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60. British Sea Power – “Fear of Drowning”
Bookish, witty, and slightly eccentric (they’ve had foliage adorning their stages for years now), British Sea Power have remained in a league of their own (and bless ’em for that) since bringing us the incomparable gem that is their 2003 debut, The Decline of British Sea Power. And “A Fear of Drowning” is its true zenith. Cascading guitar work weaves around Scott Wilkinson‘s breathy vocals and hiccup-like shrieks as he calls out to “Oh little England” throughout. Majestic pop at its finest. – MacKenzie Wilson


59. Adele – “Make You Feel My Love”
Lots of artists have made their name covering songs by Bob Dylan, but Adele is one of the few whose cover has actually enhanced Dylan’s reputation. In her hands, his gently swung crooner tune became a gospel showstopper, a more intimate “Bridge Over Troubled Water” that enjoyed an exceptionally long chart run, thanks partly to the amount of people trying to sing it in their auditions for The X Factor. – Fraser McAlpine


58. Hot Chip – “Ready for the Floor”
What a fantastic pop burst this is thanks to Alexis Taylor‘s playful performance bounding against elastic-y bass and jaunty synth beats. And that unforgettable, frenzied chorus has your head bopping non-stop? This one, man, is inescapable. It makes for a keen glance of how the alt-dance group would evolve in the years to come, too. – MacKenzie Wilson


57. Glasvegas – “Daddy’s Gone”
Very few songs that summon the spirit of Phil Spector earn the melodrama they bring, but Glasvegas frontman James Allan, spinning a wrenching tale of paternal abandonment, does it here in spades. This is stunning and crushing, right down to the palpable anguish that Allan emotes when he sings “He’s gone” near the end of the song. – Kevin Wicks


56. Ed Harcourt – “Until Tomorrow Then”
Singer/songwriter Harcourt is a bit of a “nearly man” of British music – often critically acclaimed, he’s only once had an album (his second, From Every Sphere) chart in the U.K. top 40, and remains barely heard-of in the U.S. But he’s capable of some quite gorgeous chamber pop songs, none more than this album track from 2006’s The Beautiful Lie. – Seb Patrick


55. Rachel Stevens – “Some Girls”
The S Club alumnus earned a No. 2 spot on the U.K. Singles Chart with this infectious dance-pop track, which was initially issued as a charity single for Sport Relief in 2004. Containing saucy, suggestive lyrics of a girl who dreams of pop stardom—and does some questionable things in the process—”Some Girls” sparkles with Richard X‘s glossy tinges, allowing Stevens’ pop star spotlight to shine a wee bit longer. We loved it then, and we love it now. – MacKenzie Wilson


54. Antony and the Johnsons – “Hope There’s Someone”
Many people will recognize Antony Hegarty‘s quavering vibrato from “Blind,” his vogue-worthy dance track with Hercules and Love Affair. But Antony’s voice has never more been moving than on “Hope There’s Someone,” an unbearably lonely and fearful meditation on death. There’s a striking piano section near the end, replete with moans, that expresses a soul being set free, and for the listener, it’s a cathartic release. – Kevin Wicks


53. La Roux – “Bulletproof”
Having had moderate success with their first two singles, synth-pop duo Elly Jackson and Ben Langmaid struck gold with this third, going straight into the top of the U.K. charts as well as scoring a gradual sleeper hit in the U.S. It’s not hard to see why it was such a crossover success: its effortlessly clean and melodic synth sound makes it feel like a genuine lost hit from the ‘80s, but the confidence and elegance of the production is matched by one of Jackson’s most resounding vocal performances. – Seb Patrick


52. James Blake – “Retrograde”
James Blake emerged as a producer who made squiggly dubstep sounds, but he literally found his voice, particularly on tracks like “The Wilhelm Scream” and the Feist cover “Limit to Your Love.” Never was that voice more potent than on the soulful “Retrograde,” in which he reveals heretofore unheard sensuous layers in his singing. (That moment when he dips to his Barry White-ish low register to sing “We’re alone now” always makes me swoon.) – Kevin Wicks


51. Will Young – “Leave Right Now”
While One Direction and Leona Lewis have the strongest claims to being the biggest successes to emerge from the U.K. talent show The X-Factor, the impact of its short-lived predecessor Pop Idol shouldn’t be ignored, either. Its sole winner Will Young has had a distinguished career as arguably one of the most credible pop acts in the country, and his resonant, soulful voice is best served by this terrific, Ivor Novello Award-winning single from his second album Friday’s Child. – Seb Patrick

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Filed Under: British Music, Music
By staff