Radiohead - OK Computer

NME’s website is just now marking its 15th anniversary, a sure sign that, if nothing else, the British music magazine figured out that the internet meant something before most people did. To celebrate, they’ve published their list of the 150 best songs of the last 15 years.

The list is heavy on the Brit-rock that NME understandably favors, and the weird time-frame (1996 to 2011) means there’s a wide breadth of stuff to choose from. Radiohead figures heavily on the list, with five songs placing and “Paranoid Android” appearing in the top spot. And it’s fun to see a few of the past NME faves who didn’t quite pan out, like the Coral and Mystery Jets, showing up. (The Vines, sadly, have apparently been erased from history.)

As with any list of this type, there’s plenty to quibble with. No way does Coldplay’s “Clocks” deserve to be all the way down at #148. I can’t believe that anyone, even a British person, would call “Empire State Of Mind” the best rap song of the past 15 years. And the placement of Blink-182′s “What’s My Age Again?” directly above LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends” feels like NME’s attempt to make fun of all of us. Still, it’s hard to complain about much of what made it into the top 20, and the list is long enough that it gives some shine to a few underappreciated classics: Wu-Tang Clan’s “Gravel Pit”! Hole’s “Celebrity Skin”! The Spice Girls’ “Wannabe”! (Whatever, that song is great. Stop hating.) Check the full list below, and let us know what you thought of it in the comments section.

150 Manic Street Preachers – “Australia”
149 Crystal Castles – “Crimewave”
148 Coldplay – “Clocks”
147 Morrissey – “First Of The Gang To Die”
146 Laura Marling – “My Manic And I”
145 Fever Ray – “If I Had A Heart”
144 The Killers – “Human”
143 Oasis – “The Hindu Times”
142 Foals – “Hummer”
141 Gorillaz – “Clint Eastwood”
140 Arctic Monkeys – “A Certain Romance”
139 Coldplay – “Yellow”
138 Bat For Lashes – “What’s A Girl To Do?”
137 Doves – “There Goes The Fear”
136 Kelis – “Milkshake”
135 Kelly Clarkson – “Since U Been Gone”
134 Antony & The Johnsons – “Hope There’s Someone”
133 The Strokes – “Under Cover Of Darkness”
132 Daft Punk – “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”
131 Radiohead – “Pyramid Song”
130 Belle And Sebastian – “The Boy With The Arab Strap”
129 The Strokes – “Reptilia”
128 Hercules And Love Affair – “Blind”
127 En Vogue – “Don’t Let Go (Love)”
126 Hole – “Celebrity Skin”
125 Klaxons – “Atlantis To Interzone”
124 Supergrass – “Pumping On Your Stereo”
123 Glasvegas – “Daddy’s Gone”
122 Mercury Rev – “Goddess On A Highway”
121 Santogold -“LES Artistes”
120 Pulp – “This Is Hardcore”
119 Aaliyah & Timbaland – “We Need A Resolution”
118 LCD Soundsystem – “All My Friends”
117 Blink-182 – “What’s My Age Again?”
116 Wu-Tang Clan – “Gravel Pit”
115 Kings Of Leon – “Charmer”
114 Primal Scream – “Accelerator”
113 At The Drive-In – “One Armed Scissor”
112 Cee Lo Green – “Fuck You”
111 The Spice Girls – “Wannabe”
110 Sebastien Tellier – “La Ritournelle”
109 Ultrasound – “Stay Young”
108 Kasabian – “Club Foot”
107 Radiohead – “No Surprises”
106 Radiohead – “Let Down”
105 Cornershop – “Brimful Of Asha (Fatboy Slim Remix)”
104 Lily Allen – “Smile”
103 Lady Gaga – “Poker Face”
102 Art Brut – “Formed A Band”
101 The Horrors – “Sea Within A Sea”
100 Mystery Jets – “Two Doors Down”
99 MGMT – “Kids”
98 The Cribs – “Men’s Needs”
97 Klaxons – “Golden Skans”
96 The Horrors – “Sheena Is A Parasite”
95 The Knife – “Heartbeats”
94 CSS – “Let’s Make Love And Listen To Death From Above”
93 Radiohead – “Reckoner”
92 Peter Bjorn & John – “Young Folks”
91 Animal Collective – “My Girls”
90 Yeasayer – “O.N.E.”
89 The Futureheads – “Hounds Of Love”
88 Jeff Buckley – “Everybody Here Wants You”
87 The Streets – “Dry Your Eyes”
86 The Rapture – “House Of Jealous Lovers”
85 The Coral – “Dreaming Of You”
84 The Hives – “Hate To Say I Told You So”
83 Kylie Minogue – “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”
82 Queens Of The Stone Age – “Feel Good Hit Of The Summer”
81 Outkast – “Ms. Jackson”
80 Eminem – “The Real Slim Shady”
79 Blur – “Song 2”
78 The Verve – “The Drugs Don’t Work”
77 Oasis – “D’You Know What I Mean?”
76 Beck – “Where It’s At”
75 Manic Street Preachers – “A Design For Life”
74 Muse – “Supermassive Black Hole”
73 Blur – “Out Of Time”
72 The Big Pink – “Dominos”
71 The Libertines – “Don’t Look Back Into The Sun”
70 M.I.A. – “XXXO”
69 Kanye West – “Jesus Walks”
68 Liars – “Scarecrows On A Killer Slant”
67 Ian Brown – “F.E.A.R.”
66 Super Furry Animals – “The Man Don’t Give A Fuck”
65 Kasabian – “Fire”
64 La Roux – “In For The Kill”
63 Rihanna – “Umbrella”
62 Vampire Weekend – “A-Punk”
61 Arcade Fire – “Keep The Car Running”
60 The Drums – “Let’s Go Surfing”
59 Dizzee Rascal – “Bonkers”
58 Destiny’s Child – “Say My Name”
57 Eminem – “Lose Yourself”
56 The Killers – “All These Things That I’ve Done”
55 Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Maps”
54 Battles – “Atlas”
53 Kanye West – “Monster”
52 The Prodigy – “Firestarter”
51 Sugababes – “Overload”
50 The Chemical Brothers – “Hey Boy Hey Girl”
49 Best Coast – “Boyfriend”
48 Foo Fighters – “Everlong”
47 Friendly Fires – “Paris”
46 TV On The Radio – “Wolf Like Me”
45 Primal Scream – “Swastika Eyes”
44 Muse – “Nights Of Cydonia”
43 Mumford And Sons – “Little Lion Man”
42 Aphex Twin – “Come To Daddy”
41 Elbow – “One Day Like This”
40 LCD Soundsystem – “Losing My Edge”
39 Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Zero”
38 Kings Of Leon – “The Bucket”
37 Coldplay – “The Scientist”
36 The Strokes – “Hard To Explain”
35 Johnny Cash – “Hurt”
34 Gossip – “Standing In The Way Of Control”
33 Florence & The Machine – “Dog Days Are Over”
32 Gnarls Barkley – “Crazy”
31 The Walkmen – “The Rat”
30 Robyn – “With Every Heartbeat”
29 Crystal Castles – “Alice Practice”
28 the xx – “Islands”
27 Franz Ferdinand – “Take Me Out”
26 The Libertines – “Can’t Stand Me Now”
25 Dizzee Rascal – “Fix Up, Look Sharp”
24 Jay-Z – “99 Problems”
23 The White Stripes – “Seven Nation Army”
22 Arcade Fire – “Wake Up”
21 Daft Punk – “Around The World”
20 Bloc Party – “Banquet”
19 Justice Vs. Simian – “We Are Your Friends”
18 Queens Of The Stone Age – “No One Knows”
17 Missy Elliott – “Get Ur Freak On”
16 Beyoncé – “Crazy In Love”
15 M.I.A. – “Paper Planes”
14 Foals – “Spanish Sahara”
13 Jay-Z & Alica Keys – “Empire State Of Mind”
12 MGMT – “Time To Pretend”
11 Arctic Monkeys – “I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor”
10 The Libertines – “Time For Heroes”
09 The Verve – “Bitter Sweet Symphony”
08 Amy Winehouse – “Rehab”
07 Hot Chip – “Over And Over”
06 The White Stripes – “Fell In Love With A Girl”
05 The Killers – “Mr. Brightside”
04 The Strokes – “Last Nite”
03 OutKast – “Hey Ya!”
02 Arcade Fire – “Rebellion (Lies)”
01 Radiohead – “Paranoid Android”

