The Top 50 Singles: 2000-2005

By: Stylus Staff

Posted 01/10/2005 - 07:04:03 PM by downloadsofist:
 "Romeo" at No. 46? I don't understand how that is possible.
Posted 01/11/2005 - 06:07:52 AM by dannyboy:
 I dont think heartbeat has actually been released as a single. should it qualify?
Posted 01/11/2005 - 10:52:02 AM by badhaircut:
 Ha ha. Is that question for real?
Posted 01/11/2005 - 01:56:13 PM by ddrake:
 So I guess I should buy that tv on the radio album, huh.
Posted 01/11/2005 - 01:56:28 PM by ddrake:
 I meant "EP"
Posted 01/11/2005 - 05:33:12 PM by phuett:
 I remember reading on the Stylus blogs people (I think I remember it included writers) ridiculing Pitchfork for alienating their fans with their "We Are The World" singles section, citing examples such as alienating readers by praising pop radio (Beyonce, Eminem, etc). I found it irritating at first, but now I just laugh...
Posted 01/11/2005 - 05:42:03 PM by ddrake:
 As far as I knew we've been reviewing pop music since well before pfork, at least certainly since I was hired nearly 7 months or so ago. And I'm not exactly certain that I care if we're alienating readers who dislike music because it's popular.
Posted 01/11/2005 - 10:13:11 PM by IanMathers:
 If we did ridicule Pitchfork for something about "We Are The World" (and I'm not sure we did), it was for nearly opposite reasons (say, claiming to start a pop singles column and the having it be mostly the same old indie stuff), phuett. David's right; we've been reviewing (and loving) pop for a significant amount of time, although I can't name a date either. David's also correct that people who dislike music because it's popular should feel free to be alienated.
Posted 01/12/2005 - 12:08:39 AM by phuett:
 I agree completely. Perhaps it was a reader... Though I still find it kind of ironic that the once "indier than thou" sentiment has kind of turned 180 where it seems to be more "hip" now to listen to indie but have a great appreciation for pop radio, which is fantastic because there is some interesting stuff going on musically in popular music.
Posted 01/12/2005 - 09:42:56 AM by quietone:
 hmmm....the stylus top 50 - sponsored by roc-a-fella, c'mon guys Jay-z already in five ticks? and no sign of "One Mic" or "Definition" ... i waited with baited breath ...
Posted 01/12/2005 - 10:49:52 AM by scottpl:
 stylus covered pop well before pfm-- and far more often (and better) since. this site has committed so much more to tackling pop than pfm (or any other general music mag I can think of, frankly). awesome list so far, of course. re: heartbeat, the promo 12-inch with the royksopp remix was out last year; proper release next month
Posted 01/12/2005 - 01:34:00 PM by Hexagon:
 99 Problems above Fix Up, Look Sharp? What are you, Americans?
Posted 01/12/2005 - 03:16:28 PM by bjornw:
 Phuett's absolutely right in the sense that it seems very hip to praise pop nowadays. I think it all started with that god awful whimp Justin Tinkerbell. Suddenly, every music journalist was wanking Timberlake's wiener for no obvious reason (I still haven't figured it out). Fortunately there's still a few of us left who HATES POP MUSIC. Yeah!
Posted 01/12/2005 - 06:17:46 PM by proffokker:
 I don't think it's a particularly good thing to hate pop indiscriminately. There's good and bad in most everything (incl. pop). However, I am kind of worried about what appears to be a club/dance/rap bias in the list. Not to say that the songs picked aren't good songs. I like the ones that I have heard, but...
Posted 01/12/2005 - 09:11:50 PM by KyleMcConaghy:
 This is a very obvious point, but I think that a great single from an indie band (ie. Spoon's "Small Stakes", Interpol's "Obstacle 1") is easy to be overlooked by a mass b/c it isn't on non-college radio. Even if you own an indie single's respective album, you might never know the particular song is a single. Not to say that my fellow Stylus writers are uneducated, but it takes some effort to find indie singles dating back several years, and it is impossible to remember every good single that wasn't on the radio. Everyone-- critics and non-critics alike-- will remember "Toxic" four years from now, but I reckon a lot of us will forget "Youth Alcoholic".
