The top five tracks of 2008!

Summit. Reached.

It’s taken all week – because that’s the precise way we planned it – but we’ve arrived: the top five tracks of 2008, as voted for by you, the readers, and the Clash editorial squad.

Before we plough right into the cream of this already juicy crop, how’s about a run down of everything we’ve passed so far? Splendid, you say? Splendid!

Be sure to click to each part of our Top 40 countdown for opinion and random fact chucking on each and every of our entries, which (as you can see below) span the entire spectrum of what the popular crowd is calling 'modern music'.


6 Santogold – ‘L.E.S. Artistes’

7 The Bug – ‘Poison Dart’

8 British Sea Power – ‘Waving Flags’

9 Buraka Som Sistema – ‘Sound of Kuduro’

10 Portishead – ‘Machine Gun’


11 Hot Chip – ‘Ready For The Floor’

12 Gang Gang Dance – ‘Princes’

13 Elbow – ‘Grounds For Divorce’

14 Dizzee Rascal/Calvin Harris/Chrome – ‘Dance Wiv Me’

15 Crystal Castles – ‘Courtship Dating’

16 Kanye West – ‘Love Lockdown’

17 DJ Mujava – ‘Township Funk’

18 Oasis – ‘Shock Of The Lightning’

19 Kid Cudi – ‘Night & Day’ (Crookers remix)

20 Mystery Jets – ‘Young Love’


21 Benga & Coki – ‘The Night’

22 Chairlift – ‘Bruises’

23 Late Of The Pier – ‘Heartbeat’

24 Dananananaykroyd – ‘Pink Sabbath’

25 Fuck Buttons – ‘Bright Tomorrow’

26 No Age – ‘Teen Creeps’

27 Foals – ‘Cassius’

28 Friendly Fires – ‘Paris’

29 Deerhunter – ‘Nothing Ever Happened’

30 Bon Iver – ‘Wolves’


31 Johnny Foreigner – ‘Salt, Peppa & Spinderella’

32 My Morning Jacket – ‘Highly Suspicious’

33 Roots Manuva – ‘Buff Nuff’

34 Coldplay – ‘Viva La Vida’

35 Black Lips – ‘Bad Kids’

36 High Places – ‘From Stardust To Sentience’

37 Fake Blood – ‘Mars’

38 Lovvers – ‘No Romantics’

39 Cats In Paris – ‘Foxes’

40 Mogwai – ‘BatCat’

And into the top five we go…

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5: Wild Beasts – ‘The Devil’s Crayon’

The truest pop eccentrics in this land of ours, Wild Beasts’ emergence in 2008 has been a slow but steady one, yet come their final London gig of the year – reviewed on HERE – it was clear to all in attendance that the foursome had well and truly arrived. ‘The Devil’s Crayon’ has played a significant part in the band’s acceptance, as initial doubts about their appeal (due in no small part to Hayden Thorpe’s mighty falsetto) were knocked asunder by the sweet accessibility of this single (on which Tom Fleming takes the vocal lead), which in turned opened up their ‘Limbo, Panto’ album to deeper investigation; soon, it was obvious to one-time sceptics that the band were a seriously focused pop band, albeit one whose take on songwriting was born from isolated nurturing. Part of no scene, pigeonholed by only the brave (or, rather, the foolish), the band are mavericks amongst the mediocre, daring to progress British music like few before them. They, alongside British Sea Power and Elbow, must be regarded as one of the finest guitar-led domestic acts of 2008. Oh, did we not mention the moustache?

(Look out for a Wild Beasts interview next week)

Wild Beasts – ‘The Devil’s Crayon’

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4: Vampire Weekend – ‘A-Punk’

There was quite the argument at Clash HQ when it came to choosing which Vampire Weekend track to slot into our Top 40 – the band attracted a great many votes, but they were spread across a handful of songs from their self-titled debut album. Eventually we settled on ‘A-Punk’, although thinking back we could have easily reached a very different verdict – it may have come down to what variety of biscuits we had on the go. Without doubt the breakthrough indie act of 2008, the New Yorkers’ rise to prominence was propelled by catchy numbers like this, fusing a love of Paul Simon’s African-tinged melodies with more straight-up rock elements and the odd dash of the sweetest sunshine pop. And plenty of vocal hooks to sing along to – it’s as if the band thought of their live shows first when writing songs this audience friendly. The only question mark now hovers above what they do next – with hype vindicated, what can the second album achieve that the first has not?