NME has essays and videos for all the songs on the list. There’s also a Spotify playlist of the whole thing.

Comments (146)
  1. woozefa  |   Posted on Oct 12th, 2011 +46

    general rant about lists.

  2. I think they might have forgotten Modest Mouse.

  3. No Bjork!?

  4. you’re telling me that ignition remix is not better than “are we human? or are we dancer?”

    c’mon man

  5. “Where It’s At” came out in 1996. Nice math, NME.

  6. “Whatever, (Wannabe) is great. Stop hating.”

    It’s NOT! It mathematically, demonstrably cannot be great.

    Two reasons among many: 1)Mel B’s rap; 2)the repeated “Zig-a-zig Ah!” line.

  7. Hey Ya number three ? WTF. Their weakest album by far.

  8. Hey, at least it’s far less offensive than VH1′s list.

  9. Pleasantly shocked to see Liars’ Scarecrows on a Killer Slant in there.

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  11. What kind of idiot could possibly put songs that I like behind other songs that I don’t like as much, or at all?!

  12. 70 M.I.A. – “XXXO” …huh?

  13. There are too many songs by the same people. In other words: there are far more artists that made fabulous stuff. Try T.Raumschmiere with “Monster Truck Driver”, for example. And Friendly Fires with “Paris”? Only if you’re talking about the Aeroplane remix. There’s one song I wholeheartedly agree on: Blur with “Song 2″.

  14. The meta-whining here is great, particularly the first two comments and Aura’s.

  15. Do they not have Death Cab in the U.K.?

  16. 00 Baha Men – “Who Let the Dogs Out?”


  18. spiritualized is notably absent.

