20 Best Tracks Of NME’s Lifetime – As Voted By You

Any readers’ best-of list in the NME is going to be predictable, which it is, except for one truly gobsmacking surprise.

At 20 is ‘Bittersweet Symphony’, a song that just doesn’t sit right with itself. The inward looking lyrics are at-odds with the thuggish image and incredibly obnoxious video. Which itself is at-odds with the shoegaze scene they came from. There is a great song lurking there though and they really didn’t deserve the overblown legal attack they got from Andrew Loog Olham.

There follows the usual iconic pre-indie singles – ‘Paint It Black’, ‘Eleanor Rigby’, ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ and so on – then ‘Teen Spirit’, ‘Wonderwall’, ‘Love Will tear Us Apart’ and… you know the drill.

Bizarrely ‘There Is a Light That Never Goes Out’ charts higher than ‘How Soon is Now’. Odd, but nice to buck the trend.

‘Last Nite’ is of course present. A far superior song though is the absent Hard to Explain. One of the best singles of the 00s, it always seems to play second fiddle???  This is on a list where ‘Mr Brightside’ is at number 2 you must remember.

The NME formed in 1952 which means that the vast majority of popular music came out in its lifetime. ‘Mr Brightside’ is a brilliant single. But is it the second best single of all time?

And at number one…

Amy Winehouse – ‘Rehab’.

Wow! Seeing as her entire career was a regurgitation of Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, Phil Spector, Nina Simone etc. all of whom were active in the NME era this does seem outrageous to the point of being unfair.

Not sure how Amy Winehouse fits in with the NME demographic either? She’s the only artist on the list that isn’t guitar-led and, disappointingly, along with Meg White the only women.  Also, doesn’t it seem in bad taste given how undignified her death was to keep playing ‘Rehab’?

So, on the whole a worthy if uninspiring list and it’s good to see ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ at number 6. Which will be 5 next time as Rehab will be long gone.


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