Posted 01/13/2005 - 01:50:12 AM by parham:
 I'm befuddled as to why "Fell In Love With a Girl" out ranks "Seven Nation Army." Is Stylus casting a sly aspersion at Bush's oft ballyhooed coalition of the willing, or are you guys just deaf?
Posted 01/13/2005 - 04:01:36 AM by proffokker:
 Obviousness aside, I think the effort should be made. A song should be remembered because it's of real quality, not because some DJ is contractually obligated to play it every other hour. Again, the two may coincide, but I don't think the focus is as clearly on the former as it should be. And regarding the ignorance of which track on an indie album might be the single, you've already broken your own single rule by picking an EP. Hell, just find a good album track and just run with it.
Posted 01/13/2005 - 05:01:45 AM by proffokker:
 That being said, if "Hey Ya!" doesn't make the list, I'm going to be pissed. (Near-rhyming not intended.)
Posted 01/13/2005 - 05:40:31 AM by J.Timmermann:
 I find it interesting that while "Take Me Out" topped "Toxic" in the '04 singles poll, the latter placed NINETEEN spots higher than the former on this list. The FF track is also ranked below below "Yeah!" and "Heartbeat" (which lost out to the inferior "Chewing Gum" on the year-end list), and just one spot higher than "99 Problems" (#17 of '04).
Posted 01/13/2005 - 08:49:05 AM by MattDC:
 Hey Ya is going to win this one as well, isn't it?
Posted 01/13/2005 - 10:45:20 AM by NickSouthall:
 I'm resigning if it does. Damn indie kids making tokenistic choices.
Posted 01/13/2005 - 11:49:41 AM by Magton:
 It's not about putting forth tokens at all. Hey Ya should definitely win, but because it is the best 'single' for years. The only single I can think of which has nearly as much cross-appeal is 'Can't Get You Out Of My Head'. Sure, many people (including myself) are sick of 'Hey Ya', but I'm yet to meet anyone who thinks it's a bad song. The tune is utterly infectious, the production is top notch, the video is great, and you couldn't forget the vocal if your life depended on it.
Posted 01/13/2005 - 12:19:13 PM by kuttor:
 Ok, this is not so bad list, but when will Stylus make a top 50 made for the sake of music, and not only for the sake of political correctness?
Posted 01/13/2005 - 12:24:55 PM by Sotoalf:
 Kuttor: any examples of political correctness? This staff voted the only "correct" way: with their brains and with their ears. As for the remark made earlier – "it seems very hip to praise pop nowadays" – well, last time I checked the Beatles, Supremes, Stones, Springsteen, and 15 others I can name assiduously courted the pop charts. I love the Mountain Goats and Kimya Dawson, but something about 500 strangers dancing to "Hey Ya!" gives one a buzz that no amount of booze can duplicate.
Posted 01/13/2005 - 12:28:34 PM by IanMathers:
 C'mon Alf, don't you remember the secret meeting where we got together and decided to vote for songs we all really hate because they're more, err, politically correct? (and yes, I'm baffled as to which songs here would qualify too)
Posted 01/13/2005 - 01:39:56 PM by Sotoalf:
 You shouldn't have mentioned it in front of all these people, Ian. Now I have to kill you.
Posted 01/13/2005 - 01:58:15 PM by MEKsLP:
 I will save final judgement for tomorrow when you list out the final 10, but this list dosen't do it for me at all. Its not that I don't like a lot of these artists or a good majority of these songs, its just that I think there are a lot of better songs that could be in place of what is listed here. "Fell in Love With a Girl" is not even close to being one of the white stripes best singles. "Maps" is a soild song, but not one of the 50 best in the past few years. Maybe the top 40 of that given year. Way too much Jay-Z. You present him as The Beatles of rap in that ever single he release is gold, which sorry, is not.
Posted 01/13/2005 - 02:13:32 PM by phuett:
 Even though I do love me some pop music, I'm going to have to side with proffokker and MEKsLP and say that, personally, this list doesn't quite do it for me either. It's all opinion I guess, but I would have liked to see a little less Jay-Z (not to say I don't like him) and a little more...variety? It just seemed like this list takes the easy way out and rehashes MTV's TRL for the last 5 years. Oh, and alf...When I said it was hip to praise pop music, I followed that statement by saying it was a good thing; way to ignore half of the statement and take it out of context.
