Top 100 Songs of the Noughties

Rob Zombie & Ozzy Osbourne – “Iron Head” – (2001)

Well this is a non-tradition duet (both Rob Zombie and Ozzy Osbourne would probably beat you to near death with a guitar if you called this a “duet”). Whatever – it’s two musicians and vocalists joining forces for one song and the word “featured” is not in the artist line. Originally, Zombie was going to record this solo after working with Ozzy on it but he felt it lacked that special touch so he invited Ozzy to sing on it as well. Something different and a little heavier for your Friday. (Oh crap, I forgot this would be posted on Valentine’s Day – I guess I coulda went with something a little more romantic, eh?)

Ricky Martin & Christina Aguilera – “Nobody Wants To Be Lonely” – (2000)

Here’s a big dose of the year 2000. Two of the biggest names of 1999 teamed up for a top 20 hit in 2000. It was a #1 elsewhere and on three other American Billboard charts (Hot Latin Songs, Latin Pop Songs, Tropical Songs). This lost the Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals Grammy to “Lady Marmalade” – also featuring Aguilera. Ricky Martin also recorded a Spanish single. Remember when Christina Aguilera used to try and cash in on her Latin heritage? Anyway, this song (and video) is a good slice of nostalgia. Enjoy.

‘N Sync – “This I Promise You” – (2000)

This top five ‘N Sync hit was written by 80s pop star Richard Marx. The boy band of all boy bands released their version first, with Marx releasing twice thereafter. This was the group’s final single from No Strings Attached – and the final ‘N Sync single from the boy band era (sorry, Celebrity was a day late and dollar short – even just barely). This was a #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart, which is unusual because adults didn’t necessarily care for music like this back when it was popular (they still don’t – but the people who liked this in 2000 are now adults… which is scary).

John Mayer – “3×5” – (2001)

Here’s another great song from John Mayer’s debut album. Say what you want about him or his behavior, songs, etc. now – he wrote some damn fine pop music back in 2001. This song didn’t even actually make the cut of the original release but was added when it had its major-label re-release. It’s really good. I love this album. I’ll probably end up featuring almost every track individually on this site.

Jack Johnson – “Sitting, Waiting, Wishing” – (2005)

Jack Johnson is one of the unsung musical heroes of the 2000s. His music is really good, really relaxed, and really happy. It’s chill. But he never realized the commercial, mainstream success of some of his peers (who aren’t nearly as good as he is). But talk to people and everyone loves him. Then why won’t radio stations play it as much as they play some of the garbage that they do? In Between Dreams might be his best album to date and this song only reached #66 on the Hot 100. At least it got him a Grammy nomination.

Alice in Chains – “Rooster” – (1992)

This is one of Alice in Chain’s most well-known songs and it’s the one track that got me into the band (not literally, I’m not a member, but I was a pretty big fan). This song peaked at #7 on the Mainstream Rock chart and still receives airplay on hard rock radio stations. I like how the verses are almost just spoken while the chorus is this loud booming thing. In the era of 140 character tweets and six-second videos, this is among the rare 6+ minute songs that I don’t mind listening to in full.

John Mayer – “Neon” – (2001)

Room for Squares is a great album. Just about every song is a winner and this is one of the best. This was the early, more pop-focused John Mayer so it’s upbeat yet soft. This was never a single, but knowing how well the singles did from his first album, I have little doubt this would’ve been a solid adult contemporary hit back about 2002. This is one of my favorite songs of his.

Michael Buble – “Lost” – (2007)

Michael Buble does a lot of vocal standards. That’s most of his repertoire, but occasionally he puts out a pop song (to try and gain airplay and sell records) that is original to the album it appears on. This song was actually co-written by Buble himself and it’s not a happy one. It was an adult contemporary hit, reaching #2 on that specific chart, though it could only manage #97 on the Hot 100.

Lenny Kravitz – “Where Are We Runnin’?” – (2004)

This song was Lenny Kravitz’s first hit in five years. It only reached #69 on the Hot 100, but at least it charted. It’s an upbeat rock song and I feel like it had to have appeared on a commercial for something, but maybe I just remember hearing it on the radio – primarily rock radio. It’s classic Kravitz and he really hasn’t had this big of a hit since. But he’s a great musician and you should never count him out.

