2000s Decade Recap - Music

Bubblegum pop artists ruled the charts at the beginning of the new millennium, with Britney, Backstreet and *NSync leading the pack. It didn’t take long for these acts to fall out of favor, and rock, rap, hip-hop and R&B took their place. Names like Nickelback, Kanye West and Black Eyed Peas were everywhere. Award shows were not to be missed, with gay and lesbian kisses, stage crashers and nightmare performances aplenty. The decade ended on a sad note, however, when the King of Pop passed away. In this video, WatchMojo.com reviews these and more musical milestones from the first decade of the new millennium.

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2000s Decade Recap - Music

What Kind of Decade was it?

Well, a back-and-forth in popularity between pop, rock and hip-hop defined the first ten years of the millennium.

Yeah, that’s the kind of decade that it was in Music.

The 1990s ended with everyone in a party mood – teen pop acts like Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys and *NSync were at the top of the charts at the beginning of the millennium.

Starting off the decade with a bang, rap-metal band Rage Against the Machine caused the New York Stock Exchange to close during the filming of their music video, “Sleep Now in the Fire,” in January 2000. A resurgence in hard rock began that year as well, with acts such as Linkin Park and eventually Nickelback gaining widespread mainstream acceptance.

In terms of hip-hop, rapper Jay-Z also started seeing more mainstream success at the turn of the millennium, with his albums “The Dynasty: Roc La Familia” in 2000 and even more with “The Blueprint” the following year. Jay-Z can be credited with boosting the careers of newcomer producers such as Kanye West and the Neptunes during this period, acts who went on to immense success later in the decade. Eminem also continued his success in this decade, eventually becoming the biggest hip-hop act of the 2000s.

October 2001 was the release of what would ultimately be Michael Jackson’s final album, “Invincible.” And some sad news: The quiet Beatle, George Harrison passed away from lung cancer on November 29, 2001.

The debut album from New York garage-rock band The Strokes, “Is This It,” also came in 2001, and is singlehandedly credited with reviving the genre and the New York indie music scene.

The group of the year for 2001 was Destiny’s Child, though the band took a three-year hiatus not long after. Vocal harmony groups were taking a hit at this point: The boy band craze began to wane in the early part of the decade. By late 2002, Justin Timberlake of *NSync-fame had his own debut solo album, “Justified.”

However, teen pop rock exploded in 2002 when Avril Lavigne burst onto the scene with her debut single, “Complicated.” This was also the year emo music broke into the mainstream, with the help of bands like Jimmy Eat World and Dashboard Confessional.

Jack White and The White Stripes continued to nurture the garage band genre, and were one of 2002’s most acclaimed bands. White was an important figure throughout the decade, and continued to gain status with his subsequent bands, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather.

The Queen of Pop, Madonna continued to reign pop music throughout the first decade of the century, especially in Europe. In 2003, she symbolically passed the torch to pop princesses Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera when she kissed them during a performance at the MTV Video Music Awards. Britney Spears sold over 80 million albums throughout the 2000s, and is arguably the female entertainer of the decade.

The Black Eyed Peas are another definitive act of the 2000s, and they had their first huge hit in 2003 with “Where Is The Love?,” a single which featured Justin Timberlake.

2004 was the year of the wardrobe malfunction. At the Superbowl 38 halftime show, Justin Timberlake performed with Janet Jackson. Controversy came when Timberlake ripped off part of Jackson’s wardrobe, and her breast was exposed for half a second.

As early as 2004, the synthpop and/or post-punk revival started laying its roots. Bands like The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party and the Arctic Monkeys were some of the key players in these genres, being influenced by the 1980s and such acts as The Cure.
Pop punk regained momentum in 2005, with acts like The All-American Rejects and Fall Out Boy emerging to great popularity. On the other hand, hip-hop music was on the wane in 2005, though it was quickly revitalized by acts such as Kanye West.

2005 was also the year Destiny’s Child officially broke up. This cleared the way for Beyoncé to become an R&B icon, eventually selling over 20 million solo records.

2006 and 2007 saw the rise of children’s-themed music, which included acts like the Jonas Brothers, Hannah Montana and High School Musical.

Britney Spears had been on a downward spiral for years, but 2007 was the year of her attempted comeback, with the album “Blackout.” A performance of the album’s first hit “Gimme More” at the MTV Video Music Awards proved to be a trainwreck, and one of the most discussed performances in the history of MTV.

2008 was the year of the Rick Roll, when countless online video watchers were tricked into watching the 1987 Rick Astley video, “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

After a fifteen-year wait, Guns N’ Roses finally released their sixth studio album, “Chinese Democracy” in 2008. The album did not sell up to expectations. However, the year in rock was not complete without AC/DC’s first album in nine years, “Black Ice.”

Though popular since the beginning of the decade, Coldplay became a force to be reckoned with in 2008 with their fourth album, “Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends.”

2008 also saw the release of Lady Gaga’s first album, which spawned such hits as “Just Dance,” “Poker Face,” and “Paparazzi.” An electro-pop force, Gaga found herself in a group of musicians resurrecting 80s-inspired pop. Other artists in this group included Rihanna, and even Madonna.
While hip-hop artist Lil Wayne had achieved moderate mainstream success earlier in the decade, it was the 2008 release of his album, “Tha Carter III,” that won him a Grammy for Best Rap Album of the Year.

2008-2009 also saw the popularization of auto-tune, a vocal distortion technique. Acts such as T-Pain, Kanye West and the Black Eyed Peas used the sound with success, though there is a significant movement against its use, most notably by Jay-Z whose song “D.O.A. (Death of Autotune)” is critical of the technology.

2009 was not without controversy: Kanye West also made news when he ambushed Taylor Swift on-stage at the MTV Video Music Awards. After the incident, West decided to take time off from music for reflection. Also in 2009, an American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert made headlines when the openly gay star kissed a male keyboardist on-stage at the American Music Awards.

The biggest news story in 2009 was without a doubt Michael Jackson. In March, he announced a 50-show tour at London’s O2 arena that would have marked his comeback. But on June 25th, the King of Pop passed away at the age of 50.

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