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Released: January 2003

The third single from The Libertines' 2002 debut album 'Up The Bracket', 'Time For Heroes' soon became its calling card ahead of the arguably more frenetically lapel-grabbing likes of 'What A Waster' and 'I Get Long'. Why? It encapsulated the grotty, on-edge romanticism that defined Pete Doherty and Carl Barat's band greater than any other of their songs – the poetic twists of "stylish kids in the riot"...


Released: June 1997

Just when the world was crying out for a genuine protest song, we got one of the greatest ever. "You're a slave to money then you die," is Dickie Ashcroft's cruel payoff as he howls his way through his sermon of frustrated lament. Sounding at once beaten and yet furiously optimistic (that'll be Andrew Oldham's strings then), 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' is one of the saddest rabble-rousers of the 90's. (MW)


Released: October 2006

On ‘Back To Black’ Amy Winehouse (aided by Salaam Remi and Mark Ronson) tied the sound of the past (“jukebox” as Winehouse called it) to the present with effortlessness. ‘Rehab’ was all Ronettes sass and Motown horns but at its heart was the memory of a very real conversation about Winehouse’s post-heartbreak addition and how best to deal with it. In life and in the song, her management wanted her to...


Released: March 2006

So good it was released twice – and it was voted single of the year back in 2006 by NME staffers. “The single seemed to have a strange life of its own where people kept returning to it,” Alexis Taylor said of the track. And from student unions to clubs across the globe, you simply couldn’t escape this overly repetitive, so-annoying-it-couldn’t-leave-your-head song. Which is probably why it stuck...


Released: April 2002

This was the one minute and 50 seconds that properly introduced Jack and Meg to the world, its frenzied assault on the senses convincing all but the most idiotic that the red and white-loving duo were the real deal and not some hyped-up bullshit. Mind you, following its worldwide success it would seem they didn’t care for this version much – when the track did make a rare live outing, it was usually the...


Released: May 2004

How about this for serendipity? ‘Mr Brightside’ was the very first song The Killers wrote together, at their very first rehearsal session (you can hear the original 2001 demo version on YouTube). Imagine that: within hours of entering the practice studio you’re playing this: a song so melodically perfect, so surging, and so urgent, it will...


Released: January 2001

Yeah, so it rips off Tom Petty's 'American Girl' like there's no tomorrow. It only uses about three chords. But I don't care about any of that. What 'Last Nite' did more than any other song from 2001 was prove that guitars could still be king, that the sound of some dude with greasy hair singing nonsensical guff about spaceships could come across like the most important thing you will ever hear. I'm listening to...


Released: September 2003

It’s got the line we all know and love: “Shake it like a Polaroid picture.” This bizarre crackpot of a number will forever be remembered as the song that made Polaroids cool again (even though OutKast inadvertently gave us all bad information, seeing as shaking your Polaroids actually damages your pictures). But we’ll excuse the photography faux pas in an otherwise eccentrically excellent top tune...


Released: September 2005

Win Butler’s never shied away from telling the truth to those kids he’s so obsessed with. He looks out for them. While others would let them sleepwalk blindly through life, here he’s urging them to be alert, to see and think for themselves, while the rest of the band while the rest of the band shout down his inconvenient truths with a chorus of “Lies! Lies!”.



Released: May 1997

Where were you when you first heard it? I'll never forget. April 30, 1997, a Wednesday night: the first exclusive play on Radio 1's Evening Session. I'd expected 'The Bends' part two. What I heard instead was bizarre and breathtaking: six and a half minutes of spiralling melodies, twisted-metal dissonance, robot voices, and...

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