Shakira. That’s all you need to know. Shakira. This Colombian beauty with a funny singing voice is one of the most successful Latin artists of all time with records both in English and Spanish. Her biggest hit in the US is Hips Don’t Lie. And I’m not going to lie about how great this song is. The production is fun to listen to with those salsa horns and worldbeat percussion. It just oozes sex appeal thanks to Shakira herself. Wyclef Jean is featured on the track and he’s having a blast. The dude has some really good chemistry with Shakira and it results in a good time for the listener.
While most people now know Estelle as the voice of Garnet from Steven Universe, she also has a music career. Her breakout hit in the US is American Boy, which is about, well, Estelle meeting a guy in America and wanting to visit all of the major cities like L.A. and New York. Kanye West plays the role of this American guy and his self-absorbed silliness makes the track even better. The production is really smooth, it’s this electro-disco hybrid with hints of guitar, keys, and synths. And it’s all done by will.i.am, proving that will.i.am isn’t a talentless hack when it comes to production. I don’t know about you, but I can’t listen to Estelle anymore without thinking of Garnet. Thanks, Steven Universe.
In the latest edition of the Kanye show, we have Slow Jamz from Kanye, Jamie Foxx, and Twista. Kanye samples Luther Vandross’ cover of A House Is Not A Home for this smooth and sultry production. Throughout the song, there are references to a lot of R&B/soul artists from the past like Marvin Gaye, Lather Vandross, Anita Baker, et cetera, et cetera, in relation to sex. Jamie Foxx does the hook, Kanye is being his usual self, and we get two rapid-fire verses from Twista. Slow Jams is pretty much a humorous love letter to old school R&B and soul. But the Kanye show isn’t over yet.
Nobody stays young forever, which is the sentiment that T.I. shares in his hit Dead And Gone with Justin Timberlake. In the song, T.I. reminisces about his younger days and all of the mistakes that he has made. He regrets some of the decisions he made, but they helped him grow as a man and promises to never make them again. He dedicated this song to his best friend Philant Johnson, who died in a drive-by shooting in 2006, even mentioning him in a few lines. Dead And Gone, a self-reflection of one’s self.
Did I ever mentioned how awesome 2000s alternative was? Just look at the Killers and their debut single Mr. Brightside. This upbeat instrumentation would fit in perfectly with the 80s, fusing alt-rock with new wave. Lead singer Brandon Flowers is one hell of a front man with a lot of presence and charisma. Meanwhile, he’s paranoid about his girlfriend cheating on him with another man. The Killers are another band that I think are worth your time checking out because they’re pretty dope.
By now, you’ve heard The Double Agent praise this song and call it the best number one hit of the 2000s. Even though my pick for number one is different, I 100% agree with his praise for Smooth. The instrumentation is awesome. Every instrument works perfectly: the guitars, the percussion, the piano, the horns, the organs, everything. Santana brought their A-game to this song and didn’t slack. Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty is featured on this song and he fits perfectly, adding some more fun to the song. It’s not hard to see why everyone loves this song.
FINALLY!! We get to talk about Eminem. The time from 1999 to 2003 was Eminem at his commercial and creative peak. Let’s talk about two singles from The Eminem Show, Without Me and Cleaning Out My Closet. Without Me is the Slim Shady single that’s centered on Eminem’s impact on the music industry and making fun of every celebrity that was relevant at the time. He compares himself to Elvis as they’re both white artists succeeding in a predominately black music genre. The list of people who he dissed on this song includes former Vice President Dick Cheney, The FCC, NSYNC’s Chris Kirkpatrick, Limp Bizkit, Moby, his own wife, and his mother. Speaking of his mom, she’s the topic of Cleaning Out My Closet, which is a much more serious track. Eminem has made several jabs at his own mom in previous records, but this time, she’s the main focus. Eminem is venting out his frustration with his mom because of his experiences growing up. 11 years later, with the release of Marshall Mathers LP 2, Eminem apologized to his mom for all of the horrible things he said about her in the track Headlights. Goes to show that age can change people.
