The 2000s ushered in the dawn of a new kind of music industry, and it all started with blogs. Rap genre reclaimed commercial success, with Indie rock songs leaning into its subversive pop side. Pop had to rethink its dependency on mass-produced boy bands. In honor of the early years, we’ve rounded up some of our most played songs from the 2000s: Timbaland and Pharell’s funky beats to pop princess Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. Indie bands like Animal Collective or The White Stripes, who constantly adapted their sound for new trends, also made it onto this list.
Toxic – Britney Spears
Britney Spears has been a pop princess, sexual liberationist, and everything in between. Her voice carries strong throughout ‘Toxic’ unexpectedly, as she goes back-and-forth from her baby girl vocals to an insanely high falsetto.
Drop It Like It’s Hot – Snoop Dogg featuring Pharrell.
Hip-hop songs in the early 2000s had a homegrown, almost experimental sound as Timbaland and Pharrell incorporated beatboxing into their catalog. The track “Drop It Like Its Hot” followed suit by incorporating tongue pops and an elongated falsetto “Snoooooop!” Accompanied with user-friendly dance moves, this is one classic song that will never be forgotten.
We Belong Together – Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey was a fresh-faced, doe-eyed vocal assassin who graced the hook of numerous rap songs in the ’90s. But by the 2000s, she had become an icon and offered an unexpected moment of vulnerability on “We Belong Together.”
Me, Myself, and I – Beyoncé
Beyoncé is known for her high-energy empowerment anthems that leave you wanting to dance. Still, the singer has a different side too. “Me, Myself and I” shows Beyoncé’s rarer, quieter side eerily calm in the face of infidelity with reserved vocals and angelic whispers of self-actualization. She makes a promise to herself about protecting her heart.
Someday – The Strokes
For a music band that is so well-known for its catchy and feverishly energetic rock tunes, The Strokes’ latest release, “Someday,” stands out as something fresh. With Julian Casablancas’ signature sleepy drawl, he works his way through an album of fleeting promises and questionable proclamations while sparing the usual lofty romanticism.
What You Waiting For – Gwen Stefani
Gwen Stefani’s explosive step into her own path, “What You Waiting For,” was the opening song of Gwen’s first solo record. The track is a saucily sleek and urgent take on electronic pop with a definite rock edge.
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Cry Me a River – Justin Timberlake
Timbaland has a Midas touch, and everything he touches turns to gold. In the early 2000s, there were no such songs or artists that Timbaland couldn’t make hot. Justin Timberlake became one of his most effective vehicles with help from Scott Storch on lyrics for “Cry Me A River.” This classic is timeless in its story about the consequences of adultery.
I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor – Arctic Monkeys
Alex Turner’s first album with the Arctic Monkeys, “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor,” is a supercharged anthem filling every crack and crevice with grime. The track showcases Alex’s drunken eyes as he makes eye contact at a bar flirtatiously. At the same time, Matt Helder’s impossibly fierce drumming propels it to its high energy feel.
My Happy Ending – Avril Lavigne
With songs like “My Happy Ending,” Avril Lavigne had a knack for crafting lyrics that portrayed her as the ultimate rebel. With this in mind, it is no wonder she was labeled a punk-rock princess by some of her fans. The only thing you could predict about an album from Lavigne would be its unpredictability.
Young Folks – Peter Bjorn and John
Young Folks is an endearingly stripped-back song, with its melody on the back of a sweet little whistle. The simplicity and whimsical nature lend themselves to new interpretations from Kanye West, James Blake, and Halsey.
Love – Keyshia Cole
Keyshia Cole’s “Love” is a song for the ages and arguably one of her best vocal performances to date. It is also an international anthem with no boundaries. It has resonated in basements worldwide, from karaoke sing-offs to sticky bar floors. Everyone can relate to falling into love with someone who may not be here forever or even right now.