John Mayer – “Vultures” – (2006)

This is my favorite song from my favorite John Mayer album – but it isn’t my favorite John Mayer song. It is the only song on the album that was actually written by the entire John Mayer Trio and the live version is pretty awesome too (not something I can always say about any artist). The guitar hook is super catchy and the lyric delivery just rocks (both are pretty normal for John Mayer). It’s bluesy and pop-esque and very, very good.

#1 – Justin Timberlake – “SexyBack” – (2006)

It was this song (and this album) that told me that Justin Timberlake is going to be the biggest pop star in the world – and one that, so far, I respect. He is extremely talented – much more so than his NSYNC days would lead you to believe, with that curly bleached-blond weirdo hairdo. This song topped about every pop chart in the U.S. and many overseas. A lot of credit has to go to Timbaland – who owned 2006. He produced this album and co-wrote the song (and appears in it as well). I have zero doubt that this is the biggest song of the 2000s. It put J.T. on top of the world and he hasn’t left that position since. Thanks for following along!

#2 – Coldplay – “Yellow” – (2000)

Yes, Coldplay has two songs in the top 10 on this list. Why? Because they’re one of the biggest bands to come out of the 2000s and they’ve scored big hit after massive big hit. I didn’t like this song when it first came out because I thought Chris Martin looked like a goober for walking down that beach in the rain. Most Coldplay songs take a little while to grow on me, but I now realize that the Parachutes songs are some of their best. This was Coldplay’s first big single and it gave us a peek at what everything to come would be like.

#3 – Eminem – “Lose Yourself” – (2002)

Everybody remembers how big this song was and what a big deal was made of the “Eminem movie” (8 Mile). I never saw it (as I have been able to avoid just about every “hip-hop drama” ever made) and have no desire to see it. And I got kind of bored with the song because it was on the air constantly – it was a #1 on the Hot 100. It also won an Oscar and a Grammy. Can you believe that Eminem is halfway to EGOTing? Watch out Barbra Streisand. Honestly though, this might be Eminem’s masterpiece. It’s certainly one of the most powerful hip-hop songs ever written. In some ways, it signaled a change in Eminem’s career path. More or less gone were the goofy early days of Slim Shady and the angry (and arguably just as fun) Eminem had emerged. It’s pretty good.

#4 – Cake – “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” – (2001)

Cake has some of the coolest album art of any band. It’s consistently cool. And so are their album titles. They’ve had their hits over the years but this is far and away the best of them. It later became famous as the (instrumental) theme song for the awesome TV series Chuck. It’s also my ringtone. What’s great about this song? Let’s start with the lyrics: they’re brilliant. I can’t say more without listing them all right here (“She’s trading her MG for a white Chrysler LeBaron” – seriously? I love that). Then there’s that Cake signature sound: flat lyric delivery backed up by bass and brass. Bass and brass: it’s the gateway to the musical part of my heart. One of the best songs ever.

#5 – The Shins – “New Slang” – (2001)

I’ll admit: if it weren’t for Zach Braff, I wouldn’t know this song. It was featured in an episode of Scrubs (where he had some influence on the show’s musical choices) and in his film Garden State – where it was featured rather heavily as Natalie Portman’s character even says “this song will change your life.” Life changing, I don’t know – but I do know that it made a significant impact on me when I really got into it. The music is relatively simple (I hear a tambourine) and the lyrics are intelligible and harmonious and nice. The right song for the right time.

#6 – OutKast – “B.O.B.” – (2000)

This was the first OutKast song I ever head (sheltered, I know) and I didn’t care for it immediately. But boy has it grown on me. Andre 3000’s vocals are insane (and so are Big Boi’s). “B.O.B” stands for “Bombs Over Baghdad” which, at the time, was probably referencing earlier bombings of Iraq but were quite the forbearer of bad news. Anyway, the video: it’s full of weird colors and Big Boi wearing a Cincinnati Reds jersey. But what’s really great here (aside from the killer vocals) is the mixture of the drum & bass nature of the music with rap and gospel-esque vocals. The best OutKast song ever in my opinion.

#7 – Rage Against the Machine – “Renegades of Funk” – (2000)

I love this song. It’s a cover of a 1983 single by Afrika Bambaataa – but this version has Tom Morello killing it and a sweet bass line. And the vocals are awesome – as is normally the case with Rage songs. Eventually there will be a “Top Rock Songs of the 00s” countdown and this would have been #1 on that list, so keep that in mind whenever that list comes about. Wikipedia lists the genre of this song as “Funk Metal” which sounds awesome and I couldn’t name another song that would fall under that category.