  19. influential grammy-winning beck song at #76, women who smokes weed and writes about her cat at #49…nuff said

  20. is NME just looking to get bitched at?

  21. So where’s all the Weird Al Yankovic songs at?

  22. Wow for NME to not have an Oasis song near the top shows a lot of restraint on their part. But I’m actually not complaining too much. Not really looking at the rankings but just at the songs they included. They’ve got Fever Ray,The Knife and Crystal Castles on there so I’m happy on that end, but the lack of PJ Harvey is a bit disheartening.

    • Also, BATTLES ftw!!! This kicks “VH1 playlist from hell”‘s ass

    • Overall I think this is a surprisingly good list (it’s even got Aaliyah’s “We Need a Resolution!”), though this makes the omissions even more startling. No PJ Harvey, Goldfrapp, Fleet Foxes, Tori Amos, Bjork? Admittedly Tori went into a decline in the 00s, though you still have From the Choirgirl Hotel and To Venus and Back to choose from, and not only did PJ release the brilliant (though under appreciated) Is This Desire, she also released *two* albums that won the Mercury Music Prize in this time span…

  23. Internet “Best of” lists have ruined Ok Computer for me.

    • I never really grew to like OK computer to start with. I’ve always felt like it was just sort of like Dark Side of the Moon in that it had a lot of technical accomplishments, but is just too dry and soulless for my tastes. I really like Radiohead’s stuff from Kid A onwards, though. I’m probably going to get incredible amounts of internet hate for this.

    • Wow! And I thought I was fickle.

  24. Not one bon iver song? That’s impressive.

  25. Seriously, though, Late in the Day is a much better Supergrass song than Pumping on Your Stereo. For reals. Also, it kind of sucked that they only picked one SFA song, and the one they chose is mostly just a sample repeated over and over again.

  26. No Neutral Milk Hotel or Modest Mouse? I’m slightly offended. Oh wait, they’re English.

  27. “Paranoid Android” happens to be one of my favourite songs, so I can’t really complain about the number one spot.

  28. Crystal Castles ‘Alice Practice’ ?? at 29..

    it’s a fun enegetic blast of synthpunk but calling it one of the best songs of the last 15 years is just mentally challenged

  29. Nothing by Sufjan Stevens, Joanna Newsom, Sigur Ros, Wilco, Fleet Foxes, Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, The Flaming Lips, Mclusky, Interpol, the Beta Band….don’t get my wrong, this list tries and hits includes a lot of good stuff……but Kelly Clarkson?

  30. Yet another reason to make Radiohead #1 on a list…

  31. The fact that I have heard of every artist on this list makes me think that there’re A LOT of things they left out. But whatever, I always find lists “flawed”.

  32. Clearly this is just one giant ass-kissing with artists and their songs arbitrarily numbered.

    For God’s sake, look at this – Radiohead’s Let Down is a full 100 steps behind Amy Winehouse’s Rehab?

    I think NME needs to take its ears to rehab, ’cause they’re clearly on some seriously heavy drugs.

  33. It would have been nice if they acknowledged Kid A, but most of the songs on here are pretty great.

    • Radiohead’s “Idioteque” is my all-time favourite song of Radiohead AND the best one of the last 15 years. Instead of “Paranoid Android” (however, it’s still magnificent).

  34. NO KE$HA??????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. i applaud the attempt, but you run into a problem when you make a list of songs who’s gravitas is based off their influence on pop culture with actually great ambitious songs. How am i supposed to compare the spice girls to aphex twin?

  36. I’m curious to know which blog/publication/music magazine has your favorite/most tolerable list of 2000s song?

  37. “Wake Up” should be higher

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  39. 3 Coldplays and not any love for U2? Didn’t expect that…

  40. We could all complain for years over the list but I will only voice 2 complaints:

    Do You Realize (The Flaming LIps) should be here somewhere. Sugababes in over that? No.

    Since You Been Gone (Kelly Clarkson) should be top 10 imo. The best pop song in 20 years.

    I’m going to listen to both of them repeatedly now. Thanks!

  41. I take issue with this playlist featuring two tracks by M.I.A.

  42. I have no idea why people like Blink-182. No Idea.

    • I can see why people like them, just not the extent that people like them. People be crazy for that shit. To me they were never much beyond a middling band with a few catchy hooks.

  43. Did they draw songs out of a hat?

  44. WOW Aphex Twin got shat on. A true visionary in terms of technical craft and musical talent, and he gets one song and that song ISNT EVEN WINDOWLICKER? or Avril 14th? or any number of songs off of the Richard D James Album? Come on.

  45. surprisingly, i am fine with this list. it is ok to my tastes.

  46. That Verve song is damn near the best song of the 90′s.

  47. 89 The Futureheads – “Hounds Of Love” … SERIOUSLY?

  48. no hallelujah? is the most played covered song of these 15 years!

  49. Thanks for featuring the list guys (and for being pretty nice about it), us Brits really appreciate being featured on the mighty Stereogum.

  50. Pretty clueless list!I’ll just make a small notice.Interpol are missing from the list and that’s a small example!!!Beirut as well and so on…:-/

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