Summer Hits of the New Millennium

Jul 16, 2014

There are catchy tunes released all year ‘round, but there’s something special about summer hits. A certain something that seems to only be captured in the cheerful clarity of a bright summer day. The pop is poppier, the hits are happier, and the mood is always high! Let’s take a short jaunt down memory lane and revisit the summers of the new millennium. Who was topping the summer charts for the past 14 years, and are they still around today?

2000: Matchbox Twenty – Bent

Right away we’ve got a song not fitting the usual happy summer convention. A song about a person very aware of what makes them different, but singer Rob Thomas has said it has a hopeful tone, “it’s kind of like the person is saying, ‘As misguided as I may be, these are things it takes to be with me.’”

Since the release of Mad Season in 2000, Matchbox Twenty have been on “hiatus” twice, reunited twice, and have released four albums. North, the most recent, was released in 2012.

2001: Eve feat. Gwen Stefani – Let me Blow Ya Mind

Back on track, Eve and Gwen set the summer mood in 2001 with this one. This tune is full of confidence, attitude and ruled the hot summer club scene.

Eve is still making music, and still full of confidence and attitude today. In fact, she just released an album in May 2013. Lip Lock features collaborations with Hip-Hop royalty, including Snoop Dogg and Missy Elliott.

2002: Nelly – Hot in Herre

Hot in Herre instantly became a summer classic. It still gets wide airtime during the summer, 12 years later. One of Nelly’s more enduring hits, it makes you warm just listening to it. Interestingly, the hook is from Chuck Brown’s 1979 #1 R&B hit “Bustin’ Loose,” and the song begins with samples from Neil Young’s “There’s a World” and Nancy Sinatra’s version of “As Tears Go By.”

Nelly is still a big player in the world of Hip-Hop and R&B, and he’s even branched out, releasing a single with country music duo Florida Georgia Line. His last studio album, M.O., was released in 2013.

2003: Beyonce feat. Jay-Z – Crazy In Love

Beyonce’s debut solo single, this song proved without a doubt that Beyonce had what it took and could stand on her own. “Crazy In Love” blends elements of 1970s funk and hip hop with soul. The hook utilized samples from The Chi-Lites’ 1970 song “Are You My Woman (Tell Me So).” A catchy love song with a message everyone can relate to; love makes you do crazy things.

As everyone knows, Beyonce is on top of the music industry, and queen of R&B. Married to Jay-Z since 2008, the couple have a daughter together, and continue to top the charts, together and solo.

2004: User – Confessions Part II

In an unusual turn, 2004’s top summer song was a bit of a downer. “Confessions” had been about a man’s infidelity, in “Part II” it turns out things are a little worse than he had though; the mistress is pregnant. The song was so personal and intimate rumors started flying that it was true. Turns out Usher had been inspired by one of the song’s co-writers and producers, Jermaine Dupri.

Usher has faded a little over the last ten years, but he’s still making music, and is currently teasing a new album. He’s also been beefing up his acting credentials, appearing in 2010’s Killers and this year’s Muppets Most Wanted.

2005: Mariah Carey – We Belong Together

Another downer, “We Belong Together” chronicles a woman’s desperation for her lover to come back to her. Carey samples lyrics from “IF You Think You’re Lonely Now” by Bobby Womack, and “Two Occasions” by The Deele. After staying at the top of the charts for fourteen weeks, “We Belong Together” became the second longest running number one song in US chart history, only behind another of Carey’s hits, “One Sweet Day” from 1995. Billboard named it the “Song of the Decade” and the 9th most popular song of all time.

Still performing and still releasing albums (the most recent of which, Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse, was release in May 2014), nothing has slowed Mariah Carey down.

2006: Nelly Furtado feat. Timbaland – Promiscuous

Another hot summer night dance club song, “Promiscuous” came off Furtado’s third studio album, Loose. The song takes both sides of a relationship and was one of the first songs Furtado wrote with Timothy “Attitude” Clayton. This back-and-forth teamwork is what inspired the flirty, back-and-forth nature of the lyrics.

