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150. Destiny’s Child – “Independent Women, Pt. 1” (2000)

The first song by Destiny’s Child to feature band member Michelle Williams, “Independent Women, Pt. 1” reintroduced the soulful girl group as a trio and propelled them into their most iconic era. With a funky beat, clean production, lyrics celebrating female empowerment and the all-too-familiar vocals of one Beyoncé Knowles, the track belongs in anyone’s collection of “girl power” anthems. The incorporation of cinematic strings — likely thrown in because of its appearance on the Charlie’s Angels soundtrack — set the song apart from its peers in the soul genre, giving it a more dramatic flair. All in all, “Independent Women, Pt. 1” is early 2000s R&B at its finest. — Drew Pearce


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149. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Heads Will Roll” (2009)

“Maps” is what the Yeah Yeah Yeahs might get into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for, but according to Spotify, “Heads Will Roll” is their most popular song. Their second-most popular? The A-Trak remix to “Heads Will Roll,” which was used in the head-scratchingly-popular movie Project X.  The original is the good version with the revival of Blondie seemingly happening before our eyes. Karen O does her best Debbie Harry impersonation with the romantic falsetto on the bridge. Elsewhere, we get the Queen of Hearts’ rage — the song is from the viewpoint of the Alice in Wonderland character — as an odd call to hit the dancefloor. — Andrew Cox


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148. Ludacris (ft. Pharrell Williams) – “Southern Hospitality” (2000)

Is Ludacris a joke? He sure was jokey with a crude delivery and goofy rhyming, but when he had the right Pharrell beat, Luda could roll out a litany of memorable one-liners; “Southern Hospitality” is full of those. “Dirty South mind blowing Dirty South bread / Catfish fried up Dirty South fed / Sleep in a cot’-picking Dirty South bed / Dirty South girls give me Dirty South head” — you don’t even need his delivery for that to roll around in your brain for the rest of time. By the end of the song, Ludacris has outlined a whole way of life for Southern people and culture without any fussy sentimentality or nuance. It’s just pure revelry. — Andrew Cox


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147. The Pipettes – “Pull Shapes” (2006)

The British girl group craze in the ’00s yielded some of the best pop music since the ’60s, but The Pipettes did everything they could to truly sound like a Spector-produced entity from that era. It was certainly tongue-in-cheek with the name referring to the experimental goals of the band from the outset. “Pull Shapes” features ridiculous lines like “I like to disco / I like to rock n’ roll / Well, I like to hip-hop” with each of the three frontwomen taking a line. The Pipettes were actually a full band with the help of “The Cassettes,” the all-male backing instrumentation. “Pull Shapes” managed to capitalize on the girl group trend to chart success by reaching #26 in the UK. — Andrew Cox


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146. Battles – “Atlas” (2007)

For how elaborate “Atlas” is, it’s remarkably simple. It’s four guys jamming out for 7 minutes, with lyrics that can be memorized before the song’s over. That they had a lineup of pros like Helmet drummer John Stanier and Don Caballero guitarist Ian Williams certainly helps, as does the chipmunked vocal presence of early-departed member Tyondai Braxton. However, individual skills don’t automatically make for something so gleeful and addictive. All the layers stack atop each other and tease an explosion, like a Jenga game made of confetti. This is what Battles does best, building variables of melodies and rhythms for the perfect pop formula. How’s that for math rock? — Brody Kenny


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145. Joanna Newsom – “Peach, Plum, Pear” (2004)

The cruciality of the creative spirit for great music is rarely as clear as it is on “Peach, Plum, Pear.” Striking away at a harpsichord and singing with equal enthusiasm, even as she acknowledges her self-doubt. Joanna Newsom makes a lack of bells and whistles an advantage. Although, if she did add some actual bells and whistles, it would still likely be fantastic. Newsom isn’t showcasing the dizzying narratives of her later albums, but “Peach, Plum, Pear,” like the rest of The Milk-Eyed Mender is anything but a minor work. Her lyrics are sublimely decorated and still easily processed. When “We were swallowing panic in the face of its force” has multiple rivals for best line on a song, you know you’ve got a stunner. — Brody Kenny


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144. Neko Case – “I Wish I Was the Moon” (2002)

