See the tracks that defined the noughties...
GIGWISE
13:10 8th October 2009

Fresh after crowning Crazy Frog and The Baha Men's musical nightmare, 'Who Let The Frog Out?', as the worst song of the noughties, we now unveil the very best. Featuring the likes of Arcade Fire, Radiohead, M.I.A, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Strokes, click through and see who makes the number one song of the decade...

See the tracks that defined the noughties...

  • 50. Eels: 'Mr E's Beautiful Blues' (2000) – Having recently been dealt the double blow of losing his mother to cancer and his sister committing suicide, the genius that is Mark E Everett tackled the subject of death head on once again with 'Daisies Of The Galaxy'. Fearing a commercial flop in the light of his dark solemn previous effort 'Electro-Shock Blues', his label asked him to record an upbeat track to add to the record. This was the end result. A two-fingers at all the troubles life throws at us, never before has the line “God damn right it's a beautiful day” sounded so life-affirming.

  • 49. Santogold: 'L.E.S Artistes' (2008) - Having toured with Mark Ronson and been accused of copying M.I.A, things didn't bode well for the Brooklyn resident's solo career. But with songs as good as this Santogold (later Santigold) proved she was the real deal. An anthemic slice of classy pop music, 'L.E.S Artistes' showcases Santi White's distinctive vocals and unique song-writing perfectly as well providing a platform for White to attack the hipsters and scenesters of New York.

  • 48. Eminem: 'Stan' (2000) - Less of a song and more like a movie set to music. Each verse is set up like correspondence between Eminem and his obsessive fan Stan. Wildly dark and packed with murder and violence, 'Stan' is easily one of the most controversial songs of all time to reach the upper echelons of the charts around the globe. A track that's so good, even the Dido sample sounds inspired.

  • 47. Grandaddy: 'He's Simple, He's Dumb, He's The Pilot' (2000) – Not many bands would choose to open their album with a nine minute epic about the futility and weakness of mankind at the turn of the millennium. But on 'Sophtware Slump', Grandaddy did just that. A kind of lo-fi indie anthem to parallel 'Bohemian Rhapsody', complete with changing movements, Grandaddy's audacity paid off on this synth led classic. Actor Jason Lee loved the song that he even named his son, Pilot Inspektor, after the track.

  • 46. Doves: 'There Goes The Fear' (2003) - This is easily the high point of the decade for the Manchester trio. Glorious and uplifting, 'There Goes The Fear' is a song about the first stages of a new love and features an infectious chorus which benefits Jimi Goodwin's soulful vocals immensely. They might not be the most outrageous band in the world, but Doves deliver every single time.

  • 45. Radiohead: 'Reckoner' (2007) - First aired at a gig by Thom Yorke and co. in 2001, the very original version of 'Reckoner' was much heavier than the almost serene song that was ultimately recorded. Innovative and unique, Yorke's striking falsetto vocals bounce off the intense percussion and eerie atmospherics mesmerisingly. The highlight of the much lauded 'In Rainbows' - and that's no mean feat.

  • 44. Spiritualized: 'Soul On Fire' (2008) - A gospel tinged song of raw power made all the more real by the fact Jason Pierce survived double pneumonia and his heart stopping twice to write this. He basically told death to fuck off, wrote Songs in A+E and released this harrowing song as a lead single. Pierce deserves our praise and Gigwise thanks him for this offering. Unbelievable.

  • 43. MGMT: 'Kids' (2008) - Centred around a ridiculously infectious keyboard line, 'Kids' swiftly became MGMT's defining anthem when 'Oracular Spectaclar' was released a few years back. Like a number of songs on this list, the beauty of 'Kids' is in its sheer simplicity – perfectly reflecting children's non-muddied view of the world. A handy tip for Gigwise readers though; never go and see MGMT live, it may spoil your perception of them in one fell swoop.

