Tag Archives: pop

Track Marks 2020: “No Body, No Crime” by Taylor Swift

Jeremy Beck runs the website MovieManifesto, where he writes many, many movie reviews that nobody reads.
Jeremy Beck

Track Marks is a recurring SportsAlcohol.com feature that invites writers to briefly discuss a song that is meaningful to them in any way. Though they can appear on the site at any time, we always run a bunch of them in December and/or January and/or February, looking back at the year in music.

For poptimists of a certain basic sensibility—not that I have anyone in mind—the prospect of Taylor Swift collaborating with Haim was tantalizing. (When I learned the news about Swift’s surprise December album, I was more excited than I’d been for any new music since… well, since Swift released her first quarantine record less than four months earlier. 2020 was an undeniably terrible year, but it had its first-world silver linings.) But “no body, no crime,” the sixth track off of Swift’s evermore, doesn’t just feature Haim as musicians; it features Haim as characters. It’s a murder ballad, starring Este Haim as the scorned woman who confronts her unfaithful husband, who then promptly kills her.

Sorry, did I spoil the ending? Not really, though I can understand the complaint. With its potboiler tone and its canny details—weekly dinners at Olive Garden, fateful life insurance policies—“no body, no crime” is decidedly cinematic, a 1940s noir by way of the Coen Brothers. In just three-and-a-half minutes, Swift tells a three-act story that opens with infidelity, progresses to homicide, and concludes with righteous vengeance. The plot traffics in hairpin twists and grisly violence: First, Este confides her suspicions about her husband (“that ain’t my Merlot on his mouth”) before accusing him of adultery, at which point she suddenly disappears; then Swift, ever the loyal friend, responds by killing the killer, framing his mistress for good measure. (Her alibi comes courtesy of Este’s sister, Danielle Haim, who casually lies to the police: “She was with me, dude.”) The lyrics are so clean and sharp, they compel you to imagine the sordid scenes unfolding in your mind, Swift effortlessly conjuring a squalid world of cheap jewelry, incriminating tire tracks, and corpse-carrying speedboats.
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The Top 101 Best Songs of the 2000s (Part 1)

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.
Jesse

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)