It’s not easy to examine the 2000s without acknowledging the impact of 9/11. Living in a post-terrorism age beset by worry and anxiety, it’s hardly surprising that much of the era’s music soundtracked the times with powerful pop classics that sought to marry upbeat hooks with worldly-wise messages of unity.
From the unexpected comeback of indie rock to the innovative spirit of US hip-hop, the decade saw many genres transcend tribal loyalties, reminding us how what we shared was far more important than what we had lost. Here, then, is our list of the best 2000s songs…
Listen to our Pop playlist here, and check out our best 2000s songs, below.
20: Green Day: American Idiot (from ‘American Idiot’, 2004)
In the wake of 9/11 and the onset of George W Bush’s “war on terror”, pop-punk stalwarts Green Day engineered an audacious political statement with their 2004 album, American Idiot, which came imbued with the same generation-defining ambition of The Who’s rock opera Tommy. Not only one of the best Green Day songs but also one of the best protest songs of the 21st century, the album’s title track addressed North America’s standing in the world, reaching No.3 in the UK and topping the US Modern Rock Tracks chart in the process. With singer Billie Joe Armstrong bemoaning his fellow countrymen (“I don’t wanna be an American idiot”), the track easily became one of the best 2000s songs for the fearless way in which it squared up to media manipulation amid the societal fallout of the Iraq War.