(Read our Ones to Watch interview from January HERE)

Vampire Weekend – ‘A-Punk’

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3: Kings Of Leon – ‘Sex On Fire’

Ridiculous title aside, this track marked a new high for Clash favourites Kings Of Leon – it was their first number one single in the UK. The in-the-family rockers from Tennessee saw their ‘Only By The Night’ album rise to the peak of its chart, but there’s no doubt that this new success on a singles front must’ve meant a lot to the Followill clan – it also topped the singles chart in Australia, another first for the band. Despite the track’s achievements across the globe, reports have circulated that lead vocalist Caleb Followill had considered ditching it at an early stage of the song’s development, considering it terrible. While that’s certainly not the case, some critics did find it rather silly, and Clash can’t disagree – just how is this sex on fire, exactly, and who’s putting it out? Vaguely nonsensical lyrical content aside, the track’s a winner, and nestles at three for a very good reason. In other words, Clash editor Harper would’ve fired everyone if it wasn’t in the top five…

(Read our recent interview with Kings Of Leon HERE)

Kings Of Leon – ‘Sex On Fire’ (live on Later With Jools Holland)

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2: M.I.A. – ‘Paper Planes’

Its parent album might’ve come out in 2007, ‘Kala’ racking up the year-end accolades this time 12 months ago, but M.I.A.’s ‘Paper Planes’ really took flight in 2008, helped by the stateside success of the movie Pineapple Express. With its maker open to letting listeners reach their own conclusions as to the inclusion of cash register rings and firing gunshots, ambiguity runs the course of the Grammy-nominated track; one certainty is that it robs its riff from The Clash’s ‘Straight To Hell’. We’re not complaining, given our respect for our namesakes. Ridiculously censored by MTV and further television and radio stations (because of those shots and the use of the word “weed”, although “murder” seemed okay for some reason), the track courted a degree of controversy during the year, with a Sri Lankan rapper by the name of DeLon accusing M.I.A. of supporting terrorism through her imagery and lyrics. M.I.A. didn’t rise to the bait – high fives, girl. Look out for cameo appearances by Mike D and Adrock of the Beastie Boys in the video…

(Read our interview with M.I.A. from 2007 HERE)

M.I.A. – ‘Paper Planes’

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1: MGMT – ‘Time To Pretend’

Why? Think about those end-of-year round-up clip shows, where sportsmen are shown striving for brilliance, reality show ‘stars’ are plunged into vats of slug slime and insect guts, and slow-motion footage of Glastonbury headliners lights up your living room. What song is soundtracking these montages? Yup, this. It’s the biggest breakthrough track of the year, a song that single-handedly elevated Brooklyn pair MGMT (pictured, top) from Yeasayer buddies to a bona-fide mainstream concern, who conquered the festival circuit and stole our little hearts with their colourful antics. Not everything on their album, ‘Oracular Spectacular’, was quite as magical as ‘Time To Pretend’, but who cares? This is pop brilliance – melancholy and triumph, nostalgia and hope, defeat and resurrection wrapped in a neat ‘n’ tidy four-minute package. You can watch its official video HERE, but if you doubt its perfection in the ‘cut to a montage’ stakes, check this clip that we found on YouTube out…

(Read our recent interview with MGMT HERE)

MGMT – ‘Time To Pretend’ (with BBC footage – not official video)

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Let us know what you think of the Clash Top 40 of 2008 by commenting below – you can register with by clicking HERE. It won’t cost you a penny! Yet…

Missed previous parts? Go back in time…

PART FOUR – 10-6

PART THREE – 20-11

PART TWO – 30-21

PART ONE – 40-31


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