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.

 
 
 
 

Leicester’s finest at full throttle

As singer Tom Meighan explained to NME back in 2006, ‘Empire’ was slang used by the band to mean something good. Something of an understatement, seeing as the album of the same name shot to number 1 and sold around 1 million copies worldwide.
A thumping, hypnotic track with a soaring sing-along chorus – “Stop! I said it’s happening again, we’re all wasting away!”, the album version...

 
 
 

A musical mish-mash from a series of surprising sources

Helmed by super-producer Rick Rubin, ‘99 Problems’ initially charted at number 12 in the UK on release in 2003, but also returned at number 35 in 2008, prompted by Jay-Z’s legendary Noel Gallagher-baiting appearance at Glastonbury Festival. A true mongrel, the song includes samples of 'The Big Beat' by Billy Squier and 'Long Red' by Mountain. It also borrows...

 
 
 

The French electro sleaze merchant at his opulent best

You know that sound in your head when you step out of a nightclub, get into a taxi, and rush into the night not knowing where the evening will take you? Well, that’s more-or-less what ‘La Ritournelle’ sounds like. The principal reason to care about the Frenchman’s second record ‘Politics’, the song's popularity was almost organic, relying on word of mouth “have you heard that tune?” buzz over mass...

 
 
 

So good it was even included on the Doctor Who soundtrack

As nerdy as this is – and we could be even nerdier, Britney’s most current signature tune was appropriated into the massively multiplayer online role playing game World Of Warcraft after all – the very fact this song was included in a 2005 episode of Doctor Who entitled ‘The End Of The World’ (as a recording on an ancient jukebox as an example of “a traditional ballad” from 5 billion years...

 
 
 

The post-rock outfit proved they could be as gentle as they were abrasive

Despite their 15-year history, six studio albums, numerous single releases and their tracks being used to soundtrack countless movies and, er, episodes of Hollyoaks, mainstream fame has largely eluded Mogwai. Not that their underground following isn’t swelling in number, as 2006 single ‘Friend Of The Night’ proved. Taken from ‘Mr Beast’, one of...

 
 
 

His second single, and the first one to break the Top 20

Based around a sample of ‘The Big Beat’ by veteran US arena rocker Billy Squier, the boy from Bow's second single was an arresting, odd arrangement, even by the arresting, odd standards of Dizzee's parent culture, grime. It marked the arrival of a truly unique British talent – smart, savvy and more-or-less unlike anything music had seen before – it was a veritable pout of a tune. Such is the song's...

 
 
 

A math-art-dance-punk-groove-rock classic

This song not only marked the first time the New York band had incorporated vocals into their music – apart from some beatboxing on the songs ‘Dance’ and ‘Fantasy’, the two EPs that preceeded this were entirely instrumental – but ear-marked the band as an outfit truly unique. Not only the kind of band comfortable on an ATP line-up (a recording of this song from the 2007 festival opens this October's...

 
 
 

This propulsive, muscular track proved they'd come a long way since 'Yellow'

The key tune on 2002’s ‘A Rush Of Blood To The Head’ wasn’t even supposed to be on the record at all, and only turned up on the bands second album after Chris Martin, en route to filing the tracklisting to label Parlophone, had a crisis of confidence about the proposed release, asked to put the date back by two months, and recorded the song on the recommendation of the band's manager Phil Harvey. We should...

 
 
 

Beth Ditto's ferocious call to arms

Written by Beth Ditto as a fiery response to the Federal Marriage Amendment – which would have constitutionally outlawed same-sex marriage in the USA if passed – the Gossip's biggest song had three stabs at fame before it eventually hit gold. The title track of their third record was first released as a Le Tigre remix in 2005, in its own form in 2006, then for...

 
 
 

Gender-confused indie-disco staple

Two things you need to know about this song: 1) you could give a braindamaged child a crayon and a piece of paper and he’d write words with more wit and resonance than “Somebody told me, that you had a boyfriend, who looked like a girlfriend, that I had in February of last year”. 2) It's an amazing pop song, in the way all the early Police singles are great pop songs. "This is our most Vegas-influenced song...

 
 
 
 
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