Simply put, Nas is the GOAT (greatest of all time). There’s not that many emcees of his caliber nowadays. Unlike his former rival Jay Z, Nas doesn’t have many hits and one of the hits he has under his belt is I Can. The production is a simple hip-hop drum loop and a piano sample of Beethoven’s Für Elise. This song is aimed toward black kids, with the first two verses encouraging them to stay away from drugs, be careful of the company you keep, and be willing to work hard to pursue their dreams, whether it’d be a doctor, lawyer, or even President of the United States. The third verse is dedicated to the true history of Africa that they never teach you at school, how mighty black kingdoms like Nubia, Kush, Timbuktu, etc., were before European colonization occurred. The song is a bit corny, sounding like an after-school special, but it’s trying to guide kids towards a better path, which is admirable. Rap could use more positivity like this.
Outside of The Neptunes, Timbaland has produced more hits in the 2000s than anyone can count in their hands. Hell, a good number of songs that he produced made this list, including his own hit, Give It To Me. This is a scathing diss against Scott Storch, who Timbaland had a feud over writing credits for Cry Me A River. Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake are also on the song and they throw in some disses at other people, most speculate that they’re aimed at Fergie and Prince specifically. Drama aside, this is a club banger with warbling keys, buzzing synths, and tribal percussion. It’s some of Timbaland’s best production to date and it went to one hell of a song.
One of the most underrated hits of the decade comes from R&B trio City High and their song What Would You Do. This song tells the story of a guy who meets a stripper who happens to be someone he once knew. He asks her why she’s stripping and she responds with asking him what would he do if he had a baby and the other spouse isn’t around an the only way to put food on the table is through prostitution and the details surrounding the lyrics show why her life would go down that road. This is something poor single mothers in the hood have experience with even now and it shows that people’s lives are a lot more complex than you think. If you haven’t heard this song, then check it out.
And now for another song from Queen Bey herself, Irreplaceable. I like the production of this song the most as it’s an acoustic guitar ballad with 808 drums and cello. The chorus is catchy as hell as it sticks in your brain for days after hearing it. Lyrically, it’s a break-up song where Beyonce is kicking her man out after finding out he cheated on her. He tries to convince her to let him stay, saying that she’ll never find another guy like him, but Bey isn’t having it and reminds him that he’s not irreplaceable. No mercy for the wicked around here.
The only country song on the list, which will probably irk some of my readers who are country fans, but this is just how the list came down. Anywho, I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack. It’s a beautiful sounding song thanks to the instrumentation. The string arrangement adds a nice touch along with the acoustic and electric guitars. In the song, we have a mother talking to her kids and expressing hope for them to stay who they are as they forge their own path in life. It does lean a bit more easy-listening territory, but it’s a good song.
The last time I talked about Third Eye Blind was for their hit Semi-Charmed Life. Now, I’m going to discuss another hit song from this band, Never Let You Go. I dig this instrumentation. It’s simple pop rock that’s memorable and upbeat, though the latter can’t be said about the lyrical content. In this song, Stephan Jenkins knows that his relationship is coming to an end. But unlike the lead singer of Deep Blue Something, who tried to save the relationship with a movie, he understands that it’s best to let it end, even though he doesn’t want to forget about his girl. This song ultimately succeeds where Breakfast At Tiffany’s fails and it becomes a great song in the process.
Making her second appearance on this list is JoJo with Too Little Too Late. This song holds up more than Leave (Get Out) and is a MUCH better song with guitar and string-driven production. Here, JoJo’s ex-boyfriend is trying to get back in a relationship with her, but she’s not buying what he’s saying, so she’s letting him go because he hurt her too much. No matter his words, it was too little, too late. JoJo has improved a lot more as a vocalist since her debut and this song shows. One of my favorite songs from 2006.
Linkin Park has helped me a lot through middle school and they’ve done the same for other kids who grew up in the 2000s. Their music was therapeutic and they weren’t afraid to be different with their music, which is why they stood out the most. Both Numb and Breaking The Habit showcase that and are two of the band’s best songs. Numb is about being hurt so emotionally that you just become numb to the pain and this is a situation that can apply to any situation, which gives the song its universal appeal. Chester’s vocals and the glitchy synths and intense guitar riffs both sell the song pretty well. The song got another boost of popularity thanks to a mashup with Jay Z, which is also on this list. Breaking The Habit is one of those songs that I’ve listened to a lot when I was younger and I still do because it’s great. The cold synths and prominent drums create a schizophrenic atmosphere which goes with the song’s theme of being trapped in a habit. Chester’s vocals go from a shimmering whimper to an explosive, especially when the bridge kicks in. Add in a great music video and you got one of my favorite Linkin Park songs alongside Numb.
