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.

100Two Doors Down

A classic trip down pop memory lane, 'Two Doors Down' is like a bubblegum version of Lloyd Cole And The Commotions for the iPod generation. Catchy as Hell and never taking itself too seriously, Blaine and co. channel their inner intellect with a Doherty-esque reverence, referencing Television's 'Marquee Moon' along the way (not to mention introducing the wider world to Ms. Laura Marling). (MW)


The flip side of ‘Time To Pretend’’s existential rock star angst, ‘Kids’ was joyously light. It found Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden in love with the fragmentary innocence of childhood, the lightness of just being. An early version of the track (from the ‘Time To Pretend’ EP in 2005) sounds cheerful but cheap, as if it were being played off ‘My First Keyboard’ from the Early Learning Center. Thankfully, it got jacked up by producer Dave Fridmann for their debut album and built into some sort of symphonic New Order. The band would subsequently disown this poppier aspect of their repertoire, which was a shame; ‘Kids’ is a musical triumph. (PE)

98Men's Needs

Polishing up a little (not a lot, mind - thank God) with the help of Franz man Alex Kapranos on production duties, The Cribs hurtled into album three with giddy guitar hooks and their most commercially viable track to date. A sense of the joyous over-rides as Gary piggybacks onto Ryan’s vocal and yet, lyrically we’re in familiarly dark Jarman territory: the gloomy specter of machismo, power and powerlessness all rearing their ugly heads. (PE)

97Golden Skans

A swell of post-Beach Boys, Animal Collective-like harmonies take off as guitars swoop in, like ribbons wrapping round a birthday present. You almost don’t notice the music shifting uneasily between post-punk clatter and spaced-out orchestration. Undoubtedly this was the sound of the Klaxons riding high, catching a wave that would lead to the pop peak of ‘Myths Of The Near Future’). They were dipping their toes in melodic musical waters they would, disappointingly, make infrequent visits to. (TG).

Klaxons - 'Golden Skans'
Video: Klaxons - 'Golden Skans'

96Sheena Is A Parasite

When this casually brilliant garage-punk brawler was released, The Horrors were still routinely derided as shallow scenesters. How were folk to know what they’d become, people say. Well, bollocks, frankly, the evidence of their genius was there right from the start, as well as of the omnivorous and exquisite musical taste that would blossom darkly in the years to come. The drumbeat is based on the flipping Amen Break, for god’s sake. Faris’ splenetic, taught yowls (“She hates everyone/She knows no one”), that hammy horror organ… it’s thrillingly brilliant. The terrifyingly sexy/squiddy strobe-drenched video, directed by Chris Cunningham and starring Samantha Morton as the titular Sheena, embodiment of punk evil (with thanks to the Ramones and The Cramps) was a masterpiece, too. (EM)


Karin and Olof would never sound this human again; caught in the grip of broken promises and infidelity, ‘Heartbeats’ become a sort of unofficial template for the Scandinavian pop that would follow in the next decade. Deep synth chords ruminate, as processed drums click off whilst someone plays the cowbell as if it were a steel drum. Karin delivers perhaps the prettiest vocal of her career and equally Olof’s synth playing sounds rather quaint considering what they would come up with later. Sounding winningly fresh almost 10 years on, it’s perhaps The Knife’s best pop song in a career full of anti-pop peaks. (PE)

94Let's Make Love And Listen To Death From Above

Music needs rebels and shit-stirrers as much as it needs visionaries and geniuses, so when a bunch of gobby bi-sexual Brazilians burst onto the scene aping Beyonce (“I'm tired of being sexy”) and with fucking and dancing on the brain, it was difficult not to take notice. Not that you could ignore the debut single, a demented jaunt into new wave electro that grooved along like classic disco whilst stabbing away like the best European electro-clash. Listen to most of your old faves from the nu-rave era now and you want to rip your face off to hide your embarrassment. Listen to this and you want to rip your clothes off and fuck the person standing next to you. In a good way. (MW)


OK, it might not be the song everyone bellows for at live shows, but ‘Reckoner’ is one of Radiohead’s most subtle and powerful songs. Lyrically and melodically, it’s so slight it’s barely there – and yet it still manages to worm its way inside your brain. Perhaps that’s because it’s not really all about Thom Yorke’s falsetto vocal (though it’s one of his warmest and most understated); but more the ensemble playing: the whispering percussion, the syncopated guitar, the sumptuous strings that emerge at the three-minute mark. It’s the sound of a band reaching their mature phase: learning how to hold back, finding out how much they can achieve with very little. (LL)

92Young Folks

The cold-hearted zombies of 2011 might hear this chirpy lovesick shuffle as some kind of pied-piper's call to their local DIY superstore to tool up with nailguns and hacksaws (the war against twee is raging, people), but things were different in 2006. Looped around the kind of melody that demands the nodding of head and swinging of pants, this, of course, will always be remembered for that whistle. In reality, it's the breathy delivery from guest-vocalist Victoria Bergsman that makes it a classic, and for that reason, corporate home maintenance will never really own it. (MW)

91My Girls

Lyrically the message was very simple. It was a song about wanting a place of your own. Strong physical foundations of your place of abode (that matched the strong emotional bonds between kith and kin), "four strong walls and Abode slats," sang Noah Lennox. The music, however, was revolutionary, even by Animal Collective's standards. Beach Boys harmonies met Robin S' 'You Got The Love', whilst the spectre of nightmarish, acid flashbacks pogoed along in the distance. A beautiful mess, like all our closest relationships are. (PE)

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