Have you seen this video? It was recorded in 2005 at New York University’s annual talent competition, Ultraviolet Live. It’s sung by a young woman called Stefani Germanotta. Or, as she’s now known, Lady Gaga.
Hard to recognise her, isn’t it? It’s a good performance, notably without any of the histrionics she’s become known for. She just sings and it’s the first time I’ve been able to hear her voice before, without the autotuning or other effects.
I’m not a big fan of Gaga or of mainstream pop but some of her songs are catchy. This Gaga, though, I like. If you compare it to her latest single, Bad Romance, it’s hard to believe it’s the same singer.
Watching it, it makes me wonder if the only way artists can become successful these days is through these constructs… if music is so much about personality and persona and controversy now that a good voice just isn’t enough.
I think Gaga is a good representation of music in the 00s. Music has changed so much in the last 10 years. Like Gaga it’s become a mix of styles, autotuned, over-sexed and notable as much for controversy as talent. But there’s been a lot of good music that has continued to push the boundaries as well.
I listen to a lot of music, particularly while I’m writing, and it’s been interesting watching how music has evolved through the decade. There’s really been no one theme to the 00s; it’s been a mix of styles – hip hop, R&B, chillout, dance – and I think that reflects how our attitude towards music and the industry has changed as well.
For me, and I imagine many people, the iPod has become synonymous with the 00s. It’s changed the way we listen to music. But the biggest impact on the industry this decade has been online. Illegal downloads have taken a huge chunk out of the industry and when you consider the influence of sites like YouTube and MySpace as well, you can see how much of an impact the net has had on the 00s.
Personally I think it’s been an interesting decade for music but not a particularly good one. As the decade’s gone by a lot of music has become sterile and repetitive and my taste in music has shifted more towards alternative artists these days. Perhaps I’ve just grown up. But there’s still been a lot of good music in the 00s as well. Protest songs, dance music, and just good pop that gets in your head without your even realising it.
As my last post looked back at my favourite books of the 00s, I thought it’d be fun to list my favourite songs of the 00s as well. To give a bit of a sense of my musical tastes and what I’ve been listening to while I write. So this is a list of my top 30 songs from the 00s, with links to their videos as well.
I hope you enjoy it. Let me know which ones you like (or hate). What are your favourite songs of the 00s?
- 30) Thank You (2001)
A beautiful song with Dido’s gentle voice. Was everywhere in 2001.
- 29) Straight Lines (2007)
Silverchair’s return after a four year hiatus. Alternative rock at its best.
- 28) Anyone Else But You (2001)
The Moldy Peaches
Best known from the film Juno. Deceptively simple and catchy.
- 27) Young Folks (2006)
Peter Bjorn And John
A charming song with dreamlike tones. It’s become an anthem for Gen Y.
- 26) Don’t Stop the Music (2007)
Rihanna’s transition from pop to dance. Catchy with a great beat.
- 25) Dear Mr. President (2006)
A letter to George Bush. One of the best protest songs of the 00s.
- 24) Cry Me a River (2002)
Catchy R&B/pop as Timberlake responds to his split with Britney Spears.
- 23) It’s My Life (2000)
A lively, affirming rock song. One of the great anthems of the 00s.
- 22) The Rising (2002)
Powerful reflection on 9/11. One of Springsteen’s greatest songs.
- 21) My People (2007)
An angry electropunk/synthpop hybrid, with an incredible clip.
- 20) Hey Ya! (2003)
A rousing mix of funk and hip hop, with one of the best clips of the 00s.
- 19) Fallin’ (2001)
An R&B/soul powerhouse with a brilliant vocal. Dominated the charts.
- 18) One More Time (2000)
One of the first innovative uses of autotune. Very catchy.
- 17) Idioteque (2000)
One of Radiohead’s greatest and most experimental songs.
- 16) The Blower’s Daughter (2004)
Haunting ballad with an incredible refrain. Featured in the film Closer.
- 15) Falling Slowly (2006)
Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová
A beautiful love song written for the film Once. Won an Oscar in 2008.
- 14) Steer (2007)
A bubbly, effervescent pop song. Catchy and infectious.
- 13) As I Sat Sadly By Her Side (2001)
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
A brooding piano ballad that meditates on religion and faith.
- 12) Gather to the Chapel (2007)
Beautiful song about saying goodbye. Inspired by Paul Hester.
- 11) Beautiful Day (2000)
One of U2’s most anthemic rock songs. Perfect for the new millennium.
- 10) Where Is the Love? (2003)
The Black Eyed Peas
Angry anti-war anthem. The Black Eyed Peas’ breakthrough single.
- 9) On a Night like This (2000)
A seductive pop song that came to represent the Sydney Olympics.
- 8) Explain (2006)
Haunting ballad set to Blasko’s raspy voice, with a beautiful clip.
- 7) How Far We’ve Come (2007)
Rousing anthem for global warming with a catchy chorus.
- 6) Seven Nation Army (2003)
The White Stripes
One of the best rock songs of the 00s, with an incredible riff and clip.
- 5) The Scientist (2002)
A beautiful piano ballad, driven by Chris Martin’s gentle falsetto.
- 4) Single Ladies [Put a Ring on It] (2008)
Bouncy and infectious empowerment song. Started that dance craze.
- 3) Waiting on the World to Change (2006)
Mayer found a new bluesy sound for one of the best anti-war song of the 00s.
- 2) 1234 (2007)
Brilliantly simple, catchy pop song that became the face of the iPod.
- 1) Crazy (2006)
Refreshing mix of R&B and soul. Sounded like nothing else this decade.