This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.

Years after Beatlemania, Duran Duran hysteria, and Britpop spread Union Jack fever around the globe, music remains one of Britain’s most lucrative exports. A new generation of British Invaders have conquered U.S. shores in this millennium, with Adele breaking sales records, Coldplay selling out arenas, and Ed Sheeran topping our charts. But which songs did we think were the greatest of the 21st century so far? The Anglophenia team spent months re-listening to our favorite tracks, and we produced this list, which you can enjoy yourself on Spotify.

100. Foals – “Spanish Sahara”
This was the first track off Foals’ second album Total Life Forever and represented a strong pivot from the angular “math rock” from the debut. An awe-inspiring slow burner that begins so quietly that you barely realize it is playing, “Spanish Sahara” subtly layers on effects, building to a glorious, shouty finish. – Kevin Wicks


99. Kaiser Chiefs – “Oh My God”
While many will recall Lily Allen‘s chic interpretation featured on Mark Ronson‘s 2007 effort, Version, we best give big props to the punchy new wave/punk blend originally delivered by the Kaiser Chiefs. Found on their Mercury Music Prize-nominated debut, 2005’s Employment, this lively pop-rock number sees the Leeds-bred outfit chortling on about British restlessness in such a manner, our fists have fervently remained in the air, while our hips have yet to stop swayin’. Oh my god, oh yes! – MacKenzie Wilson


98. Duffy – “Warwick Avenue”
This Welsh songstress had us shimmying about with hits like “Mercy” and “Stepping Stone,” but it was this stunner of a break-up song that absolutely left us in awe. Such pristine production harkens back to Dusty Springfield and Petula Clark, with Duffy leaving us in a pool of our own tears as she says goodbye at the London tube station. A true classic, as heard on her 2008 debut, the BRIT- and Grammy-winning Rockferry. Duffy, girl, come baaaack… – MacKenzie Wilson  


97. Camera Obscura – “French Navy”
It took nearly a decade for this delightful Scottish indie band to have their biggest album, but 2009’s My Maudlin Career also featured some of their finest moments – most notably opening track and lead single “French Navy,” which summed up the very best of their knack for gorgeous summery melody. In the U.K. it also became widely known due to its use on advertising bumpers on the popular TV show Come Dine With Me. Regrettably, the band is currently on a break from recording and touring, due to the illness and sad passing away of keyboard player Carey Lander in October 2015. – Seb Patrick


96. Emeli Sandé – “Heaven”
Emeli Sandé earned the Brit Awards Critics’ Choice Award in 2012 for a reason. The Scottish singer/songwriter’s crystal clear performance on the exhilarating “Heaven”—SUCH a striking first single from Our Version of Events—solidifies her staying power among other powerhouse artists like Adele and Leona Lewis. Promising and passionate is what “Heaven” is. – MacKenzie Wilson


95. Billie – “Honey to the Bee”
All Saints may have been the first to use this rolling gospel rhythm to underpin a pop song, but Billie did it better. “Honey to the Bee” is a coquettish ode to nature, particularly those aspects of nature that come to the fore in springtime when the sap rises in the boughs. It proved to be such an influential song with the English indie songwriter Luke Haines that he set out to emulate it with the hormonally-charged “The Facts of Life” by his band Black Box Recorder, and managed to score the biggest hit of his career. – Fraser McAlpine


94. Cornershop – “Lessons Learned From Rocky I to Rocky III”
Thought 1997’s “Brimful of Asha” was all that they had to offer? This multi-cultural British ensemble has carried on making gleefully transgressive pop well into the new century, and this song, from their 2002 Handcream for a Generation, was their apotheosis. If “Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow” was simply a killer hook, “overblown super s—” is the rallying cry that the 2000s deserved. (Warning: language is NSFW.) – Kevin Wicks


93. fka twigs – “Two Weeks” 
Tahliah Barnett aka fka twigs seduced us in 2014 with the mesmerizing “Two Weeks,” leaving critics and the charts alike with absolute whiplash. Her early EPs hinted at her vulnerability and pure talent, but this sexy number definitely brings it, oozing in R&B sensuality, trippy electronic twitches, not to mention fka twigs’ otherworldly delivery and those explicit you-know-what lyrics. A true universal hit. – MacKenzie Wilson


92. Public Service Broadcasting – “Signal 30”
The unique sound of Public Service Broadcasting—instrumental tracks with samples from old public information films and other spoken word pieces over the top—came to increased prominence with their concept album The Race for Space earlier this year; but debut album Inform-Educate-Entertain was a little more diverse in style and subject matter, and its highlight was this track. A fast-paced, energetic backing track is the perfect match for samples both from and inspired by the infamous Signal 30 driver information film from 1959. – Seb Patrick


91. Lethal Bizzle – “Fester Skank”
The U.K. grime scene has given British MCs the confidence to take musical steps away from their American counterparts, spitting rhymes over faster, rougher beats and losing any attempt to match accent or subject matter. Lethal Bizzle is a veteran of the scene’s first blossoming and recent creative rebirth, and his recent hits have walked the line between swagger and self-parody with admirable grace. “Fester Skank” manages to aspire to supercar-owner status while still puttering down to Nando’s for a chicken dinner, and that’s just adorable. – Fraser McAlpine

This story has multiple pages:

Read More
Filed Under: British Music, Music
By staff