It’s a sentiment that seems to have always existed, like it came from a Shakespeare monologue — “I wish I was the moon tonight.” The line comes from a songwriter that is thankfully still with us, and not done with music yet: Neko Case. “I Wish I Was the Moon” came at a critical turning point in Case’s solo career. Blacklisted was her first album to have solo songwriting credits, and it stands today as her greatest work. The straightforward instrumentation serves Case’s lyrics beautifully with simple acoustic strums and soft drums and strings that come in later to flesh it out. The final result is an alt-country classic of the highest order, as stunning and indispensable as a ’60s Willie-Nelson-penned track. — Andrew Cox


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143. Clinic – “Distortions” (2000)

In this time where everyone wearing surgical masks is the norm, Clinic’s stage and promotional photo attire in scrubs and masks feels a little too prophetic. The gimmick was more of a call to the past though inspired by the entire avant-garde approach of art collective and punk bands in the ’70s. Their instrumentation choices might’ve also dated back to then as they were bought on the cheap at various flea markets. The Clinic sound was wonderfully all over the place, making them sound like a basement band goofing off on their best album Internal Wrangler. “Distortions” is where they got a little more serious; they crossed the 4-minute mark on a song for the first time as they honed in on a minimalist Suicide-esque synth-pop sound. The result was their most stunning work. — Andrew Cox


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142. Jay-Z – “Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love)” (2001)

It’s no coincidence that the three best tracks on The Blueprint were all produced by Kanye West. “Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love)” is the one where Ye’s production does almost all the heavy-lifting. It’s practically just a beefed-up remix of Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City,” as Kanye adds just enough bounce to give Jay-Z that steady bass to do his thing. As everyone knows, Jay-Z was at his peak on every track for The Blueprint, spitting out possibly the highest rate of memorable lines on each verse hip-hop has ever seen. That’s why it especially meant something when he ceded the floor to the beat on this hook and also the breakdown where he simply adds “Take ’em to church!” — Andrew Cox


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141. Peter Bjorn and John (ft. Victoria Bergsman) – “Young Folks” (2006)

With an immediately addictive, earworm-ready whistling intro, “Young Folks” is a staple of the new direction of music in the 2000s. In some ways, it encapsulates all that new indie music was pushing at the time — a fresh, sun soaked take on its predecessors’ brand of rock. Easier and more carefree than harder ancestors like Sonic Youth or My Bloody Valentine, Peter Bjorn and John’s has a strong sense of freedom and takes liberties to create the music they want to hear most. Unique to this track is the supply of guest vocals by The Concretes’ Victoria Bergsman, adding her warm, soothing voice. — Virginia Croft


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140. Beyoncé – “Irreplaceable” (2006)

There is something about the opening guitar strums and immediately following “to the left, to the left” that gets any listener simultaneously hyped up and in his or her feels. That is because Beyoncé’s “Irreplaceable” is a classic in every sense of the word. It has all the makings of a typical R&B tune complete with breezy instrumentation and warm, lush tones, but the song’s soaring chorus gives it a modern pop edge. The use of call-and-response centered around a catchy “you must not know ‘bout me” hook paired with Bey’s scathing delivery takes the track from being just another gentle ballad to one of the golden pop standards of the decade. — Drew Pearce


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139. Interpol – “Obstacle 1” (2002)

Post-punk wasn’t truly “revived” until the stinging strums and Paul Banks’ dejected confessional “I wish I could eat the salt off of your lost faded lips” kicked off “Obstacle 1.” There was the gloom of predecessors like Joy Division and Echo & the Bunnymen for reference, but Interpol had created their own haunted atmosphere, one that’s remarkably exciting. “Obstacle 1” is a rainy day power ballad, made for singing along to even as, or perhaps, because your world is falling apart, with a falsetto-led bridge and all. It might’ve not been terribly sunny, but this rightfully put Interpol in the spotlight. — Brody Kenny


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138. Madonna – “Hung Up” (2005)

Following the overall disappointing performance of her 2003 album American Life, the third in a string of electronica-influenced releases, pop culture icon Madonna looked to the past for inspiration on “Hung Up,” the lead single that would begin a new era for the singer. The track itself masterfully blends aspects of ‘80s synthpop, house and disco, complete with a sample of ABBA’s “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)” which plays under the chorus, effortlessly fitting in with the legendary performer’s candy coated vocals and the pulsing production by Stuart Price. The ABBA nod is not the only throwback on the song, as Madonna reuses her own lyrics from “Love Song,” a duet with Prince that appeared on her Like A Prayer album. By returning to her dance-pop roots, Madonna took the world by storm with “Hung Up” and revitalized her career in the process. — Drew Pearce


