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- Posted by Richard Moore
From start to finish this first decade in a new century of music saw UK artists producing some truly exceptional songs. From seasoned guitar abusers and the latest young bucks to the doyen of dubstep and even the odd guilty pleasure, see what we chose as our picks for the 25 best British songs of the 2000s.
25. Four Tet – 'Unspoken' (2003)
Kieran Hebden's shape-shifting Four Tet guise has delighted and surprised us throughout the last decade. The pick of his eclectic albums has to be the lachrymose, down-tempo masterpiece 'Rounds' with this lush piano-led loop the stand out track. It's absolutely gorgeous.
24. Florence and the Machine – 'Cosmic Love' (2009)
Having amassed a host of plaudits Florence Welch proceeded to deliver a debut album that lit up the tail end of the decade in fine style. Everyone seems to have a different favourite from 'Lungs' but ours is this, the aural equivalent of a warm passionate embrace from a long-lost loved one.
23. Dizzee Rascal - 'I Luv U' (2003)
Before he went 'Bonkers' and into the mainstream young Dylan Mills announced his arrival as UK Grime's leading light with the unrepentant, rough and totally raw 'Boy in 'Da Corner' album. 'I Luv U's discordant bounce makes it the stand out track.
22. Doves – 'The Cedar Room' (2000)
Rising from the ashes of a burnt out studio, the artists formerly known as dance act Sub Sub became Doves and crafted an exquisitely melancholic masterpiece called 'Lost Souls'. Sad and understated, the album builds to this epic, pulsating penultimate track. It became the template for pretty much everything they've recorded ever since. Watch 'The Cedar Room'
21. Primal Scream – 'Accelerator' (2000)
Debauched, destructive and verging on distorted, this ferocious blast from the 'Scream's vowel-shy 'XTRMNTR' album is a far cry from their mediocre 'Stones pastiches. A cacophonous, anarchic f--- you to the Man, 'Accelerator' is a deafening reminder of what the Bobby Gillespie and co. were once capable of.
20. The Cribs – 'Cheat On Me' (2009)
The Jarman brothers have always had a canny knack for anthemic indie rock, but when they added the masterful Johnny Marr to their line-up things got a little bit special. With the former Smiths' stardust sprinkled over this impassioned, vocal-chord shredding slavo the Cribs have created a classic.
19.Burial – 'Distant Lights' (2006)
The rarely seen poster boy of a whole new musical genre, William Bevan, aka Burial, floored critics with his sparse, claustrophobic, wholly urban soundscapes. Skittering rhythms, haunting vocal snippets and monolithic, bowel-quaking bass lines make 'Distant Lights' a dark dubstep delight.
18.Badly Drawn Boy – 'P---ing In The Wind' (2000)
Damon Gough's Mercury Music Prize winning 'Hour of Bewilderbeast' featured many highlights but this magnificently maudlin, country-esque ballad was the pick of the bunch. A glorious, tear-jerking treat.
17. The Rakes – '22 Grand Job' (2006)
This modern day post punk anthem sums up the mundane reality of post-university London life for many, quite superbly. A raised middle finger and a fist in the air it's a battle cry for disaffected underachievers everywhere.
16. Stereophonics – 'Dakota' (2005)
This was a shocker. Unrecognisable from their usual plodding Faces pastiches, 'Dakota's synths and dizzying rush of a chorus made many begrudgingly admit that the often tiresome Welsh rockers had actually done the unimaginable and made an absolute belter.
15. Take That – 'Patience' (2006)
The ultimate guilty pleasure, TT's return to the recording studio produced this colossal, chart-slaying ballad. Overly emotive, and with more than a whiff of cheese about it, 'Patience' is as a result utterly joyous, goose bump raising goodness. Accept it, on this form they're back for good.
14. Super Furry Animals – 'Run Away' (2007)
With a career lasting nearly 20 years the Super Furries continued to tinker with their lightly fried psychedelia in the Noughties. This was the track that stood out as their finest pop nugget from the decade with its Phil Spector-esque wall of sound production and rousing, sing-along chorus.
