Released: July 2002

Throughout LCD Soundsystem’s career, James Murphy cornered the electronic mid-life crisis market, and this was the first, explosively brilliant, burst of that. Inspired by the fact that the records he was DJ-ing with had become co-opted by others, Murphy sliced things with a large dollop of humour but also a sprinkling of tragedy. As he lists his timeline of Important Musical Events, People and Things, like some...

 
 
 

Released: February 2009

NME writers’ track of the year in 2009 saw Yeah Yeah Yeahs embrace sexy synth dancepop with as much enthusiasm and effortlessness as they had straight-up indie rock. The result was a track which can justifiably claim to be a ‘Heart Of Glass’ for the 21st century. Yes, it was that good. Only Blondie were never this smutty (hell, neither is Lady Gaga for that matter). When Karen O exhorts us to...

 
 
 

Released: October 2004

What’s that you say? “Look at the shakies, what's with the blush?/Fresh off the plane in my fuzzy rush.” Something about a balding 18-year-old? Sorry, Caleb, would you mind explaining what the quaking ARSE you’re on about? Well, apparently the song’s sort of about bassist Jared Followill, who’d been thrust into rock stardom at a young age, though you’d never guess from Caleb’s vocal...

 
 
 

Released: November 2002

Like so many great songs, it started life as a mistake: suffering from writers’ block, Chris Martin was sat at the piano trying to play George Harrison’s ‘Isn’t It A Pity’ when he hit upon a chord that sounded “lovely”. ‘The Scientist’ grew from there - as simple and beautiful a piano ballad as you’ll ever hear. Like a lot...

 
 
 

Released: June 2001

I can still remember exactly where I was when I heard it for the first time: the number 88 bus from Truro to Falmouth, August 2001, sharing the walkman with my mate Guy. Those drums! The heavy, heavy guitar line that still somehow manages to sound like Johnny Marr. And Casablancas, during the bit where all the guitars go really high, "I'm not like them". It made rock 'n roll believable again, simple as....

 
 
 

Released: April 1995

Although it wasn’t the last thing he recorded before his death, this Nine Inch Nails cover has become accepted as The Man In Black’s swansong. Although his version of Trent Reznor’s song (with the line “I wear this crown of shit” changed to “crown of thorns” in order to remove profanity and reference Cash’s spirituality) is enormously affecting in its own right, the video, where...

 
 
 

Released: January 2006

Grounded by an about-to-explode bassline and a spinning guitar riff, ‘Standing In The Way Of Control’ was The Gossip’s glammy moment in the sun. Beth Ditto later revealed herself to be a dizzyingly charismatic addition to indie’s mothballed regulars, but at this very moment she was just a vocalist who oozed the sort of creamy, soul voice that seemed to have sprung from another time and universe. Despite...

 
 
 

Released: November 2008

Don’t blame a track for its ubiquity. There’s a reason every ad-buyer and TV soundtrack creative across the globe borrowed snippets of Florence’s true clarion call: it’s one of the most startling, original and simply powerful tracks in recent memory. Harp crescendos, drums you can clap along to, and of course Florence’s cathedral-lunged delivery at the heart – you’d be a little dead inside not to...

 
 
 

Released: March 2006

Danger Mouse’s skitterish funk and Cee-Lo Green’s smooth soul vocal made for ridiculously compatible bedfellows, creating something that was simultaneously retro and modern. And whilst some of their later collaborations veered too far towards the cerebral, ‘Crazy’ was a three minute slice of effortless pop heaven. That the whole thing was a very real account of mental illness gave it a subversive edge,...

 
 
 

Released: April 2004

For all that ‘The Rat’ might have since become an albatross around The Walkmen’s neck, it’s unlikely that it hangs heavy in anyone’s record collection. Few songs capture the post-break-up knifepoint between rattled fury and enduring manic obsession better – one minute frontman Hamilton Leithauser spits “You’ve got a nerve to be asking a favour/You’ve got a nerve to be calling my number”...

 
 
 
 
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