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137. Portishead – “The Rip” (2008)

Portishead’s second life yielded their best work, especially with “The Rip” which is a majestic downtempo classic they couldn’t have pulled off amidst their trip-hop constraints in the ’90s. Beth Gibbons begins almost on her own offering an abstract view of inner turmoil utilizing the metaphor of wild horses dragging her away like Mick Jagger did nearly forty years earlier. With Gibbons though, there is an acceptance of being taken away and then asking where they will lead her. Halfway through, krautrock-inspired percussion and a beautifully-clunky synthesizer brings in a jolt of energy to carry the song to gorgeous heights. — Andrew Cox


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136. Linkin Park – “Numb” (2003)

With an iconic hook and emotional lyrics, “Numb” became one of Linkin Park’s most acclaimed singles, charting at No.11 on the Billboard Hot 100 — an impressive feat for a less rock-centered musical landscape. Its legacy was boosted by the “Numb/Encore” mashup produced by Jay-Z, which the group went on to perform numerous times. The track featured Linkin Park’s iconic heavy lyrics, both in sound and meaning, as Bennington sings of uncertainty and anxiety over a heavy drum beat and intense guitar riffs. — Nina Braca


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135. The Knife – “Silent Shout” (2006)

We all know The Knife now as one of the greatest experimental electronic acts to ever do it, but before 2006’s Silent Shout, they were just the duo behind the light-hearted synth-pop classic “Heartbeats.” You could snap along to that one or turn it into an annoying acoustic cover like José Gonzales did for big success. The normies were off the bandwagon about a minute into the title track when the Dreijer siblings start singing like muffled succubi. For those that had no problem with the vocals, the production is as much of a thrill ride as “Heartbeats” — as pulsing as it is seemingly unmanageable. They would continue to stray further from mainstream appeal in the 2010s, but Silent Shout had enough pop magic to be their best work. — Andrew Cox


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134. Phoenix – “If I Ever Feel Better” (2000)

This single from Phoenix’s debut album United didn’t make a dent on initial release, but following the new popularity stemming from 2009’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, “If I Ever Feel Better” was revived. Much of Phoenix’s early work has been unfairly dismissed due to it not sounding like Wolfgang’s singles, but “If I Ever Feel Better” glides on a snazzy disco instrumental that never lets up. It’s danceable without having to think too hard and has certainly benefited from the nu-disco revival in recent years. Its message of prioritizing your mental health in a relationship is also pertinent to many. — Andrew Cox


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133. Björk – “Pagan Poetry” (2001)

The second single from 2001’s Vespertine, “Pagan Poetry” is simultaneously dreamy and nightmarish. For one thing, her singing is characteristically heated, intrepid, and fragile, allowing her to sound both helpless and dominant at once. (Specifically, her backing chants are absolutely haunting, as are the isolated declarations of “I love him.”) Lyrically, her tale of one-sided love is deeply poetic (“He offers / A handshake / Crooked / Five fingers / They form a pattern / Yet to be matched”); meanwhile, the arrangement is incredibly malleable and eclectic, offering a dazzling array of timbres while remaining fairly unassuming. It’s cumulatively ingenious. — Jordan Blum


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132. Twista (ft. Kanye West & Jamie Foxx) – “Slow Jamz” (2003)

“Slow Jamz” was originally released as the lead single for Twista’s Kamikaze, but you’re not here for the guy who once held the world record for 598 syllables in 55 seconds. No, it’s the 23 syllables in one of Kanye’s famous couplets: “She got a light-skinned friend look like Michael Jackson / Got a dark-skinned friend look like Michael Jackson.” What Kanye always lacked in professional rap skills and nuance, he made up for with extravagance, humor, and clever pop culture references. The song’s message of going back to the classics also emphasized Ye’s early production style of speeding up ’60s-’80s r&b radio staples. Twista does great with his verse, but this was Kanye’s spotlight. — Andrew Cox


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131. Death Cab for Cutie – “A Movie Script Ending” (2001)

