20 Hit Songs You Won't Believe Are Turning 20 This Year
From Eminem to Destiny's Child, here are the songs that dominated the charts two decades ago.
With all the different media channels—from streaming services like Spotify to video platforms like YouTube—available to access and curate the music we listen to, it can be hard to remember a time when radio and MTV were still king. But, in 2000, that was more or less the case. Whether you liked a song or not, if it was on the charts, chances are you were at least familiar with it. It didn't matter if it was by Britney Spears, Destiny's Child, Creed, or U2, the hit songs of the moment could be heard anytime you turned on the car radio, flipped on TRL, or attended a school dance. So, if you're nostalgic for a time when coronavirus wasn't holding pop culture hostage and boy bands reigned supreme, then read on—and replay—the biggest hits from 2000 that are turning 20 this year. And for some current listening options, check out The Best New Albums That Have Come Out in Quarantine.
"Oops!…I Did It Again" by Britney Spears
After skyrocketing to success with her 1999 debut, ...Baby One More Time, pop princess Britney Spears avoided the dreaded sophomore slump with the 2000's Oops!..I Did It Again. The album's first single (and titular track) is a tongue-in-cheek dance number that found Spears telling her hoards of fans across the globe that she's "not that innocent." The song was an immediate hit, peaking at No. 9 that year on Billboard's Hot 100. Twenty years later, Britney can be found doing it again, and again, and again, in her long-running Las Vegas residency. And for more music trivia, check out 20 Songs You Totally Misunderstood, Explained.
"Stan" by Eminem featuring Dido
The controversial Detroit rapper continued to shock his critics and delight fans with this chilling song about an obsessed fan. Featuring English singer-songwriter Dido on the song's choruses, "Stan," portrayed by Devon Sawa in the music video, is Eminem's biggest fan, writing him letter after letter of increasingly deranged admiration. Clearly struggling with an array of problems, by the time his hero gets around to writing back, Stan is no longer around to read his thoughtful response. A powerful message about celebrity culture that still resonates today, the cautionary tale tune reached No. 51 on the Hot 100.
"Bye Bye Bye" by *NSYNC
Love 'em or hate 'em, boy bands still ruled the charts in 2000. And *NSYNC was the biggest of them all. Ringing in the new millennium with their sophomore album No Strings Attached, Justin Timberlake and crew said so long to the '90s—and their controversial puppet master Lou Pearlman—with the record's first single "Bye Bye Bye." The hook-filled hit reached No. 4 on the Hot 100 and pushed their pop group into an even bigger realm of superstardom.
"What a Girl Wants" by Christina Aguilera
Only 19 years old at the time, Christina Aguilera's follow up to her hit "Genie in a Bottle," 2000's "What a Girl Wants," wiped away any chance of history branding her yet another one-hit wonder. Reaching No. 1 on the charts just like her previous smash, the song helped solidify the tiny singer with a huge voice as a bona fide pop powerhouse with as much star potential as rival Britney Spears. The tune also earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal. And for huge tracks that never actually climbed the charts, check out 17 Massive Songs You Won't Believe Never Made It Into the Top 40.
"Say My Name" by Destiny's Child
The early aughts weren't just about boy bands and solo female pop stars. R&B quartet Destiny's Child sang and danced their way to No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2000 with this anthem about two-timing boyfriends. Drama may have been going on beyond the scenes with the group—two members were replaced around the time "Say My Name" was released—but that didn't stop the song from becoming a lasting piece of pop history, and further foreshadowing Beyonce's future as one of music's most talented and successful icons.
"Big Pimpin'" by Jay-Z
Right around the same time his future-wife was scoring hits with Destiny's Child, the mainstream music world was introduced to a young, boastful, and all together-attention grabbing Jay-Z. With an infectious beat from Timbaland, the decadent song finds the lyrically gifted rapper at his most precocious, spouting off all sorts of braggadocios lines about women, money, and other topics pointing to the fact that he'd "be mackin' for life." A lot has changed in two decades.
"Country Grammar" by Nelly
Like Eminem did for the city of Detroit, Nelly put St. Louis on the mainstream hip hop map. With the release of his debut single, "Country Grammar," off his debut album of the same name, the midwest rapper struck a chord with music fans across the country. Listeners ate up Nelly's fast-rapping style and entertaining dance moves on this song-of-the-summer party tune that went to No. 7 on the charts.
"Never Let You Go" by Third Eye Blind
In the years leading up to 2000, San Francisco's Third Eye Blind ruled pop-rock radio with catchy hits about dark topics like "Semi-Charmed Life" (drug abuse) and "Jumper" (suicide). While Blue, the band's follow-up to their smash self-titled debut, didn't yield the same kind of airplay, the album did score a hit with this breezy sounding, three-chord tune that went to No. 14. Though in true Third Eye Blind fashion, the underlying theme of "Never Let You Go" isn't nearly as light and bright as its sound would otherwise suggest. And for other songs about love gone sour, check out The 100 Best Breakup Songs of All Time.
