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100 Best Songs of the 2000s

From Beyonce and Lady Gaga to Radiohead and Kanye West, these are the best songs from the first decade of the 21st Century

100, Best, Songs, 2000s

The music of the Aughts was all over the map in the very best way, with file sharing and randomly produced personal playlists encouraging eclecticism and experimentation in both artists and listeners. Rolling Stone‘s list of the decade’s 100 best songs – which was originally unveiled in 2009 and was compiled by a group of over 100 artists, critics and industry insiders – includes garage rock revivalists, dance-happy indie, sassy starlets, slick modern R&B, boundary-shattering pop hybrids and a few familiar icons from previous eras. The most exciting thing about this selection of tunes is that, despite all the different styles and voices in the mix, it all sounds totally natural together. In fact, you might already have a playlist that looks just like it.

86

Aaliyah, ‘Try Again’

It's hard to believe there was ever a time when people complained that Timbaland wasn't making enough records. But Tim made a grandiose re-entry here, quoting Rakim: "It's been a long time/I shouldn't have left you." Aaliyah's chiller-than-chill vocals make it still seem painful that this brilliant R&B princess died so young — yet managed to make so much unforgettable music in her time.

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85

The Dirty Projectors, ‘Stillness Is the Move’

A bunch of arty white indie kids get their R&B on. Sounds like Destiny's Child taking MDMA with Björk at a Williamsburg loft party.

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84

The Clipse, ‘Grindin”

Over a Neptunes beat as loud and emphatic as a slamming steel door, brothers Gene and Terrence Thornton (aka Malice and Pusha T) introduce the world to the hardboiled outlook, and witty wordplay, of crack rap: "I'm the…neighborhood pusha/Call me subwoofer/'Cause I pump base like that, Jack."

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83

The Gossip, ‘Standing in the Way of Control’

Beth Ditto claims that what she's hollering about on this urgent, irresistible disco-punk anthem is gay marriage and the Bush-era assault on civil rights – not that it'd be possible to guess from its lyrics.

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82

Jay-Z, ‘Dirt Off Your Shoulder’

Anybody who believed the retirement would last more than a couple years has to be among the planet's most gullible people. If you could still drop rhymes like this, brushing off all possible competition, not to mention escorting Beyoncé to the VMAs, would you retire? But that didn't keep anyone from cranking this masterful hip-hop farewell speech.

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81

P!nk, ‘Get The Party Started’

P!nk's breakthrough hit has her out on the road, bringing the party wherever she goes. "I can go for miles if you know what I mean," she sings, sounding like an unstoppable disco juggernaut.

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