1. ‘Empire State of Mind’ by Jay-Z with Alicia Keys (2009)
Of all the world’s glitzy capitals, New York is the one that's truly the city of dreamers. Rough-and-tumble is putting it mildly, as the city's rich musical history attests. But from its many knocks, something amazing emerges. When Jay-Z’s roll-with-the-punches verse gives way to Alicia Keys’s chorus, it’s the musical equivalent of the first time you touched down on the JFK tarmac or saw the Statue of Liberty. ‘Empire State of Mind’ is hopeful and warm – and for that reason, it’s the only song to provide a real update to ‘New York, New York.’ We’ll take it.