We’re here to celebrate the songs that hit 20 years old at the turn of the decade! From the rock melodies of 3 Doors Down’s “Kryptonite” to Eminem’s “The Real Slim Shady,” the 2000s brought us some of the best popular, rap, and alternative rock music that is recognizable to this day.
Are you ready to remember why you chose Team Britney over Team Christina all those years ago? It’s time to get some nostalgic music stuck in your head for the next few days! So shuffle on down the list and see if you stumble upon any long-forgotten favorite songs from the 2000s.
Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me”
As horrible as the message is in Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me,” people couldn’t help but sing along as he sang about cheating on his girl while his friend advises him to deny everything. Pro tip: bad idea. At least the narrator figures out that his friend is giving horrible advice!
“It Wasn’t Me” was the first single from Shaggy and is regarded as his breakthrough into the pop music scene. Although the song was released in 2000, it took a year to become the best selling single in the UK, with over one million copies sold.
“Ms. Jackson” By Outkast
Even though it was released in 2000, Outkast’s “Ms. Jackson” is one of those songs that come on, and you still can’t help but turn the volume up. The song has a very catchy beat, but with underlying themes that are more adult then people realize. Andre 3000 and Big Boi discuss the resulting issues that parental divorce, separation, or break-ups can have on kids’ relationships growing up.
“Ms. Jackson” was the second single to come out of Outkast’s album Stankonia. At the 44th Annual Grammy Awards, the song won for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, along with a BET Award for Video of the Year.
“It’s Gonna Be Me” By *NSYNC
Aside from giving us the “It’s Gonna Be May” meme showcasing Justin Timberlake’s ramen noodle hair, this N*SYNC song is still a jam 20 years later. The lyrics allude to a woman who had just gone through a bad breakup, and the boys are singing to ensure her that once she’s ready, it’s going to be “me” that dates her.
The boy band released “It’s Gonna Be Me” as their second single on the No Strings Attached album — the album all Team *NSYNC pre-teens had in their CD collection. In 2015, Rolling Stone ranked the song as the 15th greatest in boy band history.
Britney Spears’ “Oops!… I Did It Again”
When “Oops!… I Did It Again” came out in 2000, Team Christina fans thought for one second about switching over to Team Britney. It was considered an anthem among pre-teens, all of whom can most likely still sing the song from memory.
The song could only be topped by its accompanying music video, which has Spears on Mars in a red pleather jumpsuit, addressing an astronaut who fell in love with her. “Oops!… I Did It Again” was nominated for the Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and peaked at number nine of the Billboard Hot 100.
“With Arms Wide Open” By Creed
Creed’s song “With Arms Wide Open” is an unconventional love poem. It wasn’t until the band’s lead vocalist, Scott Stapp, found out he was going to be a father that the lyrics were finally pieced together. So, instead of the stereotypical 2000s love ballad, Creed gave us a loving message from a father to his unborn child.
The song hit the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as VH1’s top ten music video countdown for the 2000s. Stapp and bandmate Mark Tremonti also won a Grammy for Best Rock Song as the lyricists for “Arms Wide Open.”
“Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)” By Christina Aguilera
Team Christina fans will remember “Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)” as one of the songs of the 2000s. Lyrically, the song is about Aguilera checking out a guy she wants to potentially “date” while telling him how they should party together. Pretty much, it’s a song that we definitely didn’t understand when we were younger and have no clue how our parents allowed us to listen to it.
“Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)” had international success, peaking at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100. The song’s popularity even brought Rudy Perez to make a Spanish version!
“Music” Was Madonna’s Pseudo-Experiment
“Boogie-woogie, do you like to?” was the catchy hook in Madonna’s 2000s song, “Music.” Inspired by a Sting concert Madonna attended, the tune was written as a party song with an underlying theme of how people’s love of music brings them together.
“Music” was pseudo-experimental at the time because it used electro-funk for the base of the track, something that was primarily underground at the time. Author of Madonna: An Intimate Biography, J. Randy Taraborrelli, said “that [“Music”] reaches into the future but also slyly conjures images and feelings of the good ol’ disco days.” “Music” is considered to be a career-defining moment for the Queen of Pop.
“Be with You” By The Dreamy Enrique Iglesias
“Be with You” one of three singles from Enrique Iglesias’ debut English album Enrique. If you remember, the song features the stereotypical early 2000s bassline and cheesy “because we’re not together anymore I want to be with you” lyrics. The music video is also pure gold, showing Iglesias in various locations in Los Angeles, inevitably ending up at a club where a Thunderpuss remix that has zero to do with the song builds up and explodes in a whirlwind of breakdancers.
Worldwide, “Be with You” saw moderate popularity, but it became a massive hit in the United States. It is actually Iglesias’ best-performing single in the States to date!
“Bent” By Matchbox Twenty
We can’t count the number of angsty MySpace pages Matchbox Twenty’s “Bent” was featured on. Teenagers loved the whole concept behind the lyrics, two people who have issues, but it’s alright because they’re together. Isn’t 2000s angst the best? We can still hear the chorus ringing through our walkman.
“Bent” was lead singer Rob Thomas’ first go at writing a love song, which he believes lyrically makes sense with 21st-century couples. The song was the band’s only appearance on the US Billboard Hot 100, reaching the number one position on July 22, 2000.
U2’s “Beautiful Day”
“Beautiful Day” is a rock song by U2 and the reason the album All That You Can’t Leave Behind was able to reach multi-platinum status. The song was written in a few different stages, the most important being Bono coming up with the lyric “beautiful day,” which ties the song together.
