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Released: January 2006

You might have expected us to go with 'I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor' – but no, NME critics en masse plumped for the subtler charms of 'A Certain Romance', the closing track on Arctic Monkeys' debut album. It's a strangely even-handed song, in which Alex Turner starts out scorning local townies – the "kids who like to scrap with pool cues in their hands" - then appears to absolve them at the end...

 
 
 

Released: September 2004

Cue kick drum. Cue thudding bassline. Cue keyboards. Is there any intro more guaranteed to make the hairs on your arms bristle in anticipation? From there, the song surges elegantly to a climax so passionate it'd make even the most granite-hearted cynic gaze, clench-jawed, into the middle distance. What's it about? Win Butler's images of paranoia and concealment ("Come on hide your lovers…") hint that...

 
 
 

Released: April 2003

Their first release for three years – and their first without Graham Coxon – ‘Out Of Time’ is Blur at their introspective finest. While there were only three of them, they enlisted the help of numerous musicians from Marrakech on cello, violin, oud and the like, and nicked a sample from Doctor Who for the opening noise. The track came with an anti-war video and was their first to not feature the band in...

 
 
 

Released: January 2007

‘Atlantis To Interzone’ and ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ might have been the early rock-rave shots across our bows that first alerted us to the neon phenomenon in our midst, but it was this track that saw Klaxons conquer the classic pop song and wriggle out of any scenester brackets. With a video from cult director Saam Farahmand and clocking in at a give-us-more two minutes 45 seconds, 'Golden Skans' was rightly...

 
 
 

Released: September 2003

The scratchy guitars, the frenetic dance-funk drums, a liberal sprinkling of cowbell and that tortured vocal: ‘House Of Jealous Lovers’ was a masterpiece in danceable post-punk. Originally released in 2002 but properly grabbing the nation by the gonads in 2003 it was the stand out track on their DFA-produced debut proper and woke both sides of the Atlantic up to the dance-punk the Brooklyn boys had been...

 
 
 

Released: September 2003

If you were a DJ in the early noughties, this was your secret weapon. From the opening “one two three uh” it saw nonchalant bar-huggers drop their pints and race headfirst onto the dancefloor to shake it like a Polaroid to ‘Hey Ya!’’s bendy pop-hop. The standout track on OutKast’s untouchable double album ‘Speakerboxxx / The Love Below’, it came jammed amongst Andre 3000’s...

 
 
 

Released: August 2007

With Switch and Diplo sharing production and The Clash’s ‘Straight To Hell’ providing the backbone, this track was always destined for greatness. Peppered with gunshots and confrontational lyrics, ‘Paper Planes’ is one of the most commercially unviable tracks going and yet from the charts to Slumdog Millionaire and Pineapple Express via a Grammy nomination, Dizzee Rascal’s live cover and the clubs of...

 
 
 

Released: June 2001

Back in 2001 the musical landscape was a barren desert. A few clued-in people had heard 'The Modern Age’ EP, but it was the arrival of this track that brought Strokesmania to the UK. Like a nail-barbed plank to the solar plexus it walloped the nation sideways and declared our four-year musical drought over. Backed by the infamous ‘New York City Cops’, the track found its way to the top of DJ boxes from KOKO...

 
 
 

Released: August 2005

I’m feeling rough, I’m feeling raw, I’m in the prime of my life / Let’s make some music, make some money, find some models for wives / I’ll move to Paris, shoot some heroin and fuck with the stars / You man the island and the cocaine and the elegant cars” – thus began MGMT’s tongue-in-cheek ode to the fame that was inevitable after the release of such a classic. Remixed and revamped at...

 
 
 

Released: May 2003

Beyonce’s finest single was released in 2003 to universal acclaim, shooting to the top spot in America and the UK and picking up two Grammy Awards along the way. Built around a horn sample from 1970 hit ‘Are You My Woman? (Tell Me So)’ and featuring a rap from boyfriend Jay-Z (reportedly thrown out off the cuff in 10 minutes at a 3am studio session), it remains a classic. If you can judge a song by the...

 
 
 
 
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