The 2000s (aka Y2Ks, 00s, or the oughts) saw a dramatic change in popular music. Boy Bands flashed in the pan which led to R&B and Hip-Hop to top the charts. The early to mid 2000s saw one of my favorite musical themes, which still works well today. That being an R&B singer paired with a Hip-Hop artist creating collaborations like Ja Rule & J-Lo, Fat Joe & Ashanti, and Nelly & Jagged Edge.
I was in high school and college for all of the 2000s, so this era of music had a huge impact on my formative years. This is also when we first had the ability to download music through services like Napster. It was a simpler time, but also a time with a lot of really memorable music.
Much like the 1990s list, here are the rules I set for this list: – Main singer can only appear once – Beyonce or Destiny’s Child, not both (this excludes features) – No covers, original recordings only – Must have been released as a single or on an album after December 31, 1999 and before January 1, 2010 – No compilations, best of, or greatest hits releases apply
To make these rankings, I started with a list of about 130 songs, then fed them through Pub Meeple’s ranking engine. Over about a week, I completed over 400 comparisons of two songs, head to head. This gave me the list I have below. I took the left over songs and culled the list based on what songs were not ranked high enough to make my list but couldn’t be left off a 2000s essential music list.
John Mayer is by far my favorite musician and what better way to exercise that fact by creating a top 10 list.
I first discovered John Mayer in college when Daughters was at the height of its popularity. I had thought John was just a fleeting pop artist, but when a coworker 15 years my senior mentioned how good he is, and I must check him out. I started with the only two albums he had out at the time, Room for Squares and Heavier Things. Both of those pop albums were not the Mayer we know today. Outside of his hit singles, I was instantly drawn to Why Georgia and Neon where he flexed his guitar skills. Having an early appreciation for John Mayer’s deep cuts positioned me, as a fan, for the release of his masterpiece Continuum.
I’ve listened to the Continuum album probably more than any other music album in existence. Every song is great and conjures indivdual feelings, much like Usher’s Confessions. Since his third album, I’ve been a fan. More than 15 years later, he’s still putting out classic music and living up to what I would call the greatest guitar player of my generation.
I’ve had the pleasure and opportunity to see John Mayer live in concert twice in the past five years. Listening to his studio recordings are great, but being in an arena with him live brings it to a whole new level.
My favorite band Dirty Heads recently released their eighth studio album which prompted me to update a long-running spreadsheet I’ve maintained. I like spreadsheets, stats, and organization so I paired that with my love of music and starting keeping track of my favorite band’s songs.
A few years back while listening to Dirty Heads’ back catalog I had wondered how often each singer in the band appears on their songs. Enter Microsoft Excel and a few hours of listening. I went through every song they’ve released and collected data based on who/when a singer is heard.
Over the last year, I haven’t really kept up with the spreadsheet and they haven’t released much new music. When the Dirty Heads announced a new album, Midnight Control, I was excited to update my list. The day that the album was released I went through the eight new songs and logged the data. After the updates, I made a graphic that I could share on Reddit and Facebook’s Dirty Heads groups.
I’ll probably continue to maintain this spreadsheet as the Dirty Heads are an independent band without the large following of a band like Maroon 5, so someone needs to do it.
Back again for 2021 are my picks for the best music albums released this past year. It seems we got a lot more music this year than a normal year since literally everyone was quarantined during most of 2020. I have a theory that many music artists forced themselves to make music with all that down time which resulted in large quantities of music, but not the best quality.
My picks for the best 5 albums of 2021, ranked not by best to worst, but by release date. These albums were selected for their overall enjoyability. It is becoming more rare that albums are enjoyable from beginning to end.
This feels like it was released more than a year ago, but with the pandemic and Morgan’s racist slur controversy it feels a lot longer than it has been. Putting the video of drunk Morgan aside, this album is great. I attribute this album to my re-interest in modern country music. I think the genre is being redefined again and moving back towards its roots instead of trying to be pop. Because this album came out so early in 2021, I’ve logged the most hours listening to this than any of the others on this list.