  • 42. Super Furry Animals: 'Slow Life' (2003) – In a sane world, Super Furry Animals would be as big as The Beatles. Constantly inventive, the Welsh wonders are one the music world's gems and deserve everyone's adulation. If you're in any doubt, take a listen to 'Slow Life'. Epitomising everything that is so special about this band, it's one half keyboardist Cian Ciaran's crunching techno beats and the other wide-eyed, sun-kissed melodies. At a measly seven minutes long, the only problem is that the track is over far too soon.

  • 41. Fleet Foxes: 'White Winter Hymnal' (2008) - Bearded melodic alchemists Fleet Foxes struck gold in 2008 with their rustic take on the alt.country genre that has dominated American indie music for the past few years. Taking the grizzly heartbreak of My Morning Jacket and giving it a traditional makeover in the style of Crosby, Stills and Nash, Ryan Pecknold and his fellow Foxes reached their epiphany on the three minutes of harmonious bliss that is 'White Winter Hymnal'.

  • 40. Daft Punk: 'Digital Love' (2001) – A genius sample of George Duke's 'I Love You More' forms the centrepiece of the enigmatic French duo's finest moment of the decade. This melded with fuzzy Wurlitzers and dreamy vocodered lyrics about getting amorous written by DJ Sneak and you get sheer musical alchemy. The kind of song that brings a smile to even a miserable bugger's lips, for that reason alone it warrants a place on our list.

  • 39. Midlake: 'Roscoe' (2006) – Jason Lee, aka Earl of 'My Name Is Earl' fame, has cited Texas' Midlake as the greatest band of our generation. Far fetched you might think, but one listen to 'Roscoe' and it's very possible you'd agree with the moustached actor. Impossibly beautiful, singer Tim Smith narrates an enchanting, almost nostalgic tale of 19th Century life in central America. Stunningly orchestrated, it's a fitting opener to their criminally underrated album 'The Trials Of Von Occupanther'.

  • 38. Mogwai: '2 Rights Make 1 Wrong' (2001) - A far cry from Mogwai's darker loud/quiet moments like 'Xmas Steps' and 'Like Herod', this nine minute epic is a more sanguine affair yet just as rewarding. The shining highlight of the Scottish post-rock outfit's weakest album, 'Rock Action', the word beautiful truly doesn't do '2 Rights Make 1 Wrong' justice. A myriad of instruments and heavily distorted vocals build to a euphoric crescendo, before the pressure is released and solitary chants and trumpets close. Quite possibly their finest hour.

  • 37. TV On The Radio: 'Wolf Like Me' (2006) – Driving, intense and relentless, 'Wolf Like Me' is a musical powerhouse. Easily the finest moment on their already amazing album 'Return To Cookie Mountain', there's really no faulting this track. The pounding bassline is inspired, the rhythmic drumming is almost tribal while the archetypal TVoTR harmonies come together perfectly.

  • 36. Queens Of The Stone Age: 'No One Knows' (2003) - Recruiting Dave Grohl to your band is a sure-fire way of gaining mass success and Queens Of The Stone Age certainly benefited from the 'Grohl Factor' when they released 'No One Knows'. The song's main riff was initially aired on one of Josh Homme's 'Desert Session' albums but was made suitably meatier for 'Songs For The Deaf' album. Not QOTSA's loudest tune, but very possibly their best.

  • 35. Royksopp: 'What Else Is There? (Trentemoller Remix) (2005) – The original version is nice enough, but it was Anders Trentmoller's inspired mix that truly excelled. Crunching and typically abrasive, the Danish producer spliced the track into a throbbing electro monster, only segues of Karin Dreijer's inimitable vocals breaking the squelching carnage. Some cite the Thin White Duke's (aka Stuart Price, aka Jacques Lu Cont) version as the defining mix of 'What Else Is There?', however, those people are more than likely cloth-eared.

  • 34. Hot Chip: 'Over and Over' (2006) - The single that rightfully launched the Prince-obsessed bedroom dance-geeks, Hot Chip, into the big league. A nagging and relentless beat is interspersed with the fractured spelling of words like 'Kissing', 'Sexing' and 'Casio' alongside singer Alexis Taylor's idiosyncratic croon. 'Over and Over' has gone on to be used on numerous TV programmes and films and is quite possibly the band's pension plan.

