The greatest guitar songs of the 21st century

The greatest guitar songs of the 21st century – 2001

Buck Rodgers – Feeder 

The chorus was so big Feeder had to upsize venues just to contain it. The cleverly harmonised guitars in the verses mark this as one of modern rock’s all-time classics.

Chop Suey! – System Of A Down

What does it take to write an anthem? There is no universal answer, but Daron Malakian nailed it on this single from SOAD’s sophomore album

Hash Pipe – Weezer

Few thought Weezer capable of a riff this heavy or insistent. Hash Pipe marked the welcome return of the “whoa-oh” chorus.

The Middle – Jimmy Eat World

This song dominated the 2001 airwaves, proving emo pop had gone mainstream. With hooks this strong, it was inevitable.

Lateralus – Tool

Adam Jones’ drop-D-tuned riff follows two bars of 9/8 and one of 6/8, and with its mid-riff offbeat change, it’s a tough one to nail.

The Masses Against The Classes – Manic Street Preachers

The fuzz on the vocals and guitars is as spiky as the lyrics, and it revived the punk guitar solo.

Sing – Travis

This inescapable hit signalled the arrival of the banjo in indie. We’re unsure whether to be grateful.

Last Night – The Strokes

What The Hives blasted out in punk aggression, The Strokes made up for with considered, textured parts – and to prove the case here’s Exhibit A, Last Nite, the second single from the latter’s debut. 

Kicking off with a series of octave eighth notes in C, it’s a simple opener. Enter guitar 2, which moves between F and G octaves. On its own, this is another straightforward part, but over the C it implies the uncoloured harmony of 4th and 5th

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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.