Welcome to the tracks that rocked our world over the past year. Disagree with our choices? You can vote your own favourites to the top, over on the Tracks Of 2009 Reader Poll.
You'll also find our 50 albums of the year here.
Plus, to read all-new reviews of the 50 best albums and tracks of the year, plus all the trends that defined the year, pick up the new issue of NME, on sale from Wednesday December 9.
Another missile from their alt.folk arsenal eulogising love and love lost
It was this song of hope, with its calls to “Swim until you can’t see land/Are you a man or are you a bag of sand?” that proved the Selkirk quintet were anything but northern miserablists.
Whipped into shape by Andrew Weatherall, ‘Surf Solar’ was indie-electro for your head rather than the charts
Beautifully nasty, and a clear pointer that the following ‘Tarot Sport’ album would really be something else.
You can’t fake such devastatingly forlorn heartbreak
It's an existentialist surf-rock waltz that rallies strength against fate with a searing wall of sound.
Dark yet tantalisingly beautiful
As you listened past Justin Vernon’s howling at the waning crescent moon, the elegant metaphor of blood as love appeared.
The band that introduced us to glo-fi
Imagine an Ibizan utopia from which the pricks in shutter glasses ripped to the tits on poppers were banned, Washed Out ruled, and comedowns were a gentle caress of languid sand-coated sunrises with sleazy basslines strobing sleepily through your heart rate.
The opening track from her hook-packed debut album
This chirpy song was the one that most fulfilled Little Boots' pop promise, charming the charts and hearts of the nation with its promises to take every last one of us out on the razz.
Get us a cocktail and a lilo, will you?
From St Albans to São Paulo, it’s samba summer for all mankind for ever more… at least for a few minutes.
Rocketed Pheonix out of the ‘remember them?’ files
A skippy romp through barely suggested orgies of excess, this return to form was light, taut, precise and dancing on air.
The bewitchingly gorgeous second single from ‘Veckatimest’
Never mind the blog buzz. With this richly harmonied track, Grizzly Bear demonstrated why they were always destined for an audience wider than that of a few cooler-than-thou websites.
The year's best throat-sawing punk rock belter
Listening to Gallows and Pulled Apart By Horses is all very well, but it’s also a reminder of how difficult a balancing act it is to pair rock intensity with tunes the size of an elephant’s Y-fronts. Future Of The Left, however, managed it on this.