Millennials are defined as the generation that was born between 1982 and 2000, so it would make sense that most of them would feel like the 2000s was the decade that they came of age. That would figure to give them a strong connection to that decade and its TV shows, sports heroes and especially its music.
However, no one is perfect, and some of us may have forgotten some of the hit songs, artists and groups that made the "aughts", as some call that decade, what it turned out to be. Some dismiss that time, saying that most of its pop culture was vapid or recycled or merely an extension of the 1990s, but many great bands and songs came out of it and are still remembered fondly, especially by millennials. In addition, the music scene saw some new subgenres either emerge or start to enjoy mainstream success, as both rock and rap continued to evolve and change.
So let's take a brief trip back to the recent past and try to remember some of the lyrics to some of the more popular hit singles of the 2000s, and the bands that it helped to reach a new level of fame and success.
"I used to rule the world Seas would rise when I gave the word"
The front man of this band was, at one time married to Gwyneth Paltrow, with whom he had a child notoriously named Apple. The band itself though, has been very active since the early 2000s. They came out of the gate strong with their first single, which many music fans compared to a milder Radiohead. Though they would never completely escape the comparisons, this band has truly blossomed and have found their own sound and their own point of view. It's resulted in single after single of catchy yet innovative music that has no "trouble" ever climbing to the top of the charts.
"Shake it like a Polaroid picture"
This man's met Antwan "Big Boi" Patton at the Lenox Square shopping mall in the Atlanta, Georgia area, and formed a duo in 1991 after meeting each other . In late 1993 the group's first single "Player's Ball" reached the very top of the Billboard Hot Rap Tracks list. In 2003 they released "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below", which was a double album that consisted of one album by this artist and one by Patton. He wrote the single "Hey Ya!" for his album, which reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and Mainstream Top 40 charts, and was certified platinum about three years later.
"I know I won't be leaving here (with you), I know I won't be leaving here with you"
This band formed in Glasgow, Scotland and branded themselves as a 1980s-style post-punk revival band. Their 2004 debut album, which had the same name as the band itself, featured the single "Take Me Out", which made them an overnight sensation and almost sounded like it came from another time and another place. This single reached number three on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, and its music video was very memorable, as it had quirky elements of Dadaist art that was blended together to create a truly unique and surreal piece. Their third album, released in 2009, had more of a dance feel to it.
"Well, I'm not paralyzed, but, I seem to be struck by you, I wanna make you move, because you're standing still"
This group formed in the province of Ontario in 1990, but for years they were a largely obscure band that had only one single, 2003's "One Thing", that made it to the Billboard Hot 100 chart. But in 2007 they released the album "Them vs. You vs. Me", which released number 31 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart. It's most successful single, "Paralyzer", is the band's most recognizable song and made it all the way to the top of both the Billboard Alternative Songs and Mainstream Rock charts. This single is mostly an alternative rock piece with slight elements of dance-rock blended in.
"Well here we go again, you've found yourself a friend that knows you well, but no matter what you do, you'll always feel as though you tripped and fell"
This group features Jack White, Brendan Benson, Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler. They formed in 2005 after White had previously had major mainstream success with another rock group that featured the same type of low-fi, retro garage rock sound. Their debut album "Broken Boy Soldiers" was released in 2006 and included the hit single "Steady, As She Goes", which made it the the very top of the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks list. On the heels of its success, this band was given the honor of being the opening act for Bob Dylan on the north-eastern leg of his U.S. tour in late 2006.
"I'm seein' red, don't think you'll have to see my face again, don't have much time for sympathy 'cause it never happened to me "
Formed in Poway, California, a suburb just outside of San Diego, in the year 1990, this band developed something of a local following in the area and got to tour with other San Diego-area bands, such as Blink-182, Sprung Monkey and Buck-O-Nine. In the late 1990s they earned the honor of playing on the Vans Warped Tour across three different continents, which raised their visibility with fans of the punk rock and alternative rock scene. Their 2002 album Elva featured the single "Seein' Red", which got to number one on the Billboard Modern Rock chart and earned them the right to tour alongside two of the year's other breakout bands, Sum-41 and The Used.
