If you are fortunate enough to have the resources to quarantine during this pandemic, one thing you will agree is that quarantine and isolation is pretty damn boring. You’ve watched all the films, read all your books, and did the chores you’ve been putting off for months. So now, it’s the noughties’ turn to cheer you up.
Ahh the noughties. It’s the decade I carved an identity for myself in and the decade’s culture that I absorbed the most. It was a combination of a hangover from the 90s, the years of the chav (the official Year of the Chav was 2004 if you’re interested), and the infancy of emo. It’s easy to forget that My Chemical Romance and Paris Hilton were a thing happening at the same time and even easier to forget some of the best jams we’ve been blessed with in music history.
I know the internet is kind of a 00s thing as well. It may have been invented in the 80s, but in my opinion it only truly started taking the shape of what it is now in the 00s. The result of that is the tidal wave of millennial nostalgia talking about culture and music of our childhoods, repeating the same songs every time that we never really stopped listening to anyway.
So I’m going to try and be a bit different. Look, you already know that ‘Mr Brightside’ is timeless and Justin Timberlake was the Justin Bieber of our era. But maybe you’ve forgotten a track or two and maybe they need dusting off and appreciating now we’re all grown up.
Stick the playlist on below, and read on for a list that’ll take you right back to a moment in the past where you’re patiently waiting until your 16th birthday to buy a branded packet of Lambert & Butler for under a fiver. Your ratty Ugg boots that you wore in the rain again are making their way to the park to drink WKDs with your friends and you can’t wait to show off your new Motorola Razr. You’re especially grateful you’re out because your mum bollocked you for spending an obscene amount of money on a polyphonic ringtone and wallpaper advertised in your favourite magazine. You flung your Jane Norman bag in the corner as soon as you got in from school, applied a 47th coat of mascara and white-pink lipstick, and wondered if the boy with the large dyed fringe and skinny jeans would be out tonight.
1. ‘Dilemma’ – Nelly ft. Kelly Rowland
To me, this song is always going to be peak 00s. There’s durags, Nokia phones with keypads and the iconic 00s choice of lip makeup on Kelly Rowland consisting of dark brown lip liner and light pink lip gloss. Will we ever find out if you can actually use Microsoft Excel to text as well?
2. ‘Love Don’t Cost a Thing’ – Jennifer Lopez
I know nobody has forgotten about Jennifer Lopez, I mean with her recent SuperBowl Halftime Show performance and saucy gig in Hustlers (2019), I don’t think we will ever see the last of her and I am absolutely fine with that. But while ‘Jenny from the Block’ gets a shout-out at every house party, ‘Love Don’t Cost a Thing’ is so underrated it’s criminal, and it deserves more hype.
3. ‘Leave (Get Out)’ – Jojo
Jojo made me obsessed with big hoop earrings and dresses over jeans for a very long and ill-informed time. Let’s also not forget that Jojo was 13 YEARS OLD when this hit reached number one in the charts. 13! I was navigating mood swings and falling “in love” every ten minutes at 13, not breaking records and travelling the world. Geez Jojo…
4. ‘God is a DJ’- P!nk
It’s by P!nk. It’s got overly distressed jeans in the video. It’s featured on the Mean Girls (2004) soundtrack. How can you not call this noughties? P!nk has developed as an artist over the years but this is a often forgotten jam of hers that deserves more respect. Never forget your roots, P!nk, they rocked.
5. ‘”The Take Over, The Breaks Over”‘ – Fall Out Boy
When people talk about culture in the 00s, they always forget that the contemporary R&B scene, Wigan Pier scene and emo were all happening simultaneously. Fall Out Boy were one of the more widely accepted emo groups and while there’s hits that charted higher than this one, it is so goddamn catchy and fun you’ll find it hard to not see feet tapping when you play it.
6. ‘Fat Lip’ – Sum 41
Another classic from the emo/pop-punk genre that even the most mainstream of townies can’t resist. Sum 41 remind me of a time where skateboards were a status symbol and everyone wanted to marry someone from Jackass. Lead singer, Deryck Whibley, married Avril Lavigne in 2006 and that was the last time the world made sense to me.
7. ‘Heaven is a Halfpipe (If I Die)’ – OPM
Speaking of skateboards, this tune is legendary. You remember the chorus for sure, but the riffs and beats make it a chilled and catchy number that spreads happy vibes whenever it’s played.
8. ‘Gotta Get Thru This (D’n’D Remix)’ – Daniel Bedingfield
Garage is having a bit of a resurgence, especially the granddaddy of garage, Craig David. In fact I had to force myself to not put Craig David on the playlist, because as much as he was king of the 00s garage sound, we don’t forget about him like we forget about this epic remix.
9. ‘Pure & Simple’ – Hear’Say
Crafted through the reality series Popstars (2001), Hear’Say were one of the thousands of manufactured pop bands driving hipsters mad in the noughties. Maybe not the most popular band or chart-topping song, but listen once and I guarantee it will be in your head all day.
10. ‘Hole in the Head’ – Sugababes
Without a doubt one of the most underrated girlbands of all time. Sugababes formed you in ways you didn’t even realise, that’s how good they were. Sugababes are on the Love Actually (2003) soundtrack and Sugababes told us exactly how to respect ourselves as preteens when it came to boys.
