"1901" is a song by French indie pop band Phoenix. It was released as the lead single from their fourth studio album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009), on 23 February 2009. It peaked at number 73 in Canada and number 84 in the United States, making "1901" the band's first song to chart there. It also reached number one on the US Alternative Songs chart. The song has been covered by English singer Birdy.
It was released in February 2009 as the album's lead single, originally as a free download from the band's official website, but was issued as a retail single due to the song's popularity. A black-and-whitemusic video for the song was released in May. In July, the song entered the U.S. Billboard Alternative Songs chart, where it later reached number one, becoming only the fourth independent label single to achieve the feat. The single was re-issued in the UK in February 2010. According to lead singer Thomas Mars, the song is about early 20th century Paris. Mars said, "Paris in 1901 was better than it is now. So the song is a fantasy about Paris."
The song has received very positive reviews from music critics, with Pitchfork Media's Jason Crock saying it is "just as smooth and spirited and dementedly catchy as any of their best singles."The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop critics' poll ranked "1901" at number two to find the best music of 2009, after Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind". In October 2009, "1901" ranked number 228 in Pitchfork's list of "The Top 500 Tracks of the 2000s," the fifth-highest placement on the list amongst 2009 songs. The NME's Gavin Haynes praised the song's "rave-like stop-go guitars," while Evan Sawdey of PopMatters said it might be Phoenix's "finest song to date."Philadelphia Inquirer music critic Dan DeLuca described the song as "joyously exultant riff-happy pop." The song was ranked number two on Spin magazine's list of the "20 Best Summer Songs of 2009."
For the week ending December 19, 2009, "1901" debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 chart at number 90. It peaked at number 84 for the week ending January 23, 2010. The single also reached number 73 on the Canadian Hot 100. The single would also top the Alternative chart for two weeks, and become the second longest running song on the chart at the time at 57 weeks, trailing only "Savior" by Rise Against, which was also in the latter part of its record breaking 65-week run.