List

The 40 Best Deep Cuts of 2000

Following our Billboard staff-picked list of the 100 greatest songs of 2000, we're writing this week about some of the stories and trends that defined the year for us. Here, our staff goes beyond the hits of '00 to look at the deeper cuts that also endure -- the album tracks from the year's best LPs, which prove just as essential as the official singles and radio hits they surrounded 20 years later. Below is a list of our 40 favorites, with a Spotify playlist of all 40 at the very bottom.

40. Ludacris, "U Got a Problem?" (Back For the First Time, 2000)

The rapper born Christopher Bridges wasted no time announcing himself as a presence to be contended with on the opening track to his major label debut, Back For the First Time. Over alarm-sounding horns, queasy bass rumbles and unidentified flying synth stabs -- all courtesy of the producer eventually known as Bangladesh -- Luda still repped local, but showed why his star would soon be going global: "It's the ATLien intruder/ College Park waterboy, spit in the c-cooler/ I Jam till they Def, they call me Slick D--k da Ruler." -- ANDREW UNTERBERGER

39. Westlife, "Can't Lose What You Never Had" (Westlife)

Though the idea of the song is a bit forward -- a guy is ready to tell a girl he loves her, when they’re not even officially together -- “Can’t Lose What You Never Had” has one of the strongest melodies on the North American edition of Westlife’s debut set, with the group showing particularly showing off their range on the irresistible chorus. And even if it might be a little too bold, the album cut’s sentiment is a great source of inspiration for anyone contemplating having “the talk” with their love interest. -- TAYLOR WEATHERBY

38. New Pornographers, "Mass Romantic" (Mass Romantic)

What were the New Pornographers -- an indie-rock supergroup featuring A.C. Newman, Dan Bejar, Neko Case and members of bands like Limblifters and the Evaporators -- going to sound like? The title track of their debut album answered that with a succinct blast of sunny, synth-laden power-pop: Like a lot of New Pornos tracks, “Mass Romantic” sounds like an alternate-universe smash that gets mainstream listeners trying in vain to recreate the impeccable harmonies. -- JASON LIPSHUTZ

37. Steely Dan, "What a Shame About Me" (Two Against Nature)

Nobody captures the existential crisis of catching up with old friends quite like Steely Dan, who entered the new millennium still without peer at making gothic horror out of small talk. In this Two Against Nature highlight, singer Donald Fagen runs into a former college flame, but is too beaten down by life to even try to impress her ("I'm still working on that novel/ But I'm just about to quit"), and too tired and empty to take her up on her offer to head back to her hotel. "What a shame about me," he sighs at the end of each chorus, and the spotless jazz-funk groove doesn't bother disagreeing with him. -- A.U.

36. 3LW, "Not This Time" (3LW)

3LW were only in their early teens when they recorded debut album highlight “Not This Time,” but the vexation they channeled traverses generations of women. Over a Timbaland-lite beat (those mouth-popping noises are straight out of Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody”), the trio kicks a two-timing guy to the curb. 13-year-old Kiely Williams’ rap verse ("Telling me you wanna stay with me / When all along you was playing me") seals this kiss-off anthem. -- BIANCA GRACIE

35. Midtown, "Just Rock and Roll" (Save the World Lose the Girl)

New Jersey pop-punkers Midtown never reached the heights of Fall Out Boy or My Chemical Romance, but not for lack of effort. The quartet could harmonize and trade lead vocals like a boy band, with just enough hardcore punch to grit out underdog anthems like "Just Rock and Roll," the opening track on their debut LP, Save the World Lose the Girl. Good luck finding a more pop-punk album title or a more pop-punk album intro than the a cappella, gang vocaled "GOD I WISH I COULD HATE YOU FOR THE REST OF MY...." that sets off this rager. Frontman Gabe Saporta eventually became a scene icon, piloting Cobra Starship to two top 10 hits, motherf--king snakes notwithstanding. -- CHRIS PAYNE

34. Bon Jovi, "Captain Crash & The Beauty Queen From Mars" (Crush)

Who knew that underneath all the New Jersey anthems, an anglophilic heart beat at Bon Jovi's core? With its gorgeous harmonies, ringing guitars, Bowie-infatuated oh-so-tragical chorus and androgynous young protagonists ("Share a toothpick/ Trading lipstick") "Captain Crash" sounds like a lost gem from the glammier side of the Britpop years -- or maybe, what Def Leppard would've sounded like if they'd come around ten years later. Not surprising that the titular duo didn't supplant Tommy and Gina in Jovi lore, but they might've at least made Liam and Noel look over their shoulder. -- A.U.

33. The White Stripes, "I'm Bound to Pack It Up" (De Stijl)

One of the coolest things to claim when the White Stripes released their breakthrough album, White Blood Cells, in 2001 was that De Stijl was better. The band’s sophomore album from 2000 found the duo’s sound at its leanest and meanest, with Jack White kicking out aggressive blues riffs and Meg White splattering songs with her drums and not a whole let else. “I’m Bound to Pack It Up,” a song about rejection, was a break from the melee of the record, with acoustic guitar, a delicate shaker and a low violin. “I guess I’m just another running away,” Jack sang in a strained, nearly breaking voice. Without the booming aggression, the song conveyed another side to the band’s Detroit rock heroism. -- CHRISTINE WERTHMAN

32. Mya, "How You Gonna Tell Me" (Fear of Flying)

Over a guitar riff that sounds like it's struggling to snake its way around the beat fast enough, "How You Gonna Tell Me" offers a similarly wound-up sounding-off against folks trying to give Mya unsolicited advice, scoffing: "You 'bout to lose your house and your IQ... but you know how to fix my thang." Bad advice may have also contributed to this song not being released as a single off the R&B star's sophomore album -- produced by turn-of-the-century gold-spinners Kevin "She'kspere" Briggs and Kandi Burruss, "Tell Me" would've made a much likelier hit than the tepid "Best of Me." -- A.U.