Sandwiched in between their relatively amateurish (but appealing) early records and the stylistic perfection of Transatlanticism and Plans, their third record, The Photo Album, was a transitional collection. Arguably no other tune encapsulates that better than “A Movie Script Ending,” as its endearingly modest and slapdash arrangement—plus Ben Gibbard’s still boyishly nervous singing—juxtaposes a maturation of melody and lyricism.  It foreshadows the emotional and geographical longing that’d come to dominant their material, and its place on the UK Singles Chart (#123) and in an episode of The O.C. (“The Escape”) helped them get the attention they’d long since deserved. — Jordan Blum


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130. Cut Copy – “Hearts on Fire” (2007)

For those that primarily know about Cut Copy through their lone classic In Ghost Colours, you should certainly check out their first album Bright Like Neon Love which has some great under-the-radar synth-pop jams. But before doing that, let’s acknowledge where they lifted off as the possible new New Order. Like The Avalanches before and Tame Impala after, Cut Copy were signed to the Australian label Modular, and like those acts, Cut Copy succeeded through a densely-layered euphoric approach that wasn’t exactly bound to any genre. “Hearts on Fire” is their greatest track with enough catchy elements (Synths! Saxophone! New Wave guitar!) to last a million listens. — Andrew Cox


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129. Norah Jones – “Don’t Know Why” (2002)

It took some time after realizing what music was in high school for me to then recognize how much the music you listen to defines you to society. This fact often makes me wish I could change my musical preferences. But, in my most secure and pure state, I am just happy there is music that speaks to me and guides me and provokes me. “Don’t Know Why” by Norah Jones leads me there. This song, like many of her biggest hits, strikes the heartstrings in the right way. She is undeniably smooth in her expression of broken love. I am carried away with her voice, the lilt of the piano, and the falling strum of the acoustic guitar. I haven’t begun to experience this kind of heartbreak, and yet, I understand as if I’ve sat with her through the pain. I leave the song feeling proud of my love of Norah Jones for the way she paints feelings for the world. — Sadie Burrows


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128. 50 Cent – “In Da Club” (2003)

In the outro to his debut single, 50 Cent reiterates that if someone is looking for him, they need look no further than “In Da Club.” For him, the club is not just a physical place where MDMA and champagne ensure a good time; the club is a lifestyle, one that says treat every day like it’s your birthday. This explains why it’s a wedding and bar mitzvah dance floor staple. Dr. Dre’s production beefs-up Fiddy’s flow with rhythmic claps and layered strings that evoke luxury. It’s gangsta rap light—soft enough that it asks for a hug. — Alex Wexelman


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127. Justin Timberlake (ft. T.I.) – “My Love” (2006)

FutureSex/LoveSounds holds up in every way, so pay no mind to revisionist history takes that try to downplay the album’s status in favor of sociocultural critiques. It’s not that they’re totally irrelevant or “wrong” — it’s just not the main story. For about a year, the best music around was also topping the Billboard charts, and that’s something to take delight in. “My Love” was the second #1 hit off the album, and many consider it the fullest embodiment of JT’s and Timbaland’s illustrious collaboration. Timbaland’s beat is full of beatboxing and radiant synth work, while Timberlake’s falsetto holds up all the way through. And oh yeah, there’s a T.I. verse at his peak. TIP, Timba, and Timber for the win. — Andrew Cox


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126. Life Without Buildings – “The Leanover” (2001)

Is Life Without Buildings the best one-album band by choice? Any Other City and the greatest song off it — “The Leanover” — has been enough to make the Scottish art school dropouts cult legends. They sound very much like a band that had no intention of emulating what was happening around them — seemingly no desire to outdo whatever band was in their lane. Lead vocalist Sue Tompkins is simply — for a lack of a better term — “on one” with her circuitous, unrelenting delivery. It’s all a bit aimless, but that’s what’s so exciting about this unique vision of art rock. In their short time, they toured with the pre-Is This It Strokes and by 20002, they were all off engaging in separate artistic ventures they truly loved. — Andrew Cox


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125. Arthur Russell – “That’s Us/Wild Combination” (2004)

I hope Arthur Russell passed away fully believing his output — released and unreleased — would be fully embraced by the music world as the work of an inspirational solitary genius. Up to his AIDS-related passing in 1992, Russell tinkered with much of his best work, and they would end up hidden for over a decade. The most rewarding of them all is this minimalist pop gem “That’s Us/Wild Combination” with Jennifer Warnes (from the Joe Cocket duet “Up Where We Belong”) as a guest vocalist. The most shocking aspect of it all is how danceable it all is as the cello takes a backseat to warm muted synths. It goes down easy while still being a fully-fleshed journey through all of Russell’s mystical allure. — Andrew Cox