  • 33. Gorillaz: 'DARE' (2005) – Juxtaposing Shaun Ryder's heavily drug-ravaged Manc drawl alongside unadulterated pop music may not work on paper, but it's testament to Damon Albarn's musical genius that he managed to make it work. Brilliantly. The song was originally meant to be called 'It's There', but the cartoon outfit changed it after Ryder came into the studio and couldn't pronounce “there” properly.

  • 32. The Streets: 'Weak Become Heroes' (2002) – A nostalgic homage to nightclub culture – I.e. getting off your fucking tits on ecstasy, gurning like a mad man and telling random people you love them – Mike Skinner created one of the first anthems of the decade with 'Weak Become Heroes'. More than just clever lyrics, the track was a perfect showcase for Skinner's unique vocal style and simple yet devastatingly effective beats. The Ashley Beadle remix is also great, but we reckon the original just edges it.

  • 31. At The Drive-In: 'One Armed Scissor' (2000) A musical sucker punch, 'One Armed Scissor' is a hit and run song it strikes fast and hard leaving the listener exhausted but exulted. Taken from the flawless 'Relationship Of Command' album, this lead single perfectly encapsulates the mix of energy and rage that At The Drive In consisted of showing the influence of Fugazi and Refused, but at the same time sounding entirely original and fresh. For full proof of the power of this song look up the bands live version of it on Later... With Jools Holland - seminal is not the word.

  • 30. Roots Manuva: ‘Witness (1 Hope)’ - Mr. Rodney Smith's standards have never slipped, but the currently Sheffield-based MC/producer’s never quite scaled the heights of this floorboard-trembling dub-influenced diamond again. Undoubtedly one of the hip-hop tunes of the decade, worthy of inclusion for that ribcage-rattling bass line alone.

  • 29. Boards Of Canada: 'Dayvan Cowboy' (2005) - Five minutes of sheer aural ecstasy. A far cry from their previous long-player, the incredibly dark 'Geogaddi', the Scottish duo's fourth album 'The Campfire Headphase' was much more optimistic and 'Dayvan Cowboy' is the undoubted beacon of hope and central point. Two minutes of simmering electronica makes way for an almost euphoric guitar break and sweeping strings. The song is best enjoyed with the accompanying video of Joe Kittinger's world record breaking skydive jump from 19.5miles high.

  • 28. Nathan Fake: 'The Sky Was Pink' (James Holden Remix) (2004) – A nine minute pulsating electro classic of the highest order. James Holden took the already stunning Nathan Fake original and abused it, turning the song into a filthy progessive house masterpiece. There are so many layers of sounds it's truly dizzying. Easily one of the greatest dance remixes of all time. Fact.

  • 27. The Strokes: 'Hard To Explain' (2000) - We could come up with a clever pun here and say it's hard to explain why The Strokes 'Hard To Explain' is such a good song, only it isn't. Released as the band's first single, it reached number 16 in the UK and - thanks to its spikey garage guitars and irresistibly infectious lyrics - solidified The Strokes as one of the most exciting new groups of the decade. It still sounds as fresh and relevant as it did nine years ago.

  • 26. Radiohead: 'How To Disappear Completely' (2000) – One of Radiohead's most beautiful moments, 'How To Disappear Completely' is an extremely personal Thom Yorke song about dealing with the extreme pressures of fame and success after the release of 'OK Computer' in 1997. Affecting lyrics, “I'm not here, this isn't happening”, couple with stunning Jonny Greenwood string movements, inspired by Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki, to create an atmospheric tension that is equally beautiful as it is haunting. Simply breathtaking.

  • 25. Burial: 'Archangel' (2007) - Ultra-enigmatic English dubstep producer William Bevan astounded the music world when the album 'Untrue' was released in 2007. It's only natural that one of the greatest albums of the decade has one of the best songs. Centred around a Ray J vocal sample and featuring a sample from the video game, 'Archangel' is a deftly constructed dubstep masterwork of shimmering atmospherics and erratic beats. Amazing.

