Released: September 1998

The title track of the Scottish indie scamps’ 1998 album proved they were a whole lot saucier than their wholesome reputation had previously suggested. An ode to Arab Strap’s filthy-mouthed frontman Aidan Moffat, the song, whose tune is nicked liberally from two Queen songs (‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ and ‘You’re My Best Friend’) is still a regular in B&S’s live sets, although God-fearing...

 
 
 

Released: February 2004

On the surface, it just sounded like The Strokes-doing-The Strokes pretty damn well. Dig deeper, though, and the lyrics reveal a divided state of affairs. It's an eloquent slice of post-‘Is This It’ fame, where success was a poisoned chalice. In hindsight, Casablancas’ lyrics seem to predict the diverted, solo paths this one time band of New York brothers would find themselves in. “Our lives are changing...

 
 
 

Released: March 2008

A disco song which called to mind the gaudy gold furnishing of Studio 54, the hedonism of the late 70s gay scene and a glitter ball spinning endlessly into musical infinity. Hercules front man Andy Butler managed a rare feat: a four to the floor thumper that sounded authentically steeped in the past, but also revelatory and fresh. But his genius moment was recruiting Antony Hegarty as its vocalist. In Hegarty,...

 
 
 

Released: August 1996

After a lengthy break, En Vogue returned with this track from the soundtrack of the little seen film Set It Off. A ballad about a potential lover who just won’t commit, the song became, through the sheer strength of their vocal wills, about female empowerment. Dawn, Terry, Cindy and Maxine pummeled this song into submission with the same focus that they used to power the likes of ‘My Lovin’ (You’re...

 
 
 

Released: September 1998

Aided by a balls-in-the-air guitar riff the size of Australia and a production sheen that was the sonic equivalent of looking directly at the sun, Hole’s return showcased Courtney Love’s effortless way with words. With passing reference to the tumult of the last few years (calling herself “a walking study in demonology,”) ‘Celebrity Skin’ charts Courtney’s trajectory from indie rock grind to...

 
 
 

Released: June 2006

The sirens blared, the harmonies popped with engergised urgency, the verses were the sonic equivalent of Burroughs' stateless city. The chorus was a different matter entirely, as the band shifted the KLF-esque rave down in favour of a messy, grot rock doom-down that had more in common with Test Icicles' messy jam/meltdowns than anything involving green lasers or unironic neon. It felt like an effortless,...

 
 
 

Released: May 1999

Nothing screams Britpop louder than Gaz Combes' magnificent mutton chops, and while the big musical movement of the 90s may well have died on its arse by this point in time, Supergrass were still believing. Cerebral/laddy lyrics (“Life is a cigarette, you smoke til the end”), a dummy-proof sing-a-long chorus, the trippy hypercolour video – this was a reminder that while second album 'In It For The...

 
 
 

Released: November 2007

I remember getting the promo single for this when no one was really talking about them, going for a run and almost falling into the bloody canal with shock at how good it was. The thought of someone doing that sort of heavingly romantic Shangri-Las style melodrama girl-group ballad about the sort of small, yet horribly huge dramas, that make up and break up the lives of so many people… before the song even got...

 
 
 

Released: November 1998

Things looked bad for Mercury Rev in the mid-90s. Their 1995 album ‘See You On The Other Side’ had flopped, and several band members were nursing drug problems. It looked like they were completely washed up, and then they came back with this, the first single from their 1998 album ‘Deserter’s Songs’. It ended up being NME’s album of the year, and can lay claim to being one of the decade’s most...

 
 
 

Released: March 2008

Bereaved following the death of her father, Philadelphia-dwelling Santi White traveled to New York, following the Madonna trail, to make it as a musician. And it’s here we find her, with her defenses up, restless, singing about those moments where your personality feels annihilated by a big city (“What am I here for? To disappear is all,” she sings in one of the song's most affecting lines). The riff...

 
 
 
 
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