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124. Sonic Youth – “Incinerate” (2006)

Sonic Youth have range. They can jam out and provoke like they do on “Sugar Kane” and “Kool Thing,” but they can also conjure up a meditative, mesmerizing five-minute indie rock swirl like “Incinerate.” Despite its razor-sharp lyricism and title, the violence is quiet and brewing underneath the surface. The fire burns softly in tame riffs and resigned vocals. The instruments culminate carefully, growing sentimental as the lyrics become more despondent: “You doused my soul with gasoline / You flicked a match into my brain.” It feels, at some points, as if the song is about to ignite, but it never really explodes. — Danielle Chelosky


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123. Mclusky – “To Hell With Good Intentions” (2002)

Being “funny” on a noise rock song is a tall order. You have to mix distorted rage with punchlines, and not sticking the landing can just make each element confused and muddled. Welsh rockers Mclusky did it right because their songs were as hilarious as they were propulsive. “To Hell With Good Intentions,” from Mclusky Do Dallas is a collection of dubious superlatives, where the size of one’s love, strength of one’s dad, and song production and drug consumptions of one’s band are broadcast. Andrew Falkous never acts like he’s in on any sort of joke, howling every claim like he’s daring you to laugh at it. Sing it. — Brody Kenny


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122. Kelly Clarkson – “Since U Been Gone” (2004)

Here’s the thing: I watched Pitch Perfect. And though it’s less relevant to this analysis of Kelly Clarkson’s 2004 chart-topper “Since U Been Gone,” I also watched Pitch Perfect 2 and 3. And I loved them in all their a cappella glory. Anyone who has seen these feature films knows of the iconic and pivotal scene in which all new students looking to join one of the four mouth music performance groups must perform this song. The movie cuts together a variety of voices attempting to reach Clarkson’s range, tone, and energy. It is fun, but more, it puts “Since U Been Gone” in a new light. I am left in disbelief and gratitude that both P!nk and Hillary Duff turned down the opportunity to claim this track. Clarkson’s vocal ability is showcased perfectly as she powerfully expresses her release and resulting relief. Rightly so, this hit was recognized, claiming a spot on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in 2010 and the award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 2006 Grammys. — Sadie Burrows


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121. Panda Bear – “Bros” (2006)

This is the longest song on this list, but it’s far from feeling that way. Like the rest of Person Pitch — a singularly great classic album — “Bros” is repetitive but can morph drastically without you realizing it. The song ends up being almost two tracks in one. No song captures the festive atmosphere of a care-free bonfire jam session better with a fireworks session capping it off as the song slowly fades. The song ends up communal despite being a complete solo affair recorded on a Roland SP-303 sampler. For Noah Lennox, this song would be one of the most awe-inducing achievements of a stellar decade in Animal Collective. — Andrew Cox


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120. Amy Winehouse – “Tears Dry on Their Own” (2006)

This extravagant Winehouse track from Back to Black finds her victoriously putting herself in check: “I should just be my own best friend / Not fuck my self in the head with stupid men.” It’s an anthem for moving on and gaining your own independence; her voice is more confident than ever, and the music full of trumpets, tambourines, saxophones, and flugelhorns—an orchestra of overcoming the temptation to stay with dissatisfying men. It shines through as one of the most sensible moments on Back to Black where Winehouse is at her strongest. — Danielle Chelosky


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119. Liars – “The Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack” (2006)

It might’ve disappointed some people who discovered “The Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack” through films like 50/50 to find out how unemblematic it was of Liars’ general sound (if they have one). Even on its album, Drum’s Not Dead, this peaceful promise of solidarity, feels like an outlier. That’s what makes it a perfect closer, as the struggle between the yin and yang of the aggressive Drum and the meek Mt. Heart Attack is resolved between the latter’s display of courage. But you don’t need to have been following the storyline or even have listened to the album to be touched by what Angus Andrew and the rest of Liars created here. — Brody Kenny


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118. Justice – “D.A.N.C.E.” (2007)