  • 24. The Libertines: 'Time For Heroes' (2003) - Pete Doherty wrote this Libertines anthem after witnessing the violence of the May Day riots on London, 2001. Typical of the band's idealised romance, 'Time For Heroes' tells the tale of falling in love during the riot with lines like “Did you see the stylish kids in the riot, We were shovelled up like muck, You know I cherish you my love.” It's difficult to contextualise now following The Libertines demise and Pete Doherty's descent into infamy but The Libertines rise to fame was one of the most genuinely exciting and evocative moments of the decade and with songs as good this you can see why. Surely “There's no more distressing sight than that of an Englishman in a baseball cap” will go down as one of the neatest song lyrics of recent times?

  • 23. Arctic Monkeys: 'I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor' (2005) – They may have lost their way recently with the damn boring 'Humbug', yet just four years back the four spotty kids from Sheffield were as essential as a heartbeat. Seismic hype surrounded the band before the song's release and they duly exploded onto the scene when 'I Bet You Look Good...' hit number one. Cocky, witty lyrics and a tune to die for, it has all the ingredients of a perfect indie song.

  • 22. Lindstrom: 'I Feel Space' (2005) – A towering slab of space-age, swooning electronica and easily one of the best dance tracks this side of the millennium. The swathes of atmospherics feel like serotonin gushes gently serenading you, while musically the fuzzy bassline add warmth and beauty to the track. If it seems like we're gushing too much here then take a listen. Completely hypnotic, there's little doubting Norwegian Hans-Peter Lindstrøm's genius.

  • 21. LCD Soundsystem: ‘Losing My Edge’ (2002) - A self-deprecating, knowing dissection of the desperate, pathetic quest for those precious extra hipster points that rules certain kinds of crate-digging lives, set to a startling minimalist clatter akin to Can meeting The Fall in a Detroit warehouse, ‘Losing My Edge’ is everything pop music should be but very rarely is.

  • 20. The Rapture: 'House of Jealous Lovers' (2002) - If The Strokes made bands cool again then The Rapture got people back on the dancefloor. Arguably as influential as their New York counterparts, but nowhere near as lauded, this group of Brooklyn based dance-punks sparked a fire the results of which can still be heard in the last days of this decade. 'House Of Jealous Lovers' is The Rapture's calling card, four minutes of spasmodic, limb flailing, head bopping brilliance complete with more cowbell than your average farmyard.

  • 19. Jay-Z: '99 Problems' (2003) - Since its release, '99 Problems' has arguably blossomed into Jay-Z's live magnum opus, lyrically cataloguing the rapper's career to that point. The guitar-driven song originally reached number 30 on the US Billboard chart, but only made its debut on the UK countdown in 2008 following Jay-Z's much talked about performance at the Glastonbury festival. It even made an appearance during the rapper's set at President Barack Obama's inauguration staff ball in January 2009, where Jay-Z altered the lyrics to: "I Got 99 problems but a Bush ain't one." Genius.

  • 18. The Avalanches: 'Frontier Psychiatrist' (2000) - Taken from arguably one of the best album's of the decade, 'Frontier Psychiatrist' sums up exactly what Avalanches are about: awesome beats, insatiable rhythms and intricately put together samples (3,500 to be precise). Like the album's title track, 'Since I Left You', which brought the Australian group their biggest slice of commercial success, 'Frontier Psychiatrist' has aged effortlessly - and still sounds as new and exciting ten years on as it did all the way back in 2000.

  • 17. Radiohead: 'Pyramid Song' (2001) – Radiohead's first single in three years, after none were taken from 'Kid A', was well worth the wait. Very different to their previous material, the track is largely piano driven and features curious wailing sounds from the instrument Ondes Martenot alongside Jonny Greenwood's typically mesmerising orchestral arrangements. Lyrically too it's deliciously ambiguous and even references Dante's epic 12th Century poem 'Divine Comedy'. Packed with so much depth, 'Pyramid Song' is yet another dizzying zenith in Radiohead's illustrious career.

