2008 will probably be remembered as the year everything went to shit. The global financial crisis kicked off stateside, David Cameron’s Tories grew in strength and a huge fire destroyed the historic pier at Weston-Super-Mare. Times were obviously tough. On the other hand, some of our favourite late-noughties bangers came out. Swings and roundabouts, eh?
From the feel good indie of MGMT to MIA’s hard-hitting electro hip-hop, 2008 definitely had its fair share of great music. Here are 10 massive tracks that still snap, crackle and pop over a decade later.
MGMT – ‘Electric Feel’
Three of NME’s top five tracks of 2008 came from ‘Oracular Spectacular’, but this is arguably the best. Mega-hit ‘Kids’ is overplayed and ‘Time To Pretend’ sounds dated. ‘Electric Feel’, however, blends catchy flute riffs with funky bass in totally euphoric, modern fashion. Roll on album number four.
Mystery Jets – ‘Two Doors Down’
If ‘The Boy Who Ran Away’ was the song that put Mystery Jets on the map, then ‘Two Doors Down’ rammed a glittery gel pen straight through the Ordnance Survey. Its retro vibe and ’80s power-pop chorus took the Eel Pie Islanders to a lofty Number 24 in the singles chart; while Blaine Harrison’s breathless lyrics established it as the ultimate girl-next-door anthem for the Facebook generation.
MIA – ‘Paper Planes’
Mathangi Arulpragasam might have staged her final rebellion, but in 2008 her reign of indie-rap dominance was well under way. ‘Paper Planes’ was arguably its high point. Rich with meaning and laced with barbed, anti-establishment rhetoric, M.I.A.’s highest-charting single feels as relevant now as it ever did.
Vampire Weekend – ‘A-Punk’
Before ‘A-Punk’ soundtracked a hundred different iPod ads, it was the breakthrough single for NYC upstarts Vampire Weekend. Refreshingly upbeat and stuffed with spiky energy, its chirpy guitar riff oozes optimism. It was the sound of late noughties indie kicking against the mainstream.
Hot Chip – ‘Ready For The Floor’
Out of all the classic bangers on this list, Hot Chip’s proto-house basement bop feels the most current. Jam-packed with robotic bloops, sugary-pop reverb and furnished with one of the decade’s most addictive refrains, ‘Ready For The Floor’ still sounds like it comes from the future.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – ‘Dig! Lazarus! Dig!’
Apart from the pirate-worthy tache, this whiskey swillin’, cigar-puffin’ rock’n’roller was vintage Nick Cave. Based, in part, on the New Testament character, but also taking inspiration from 19th Century escape artist Harry Houdini, Lazarus was a strange character invention for Cave. But one that you 100% wanted to see more of.
Florence + The Machine – ‘Dog Days Are Over’
It’s hard to believe, but back in 2008 Florence Welch was only just starting out on her journey to neo-soul art-rock world domination. 10 years, a Glastonbury headline set and six million record sales later and blues-rock epic, ‘Dog Days Are Over’ still stands out as one of her most vital hits.
Friendly Fires – ‘Paris’
At the end of last year, Friendly Fires announced their intention to “herald in a new era” after five years away. If it’s anywhere near as thrilling as their first phase, then we’re in for a treat. Treats like 2008 banger ‘Paris’ – an electro-pop dancefloor-filler fit for the indie disco at the end of the universe.
Cut Copy – ‘Hearts On Fire’
Blending catchy keyboard hooks with club-ready beats, ‘Hearts On Fire’ was like Giorgio Moroder remixing Pet Shop Boys with Peter Hook on bass. Sadly, it never even charted in the UK – and only peaked at 20 in Belgium – but stick it on at a house party and watch it light up the living room.
Black Kids – ‘I’m Not Going To Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You’
As far as debut singles go, you can’t do much better than Black Kids’ offhand riposte to frustrated girlfriends everywhere. The Jacksonville rockers never really matched their electric first effort, but will live on indefinitely thanks to its colourful chorus, tireless spirit and geeky schoolboy charm.