Something that Kanye is known for is his weird sense of humor. With Gold Digger, we get that, plus, bouncy production and some sprinkles of truth. Jamie Foxx is featured on the song doing a Ray Charles impersonation while interpolating his song I Got A Woman. Meanwhile, Kanye is telling a story about a guy whose misfortune struck him with a woman who’s using him for financial gain, using child support for her own lavish lifestyle. It’s a cautionary tale warning some dudes to be careful about certain women out there.
The quintessential pop rock song of the 2000s is Jimmy Eat World’s The Middle. It’s one of the best pop rock songs of the decade. The instrumentation rocks; I love the guitar riffs, the bassline, the drum work, and the guitar solo. It’s what a good rock song should sound like. The song was written after Jimmy Eat World was dropped from Capitol Records when their album didn’t sell that well. It tells the listener (and the band themselves) to not give up or lose hope. It’s a message of self-acceptance, which is something that a lot of people who feel disenfranchised can connect to. Kick ass song, great message.
Honesty time: I like Coldplay. Their brand of emotionally-driven mellow music just speaks to me in some way. A good example of that is their song Clocks. It has a piano riff that everyone knows and have attempted. The rest of the instrumentation is minimal with bass, drums, and some synthesizers. The way Chris Martin sings with the instrumentation is really dope. The writing is based around humanity’s obsession around time. Knowing that life has a limit, people wonder how to make the best of their time on Earth and leave a legacy that could be beneficial. Clocks is one of numerous classics from Coldplay.
However way you look at it, So What by Pink kicks all types of ass. It was inspired by her separation from boyfriend Carey Hart. It details what she went through after they broke off and she was newly single. So she gets drunk and wrecks shit. I find this hilarious because if you listen to the song, it’s clear that she’s still not over it, yet she puts on a persona and acts like she doesn’t care, solidified by the constant…
Na na na na na na na, na na na na na na
… that matches the melodies. It could potentially turn some people off to the song, but I don’t mind it. It’s so childish to the point of hilarity. Speaking of melodies, the instrumentation sound pretty good. It’s an electro-rock fusion with guitar riffs and synths. One of Pink’s best songs.
Contrasting the immaturity of So What is Sober. This song is much more serious with heavier guitar riffs and thumping drums in its instrumentation and lyrics surrounding sobriety. Pink questions why she’s always getting drunk in order to kill the pain. Sometimes, being the drunk at the party isn’t that cool, especially with the side effects that’ll come with it. That temporary high isn’t worth your life going down the toilet. Sober is one of her best songs to date and if anyone asks why I’m a fan of hers, I’ll point them to this song immediately.
Here’s what could potentially be a subject for Todd In The Shadows’ One-Hit Wonderland video in the future, Paper Planes from M.I.A. The production is a melting pot of different music styles from rap to alternative to worldbeat with those synths and snap percussion. It’s a dazzling sound unlike anything the charts have ever seen. The chorus is the best part of the song; you’re always anticipating the gunshots and cash register sounds to kick in when they do and it’s a lot more fun to do with friends. M.I.A.’s rap-singing adds a lot of color to the track, which makes fun of the perception of immigrants. It’s one hell of a banger.
Hey, look. It’s Justin Timberlake. A year after NSYNC broke up, Justin Timberlake released his solo debut Justified, working with Timbaland and The Neptunes on Cry Me A River and Rock Your Body respectively. Cry Me A River is a post-breakup song where a guy is trying to move on with his life after his ex-girlfriend cheated on him. When she tries to get back into his life, he tells her to piss off because of how brokenhearted she left him. Apparently, this was inspired by Timberlake’s relationship with Britney Spears. Rock Your Body is a funktastic pop record that’s obviously inspired by Michael Jackson. The groovy bass, guitar licks, and synthesized swirls make for a song catered to the dance floor. It’s just a fun, flirty record showcasing JT’s vocal delivery and swagger. This and Cry Me A River were the first steps for Timberlake to be taken seriously as an artist.