  • 16. Peter, Bjorn and John: 'Young Folks' (2006) - Not since Rolf Harris has whistling in a song proved so lucrative. Swedish trio Peter, Bjorn and John deployed the catchy whistle 'riff' on the start of their underground hit, 'Young Folks', to great effect. Immediately memorable, the song is incredibly difficult to shift from your memory once it takes residence in there and were it not for the catchy tune behind it we might actually hate it. However, with a delightful and charming vocal guest spot from ex-Concretes star Victoria Bergman, this song has shot it's way into everyone's hearts and into this countdown.

  • 15. Portishead: 'Machine Gun' (2008) - A brutal and punishing return from the Bristol band. Having spent many years out of the limelight and becoming associated with dinner party music, Portishead surprised everyone in 2008 with 'Machine Gun' - their heaviest track to date. Through Geoff Barrow's production and instrumentation a terrifying atmosphere is created in which a spectral like Beth Gibbons exorcises her demons to devastating effect. Any fears that Portishead had been lost to the middle ground were well and truly banished by this blistering track.

  • 14. Sebastien Tellier: 'La Ritournelle' (2004) - Quite easily the most beautiful love song of the decade, the sexed up Frenchman truly struck gold with 'La Ritournelle'. Centred around a simple piano progression, the track gently climaxes with sweeping strings and Tellier delivering a poignant ode to a loved one "Oh nothing's going to change my love for you, I wanna spend my life with you." The only negative is the fact that the song has been hijacked by naff TV shows like X Factor.

  • 13. Johnny Cash: 'Hurt' (2002) - Get your tissues at the ready, this is a sad one. Somehow country legend covering the electronic and punishing Nine Inch Nails created one of the saddest and most poignant moments in music this decade. 'Hurt' was originally a self loathing introspective courtesy of Trent Reznor (and a fine one at that) but in the hands of Johnny Cash it becomes an entirely more emotional affair. Recorded close to his death, the palpable sense of regret and remorse bleeds into every strum of the guitar and every line. Walk The Line may have been a fine way of telling the story of Johnny Cash but if you want to know how the man in black felt about his time on earth then just give this a listen.

  • 12. Franz Ferdinand: 'Take Me Out' (2004) – The Scots started out with the simple mantra of 'Music to make girls dance to' and boy did they have the song to make this dream a reality. 'Take Me Out' is a jerky stop-start smash that has demolished dancefloors for years now and shows no signs of getting old at all. Building to a crescendo like a rollercoaster climbing into the sky the whole song turns from tight and controlled into a post punk hoedown complete with Alex Kapranos' now famous vocals.

  • 11. Arcade Fire: 'Wake Up' (2005) - Epic is not even close to covering this. A Godsend for all TV producers looking for an appropriately massive song to soundtrack the emotional peak of their programme, this prime cut from the sublime 'Funeral' album is a soaring and rousing piece of music that would cause a stir in the coldest of hearts. Win Butler et al came entirely out of leftfield with their début album, but with songs like this on it you understand why it is already considered a classic.

  • 10. Sigur Ros: 'Hoppipolla' (2005) - Icelandic for 'jumping in puddles' 'Hoppipola', seemed to take over the world when it was released in 2005. The atmospheric song appeared everywhere from the background of sporting events to David Attenborough's Blue Planet and even Hollywood movies. No surprise really, the song (sung in the fictional language Vonlenska) is a rousing yet delicate anthem that sounds at times monumental but always fragile and soft. Proof if ever it were needed that doing things in a unique and beautiful manner will always pay the highest dividends.

  • 9. Battles: 'Atlas' (2007) - 'Atlas' is the calling card of math-rock band Battles, the wildly experimental troupe from from New York. Containing demented and distorted lyrics that are as creepy as they are nonsensical, the song wriggles and writhes for its life barely sitting still for a moment and at over seven minutes long feels like it's pulling you into a parallel universe. Relentless and innovative 'Atlas' has inspired a whole host of bands to embrace the progressive and technically demanding disciplines they practise including, most notably, Foals.

