Every year, there’s a major battle among the top names in pop music. Winning awards is cool, but everyone really just wants to have the song of the summer. Some years there’s a clear winner, but other times there are a number of breakout hits during beach season. In anticipation of this year’s summer song rush, we decided to take a look at some of the best summer tracks of the 2000s. Some of these songs are major throwbacks, while others still feel amazingly current. We love a good throwback summer jam, so add these to your playlist while there’s still time. Any guesses on who will have 2018’s song of the summer?
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2000 – “Try Again”
Aaliyah’s career was tragically cut short when she died in a plane crash, but not before she had released some truly excellent music. She emerged as a teen R&B; star in the mid-1990s, but her biggest hit came in 2000 with “Try Again.” The song was originally from the soundtrack for Romeo Must Die, and it hit number one in June of 2000. Its success was also fueled by a remix featuring Timbaland. The song’s lyrics remind us to brush off all our defeats, and the hip-hop beat is still mesmerizing.
2001 – “Lady Marmalade”
“Lady Marmalade” was originally a big hit back in 1974 for the girl group Labelle, but it came back in a major way in 2001. The song was included as part of a medley in Moulin Rouge!, and it was performed on the soundtrack by an all-star lineup. Christina Aguilera, Pink, Mya, Lil’ Kim, and Missy Elliott were just the right combination to push this fun song over the top. It spent five weeks at the top of the charts more than 25 years after the original. More than a decade later, this song is still a welcome addition to any party playlist.
2002 – “Hot In Herre”
Nelly’s “Hot In Herre” was not only one of the top summer songs of 2002 but probably one of the most classic 2000s rap songs. Period. Nelly was at the peak of his career, and “Hot In Herre” was the perfect party song that no one could stop listening to. The chorus is just the right amount of raunchy, and everyone still knows the words. The best summer songs can appeal to a wide audience of listeners, and this song has spread way beyond Nelly’s fans.
2003 – “Crazy In Love”
2004 – “Goodies”
2005 – “Hollaback Girl”
2006 – “SexyBack”
2007 – “Umbrella”
2008 – “Bleeding Love”
2009 – “I Gotta Feeling”
2010 – “OMG”
Usher has a long history of making music that gets people up and dancing, and “OMG” is some of his best work. It’s more of pure pop sound, compared to the R&B; vibes of much of his music, but he can basically do anything. With the will.i.am feature and the prominent use of auto-tune, the song was very of-the-moment for 2010. It might not stand out if it were released today, but at the time it was a guaranteed hit. It gave Usher his ninth number-one single, which is really an OMG moment.
2011 – “Rolling in the Deep”
2012 – “Call Me Maybe”
I’m not sure there’s ever been a more infectious song than “Call Me Maybe.” No one really knew about Carly Rae Jepsen before this song, but it went viral in a truly staggering way. The Canadian artist spent nine weeks atop the charts in the US, and also hit number one in more than a dozen other countries. “Call Me Maybe” was everywhere during the summer of 2012, but it’s still just as great as it was then. Carly hasn’t quite replicated that success in the years since, but her recent music achieved critical success, and she still has a dedicated fanbase.
2013 – “Get Lucky”
2014 – “Problem”
2015 – “See You Again”
Many of the top summer songs are care-free dance anthems, but not always. In 2015, it was a somber tribute to The Fast and the Furious star Paul Walker that took the charts by storm. Charlie Puth contributed the heartfelt chorus, and Wiz Khalifa’s verses cut deep. People were shocked and upset by Walker’s tragic death, and this song put all those feelings into the perfect package to celebrate his life. It topped the US charts for 12 weeks, a success that would have made Paul Walker proud.
2016 – “One Dance”
Drake is one of the hardest-working names in music, and it seems like he releases a new hit single every few weeks. “One Dance” was a step above the rest and became his biggest hit yet. The song was praised for its Caribbean dancehall influences, which mix perfectly with Drake’s singing style. He’s the kind of artist who loves playing around with different trends and sounds, and this one works especially well. It was good enough for 10 weeks at number one, which no one would complain about.
2017 – “Wild Thoughts”
DJ Khaled had a major moment over the last couple years, making headlines for both his music and his over-the-top personality. His song “Wild Thoughts” was an epic hit, with great features from Rihanna and Bryson Tiller. The song was the perfect jam to dance or just hang out to, and it’s further proof that everything Rihanna touches turns to gold. Summer 2017, didn’t have a lot of standout songs, but at a certain point it was nice to listen to anything that wasn’t “Despacito.” Congratulations DJ Khaled, you da best. Another one!
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” — Steve Jobs, 1997