The long-awaiting eighth studio album by John Mayer is a throwback to 80’s yacht rock and it’s intentional. While his last couple of albums were good Sob Rock feels like the most complete package since Continuum. My favorite song as of writing this on Sob Rock is Wild Blue, an upbeat mellow track with two great guitar solos. This album, like others on this list, was made to be listened to on vinyl. I wonder if that trend will continue in 2022 and beyond?
Nelly finally released a country album! Sort of… After the commercial success of Over & Over featuring Tim McGraw Nelly fans have been clamoring for more country-ish songs from Nelly. The 2009 remix of Cruise with Florida Georgia Line increased that appetite even more. This album features some great guests including the aforementioned Florida Georgia Line, but my favorite is the track with Darius Rucker named ‘Ms. Drive Me Crazy’. I hope Nelly continues down this road as he may have found his niche in his second career in music, must like Hootie and the Blowfish’s Darius Rucker.
The first solo album from Ed since 2017 and we get another math symbol and he says he has one more coming (minus?). This may mark the first departure from pop music Ed has given us and that’s not a bad thing. As he matures he’s finding his artistry and that’s not always being at the top of the charts. This is a solid complete album, while not his best, is still one of the shining spots in year 2 of the pandemic.
I’ve been waiting and waiting for new music from Bruno Mars for years and we finally got it! Much like his last album 24K Magic, his latest album has some sort of a theme and a guest, Anderson .Paak. The duo does a good job of being cheesy enough to fit their vibe without becoming an Andy Samberg/Justin Timberlake SNL tune. Smokin’ Out the Window is by far my favorite song on this album with its funky sound, catchy chorus, and funny concept.
A small independent album from a band I was mostly unaware of that came out over the summer and provided perfect summer driving music. If you’re a fan on the alternative/reggae genre, give this album a listen. It’s great from start to finish.
How could I make this list and not include Adele? While this album is good, on my first three times through, I haven’t had enough time with for it to make my top list. The later tracks on the album hit hard emotionally and sometimes aren’t great for a casual listen.
When you think about the best decade of music, you might immediately think the 60s or 70s. Some may argue it was the 80s or 90s. I was pretty sure the best decade of music was the 2000s, but now I’m convinced it was the 1990s.
This started as a top 10 list of 90s music, which was really hard because of all the different sounds during this era. Expanding the list to a top 100 was poised to be my most ambitious list yet. Turns out, my love for music and making lists made this a simple task. In the end, I decided to rank them using an online ranking generator allowing me to compare songs 2 by 2. I input my list of 110 songs into the ranking generator and did over 400 comparisons. The end results were very surprising.
The rules for this list, made up be me: – No repeats for main attributed artist (e.g. Michael Jackson & Janet Jackson – Scream counts as an entry for both of them) – No covers, original recordings only (e.g. Whitney Houston – I’m Every Woman originally recorded by Chaka Khan in 1978, not eligible) – Must have been released as a single or on an album after December 31, 1989 and before January 1, 2000 – No complications, best of, or greatest hits releases apply
For your and my listening pleasure, I’ve created this list as both an Apple Music and Spotify playlist (see below)
The top 100 list is below in order based on my opinion, and because I’m me, there are 10 honorable mentions afterwards!
Did your favorite 90s song make the list?
Doo Wop (That Thing)
Bone Thugs -n- Harmony
You Make Me Wanna...
Michael Jackson & Janet Jackson
I Have Nothing
I Got 5 On It
Boyz II Men
End of the Road
Still Not a Playa (feat. Joe)
What I Got
Are You That Somebody? *
You Oughta Know
Hootie & The Blowfish
Hold My Hand
Warren G & Nate Dogg
The Next Episode (feat. Snopp Dogg)
Who Am I (What's My Name)?
Kci & JoJo
All My Life
No Diggity (feat. Dr. Dre & Queen Pen)
Alice in Chains
It Was a Good Day
The Notorious B.I.G.