In the 2000s, the Red Hot Chili Peppers continued their long-lasting career, releasing the triple album Stadium Arcadium. It’s a modern-day classic that you have to listen to at least once. One of the singles off the album is Snow (Hey Oh). This song is much more mellow and soft in the instrumentation. The song is about starting over fresh with a new beginning, which is something that was real for Anthony Kiedis, who had already overcome severe drug addiction. It’s one of the more inspiring rock songs of the time and it’s damn good.
Here’s the song that established that Kelly Clarkson was here to stay, Since U Been Gone. A pop rock song with light and explosive guitars clashing with each other into an explosive chorus that shows off Clarkson’s huge vocals. The writing is centered on a girl who’s finally happy that her crappy relationship is over since that’s less bullshit she has to deal with. For her, this was the best thing to have ever happened to her. Since U Been Gone, one of Kelly’s best songs to date.
U2’s career has been thriving since the 80s and is still is. They’ve got a good number of classics under their including Beautiful Day. The production is anchored on electric keys and synthesized strings and includes guitar riffs and alt-rock percussion. Bono stated that the song is about losing nearly everything you have, but appreciating the gift of life and a beautiful day. A bit too optimistic, but what the hell. This is still an epic staple for arena shows.
Before 2006, Ne-Yo worked as a songwriter, penning songs for various names in R&B at the time. Then came his breakout hit So Sick. This song has some really good production for its time, being mostly harp, synths, and percussion. In the song, Ne-Yo is starting to feel really crappy after his girlfriend broke up with him. He tries so hard to forget about her, but fails. It reaches a point where he’s sick of love songs, yet he can’t stop listening because they remind him of their time together. This is a song that started Ne-Yo’s music career and would generate a good number of hits.
Something that we kinda forget when it comes to Michael Jackson is that he’s very good at adapting to the times. His underrated masterpiece Invincible represented the sound of pop and R&B in the early 2000s, yet it still holds up. Just look at Butterflies, for example. The production is mid-tempo and driven by electric piano, synths, and strings that sounds heavenly alongside Michael’s best vocal performance throughout the Invincible album. It describes the experience of falling in love, how it can sometimes give you butterflies in your stomach. A shame Michael isn’t here because who knows what else he had in store for us?
The biggest appeal of Kanye West was his ability to break out of the norm at a time when gangsta rap was the thing to emulate. Take Jesus Walks, for example. It’s a song that’s heavily religious with pulsing instrumentation that sounds like marching music. And the lyrics have a religious tone, speaking about how Jesus walks with all of us, even the wicked. Which makes you wonder why Jesus lets so much crap happen around the world instead of intervening. Ehh, who knows? I’m not a religious guy, so I’ll leave that to the people who are religious. Still, Jesus Walks is pretty damn dope.
You didn’t think I was gonna forget about Lady Gaga, did you? I’m going to make a bold statement: Lady Gaga saved pop music in the late 2000s. She brought a level of quality back to the genre that it desperately needed. Just Dance remains one of her best songs ever with its heavy synthpop production that bumps. Gaga is one hell of a singer, belting a lot better than other pop stars of the time while she’s drunk as all hell in the club. Colby O’Donnis was forgettable and there are some obvious use of Auto-Tune, but they don’t take away my enjoyment of the song. We’re fortunate to have an artist like Lady Gaga.
Here, we have two hip-hop classics courtesy of Dr. Dre, Forgot About Dre and The Next Episode, both singles are from Chronic 2001. Forgot about Dre is a song where Dre addresses all of his haters and critics who say that he fell off and has sold out. He assures everyone that he’s still the same Nigga With an Attitude and that he still has an influence over rap. Eminem shows up and steals the show. It’s clear that he wrote the entire song because he and Dre are both rapping in a multi-syllabic rapid-fire flow. The Next Episode is a certified banger. This time around, Dre brought in Kurupt, Snoop Dogg, and Nate Dogg for another gangsta rap hit full of weed, women, and representing your hood. The beat has some of Dre’s best production to date. The way it flipped this song was crazy. And of course, it has one of the best outros thanks to Nate Dogg and his final line “smoke weed everyday.” This song and Forgot About Dre? Classics.
You know what band is really good? Matchbox Twenty. I enjoy a good number of their songs and you can add Unwell onto that list. The instrumentation is really good. I have no complaints about it, the banjo was a cool addition to the track. The writing is centered on the idea that people in general are kinda messed up in the head and that’s not always a bad thing since we’re all unique in our own way. Rob Thomas insists that he’s not crazy, just a little unwell. Maybe we’re all unwell. So, yeah. I really like this.