  • 8. Outkast: 'Hey Ya!' (2003) - Outkast are undoubtedly one of the most innovative and exciting acts of the modern age and released a suitably madcap double album in 2003. The duo both recorded an album each and 'Hey Ya!' was the smash hit from Andre 3000's half titled 'The Love Below'. Despite being a funk and soul explosion and one of the most feel good songs of all time, Andre 3000 has actually spoken of how the it was influenced by indie icons The Buzzcocks and The Smiths. Huh?! We'd love to see Morrissey “Shake it like a Polaroid picture.”

  • 7. The Flaming Lips: ‘Do You Realize??’ (2002) - If, as a rule, resolutely upbeat songs are destined to slip into grating cheeriness, Oklahoma’s prime purveyors of psych-pop must have missed the meeting where this code was crafted. ‘Do You Realize??’ - surely the most uplifting song EVER about the inevitability of death - strikes a jaw-dropping balance of uncomplicated joy, wide-eyed wonder and genuine depth. Moving beyond words.

  • 6. Yeah Yeah Yeahs: 'Maps' (2004) - Prior to this moment Karen O and Yeah Yeah Yeah's were best known as being a trashy sexed-up trio of New York art rockers. 'Maps' showed a different side to the band though revealing an emotional and gushing middle. An ode to Karen O's ex, Angus Andrew of the band Liars, it documents the heartbreak she suffers when he spends months away on tour. Now firmly established as a fans' favourite 'Maps' was the moment Yeah Yeah Yeahs gained a third dimension and by revealing their own aching hearts earned a place in ours.

  • 5. The Knife: 'Heartbeats' (2002) Famously covered by Jose Gonzalez, the original version of 'Heartbeats' is by far the superior. A slinky and seductive number it's relatively straight forward for a Knife song but still contains the Swedish band's trademark darkness and electronic vision. Karin Dreijer Andersson's voice is longing and emotional as she sings about the passion and consequent destruction of a relationship with stunning lines such as “You knew the hand of a devil, And you kept us awake with wolves teeth”.

  • 4. The White Stripes: 'Seven Nation Army' (2003) - With its infectious underlying guitar riff, 'Seven Nation Army' is arguably the most recognisable release of the noughties. As legend goes, the riff, which continues throughout most of the song, was composed by Jack White at a sound check before a show in Melbourne, Australia in 2002. To this date, the Grammy award winning effort has retained its status as The White Stripes' pièce de résistance both on record and when performed live. It's so good, the Italian football team even adopted the track as their official anthem after winning the World Cup in 2006.

  • 3. M.I.A.: 'Paper Planes' (2007) - Having impressed the critics with her debut album 'Arular', M.I.A won over the people with this smash hit from her phenomenal second album 'Kala'. Featuring ringing cash tills, an inspired Clash sample and the sound of gun fire, this counter-culture anthem united fans of all music genres. 'Paper Planes' has been successful on both sides of the Atlantic, used in smash film 'Slumdog Millionaire' and more importantly cemented M.I.A's position as one of the most vibrant and innovative artists of the past ten years.

  • 2. The Strokes: 'Last Nite' (2000) - A musical lifesaver. Before The Strokes everyone in Britain was getting excited about Travis and Turin Brakes, but then a group of scruffy New Yorkers turned up and flipped the whole world on its boring acoustic head. Sexy, smart and so, so cool The Strokes made music that was immediately timeless, indebted to past greats, but achingly current and a glorious sound of youth and hedonism. It may have been over played in subsequent years, but there's no better calling card for The Strokes than 'Last Nite'; the rambling stagger of a single that led the whole world to fall in love with Julian Casablancas et al.

  • 1. Radiohead: 'Idioteque' (2000) – This is how all bands should introduce their dreaded new direction: 'Idioteque' is fearlessly experimental, robotic, fuelled by sounds totally alien to anyone brought up on the band’s past output, but so incredibly infectious it’s impossible to worry about any absent guitars. The haunting centrepiece of the band's third master-work, 'Kid A', which seemingly bases its every teasing of abstract experimentation around this very song.