Released: February 2005

With this, Maximo Park showed they can do rollicking pop songs as flexible and captivating as Paul Smith’s crotch. It’s the rather marvellous keyboard riff that’s the key here, one which hooks you into the main thrust of the song without making too much of a big deal about ‘going electro’. You can’t help but think it was written with Paul Smith’s drum-rise leaps in mind, such is the way it repeatedly...

 
 
 

Released: July 2002

Do you realize, everyone you know some day will die .” Not an obvious idea to present in a pop song, but it worked incredibly well in this highpoint from The Flaming Lips’ ‘Yoshimi…’. Presented as a sweet, necessary reminder of mortality required in order for you to truly appreciate your life and the people around you, it married space-age sonics with heartfelt emotion without being cheesy. The...

 
 
 

Released: May 2004

Morrissey’s truly great ‘comeback’ song, a stirring little nationalistic drama which comes across as impassioned rather than bombastic. It heralded the new barrel-chested, gladiatorial Morrissey, who was soon seen brandishing a tommygun on the cover of his ‘You Are the Quarry’ album. The revolutionary spirit was burning strong in him at this stage, a man angrily wishing to reclaim the heart of his nation...

 
 
 

Released: August 2002

Probably one of Xenomania’s most perfect tracks, ‘Round Round’ is mean, it’s taut, it’s sexy and it’s awesome. Preceding ‘Sound Of The Underground’ by several months, it never falls into the slightly nudge-nudge Carry On ‘knowing’ territory that Girls Aloud often do – Sugababes were by far the cooler proposition. The chugging, locomotive introduction and whip-smart rhythms are totally...

 
 
 

Released: August 2007

They’re not normally noted for their emotionalism, Crystal Castles, so much as for their shrieking, bleeping, sulking and bottling. Compare, though, the original track on HEALTH’s debut album with Ethan Kath’s reworked version and it's amazing how it subtly smoothes a jagged, brutalist and tortured thing into a melancholy, gently blooping and squelching, 8-bit mooch of some beauty, bringing the soft fear in...

 
 
 

Released: June 2004

The Killers truly touch greatness on this stirring, huge-hooked, last-song-of-the-night monster. The final refrain of “I got soul but I’m not a soldier” is a meaningless phrase when you think about it, but when you’re yelling it in a field along with thousands of people while your seventh pill of the night is threatening to change your sex, it can feel pretty powerful. It manages to pull off that...

 
 
 

Released: January 2009

The fact that Animal Collective are to blogging what the electric guitar was to rock and roll music is not their fault. Yeah, loads of idiots like to write a load of nonsense about them in corners of the web that no one with any semblance of a life ever visits, but ultimately, stripped of any context, songs such as the taster for ‘Merriweather Post Pavillion’ exhibit a band who trade in come one, come all...

 
 
 

Released: September 2009

Debut smashes don't come with much more swagger and bombast than The Big Pink's breakthrough did. Constructed around a skyscraper-sized beat, the track's lyrics might be cruder than the bits that were deemed too rude for Viz magazine, but it's still stupidly catchy and hummable, as proved when Nicki Minaj's underwhelming re-telling of the hook still left you singing along. They're going to have trouble topping...

 
 
 

Released: November 2002

When the svengali of Cash’s reinvention Rick Rubin contacted Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor to request if the country legend could cover the song on Rubin’s suggestion, Reznor, replied that he was ‘flattered’ but concerned it’d be ‘gimmicky’. Upon viewing the video, he relented the song was no longer his. The stark, desolate sorrow of the original was translated into harrowing, minimal balladry by...

 
 
 

Released: August 2005

Predating the onslaught of lame leggings and skin-burning cracked glow-sticks, CSS’ breakthrough hit did everything you never even knew you wanted from a hit of mid-Noughties indie-disco. The winning recipe of naïve flirtiness, shuffling spacey infectiousness and surprising and irreverent NME-culture references put the spotlight on Sao Paolo in a way pop culture hadn’t seen for some time. As nu rave took hold...

 
 
 
 
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