Man, I haven’t heard this song in a long time. Gnarls Barkley is the side project of both producer Danger Mouse and singer Cee-Lo Green. Their big hit is Crazy. No, I’m not saying the song is crazy, I’m saying that the song is called Crazy. Anywho, I like this production, which is this sticky bassline and drum loop in the verses and strings in the chorus. And we can’t forget those backing vocals, creating a doo-wop/alt-rock fusion. Cee-Lo kills it vocally, singing about people going crazy (duh). I loved this song when I was younger, I love it now.
What do you get when you take Jay Z’s Encore and fused it with Linkin Park’s Numb? You get one of the best mash-up tracks to ever become a hit. Hell, I actually like this mash-up as much as the original songs. Somehow someway, both Numb and Encore go together beautifully like peanut butter and jelly, creating this rap-rock hybrid from the instrumental of the dark and gothic Numb and lyrics from both songs, mostly Encore. It sounds less like a mash-up and more like an original song. Can we get more mash-ups like this on the charts, please?
Time to talk once again about one of my favorite rappers of all time, Lupe Fiasco. His first two albums, Food & Liquor and The Cool are hip-hop classics. He has so many great songs that I don’t even consider Superstar to be one of his top 10 best songs. Yet it’s still great. The soulful production and catchy chorus from Matthew Santos makes for a song that will easily cross over. Meanwhile, Lupe brings his own brand of bars, spitting that life in the spotlight isn’t that glamorous. He exposes the ugly side of fame that most people don’t even know about like people paying attention to you 24/7, meaning any flaws you show will be seen and be the subject of tabloids. People don’t see the process, only the result. This song could easily apply to today’s social media age, so Lupe was kinda ahead of his time.
I was originally planning a Musical Appreciation of this song, but I decided to talk about it here. Over subdued pop rock instrumentation, Who Knew is a song about the loss of a good friend and it could be interpreted as either the friend died or the friendship died and two of you don’t hang out like they used to. In Pink’s case, she lost a lot of friends who were drug addicts and suffered because of it. Hell, she could’ve went down that road. If you lost a friend to whatever cause, have this song on your playlist.
The Real Slim Shady is the Slim Shady single for The Marshall Mathers LP and it’s glorious. Like every Slim Shady song, Eminem shows no mercy to anyone who gets caught in his crossfire, making fun of and dissing the boy bands, pop princesses like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, Tom Green, Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee, Will Smith, and even proclaiming that Dr. Dre is dead and locked in his basement. The chorus makes fun of how every little white kid back then wanted to be like Slim Shady, so he proclaims “will the real Slim Shady please stand up?” And with how silly all of this is, Eminem still proves how much of a top-tier emcee he is. Eminem: whether he’s being serious or sarcastic, he still brings the bars.
The song that started a career. Fallin’ By Alicia Keys. What can be said about this song? It’s pretty much one of her signature hits. The piano composition of this song is fantastic, sounding old-school, but modern at the same time. And it was produced by Alicia Keys herself, who also wrote the song by herself. A black female artist who writes and produces her own song? Hell yeah. Fallin’ deals with the complications of falling in and out of love with someone like a tsundere. There’s moments where she can’t stand the sight of this dude and there are other times where she wants to be all over him. And of course, Alicia Keys delivers a killer vocal performance, starting soft and gentle and then building up to something more explosive. Great first impression for an amazing artist.
Before her death, Aaliyah had wrapped up shooting the music video for this song, Rock The Boat. God, I love this song. The breezy Caribbean-inspired grooves of the production makes you feel like you’re on an island. And of course, Aaliyah blesses the track with her beautifully angelic voice in what’s basically a sex song. Yyyyyyyyyeah. Rock the boat, work the middle, change positions, new positions, stroke it on me. It couldn’t be about anything else. Still, this song is a favorite of mine from Aaliyah.