Posted 01/13/2005 - 02:19:11 PM by Sotoalf:
 My apologies, phuett, but I was actually alluding to a poster named "bjornw." If it's any consolation, no list has ever satisfied me. That's what makes these comment boards so delectable.
Posted 01/13/2005 - 02:30:58 PM by bassman08:
 I'm a fan of lists. As long as they are ones that I make myself.
Posted 01/13/2005 - 02:42:47 PM by Hexagon:
 The amount of overrated Jay-Z shit in this list is criminal, especially on a site that ran a story on why the man sucks. I'm sure you all have different opinions, but aren't they supposed to gel into one coherent editorial voice sometimes? This is just contradictory nonsense.
Posted 01/13/2005 - 02:50:35 PM by quietone:
 here, here.
Posted 01/13/2005 - 03:15:36 PM by IanMathers:
 "I'm sure you all have different opinions, but aren't they supposed to gel into one coherent editorial voice sometimes?" The short answer: No.
Posted 01/13/2005 - 03:18:39 PM by Hexagon:
 So what's the point in a "Stylus Top 50"? You might as well devote a week to the top 50 of every contributor on the site. Rubbish.
Posted 01/13/2005 - 03:58:01 PM by kuttor:
 Alf: It's just a bit strange. I simply can't believe that the whole Stylus crew have listened more Aaliyah or Jay Z songs in the past few years than, for example, Super Furry Animals, Ladytron or Modest Mouse. Coz I bet that none of the above mentioned bands will have songs in the top10.
Posted 01/13/2005 - 04:54:28 PM by RyanHardy:
 I can't speak for any Stylus people except me, but I definitely listen to way more Aaliyah and Jay-Z (why didn't you just say "black people?") than Modest Mouse, Ladytron or Super Furry Animals. I barely listen to those last two at all.
Posted 01/14/2005 - 03:42:37 AM by maxwellk:
 Hmm, am I the only person who thinks that "Yeah" and "Get Low" are actually the same song? An awesome song, no doubt, but still. And Lil Jon stole that gym teacher whistle sound he uses so well from Hangin' Tough.
Posted 01/14/2005 - 03:46:10 AM by NickSouthall:
 I have never heard Modest Mouse, except once, on the radio. I didn't like it.

People need to get their heads around the fact that Stylus is not under any obligation to be anything you expect us to be, and that includes the idea of us being an "indie-centric webzine" - we're not indie-centric, our whole goal has always been to cover ALL music, right across the spectrum. Obviously this is impossible - there simply aren't enough hours in the day for us to do that. Pop music makes up what most of the world listens to and buys, and that's no different for many Stylus writers. Stop projecting your own tastes onto ours and using that as reason to accuse us of lying about what we like!
Posted 01/14/2005 - 03:46:40 AM by kuttor:
 Well. The problem is with Aaliyah is not that she was black, but she made some crap music. Jay Z is not so bad, but he seems a bit overrated here, too. Will be Mariah Carey in the top10? Or Justin Timberlake?
Posted 01/14/2005 - 03:53:31 AM by kuttor:
 Nick, Modest Mouse was just an example, I could have said a thousand more bands. Simply this r'n'b/chart pop mania here seems a bit forced now, I didn't notice this enthusiasm earlier, right?
Posted 01/14/2005 - 03:58:36 AM by NickSouthall:
 2003 Top 20 singles. Plenty of pop. Barely any "indie". Plenty of writers have come and gone in the two and a half years since we started.
Posted 01/14/2005 - 04:04:03 AM by proffokker:
 I personally never accused the Stylus staff of "lying about what they like." I accused them of being pop-centric, and then pretending to cover the diverse spectrum that characterizes today's music scene. True enough that pop music is more frequently listened to than anything else, that's so by definition. But don't pretend to represent anything other than pop singles. If "there aren't enough hours in the day," then don't act as if you have listened to everything. Again, I don't expect you to be indie-centric, but if most of the tracks are something I would hear in a club, when there hasn't exactly been a dearth of quality non-club music, then it's dishonest to pretend your list is inclusive to cover the great wide world of singles. If anything, the indie singles are tokenistic. Not to belabor the point, but ubiquity and quality are cannot always characterize the same things. And besides, it's your JOB to listen to music. Find some time. In response to another post, I personally can distinguish between "Get Low" and "Yeah." For starters, the lyrical content is easily distinguishable, and one has Usher. Oh, but wait, you were being ironic? Sardonic? Lame?
