If you guessed Eminem and The White Stripes, you guessed right.
Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 greatest songs of the 21st Century includes two Eminem songs and one by the White Stripes, Tanya Wildt of the Detroit Free Press reports. Artists, producers, critics and music industry experts were asked to rank their favorite songs from the past 18 years.
Here’s what the magazine writes about each local entry:
No. 3: “Seven Nation Army,” White Stripes (2003)
The 21st Century’s greatest riff came to Jack White during a soundcheck in Melbourne, Australia, and the title was a placeholder. “That’s what I called the Salvation Army when I was a kid,” he told Rolling Stone in 2010. “[It] was just a way for me to remember which one I was talking about, but it took on a new meaning with the lyrics.” Fully formed, it addressed toxic gossip, the sort that grinds away at you, likely referring to the sort he endured over his relationship with drummer/ex-wife Meg White. It’s a coiled, cresting threat to go ballistic, with a fist-pump battle-readiness that has made it an all-purpose anthem of defiance, chanted at protests and sporting events worldwide. (As White said of the Italian soccer fans who made it their national rallying cry, “I am honored [they] have adopted this song as their own. … I love that most people who are chanting it have no idea where it came from. That’s folk music.”)
No. 24: “Lose Yourself,” Eminem (2002)
Eminem remembered telling his manager, “I don’t know how to write about someone else’s life,” before penning this Academy Award-winning eye-of-the-tiger anthem for his character, Jimmy “B-Rabbit” Smith Jr., in the movie “8 Mile.” “That was the trick I had to figure out: how to make the rhyme sound like him, and then morph into me somehow, so you see the parallels between his struggles and mine.” The rapper plunged to the emotional depths for this tongue-twisting anthem that tells the story of a rapper’s all-or-nothing struggle: the spaghetti-vomit nerves, the diapers that food stamps won’t buy, picking up after getting booed off the stage, and more. “The first time I heard it, I shit in my pants,” said co-producer Jeff Bass.
No. 44: “Stan,” Eminem (2000)
Eminem at his scariest, but also his most human, trying to help a deranged fan with a Dido sample as deus ex machina. “[The character Stan] is crazy for real and he thinks I’m crazy, but I try to help him at the end of the song,” the rapper once said. “It kinda shows the real side of me.” “Stan” has subsequently become both a verb and a noun to refer to an artist’s megafans — in a good way.