20 SONGS THAT TURN 20 IN 2020: FROM COLDPLAY TO CREED AND BRITNEY TO BAHA MEN
April 27, 2020 | Courtesy of The National by Saeed Saeed
It was the year we were introduced to a sweet little British independent band called Coldplay. It was when Madonna went electro, nu-metal music was put out of its misery and the Baha Men asked the all-important question, “Who let the dogs out?”
The year 2000 was an interesting one for music. Genres such as post-grunge made way for post-punk and a host of today’s pop stars, including Pink, Christina Aguilera and Eminem, found fame.
Our resident music expert Saeed Saeed goes through 20 songs, in no particular order, that turn 20 this year, and charted the beginning of some careers and the end of others.
1 'I’m Outta Love' by Anastacia
Talk about an introduction. This storming disco-pop track was Anastacia’s debut and went on to conquer the charts.
While she has yet to top this effort, having the biggest-selling single of 2000 is not a shabby effort indeed.
2 'There You Go' by Pink
You would be forgiven if you didn't realise this RnB tune was by Pink. Long before she was an arena act, Pink was an RnB singer clearly inspired by Aaliyah.
While this debut single didn't do badly at all in the international charts, Pink eventually moved away from this sound to explore rock and epic ballads. The rest is pop music history.
3 'It Wasn’t Me' by Shaggy
This witty ditty took Shaggy from reggae act to pop star. Inspired by an Eddie Murphy comedy routine from his 1987 sketch Raw, It Wasn't Me promotes the theory that complete denial is the best way to get out of tricky relationship situations.
Whether that's sage advice or not, the song became an international sensation.
4 'Beautiful Day' by U2
The one where U2 went back to basics. After the experimental sounds of previous album Pop (1997) proved too much of a curve ball for fans, the Irish giants returned to their anthemic best with Beautiful Day. It has all the hallmarks of classic U2: chiming guitars, propulsive drumming and Bono at his wailing best.
5 'Butterfly' by Crazy Town
The last real hit before the nu-metal genre was rightfully consigned to the dustbin. This one, however, is an actual decent tune and shows a rare sensitivity from a genre notorious for its ugly machismo.
Riding on a sample of Pretty Little Ditty by Red Hot Chili Peppers, the song is a love letter to a girl “who has butterflies in her eyes and looks to kill.” What a combo.
6 'With Arms Wide Open' by Creed
I still, 20 years later, don’t know why this song was a hit and why Creed was a thing. The track exemplifies everything that’s wrong with the band (frontman Scott Stapp’s saviour complex for one). It is the peak of the grey and stodgy sound of the post-grunge movement.
7 'Bye Bye Bye' by NSYNC
Come on. It's OK to say it. NSYNC were a killer pop group back in the day. This track was the lead single from their brilliant second album, No Strings Attached. Driven by the need to differentiate themselves from rivals Backstreet Boys, the group ditched the chest-clutching ballads for zippier RnB and pop rhythms. Bye Bye Bye is the best example of that approach.
Hearing it now, you realise that K-pop behemoths BTS have a lot to thank NSYNC for.
8 'Say My Name' by Destiny’s Child
The single came out in late 1999, but it wasn't until the video was released in January 2000 that the track was propelled to fame. With its orange hues and Beyonce front and centre, it has become renowned. It may have been the song that introduced new members Michelle Williams and Farrah Franklin to Destiny’s Child, but there was no doubting that Beyonce was still queen bee.
Say My Name remains a classic modern RnB tune and nabbed two Grammy Awards.
9 'What a Girl Wants' by Christina Aguilera
With this song it was clear Christina Aguilera was no one-hit wonder. It had a staggered release worldwide, and where I was listening, in Australia, it was out in January 2000. This follow-up to her debut single, Genie in a Bottle, is a breezy pop offering and another showcase of Aguilera's powerhouse vocals.
This is when the Aguilera-Britney Spears rivalry began.
10 'Who Let the Dogs Out' by Baha Men
In these current days of a global lockdown, even this once reviled novelty song has the ability to get us all misty eyed for the simple days when we could all head outside for a stroll unencumbered – even if it was to chase a mutt around town.
As well as being a big hit, Who Let the Dogs Out went on to become the perfect retirement plan for the Baha Men, as it became a signature song for countless sporting events and teams, ranging from monster truck rallies to baseball. Royalties galore.
11 Kryptonite by 3 Doors Down
Interesting fact: 3 Doors Down singer Brad Arnold wrote this song in a maths class when he was 15. While his teacher wasn't pleased, the figures this rock tune racked up were worth the hassle: five million albums sold, and it topped four US charts.
12 'The Real Slim Shady' by Eminem
This was the lead single to Eminem's masterpiece third album The Marshall Mathers LP. It was with The Real Slim Shady that Eminem came into his own as a rapper. The confidence on display is supreme, and some of the celebrity pot-shots found here are devastatingly witty.
I’m sorry, Moby, but I haven’t viewed you the same since.
13 'Oops!... I Did It Again' by Britney Spears
An absolutely sublime piece of radio pop. More than the king-sized hooks, what makes this song brilliant is the production from Swedish pop-meister Max Martin. This song showcases his style, in which a premium is placed on melodies and vocals delivered with pin-point precision. This track should be prescribed listening for any pop song-writing masterclass.
14 'Ms Jackson' by Outkast
One of hip-hop's most left-field hits, Ms Jackson propelled the duo Outkast from being a cult act to festival headliners. Even hearing it now it sounds so eccentric. Could it be Andre 3000's quirky vocals or Big Boi's forceful rapping?
Or maybe it is the song's innate anguish as it mediates on relationships and divorce.
Whatever it may be, it still has the power to hit you in the gut.
15 'Country Grammar' by Nelly
The debut single by Nelly is not only a hip-hop classic but hugely influential. It helped pave the way for the once marginalised US mid-west scene to stake its claim within the hip-hop world.
Plus, the legacy of Nelly’s melodic singing rap flow can be heard in today’s superstars Drake and Frank Ocean.
16 Yellow by Coldplay
You can't separate this song from its cheap and effective video in which Chris Martin sings the track while walking along a rainy beach. Like its video, Yellow is simple, understated and absolutely beautiful.
Twenty years ago Coldplay would play gigs at festivals and people would listen out just for this song. But they haven't looked back since.
17 'It’s My Life' by Bon Jovi
After five years away, Bon Jovi knew they needed to return with something monumental. It's My Life was just the ticket: a big stadium anthem with a defiant chorus that anyone can sing along to. Twenty years later and it's still a key part of a Bon Jovi concert set-list.
18 'All the Small Things' by Blink-182
Yes, we all remember that hilarious boy-band spoofing music video, but the real legacy of All the Small Things lies in how it made punk-pop commercial. Every band in the genre that arrived after 2000 owes a sizeable part of their existence to this near-three-minute sugar rush.
19 'Music' by Madonna
This track came at a time when Madonna was still calling the pop music shots. With Music, she embraced electronic tropes, such as samples, androgynous robotic vocals and futuristic production. “Do you like to boogie-woogie?” she asks in the track. We sure did, and that’s why Music smashed the charts.
20 'Spinning Around' by Kylie Minogue
Remember Kylie Minogue's 1997 trip-hop album Impossible Princess? Me neither. And that's because the Aussie star buried memories of that snooze fest with this spirited return to form.
As the lead single of her comeback album, Light Years, the disco-tastic Spinning Around is a showcase of what Minogue does best – create straightforward euphoric pop songs.
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