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.


After their tribalistic debut, ‘All Hour Cymbals’, ‘Odd Blood’ was a revelation and ‘O.N.E’ its shiny calling card. Having seemingly learned some sonic tricks from former tour mates MGMT this was buoyant and joyous where previously they had been ponderous and worthy. Innovative in unexpected ways, here was a refreshingly bright slice of experimental pop as Brooklyn seemingly morphed into Sunnyville over the course of a song. This track puckered up with the late-noughties trend of mixing simple keyboard riffs with punk-funk bass and a sprinkling of energized percussion. The end result was some of the best alt. pop in recent memory. (PE)

Yeasayer - 'O.N.E.' Yeasayer - 'O.N.E.'
Video: Yeasayer - 'O.N.E.'

89Hounds Of Love

Mixing barbershop harmonies with short, sharp snaps of post-punk guitar riffing in post-industrial Northern Britain was pretty darn special, but it was this, the Futureheads’ re-imagining of Kate Bush’s 1985 smasher that would prove their most widely loved track. Caught between Ross Millard’s dewy lead vocal, the break-neck drum track and the very real mutt-ish backing harmonies, this track felt like you were taking off with the world beneath your feet. The first flushes of love coming at you as buildings collapse, mountains crash in the background but you walk along, zombie-like oblivious to it all. In fact, it felt like the hounds of love really were coming for you. (PE)

88Everybody Here Wants You

Everyone remembers Jeff Buckley as a sensitive alt-singer-songwriter type – an influence on Radiohead, Keane et al. But he was more versatile than that, and could turn his hand to anything, including mellifluous Prince-esque soul, as on this extraordinary track, released after his death in 1997.

One of Buckley’s most restrained vocal performances (vocal restraint wasn’t generally his thing), ‘Everybody Here Wants You’ must have soundtracked ‘sexy time’ for a generation of pasty indie types, but don’t let that put you off. (LL)

87Dry Your Eyes

Who's ever felt their stomach drop through their legs during the moment they get dumped for the first – or at least worst – time? Everyone – which is probably why 'Dry Your Eyes', the centerpiece of Mike Skinner's stunning concept album 'A Grand Don't Come For Free', hit the nerve of a nation with the force of a sledgehammer to a foot. His most irresistible chorus yet wrapped around lines about the hopelessness of being shafted by a loved one, as co-singer 'Leo The Lion''s assertions that there are "plenty more fish in the sea' fail to comfort. Depressingly incredible. (JF)

86House Of Jealous Lovers

The punk-funk movement of the early noughties might have lasted only a breath longer than electroclash but there was a time when it ruled the world. Or at least Britain’s clubs. And this scuzz bass, shape-shifting disco anthem was the clarion call, seeing The Rapture firing on all cylinders and leading indie kids off into the night like drainpipe jeaned pied pipers. Add some cowbell and a million handclaps in unison and you had arguably 2003’s defining hit. (TC)

85Dreaming Of You

Pete Doherty used to lie that he'd written it and sold it to James Skelly in a pub aged 15. Noel G regularly pilfers the bassline. Bill Ryder-Jones turns in the indie-solo of the decade (Valensi on 'The Modern Age'? Pah!) midway through. But the best thing about 'Dreaming Of You' is... well, The Coral themselves. They're tight as fuck - the true embodiment of what it is to be young, talented beyond belief and in love with the dustiest corners of 60s beatpop. (MW)

84Hate To Say I Told You So

Sure, it’s easy to argue against the idea of The Hives being a great band: pastiche, wackiness, ludicrous nicknames – they have them all in spades. But one thing you can’t argue against is the sheer bloody fun of ‘Hate To Say I Told You So’, pure retrograde that’s part Dandy Warhols, part Cornershop, part 'Nuggets' compilation, but blasted through with Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist’s camp, infectious yelp: “Gonna call all the shots, all the no’s and the not’s, because I WANNA!” (LS)

83Can't Get You Out Of My Head

The song that would become Kylie’s signature track (soz ‘I Should Be So Lucky’) was the musical equivalent of a roomful of minimalist Scandinavian furniture. Simple, full of white spaces and workman like, wipe clean surfaces, it was an unmistakably European sound. Built off a simple, Kraut-ish riff, an off-kilter beat and a keyboard sound which would be widely imitated in the decade which followed, in the four minutes of this song Kylie became RoboKylie cooing the hook of “la la la,” like a Rachael the Replicant from Blade Runner as electronic sheep filled a nations musical dreams. (PE)

82Feel Good Hit Of The Summer

You know when someone catches you sitting on the back of a bus, with your headphones on full blast, as you’re singing along to whatever song’s playing on your iPod? Yea, this song probably isn’t a good one for that. With lyrics that essentially boil down to a listing of illegal drugs available at your local street corner, it’s no surprise the song was banned by most radio stations. Some say this was a “joke” or a “social experiment” to test the waters of public acceptance of drugs, but who cares, really? Whether or not you’ve got a bit of nicotine, valium, vicodin, marijuana, ecstasy or alcohol on you, this is, indeed, a feel good hit. (RS) How We Wrote 'Feel Good Hit Of The Summer' Josh Homme "It might be [a stoner rock anthem], or it might be like a knife in the neck of stoner rock. It's hard to tell, and I think that's the good part about it. Look, you're always going to get labeled with something. Stoner rock is kind of a dumbing-down label, and that's why I don't gravitate toward it. And I think some of the bands that embrace it are under the influence of some of the other bands a little bit too much." (Guitar World)

81Ms. Jackson

OutKast played so far away from rap’s boundaries, it’s no wonder they were so warmly welcomed by the hipsters. This track – an apology to the mother of Andre 3000’s baby mama (who happened to be Erykah Badu) - larked about with the preconceptions of what masculinity meant in hip-hop: from the surface (like the duo’s dandyish sense of style) to the depth (the track flew in the face of misogynist cliché in favour of something almost archaically polite). All of which you didn’t really notice at first because the hook was so unapologetically massive. (PE)

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