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100 TRACKS OF THE DECADE

 

We've already shared our Albums Of The Decade. Now it's time to list the 100 best tracks of the noughties, as compiled by a jury made up of NME critics.

Disagree with our choices? You can vote your own favourite tracks to the top in our Tracks Of The Decade Readers' List - and let us know what you think by piling into the debate over on the NME office blog.

NME's 100 Tracks Of The Decade was written by Tim Chester, Jamie Fullerton, Luke Lewis, David Moynihan, Hamish MacBain, James McMahon, Emily Mackay, Ash Dosanjh, Ben Patashnik, Alan Woodhouse, Martin Robinson, Matt Wilkinson.

 
 
 
 

Jigga's nods to his hometown never get old

Every Jay-Z album has one song in exactly this mould. And on each Jay-Z album, it’s invariably one of the highlights. Triumphant, strutting and glistening with brass wrenched up from dusty vaults onto the mean streets of Now. It’s the burst through the door of the party, ‘I’m back!’ number. Alicia Keys sirens the hook with the swooning, soulful warmth of...

 
 
 

A lead off single from the Mr Hansen’s criminally underrated eighth album that confused everyone

‘Modern Guilt’ was a short, often sonically meandering and lyrically baffling kind of an album, and its preview track was no exception. By this point Beck had more than settled into his role as one of America’s most chameleonic, constantly compelling performers, and on this he delivered a mantra of conspiracy theorist paranoia that only served to intrigue us all...

 
 
 

The moment the Southend quintet came of age

When The Horrors emerged in 2006 as gothically themed garage rockers, hype quickly gave way to backlash. The darlings of Southend’s Junk Club scene were dismissed as one-trick ponies, and poor sales of 2007 debut album ‘Strange House’ cost them their major-label deal. When they returned in 2009, they were unrecognisable. Mesmeric comeback...

 
 
 

Atlanta rockers' finest hour – and the best bassline ever?

It wasn't until Vice Records released 'Good Bad Not Evil' in the UK in 2007 that Atlanta dirt-rockers Black Lips came to wide(ish) public attention in Blighty, but the shove couldn't have been heralded better than by their greatest song – the moody, brooding yet rip-throat raucous 'Katrina'. With a bass intro more hummy than a beehive, the song soon explodes into a clatter that personifies their cut-loose...

 
 
 

Limited lyrics but a far from lightweight song

"We fly balloons on this fuel called love" sings/shouts Foals singer Yannis Philippakis repetitively. Tender and floating synths are kicked to shreds by pointed guitar daggers and a sharp, unyielding drumbeat. The band's third single, and the first from their impressively melodic-yet-energetic debut album 'Antidotes', 'Balloons' was a stunning clash of sounds,...

 
 
 

Tripped-out gold-dust, as enrapturing as the morning sun

What a track. From the opening choir-like vocals and slamming piano chords, a sound like screaming children and warm, rolling bassline, it's clear that this is no ordinary song. "I wanna get in the sunlight" sings frontman Chris Keating as the music ascends into a blur of Middle Eastern-influenced, psychedelia-infused, whirling, trippy, gospel goodness. Hailing from – where else? – Brooklyn, the band...

 
 
 

Britpop legends' finest song of the decade

They only released one album this decade (2001's 'We Love Life'), and this was its best track. The lyric is one of Jarvis Cocker's finest, pointing out that there's no substitute for feeling real love by way of pointing out a number of popular cultural landmarks gone rotten (the Stones in The '80s, Tom & Jerry when they could talk and, cheekily, album producer Scott Walker's ''Til The Band Comes In' album). Oh,...

 
 
 

Another entry for the all-conquering Beyoncé

Cast your mind back to 2000 and Beyoncé was the one in Destiny's Child who had something, well… a bit special about her. Ostensibly a trio, it was clear that Beyoncé was the leader of the pack. But what a pack they formed: Beyoncé, plus sidekicks Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, were every bit as bold and beautiful as the 'Charlie's Angels'...

 
 
 

Yeeeeah-heh-yeah!

It's become a bit of a drive-time, FM-rock cliché – which is strange, because 'Sex On Fire' is really quite a filthy song, describing a shag so mind-bendingly amazing, it's almost a bit scary ("Knuckles are pale, feels like you're dying…"). Caleb Followill didn't think much of it at first, he didn't want to include it on 'Only By The Night', but he was convinced otherwise. Just as well – it became...

 
 
 

We defy you to listen to this without getting goosebumps

On their first album 'Street Horrrsing', noise duo Fuck Buttons sounded dark and abrasive – they were a bit too Nathan Barley, "Terrorists are gaaay!" to be truly likeable. Wisely, on their second album 'Tarot Sport', they added a bit of humanity to the mix - specifically a mood of colossal sadness, combined with a weirdly heroic quality. That was particularly evident on the 11-minute 'Olympians', which...

 
 
 
 
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