Mo Money and Mo Problems (feat. Mase & Puff Daddy)
Feels So Good
Rage Against the Machine
Bulls On Parade
Do or Die
Black Hole Sun
Bug a Boo
Tearin' Up My Heart
Big Pimpin' (feat. UGK)
The Presidents of the United States of America
My Name Is
Here Comes The Hotstepper
What It's Like
I'll Be Missing You (feat. Faith Evans & 112)
The Smashing Pumpkins
Third Eye Blind
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Under the Bridge
The Goo Goo Dolls
Nobody (feat. Athena Cage)
This Is How We Do It
Party Up (Up In Here)
I Want It That Way
Fly (feat. Super Cat)
Make 'Em Say Ugh
Return of the Mack
Sittin' Up In My Room
The Chemical Brothers
Block Rockin' Beats
"Weird Al" Yankovic
Color Me Badd
I Wann Sex You Up
Gettin' Jiggy Wit It
Ol' Dirty Bastard
Got Your Money (feat. Kelis)
Free Your Mind
Sex & Candy
Naughty By Nature
The (Dixie) Chicks
Wide Open Spaces
Show Me Love
Ace of Base
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
The Impression That I Get
The Tony Rich Project
Where My Girls At?
How Do I Live
Mary J. Blige
100% Pure Love
Every Time I Close My Eyes
Nine Inch Nails
Only Happy When It Rains
Hit Me Off
Honorable Mentions: 101. Shaggy – Bombastic (1995) 102. Meredith Brooks – Bitch (1997) 103. Jewel – Who Will Save Your Soul (1995) 104. Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991) 105. LFO – Girl On TV (1999) 106. Lil’ Troy – Wanna Be a Baller (1999) 107. Vitamin C – Smile (1999) 108. The Offspring – Pretty Fly (For a White Guy) (1998) 109. 98º – The Hardest Thing (1998) 110. New Kids On the Block – Step By Step (1990)
*Aaliyah – Are You That Somebody? is not available on any digital platforms.
In Memoriam: Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Tupac Shakur, Big Pun, Bradley Nowell, Lisa Left-Eye Lopes, Aaliyah, Nate Dogg, Layne Staley, Christopher Wallace, Chris Cornell, Adam Yauch, Dolores O’Riordan, Earl Simmons, Russel Jones, Keith Flint, Chris Kelly, and Kurt Cobain.
Usher Raymond might be the best R&B singer/performer of my generation. Most of his classic music was released during my formative years so I have a lot of memories tied to his music. Specifically Confessions, an album I listened to on repeat during my senior year of high school. I’ve compiled my top 10 list of Usher songs, in order of my favorites.
Much like my albums of the year, I’m listing my songs of the year. These songs are standouts and heavily rotated tracks in my library. Only one of the songs happens tp appear on my albums of 2020 list. Nevertheless, it was tough to only pick three, but by limiting that small amount I pull some truly great songs that I’ll be listening to for years to come.
The past several years, I’ve done ‘The Best Albums’ of 2018 and 2019 because music is a very large part of my life, more so listening than playing. Because it’s 2020, I’ve switched it up and limited my picks to just three and this joins an expanded list of ‘Best of’ for this year.
Another decade is in the books and like the previous two it’s been a great 10 years of music.
As a music lover I decided to pick my best songs of the past decade. I had to constrict myself to certain rules in order to pick the “best”.
The rules are as follows:
The song had to be released as a single after December 31, 2009 and before then end of 2019.
An artist can only appear on the list once.
The selected song must have had a significant impact on popular culture.
Finally, the pick was a song that I enjoyed and listened to frequently over the past decade.
Let’s get into the list. The songs are not in order of best to worst, but in order of release date starting with the oldest.
Eminem – Love the Way You Lie (feat. Rihanna) – 2010
Eminem’s sort of comeback started off with this classic song featuring the already hot Rihanna. This would later lead to another successful decade for Eminem.
Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud – 2014
Considered to be Ed’s greatest song so far, Thinking Out Loud shot him into super stardom after the release of his album X. One of the few ballads we saw during this decade.
