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.

140A Certain Romance

The case for Alex Turner as indie poet laureate is nowhere better served than on this closing track from their debut. The ‘bad side of town’ here is dangerously lug-headed and crassly unfashionable. Turner stands stock-still, taking the temperature of a land over the wall where “there’s only music so that’s there’s new ringtones.” But even as the key janglers are paraded before us, Turner waits for the final verse before solemnly admitting "over there, there’s friends of mine," drawing hundreds of invisible pictures of what happened in the years between the innocence of childhood and the lurching advent of adulthood. (PE)


OK, so the lyrics are about as advanced as a Moonpig Valentine's card - Martin sounds like he's actually wetting the bed while singing - but somehow it all comes together into one of the great indie anthems of the 21st century. When all is said and done and Chris Martin awkwardly shuffles off towards the pearly gates, this is what he'll be judged by. And it's easy to see why 'Yellow' was Coldplay's breakthrough song. Falsetto-led in that then-modish post-'OK Computer' way, and aching with a sense of puppyish romantic devotion, it was - and is - scientifically impossible not to like. (MW) How We Wrote 'Yellow' Will Champion, drums "We were recording 'Shiver' at the time. We had just finished it, I think, and we were all sitting around the studio in south Wales. We had been in the city for months, and you never get to see the sky properly when you're in the city, because of all the street lamps and that. When we were out in the middle of the country, in the middle of Wales, it was just absolutely clear sky. You could see all the stars in the sky. It was just an amazing setting. Chris [Martin] came up with the chord pattern. It started off a lot slower, more like a Neil Young kind of song, but when [guitarist] Jonny [Buckland] started playing on it and started throwing ideas in, he had that riff, and it sort of got a bit heavier. We recorded it in the third session in Liverpool, and it was really difficult to record, because it worked at about five or six different tempos. It was a tough choice of choosing which tempo to play, because sometimes it sounded too rushed, and sometimes it sounded as if it was dragging. It was quite difficult to sort of hit it on the head, but eventually we had a great take and it happened from there."

138What's A Girl To Do?

In amongst Natasha Khan's obsession with storybook fantasy and delicate experimental songwriting, there beats the heart of someone who'd actually quite like to be a pop star. And on 'What's A Girl To Do?', both worlds collide perfectly, with Khan building her David Lynch-inspired fantasy world around an insanely catchy pop chorus which perched on top of twinkling pianos and driving drum beat. It was with this that Khan proved she wanted to be more than just a blogosphere favourite and a name in her own right. (TG)

137There Goes The Fear

Hard to imagine Doves getting a Number Three hit now, isn't it? And although 'There Goes The Fear' achieved the feat largely due to some rather crafty single pricing strategies, it's hard to argue that it doesn't belong in the realms of the 'featuring Chipmunk'. It was more of a journey than a song – a dance music-inspired canter with that twinkling intro riff, as Jimi Goodwyn relayed the emotions of a man coming to terms with life passing him by and the feeling of melancholic undertow that accompanied it. Sadly stunning. (JF)


Even though she’s moved far and beyond from this one, she’ll forever be remembered as the girl who sang that weird, euphemistic song, bragging about how excellent her milkshakes are. But we don’t really need to tell you how great this song is, because Kelis did that for us. “You kind of have to be retarded to deny that [‘Milkshake’] literally changed female vocalists," she told the Associated Press last year. And by golly, it’s true. Brag all you like, Kelis. (RS)

135Since U Been Gone

Legend has it that Britney Spears and Katy Perry hit makers Dr. Luke and Max Martin started the process of writing this song by studying (and then ripping off) the low-ended, bass heavy guitar sound of The Strokes and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The results are line-for-line authentic (the track begins like ‘The Modern Age’ played in a different key); whilst Clarkson’s vocals – steeped in the over-emoting Mariah Carey school (via American Idol) - sound both bruised but surviving and incredibly soulful. What should have been a slice of American schlock power-pop turned into a brilliant kiss-off, in any genre. (PE)

134Hope There's Someone

It seems strange now, but in 2005, no one knew quite what the fuck to make of Antony Hegarty. Part Nina Simone, part Boy George (with a splash of Robert Smith and Alison Moyet lobbed in for a laugh), he was a jazz diva on one hand an a 6ft 4in transgendered lost child on the other. No wonder we were confused. What was obvious to everyone was that Antony was a unique talent and a master of refined melancholy. This is intense, desperate and, like the wine you're probably necking while boo-hooing along to it, gets better with age. (MW)

133Under Cover Of Darkness

The Strokes had been away for four years when this came out, so it was a colossal relief when 'Under Cover Of Darkness' arrived - as spring-loaded and energetic and irresistible as anything on 'Is This It'. OK, the rest of 'Angles' turned out to be a bit undercooked, but - on this song at least - The Strokes regained their long-lost songwriting mojo, and it was glorious: bursting with that weirdly chirpy, heel-clicking Strokes spirit that always seems so at odds with their taciturn hipster demeanour. (LL)

132Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

At the peak of their powers with 2001’s ‘Discovery’, everything the duo did sounded so damn effortless. Their robo-personas were put into full effect as they intoned the Presbyterian work ethic of the lyrics, slowly going out of their tiny, worker ant minds as the words became disjointed and rotten by the climax of the track. The music shuffled along with a snappy groove, echoing the non-stop nature of the lyrics. Kanye would later re-visit the track on his own ‘Stronger’, but the effect was nowhere near as compelling as Daft Punk’s bold and futuristic original. (PE)

131Pyramid Song

Being somewhat revered now, it's easy to forget how worried Radiohead fans initially were after 2000's bleep-fest 'Kid A' arguably signaled the point by which the band would never return from their 'experimental' crusade inside their own back passage. But heralding the arrival of 2001 follow-up 'Amnesiac', 'Pyramid Song' showed that they could still toss off ghostly hymns of stunning beauty, Phil Selway's spine-shivery patter and tish drums setting the bed for arguably Thom Yorke's most darkly divine piano lines yet. Oh, for a few more like them now… (JF)

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