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100 Best Songs of the 2000s

From Beyonce and Lady Gaga to Radiohead and Kanye West, these are the best songs from the first decade of the 21st Century

100, Best, Songs, 2000s

The music of the Aughts was all over the map in the very best way, with file sharing and randomly produced personal playlists encouraging eclecticism and experimentation in both artists and listeners. Rolling Stone‘s list of the decade’s 100 best songs – which was originally unveiled in 2009 and was compiled by a group of over 100 artists, critics and industry insiders – includes garage rock revivalists, dance-happy indie, sassy starlets, slick modern R&B, boundary-shattering pop hybrids and a few familiar icons from previous eras. The most exciting thing about this selection of tunes is that, despite all the different styles and voices in the mix, it all sounds totally natural together. In fact, you might already have a playlist that looks just like it.


Arcade Fire, ‘Wake Up’

"Wake Up" was the first dose of the blessed excess that made Arcade Fire great, mixing art-collective clamor with enough passion to rouse Dick Cheney (OK, almost).


The Unstoppable Ambition of Arcade Fire

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Photos: Arcade Fire's Greatest Performances


LCD Soundsystem, ‘All My Friends’

A seven-minute blast of electro disco that's also a rock anthem on the scale of David Bowie's "Heroes," mourning the comedown from the decade's killer parties and the friends lost along the way.


Rob Sheffield: LCD Soundsystem Rock the "Drunk Girls" at Surprise Brooklyn Gig

Photos: LCD Soundsystem's Last-Ever Show


Kelis, ‘Milkshake’

Be advised: There will be milk, and it will get crazy shook. Amid a Neptunes beat and a chanted hook, the R&B dairy queen taught a course in advanced bootyology.


Kelis Doesn't Get Mad, She Gets Even

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Modest Mouse, ‘Float On’

A snappy, silver-lined indie-pop march that asserts, "Good news is on the way." A summer of '04 hit, its chill-pill positivity nailed the zeitgeist during Bush's re-election: Good news is slow sometimes.


Modest Mouse, Happy Hour: Excerpt from Rolling Stone's 2004 Story

Broken Social Scene Cover Modest Mouse's "World At Large"


Gorillaz, ‘Clint Eastwood’

"The future is coming on," croons Damon Albarn with his cartoon supergroup, riding a reggae groove that evokes Ennio Morricone. Then Del tha Funkee Homosapien drops rhymes like a high-plains drifter.


Gorillaz Introduce New Member of Animated Band

Photos: Gorillaz Bring Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Bobby Womack On Stage With Damon Albarn in Boston


LCD Soundsystem, ‘Losing My Edge’

This tale of an aging hipster would've murdered on its sleek dance-floor groove alone. But the lyrics — which both skewer and celebrate music geeks — double the pleasure.


LCD Soundsystem Pull Out the Stops for Epic Farewell Show

Photos: LCD Soundsystem's Last-Ever Show



U2, ‘Moment of Surrender’

Bono sings about a junkie riding the subway, disconnected, then failing to recognize his own reflection in an ATM window. The most devastating ballad U2 — or anyone — has delivered since "One."


U2, Live From Outer Space: Launching the Biggest Tour of All Time

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Bruce Springsteen, ‘The Rising’

This strings-laden rock & roll rapture was written about 9/11. But when its metaphor of struggling through darkness was blasted at Obama's victory celebration, it became a national anthem for the 21st century.


Springsteen's Epic Decade: Bruce on 'The Rising' to 'Working on a Dream'

Photos: Bruce Springsteen, The Vintage Photographs

Video: Bruce Springsteen Performs 'Ain't Good Enough For You'


Coldplay, ‘Yellow’

Has any band had a better line for their first single than "Look at the stars, see how they shine for you"? The introduction to Chris Martin's unique dreaminess.


Video: Coldplay Debut New Song 'Charlie Brown'

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Daft Punk, ‘One More Time’

The Auto-Tune revolution began with this dance-floor epiphany. France's finest house DJs built a lovingly detailed tribute to Seventies disco with cyborg voices, wildly EQ'ed horns and an elephantine groove.


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Franz Ferdinand, ‘Take Me Out’

Thanks to these slutty Scottish boys, this mod guitar stomp rules any bar where the girls feel like dancing — a fiendishly clever seduction where Alex Kapranos seethes, "I won't be leaving here … with you."


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The Flaming Lips, ‘Do You Realize??’

The song that epitomized the Lips' mission to put adults in touch with their inner children: See Wayne Coyne's good-natured instructions ("Make the good things last") and hypnotizing acoustic-guitar strums.


Wayne Coyne on Fearing Acid and Loving M.I.A.

Video: Flaming Lips Rehearse Trippy Version of 'Do You Realize?'