Mark Ronson – Uptown Funk (feat. Bruno Mars) – 2014
Uptown Funk was so different and so good it started a new wave of 90s-style music that we saw even more of on Bruno Mars’ next album, 24K Magic.
Sam Hunt – Leave the Night On – 2014
Leave the Night On started the pop-country trend which opened people’s eyes to great singers like Sam Hunt.
Taylor Swift – Shake It Off – 2014
Widely regarded as the artist of the decade Taylor had a ton of hit songs during the past 10 years, but nothing impacted us more than Shake It Off.
Drake – Hotline Bling – 2015
Everyone remembers the dancing in the video, but Drake’s Hotline Bling was another pivotal song to defining the “twenty-teens” musical sound.
Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee – Despacito – 2017
I’ll never forget Despacito as being the resurgence of latino music in pop culture. This was a good song getting traction, then Justin Bieber hopped on a remix and it blasted it to the top of the charts.
P!nk – Beautiful Trauma – 2017
P!nk didn’t have a good start to this decade after having a great run the previous years. Beautiful Trauma signaled a comeback for the very talented singer and I picked this because it’s my favorite P!nk song to date.
Post Malone – rockstar (feat. 21 Savage) – 2017
Post Malone is a prodigy who keeps churning out hit songs one after another. Hopefully that doesn’t stop when this decade comes to a close. The song rockstar put Post in the spotlight and he has stayed there since.
Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey – The Middle – 2018
I still think this is an underrated song, even after all it’s success. Maren has established herself as not just a country-girl singer, but a crossover artist who has actual talent. It took a long time for Zedd to find a vocalist for this song, but when they heard Maren’s demo, they knew it had to be her.
Nelly – Just a Dream – 2010
I chose Nelly’s Just a Dream not because it’s a personal favorite of mine, but because it came out towards the end of his successful run in the 2000s. Since Just a Dream we’ve seen many artists come on to the scene with very similar styles like Post Malone, Ty Dollar $ign, and Lil Nas X
I’m really looking forward to see what the “20s” brings us in the form of a musical sound. When we look back at previous decades, the “sound” from that decade can be easily heard. This decade may be one of the hardest to classify, but we’ll see if that get’s easier as we move forward in time.
See you in the 20s!
Side note – here are some artists I think will be on this list for the next decade:
Halsey, Billie Eilish, Lizzo, Justin Bieber, Post Malone, and Shawn Mendes.
My picks for the best 5 albums of 2019, ranked not by best to worst, but by release date. These albums were selected for their overall enjoyability. It is becoming more rare that albums are enjoyable from beginning to end.
Heard It In A Past Life by Maggie Rogers (1/18/19)
I fell in love with the album as soon as I heard. I’ve been enjoying listening to this all year and it will be in heavy rotation going forward.
Cuz I Love You by Lizzo (4/19/19)
Lizzo blasted onto the scene this year with some great songs. Glad to see someone shake it up a little.
No. 6 Collaborations Project by Ed Sheeran (7/12/19
An unexpected collaboration album from Ed where every song sounds different. This is starting to become one of my favorite albums of all time.
Supermoon by Dirty Heads (8/9/19)
If you haven’t yet heard of Dirty Heads, they are hard to describe what genre they fall into. Reggae rock with some hip hop is the best way to describe it. This album is a great taste of the talent and diversity they bring to music.
Hollywood’s Bleeding by Post Malone (9/6/19)
Another year another classic album from Post Malone. This guy keeps cranking out good music. I’m hoping he keeps this up.
When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? By Billie Eilish (3/29/19)
This album has received a lot of critical acclaim. I do enjoy some of the songs from this album, but I feel it can’t stand up to the other five on this list. The albums I listed above are enjoyable from beginning to end where there are some spots on Billie’s album start to drift me into boredom.
Take time, before we get too deep into 2020 to take a listen to these albums if you haven’t.