"Look, if you had one shot, one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted, one moment, would you capture it or just let it slip?"
This well-known rapper became famous for his 1999 single "My Name Is" and its accompanying music video, which introduced the world to his irreverent personality and one-of-a-kind sense of humor, which he used to lampoon other musicians and celebrities. In 2002 he starred in the movie "8 Mile", which is somewhat based on his own struggles trying to make it big in the hip hop scene in his native Detroit, Michigan. This movie featured his single "Lose Yourself", which is part autobiography, part inspiration, as he retells the adversity he faced on his way to becoming a household name across America.
"Hey now, you're a rock star, get the show on, get paid"
This group formed in San Jose, California in 1994, and its original lineup was made up of lead vocalist Steve Harwell, drummer Kevin Coleman, guitar player Greg Camp and bass player Paul De Lisle. They didn't become big time, however, until their 1999 album "Astro Lounge" introduced the world to the hit single "All Star", which got as high as number four on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Years later, this single was featured prominently in the Shrek movie franchise. Astro Lounge was such a success that it was eventually certified triple platinum. This band was originally named after a style of football which involves running the ball much more often than looking to pass it forward.
"The faster we're falling, we're stopping and stalling, we're running in circles again"
This pop-punk band originally hailed from a town called Ajax in the province of Ontario. They released their debut album in 2001, which became a huge hit and turned them into a prominent and well-known group thanks to singles like "Fat Lip" and "In Too Deep". The next year they released their second album, which features the hits "The Hell Song" and "Still Waiting". Since then, they have toured on and off with the Vans Warped Tour. Their most recent album, "13 Voices", was released in 2016 and reached as high as number six on Billboard's Top Alternative Albums list.
"When you're on a holiday, you can't find the words to say, all the things that come to you, and I want to feel it too"
Founded in 1992 in Los Angeles, they achieved rather quick success. Geffen Records signed them to a contract in 1993, and just a year later they released their debut album, entitled "Blue Album". Its first single "Buddy Holly" was an instant success, as it reached number two on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. The video for "Buddy Holly" was very memorable, as it was shot and designed to look like an episode of the 1970s sitcom "Happy Days". In 2001 this group released what they called "Green Album", which included the hit single "Island In The Sun", which peaked at 11th on the Modern Rock Tracks chart.
"So here's your holiday, hope you enjoy it this time, you gave it all away, it was mine"
If you're a skateboarder, surfer or snowboarder, especially you they hail from Southern California like they do, you probably know this band well and have listened to several of their hit songs. They formed in Poway, which is a suburb of San Diego, and originally was made up of Mark Hoppus, Tom DeLonge and Travis Barker. Their second album "Dude Ranch" made them more of a well-known act, and their sound evolved over the years from adolescent pop-punk to something more mainstream while retaining their pop-punk sensibility. After a rift between Hoppus and DeLonge formed in the mid 2000s, which led to DeLonge leaving, they finally released the album "California" in 2016 after a long hiatus.
"Her two kids in high school, they tell her that she's uncool, 'cause she's still preoccupied, with 19, 19, 1985"
This band was founded in 1994, and according to Wikipedia they named themselves after a comedy act by Steve Martin. They toiled in relative obscurity for several years, until they released the single that these lyrics are from in 2005. You may remember the video for this song. It portrays a married couple just outside their suburban home, as the wife reminisces about her better days, while the song itself mentions retro groups such as Nirvana, Blondie and St. Elmo's Fire that many have either forgotten about or just don't care about. This song reached number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 list.
"Conversion, software version 7.0, looking at life through the eyes of a tired hub"
This group is one of many to hail from that fertile crescent of various modern rock bands going back to the 1990s, otherwise known as the greater Los Angeles area. They have been one of the foremost pioneers of the sub-genre known as "nu metal", which had its heyday in the late 90s and early 2000s. Their lyrics are often highly vague and interpretive, as are their music videos. Their second album was released in late summer 2001 and topped the Billboard 200 list, while each of its singles made the Billboard Hot 100 list. This album was eventually certified triple platinum.
