220px-get_rich_or_die_tryin50 Cent feat. Nate Dogg – “21 Questions” – (2003)

This was 50 Cent’s second single and his second #1 hit. Hilariously, this was the only single from the album not to need a Parental Advisory sticker. What makes it good? Nate Dogg, of course, who is always the best part of anything he was ever a part of. He had the best voice in hip-hop. The best lyric of this song: “I love you like a fat kid loves cake.”

John Mayer – “Bigger Than My Body” – (2003)

Look at how young John Mayer looks in this video. This was the first single from his second studio album, Heavier Things. The album title is John being snarky at his critics that said he only wrote light, poppy songs. In a different way, this song has much more electric guitar (a heavier sound) and was his first post-9/11 album (and light, poppy songs sort of disappeared for a bit). Yet this song is still upbeat and happy and very radio friendly (something Mayer seems to be grasping for at this point, but at the same time, I don’t think he cares).

Michael Buble – “Summer Wind” – (2003)

We’ve covered a number of Buble hits that were originals to his albums. Well now we’re getting into his covers of old standards (and how about a switch-up from the two songs from earlier this week?). The song was released on his 2003 album and it was not released as a single. The song was originally written in 1965 by Johnny Mercer and Heinz Meier. It was first recorded by Wayne Newton but the best known version is by Frank Sinatra. This version ain’t bad either.

#23 – OutKast – “Hey Ya!” – (2003)

This is one of a handful of songs on this list that, were this not my list, could easily be sitting at #1. It’s easily one of the biggest songs of the decade, even though I liked OutKast’s other big single from this weird double/split album better. Speakerboxxx/The Love Below was an album by OutKast – but it was essentially two albums. Big Boi had Speakerboxxx and Andre 3000 had The Love Below. They did their own thing without alienating their fans and making them think they were breaking up. This was a #1 on the Hot 100 and is known for its infectious beat and chorus – and Mr. 3000’s advice that you “shake it like a Polaroid picture.” I have come to appreciate this song much more than I did when it was new.

#50 – Warren Zevon – “Keep Me in Your Heart” – (2003)

If you’ve never delved into Warren Zevon’s music, you’re missing out. It’s usually pretty witty, upbeat and fun. Then there’s this song. It’s the final track from what he knew would be his final album. Asbestos exposure caused a terminal form of lung cancer and when he was diagnosed, Warren chose not to do chemotherapy. Instead, he started on a final album and this song was his goodbye song to life. If you ever get the opportunity to watch the Late Show episode where Zevon was Letterman’s only guest for the entire episode, watch it. The album was full of guest stars and won a Grammy. This is a really good song – more so when you know it’s back story.

#57 – The White Stripes – “Seven Nation Army” – (2003)

This is easily one of the top rock songs of the decade – that riff that plays throughout the whole song is instantly recognizable. It won a Grammy for Best Rock Song and topped the Modern Rock chart. It’s the best-known song of the group’s career. I really don’t know what else to say about it other than “that riff!” It’s just that good.

#81 – R. Kelly – “Ignition (Remix)” – (2003)

Before we get to R. Kelly, I want to say something real quick: Lady Gaga does not appear on this list. “Bad Romance” probably would have, but I featured it elsewhere. Oh well. Now: “Ignition.” This is one of my favorite hip-hop (yeah, it’s R&B, I know but it’s close enough to hip-hop for me to call it hip-hop) songs ever – I can sing most of the lyrics. It’s R. Kelly’s best song he’s ever done. “So baby give me that toot, toot!”… “It’s the remix to ignition – hot and fresh out the kitchen. Mama rollin’ that body got every man in here wishin’. Sippin’ on Coke and rum – I’m like ‘So what? I’m drunk.’ It’s the freakin’ weekend baby I’m about to have me some fun.” This went all the way to #2 on the Hot 100 and rightfully so (considering the Hot 100 during the 2000s was almost dominated by hip-hop).

Well I’m wasting no time in starting our next countdown: the Top 100 Songs of the Noughties. The 100 greatest songs released between 2000 and 2009. I chose to call it “the noughties” because that is my favorite name for the decade and the “00s” looks dumb and isn’t as fun to say. Now, in previous countdowns I’ve instituted rules such as “one song per artist.” That’s not the case this time around. And I know the theme of this blog is “re-discover songs from your past” and 2009 wasn’t all that long ago. But the entire decade has ended (were in the 4th year of the next decade, if I may scare you a little). Enough time has passed to sort through the music and find what I thought was the best – and that’s just it. It’s my opinion. You probably won’t agree, but at least you’ll get an insight into my warped mind. But seriously, I will try and make an argument as to why each song is here.

Also, you may notice a slight favoring of songs from the year 2000 and early 2001. This is because I love the 1990s and the 1990s didn’t end until 9/11. Think about it. They didn’t. At least not musically (okay, 2001 was pretty different from 2000, which was just an extension of 1999). There is also a favoring of later in the decade with the middle part getting skimmed over. Because it sucked. Almost all of these songs got regular radio airplay on pop music stations (with very few, and worthy, exceptions). The two songs I feature this week were “leftovers” – songs I don’t remember hearing on the radio that I personally discovered after the decade had ended. Here we go…

The Underground Project – “Summer Jam” – (2000)

One of the first songs on our Songs for Summer 2013 list-ish thing was “Fiesta” by The Sunclub, a late-90s electronica song (1997 to be exact). Well this was that club hit’s transformation into a pop song. It was remixed by German electronic dance duo The Underground Project for their album It Doesn’t Matter, which was released in Europe near the end of 2000 and in the U.S. in 2001. Listening to it, it screams 1999/2000 (or 2003, not sure when the video was made) and so does the music video. It’s really catchy and mellow. It was a hit in 2000 in four European countries (topping out in the top five in Germany). Then the single was released again in 2003 (as “Summer Jam 2003” – it’s the same song) where it went to #1 in Belgium and the Netherlands and a top five hit in France and Denmark. It’s good stuff.

Andres Linetzky & Ernesto Romero – “Sentimientos” – (2003)

“Sentimientos” (or feelings) is a newer song than the one featured yesterday, and frankly I like it a lot more. It’s instrumental – and that helps. It’s very moody but it has a good beat behind it, making it easy to picture yourself gliding across a shadowy dance floor. As the title of the song suggests, tango is about feeling – and the music here supports that. Just give it a listen.

Kraftwerk – “Tour de France Étape 2” – (2003)

German electronic music legends Kraftwerk released the Tour de France Soundtracks in 2003, their first original album since 1986. The entire Soundtracks album is amazing but “Tour de France Étape 2” really is the best track from the record. If you can’t picture people racing bicycles while listening to this song, there might be something wrong with you. There is something about it that just screams “European.” I can picture it playing on European TV… like during the Tour de France. Also, this song (and Kraftwerk’s music in general… we’ll get to another one in a few weeks) is essential European train-riding music. There’s just something amazing about blasting through the French countryside at dusk at 186mph with this song playing.