The ’10s didn’t yield much for Justice, but this French electronic duo seemed destined for “next Daft Punk” status with Cross being responsible for singles like “DVNO” and “D.A.N.C.E.” The latter is their most notable work and will always be aligned with the fun synth-pop electronic tracks that came out around this time from MGMT, Empire of the Sun, and others. “D.A.N.C.E.” is littered with Michael Jackson references — so many that you may miss one if you’re not a superfan (a non-single track from 2001??) The best decision in the song’s production was probably the radio-tuning intro. It gives off feel-good retro vibes of you just stumbling onto this track flipping through stations late at night. — Andrew Cox


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117. Robyn – “Be Mine!” (2005)

In the first version of Robyn in 2005, “Be Mine!” was the centerpiece with the cello beat and Robyn’s emphatic chorus (the exclamation mark is there for a reason). Always seemingly three steps ahead of your average great pop star, Robyn cleverly titles the song the exact opposite of what the song stands for (“No, you never were and you never will be mine”). In American pop, there probably would’ve been more fuss from the record label to change the title due to “confusing the listener.” “Be Mine!” was deservedly released as the first single for Robyn and was a top-five hit in her native Sweden. This wasn’t Robyn’s first commercial success, but in terms of her beloved critical career, it practically starts here. — Andrew Cox


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116. Broadcast – “Come On, Let’s Go” (2000)

Broadcast soundtrack a lounge on some other planet or perhaps cloud nine. Their schtick may be somewhere between the baroque 60’s pop of Presidents of the United States of America and the existential ennui present in upbeat numbers from Stereolab, but that hardly matters when you can design mood music like this. “Come On Let’s Go” has a driving bassline, psychedelic organs, a harpsichord, and an uplifting premise. The phrase “come on let’s go” is repeated at the end of the majority of verses. The destination: assuredness. Singer Trish Keenan—taken too early—sings in soothing intonations that everything will be OK. — Alex Wexelman


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115. Daft Punk – “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” (2001)

“Harder, Better. Faster, Stronger” Is A Sample Treasure

Where would music be today without Daft Punk? It’s too scary an answer to even imagine. The epochal french-duo released “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” in 2001 to critical acclaim — the fourth single from their sophomore album Discovery. Interestingly enough, a live version of the song was released from the album Alive 2007 and went on to win a Grammy in 2009.

Daft Punk is another group that frequently makes lists here on the blog and elsewhere; their music is timeless, as evidenced by “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” which won awards eight years after its introduction. This song, among others, puts Daft Punk at the forefront of being the sampled backbone of dance, hip-hop, pop and neo-R&B in the years following their debut.

Mainstream musicians from Diplo to Kanye West have sampled “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” with West notably collaborating with Daft Punk for a Grammy performance back in ‘08. More recently, the song has appeared in the theatrical trailer for the Disney-animated movie Ralph Breaks The Internet. — Chanell Noise


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114. Mariah Carey – “We Belong Together” (2005)

They Were SO WRONG About Mariah

Before you go to bed, kneel beside your bed and give thanks to the most high songstress, Mariah Carey. Regarded as the Songbird Supreme by The Guinness World Records, the five-octave singer blessed the world in 2005 with her second single “We Belong Together” from her tenth studio album.

Yes, ten studio albums into her career her sound was just as ridiculously incredible as when she dropped her first album in 1990. The Emancipation of Mimi was regarded as a musical comeback for Mariah Carey. Her popularity took a hit in the early-2000s and several media outlets prematurely called for the end of her career.

Post-“We Belong Together”, Carey rose to her rightful prominence in R&B GOAT conversations. The single was Carey’s sixteenth chart topper on the Billboard Top 100. It spent fourteen consecutive weeks at number one, the song joined four other songs in a tie as the third longest running number one song in US chart history behind her own Boyz II Men collab, “One Sweet Day”. Billboard went on to list “We Belong Together” as the song of the decade and eleventh most popular song of all time.