The song won three Grammy Awards at the 43rd annual ceremony for Record of the Year, Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, and Song of the Year. Traditionally, bands will get tired of playing singles, such as ‘Beautiful Day,” but U2 has performed the song at each of their concerts since its debut!
“Say My Name” By The One And Only Destiny’s Child
Before Queen B went solo, there was Destiny’s Child, AKA, the sassiest girl group around. Lyrically, the song is about a female who calls her boyfriend, suspecting him of cheating, and asks him to “say my name.” The guy hesitates, presumably because he doesn’t want to let the other girl know who he’s on the phone with.
The 2000 hit won two Grammy Awards for Best R&B Song as well as Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. “Say my Name” also won the MTV Video Music Award for Best R&B Video.
“Absolutely (Story of a Girl)” By Nine Days
If you don’t know the lyrics or at least the chorus to “Absolutely (Story of a Girl),” then we’re not sure you grew up in 2000s America. The song was written by the Nine Days lead singer and guitarist John Hampson. Fun Fact: Hampson wrote the chords and chorus in 15 minutes right before a show and then the rest of the song in one night, very abnormal for his writing style.
The inspiration behind the song came one night when he made his wife (then-girlfriend) cry, only to find her smiling later. Hampson realized that even though she annoys him and they fight, he loves when she smiles. Swoon.
“All The Small Things” By Blink 182
By the late 90s and early 2000s, pop-punk was a well-established musical genre, making the release of Blink 182’s “All the Small Things” that much more popular. The premise behind Tom DeLonge composing the lyrics for “All the Small Things” was based on his desire to have “just one song [on Enema of the State] that was really catchy and basic.”
Well, he succeeded! To this day, “All the Small Things” is still blasted through speaker systems. The song was listed as one of the 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die, and Rolling Stones selected it as one of the “100 Greatest Pop Songs” ever.
“The Real Slim Shady” By Eminem
Eminem is known for angering celebrities with his “bullying” lyrics. His song “The Real Slim Shady” is no different. Throughout the rap, Eminem talks about various tabloid events that may or may not have actually happened, such as the relationship between Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson. His insulting lyrics garnered a lot of attention, along with the overall theme of making fun of pop.
“The Real Slim Shady” was composed just hours before the final version of The Marshall Mathers LP was due. Ironically, the song is considered to be the most popular on the track! Goes to show that procrastinating sometimes pays off.
Vertical Horizon’s “Everything You Want”
“Everything You Want” was a 2000s song by the American alternative rock band Vertical Horizon. Lead vocalist Matt Scannell wrote the song after dating a broken girl who would go to everyone but him for love and acceptance. The song deals with the theme of one-sided love and heartbreak.
In an interview, Scannell said that he “still experience[s] joy singing ‘Everything You Want’ because… it came from a true place.” The song hit the top Billboard Hot 100 on July 15, 2000, and, to this day, remains the band’s most successful single.
“Kryptonite” By 3 Doors Down
If you were a kid listening to “Kryptonite” in the 2000s, then we’re guessing that you missed the underlying themes in the song. (We did, too, don’t worry.) The lead vocalist and drummer for 3 Doors Down wrote the song in math class when he was only 17.
He says that because he wrote it so young, he’s still coming up with more meanings. The concept is someone who will be there for you when you’re down, but you’re left wondering if they’ll still be there when you’re doing well. The song’s popularity landed them the number one spot on the Modern Rock Charts for 11 weeks!
“Country Grammar (Hot….)” By Nelly
“Country Grammar (Hot….)” is a rap song performed by the popular 2000s artist Nelly. Interestingly, the song uses the chorus and melody of a children’s rhyming game called “Down Down Baby.” As Nelly is from St. Louis, Missouri, the song also features the St. Louis (“Blues”) Bounce sound, a mixture of bouncy-sounding beats underneath sing-song rapping.
The song was Nelly’s debut single on his first album Country Grammar and was considered to be the reason why the album sold so many copies. “Country Grammar (Hot….)” peaked at number seven on both the US and UK Billboards.
“Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely” By The Backstreet Boys
In the age of boy bands, many considered themselves on Team Backstreet, and Millennium was their anthem. One track on the album considered to be one of the most popular was “Show me the Meaning of Being Lonely,” a pop ballad that mixed in some R&B and Latin sounds.
When it charted, the song hit within the top ten, peaking at number six in the US and three in the UK. “Show me the Meaning of Being Lonely” also received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, losing to “Cousin Dupree” by Steely Dan.
“Never Let You Go” By Third Eye Blind
“Never Let You Go” by Third Eye Blind has an interesting and yet funny origin story. Stephan Jenkins has said that the song was written with a specific person in mind for the sole purpose of freaking her out each time she heard it on the radio. That person was one of his alleged muses at the time, Charlize Theron.
Chuck Taylor of Billboard magazine calls the chorus of the song “easy, spirited, memorable — the stuff that hits are made of.” The song spent three weeks as the number one hit in Canda, peaking at number 14 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
“In The End” by Linkin Park
If there is one thing that is the epitome of 2000s rock, it’s Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington belting out the lyrics to “In The End.” Ironically, the singer initially didn’t care for the song and wanted to exclude it from the setlist on Hybrid Theory. Thankfully, he changed his mind, and it was included.
“In the End” is known for the opening piano riff, something that helped the song make it into mainstream music. It peaked at number two on the US Billboard as well as the top ten in multiple other countries. Billboard also named “In The End” the second most-played rock song of the decade.