Recently, Nelly Furtado released her fifth studio album, The Spirit Indestructible, in 2012, and has been teasing a new album since the summer of 2013.

2007: Rihanna feat. Jay-Z – Umbrella

Winning Rihanna and Jay-Z a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, as well as nominations for Record of the Year and Song of the Year, this song was actually originally written with Britney Spears in mind. However her label rejected it, and we were given the R&B powerhouse it became.

Rihanna has remained a household name in the world of pop and R&B, but she is also experimenting with branching out. In February 2014, DreamWorks Animation announced she would be staring in the upcoming 3D animated film Home, alongside Steve Martin and Jennifer Lopez.

2008: Katy Perry – I Kissed A Girl

Back to the irreverence of summer comes Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl.” The story behind this one is so spontaneous, only the words of Perry herself do it justice, “the chorus actually popped into my head when I woke up. It was one of those moments where you hear artists talking about songs they get in dreams or in the middle of the night. I was like ‘wow, what an interesting subject matter to kind of pop into the head’ and I didn’t do anything with it for about a year-and-a-half. Then all of a sudden at the very, very end of making my album, I literally had two days left in the recording studio with my producer, Dr Luke. We just said, ‘we’re gonna finish it—it’s so catchy because it won’t get out of our heads.’”

Like some of her counterparts on this list, Katy Perry has done some dabbling in the movie industry recently. Specifically voicing Smurfette in 2011’s The Smurfs and 2013’s The Smurfs 2. As for her musical career, on June 26, 2014 she was declared the Top Certified Digital Artist Ever, with sales of 72 million digital singles in the U.S.

2009: The Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling

A feel good song if there ever was one, from its catchy hook, to its optimistic lyrics, it’s hard not to get pumped when this one comes on the radio. The Black Eyed Peas set out to create a party anthem, and they succeeded in spades. Plain and simple.

The Black Eyed Peas are a group of some of the busiest people in the music industry, all with several side projects, both in and outside music, but there has been confirmation from that there is a seventh studio album in the works.

2010: Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg – California Gurls

Katy Perry’s back, this time singing the praises of California and its women. Apparently “California Gurls” was inspired as a response to Jay-Z’s “Empire States of Mind.” She also used Wikipedia to research which rapper she wanted to collaborate with. She used every high school student’s best friend to research West Coast artists before selecting Snoop Dogg.

2011: LMFAO feat. Lauren Bennet, GoonRock – Party Rock Anthem

Another one of those incredibly catchy tunes that just gets stuck in your head. Only four years old, this one is still pretty fresh and gets a lot of summer time airplay. Heck, it even has the word “anthem” in the title. Well played boys, well played.

The uncle and nephew duo Redfoo and Sky Blu have since split, announcing a hiatus in 2012. Being family they say the split is not permanent, but they are taking their careers in different directions. They have said they want to allow fans to see them as individuals, then come back stronger than ever.

2012: Carly Rae Jepsen – Call me Maybe

Made popular by all the immensely entertaining viral videos of people lip-syncing, Carly Rae Jepsen’s love letter to the boy next door launched the Canadian singer into superstardom on her first try. She’s gone on to call the song a “pick-up,” stating that everyone has wanted to approach somebody, but stopped because it’s scary.

Currently Jepsen is working on releasing her third studio album, and actually took over the role of Cinderella in the Broadway production ofRodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella beginning in February 2014.

2013: Robin Thicke feat. T.I., Pharrell – Blurred Lines

Surrounded by more than its fair share of controversy, this song raised a few eyebrows. Despite what some people think the song is about, and certain performances with a certain Cyrus, Thicke has gone on record say the song’s lyrics refer to “the good-girl/bad-girl thing and what’s appropriate.”

Getting away from the controversy of “Blurred Lines,” Thicke released his seventh studio album on June 2014. Paula is dedicated to his wife of nine years, Paula Patton.

2014: Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX – Fancy

The summer isn’t over, but right now Australian artist Iggy Azalea holds the top spot with “Fancy.” It is Azalea’s fourth single from her debut studio album The New Classic. Reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 “Fancy” Azalea’s and Charli XCX’s first number one on the chart.