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10 One-Hit Wonders That Defined The Early 2000s

In a post-Y2K world riddled with anthrax scares, trucker hats, and Fred Durst, we all looked to the most common form of escapism for some comfort: music. (Except for Fred Durst. There was no way to escape Fred Durst.)

And there was hardly a more confusing era in music than the early part of the 21st century. There was so much happening–thanks in large part to the wide accessibility granted by the expanding boundaries of the internet–and yet, there really wasn’t much happening at all when you look closely.

The early 2000s didn’t have a big boom period for any one genre (remember, boy and girl bands had officially exploded in the late 90s alongside nu metal), but there werelittle reverberations felt from garage rock and various indie subgenres.

So, because no one else was really taking up the throne, we were briefly overrun with a horde of one-hit wonders, the likes of which will probably never be seen again. (Hopefully.) There were so many artists that disappeared off the face of the earth after securing a top spot on TRL, and it was they who had the answers to what those first few years of the new Millenium would be remembered for.

10. Howie Day – “Collide”

Oh yeah. Oh you were definitely going to slow dance the hell out of this one when it came on. And if you played your cards right, there was a good chance your bathing suit areas would be “colliding” later that night.

Those soft “doo doo doos” really struck a chord with the listening public for some reason, partly because it was just so damn earnest and partly because we mistakenly thought this was another James Blunt song. Either way, people were ready to announce Howie Day the next big crooner for about three months, right until Daniel Powter came out with “Bad Day” and everyone thought James Blunt had just released another hit song.

Still, bet you can’t not sing those “doo doo doos” whenever this song comes on.

9. Crazy Town – “Butterfly”

Crazy Town might be the closest thing the early part of this century had to an identity. Does that scare you? It should, because Crazy Town didn’t even have a true identity themselves. They were a curious blend of rap, metal, pop, and “alt rock.” (In quotes because pretty much anyone could get away with using that label at the time.)

So their non-identity became our cultural identity for a while. Make sense?

The fact is, we, as a society, were suffering from a major identity crisis when Crazy Town got our attention in 2000. And that’s good because “Butterfly” offered just a little bit of everything, so we didn’t really have to make a decision on what the new Millennium would be just yet. We could stave that off for at leas another year while be blared this non-commital track at top volume.

8. Blu Cantrell – “Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!)”

At the turn of the century, we were in the midst of a major dependency on young, white, pop starlets. Britney, Christina, Mandy and Jessica were the main entrees on the radio and everyone else was just a side dish. But as far as side dishes are concerned, there wasn’t one more filling than Blu Cantrell.

Her breakup anthem, “Hit ‘Em Up Style,” positioned Blu as a legitimate heir to the pop throne, landing at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and breaking Elvis Presley’s longstanding record for “most played on all genres of radio.” The song was quite literally everywhere. (We’re pretty sure even people in third world countries knew the words to this one.)

For pretty much the entirety of 2001, Blu and her anthem for female empowerment were in the spotlight. “Yeah, you take that cheating bastard’s money!” was an incredibly popular sentiment that resonated with a lot of bitter ladies who were tired of being used by promiscuous men.

Strangely, though, when the clock struck midnight on the 2002 New Year, Blu was immediately an afterthought. She was overlooked at the Grammys, losing both of the categories she was nominated in and “Hit ‘Em Up Style” fell from the charts faster than a sack of potatoes from the Eiffel Tower.

7. Baha Men – “Who Let The Dogs Out?”

“Why not?” That’s the only thought we had in our tired minds when the Baha Men appeared with “Who Let the Dogs out?” It had been a while since we’d had a big, fun novelty hit. And this one was destined to become a mega hit (and incessant catchphrase for people who are immune to original thoughts) from the moment it was first blasted at an NBA game.

The Baha Men were a household name overnight, all thanks to their grizzled shouting of one really random question. (By the way, as far as call-and-response songs go, the answer “Woof! Woof! Woof!” is not particularly enlightening. So we still don’t actually know who them out.) The sports world ate it up, with multiple teams across multiple leagues using it as a rallying cry. Why? We’re still not really sure. I’s a question almost as difficult to answer as the one presented in the song.

To be fair, there were worse novelty summer anthems (“Thong Song,” anyone?), and for the first few weeks it was a lot of fun to sing along to. But luckily this one eventually went the way of “Barbie Girl” and “I’m Too Sexy.”

6. Evan And Jaron – “Crazy For This Girl”

Sure, we were technically out of the 90s, but that didn’t mean we were completely giving up those specific kind of bland, pop rock ballads that Blessid Union of Souls and Vertical Horizon had popularized. Not just yet, anyways.

