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Spotify Picks Of The Year: The Noughties

Hard to believe, I know, but none of these covers was made using Photoshop.We're now past the halfway mark in this project to recreate all of my Pick Of The Year compilation CDs and cassettes as Spotify playlists - see also 1982-1989 and 1990-1999. And if there's one thing this exercise has taught me so far, it's that anyone who says streaming will eventually completely replace the physical ownership of music deserves a good slap. When all this is over, I will have 36 playlists comprised of records I liked a lot in the year of their release, and every single one of those playlists will be missing at least one song, if not more.

It's particularly noticeable here in the early years of the 21st century, largely thanks to my discovery of J-Pop in 2001. With a lot of Japanese music, it seems like nobody cares about granting the rights to stream it internationally. Things are starting to loosen up a little bit - Ringo Shiina has made all of her records globally available (with one maddening exception), and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu has released everything worldwide from the moment Pon Pon Pon went viral. But all too often, you end up with bizarre situations like the new Vanilla Beans collection, VaniBest II, where the iTunes export version has been stripped back from 18 tracks to five, and the Spotify version restricted even further to two.

So there are a few Japanese songs on these compilations that I can't track down on Spotify. In addition to that, this was a decade when I picked up a lot of music in all sorts of contexts outside regular albums - downloads of mashups that were too copyright-infringing to go on regular sale, CDs only available at gigs, even one track given away with a book. None of those are available for streaming, as you can imagine. And most frustrating of all, it's impossible to predict when songs will be added to or removed from Spotify - there's at least one track here that wasn't available when I started assembling these playlists a month ago, but subsequently showed up because the album it came from had just got a tenth anniversary rerelease. (It's Glamur by Amiina, from 2007.)

So, in short: these playlists may have gaps in them, but I'll try to warn you here what's missing, and link to my original track-by-track discussions of the compilations as well.

2000: Cheap Sex & Sad Films.
Just one omission here: Otis Lee Crenshaw's He Almost Looks Like You, which you could only find on a live CD sold at the man's gigs.

 

2001: In Relation To Me Getting Out Of Bed.
The year of the Hong Kong holiday where I spent most of the flight listening to the J-Pop channel, and most of the holiday trying to track down the records I'd heard there. Sadly, two of the big discoveries I made that way - Tanpopo and Love Psychedelico - aren't available for you to hear on Spotify.

 

2002: Here's A Picture Of Me Bum.
And when I actually made it out to Japan the following year, it got even worse: so no Morning Musume, Yuki or Love Psychedelico. Also missing: a rather good Polyphonic Spree b-side (covering Bowie's Five Years), and Freelance Hellraiser's cheeky mashup of Destiny's Child and Nirvana.

 

2003: T.M.F.Y.T.T.F.T.
An Australian holiday this year, and sadly the Frenzal Rhomb track that gives this compilation its title doesn't seem to be available this side of the equator. More shockingly, Paddy McAloon's lovely solo album appears to have vanished from the face of the earth altogether, with physical copies currently going on Amazon for twenty quid and up.

 

2004: Above The Beat And The Sub-Bass.
A mixture of reasons for tracks not being available here: originating from Japan (Love Psychedelico, Plus-Tech Squeeze Box), originating from Australia (Machine Gun Fellatio), or containing huge samples of stolen music (The Kleptones, DJ Danger Mouse).

 

2005: The Line Between Stupid And Fun.
Here's the one where a missing song came from a book: The R Crumb Handbook, to be precise, which combined an overview of his artwork with a CD of his fun jazz covers. The other omission was The Legendary K.O.'s zeitgeisty rewrite of Kanye West into the track George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People.

 

2006: You Wouldn't Think That I Was 43.
Just the one omission, and yes, it's Japanese: Bright Eyes, by Keito Blow.

 

2007: Some People Are Just Nice.
Like I said: Ringo Shiina (in her various guises, including with her band Tokyo Jihen) has been great at making all her albums internationally streamable. The one exception is Heisei Fuzoku, her lush collaboration with arranger Neko Saito. While futilely searching for the song Gamble, I discovered that it's actually an orchestral version of a track she did with a rock band as far back as 2000. (The orchestral version is infinitely better, it has to be said.) Also missing from here are Japanese instrumentalist Halfby, and MySpace-only noisemakers Yoda's House.

 

2008: These Beats Are 20 Years Old.
A few peculiar holes here. Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip's Reading My Dreams is one of those old-fashioned hidden tracks you used to get, after a gap of several minutes following the final song on the Angles album - the digital version has lost it completely, sadly. Kiyoshi Hikawa is obviously way too Japanese for anyone outside of the country to enjoy. Byrne and Eno's album Everything That Happens Will Happen Today was (unusually for the time) a digital-only release initially, but it looks like that never extended to Spotify. And Dizzee Rascal covering The Ting Tings on Radio 1's Live Lounge made onto one of their CD releases, but nowhere else after that.

 

2009: Every Day Is F***ing Perfect.
Odd to see that They Might Be Giants' charming album Here Comes Science isn't on Spotify. Less odd to see that you can't find Jay-Z on there, as he's moved all his streaming onto Tidal. How's that working out for him?

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