Some might call me a Nelly super-fan but I disagree. However, I will say that there are very few Nelly songs I dislike. When I first heard Nelly’s Country Grammar song way back in 2000, I instantly thought to myself, “Wow, I need to buy this album!” That was back before I had a job and buying an album was a big deal. I think I played the Country Grammar album from start to finish, 314 times. Nelly’s sound was different when he came out, it was more R&B but with a Hip-Hop rhythm. Even almost 20 years later, people are still emulating his style.
Much like I did for Eminem, I’m going to list my top 10 favorite Nelly songs (with descriptions this time).
Ride Wit Me – Country Grammar (2000)
“Must be the money!” This might be the song that put Nelly on the “map” and it was the first time we heard him really lean into the sing-songy melodies he became known for. Ride Wit Me is an ultimate car cruising song.
Just A Dream – 5.0 (2010)
Hard hitting bass and strings backdrop make this song great. Just A Dream is easy to sing along to as well put on while cruising down the highway. “Tryin’ to get my Usher on, but I can’t let it burn.”
Fly Away – Sweatsuit (2005)
Originally debuted in the movie The Longest Yard this song tells the tale of unfair treatment of prisoners, much like the feature film. Another R&B type song that Nelly makes unforgettable. “I keep a gamma ray, I’ma G-5 G, Take a G-5 jeep, G-5 deep…”
Dilemma – Nellyville (2002)
A duet with the fabulous Kelly Rowland (Destiny’s Child) that brings back some great memories for me. There’s never a bad time to list to Dilemma. “Play my position like a shortstop, pick up everything mommy hittin’…”
Grillz – Sweatsuit (2005)
The 1st Hip-Hop song on the list. Grillz came out in the peak of rappers getting teeth ornaments decorated with gold & diamonds. This song has a very memorable bass line as well as fun lyrics for a truly stupid fashion trend. “I got a grill I call penny candy, ya know what that mean? It look like now&laters, gumdrop, jelly n beans”
Hot In Herre – Nellyville (2002)
Definitely a club banger, Hot in Herre is one of Nelly’s most popular songs because it’s fun, it’s hot, and makes you want to get up and dance. This might be the hottest beat The Neptunes have every produced. “Check your reflection, telling your best friend, girl I think my butt getting big!”
Country Grammar – Country Grammar (2000)
Nelly’s first official single from his debut album introduced us to his country roots and melodic style. I obsessed over memorizing every lyric in this song and I still remember it all today. “Let me in now, Bill Gates, Donald Trump, let me in now.”
E. I. – Country Grammar (2000)
A very early-2000s feel to this one, E.I. has everything from talking about clothes to buying drugs. This is another fun song to sign along to with the “uh-ooooohhhhh” repetition.
‘#1 – Nellyville (2002)
Nelly snaps back at all his haters and criticism in #1. This is one of my favorites because is able to deliver his message with crafty lyrics while still throwing in his melodic tendencies. “Straight emulatin’ my style, right to the down-down…”
Hey Porsche – M.O. (2013)
This song might signal the end of an era as Nelly has yet to release an album since M.O. Hey Porsche is a fun double entendre song where he throws in a lot of car analogies seemingly talking about a girl named Porsche. “Come and let me slide under, so I can work on, work on you!”
Honorable Mention – Where the Party At – Jagged Edge – Jagged Little Thrill (2001)
Fan Favorite – Cruise (Remix) – Florida Georgia Line – Here’s to the Good Times (2013)
Best of the Worst – The Fix – Single (2015)
Best Remix – Girlfriend (The Neptunes Remix) – NSYNC – Celebrity (2002)
My picks for the best 5 albums of 2018, ranked not by best to worst, but by release date. These albums were selected for their overall enjoyability. It is becoming more rare that albums are enjoyable from beginning to end.
Man of the Woods by Justin Timberlake – 2/2/18
Justin Timerblake’s 5th solo album (counting 20/20 experience as two separate albums) explores new sounds. JT is dabbling in some country styles and it lands very well with his new “Man of the Woods” persona.
Beerbongs and Bentleys by Post Malone – 4/27/18
The second album by Post Malone shows his growth in the music business as well as proving that he’s for real and here to stay.
