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50. Hot Chip – “Over and Over”
Hot Chip are a little bit kooky, a little bit cheeky, a little bit Devo. But beneath the nerd chic and irony lives one of the sexiest bands to have emerged from the U.K. this century, and that sensuality is in full effect on “Over and Over,” which opens quite whimsically with wind chimes and cowbell before ultimately settling into a grinding groove. – Kevin Wicks

49. Goldie Lookin’ Chain – “Guns Don’t Kill People, Rappers Do”
Comedy records should not still entertain after more than one listen, and most comedy rap records don’t even get that far. But Goldie Lookin’ Chain are hip hop fans first, and funny second. Fully appreciating that their tales from the mean streets of Newport, Wales, would probably appear comical next to Jay Z even if they were deadly serious, their debut hit delivered a mock-serious attack on gun culture in hip hop, while throwing around words like “burglarization” as an extra wink for anyone who missed the gag. – Fraser McAlpine

48. The xx – “Crystalised”
What an entrancing and moving call-and-response between bassist Oliver Sim and singer/guitarist Romy Madley Croft. With Jamie Smith‘s sparse electronic ticks, it’s no wonder the blogosphere was quick to champion the south Londoners’ first single upon its release in late summer 2009. Moody, dark, and with an electric charge that’s hard to ignore (so much so that Martina Topley-Bird, with Mark Lanegan & Warpaint, and Gorillaz have since covered it). Stellar on every single level. – MacKenzie Wilson

47. Clinic – “The Return of Evil Bill”
An art-rock quartet from Liverpool who are arguably more popular in the U.S. than on their home shores, Clinic mixes a wide range of influences into a wholly unique sound. Released just prior to their support slot on Radiohead’s Kid A tour, “The Return of Evil Bill” is an incredibly striking, melodica-and-organ-infused statement of intent that marked them out as one of the most interesting U.K. indie bands of the new millennium. – Seb Patrick

46. Radiohead – “Jigsaw Falling Into Place”
Radiohead spent the early ’00s building on The Bends and OK Computer with sonic, conceptual experiments like Kid A and Amnesiac. But never have they felt as energized and as tight as a band as on 2007’s “Jigsaw Falling Into Place,” an exhilarating romp that describes nothing more grandiose than the chance meeting between a man and a woman at a club. – Kevin Wicks

45. Keane – “Somewhere Only We Know”
Keane won everyone over with this vibrant sing-a-long in 2004, and it went on to become one of the year’s best-selling tracks. Driven by the powerful punch of a piano and frontman Tom Chaplin‘s bright tenor vocals, such an open-hearted anthem not only highlighted Keane’s instant likeability, but it set them apart from their peers—Coldplay, Snow Patrol, Elbow and the like—at the time. They’d be no flash in the pan, and they’ve certainly gone on to prove that. – MacKenzie Wilson

44. The Vaccines – “Post Break-Up Sex”
In just under three minutes, The Vaccines suck us in with their hook-laden riffs while, well, the title says it all. Funny thing is, there’s nothing awkward about it. Justin Young‘s boyish croon is quite charming as he asks, “What did you expect?” Swagger intact and the punchy rhythms and words to match, such a lovelorn little stomper makes it known that this lively English quartet will be back to give us some more. – MacKenzie Wilson

43. Plan B – “Ill Manors”
“There’s no such thing as Broken Britain/We’re just bloody broke in Britain.” That’s the punchline of rapper Plan B’s epic rant against the slumming elites who gawk at scenes of urban deprivation as their own “urban safari.” Evoking the London riots that took place not long before the release of this song, the clattering dubstep drums and Plan B’s own politically charged words hit you like a relentless beatdown. – Kevin Wicks

42. McFly – “Obviously”
Expectations of boybands were pretty low in the mid-‘00s, which made the arrival of McFly all the more miraculous. Reared on pop punk, they wrote the sunniest, most melodic pop songs they could and, crucially, did not mess them up on purpose to try and appease anyone cool. Consequently they became a genuine pop phenomenon, writing songs that recalled previous masters of unashamedly chirpy tuneful pop, from Paul McCartney to Squeeze. – Fraser McAlpine

41. Badly Drawn Boy – “You Were Right”
Although Badly Drawn Boy—a.k.a. Damon Gough—earned the most attention for his excellent soundtrack to About a Boy in 2002, the follow-up album Have You Fed The Fish? contained some of his most interesting songwriting to date. “You Were Right” gave Gough his only top ten hit in the U.K. to date and is most notable for a moving tribute to some of his singer/songwriter heroes. – Seb Patrick 

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Filed Under: British Music, Music
By staff