"Should've done something but I've done it enough, by the way your hands were shaking, rather waste some time with you"
This group's met in their native state of Utah and dealt with poverty as they were in the process of forming their band. Once it came together, they released their self-titled debut album in 2002, which had the hit singles "The Taste of Ink" and "Blue and Yellow", both of which reached the top 20 of the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. Although their lyrics may sound dark or even a tad creepy, they became a huge success story. All seven of their albums have reached the top 70 of the Billboard Hot 200 album charts, and four of them peaked in the top ten.
"Your skin, oh yeah your skin and bones, turn into something beautiful, you know you know I love you so, you know I love you so"
These gents have been a huge mainstream rock staple since they released their debut album "Parachutes" in 2000. This album featured the hit single "Yellow", which reached number four in the UK Singles Chart and number two on Billboard's US Adult Alternative Songs chart. They founded their band in London, England in 1996, and to date they've won nine Brit Awards, six MTV Video Music Awards, seven MTV Europe Music Awards and seven Grammy Awards. Chances are that you've heard their work on the radio or favorite streaming music service or at least know who they are, because they're kind of a big deal.
"I know the pieces fit 'cause I watched them tumble down, no fault, none to blame, it doesn't mean I don't desire"
This band was founded in Los Angeles in 1990 and has garnered much critical acclaim over the last couple decades. They combine elements of alternative rock along with metal and even a modern interpretation of 1970s-era progressive rock acts such as Pink Floyd. Their first album "Undertow" was released in 1993 and was centered around more of a slow-tempo heavy metal sound. In future years they won three Grammy Awards thanks to the efforts of their next three studio albums. Their lyrics and imagery can be described as something murky, introspective and philosophical. Their fans are eagerly awaiting their next album, which they've hinted may be released in 2019.
"I dig my toes into the sand The Ocean looks like a thousand diamonds Strewn across a blue blanket"
These dudes founded their band out of Calabasas, California, which is on the western outskirts of the San Fernando Valley. Since releasing their first album in 1995, they've sold over 23 million albums. Their sound can range from alternative rock with a touch of metal, to something more resembling power pop, which has surely endeared them to a wide range of people who have slightly different tastes in music. Their lead vocalist Brandon Boyd is also a painter and photographer in his spare time, and has released some of that work to the public. Five of their eight studio albums have peaked in the top four of the Billboard 200.
"We've been on the run, driving in the sun, looking out for number one, California here we come, right back where we started from"
As the lyrics to this song would suggest, the band who wrote it is from California, Los Angeles to be exact. This song is from their second studio album "The Guest", which they released early in 2002. The song that these lyrics are from made it as high as number 35 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. Although this group isn't the most well-known act in the world, this song became well-known when it was included on the soundtrack of the hit 2002 movie "Orange County". Starting the next year, it was featured prominently on the opening credits of the series "The O.C.".
"I tried so hard and got so far, but in the end, it doesn't even matter"
Here's yet another band that is originally from the greater Los Angeles area (there must be something special about that metropolis). Their songs tend to feature a blend of nu metal and rap metal, and their lyrics and imagery range from the dark and negative to something more upbeat that still has a nice mix of nu metal and a touch of rap. Since they released their debut album "Hybrid Theory" in 2000 they have sold over 100 million albums. In fact, Hybrid Theory is the best selling rock album since the year 2000. In fact, they've won two Grammys and four MTV VMA awards.
"How long, how long will I slide?"
Most would have to agree that this group is not only one of the most popular and accomplished rock bands of all time, but also just one of the best, period. Since forming all the way back in 1983, their lineup has changed over the years, but the constants have been lead singer Anthony Kiedis and bass player Flea. They have won six Grammys and hold the record for the most number-one singles and top-ten singles among alternative rock bands. In 2012 they got inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, quite an honor for a band that still has plenty left in the tank.