13. Portishead – 'Machine Gun' (2008)
After a 10 year gap Portishead returned this decade with their most uncompromising, unconventional release yet. 'Machine Gun' is a metronomic masterpiece of synthetic percussion, spine-tingling synths and Beth Gibbons' sublime, sorrowful tones. Astonishing.
12. The Streets – 'Blinded By The Lights' (2004)
We could've gone for Mike Skinner's classic weepy 'Dry Your Eyes' or the dewy-eyed memoir of 'Weak Become Heroes' but for us this mildly menacing tale of a night on the tiles and the tablets is the pick of bunch from the Brummie Bard.
11. PJ Harvey – 'Good Fortune' (2000)
A veritable guitar-wielding goddess PJ Harvey is one of the most alluring and consistently brilliant artists in the UK. Her career high set 'Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea' was stunning throughout with this single a shoe-in for inclusion as one of the best songs of the decade. Watch 'Good Fortune'
10. The Young Knives –'Current of the River' (2008)
The largely overlooked second album from these dandily dressed, awkwardly angular post punk disciples is worth a listen just for this pumping slice of quiet/loud/quiet pomp. Rousing, rambunctious and a little ridiculous, the BBC used it to trail a documentary series about rivers.
9. The XX – 'Islands' (2009)
These new kids on the block are a rare example of a band able to gently justify the hype. Touching, emotive, but never overblown, the restrained beauty of this song was a revelation, not just in terms of the year but the decade too. Less in this instance really is more.
8. Girls Aloud – 'Sound of the Underground' (2003)
These TV talent show graduates have rightfully proved themselves much more than a flash in the pan, thanks in no small part to this sassy debut. Not your average girl band fare, this Xenomania produced track had bags of street smart attitude and bizarrely a bit of drum n' bass too.
7. Klaxons – 'Golden Skans' (2007)
As nu-rave died a swift and deserved death the press-appointed scene leaders ignored the hyperbole surrounding them and set about crafting a Mercury Music Prize-winning album. One listen to this single from it meant humming the "ooooooh-oooh-oooh-oooh-ooh-aahhhh" refrain for days after. We hope they come back soon.Watch 'Golden Skans'
6. The Libertines – 'Don't Look Back Into the Sun' (2003)
Long before he became 'Potty', Pete Doherty was crafting gutter punk classics with songwriting partner Carl Barat in their band the Libertines. Completely shambolic, joyously euphoric, this one-off single is the Libs at their best, right down to the hilariously out of tune piano finale.
5.Bloc Party – 'Banquet' (2005)
Back when they were press darlings, rather than opinion-splitting misfits, the much maligned Bloc Party ruled the indie roost in the UK. Urgent, spiky, effects laden guitars trade riffs while iconic front man Kele Okereke yelps his best yelp over tribal, tubthumping drums. 'Banquet' is a feast for the ears.
4. M.I.A – 'Paper Planes' (2008)
The best use of a Clash sample ever, Mathangi Arulpragasam chose to mash up the West Londoner's dub-punk classic 'Straight To Hell' with Wreckx-n-Effect's 'Rump Shaker'. She added a little bit of politics and bags of assured attitude to the melting pot and created this killer classic. Watch 'Paper Planes'
3. Franz Ferdinand – 'Take Me Out' (2004)
These dapper Postcard Records-loving Scotsmen went from playing parties to the recording studio. There they proceeded to weld two songs together, and in the process made one of the most danceable indie anthems in history. Just try and stop yourself from cutting a rug when the second half kicks in.
2. Radiohead – '2+2=5' (2003)
Picking just one track from Radiohead's heavily loaded canon of critically acclaimed Noughties output was nigh on impossible. Everyone had their own personal favourite; 'Reckoner', 'Idioteque', 'There There', 'Where I End and You Begin'. In the end we went for this stunning, Bush-baiting opener of the 'Hail To The Thief' album. Two pent up minutes precede an explosive three-pronged guitar assault and an exceptional Thom Yorke vocal performance.
1. Arctic Monkeys – 'I Bet You Look Good On the Dancefloor' (2005)
As debut singles go they don't get much better than this. A frenetic, ferociously paced paean to an indifferent girl in a northern nightclub, this song heralded the arrival of a major new song writing talent in Alex Turner, and without doubt the best new band of the decade.