Ah, 2000. The first year of the 21st century or, if you’re a friendless pedant, the last year of the 20th. That storied year where we all asked who let the dogs out, then why we were still asking who let the dogs out, then wishing the dogs would just come back so we’d never have to hear that song again.
The year 2000 also marks the start of that awkward transition period between physical and digital media. Mp3s were getting popular, but there wasn’t a way to actually buy them yet, which record companies claimed would bankrupt them, like home-taping a couple decades prior, and they were desperate to deal with it.
There were conflicting ideas on how to fix it. Metallica’s tactic for example, presumably because they got together and decided I liked them too much, was to sue Napster out of existence. This of course backfired; turns out if you blow up a centralized repository, a bunch of smaller, harder-to-police ones spring up in its place. But the record companies as a whole apparently decided to focus on heavily manufactured music designed to appeal to as many people as possible.
What I’m saying is 2000 was almost entirely nu-metal and boy bands. So, so many boy bands. An estimated three out of every five men aged 17 to 24 were in a boy band by 2001.
It was terrible.
Fortunately, there were some bright spots, which I scraped from the depths to present to you below.
Green Day — “Minority”
With some exceptions like The Beatles, Nirvana and Metallica, I try to avoid putting the same band on the list too often. It’s too easy to get stuck in a rut that way. But between the overall decline in quality music and how much I love “Minority,” it’s time to give Green Day another spot.
I mean, how could you not love this song? It’s a punk band singing a protest song in the style of an Irish drinking song. It’s a beautiful thing.
M.O.P. — “Ante Up”
Yes, I used a video of Bert and Ernie singing it.
It’s a brilliant video! Seriously! Listen to the lyrics and watch them; whoever made it cut together thematically appropriate Sesame Street scenes! When they mention rings, Ernie looks at fingers, for example. It’s astoundingly meticulous work. The song is helped immensely by Bert and Ernie.
Oh, and the song is good too. Big fan.
U2 — “Beautiful Day”
I am not qualified to adequately write about U2, except to make fun of RIFF founder and Editor-in-Chief, Roman. And while that’s always my Plan A, because it’s so consistently funny, this time I’m going to defer to another U2 expert: the person who consistently makes me seem literate, copyeditor extraordinaire Jennifer Gokhman.
Jen: In 2000, I was always listening to music on the radio and taping my favorite songs. Yes, I was two decades behind the times. I still taped off the radio in 2000. Deal with it. One of these songs was “Beautiful Day,” and I considered it one of my all-time faves before I even owned a U2 album. It was immediately uplifting when I was having a rough day, and I loved to belt it out when I was driving. A close second for me was, “Stuck in a Moment.” These songs are now classic U2.
Fatboy Slim — “Weapon of Choice”
Electronic music is occasionally of questionable quality, but Fatboy Slim and Moby are brilliant, and “Weapon of Choice” is probably the best example of their very specific subgenre. They represent one of those rare times when someone refines a new method of making music, taking a variety of sources and combining them into one new, unique thing to popular acclaim. And it’s apparently difficult to do because nobody’s been quite as good since.
The Offspring — “Vultures”
Yes, I know, it’s another repeat appearance, but “Vultures” is one of my favorite songs. And what would you prefer I put here in its place? “In the End?” “Last Resort?” “Who Let the Dogs Out?”
That’s what I thought.
Like “The Outlaw Torn” this song is best experienced extremely loud and in a car. I don’t know why, but it makes the track way, way better. Just be careful to turn the volume down quick at the end if you’re listening to it on Conspiracy of One, because it’s followed by the title track, which is much higher-pitched. If you listened to the first few notes of “Conspiracy of One” as loud as “Vultures” should be heard, it could cause bleeding of the ears and maybe eyes, somehow.
3 Doors Down — “Kryptonite”
Disturbed — “Down with the Sickness”
*NSYNC — “Bye Bye Bye”
Papa Roach — “Last Resort”
Metallica — “I Disappear”
Britney Spears — “Oops…I Did It Again”
Linkin Park — “In the End”
Bon Jovi — “It’s My Life”
Uncle Kracker — “Follow Me”
Everclear — “AM Radio”
Baha Men — “Who Let the Dogs Out”
Fuel — “Hemorrhage (In My Hands)”
Godsmack — “Awake”
Marilyn Manson — “The Fight Song”
Rage Against the Machine — “Beautiful World”
Follow editor Daniel J. Willis at Twitter.com/BayAreaData.