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Released: September 2009

And lo, with a stripped back Joy Division bassline and a chirpy whistle The Drums made themselves known. And this simple ode to surfing (from a New York-based band who have barely hung ten between them and soon grew tired of questions about the sport) made itself comfortable in our brains. An effortless balancing act of the maudlin and the perky propelled by Jonathan Pierce’s inimitable vocals and of course some...

 
 
 

Released: May 2009

Piledriving a path for a legion of grime-dance crossover pretenders, no one ever really topped Dizzee and Armand’s armour-plated radio-eater for sheer ridiculous fun. It took some months before we could muster the self-control to stop sneaking up on people and saying ”BONKERS” in their ear in that stupid robot voice. Beyond the larks, though, lyrically it was a pretty complex beast, as much alienation...

 
 
 

Released: May 2000

Wunderkind producer Rodney Jerkins seemed to peak early before disappearing behind less-than-stellar work that came later in the decade, but 2000’s ‘Say My Name’ found Darkchild at his innovative best, only rivaling Timbaland and Missy Elliot in the bold sonic innovations department. The track shakes all over itself with about three different rhythms happening at once while de facto DC leader Beyonce...

 
 
 

Released: October 2002

'Lose Yourself' was Eminem at the absolute peak of his powers. Written to support 8 Mile, the film that told the story of his life, the track laid bare his early struggles over a brooding guitar sample and built to a huge, swooping chorus line. He might have sold more records since, but this was when no rapper on the planet could touch him. 

(TG)

 
 
 

Released: August 2004

Was there ever an album more outrageously stuffed with room-igniting, we-have-lift-off choruses than ‘Hot Fuss’? ‘All These Things That I’ve Done’ is just one such sky-scraping moment among many. The fact it was (oh dear) used as David Cameron’s campaign song during the 2010 general election should not detract from its amazing power to uplift and exhilarate, even if - as Bill Bailey likes to point out...

 
 
 

Released: February 2004

One of those ballads that’s transcended indieville to the point where people who’ve never heard another Yeah Yeah Yeahs song in their life would be like ‘oh yeah, that one, I loooooove that’, where you hear it on emotional teen dramas on the telly, where it’s on bloody Guitar Hero, given the amount of times we’ve all listened to it drunk and teary, we should all be sick to death of ‘Maps’ by...

 
 
 

Released: February 2007

I’ll never forget the disappointment I felt when someone told me that Tyondai Braxton’s screwy, obscured lyrics to this otherworldly song were in fact not “Dinglehopper, dinglehopper, dingle-hopper” but “People won’t be people when they hear this sound/Glowing in the dark on the edge of town”. Still, I’ll definitely concede that his fit better – ‘Atlas’ sounds like something...

 
 
 

Released: October 2010

Post-VMAgate, Kanye was the monster, or as he put it on ‘My Beautiful Twisted Dark Fantasy’, “The abomination of Obama’s nation,” and whilst his verse was good, it was star turns from Jay-Z (channeling his world-weary hip hop legend who just needed a cuddle) and Nicki Minaj (a show stealing turn from the heir apparent who was battling herself as much as the haterz) that took this track over...

 
 
 

Released: March 1996

This was the track that took the Essex mentalists from basement-playing chancers to arenas. Everything that made people fall in love with The Prodigy is here: snarling verses, a huge bombastic breakbeat and then that little dash of controversy to top it off. Despite being released to a Top 40 dominated by manufactured bands riding on a post-Spice Girls boom, it went straight to Number One and they've pretty much...

 
 
 

Released: September 2000

After the Spice Girls’ universe-conquering and All Saints’ tales of rampant egotism, this non-starry girl band felt like they were pulled straight from the real world. ‘Overload’ was frontloaded with great, unexpected ideas: the sauntering rhythmic breaks, the sparse guitar line with pitches up like a hip Flamenco dancer, and of course the cool girl lyrics from Mutya, Siobhan and Keisha. It wouldn’t last...

 
 
 
 
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