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.

110La Ritournelle

By far the pinnacle of Tellier’s career to date, ‘La Ritournelle’ is also one of the most beautiful love songs of the last decade. “Oh nothing's going to change my love for you / I wanna spend my life with you,” he croons at the outset like only a Frenchman can over twinkling glocks, that immemorial piano riff and of course a funky breakbeat from Tony Allen (of Fela Kuti’s band). Add in some searing strings and repeat. And repeat. And repeat. Forget his bizarre breathy foray into hardcore, 2008’s ‘Sexuality’, this was Sebastian at his most seductive. (TC)

109Stay Young

Put ‘Stay Young’ through a Wiki search and you get plenty of results: the Oasis track sitting among efforts from INXS and Gallagher and Lyle. Sadly, but not surprisingly, though, no mention of Ultrasound, the 90s’ most underrated band. The indie-prog behemoths made one perfect, bloated double album of endlessly ambitious guitar rock before imploding (although they resurfaced a year ago for a reunion that’s still seeing them play to a small hardcore across the country). ‘Stay Young’’s lethargic ode to keeping naïve was one of the album’s highlights, a bittersweet epic that saw frontman Tiny spit out some of the band’s, nay decade’s, finest lyrics. (TC)

108Club Foot

The musical equivalent of clobbering a stranger in the face with a rubber mallet, 'Club Foot' introduced the world to Kasabian with the same level of subtlety that Tom and Serge have been trotting out in the seven years since its release. That the band have become so huge yet this remains their live trump card tells you everything you need to know about the raw power at the heart of the tune. That they managed to achieve anthem status with not only their first single, but a single without a recognisable chorus, tells you why Kasabian are and always will be the band of the people. Oh yeah. (MW)

107No Surprises

Never before has depicting a monotonous life in a dreary society sounded so compelling. The third and final single from ‘OK Computer’ (and the first to be recorded for the album) remains one of Radiohead’s best-loved songs, its simplistic, almost childlike tune and gloomily observational lyric striking a chord as the millennium approached. Oh, and it’s got a great video too. (AW)

106Let Down

Listening back to everything Radiohead have done since 'OK Computer' is weird. Let Down sounds so...simple and unassuming. It's almost Byrdsian in its guitar sounds. But it's weighty, clever, sleek and soulful. How many times do you find yourself saying that about Radiohead in 2011? The best bit arrives at 3:37, when Thom just loses it amid the band's gloriously uplifting crescendo. "You know where you are," he coos over and over in his best choirboy voice. He sounds unstoppable. (MW)

105Brimful Of Asha (Fatboy Slim Remix)

Cornershop were – still are, actually – an underrated albums band who became defined by the one hit they had that took over the world and, in "Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow", germinated a phrase that should have been as all-encompasing in British culture as "am I bovvered?" The original version was a slowed, stretched guitar meander that only sounded right when delivered – as the band tended to – when sat cross-legged; this remix was the party-starting peak of Norman Cook's career and became the pop and dance anthem of the year. (JF)


It’s all in the way she tells it. No-one else could simultaneously sound as world-weary and mischievous as Lily Allen delivering that line about her emotionally-retarded ex "fucking the girl next door…what d’you do that for?". In those ten-and-a-half words alone an exasperated modern female icon was born, bloomed and was shortly after hounded into an early retirement. Lily always said she’d made the ‘Alright, Still’ album for a laugh and that we were lucky even to get a follow-up, but that doesn’t stop ‘Smile’ being one of those perfect storms in pop music when a song, an attitude and an unlikely star (in this case Harry Enfield’s gobby step-daughter) collide to create what is commonly known as a bit of a moment. (KM) How I Wrote 'Smile' Lily Allen It was the first song I wrote. I always thought you should write about what you know and this guy had taken up so much of my time and emotions that the words just poured out. It was never going to be a sugar-sweet love song because by that time I was over him and felt a slight desire to get revenge through a song. So the lyrics are definitely bittersweet. Then the record got to Number One and everyone asks if I feel it is a revenge story. I guess it is – but the truth is it’s too painful for me to think of it in that way. It’s a period of my life that I would rather not go back to.

103Poker Face

It’s the most downloaded song by a female artist – ever – in the world. So clearly, you all like it. But that doesn’t really matter, does it? Because that single “P-p-p-poker face, p-p-poker face line will stay nestled in your skull for days on end, even if you hate it. Only the Gaga could make the line “bluffin’ with my muffin” both acceptable and cool. Besides, once you’ve had your song covered by Christopher Walken and Eric Cartman, you know you’ve totally made it. (RS)

102Formed A Band

If pop is all about the eternal and ever present now now NOW, what more brilliantly ‘this is happening!’ opening statement than having the chorus of your first single feature a man shouting “FORMED A BAND! WE FORMED A BAND!” over and over? Over the years, Art Brut have carved out a left-of-centre niche, fighting the indie fight, old-school style. But when they play this, it reminds us that back when they had just formed a band, they had a ramshackle fire and a way with an Elastica-raw riff that made them seem if not quite dangerous then, well, pretty thrilling. Unlikely hero Eddie Argos had quite the way with a one-liner, but there was never just one… “We’re gonna be the band that writes the song/That makes Israel and Palestine get along”. “Die your hair black/Never look back/My past is my business”. A breathless, brilliant state-of-the-indie-nation address. (EM)

101Sea Within A Sea

This eight-minute epic signalled the point that everything changed for The Horrors. After an underwhelming first album, many had written off the five-piece – until they heard this. The first taster from ‘Primary Colours’ showed the band had been absorbing their impeccable influences and creating something far more satisfying – in this instance an amalgamation of the motorik rhythms of Neu!, the intensity of My Bloody Valentine and the druggy beauty of Spacemen 3. The results put them up there with all of those guys, and they’ve never looked back. (AW)

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