The song also broke airplay and radio records, is Grammy-nominated, won ASCAP “Song of The Year” in 2005 and continues to win over the hearts and ears of Mariah fans old and new (me included). Guess the naysayers were wrong about her career! — Chanell Noise


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113. Beck – “Lost Cause” (2002)

Beck is nothing if not daring and diverse, with the folk-rock singer/songwriter melancholy of 2002’s Sea Change wonderfully contrasting the styles exuded by some of his other work. Sparse and somber, “Lost Cause” is a fine example of that, as there’s little more to it than his monotone voice, effectively simple AA/BB rhymes, and woodland acoustic guitar arpeggios. While that engaging and mature blend is really all you need, the almost incongruous ethereal/psychedelic sound effects add an extra layer of originality and emotion. It’s no wonder why it was picked as a lead single that eventually received two music videos. — Jordan Blum


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112. Spoon – “The Way We Get By” (2002)

Britt Daniel’s breathy, trembling, and isolated vocals don’t seem like the obvious kick-off for one of the catchiest indie rock songs of the 21st century, but that’s the magic of “The Way We Get By.” It’s somewhat light on sonics, with its groovy piano melodies and Daniel’s preening voice scooping up the most attention. What makes it feel so damn complete is its perfect conveyance of attitude. In under three minutes, every part of this song feels like its own combination of struts and finger snaps. On “The Way We Get By,” Spoon were the cool kids, but they weren’t too cool to show they cared. — Brody Kenny


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111. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists – “Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone?” (2003)

Ted Leo feels much bigger than his meager Spotify plays count suggests. This is an indie rock legend we’re talking about with multiple classic albums to his name, and his most notable song doesn’t have 400k streams? Well, go out and make this song with one of the greatest outros in indie rock history part of your consistent rotation. When No Doubt reached their peak with a Ska-heavy sound, Ted Leo was actually name-checking and writing odes to the leaders of the 2-Tone era. The references range from subtle (The Beat’s “Tears of a Clown”) to just a straight-up listing of members from The Specials. Leo doesn’t just want the Ska sound to come back in its original form; he also wants the racial harmony and inclusivity that the scene consistently strove for. — Andrew Cox


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110. Aaliyah (ft. Timbaland) – “We Need a Resolution” (2001)

On Aaliyah’s last single before her tragic death from a plane crash, inspiration was found in the soundtrack for a straight-to-video 1997 release. The string sample you immediately hear and runs most of the way through is a small part in John Ottman’s “Tricks of the Trade” from Incognito, a movie that apparently only Timbaland has saw. When it came to producing for Aaliyah, Timbaland could find gold in the most barren of landscapes. And of course, Aaliyah would always effortlessly steer the track into being an r&b classic. — Andrew Cox


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109. Mike Jones (ft. Slim Thug & Paul Wall) – “Still Tippin'” (2004)

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“Still Tippin’” is Houston-native Mike Jones’ debut and lead single from his debut album Who Is Mike Jones? The single, released in 2004, was originally used to hype up the Swishahouse comp album, The Day All Hell Broke Loose 2 (2003). The single pivoted to promote Jones’ album and features Slim Thug and Paul Wall.

Arguably the most memorable quotable bar from early-’00s Texan rap, “Back then hoes didn’t want me/ now I’m hot, hoes all on me”, hails from Jones’ verse on “Still Tippin’”. The song does an amazing job of embracing not only Southern hip-hop but Houston culture; “Still tipping on four 4s/ wrapped in four Vogues”. The ephemeral hook stands as a metaphor for both spoke-sticking-out-type-rims popularized in the South and the 44 bus that runs through the Acres Homes neighborhood in Houston.

The single has a complicated history as it’s not the original version. The OG version featured Chamillionaire before his departure from Swishahouse. “Still Tippin’” interpolates “William Tell Overture” by the South German Philharmonic Orchestra and Alfred Scholtz and Slim Thug’s “I’m a Hoe”. After Mike Jones and Chamillionaire began their rivalry, Jones placed the track on a different beat and cut the latter off. — Chanell Noise


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108. Jürgen Paape – “So Weit Wie Noch Nie” (2001)

“As Far as Never Before” — that’s the German translation of Jürgen Paape’s Kompakt classic. It makes sense then that the Cologne-based record label took minimal techno to heights never before seen right around the time this song took off. Wolfgang Voight (GAS), Michael Mayer, and Paape all peaked in the first few years of the century with a plethora of classic albums, mixes, and singles. The Total compilation series remains the label’s showcase, and “So Weit Wie Noch Nie” was the highlight off quite possibly the best electronic compilation album ever assembled — Total 3. — Andrew Cox


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107. Usher (ft. Ludacris & Lil Jon) – “Yeah!” (2004)

