Previous installments: #100-81 #80-61
60. Amy Winehouse 'Back to Black'
2007. From Back to Black.
If 'Rehab' was the song to show the world exactly who Amy Winehouse was, 'Back to Black' proved that she was, first and foremost, a musician. Winehouse, the closest the 2000's could ever refer to as a torch singer, reveals layers of hurt and devastation in the deceptively simple lyrics in ways unmatched by anyone. 'Back to Black' is definitive proof that a world without Amy Winehouse is one that is simply unlivable.
59. T.A.T.U. 'All the Things She Said'
2003. From 200 KM/H in the Wrong Lane.
Can you name a better pop song by two Russian lesbians about coming out of the closet? I didn't think so. Long after the novelty of the rampant lesbianism wore off, the song remains one of the strongest pop songs of the decade. 'All the Things She Said' is proof that pop songs can be about more than just dancing, love and having a good time.
58. Shakira 'Underneath Your Clothes'
2002. From Laundry Service.
The perfect Shakira song. 'Underneath Your Clothes' combines everything we love about her into an amazing 3 minute and 45 second package: her trademark odd, almost indescribable lyrics, her inimitable vocal warble which is both unusual and beautiful at the same time and a divalicious nature that still allows her to be humble (like her breasts) and approachable. Shakira is truly one of a kind in today's pop culture.
57. Destiny's Child 'Survivor'
2001. From Survivor.
Suppose you are an R&B girl group, recently crossing over to Top 40 in a major way, and you have just undergone your second major lineup change in a year. How on Earth do you combat the haters who think you are over before you even begin? Well, if you're Beyoncé, Kelly and Michelle, you come out with a hot track aimed right at the haters to stop them right in their tracks. My love for Pop Songs as Personal Expression can be traced back to this one and few have gotten even close to matching it.
56. O-Town 'All or Nothing'
2001. From O-Town.
Forget NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys, O-Town was by far the greatest boy band of the decade (To be fair, however, it's like comparing finding dog shit in your living room to finding dog shit in your bedroom). Lyrically, there's nothing much to celebrate about 'All or Nothing,' but the boys really sell the song, turning it into one of my favorite shout-worthy power ballads.
55. Christina Aguilera 'Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)'
2000. From Christina Aguilera.
The album version of this song is blah, but the radio edit makes up for it tenfold. And there's no denying the iconographic music video; I still think about the white outfit Christina wears in the video.
54. Ms. Jade featuring Timbaland and Nelly Furtado 'Ching Ching'
2002. From Girl Interrupted.
In a decade where Timbaland made the enormous jump to the mainstream, it's still a shame that one of his best efforts remains largely forgotten amid his larger hits. Amid an insane, alliterative Furtado background vocal, 'Ching Ching' largely plays out like a classic he said/she said song. Timbaland's verse is strong but Ms. Jade dominates, angrily lashing out against all the "gangsta" bullshit she had to put up with while wearing the "wifey and mother/cousin, sister and brother/accountant, lawyer and lover" roles in the relationship. She may have been treated like a second-class citizen in the relationship but she'll be damned if he gets away with it.
53. iio 'Rapture'
2002. From Poetica.
This song makes me want to buy a pacifier, take some E and dance at a rave for 14 hours straight like I'm Andrew Garfield in Boy A.
52. Kylie Minogue 'The One'
2008. From X.
A typical love ballad done up in an atypical up-tempo, electropop manner which only heightens the emotions and beauty of the song. 'The One' is another game-changer from Kylie, proving that after 20 years at the top she is still willing to experiment a bit and find ways to expand her sound to unparalleled heights. I have a feeling this will be a song more people will be talking about into the next decade.
51. Alphabeat 'Fascination'
2008. From This is Alphabeat.
"They're like an edgier Same Difference!" was my first reaction to Alphabeat when Dave introduced them to me earlier this year. It was love at first listen for me; their carefree, neo-80's sound was right up my alley from the beginning. 'Fascination,' like the lyrics suggest, is pure exaltation. Why someone hasn't used this song in a dance montage in a movie yet remains a mystery to me.