Kid Cudi now is a waste of talent, dropping mediocre project after mediocre project. It’s a shame because he showed a lot of potential in 2009 with his breakout hit Day N’ Nite. The production is trippy thanks to spacey synths and keys and thumping percussion. The song is focused on a lonely stoner, who is Kid Cudi in this case, who suffering from depression and anxiety and the only way he deals with these issues is sitting alone, getting high. For him, this is his escape from the harshness of reality. Day N’ Nite is a song that stood out the most in the late 2000s and it deserved to be as big as it did. Sadly, Kid Cudi would never recapture this magic.
In 2003, OutKast released Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, a double-disc album with Speakerboxxx full of solo Big Boi tracks and The Love Below belonging to Andre 3000 who experiments with different music styles. Hey Ya was unlike any song on the radio at the time thanks to its production, which consisted of acoustic guitar, keys, and percussion. It was tough to determine what genre to put it in. In spite of the more upbeat production, Andre is singing about being brokenhearted after his girlfriend left him. Talk about musical irony. The Way You Move is a hip-hop banger dedicated to women that Big Boi and Sleepy Brown like. The production is mostly 808 drums on the verses and an explosive, horn and synth-driven chrous from Sleepy Brown. OutKast were truly in a place of their own creatively and they’ll never be recreated, no matter how hard anyone in the industry.
Oh, the reactions I’m going to get for this choice. But I stopped caring a while ago. I was planning on doing a Musical Appreciation on this song, but I think this is the best time to give my full thoughts on it. My feelings for A Thousand Miles is exactly the same as Terry Crews’ character in White Chicks. In order words, even though it’s the ultimate white girl song, I love it to death. It all comes down to how catchy it is. I’ve listened to this song so many times that I remember every single line of it. The instrumentation is SO good. It has one of the best piano riffs in modern pop and the string arrangement is so fucking dope. It’s a love song where the protagonist is willing to go the extra mile for that special someone. As for Vanessa Carlton? She’s a serviceable singer. I can understand why some wouldn’t be a fan, but I love this song mainly for the instrumentation and how catchy it is. I wonder if Todd In The Shadows is going to cover this song in a One-Hit Wonderland episode.
I would easily rank Dani California as one of the top 5 best Red Hot Chili Peppers songs to date and I won’t take it back. This is a fantastic song with some of their best, hard-hitting instrumentation ever. Smith’s drums hit hard, Frusciante’s guitar work slays, Flea’s basslines are funky as hell, and Kiedis kills it vocally. The song is centered on a woman named Dani, who resides in California and lives life to the extreme. She was first introduced in the Chili Peppers’ previous song Californication and in this song, her full life story is told and it concludes with her death at the end. Seriously. In spite of that ending, the song rocks and further cements the Chili Peppers’ awesomeness.
And we’ve reached the conclusion of the Kanye show with one of his best hits to date, the number one hit Stronger. It was ahead of its time as a hip-hop song with electronic production. Plus, it sampled Daft frickin’ Punk and their song Harder, Better, Faster Stronger. And it bangs harder than most hip-hop club songs in its day and even now. The hook is based on the ideal of “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” which could be applied to his rise in fame as a hip-hop artist who’s also dominating the pop charts. For Kanye, this song is a bit of a victory lap after finally achieving the success he was aiming for, resulting in one of his best songs to date.
Try Again is a song by Aaliyah that was made for the soundtrack to the movie Romeo Must Die, which Aaliyah also stars in. Timbaland gives us another dope beat with synths that warble and buzz, complimented by his signature percussion patterns. Aaliyah’s vocals always seem to mesh well with Timbo’s more harsher production style. Lyrically, the song encourages a guy to try asking a girl out on a date again if his first time doesn’t go well. It’s like Batman Begins said; we fall so that we learn to pick ourselves up again. Another club banger courtesy of Timbaland and another great song from Aaliyah.
The crowning moment of achievement for Green Day was their 2009 album 21st Century Breakdown. They went further into political themes, capturing the mindset of America during the time and it’s all encapsulated into 21 Guns. A song that questions the so-called patriotism that the US shows whenever the drums of war are rung. What’s the point of fighting a war that isn’t worth fighting? That’s something certain Americans and our politicians don’t understand and they wonder why there’s little trust in our system. The instrumentation rocks harder than diamonds, starting with a solo acoustic guitar before exploding in the chorus kinda like Boulevard Of Broken Dreams. Song is amazing.
