NME.com has been running for more than fifteen years now, and in that time we've seen more bangers than a Walls sausage factory. Whether you're Julian Casablancas' number one fan, a Doherty-ite 'til you die, never gave up on nu rave or a total God like Kanye, there'll be something here for everyone. Viva the 21st century and all who sail within it! Words: Priya Elan, Luke Lewis, Tim Chester, Mike Williams, Tom Goodwyn, Rebecca Schiller, Krissi Murison, Emily Mackay, Matt Wilkinson, Laura Snapes, Jamie Fullerton, Alan Woodhouse.

50Hey Boy Hey Girl

Featuring perhaps the most famous dance intro of recent history, this track has earned The Chemical Brothers the huge festival slots they're continually rewarded with. Starting with a menacing, trance laden groove and building to an absolute dance stomper, there's not a person over the age of 15 who doesn't know what's coming when they hear the first vocoded "Hey boy" filter through the speakers. (TG)


The kind of genius Bethany Cosentino displayed was a deceptively simple one: classic songwriting tropes featuring an undercurrent of grunge, brought together all with the endless Californian summer shimmer of Brian Wilson. ‘Boyfriend’ was part teenage longing and part womanly angst (“She’s prettier and skinnier, she got a college degree,”), whilst the guitars chimed together like Phil Spector’s in-house band. It was the timeless quality of the track that made it feel like it could have been made at any point during rock and roll’s 60-year history. (PE)


For an album as near perfect as 'The Colour And The Shape' to have a standout track is pretty astounding, but 'Everlong' is more than worthy of such an accolade. The gentle strums of the first few seconds give way to a bruising riff and a chorus that catapulted Dave Grohl's boys from a curiosity into an arena filling priority. They close with this most nights and, even if its 15 years since it came out, it’s easy to hear why. (TG)

Foo Fighters - 'Everlong'
Video: Foo Fighters - 'Everlong'


There aren’t many great songs about platonic male-female friendship, but this is one. Taking a dreamy, presumably mashed-up chat as lyrical source matter, singer Ed Macfarlane perfectly captures that mood of late-night, saucer-eyed scheming: “I’ll find you that French boy, you’ll find me that French girl”, he vows. “I promise, I’m on it”. Yeah, right. You know it’ll all be forgotten in the morning when the drugs wear off. But, in the moment, it all makes sense, and – for the listener as well as the two dreamers in the song - it all sounds impossibly romantic and exciting. (LL)

46Wolf Like Me

Of course TV On The Radio are never short of a tune or two – they’ve got great credit at the global ideas bank and never fail to turn out something interesting – and their sophomore 9/10 album ‘Return To Cookie Mountain’ was packed full of aural joy, from ‘I Was A Lover’ to ‘Province’, but somehow ‘Wolf Like Me’ is the track that sums them up like no other. Pounding at your subconscious’ door from the outset it’s a handful of minutes of frantic genius, split in half with one of those classic slow-it-down breakdowns that only serves to intensify its main thrust. Sitek, Adebimpe et al were on top form. (TC)

45Swastika Eyes

Surely the best and most successful song to reference a Nazi symbol in relation to what singer Bobby Gillespie called “American international terrorism”. Not the sexiest subject matter, but when you ally it to such a ferocious sonic assault as the band did than you’ve got a bit of a winner on your hands. It was the first single to be released from the group’s ‘XTRMNTR’, whose pummeling, pile-driving music and overtly political lyrical content proved a surprising winner with fans more used to the band’s hedonistic approach to life. (AW)

44Knights Of Cydonia

Another quiet, introspective acoustic number from the band that softly reflects on kitchen sink British life… nah, course not. This is Muse. So this is six minutes of intergalactic horseplay that gallops on enormo-riffs, bombastic vocals, sci-fi western imagery and all manner of other ideas from Matt’s infinite headspace. It also half-inches a riff from his dad’s old band, The Tornados (‘Telstar’). Their third single from ‘Black Holes And Revelations’ it’s been turned into a Guitar Hero track and used to accompany Britain’s Olympic triumphs. Our generation’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. (TC)

43Little Lion Man

Although it climbed the chart slowly, and only hit the Top 40 for a fortnight, Mumford’s debut single from their debut album is perhaps their best known, and certainly their best. If anyone had told us in spring 2009 we’d be bellowing along in unison to a banjo-plucked stomper about regrets in relationships we’d have laughed you all the way to Johnny Borrell’s gaff. But what do you know, sometimes the best bands are those that give us what we never knew we wanted. (TC)

42Come To Daddy

Inextricably linked to Chris Cunningham's horrific, genetically mutated 'kids' in the video, 'Come To Daddy''s thrash pop gloom was one part ghost train camp ("COME!TO!DADDY!") and many parts compressed, lo-fi, drum and bass riffing. Inventive as always, Richard D James admitted he composed it whilst listening to some 'crap death metal', but in fact its brilliance was how it morphed genre into genre like a shape shifting time-traveler. The real horror came in the latter half (the tunneling screams in the closing minutes), but it didn't matter, the mark it left was indelible. (PE) How I Wrote 'Come To Daddy' Richard D. James "'Come to Daddy' came about while I was just hanging around my house, getting pissed and doing this crappy death metal jingle. Then it got marketed and a video was made, and this little idea that I had, which was a joke, turned into something huge. It wasn't right at all."

41One Day Like This

OK, it’s possible this song might have been overplayed just a touch. Elbow’s stirring, carpe diem ode to long-term love has been used to inject gravitas into everything from the Beijing Olympics to the British Parking Awards (probably). But it’d take a heart of flint not to be moved by Guy Garvey’s tender and truthful observational eye (“Shaking off a heavy one”).

Plus, the song is part of a broader heartwarming narrative: it made Elbow massive, after years of semi-obscurity. So what if it’s the soundtrack every other wedded couple’s cheesy first dance? It still rules. (LL)

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