Usher already had three #1 Billboard singles before Confessions, but he achieved it through a soft r&b sound that didn’t distinguish him enough from the crowd. That all changed when Lil Jon provided his trademark Crunk sound to Usher’s smooth vocals. No longer just the purveyor of romantic anthems, Usher was here to open the club up. It was a perfect fit for Usher, much like the Atlanta hat he wore in the video. Even with a Ludacris feature, Usher rides above the Dirty South sound and some of its lackluster garish aspects. Usher was now the biggest pop star of the ’00s. — Andrew Cox


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106. Radiohead – “Pyramid Song” (2001)

“Pyramid Song” has been ranked one of the best songs of the decade by multiple sites, and for good reason. It’s hard to put into words the hollowing, melancholic effect the track has, but it’s significantly more humbling than the countless other ballads of despair put out by other artists. It feels like a final resort, as if the band poured their whole souls into the writing of it. The vocals and instrumental feel very barren and cold, emulating a sense of hopelessness. There’s a shimmer of beauty to that, as if accepting this defeat can open up room for a new, clean slate. — Virginia Croft


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105. Crime Mob (ft. Lil Scrappy) – “Knuck If You Buck” (2004)

“Knuck If You Buck” has gained popularity recently due to the beat being used for songs like “Bet You Can’t Do It Like Me” and “Juju on the Beat (TZ Anthem).” The beat’s reuse makes sense as it is classic, simple, and synonymous with Atlanta’s hip-hop sound. What made the original so great though was the beefed-up crunk vibe coming from every member on the track. The song notoriously brings out the fighting spirit in people as dance floor altercations supposedly often follow its playing. The song’s recording dates back to 2002 where it took many years to find the right lineup for the song. The version that got the most traction featured the man/woman back-and-forth verses with Diamond and Princess — the two were a breath of fresh air in the one-sided heyday of crunk. — Andrew Cox


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104. The xx – “Intro” (2009)

There’s no doubt the first taste of The xx’s debut album xx in 2009 left quite an impression. Jamie xx really outdid himself by producing a 2-minute introduction to the indie pop group’s sound that was seemingly everywhere at the time – from an AT&T commercial to films, and even Rihanna sampled the track on her 2011 song “Drunk on Love.” It’s an “Intro” track on an album that stands out on its own, and is perhaps too enjoyable and memorable to not have a substantial title.

Back in 2017, I wrote about “5 Reasons Why The xx’s ‘Intro’ Is One of the Greatest Songs of All Time” for Billboard. — Leslie Richin


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103. Yo La Tengo – “Our Way to Fall” (2000)

“Our Way to Fall” is a sweet love song that captures the sensation that occurs when two people recognize a shared love for each other. The hesitant drums are reassured by a confident synth melody, and Ira Kaplan’s hushed vocals create that intimate feeling behind the lyrics. The song itself has some beautiful lines, such as “So try and try even if it lasts an hour/With all our might, try and make it ours,” and “I remember before we met/I remember sitting next to you/And I remember pretending I wasn’t looking.” These lines capture the youthful energy behind the song as well. “Our Way to Fall” is a beautiful ode to the sensation that comes with love. — Happy Haugen


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102. Dirty Projectors – “Stillness Is the Move” (2009)

Listening to a Dirty Projectors track is an experience in itself, as the band creates detours where we least expect them, resulting in an unidentifiable genre, a niche of its own. “Stillness is the Move” is a whirlwind of electrifying riffs, with twangy guitars and layered vocals, enlisting the listener to keep an open mind as they are pulled through waves of brilliant music experiments. Amber Coffman’s vocals shock and amaze, blending beautifully with rowdy drums and subtle synths. With a rush of harmonies ushering in the heights Coffman’s voice can reach, the track is a stellar introduction to the twists Dirty Projectors fearlessly take. — Virginia Croft


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101. Kanye West – “Love Lockdown” (2008)

808s & Heartbreak‘s critical status today as a masterpiece is a far cry from the befuddled initial response to Kanye’s Auto-Tuned pop and r&b. While “Heartless” was a hit mainly because the old Kanye managed to peek through the seams, “Love Lockdown” proved how wonderfully restrained he was in his new direction. The sparse production and lyrics still convey Kanye’s maximalist spirit — the highs and lows necessary to maintain pop stardom while regularly being called a creative genius. That ebb-and-flow is the tension that Kanye thrived under through The Life of Pablo. — Andrew Cox