Released: July 2005

‘The College Dropout’ was a thrilling enough mix of myth-making and speeded up soul samples but it didn’t have a peak like this. Kanye returned in 2005 with an unabashed pop song, making inspired use of Jamie Foxx’s Ray Charles turn before sampling the great man himself, and bleeding his wit dry with a bottomless pit of quotable lines. Now he’s a compelling blend of braggadocio and woe-is-me, it’s good...

 
 
 

Released: December 2002

The hangover of conveyor-belt comedy-awful manufactured pap was still prominent in everyone’s minds in 2002. Who’d have thought it would take the puppeteering of Louis Walsh on the back of Popstars: The Rivals to reignite people’s imaginations at pop’s possibilities? The key catalyst at play here was the chap responsible for that weird vocoder effect on Cher’s ‘Believe’. Helmed by Brian Higgins,...

 
 
 

Released: March 2000

The longest song on Doves’ mesmerising debut album ‘Lost Souls’ represents the true essence of what this most unassumingly special of British bands are all about. A constant live favourite, it creeps along at a lovely, stoned pace, ever so slowly evolving into a classic piece of colourful psychedelia that even the most addled of ’60s acid-heads would be immensely proud of. They made much more concise,...

 
 
 

Released: July 2006

The reason so many journalists rubbed their sweaty plans together with glee at the prospect of stringing adjectives together over these two Canadian ex-metallers-turned-8-bit-circuit-benders, was because pop music had never had anything quite like it in its midst. Of all the images conjured, that of ‘battery acid rain falling on a playground full of school children’ seems to go some way to coining the noise of...

 
 
 

Released: March 2001

Who’s that bitch?” Missy asked rhetorically on her greatest single, before answering, “People you know/Me and Timbaland been hot since 20 years ago.” While their prowess as pre-teens could not be confirmed or denied, one thing was for sure: this bass-less cocktail of off kilter bongo beats, synth strings and weird noises was a high point for one of the greatest, most forward thinking...

 
 
 

Released: August 2000

Perhaps the most significant thing 'One Armed Scissor' did upon its release in 2000 was to reinvigorate legions of music fans utterly despondent with new bands. Just like Primal Scream's 'XTRMNTR' was doing for UK music at the same time, At The Drive-In proved that US rock bands didn't have to be offensively cheesy (Blink-182), inoffensively bland (Nickelback), offensively offensive (Limp Bizkit) or just plain...

 
 
 

Released: April 2000

There was little not to love about The Hives when they first burst into public consciousness. The matching uniforms, the fat dude with a moustache on guitar, the Mick Jagger-on-Sunny Delight moves of frontman Howlin' Pelle Almqvist and visceral, no-nonsense garage rock nuggets such as this, their most popular song. The criticisms that they only had one or two great songs missed the point entirely: as anyone at all...

 
 
 

Released: August 2002

There’s an argument that the QOTSA line up of Josh Homme, Nick Oliveri and Dave Grohl is the most powerful line up of any rock group of the modern age… including Them Crooked Vultures. This song was co-written by Homme with Mark Lanegan and contains a quite beautiful falsetto chorus and great lyrics, but in truth it’s the sheer ferocity of the performance by all three members that makes it such a classic...

 
 
 

Released: September 2009

The funniest thing about this song is that Katy Perry, bless her, actually believes that ‘California Gurls’ is some kind of Westside riposte to it. Smashing as she and Snoop’s ode to “Daisy dukes, bikinis on top” is, the heat of that wig is clearly going to the poor lassie’s head. So colossal you can’t even see the top, ‘Empire State…’ was the song of at least two summers. You can drop...

 
 
 

Released: May 2004

Hey, remember when Bloc Party didn’t suck balls to an almost ludicrous degree? This is a prime cut from their golden era, all paranoid post-punk thrusting and ice-cool stabs of melody, and could be their finest hour. It helped that Kele was singing about the demons that populated the darkest corners of his mind, because that gave ‘Banquet’ a depth no one really expected of Bloc Party, and which means it...

 
 
 
 
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