Posted 01/14/2005 - 05:17:41 AM by NickSouthall:
 There are numerous writers at Stylus with varied tastes, and all of them voted - in a short while you'll be able to see individual ballots and find out whether any inclusions are tokenistic or not in the final 50. There was no weighted voting in this poll - your no. 1 choice got 50 points, and your number 50 choice got 1 point with everything inbetween on the sliding scale that that suggests. Overall, when all the ballots have been cast, our writers seem to prefer pop singles that you might hear on the radio and which therefore you get to hear in the context of actually Being A Single more than something you wont hear on radio so often. I'm fine with that.
Posted 01/14/2005 - 05:55:59 AM by kuttor:
 OK, this top 10 is a joke. But no problem, maybe it just means, that I don't have to take things like the top 50 singles of Stylus seriously.
Posted 01/14/2005 - 07:40:39 AM by IanMathers:
 It's my job to listen to music now? They've started paying me? Awesome! Now instead of spending my days working at a shit job to pay my rent, I really can catch up on my listening. Also, if you look at the records reviewed during the week this countdown was put up, you see a pretty broad range of stuff, and that's just one random week. But when it comes to songs we _agree_ one, mysteriously they happen to be songs we've all heard. We don't all get the chance to listen to, for example, the Dufus record reviewed yesterday.
Posted 01/14/2005 - 09:49:05 AM by scottpl:
 no list from todd?
Posted 01/14/2005 - 10:07:14 AM by maxwellk:
 Ouch, please don't direct your impotent rage at me. I meant that they're the same song, much as every AC/DC song is the same song. Sure, I like Hell's Bells, I like Highway to Hell, I like You shook me all night long, but nothing can change that they're virtually indistinguishable (actually, in the spirit of complete honesty, I like none of those songs, but I recognize the inherent value of AC/DC. I just can't get into them). The same is true of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. The same is true of the Strokes. Here's the point: of course I can tell the difference between Yeah and Get Low. I can hear Usher, and while accusing either song of having lyrical "content" is a bit of a stretch, obviously the token lyrical contributions differ. But Lil Jon (who is the architect of both tracks) has put virtually the same exact beat underneath both of them. Sure they have slightly different 3 note casio riffs, but rhythmically there is no difference, they use the exact same keyboard presets, and Lil Jon's vocal contributions are basically identical. I'm trying to say that putting the two so close to each other is a bit of a stretch, and perhaps another worthy, non-Lil Jon single could have made the list. Maybe I didn't make my point well enough to begin with, but there's no need to be so impolite. I'm interested in having a discussion with music lovers, not calling anyone names.
Posted 01/14/2005 - 10:52:52 AM by bakinakwa:
 A dire, dire, dire list. Thanks for trying though, it's interesting food for thought.
Posted 01/14/2005 - 11:25:52 AM by eyeshaveit:
 Mention was made of tokenism and points -- OK, then, how did "Dog Days", which made only 1 list with 48 points, make the list, while "Pyramid Song" (for example), made 4 lists for 122 points? Is it just that it's no longer cool to like Radiohead? Similar stuff appears to have happened to Spoon and Sigur Ros. Now I have no problem with pop in these lists, but to say there was no tokenism (or at least point-rigging) can't exactly be true.
Posted 01/14/2005 - 12:18:37 PM by MEKsLP:
 Yeah, I will reiterate that I am not crazy about this list. There is too much over saturation from the same artists. I think part of the problem comes in that indie and less mainstream music is going to be listened to more specifically by a person as opposed to the fact that everyone is probably heard the latest Jay-Z single. So what comes up is a lot of singles that everyone can agree they "like" and are "good" but the less mainstream selections get left by the wayside from over-saturation of selections.
Posted 01/14/2005 - 02:51:04 PM by Spanky:
 Well, I just plain hate anybody that doesn't like exactly what I like, and in the exact same order. My only irk is that Junior Senior 'move your feet' isn't there. Listening to it makes me almost as happy as pointless criticism of opinion.