Dan + Shay – 6/22/18
The third and self titled album by country duo Day + Shay who are famous for taking the Rascal Flatts style and bringing it into modern country music.
This One’s For You Too by Luke Combs – 6/1/18
The re-release or “deluxe version” of This One’s For You released a year prior by Luke Combs. The 2018 album completes his debut into country music after being discovered from Vine.
Kamikaze by Eminem – 8/31/18
The 10th album by Eminem and according to Marshall, a makeup for his last pop-ish album. This album goes back to classic Eminem with funny lyrics, great rhymes and personal attacks. No holds barred.
Take time, before we get too deep into 2019 to take a listen to these albums if you haven’t yet.
I like Eminem’s music, but I’m not a super-fan. When he first burst onto the hip-hop scene, I enjoyed his funny stuff, but mostly liked it because it was the popular thing to do. As him and I grew older, I listened to him less and less.
I decided to make a personal top 10 list since he has put out a lot of different songs over a vast period of time.
When I’m Gone – Curtain Call
Rap God – The Marshall Mathers LP 2
Love the Way You Lie – Recovery
Forgot About Dre – (Dr. Dre) 2001
My Band – (D12) D12 World
Not Afraid – Recovery
Guilty Conscience – The Slim Shady LP
The Way I Am – The Marshal Mathers LP
Fast Lane – (Bad Meets Evil) Hell: The Sequel
Greatest – Kamikaze
Honorable Mention – Square Dance – The Eminem Show
A co-worker and I were having a music discussion around how satisfying it was to have physical media when we were younger. This co-worker and I often have analytical conversations around movies, music, and technology. Most of the time we fall on the same side of the arguments. The latest confab got me thinking…. What if something in the world destroyed the ability to access music so effortlessly like we do today. Since I was about nine years old, music has been something I enjoy listening to everyday. Whether I’m sad, happy, or indifferent, music is always there to appease me.
There Are Some Rules
Music streaming is gone, iTunes has shutdown, Sam Goody is gone for real, and all you have left is one jukebox. This magical jukebox can play any ten albums for as long as you live, as many times as you like. Before all the music is destroyed you have to quickly pick ten albums to fill the jukebox. [perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”Today we have 50 million songs at our fingertips which is great and potentially life changing…”[/perfectpullquote]
These ten albums should be the ten albums you could listen to for the rest of your life. They shouldn’t be the best ten albums ever made, that’s always subjective. Your favorite ten albums could also be a mistake since you might be missing out on music that makes you feel all sorts of emotions. Ten albums are all you get, forever.
Because this is a artistic exercise, our eternal jukebox cannot play “greatest hits” or other types of compilations.
Eternal Jukebox Library
Here’s my list, these ten albums will forever be in my mystical eternal jukebox.
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony – E. 1999 Eternal
Dirty Heads – SWIM TEAM
Ed Sheeran – X
Hootie & The Blowfish – Cracked Rear View
John Mayer – Continuum
Ma$e – Harlem World
Michael Jackson – HIStory: Past, Present, and Future, Book I
Nelly – Country Grammar
Sam Cooke – Ain’t That Good News
Sublime – Sublime
Honorable mention: Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
My musical taste has always been under scrutiny by anyone who rides in the car with me. On any given day, my music library could play the likes of Nelly, followed by 2Pac, Michael Jackson, then John Mayer, and sprinkle in some country too. I call it eclectic, but others just call me confused. All that considered, I enjoy music very much and consider it vital to my existence, especially in the car. I used to be the guy who would be browsing through hundreds of CDs at the stoplight trying to find the right album. My history of music follows all the major trends as I was never afraid to adopt the latest craze. In high school it was all CDs and Napster.
It wasn’t until college that I got my first iPod, but I didn’t really jump in completely at first. I had an older car with an aftermarket stereo, so I was limited to options at the time. My favorite thing was the MP3 CD where you could load up a regular CD with 100-200 songs opposed to the traditional 15 or so songs.