"Higher" by Creed
Let's take a moment to remember that this isn't a list of the best (or this writer's favorite) songs of 2000, but rather that year's hits. So while, Scott Stapp and company's brand of bombastic arena grunge rock may not be in regular rotation on your workout mix, two decades ago, plenty of people must have felt very differently. In fact, as the first single off Creed's second album, "Higher"—allegedly about lucid dreaming—was the first song of the band's to crack the top 10 on Billboard's Hot 100, peaking at No. 7. In other words, you couldn't avoid it if you tried.
"Smooth" by Santana featuring Rob Thomas
While this collaboration between guitar legend and original Woodstock performer, Carlos Santana, and Matchbox Twenty frontman, Rob Thomas, was technically released in the summer of 1999, it was very much a part of pop culture in 2000. In fact, "Smooth" is one of the best performing singles in music history, as it held the No. 1 spot on Billboard's Top 100 for 12 consecutive weeks before going on to have a record-breaking 30-week run in the top 10.
"Breathe" by Faith Hill
Changing the direction of her sound to keep things interesting in the new decade, this pop hit from country star Faith Hill was a genre-defying success. Peaking at No. 1 on Christmas Day in 1999, "Breathe" showed staying power, remaining on the Hot 100 charts for 28 weeks straight, and ushering in a new chapter of the somewhat-seasoned artist's career.
"Thong Song" by Sisqo
Is the "Thong Song" about Sisqo's love for bikini bottoms of a specific cut? Yes. Is it completely outlandish, silly, and in unabashedly poor taste? It is. Was it a hit? You betcha. Today, the campy novelty song likely wouldn't fly with such widespread acceptance, but 20 years ago? Well, the repetitive raunch of "Thong Song" shot it straight to No. 3 on the Hot 100. Strange times indeed.
"I Try" by Macy Gray
This annoyingly catchy hit from the smokey sounding pipes of Macy Gray was a bit of an outlier in 2000. The pop world didn't really know who the enigmatic R&B artist was until all of a sudden there she was, cracking the top five and helping provide raspy respite for teenagers in romantic turmoil everywhere. The single even scored Gray a Grammy the following year for Best Female Pop Vocal.
"Californication" by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Though it only reached No. 69 on the charts, this single off the funk-rock vets' album of the same name, may have done more for the group's career than anything they released before or since. The mellow, but memorable guitar riff and mishmash of oddball lyrics about all things mysterious in the Golden State, helped usher in a new era of RHCP. They would continue to release countless hits and draw massive crowds for years to come. They would not, however, be bound by the restriction of wearing shirts.
"Broadway" by Goo Goo Dolls
On their 1999 mega-selling album, Dizzy Up the Girl, modern rock radio regulars, Goo Goo Dolls, scored hits with "Slide," which shot to No. 1, and "Black Balloon," which cracked the top 20. In 2000, they dropped the album's final single, "Broadway," an ode to a street in the Buffalo, New York-natives' hometown. It didn't top the prior two singles, but the shimmery guitar hooks and whispery vocals of Johnny Rzeznik helped the mid-tempo rock song reach No. 24, and it's as good an example of the Goo's sound after going from underground rockers to tepid top 40 regulars as there is.
"Shape of My Heart" by Backstreet Boys
By 2000, Backstreet Boys had already topped the charts and helped spark the boy band craze all over the world. But whatever you think about the artistic quality of their output, not unlike their contemporaries, *NYSNC, Backstreet Boys made a lot more hits and lasted longer than any of us probably thought possible. Off their third LP, "Shape of My Heart" was a cheesy, but catchy, school-dance staple that still sounds decidedly of its era of pop music.
"All the Small Things" by Blink 182
Released as a single off their album, Enema of the State, "All the Small Things" saw goofy and seemingly good-natured pop-punk trio, Blink-182, achieve a type of success that they could not have possibly imagined as kids learning how to play power chords in some California garage. The infectiously catchy, silly-sweet love song hit No. 6 in 2000 and turned the skate-punks into arena rockers not long after.
"Beautiful Day'" by U2
With this single from All That You Can't Leave Behind, the veteran rockers from Ireland carved out a place for themselves on the boy-band dominated charts. Though far from Bono and The Edge's deepest or best work, the simple structure and optimistic message of "Beautiful Day" made it catchy enough for radio listeners to latch onto. As the bleak reality of the coronavirus pandemic hints at brightening up a bit, the inspirational tune might even be in prime position for a resurgence.
"Simple Kind of Life" by No Doubt
As frontwoman, and sole female member of ska-influenced, No Doubt, Gwen Stefani became a sudden star due to the huge success of Tragic Kingdom, the band's classic album from the late '90s. The rest of group's members, on the other hand, not so much. In the poignant and introspective "Simple Kind of Life," of the group's follow-up LP, Stefani faces the realities of fame and second-guesses life in the spotlight, while her bandmates continue to linger in its shadows. Though it sounds decidedly early aught's, the honesty that drove the song to No. 38 would still be a breath of fresh air in today's pop landscape.
"Try Again" by Aaliyah
Up until her tragic and untimely passing in 2001, Aaliyah was making the kind of hip-hop and R&B-driven pop music that anyone with ears could tell wasn't going to be a fluke for the young singer. No better example is there than this Timbaland-produced single about the misleading nature of first impressions. It hit No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100, only a year before the 22-year-old passed away in an airplane crash. R.I.P.