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.
A wintry hinterland of pitch-shifted vocals and droning tempos
A song so full of tension that that even after multiple listens (which it will compel you to) you’re no closer to understanding the extent of its power.
Boasts more sauce than Nelly Furtado marinated in Reggae Reggae
Featuring a funky bassline and sex robot vocals, ‘She Wolf’ was a nu-pop anthem for the ages penned by the unlikely hand of The Bravery’s Sam Endicott.
The stunning highlight of their hushed and intimate debut
Propelled by shuffling drums and characterised by beautiful boy/girl vocals, 'Islands' retains all the starkness that made so many fall for its creators.
Proved they were far more than mere synth-pop hipsters
A terrifyingly compulsive, buoyantly innocent sugar-rush combining Mario-bleeps and heart-in-mouth desperation, the only sane response to which was bouncing, flailing, and then pressing ‘play’ again.
The first single from their (fucking awesome) second album
A slice of exquisite English eccentricity worthy of Kate Bush herself, even in a renaissance year for the strange and the left of field, these confessions of rowdy revelry and lust still sounded like nothing else out there.
Big-bollocks mainstream rock with the weirdest of twists
The lead single from ‘Only Revolutions’, 'That Golden Rule' perfectly captured the fast-grunge/orchestral battle scenes formula of new-era Biffy.
Yet another killer choon from her self-titled debut
The vulnerable girlette of ‘Quicksand’ became an androgynous, adamantium-clad automaton that marched ever onwards up the charts on the back of this bouncy, bubbly wonder.
The crowning glory of 'Bitte Orca'
Gives wiry post-punk a liquid, libidinal R&B weave that stems from a genuine fondness for late-’90s black soul.
The mother of all coming-ups
It might not have been ecstatic enough to sell satellite TV, but The Big Pink’s second single certainly crystallised the decade; the circuit-blowing culmination of new shoe with an ultramodern throbtronic pulse and a filthy smack-rock stench to its trouser.
We tried to resist, but she got to NME in the end...
As well as being an utter TUNE, Pah-Pah-Pah 'Poker Face' signalled the arrival of an extraordinary star, the best since Ma-Ma-Ma Madonna was good.