#8 – Lily Allen – “Smile” – (2006)

“Smile” was Lily Allen’s first single and biggest hit. It has a catchy, bouncing beat and sassy, cheeky lyrics delivered in a even-toned voice. The chorus “At worst I feel bad for a while, then I just smile” is easy to pick up. It was a #1 in the U.K. – rightfully so as Lily Allen was a huge star around the time this came out and a kind of musical darling of London (perhaps that’s overstating it a little). Anyway, this is one of the best examples of this decade’s sound.

#9 – Coldplay – “Clocks” – (2002)

I think we can all agree that Coldplay is one of the biggest bands (if not the biggest band) of the 2000s (and going). I can’t believe this song is 11 years old. It has some of the catchiest and melodious piano hooks ever. A Rush of Blood to the Head is among the greatest albums of the decade and this is the best song on the album. It’s one of Coldplay’s signature songs – mostly because of that piano hook. It wasn’t a huge hit (never hit #1 anywhere) but it did win a Grammy for Record of the Year.

#10 – Daft Punk – “One More Time” – (2001)

Whoops. I messed up. I already featured the song “Harder Better Faster Stronger” as part of my “Songs from Trips to Europe” list. I don’t like featuring songs twice, but had I not put it so high up on this list, I would’ve just replaced it with something else, which is what I’ve now tried to do. “One More Time” was a bigger hit anyway at the time. It might not be “Top Ten Songs of the Decade” great but it’s pretty good. If you’re taking this list that seriously, move this one back to the 70s and move everything else up a little. That’s what I get for not doing my homework.

#11 – Eve 6 – “Here’s to the Night” – (2000)

If you had any sort of graduation during the 2000s, then chances are this song either made you depressed or happy or both. This is a bittersweet song about moving on written in a happy time in world history. It’s one of the band’s signature songs. I’m not going to say much about it, but it’s really good.

#12 – Kylie Minogue – “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” – (2001)

This was a #1 all over Europe (and Australia/New Zealand) and rightfully so – everything about it scream “Euro dance pop.” It was a top ten in the U.S. and is just all around one of the biggest songs of the decade. It has become Kylie’s signature song – which is a unique thing because it happened on her eighth studio album. That’s a long time to wait to establish a signature song. That “la la la” hook will grab you and pull you in to the song. It’s catchy and it’s good.

#13 – soulDecision feat. Thrust – “Faded” – (2000)

Whoa! A boy band at #13? Are you serious? Yes. This is one of my favorite songs from the 1999/2000 era. I know every word. This is my example of “a song I like slipping past the criteria of greatness.” But greatness is subjective. I think this song is catchier than just about anything else ever. It’s a song everyone has forgotten about and overlooks from back in the day when boy bands ruled. It was a #1 in Canada and hit #66 on the Hot 100. Just consider everyone lucky I didn’t put this in the top 10.

#14 – Robert Plant & Allison Krauss – “Killing the Blues” – (2007)

I know I said that the top 20 or so songs were all major hits and really obvious, big-time players in the “Top Songs” arena… well this is my one exception. It was not a big radio hit. It did win a Grammy and I remember watching the Grammy ceremony that night on TV – I was ecstatic that this collaborative album – Raising Sand – won Album of the Year. Let’s take a step back and look at how bizarre this is: Robert Plant, lead singer of Led Zeppelin, teams up with Allison Krauss – a vocalist and fiddle player known for her bluegrass and country music and they – with the brilliant help of T-Bone Burnett – produce a folk rock album with heavy emphasis on Americana. The likelihood of these things working out? A million to one. But this is that one and it is amazing. This is my favorite song from the album. Give it a try.

#15 – John Mayer – “No Such Thing” – (2001)

John Mayer has had some good songs over the years but this was the first and it’s still among my favorites of his. It hit #13 on the Hot 100 and still receives regular radio airplay. I remember when I first heard it (out of town, of course – it took an extra few months before radio stations where I live to pick up new music). I remember thinking: this is good, upbeat, clean music with a very original vocal delivery. Room for Squares is one of the best albums of the decade and this is arguably the best song on it. But more importantly, it launched the career of one of – like him personally or not – the best musicians we have right now.

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