11. ‘No Tomorrow’ – Orson
This is one of those songs that you have no recollection of by name, but when it starts playing, you are totally into it. I also believed that the lead singer, Jason Pebworth, was the lead singer in New Radicals of ‘You Get What You Give’ fame. This apparently is not true, but all I’ll say on the matter is that I’ve never seen Jason Pebworth and Gregg Alexander in the same room at the same time…
12. ‘Last Resort’ – Papa Roach
I know you might be thinking, “Sophie! This is Nu-Metal! This a divisive genre and I won’t have you saying it’s accepted by everybody!”. But I defy anybody to not retort after hearing “CUT MY LIFE INTO PIECES” with “THIS IS MY LAST RESORT”. Whether you believe you like it or not, you fucking like it. Everybody likes this song. Why? I don’t know. Papa Roach never set out to be accessible, but for some reason, this song rocks and we all love it.
13. ‘Dy-Na-Mi-Tee’ – Ms. Dynamite
I implore you to listen to this track as a grown-up, because when I did I found that it actually slaps. The entire composition comes together so well and it’s a song that can be played at a house party and a chilled gathering and still garner the same response; respect and the questioning “Why was this not appreciated more when it came out?!”.
14. ‘I Wanna Sex You Up’ – Color Me Badd
This is a song I slept on for years, and I don’t mean in a sexual way. I heard it for the first time in a call center I worked at that tried to make a fun, Google HQ-esque environment including a 90s/00s dance track playlist and from the first few harmonising vocal bars, I was hooked. I guarantee, if you didn’t hear it in the day, you’ll love hearing it now.
15. ‘Heaven’ – DJ Sammy ft. Do
Ahhhhh I bet you forgot that we all indulged in a chavvy phase in the noughties DIDN’T YOU?! This was one of the songs we all transferred over bluetooth more than we were transferring STIs, and for good reason. It’s catchy and gets you in the mood for a Lambrini or two. A must at any decent predrinks.
16. ‘Put a Donk On It’ – Blackout Crew
Very much a pioneer of the Wigan Pier sound going on in the 2000s, ‘Put a Donk On It’ was a meme before memes were a thing. If you heard the hilarious track, you loved it instantly, and when you were drunk the bassline etc. really did genuinely rock.
17. ‘Sticks ‘N’ Stones’ – Jamie T
The hot flavour of the month, Jamie T was very much a staple at any 00s house party that involved girls in skinny jeans, sailor stripe tops and backcombed hair. It’s a song that takes you back and the rhythm remains catchy after all these years.
18. ‘Romeo’ – Basement Jaxx
Spoiler alert; there is more than one Basement Jaxx song on this list. They are timeless songs that tend to be “Oh shit I’ve heard this but never knew who it was!” type tracks. ‘Romeo’ is great for predrinks and downtime sessions in your party playlist (if you schedule tracks in your playlist dependent on how drunk your guests are… which I do… and recommend) and is just generally an awesome song to get down to.
19. ‘Bingo Bango’ – Basement Jaxx
I told you I had more than one Basement Jaxx song! This song makes me think of Bend it Like Beckham (2002) and Vinnie Jones, so I reckon that’s enough of a qualifier to be considered a 00s staple as there needs to be. But seriously, this song is infectious and motivates you to really put a swing into any activity you’re currently doing when the tune comes on.
20. ‘Take a Look Around’ – Limp Bizkit
This was a genius marketing move; targeting the ever increasing Nu-Metal wave of the noughties and capitalising on a bunch of greasy, baggy-clothed teens that were looking for media that fit their identity. Mission: Impossible 2 (2000) did that by employing the likes of Limp Bizkit and Metallica for their soundtrack, and ‘Take a Look Around’ still manages to kick ass.
21. ‘Fuck It (I Don’t Want You Back)’ – Eamon
The opening track to one of the best music urban legends of all time. The story goes that Eamon recorded this song about non-starter Frankee, but didn’t secure the copyrights to the song which enabled Frankee to record her own retort to the song supposedly setting the record straight about their relationship. Speaking of which…
22. ‘F.U.R.B. (F U Right Back)’ – Frankee
Okay, so if you want to keep the idea that Frankee recorded this song in response to Eamon, skip the rest of this and go to entry 23. The real tea is that Eamon has never met Frankee, and in fact her representatives made a great deal for her to use his tunes that Eamon accepted. The rest is history. Even so, it’s a fantastic song to send a dude you’ve just broken up with and until the day I die, whether it was real or not, I will always be on Frankee’s team.
23. ‘Super Duper Love’ – Joss Stone
I defy anybody to not admit this is one of the happiest, chillest songs of all time. From various gossipy resources, it’s been said that Joss Stone didn’t make it into the mainstream for too long because she was ‘difficult’ to work with, which in 2020, makes me ask “Okay, but in reality, which producer etc is it that she didn’t want to sleep with who trashed her career?”.
24. ‘Our Bovine Public’ – The Cribs
The Cribs were the epitome of the drainpipe, backcombed indie scene that was happening in the early 2000s, complete with fans such as Alexa Chung and Agyness Deyn. Kate Nash was also partnered with the lead singer for quite a while, making all the indie girls jealous in the process.
25. ‘Duality’ – Slipknot
I know what you’re thinking. But no matter who your crowd consists of, when the party is well underway and they want to just let everything go, Slipknot should come on. It’s the most popular song of theirs and I believe it’s because there’s something about it that taps into you as a human being, and you end up doing some primal dancing if you just let the drums get to you. Try it out at your next party, I’m not lying when I say I’ve seen middle class boomers dance to this.