Posted 01/14/2005 - 03:12:44 PM by janinedm:
 I will agree, there is a lot of Jay-Z on the list but it makes sense to me because a great single is sometimes about the production as much as the artist. In that vein, you can look at the different spots on the list are a tip o' the hat to the Neptunes, Timbaland, etc. Then it's not so about Jay-Z. For me, if the Neptunes were to produce a song featuring Ashlee Simpson and a mongoose in labor, I'd probably listen to it, but, then again, I was obsessed with Quincy Jones as a child.
Posted 01/14/2005 - 03:48:08 PM by iheartschlitz:
 Excuse me if I have a problem with a "music journalist" saying their goal is to listen to all music and then saying they only heard modest mouse once and on the friggin radio. I guess there isn't enough time to listen to everything when you're trying to hear "Toxic" for the 42nd time in one day. Good lord.
Posted 01/14/2005 - 03:49:06 PM by HipHopHippo:
 How the hell did "Forgot About Dre" not make the top 50 list? this was one of the most addictive, gritty songs of the past decade, not just the past 5 years. for every one commercial music fan that did not like that song, ill show you 50 that do.
Posted 01/14/2005 - 04:15:11 PM by fistfight:
 wow, y'all really don't like pop music, huh? I don't normally listen to pop music too much, but this list almost to a tee has all the pop songs on my iPod from the past 4 years. Timbaland deserves to be on that list as much as possible. Good list.
Posted 01/14/2005 - 04:20:55 PM by janinedm:
 "Forgot about Dre" had one major flaw: it was over too quickly. You're so right. And by the way, who takes ANY list that seriously, it's a dialogue, a basis for converstaion. y'know?
Posted 01/14/2005 - 04:39:13 PM by NickSouthall:
 iheartschlitz - I didn't say it was "my" goal; I said it was "our" goal. I should also point out that I live in England, and Modest Mouse records are only slightly less rare than rocking horse shit over here, or at least they were until this summer. Plus they're called Modest Mouse - why on earth would I want to go out of my way to listen to them?
Posted 01/14/2005 - 04:55:41 PM by Hexagon:
 Modest Mouse are the worst fucking example of pussy-whipped adolescent emo dirge in the world. They're appalling.
Posted 01/14/2005 - 05:08:18 PM by AKMoose:
 Whether or not you dislike the band isn't my concern, Hexagon, but the fact that you slammed Modest Mouse in such an extreme fashion without using a single adjective I find accurate does kind of startle me.
Posted 01/14/2005 - 06:12:36 PM by bj_randolph:
 I'm not sure people get what we're trying to do here. This list is here to start arguments (done) and to create an archival record of critical zeitgeist at the mid-way point of the dacade to be revisited later. Just skim it now; come back and read it in a full in a couple years and see how the winds have shifted. How will critical opinion evolve on some of these songs? When the decade-end lists are made five years from now, which ones will be forgotten? Will OutKast still dominate as much as they do here? Post some predictions here. I'll start: 1) out of all these Jay-Z singles, only "Izzo" (and "Crazy in Love") will really hold up in five years; 2) "Float On" will age well and place high on decade-end lists; 3) DFA's output will only get stronger, and will dominate lists five years from now; 4) crunk is a fad-in-the-pan waiting to be forgotten, Li'l Jon; 5) all of OutKast's stuff will hold up rock solid.
Posted 01/14/2005 - 07:03:41 PM by proffokker:
 Surely it would be presumptuous to claim to represent criticdom and thus the critical zeitgeist. I think there would be fewer club tracks out of the critical community as a whole. I mean, we are talking about critics... Oh, and maxwellk, it was kind of a low blow, and I apologize. But I am aware that Lil' Jon is the producer of both tracks. It was offensively reductionist to characterize them as the same song. I see what you mean, but come on. That being said, I prefer Dave Chapelle's "Piss on You (Remix)" to the R. Kelly track it was based on.
Posted 01/14/2005 - 08:11:58 PM by childstarc:
 "The Beatles would've been nothing without George Martin." nick s, you just blew my mind. what a horribly misguided example of rockism as a defense against rockism. i appreciate the sentiment though, really.
Posted 01/14/2005 - 09:59:08 PM by Snorfle:
 ack. indeed a dire list, as mentioned earlier. looks like a 15-year-old's mix cd. is a prerequisite for singles nowdays that they be good for dancing to in a club? half of the blurbs are like "after this song has pounded you into submission so you are forced to learn the lyrics, you will like it"
Posted 01/14/2005 - 10:57:34 PM by MattChesnut:
 Dude, where is this 15-year-old so I can befriend them or at least give them a high five?
