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.
Lily’s takedown on vacuous tabloid-anointed celeb culture
Catchy, clever and riddled with angst even as it laughs heartily at itself, this is pop reappraised for the modern age. Oh, and also the line “It doesn’t matter, ’cos I’m packing plastic/And that’s what makes my life so fucking fantastic” is shamelessly laugh-out-loud brilliant.
Took dubstep from south London warehouses to every party, club and festival in the country
Skream’s ‘Let’s Get Ravey’ remix transformed ‘In For The Kill’ from La Roux’s most accessible chart hit to the darkest remix to ever come from these shores. No surprise then that at Bestival, La Roux opted to cover his version rather than perform her own.
Dance music that volunteered the most stunning advances
'Hyph Myngo' burst from its chrysalis of an intro and proceeded to bounce off walls and through floors like a butterfly the size of a wrecking ball. It bangs hard, basically - 'til death.
Impossible to categorise, impossible not to love
Initially it sounded like dull blog electro... then that little-boy-lost vocal kicked in. Then it went gospel-pop. Basically, it didn't know what the fuck it was doing, and we loved it.
The Fleetwood Mac-esque lead-off single from 'Two Suns'
The lyrics read like Romantic poetry, the synths sounded like score music to an '80s French melodrama - and Natasha Khan's voice could make a bollard shiver.
Shoved fair-weather fans off the bandwagon
Ever the expectation-averters, Arctic Monkeys' first offering from 'Humbug' was worlds away from any fruit machines or tykes in balaclavas. It left us clinging on to the most fascinating transformation of the year.
Crumpled any doubt his comeback would be anything but exhilarating
A song so runaway it only feels right listening to it while hurtling down a hill holding your arms out like an aeroplane.
A pulsing ’80s pop-loving heart
'11th Dimension' oozed into our brains and then stuck fast. The standout Strokes solo effort by a mile.
Hands in the air, live highlight from Leicester's favourite 'outlaws'.
A louche ode to The One That Got Away
Alex’s poetry sliced straight to the heart of lovelorn obsession, while Jamie teased the sound of snapping heartstrings from his guitar.