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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.

48

The Killers, ‘Mr. Brightside’

They crawled out of Vegas armed with glitzy beats and faux Bowie accents. "Mr. Brightside" made them famous, bringing New Wave ecstasy and a story line that sums up the first two seasons of Gossip Girl.

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47

Green Day, ‘American Idiot’

The song fans had waited years for — a Clash-worthy guitar rant full of righteous political fury, with Billie Joe Armstrong showing how adults misbehave in style.

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46

MGMT, ‘Kids’

"Control yourself/Take only what you need from it," they sing, sounding like Arcade Fire shrooming with the Flaming Lips, and with sloganeering so vague, the president of France used this as a campaign theme.

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45

Kylie Minogue, ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’

The pint-size Aussie disco dolly seduced the U.S. with this mirror-ball classic, chanting that obsessive melody in a sea of "ba-ba-ba" vocals. We've been hearing it at the gym ever since.

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44

Britney Spears, ‘Toxic’

Bollywood strings! Surf guitar! Euro disco! Producers Bloodshy and Avant tossed a bit of everything into this hit, which proved that Britney could turn whacked-out techno pop into delicious bubblegum.

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43

The Roots, ‘The Seed (2.0)’

On this sleek winner, hip-hop's greatest band got deep in the pocket as Cody ChesnuTT delivered a scorching guitar riff. Somewhere, James Brown is smiling.

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42

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).

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41

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.

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40

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.

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39

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.

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38

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.

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37

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.

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Kane/WireImage

36

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."

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35

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.

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34

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.

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33

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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32

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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31

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.

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