We had a bunch of light-rock balladry filling up the airwaves in the early part of the century, but none of the artists behind them ever seemed catch on. BBMak scored a couple of hits, LFO stretched their “Summer Girls” cred into the 2000s with “Every Other Time,” and Nine Days (they did “Story of a Girl”) stuck around for only a little longer than their name would suggest.

The least successful of them all was probably Evan and Jaron, who really tested the bounds of cheesiness in the adult contemporary landscape. “Crazy For This Girl” was pure schmaltz, using a cornball string section and piano riff that would embarrass the Goo Goo Dolls. But it was our schmaltz. We owned this song in 2000.

5. The Ataris – “Boys Of Summer”

At a time when original ideas were a limited resource, there were a good lot of bands who weren’t afraid to stand up and say “Hey! Remember this old song? Well…now it’s ours!” The Ataris were just one of the many bands to get famous on the backs of their musical forefathers.

Revamping Don Henley’s synth-heavy bummer anthem into a fast-paced, punk-ish testament to fleeting memories was an admirable goal, and one that the kids who hated their dad’s CD collection would ironically latch onto.

It had all the ingredients of pre-wrapped nostalgia, covering a song from the 80s while simultaneously copping the emotions of the similarly wistful “Ocean Avenue” by Yellowcard. So-cal pop-punk was certainly alive and well in the early 2000s. And boy was it focused on the past.

4. American Hi-Fi – “Flavor Of The Weak”

First things first! …See what they did with that title? It’s a…uh…it’s a play on words. Weak instead of…week.

Ahem, cool, with that out of the way let’s discuss why these guys were able to happen upon the formula for success in 2001’s rock landscape. As with the aforementioned Crazy Town, American Hi-Fi blended a cavalcade of influences that included Aerosmith-era glam rock, post-Black Album heavy metal, power pop and, of course, “alt rock.”

But hot damn did that bouillabaisse of sound catch on in the summer of 2001. Perhaps even more surprising, though, was the overall quality of the self-titled album “Flavor of the Weak” came from. It genuinely rocked. It wasn’t all as summery as their big hit, but it was a real treat from start to finish.

Sadly though, the album as a whole didn’t really take off, and neither have any of their recent singles that tried to recapture that lightning in a bottle.

3. Default – “Wasting My Time”

For much of the early 2000s, bands wanted to prove that we still knew how to rock. There was a lot of criticism being lobbed at this generation of rock bands that chided them for leaning to hard on other genres for popularity (nu metal and rap-rock being the main offenders). Where was that classic, muscly rock sound from back in the day?

Well, it was still there, but you just had to look a little harder. While the Foo Fighters were holding things down (as usual), there were a host of bands trying to escape the post-grunge sound that had been making listeners weary for quite some time.

One of those bands was the poorly-named Default. Yep, Default. As in…we couldn’t come up with a name so we landed on this one by Default. Despite an incredibly lazy name, this group of Canadian hard rockers managed to hold the public’s attention with their power ballad, “Wasting My Time.” They never had another major hit, but they’ve remained a fairly popular rock band in the States and in their home country with their bare bones style.

Not-so-fun-fact: This song was brought to you by Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger, who discovered the band and helped produce their debut album.

2. Los Lonely Boys – “Heaven”

This was a weird song to reach the Top 20. It just is. It didn’t really sound like anything else on the radio at the time, but it kind of had this general sameness to it anyway. It’s like we’d heard this somewhere before (maybe in the vaguely Latin blues of Santana’s work with Rob Thomas and Alex Band…but probably not), and then someone zapped us with one of those Men In Black memory erasers and we decided to just go along with it.

“Heaven” isn’t a bad song, but it definitely never seemed like it would catch on with the youth market. Yet, somehow, it did. Hell, it was even used in a Guitar Hero game.

Were all of our parents just really on the ball in 2004, feverishly calling into radio stations’ request lines to get this song played?? Whatever the reason, this laid-back, sprightly little blues rock number was ubiquitous for well over a year.

1. t.A.T.u – “All The Things She Said”

You may have tried to forget them, but it’s likely all the things they said (ALL THE THINGS THEY SAID) are still running through your head (RUNNING THROUGH YOUR HEAD).

As a culture, we didn’t really know what to do about lesbians in 2002. We took some small steps into accepting the LGBT community, but they were still treated with extremes, being entirely ignored or selfishly exploited. Guess which category t.A.T.u fell into?

It should be noted that these famous Russian Catholic school girls aren’t actually lesbians, they were just playing the part for a music video, trying to titillate people into listening to their music. It worked, obviously.

The song was catchy enough to make the rather lewd video seem like a reasonable thing to play on an endless loop for a few months, and the two teen girls landed at the top of the UK Charts and became the first Russian group to break the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100.

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