We don’t deserve The Gorillaz. A British band consisting of animated anthropomorphic gorillas making some of the greatest masterpieces in alternative rock, culminating in their 2005 magnum opus Demon Days. Feel Good Inc is their biggest hit and represents who they are. I like the production; it’s this alt-rock sound with one hell of a bassline in the verses and acoustic guitar and synthesized strings in the chorus. The song is centered on isolating yourself from the norm to not become part of a herd mentality. Legendary hip-hop group De La Soul makes an appearance on this song and they’re entertaining as hell. The Gorillaz seems to know how to bring out some good performances from their guest features. The band recently released a new album and I can’t wait to listen to it. Feel Good Inc, one of the best songs of the decade.
Coldplay’s crowning moment of awesome was making a song whose instrumentation was mostly grandiose strings with little to no guitar use and have it become an awesome smash hit. What I just briefly described was Vida la Vida. The orchestral string arrangement is epic as hell along with the use of timpani, church bells, and some digitized keys. Throughout the song, Chris Martin makes several historically Christian references to tell the story of a ruler who lost his kingdom thanks to a revolution. This one of the more unique songs to become a hit and is part of the reason why I’m a Coldplay fan.
Usher’s Confessions is one of the biggest R&B albums of the decade, spawning four number one hits that topped the charts for months. One of those hits stayed there for 12 weeks and it’s called Yeah!. It had all of the perfect ingredients needed to make a bonafide smash hit at the time. The production was handled by Lil Jon that appealed to hip-hop, R&B, and pop audiences and features a bumping crunk beat and a simple, but effective synth melody. Out of all the crunk-sounding songs, it has aged the best. Usher was at his peak and he slays this song vocally. Lil Jon also contributes his signature ad-libs to make the song more crunk. And of course, Ludacris is also featured and he brings some more swagger to this track, bringing a flow that fits the song like a glove. Yeah! is one of those timeless party songs that pretty much defined the 2000s decade as a whole and is guaranteed to make any social gathering more hype. Peace up. A-Town down.
Another subject from a past Musical Appreciation. We have Ms. Jackson by OutKast. A song about getting along with the mother of your baby mama after you both broke up. When your baby mama’s mama doesn’t like you and doesn’t want to see you again, but you don’t care about the drama, you just want to take care of your child and make sure they’re well-off. The song was inspired by Andre 3000’s relationship with the mother of Erykah Badu, who he has a son with. This song has two different deliveries of this premise with Big Boi being more earnest with his patience at an all time low while Andre is more poetic, comparing his relationships to the weather. All of this is done over a sample of Brothers Johnson’s Strawberry Letter 23 in what would be the second best hip-hop hit of the decade. What’s number one? Well, you already know it by now.
And now, the number one best song of the 2000s IS…………
When asked “what song represents this decade” relative to the 2000s, you’re bound to get different responses. But I can guarantee you that this song would be mentioned. Made for the soundtrack to the semi-biopic 8 Mile, Lose Yourself would not only become one of Eminem’s biggest and most iconic hits to date, but it would be one of the biggest and most iconic hits of the decade period. And it deserves every praise it gets. This is the ultimate motivation song in the same vain as Eye Of The Tiger and I Believe I Can Fly. It starts with a melacholy piano and organ until that iconic aggressive guitar riff comes in and starts the track. And of course, Eminem matches the intensity of this production with his flow and lyrics as he raps the plot to 8 Mile. His character, B-Rabbit, is piss poor, living in a Detroit trailer park with his mom. With all of this baggage, B-Rabbit gets into the ruthless world of battle rap, where he mentally prepares himself to go up against other rappers kinda like Rocky when he gets into the ring. He only get one shot to go all out and impress the crowd. This can also be a metaphor for those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities in life that you have to decide whether to take it or let it slip away. Lose Yourself is a song that can be applied to any situation where you’re preparing yourself for any event like a big game, a classroom presentation, or even battle rap. This is why, in my opinion, Lose Yourself is the best hit song of the 2000s.
And that was my list for the 100 best songs of the 2000s. What are your favorite songs from the past decade? Comment below and let me know. In two weeks, we’re gonna hop into the DeLorean and begin our journey BACK TO THE 80s with the Worst Songs of 1980.
SONGS OF THE WEEK
You Rock My World-Michael Jackson
Let My Love Open The Door-Pete Townshend
Want Me Bad-KYLE ft Cousin Stizz
Don’t Stay Home-311