Previous installments: #100-81 #80-61 #60-41
40. Victoria Beckham 'Let Your Head Go'
2003. From Let Your Head Go/This Groove.
Okay, so I'm not going to accuse Vicky B of being the greatest singer on the planet. What she accomplishes on 'Let Your Head Go,' however, is a prime example of one of my guilty pleasures: the less-than-stellar singer who relies on something else to make a hot track. It may not be 'And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going,' but this song is eternally listenable.
39. Blu Cantrell 'Hit 'Em Up Style (Oops!)'
2001. From So Blu.
Who didn't jam out to this song at least once back in 2001? Blu's spirited tale of revenge and love gone wrong was one of the big girl power anthems of the decade. After this song, I know that if anyone has the balls to cheat on me, I'm not going to get angry--I'm just going to have a large garage sale.
38. No Doubt 'It's My Life'
2003. From The Singles 1992-2003.
I think this is my favorite No Doubt song, but everytime I think of it, I remember this ridiculous conversation I had with my grandma about the music video. Her idea of a good singer is someone who just stands there and sings so when she saw Gwen Stefani wildly trashing about in the music video, she started complaining about today's entertainers not having any talent and "Back in my day," etc. I defended Gwen, trying to convince my grandma she was just acting (and she was on death row in the video for God's sake!), but she was not having it. Finally, I gave up because if there's one thing you can't do, it's change my grandmother's mind.
37. Missy Elliott 'Get Ur Freak On'
2001. From Miss E...So Addictive.
Missy's standard; if she were to die right now, this is the song everyone would be using to memorialize her.
36. Eminem 'Lose Yourself'
2002. From 8 Mile (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack).
No matter what stupid shit Eminem raps about or how lame his gimmick continues to be, I remind myself that for a brief period of time, he was actually relevant and released a couple of classic tracks. 'Lose Yourself' is, undeniably, one of these tracks.
35. Sugababes 'Freak Like Me'
2002. From Angels With Dirty Faces.
For all intents and purposes, this update of the mid-90's Adina Howard hit shouldn't have worked. Instead of merely singing the original over again, the 'Babes tailored the song to fit their sound and ended up with their sexiest song until 'Push the Button.'
34. The Killers 'Mr. Brightside'
2004. From Hot Fuss.
Pure adrenaline rush. Everytime this song comes on, I just can't help myself and start screaming every word. At the same time, however, it's also one of the saddest songs I've ever encountered.
33. Christina Aguilera 'Fighter'
2003. From Stripped.
Xtina's defiant battle cry against all the haters is yet another example of my adoration for the subgenre I call Pop Songs as Personal Expression. I undervalued this one back in the day, but over the years, it's often the one I think back of first when recalling Christina during her dirrty Xtina days.
32. Duffy 'Warwick Avenue'
2008. From Rockferry.
A deceptively simple song with some of the most beautiful lyrics I've ever heard. Duffy will always have my heart thanks to this song.
31. Rihanna 'Disturbia'
2008. From Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded.
What we originally thought was a creepy pop song from our newest pop princess has become a precursor to the scarily dark and hardened Rated R. Still, without a doubt, the best single she has ever released (that is, unless she releases 'Fire Bomb').
30. Fergie featuring will.i.am 'Fergalicious'
2006. From The Duchess.
She's not Bob Dylan, so you can suck it if you object to her on the grounds that she doesn't make "real" music. I love the ingenious of this song and I don't care if you find me completely shallow. Can you think of any other singer around with the audacity and gusto to pull off a line like "I be up at the gym, just workin' on my fitness/He's my witness"?
29. The Corrs 'Breathless'
2000. From In Blue.
I find, in general, that The Corrs are pretty lame as far as musicians go. In 2000, however, they struck gold (with me, anyways) with the eternally catchy and forever endearing 'Breathless.' I remember how I used to annoy one of my friends in seventh grade by singing this song obnoxiously. Ah, good times.
28. Groove Armada featuring Mutya Buena 'Song 4 Mutya (Out of Control)'
2007. From Soundboy Rock.
For whatever reason, 'Song 4 Mutya' reminds me of the first day of spring when you can finally take a drive with the windows rolled down. Besides, how awesome it that the song incorporates the singer's name into the narrative? You don't get that much outside of a Fergie song (see: 'Fergalicious' at #30).
27. Kanye West featuring Syleena Johnson 'All Falls Down'
2004. From The College Dropout.
It wasn't until a couple of years after 'All Falls Down''s initial run on the charts that I actually took the time to listen to the lyrics and what they were truly about. Well, color me surprised that Kanye, unlike so many other useless rappers around, was pulling off a social critique of excessive consumer spending, people living beyond their means and insecurity. Say what you want about his personality, Kanye is a rapper who actually has something to say; we need more of that around, don't you think?
26. Britney Spears 'Toxic'
2003. From In the Zone.
A Britney song that even non-Britney fans can enjoy without feeling too guilty.
25. Miley Cyrus 'See You Again'
2008. From Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus.
I wanted to resist. Lord knows I tried. But after listening to it 25 times in a row during a trip to the mall sophomore year of college--in a moment of my life straight out a teen movie montage--I fell head over heals in love with Miley and her best friend Leslie. Love or hate everything else Miley does and stands for (Lord knows I'm super critical), 'See You Again' is undeniably an unapologetically pop gem.
24. Madonna 'Don't Tell Me'
2001. From Music.
I swear on my life the video for 'Don't Tell Me' turned me gay.
23. Stacie Orrico '(There's Gotta Be) More To Life'
2003. From Stacie Orrico.
I realize that this is hardly the most sophisticated song ever written, but my 15 year old self connected deeply with Ms. Orrico's ode to searching and hoping for something more in life. If I was on American Idol and tried to manipulate the audience with a sappy story, this is the song that would be playing in the background.
22. Pussycat Dolls 'Buttons'
2006. From PCD.
I credit my re-emergence into mainstream pop music with this song. No matter what I did during the summer of 2006, I could not avoid 'Buttons.' I wanted to hate it at first, but eventually the Dolls wore me down and the song became too damn catchy to hate. When I left for college in September, I started getting hooked again to pure pop music; without 'Buttons' there to prove how great it can be when done right, Lord knows what I'd be listening to now.
21. Outkast 'Ms. Jackson'
2001. From Stankonia.
How on Earth can you not fall in love with a hook like "I'm sorry, Ms. Jackson. Woooo!"? In a decade full of groundbreaking and genre-crossing hip-hop from the duo, 'Ms. Jackson' is a true highlight of their genius.