The greatest guitar songs of the 21st century

The greatest guitar songs of the 21st century – 2018

Honeycomb – Deafheaven

The fusion of black metal, post-rock and shoegaze might surprise on paper, but Deafheaven have popularised a new sound in modern metal.

Our Most Desperate Hour – Nita Strauss

Blistering sweeps and classical harmonies galore from the only Alice Cooper guitarist to have descended from a famous 19th-century composer.

Valley Of Fire – Jason Becker

The guest stars on this epic from the Not Dead Yet virtuoso’s 2018 return reads like a who’s who of guitar legends. Clearly he remains an inspiration to us all.

Shibuya – Covet

Beautifully executed fingerstyle chord melody and two-handed tapping come together in a rhythmically complex but oh-so-listenable offering from Ibanez Talman-toting Yvette Young.

G.O.A.T. – Polyphia

Asked what he thought the future holds for guitar music, Polyphia’s Tim Henson told TG last year: “I see it being less guitar-centred, and more musical. Because I hope that guitar music dies. I want it to die a painful death, because so much of it is just bullshit. I feel like people should focus more on the music itself and use the guitar as a tool to make music, versus ‘I’m going to play guitar music.’” 

We’re not quite sure we agree with the sentiment, but it’s fair to say no guitar convention is safe in Henson’s expert hands – and that makes him, alongside fellow guitarist Scott LePage, one of the most creative players around today. The opening lines of G.O.A.T. give you a bite-sized insight into the Texan pair’s style.

Within just four bars, you’ll hear chord melody, percussive popping and tapping, intricately woven harmonics and shred licks – all delivered with punchy ‘position 4’ single-coil sizzle. We predict Polyphia will be flying the flag for future generations.

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Total Guitar editors

Total Guitar is one of Europe's biggest guitar magazines. With lessons to suit players of all levels, TG's world-class tuition is friendly, accessible and jargon-free, whether you want to brush up on your technique or improve your music theory knowledge. We also talk to the biggest names in the world of guitar – from interviews with all-time greats like Brian May and Eddie Van Halen to our behind the scenes Rig Tour features, we get you up close with the guitarists that matter to you.