"Hey yo, here I am, and here we go, life's waiting to begin"
This band features Tom DeLonge, David Kennedy, Matt Wachter and Ilan Rubin. After DeLonge experienced tons of success with another band and left due to creative differences, as he wanted to explore different themes than what he did in the past. Their first single was "The Adventure", which got as high as number five on the Billboard US Hot Modern Rock Tracks list. It was also featured in a trailer for the hit TV series Smallville, as well as in the hit video games Rock Band and Band Hero. This song had this band flying high indeed for a minute.
"Warm yourself by the fire, son and the morning will come soon, I'll tell you stories of a better time in a place that we once knew"
This punk rock band was formed in Chicago, Illinois in 1999, and their 2004 album "Siren Song of the Counter Culture", which was certified gold, made them a well-known player on the punk scene. This album had hits such as "Give It All", which reached the top 40 of the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. Each of their next five studio albums peaked in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 charts, and four of them were certified gold. Their 2009 single "Savior" spent 65 consecutive weeks on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart, which set a new all-time record, and it peaked at number three.
"Last night she said, oh baby I feel so down, oh it turn me off, when I feel left out"
This band formed in the New York City borough of Manhattan in 1998, and their 2001 debut album "Is This It" gave the world hit singles such as "Last Nite", "Hard To Explain" and "Someday", which helped it reach platinum certification status. This album is considered by many to be one of the best albums of the entire decade, and has been critically acclaimed by many in the industry. Along the way, these New Yorkers almost single-handedly resurrected the garage rock genre with their unique low-fi sound, and this same theme and feel was quickly emulated by other bands over the next few years.
"Chances thrown Nothing's free Longing for what used to be"
Whether you consider them punk rock, skate punk or pop punk, they've been huge for years and have no doubt influenced other bands that have emerged since. They burst onto the scene in 1994, which proved to be a great year for a new wave of punk bands that would prove to be popular well into the 2000s. You probably know some of their songs, such as "Come Out and Play", "Self Esteem", "Smash It Up", "The Kids Aren't Alright", "Gotta Get Away" and "(Can't Get My) Head Around You", just to name a few. They were on the Vans Warped Tour in 2005 and have sold over 40 million albums to date.
"She woke in the morning, she knew that her life had passed her by, she called out a warning, don't ever let life pass you by"
These gents are from the Los Angeles area and have found gigantic success that spans most, if not all of the subgenres of rock, including alternative, power pop and even nu metal. Their 2001 album "Morning View" was named after a street in Malibu that the band lived on while writing and recording its songs. Their lead singer said that they needed to be able to quickly head to the beach during that time to take quick breaks and come back feeling refreshed. This album was certified double platinum and got as high as number two on the Billboard 200 chart.
"Being grown up isn't half as fun as growing up, these are the best days of our lives, the only thing that matters Is just following your heart"
They formed in Indiana in 1996 and quickly moved to Santa Barbara, California, where they eventually got themselves a stable lineup and released the album "So Long, Astoria" in 2003. This was their fourth full length album, but their first with a major label, as they had just signed with Columbia Records. This album was certified gold and peaked at number 24 on the Billboard 200 chart. It is perhaps best known for featuring a cover of "Boys of Summer", which was originally done by former Eagles drummer and vocalist Don Henley. Their version of "Boys of Summer" reached number two on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks.
"Look outside at the raincoats coming, say oh, look outside at the raincoats coming, say oh"
This group has a decidedly indie feel and sound, but their gained tons of mainstream success with their self-titled debut album, which they released in 2008. Rolling Stone named it the 56th best album of the decade, while Time magazine called it the fifth best album of the year. You may remember tracks from the album being featured in hit movies like "Stepbrothers" and "I Love You, Man". In fact, the track "A-Punk" is very recognizable, as it was in the first scene of "Stepbrothers". Later they released a track called "Jonathan Low" that was on the third and final Twilight movie, "Eclipse".
