Top 10 Songs That Warned Us About the Recession

Daft Punk tried to warn us.

With the U.S. economy tanking, we can't help but to feel a little pessimistic about our future. We reverted to our inner 15-year-old, which happened to grow up in the go-go '90s of excess and wealth (a.k.a. the Clinton years), and decide to make a mixtape of the songs that eerily foreshadowed our impending economic doom. So here are the Top 10 Songs that Warned Us About the Recession (a.k.a. The Great Depression 2k8):

10. Daft Punk "Technologic"

Ominous Quote: "Buy it, use it, break it, fix it/Trash it, change it, mail, upgrade it/Charge it, point it, zoom it, press it/Snap it, work it, quick erase it."

We've become technologically obsessed and Daft Punk pointed it out in 2004 with "Technologic." Technology has given us immense power to disseminate information quickly and effectively. But by giving that power to so many, it also makes it a great tool to spread hysteria as well.

9. Gwen Stefani "Rich Girl"

Ominous Quote: "All the riches baby, won't mean anything/Don't need no other baby/Your lovin' is better than gold, and I know"

It's easy to dismiss Gwen Stefani's "Rich Girl" as another song flaunting excess, but in the chorus Stefani reminds us no matter what, love is always better than material wealth, something we easily forgot as we saw our stock portfolios climb higher.

8. Justice "Stress"

Ominous Quote: Er, there aren't any words.

For a song with no lyrics, Justice still was able to create an unnerving soundtrack full of siren-like breaks and dizzying snyths. And when the video was released earlier this year featuring young black Frenchmen terrorizing Paris and its residents, there were calls of racism and sensationalism. Now we get it: the gang was a metaphor for how our economy was going to fuck us up and not apologize about it.

7. Gorillaz "Dirty Harry"

Ominous Quote: "The war is over/So said the speaker with the flight suit on/Maybe to him I'm just a pawn/So he can advance/Remember when I used to dance/Man, all I want to do is dance."

Gorillaz's entire sophomore effort Demon Days sounds like Nostradamus himself reading word for word what will happen to us. It took a fictional band to create truly the only album which has ever been able to capture the global community in a post-9/11 world. "Dirty Harry" was an ode to the soldiers fighting a poor-planned war, but it's truly the song is about remembering happier times when all we did was dance.

6. Radiohead "Idioteque"

Ominous Quote: "We're not scaremongering/This is really happening, happening/Mobiles working/Mobiles chirping/Take the money and run."

The track's backbeat has enough of wallop to send a shivers down your spine, but with Thom Yorke's declaration of the "ice age coming," ordering "women and children first," and to "take the money and run" -- really, do we need to explain this one?

5. MGMT "Time To Pretend"

Ominous Quote: "This is our decision, to live fast and die young/We've got the vision, now let's have some fun/Yeah, it's overwhelming, but what else can we do/Get jobs in offices, and wake up for the morning commute ... We'll choke on our vomit and that will be the end/We were fated to pretend"

MGMT's first single off of Oracular Spectacular was a song about putting off responsibility and living life to its fullest. But by the second half of the song, MGMT has a change of heart and realizes its life is no more fulfilling than before. That's because late-night partying fueled by coke and surround by scores of strippers is just as hallow as it sounds.

4. Miss Kittin & the Hacker "Stock Exchange"

Ominous Quote: "I can smell their expensive after shave/When they touch my bumps in the lift of the Empire State."

It was at the turn of the century that Miss Kittin and the Hacker came out with First Album, an electro-clash masterpiece that was all about excess, be it monetary, sexual or pharmaceutical. The track "Stock Exchange" simple told us of a life of a woman attracted to Wall Street types who could afford her the life of luxury she deserved, but Miss Kittin's cold delivery gave the lyrics virtually no emotion -- simply a shallow song about a shallow life.

3. The Notorious B.I.G. featuring Puff Daddy & Mase "Mo' Money, Mo' Problems"

Ominous Quote: "I don't know what, they want from me/It's like the more money we come across/The more problems we see"

In 1997, a posthumous warning from Big Poppa himself wasn't enough to get us to realize that immediate wealth wasn't the answer. It's like Biggie was looking out for us from heaven, ya'll.

2. BG featuring Cash Money Millionaires "Bling Bling"

Ominous Quote: "Bling bling/Pinky ring worth about 50/Bling bling/Everytime I buy a new ride/Bling bling/Lorenzos on Yokahama tires."

The song is the most nauseating display of (fake) wealth if we have ever heard one. It's also the song responsible for bringing the word "bling bling" to the American vernacular, and when people like Martha Stewart (and our mothers) started to use the term they stock market might as well have crash right then and there. How did Lil Wayne survive this mess of a song, we don't know? But we're sure he wouldn't admit to singing on this track these days.

1. Gwen Stefani "Crash"

Ominious Quote: "Crash"

Stefani makes her second appearance. Why? Because "Crash" is the sound Wall Street makes when stocks, er, well, crash. Also the sound of high-rise office windows being shattered and white-collar executives jumping out of them.

-- Jose D. Duran

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Jose D. Duran is the associate editor of Miami New Times. He's the strategist behind the publication's eyebrow-raising Facebook and Twitter feeds. He has also been reporting on Miami's cultural scene since 2006. He has a BS in journalism and will live in Miami as long as climate change permits.
Contact: Jose D. Duran