The best songs of 2009, according to the Stylist team

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With Stylist’s 10th birthday around the corner, we look back at what the team were dancing to the year the magazine was born. And if we’ve re-jogged your love for Britney, you can listen to our 2009 throwback playlist on Spotify.

Who remembers Dizzee Rascal’s hayday? Or when you couldn’t leave the house without hearing Broken Strings by James Morrison and Nelly Furtado? Yep, cast your mind back to 2009, a wonderful year for music, when End Credits by Chase and Status filled the floor at every student night and we fell in love with the then unknown Jason Derulo’s dance moves in the video for his debut Whatcha Say.

Ten years later, some of our favourite playlists still feature songs from 2009. Sex on Fire by Kings of Leon topped the charts with nine weeks at number one, and at Stylist’s karaoke team building we sang it at the top of our lungs. Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap will continue to be our de-stressing earworm and no one will ever stop loving the Islands In The Stream cover by Barry’s finest, Vanessa Jenkins and Bryn West.

Here are the team’s ultimate throwback songs…

  • Fight For This Love – Cheryl Cole

    “The hat! The military look! The video! The dance routine! That extended The X Factor performance with the 90s style ‘break down’ section! All of that was great BUT you still need a great song, and Fight For This Love was the perfect debut single from Cheryl Tweedy-Cole, who ruled over planet pop in October 2009.”

    Tom Gormer – picture editor

  • Emergency Contraception Blues – Bombay Bicycle Club

    “This was the opening track to the album (I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose) that defined my first year of university, and went on to become one of my favourites of all time.”

    Scott Nelson – head of video 

  • So What – P!nk

    “This song is the ultimate P!nk ballad: self-deprecating, honest, raw, and brilliant for screaming out at the top of your lungs when you’ve had a bad day.”

    Kayleigh Dray – digital editor 

  • Love Story – Taylor Swift

    Love Song was the most cringe song of the year, but I was obsessed with the amazing curly hair that Taylor had in the music video. I tried (and failed) to recreate it for my school leavers prom - the shame!”

    Nicole Rixon – video producer/director

    “2009 was the year of Taylor Swift as far as my little 12-year-old mind was concerned, and it was Love Story in particular which had me singing from the top of my lungs with my friends at school. For Christmas 2008 I received my first iPod – an iPod touch first generation, no less – and the only thing I had downloaded on there for at least the first month of 2009 was the music video for Love Story (not even the song, just the video). In her flowing white dress and sporting her signature blonde curls, Taylor Swift was everything my preteen-self wanted and more.”

    Lauren Geall - junior digital writer

  • She Wolf – Shakira

    “It wasn’t my favourite song but She Wolf is the one that makes me think of 2009 the most. It was ALWAYS on the radio in the Stylist launch office and was a total ear worm. It’s such a bizarre song!”

    Susan Riley – editor 

  • Obsessed – Mariah Carey

    “2009 is best summed up to me by this anthem. Seriously, how could you not be obsessed? It’s got autotune, handclaps and a thumping bass line, not to mention THAT iconic opener inspired by Mean Girls: ‘I was like, why are you so obsessed with me?’ If you remember, everyone speculated that the song was a takedown of Eminem after he kept referencing Mariah in his songs. Whatever the case, the track was, and still remains, a perfect response to life’s haters.”

    Christobel Hastings – Stylist contributor

    “Anything Queen Mariah does is iconic and this song was no exception. As well as being an absolute banger, the music video was highly entertaining too.”

    Nyomi Nelson - print and distribution executive

  • Day 'N' Nite – Kid Cudi X Crookers

    “I was in my first year of uni in 2009, and Kid Cudi’s Day ‘N’ Nite was literally just played on a loop. I had no choice but to like it really.”

    Sarah Biddlecombe – commissioning editor 

  • I Gotta Feeling – The Black Eyed Peas

    “I was in the first year of sixth form and our school group of friends went on our first trip away ever, to join all the other Brits abroad in Zante. This song came on every night while we were out (which we did seven nights on the trot of course, because, youth) and to this day it reminds me of having carefree fun with the women who are still my best friends today.”

    Megan Murray – digital writer

  • Circus – Britney Spears

    “I literally themed my 19th birthday party around this song. Please, let me tell you about how much I love her. Also though, POKER FACE! SINGLE LADIES! It was such a good year for music!”

    Kat Poole – editor, Stylist Loves, and head of email 

  • Fireflies – Owl City

    “Owl City’s Fireflies is a classic. It reminds me of sitting on the school fields, thinking we were cool because we knew all the words to what felt like an ‘alternative’ band’s song. It gets you right in the feels.”

    Megan Glynn – designer 

  • 3 – Britney Spears

    “When I initially looked back at 2009, I didn’t realise how much FAB music was released – we were spoiled. However, I don’t know how anybody could choose anything other than Britney Jean Spears’ iconic single 3. This song was incessantely played on my iPod, in my car, and in my favourite gay bar back home, when I was out clubbing a few years before I actually should have been. My obsession with this song reached such a height that my friends would run to find me inside said club whenever the synth-heavy song started and drag me to the dance floor.”

    Regan Okey - Social media editor

Image: Getty

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Chloe Gray

Chloe Gray is the senior writer for's fitness brand Strong Women. When she's not writing or lifting weights, she's most likely found practicing handstands, sipping a gin and tonic or eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (not all at the same time).

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