The Top Ten Pop Songs of the 2000s

Gnarls Barkley, 2007
Gnarls Barkley, 2007 | Source

The 2000's were a decade where the ways we listened to music changed greatly from the past. Ipods, iTunes, streams, and even downloads from video games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero became popular, while CD sales declined. This led to the closing of such brick and mortar behemoths as Tower Records and the Virgin Megastore.

Here's my list, in reverse order, of the top ten pop songs released during these ten years:

10.David Gray-Babylon-From his 1999 album "White Ladder", "Babylon" was released as a single in 2000. It was a top 5 UK hit, and also made Billboard's U.S. Modern Rock Tracks and Adult Contemporary charts. "White Ladder" was released in the U.S. on Dave Matthews' ATO Records. "Babylon'"s lyrics describe a man whose jealous and bitter behavior has caused him to lose the woman he loves. The music itself is simple, consisting of just an acoustic guitar, drum machine, and synthesizer to go with Gray's vocal. His singing is restrained, with no yelling or vocal acrobatics. "Babylon" is an understated but emotionally effective song.

David Gray-Babylon music video

9.P!nk-So What-On the other hand, here's a song where the vocal is definitely not restrained. "So What" was a U.S. number one hit single for Alecia Moore aka P!nk in 2008. The lyrics deal with her bitter feelings about her separation from motocross racer Carey Hart. The song is very catchy, and no doubt, goes down well in concert. One strange note is that Hart himself appeared in her video for the song, even though he and P!nk were separated at the time. The couple reunited in 2009, and their daughter Willow was born two years later.

P!nk-So What music video

8. Shakira with Wylcef Jean-Hips Don't Lie-An international smash hit, it topped the U.S. singles chart in the summer of 2006. It's a light song set to a reggaeton beat, but great for the dance floor. A guilty pleasure, true, but you have to smile when you hear lyrics like "I never really knew that she could dance like this/She makes a man want to learn Spanish". The video, featuring Shakira's belly dancing like moves, won a 2006 MTV Video Music Award for Best Choreography.

Shakira-Hips Don't Lie music video

7. Kate Bush-"King of the Mountain-Taken from her first album in 12 years, "Aerial", this 2005 song's lyrics deal with the tabloid type rumors that Elvis Presley is still alive. Bush asks in the tune," Elvis are you out there somewhere/Looking like a happy man"? The song also references Rosebud, the sled in the classic film, "Citizen Kane". "King of the Mountain" may not compare to Bush's 1985 "Hounds of Love" singles, but on its own merits, is still very strong. The b-side of "King" is her version of Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing".

Kate Bush-King of the Mountain music video

6. Duffy-Mercy-"Mercy" is a single from Duffy's debut CD "Rockferry", the Grammy winner for 2008's Best Pop Vocal Album. Born Aimee Anne Duffy in Wales, her blue eyed soul singing style has been compared to Dusty Springfield. "Mercy" is a catchy song, with a definite 1960s Motown/Stax sound. It was co-written by Duffy and ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler,and has been featured in such TV shows as "ER", "Smallville", and "Grey's Anatomy" as well as included on the "Sex and the City: The Movie" soundtrack album.

Duffy-Mercy music video

5. Lily Allen-The Fear-Allen's second album, "It's Not Me, It's You" was released in 2009 with "The Fear" as its lead single. Three years earlier, she hit the charts (including the U.S.) with the ska flavored "Smile". “The Fear” features Allen's biting lyrics about wealth and fame, where everything's okay if you're "packing plastic". But, all this has confused the song's protagonist, who sings, "I don't know what's right and what's real anymore/And I don't know how I'm meant to feel anymore". The music itself is edgy but quite catchy, with an electro pop dance beat.

Lily Allen-The Fear music video

4. Amy Winehouse-Rehab-"Rehab" was the opening song from the late singer’s second album, "Back to Black". She avoided the sophomore jinx with her follow up to her debut CD, "Frank". In "Rehab's first line, she sings "They tried to make me go to rehab. I said "No, no, no" while her band plays a retro 60's r and b beat. Unfortunately her personal life was a mess, and she did have to go to rehab for real in January 2008. A month later, "Rehab" won Grammys for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. It was an interesting TV moment as she accepted the Grammy for Record of the Year via satellite, thanking her mother and father and her then husband Blake "who's incarcerated". Josh Tyrangiel on the Time Magazine website named "Rehab" as the Best Song of 2007.

Amy Winehouse-Rehab music video

3. U2-"Beautiful Day"-U2's first album of the 2000s, "All That You Can't Leave Behind", saw them return to their 1980s trademark sound. Gone were the experimentation and dance rhythms of their 1990s albums "Achtung Baby", "Zoorapa", and "Pop". The first track on the new album was the uplifting, driving rocker, "Beautiful Day", featuring Edge's chiming guitar and a strong vocal by Bono. "Beautiful Day" won three Grammys for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Rock Performance By a Duo or Group with Vocal.

U2-Beautiful Day music video

2.Gnarls Barkley-Crazy- The duo of Cee-Lo Green and Danger Mouse hit the jackpot with this 2006 hit off of their debut CD, "St. Elsewhere". The song features a great soulful vocal from Green on the song. In a 2006 New York Times interview, Danger Mouse said that Green recorded the vocals for "Crazy" in one take. A slow version of "Crazy" was performed at the 2007 Grammy Awards ceremony, and the song lost none of its strength and power. "Crazy" was a number one hit in England, and reached number two in the U.S. The song's music video was good too, with animated ink blots (as in the Rorschach psychological test) continually transforming into images of Green and Danger Mouse.

Gnarls Barkley-Crazy music video

1. Bruce Springsteen-My City of Ruins- "My City of Ruins" was the first song performed on the "America: A Tribute to Heroes" TV telethon following 9/11. The gospel sounding tune was actually written in 2000 about Asbury Park, New Jersey, but the lyrics also could describe New York City after the World Trade Center attacks. Among the poignant lyrics were the lines," Young Men on the corner/Like scattered leaves/The boarded up windows/The empty streets". Springsteen sings in the song's final choruses for the town and its citizens to "Rise Up!" and restore the community and their lives.

Dave Marsh wrote in 2006's "Bruce Springsteen On Tour 1968-1975" that The Boss introduced "My City of Ruins"at an October 2001 benefit show by saying, "This was a song that I wrote for Asbury Park. Songs go out into the world and hopefully they end up where people need 'em. So, I guess this is a gift from Asbury Park to New York City in its time of need".

A studio version of "My City of Ruins" was the last track on Springsteen's 9/11 inspired 2002 album, "The Rising". The song wasn't released as a single, like the others on this list, but it packs an emotional punch that exceeds all of them.

Bruce Springsteen-My City of Ruins live in Barcelona, 2002

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