and sincere. So when she tells me and a couple hundred other people that a song is for us, I believe her, no questions asked, even if I don’t see her around anymore.

Eleanor Friedberger is out on tour in support of New View right now.