Top 10 Decade Defining Musical Acts: 2000s
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Jordan Ruimy. This decade saw the fragmentation of pop music, the continuing admiration of rock, especially indie, garage and pop punk, as well as the popularity and interest in dance and electronic music. For our series on the Top 10 Musical Acts Per Decade, we've based our choices on a mix of an act's success, popularity and overall musical legacy. This is part of a series of videos spanning the decades of music from the1950s to the 2000s. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we're counting down our picks for the top 10 decade defining musical acts of the 2000s.
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Script written by Jordan Ruimy.
This decade saw the fragmentation of pop music, the continuing admiration of rock, especially indie, garage and pop punk, as well as the popularity and interest in dance and electronic music. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 musical acts of the 2000s.
For our series on the Top 10 Musical Acts Per Decade, we’ve based our choices on a mix of an act’s success, popularity and overall musical legacy. This is part of a series of videos spanning the decades of music from the 1950s to the 2000s.
#10: Justin Timberlake
Leaving his boy band ‘N Sync behind, JT had a tremendous decade in the 2000s. For starters, 2002’s Justified hit the Billboard 200’s second spot while 2006’s FutureSex/LoveSounds landed at number one. But it was after he found a unique, singular voice, added a hip-hop edge to his style and showed off amazing dance moves reminiscent of Michael Jackson that he really established himself as one of the most successful solo artists to come out of the last decade’s boy band craze.
#9: Green Day
We all love the punk edge they had in the ‘90s, particularly on Dookie, but Green Day proved to be a driving force in rock music during the next decade too thanks to American Idiot – this mega-blockbuster album sold over 15 million copies around the planet and was a huge hit with the critics. After songs like “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and “Wake Me Up When September Ends” brought some life back into rock radio, they earned a number one record with their follow-up, 21st Century Breakdown.
#8: Lady Gaga
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta and the popularity of her music during the noughties simply can’t be denied. Even with just one album and one EP out that decade, she re-imagined what the 21st century female pop singer could look and be like. Bringing eccentricity to her style and a Queen and David Bowie-influenced sound to her music, Lady Gaga also paved the way for the likes of Katy Perry and Kesha on the music charts.
#7: Linkin Park
This band was one of the decade’s most important acts when it came to the success and mainstream recognition of nu metal and rap metal in the early 2000s. Case in point: their first record Hybrid Theory became the 21st century’s best selling debut after selling over 25 million around the world. Three years later, their sophomore effort Meteora topped the Billboard 200 as did Minutes to Midnight four years after that. Meanwhile, songs like “In The End,” “Numb” and “What I’ve Done” became popular mainstays in mainstream rock radio.
#6: Britney Spears
Before turning 20, this pop starlet had sold over 30 million albums. And she has her debut …Baby One More Time to thank for that, as it became the biggest selling album by a teenage solo artist. Her second record Oops!... I Did It Again was another chart-topper and commercial success – but it’s really Britney Spears’ catchy pop songs, a game-changing music video repertoire and the way she has transitioned from innocent teen to a sexually expressive artist throughout the decade that has solidified her place in pop culture and influenced a generation. Miley, eat your heart out.
The thoughtful, often mellow music this band produced during the early 21stcentury was the cornerstone of rock music in the U.K and the U.S. With songs like “Yellow,” “Clocks” and “Viva La Vida” becoming modern day classics during the decade, Coldplay wasn’t only a critically acclaimed act, but also a massive commercial success. 2005’s X&Y was that year’s best-selling album as was 2008’s Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends.
Not only is Jay-Z a successful entrepreneur, he’s also got musical street cred to boot. His 2001 album The Blueprint has been cited by many critics as one of the best albums of the decade, and featured production work by Kanye West. Thanks to his skills as a rapper and MC, as well as his catchy beats, Shawn Carter also has the most Billboard 200 chart-topping records ever with 13. He has also sold over 75 million albums and garnered a whooping 17 Grammys – he also happens to be married to our next musical artist.
Former lead singer of the popular Destiny’s Child, Beyoncé more truly found her voice and her superstardom as a solo artist. And it was during this decade that she really shined. With songs about love and female empowerment, as well as a 3.6 octave vocal range and a larger-than-life stage personality, Mrs. Carter has influenced many future pop stars. Her numerous Grammy wins, chart-topping albums and smashes like “Crazy in Love,” “Irreplaceable” and “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” have cemented her place in music history.
To say this Thom Yorke-led band has had an impact on music would be an understatement. While we were first introduced to them with their alt-rock work in the ‘90s, it’s their output in the noughties that really lands them here. By changing up their guitar-driven style and incorporating electronic music to their sound, Radiohead showed us that experimentation in rock not only worked, it worked well. Examples include the critically lauded Kid A and the top 2 album Amnesiac. The band also made waves for the self-release of 2007’s In Rainbows, which topped the Billboard 200 albums chart.
Before we unveil our pick for Top Musical Act of the 2000s, here are a few honorable mentions:
- The White Stripes
- Alicia Keys
- Kelly Clarkson
- Arcade Fire
He was a Missouri-born white guy who grew up in Detroit and wanted to be the best rapper in the world. And by the end of the 2000s, Eminem was the biggest selling artist of the decade. With multiple Grammy wins, involvement with several musical projects, and an alter ego named Slim Shady, Marshall Mathers has earned critical praise with half a dozen chart-topping efforts. What’s more is that he found success outside his home country and even earned an Oscar for “Lose Yourself.” But it’s due to incredible material on albums like The Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show that really put him above the rest.
Do you agree with our list? Who’s your favorite musical act of the 2000s? For more Music Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
Avery Alexander Edwards