"I said I bet that you look good on the dance floor dancing to electro-pop like a robot from 1984"
These lads founded their band across the pond in merry old England, in a town just outside of Sheffield. Their first album "Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not" came out in 2006 and was a gigantic success. In fact, it was the fastest selling debut album in UK music history, so much so that Rolling Stone magazine called it the 30th-greatest debut album. In the U.S. it was also a big deal, reaching number one on the Billboard Independent Albums chart. They have also won seven Brit Awards and have been nominated for five Grammy awards to date.
"I can't stand it, I know you planned it"
These guys are originally from the borough of Brooklyn, and were a key player in the rise of new school hip hop when they formed in the mid 1980s. They originally started out with more of a party-like sound, but they've evolved over the years and shown their versatility. The song with these lyrics was well-known for its music video, which was directed by Spike Jonze and is reminiscent of crime-drama shows from the 1970s like Starsky and Hutch, as it is made to look like to opening credits of a series like that. In fact, this music video was nominated for five awards at the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards.
"Fly away on my zephyr, I feel it more than ever, and in this perfect weather, we'll find a place together"
They've been around since the 1980s, and have had hit singles on the U.S. Billboard charts that span a whopping four decades. They quickly achieved massive fame at the start of the 1990s, and although their lineup has changed at times through the years, their sound has always kept some kind of fusion of alternative rock, punk, metal and funk. In 2008 they received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and one of their charter members is a huge fan of the Los Angeles Lakers, so much so that he did a rendition of the national anthem at Kobe Bryant's final game.
"But there's still tomorrow, forget the sorrow and I can be on the last train home"
These men formed their band in Wales in 1997, and could be best described as a fusion of alternative rock, emo, nu metal and perhaps a hint of punk rock. These lyrics are from the second single on their second studio album, "Start Something", an album that was certified gold in the U.S. and certified platinum in the U.K. The single with these lyrics proved to be this band's most successful and well-known song, as it made it all the way to number one on Billboard's Alternative Songs chart. In the U.S. alone, this album ended up selling more than 500,000 copies.
"I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind, there was something so pleasant about that place"
This particular song is the result of a partnership between CeeLo Green, best known for his his Forget You, and Danger Mouse who is best known for pairing Jay-Z's Black Album with the Beatles' White album to produce the Grey Album. It's not surprise that the duo produced such a popular song and received Grammy nominations for their efforts. True 90s kids will remember having heard this particular song everywhere in 2006 and 2007 as it climbed charts in both North America and the UK. The soulful r&b rhythms of the backing track mixed with CeeLo Green's unparalleled vocals mesh together just perfect.
"We're going down, down in an earlier round, and sugar, we're going down swinging"
This band got started in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois in 2001. After debating what they would call themselves, they settled on naming themselves after a bit character on the critically acclaimed animated series The Simpsons. Their second album "From Under The Cork Tree" made them a mainstream success, as it sold over 2.5 million copies in the U.S. after just a couple of years. It had hit singles such as "Dance, Dance", which reached number nine on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In 2016, Rolling Stone magazine named "From Under The Cork Tree" one of the "40 Greatest Emo Albums of All Time".
"You're in the middle of the ride, everything, everything will be just fine, everything, everything will be all right"
This group was one of a handful of new alternative and punk rock bands that burst into mainstream success in 2002. They did that thanks to their album which had four singles that each reached the top 20 of the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. In fact, this album was eventually certified gold. Their next one in 2004 entitled "Futures" was also certified gold, and scored three more singles on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. In 2007 they released the album "Chase This Light" which got to number five on the Billboard 200 album chart. It's pretty fair to say they had a good decade.
"I've been waiting, I've been waiting for this moment all my life, but it's not quite right"
These lyrics are from a song that this band released in 2007 from their album "Carnavas". This song was hugely successful and popular, and it has a mostly pop feel with a tiny hint of soft surf rock thrown in. It reached a high of number five on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks list. In fact, this band performed this song live on the Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Last Call with Carson Daly. It was also featured on Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero: World Tour. Not too bad for their debut album.