Posted 01/14/2005 - 11:43:39 PM by AUnterberger:
 "Dude, I just totally ripped off this Jurgen Paape CD from Borders!"

"Sweet! Maybe my older brother will drive us to school tomorrow so we can blast that shit from his jeep!"
Posted 01/14/2005 - 11:57:22 PM by Snorfle:
 believe me, they're around, just hang out in high schools. they love r kelly. as does ever frat party ive ever been to. beep beep toot toot. also, i'd like to agree with XXX that the Jay-Z and Outkast stuff will probably stand the test of time (though I pray that people will eventually realize that Kayne West's production consists of a a childrens choir and/or bunch of screechy female voices on 78 rpm)
Posted 01/14/2005 - 11:57:59 PM by Snorfle:
 oops, XXX = bj_randolph. dur.
Posted 01/15/2005 - 12:28:01 AM by iheartschlitz:
 Heres my prediction: "Ignition" will be played solely at huge sporting events just as (and I puposely picked an english pedaphile so you guys would have heard of him) gary glitter's "hit" song Rockand Roll pt.2 is. Secondly I think no one will ever listen to The Betles anymore, because they have a very bad band name.
Posted 01/15/2005 - 12:29:08 AM by iheartschlitz:
 sic Beatles
Posted 01/15/2005 - 12:36:36 AM by amerloque:
 as much as i love r. kelly and brilliantly ridiculous lists like this in general... when the apocalypse comes, i think the cockroaches will still be singing "can't get you out of my head" or "get ur freak on" before "ignition." (and not just the ones that hatched in 2001.)
Posted 01/15/2005 - 10:08:14 AM by MEKsLP:
 To Spanky: Notice how Stylus included this little "comment" feature in their website? I know you must have because you yourself use it. Contrary to what you may think it is for, which may be to suck the Stylus writers cocks (which is indicated by your displeasure of some of the readership disagreeing with the list), this is a feature for the public to converse, agree, or debate with the rest of the readership and/or writers. What this means is yes we have a different opinion and that yes we are going to argue it.
Posted 01/15/2005 - 07:31:21 PM by Spanky:
 And to think at the time I argued for the inclusion of a song I like!
Posted 01/15/2005 - 08:04:40 PM by anthonymiccio:
 I just want to give a shout-out to Randolph for putting Ozzy's "Dreamer" on his list. Totally forgot about that song! Good show!
Posted 01/16/2005 - 03:37:41 AM by prentice:
 Interesting list, but I'm curious as to how it was tallied because a number of singles that made the list and the order of those on the list don't seem to match the raw values that would have logically been assigned to them according to the individual lists posted. The most striking instance, which has already been pointed out, is how "dog days" is at 39 when it only placed on one list at number three and something like the knife's heartbeats didn't even make the list when it placed on three different lists at numbers one, twenty-five, and twenty-eight. I'm curious as to why priority was placed on certain singles or possibly voters.
Posted 01/17/2005 - 04:59:13 AM by gilligan:
 lists are dumb. quit making them, and well all be happier
Posted 01/17/2005 - 03:32:26 PM by gloden:
 Am I the only one who finds this "Heartbeat" song to be incredibly boring and overrated? All this sudden praise (and yes, the fact that it didn't even score on the 2004 list) must be attributed, once again, to the Pitchfork factor. Other than that, I think this is a solid list... as lists go. Of course, ten years down the line, it will look radically different, but quick-fix predictions are ever so much fun.
Posted 01/18/2005 - 02:59:47 AM by bj_randolph:
 miccio-- is ozzy the undisputed king of the power ballad? the evidence: goodbye to romance, tonight, so tired, see you on the other side, mama i'm comin home, etc... not a weak one in the bunch
Posted 09/13/2005 - 12:30:27 PM by Voltage:
 Oft-sampled TV composer Mike Post’s Knight Rider theme makes up melodic basis to PMC’s 1998 original bhangra remix. Stu Phillips wrote the Knight Rider theme, not Mike Post. Post did a cheesey cover of it for some "TV's Greatest Themes" collection... maybe that's the source of the confusion?