It’s hard to believe that we are already a decade and a half into this century. Rapidly advancing technology has ensured that there are more choices today than ever before when it comes to fashion, books, and especially music. It’s not difficult to find the music you love and avoid the genres and artists you don’t particularly like. For the first time since music hit the airwaves, consumers are able to control what they hear, what they don’t hear, and when they hear it.
That being said – there are some artists and songs from the past 15 years that have had a major impact on a wide scale. These people and pieces have transcended technology and influenced the sounds that followed their own hits.
Take a look at the 10 most influential songs released from 2000 through today, and what makes them so important:
10. Cry Me a River, Justin Timberlake, 2002
In the early 2000s, Justin Timberlake managed to break away from his boy band image and solidify his place as a superstar solo artist. This haunting tune with a timeless breakup theme implemented some electronic sounds that would later spill over into his, and other artists’, releases in the next decade.
9. Rehab, Amy Winehouse, 2006
With its catchy tune about a subject that would later prove ironic, Rehab infused soul into pop music sound. Adele has often said that her own soulful inspiration is a direct influence of the music of Winehouse.
8. Californication, Red Hot Chili Peppers, 2000
Perhaps more than any decades before the early 2000s, this time was focused on staying young forever, no matter what the cost. The Red Hot Chili Peppers took on the fallacy of this mentality head-on with Californication – a play on words for the superficial world pushed by Hollywood.
6. Just Dance, Lady Gaga, 2008
When it comes to pushing the envelope in the new millennium in terms of music, no one holds a candle to Lady Gaga. Her weird look and electronic sound was a distinct break from the bubble-gum image of artists popular at the end of the 1990s, like Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson. Gaga proved that a woman can be beautiful, and edgy, and incredibly entertaining all at once.
5. Crazy in Love, Beyonce featuring Jay-Z, 2003
It’s hard to imagine a time when these two artists weren’t an item, but when this song was first released their couplehood was merely speculation. Crazy in Love blended big band sounds with Beyonce’s smooth voice and Jay-Z’s distinct rap style. This song directly influenced many of the rap/vocal hits of the decade that followed, producing even more hits for those artists.
4. One More Time, Daft Punk, 2001
The new millennium has seen a surge in the popularity of the synthesizer which had sort of faded to the background in the 1990s. Daft Punk proved that great music can come from the synthesizer, and auto tune functions, and that people will still be dancing to songs like this for decades to come.
3. All the Small Things, Blink 182, 2000
Before songs were readily available for download, punk music was harder to come by. You had to buy the albums or live in large metro areas to hope to catch any of the punk songs you loved on the air. With the release of All the Small Things, Blink 182 showed that punk music was truly ready for mainstream. The combination of punk elements and pop catchiness made it a cross-over hit and led the way for other punk groups, like The All-American Rejects, to also hit it big.
2. Hey Ya, OutKast, 2003
Though they rose to initial popularity in the 1990s, OutKast cemented its place in music history with this song that encourages listeners to “shake it like a Polaroid picture.” It’s a dance song, it’s a rap song, it’s a pop song, and it’s unlike anything else released around the same time.
1. Lose Yourself, Eminem, 2002
With this genre-crossing rap, Eminem showed that there can be more than one side to every artist’s story. The heartfelt lyrics easily resonate with many demographics and the beat is nothing short of inspirational. Not only did this song catapult Eminem to superstar status, but it reintroduced storytelling into popular music releases.
What songs are your favorite songs from the first decade and a half of the new millennium?