50. Girls Aloud 'Untouchable'
2009. From Out of Control.
When someone called Girls Aloud's nearly seven minute long epic 'Untouchable' this generation's 'Bohemian Rhapsody,' they were not exaggerating one bit. 'Untouchable' is the epitome of the surreal electropop the Girls explored heavily on their Out of Control album. The raping of the beauty and ballsiness of this song at the hands of the three and a half minute radio edit remains one of the greatest tragedies of the decade. What should have been an easy #1 hit became the Girls first single to land outside the Top 10. Oh well. The public has proven time and time again incapable of recognizing genius when it is delivered to them on a silver platter. 'Untouchable' will forever be a fan favorite and one to remind us of the riskiness of pop music.
49. The Killers 'When You Were Young'
2006. From Sam's Town.
"He doesn't look a thing like Jesus/But he talks like a gentleman." If you don't like this lyric, there's really no hope for you.
48. Mya 'Case of the Ex'
2000. From Fear of Flying.
I will admit that with Mya's diminishing status as a popstar (or even a star at all), I'm not as crazy about this song as I once was. But nostalgia is a bitch sometimes and I have to give props to 'Case of the Ex,' which is still a damn catchy number and an important song from my awkward junior high period.
47. Britney Spears 'I'm a Slave 4 U'
2001. From Britney.
Oh that Britney. If there's one thing she knows how to do extremely well, it is inciting controversy and 'I'm a Slave 4 U' was her masterpiece in that regards. Remember the shit storm that erupted simply from the title leaking? What is easily forgotten is that 'I'm a Slave 4 U' is one of her best songs, a fantastic early example of the hip hop/pop hybrid that quickly dominated the decade. Plus, I must admit that somewhere there is videotaped evidence of me doing a really awkward and embarrassing dance to this song. Yes, there is a boa involved as well.
46. ATC 'Around the World (La La La La La)'
2000. From Planet Pop.
When so many songs I absolutely loved in junior high sound like complete shit ten years later, it is refreshing to find a song, especially one as niche as 'Around the World,' that is just as strong, if not stronger, than it was back in the day.
45. Pussycat Dolls 'Stickwitu'
2005. From PCD.
If the gays are ever allowed to marry, this will for sure be my wedding song. 'I Hate This Part' is probably a stronger ballad overall, but there's something about the cheesiness of the lyrics combined with the alarmingly anti-feminist tone of the song (I'm not going to find anyone who will love me more than you so I guess I'll just keep on dating you) that has me hooked every damn time.
44. Danity Kane 'Damaged'
2008. From Welcome to the Dollhouse.
I tried to resist since Danity Kane is nothing more than a second-rate knock off of the Pussycat Dolls, but I'll be damned if I couldn't get this song out of my head the entire summer of 2008. If that's not the sign of a perfectly done pop song, I don't know what is.
43. Christina Aguilera, P!nk, Lil' Kim and Mya 'Lady Marmalade'
2001. From Moulin Rouge! Soundtrack.
In a new era when singers collaborate with other pop singers or rappers and every other single, will the world ever witness a collaboration as epic as the one assembled for this cover of the disco classic. I highly doubt it and, in all honestly, who would want to be compared to this outing anyways. Everything about this song is perfection, from P!nk's trademarked attitude, Lil' Kim's gold digging rap and Xtina in all of her big hair glory swallowing the song whole with her over-the-top vocal exercises (and did I mention her enormous hair?).
42. Gwen Stefani 'Hollaback Girl'
2005. From Love. Angel. Music. Baby.
Even with its massive popularity, I'm still baffled at how 'Hollaback Girl' became a hit in the first place. With an odd, "stomp the yard" style hook and a cheerleading cheer as its main attention grabber, 'Hollaback Girl' is a downright unusual pop song and normally America ignores the unusual in favor of the rote. What's even more surprising is that given the large amount of times I have heard this song on the radio, it still feels as fresh as the first couple of times I heard it. Now that shit is bananas.
41. Carrie Underwood 'Before He Cheats'
2007. From Some Hearts.
As I stated in the post where I named 'Before He Cheats' the number one song of 2007, I'm still fucking scared of Carrie Underwood. She may seem all sweet and innocent, but you cross her just once and she will fucking cut you like she is Dame Judi Dench, no questions asked. If only there were more female country artists ready and willing to stand up for themselves like Underwood does here. Maybe country music would start to be more listenable.