22 Dec 2009 8:05 pm   //   Filed under: Music

The best song of the decade

I thought about posting a list of my top 10 songs of the decade, but I only feel like writing about one.

This particular song is the antidote to cynicism. It kicks gravel in the face of everyone who would cast scorn upon somebody else for trying too hard.

Twelve weeks at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Winner of two Grammys and an Oscar. The most successful rap song of all time. A song that never wears out. (How many other songs from 2002 have 36 million plays on YouTube?)

The best song of the decade is “Lose Yourself” by Eminem and anyone who says otherwise is itching for a fight.

This song debuted as part of Eminem’s 2002 movie “8 Mile.” It was an instant smash. Since then I’ve listened to it before job interviews and public presentations, before bike rides and while running. The beat reminds me of a military operation or a sports contest, and no doubt it’s been used to get countless people pumped up for both. But the character in the song is neither a soldier nor an athlete; he’s an artist.

Eminem’s character is a rapper who has to prove he has a quicker wit and better flow than his opponents. His bombs are lines, his lab is where he writes. At its heart, it’s a song about writing, and for obvious reasons I freakin’ love this. It has some of Eminem’s best and most challenging internal rhymes, dropped like laser-guided missiles.

I can imagine this song being played over a montage of American news clips over the last decade. It’s the sound of Detroit, of New Orleans, of everyone who fights for justice. It’s the sound of 9/11, of dusty wars, of Barack Obama, of the credit crisis, of the relentless pace of innovation.

This opportunity comes one in a lifetime. You can do anything you set your mind to.