Always on Time – Ja Rule featuring Ashanti
The 2000s saw the rise of many pop duos. Ja Rule and Ashanti offered something different from your typical country song. With collaborative songs like ‘Always on Time,’ they offer listeners an eclectic mix of sounds that is hard to find in just one genre today.
I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me) – Jay-Z featuring Pharrell
The collaboration between Jay-Z and Pharrell Williams has been a real treat for fans of both artists, with one stand-out being the song “I Just Wanna Love You.” The lyrics are irresistibly catchy in that off-key way only Pharrell can do.
Can’t Get You Out of My Head – Kylie Minogue.
Kylie Minogue’s “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” takes the listener on a journey through their deepest, darkest desires. It then refocuses them back to reality with cooling vocals and instrumentation soothing those hidden impulses.
Ms. Jackson – OutKast
“Ms. Jackson” is a touching song on the plights of thoughtless young love and its consequences. The song takes an interesting turn when it comes to addressing single mothers everywhere in hip-hop music. Big Boi and André 3000 delicately work through these wounds with captivating verses about apologies for absent fathers over warping production throughout “Ms. Jackson.”
Chasing Pavements – Adele
The first time Adele was on a significant stage, she captured the audience with her emotional intensity and soaring vocal range. Her song “Chasing Pavements” is about never catching up to what you want in life because it’s always moving away from you like pavement under your feet.
No Letting Go – Wayne Wonder
Wayne Wonder’s take on the ballad, “No Letting Go,” is a total package of sincerity and sexy. Flooded with traditional dancehall production, Wayne still leaves enough room for shaking ass with this catchy tune about not letting go no matter what happens.
Electric Feel – MGMT
MGMT’s “Electric Feel” brought a new era of psychedelic, synth-heavy pop-rock songs to the forefront of the 2000s. The reception proved that MGMT was onto something with their groove renaissance. It has been an omnipresent force ever since its release.
In Da Club – 50 Cent
50 Cent was born in South Jamaica, Queens, and is a rapper who has been making music for nearly two decades. He’s known as one of the first artists to cross over from rap icons to household names thanks to his crossover hit single “In Da Club.”
Confessions Pt. 2 – Usher
Usher is the king of infidelity. His song “Confessions Pt. 2” was a hit for incomparable vocals and grand narrative. It’s not hard to see why this album with catchy lyrics about cheating seemed like a good idea at first, but what really makes Usher so famous? He just does it better than anybody else.
Hips Don’t Lie – Shakira feat. Wyclef Jean
“Hips Don’t Lie” is a rhythmically driven song that features Shakira on vocals and Wyclef Jean as producer. The Fugees had initially written the track for their own album. When they realized it was too much like “Killing Me Softly,” they decided to collaborate with Colombian icon Shakira instead of just themselves.
Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars
The song Uptown Funk is a pure pop culture phenomenon. What started as an experimental endeavor quickly became the most beloved track of 2015. Bruno Mars’ voice contributed to its popularity. With seven consecutive weeks at number one on the UK Singles Chart and counting, there’s no telling how long this hit will last in our hearts.
Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera
This funk-laced single pays a perfect tribute to Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger. It was the only way for Adam Levine’s group, Maroon 5, to celebrate their decade of success in the 2000s.
Rolling in the Deep – Adele
After a successful debut, Adele’s second album ’21’ was overshadowed by her career-defining song, “Someone Like You.” Our chart shows that even though it received fewer plays than its predecessor, the lead single from 21′, Rolling in the Deep, still holds up as one of the best songs from the 2000s.
Happy – Pharrell
Pharrell Williams changed music history when he released ‘Happy,’ which quickly became a worldwide sensation. The song’s success was primarily due to its being featured on the Despicable Me 2 (2013) soundtrack. It hit number one on Billboard Hot 100 charts during 4 consecutive weeks while selling more than six million copies across international markets.
Which of these songs from the 2000s is on your playlist? Let us know in the comments section below.