31. Yo La Tengo, "Let's Save Tony Orlando's House" (And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out)

Yo La Tengo’s “Let’s Save Tony Orlando’s House” is a deep-cut within a deep-cut, as the veteran Hoboken indie trio spins an obscure telethon joke from a 1993 episode of The Simpsons into an elaborate piece of musical folklore. The song isn’t some bookish farce either; its warbling organ and unrelenting beat create an urgency matched by the earnest delivery of drummer-singer Georgia Hubley, who strains her airy voice to its Frankie Valli fringes as she pleads “Dawn, I want you back,” while the titular residence goes up in smoke. -- BRYAN KRESS

30. Alkaline Trio, "Radio" (Maybe I'll Catch Fire)

Over 25 years and nine albums, Chicago's Alkaline Trio have made themselves cult legends by bridging the gap between the Misfits and My Chemical Romance. Their catalog is filled with goth-punk singalongs, but if there's one song guitarist Matt Skiba and company can't write a set list without, it's the monstrous closer off sophomore LP Maybe I'll Catch Fire. Slamming the door on a dreary relationship, Skiba ranges from clever ("Red eyes on orange horizons, if Columbus was wrong I'd drive straight off the edge") to downright sickening on the song's moody verses, before launching into a shout-sung, scorched-earth chorus that runs him dry of what little subtlety he had left: "I wish you would take my radio to bathe with you, plugged in and ready to fall." -- C.P.

29. Jill Scott, "Exclusively" (Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1)

This two-minute gem from Jill Scott's debut album is part slam poetry, part interlude and even part soap opera, with its masterfully scripted story of exclusive love, shattered by a twist-ending infidelity subplot. Scott paints a vivid picture in such a brief amount of time, moving from her cozy love nest to the grocery store, where the sniffing checkout girl delivers a harsh reality check, all set to a jazzy keyboard line that belies the heartbreak of it all. -- KATIE ATKINSON

28. Björk feat. Thom Yorke, "I've Seen It All" (Selmasongs)

Björk not only starred in Lars Von Trier’s horrendously depressing Dancer in the Dark, she also wrote the music for the equally bleak soundtrack, Selmasongs -- named for the character she played who is going blind. The brightest spot on the album was the somber but soaring “I’ve Seen It All,” featuring Björk, Thom Yorke of Radiohead and a bevy of weeping strings. “I’ve seen a man killed by his best friend/ And lives that were over before they were spent,” Yorke sings. Though it lost the Academy Award for Best Original Song, it won the award for best original song to make you curl up in a ball and contemplate the frailty of human life. -- C.W.

27. Phish, "Farmhouse" (Farmhouse)

According to a Soundcloud post from Trey himself, Anastasio and co-writer Tom Marshall penned Phish’s “Farmhouse” while staying at a rented farmhouse in Vermont and based the lyrics off of a note from the owner: “Welcome this our farmhouse/ We have cluster flies alas/ And this time of year is bad.” The song knowingly riffs on the melody of “No Woman, No Cry” but with less hop and more sway to the rhythm. Aside from a mini-buildup before each chorus, the song maintains a mellow rock mood throughout, and though there is some expert, relaxed guitar noodling to be found, the album cut clocks in at just over four minutes, making it a jam -- but not an all-out jam session. -- C.W.

26. P!nk, "Can't Take Me Home" (Can't Take Me Home)

The title track of Pink's debut album Can't Take Me Home introduced the world to the singer's now-signature rebellious attitude. Reportedly based on an interracial relationship gone sour, the tune found P!nk at her boiling point. “Can't take me home to mama 'cause she wouldn't think I'm proper/ Shoulda thought about that before you f--ked with me,” she snips on a bitter chorus that slices through those glitzy R&B synths. -- B.G.

25. Mystikal, "Ain't Gonna See Tomorrow" (Let's Get Ready)

An appropriate song for these times, to say the least: Mystikal preaching "God forgive me, but you can't do s--t no more/ The water ain't no good, the grass don't grow/ Not to mention schools ain't safe no more" while air-raid sirens punctuate the solemnity. The most harrowing track off the No Limit Soldier's pop breakthrough set Let's Get Ready, "Ain't Gonna See Tomorrow" cleverly lays the rapper's end-times rhapsodizing over what sounds like the minor-key intro to an otherwise rousing Jim Steinman power ballad. But like the song itself, the melody never resolves. -- A.U.

24. Green Day, "Misery" (Warning)

Over the course of their first three major-label albums, Green Day recorded precisely zero songs that stretched over the four-minute mark. “Misery,” the five-minute centerpiece of fourth major LP Warning, typified the chances that the trio wanted to take on the project: with strings, an accordion, an oom-pah-pah rhythm and a collection of grim vignettes, the non-single clearly set the table for the ambitious songwriting on Green Day’s next proper album, 2004’s American Idiot. -- J. Lipshutz

23. At the Drive-In, "Cosmonaut" (Relationship of Command)

"One Armed Scissor" gets the shine, but there's good reason the Texas prog-emo sorcerers' final pre-reunion album is considered a top-to-bottom classic. Relationship of Command is a menacing funhouse packed with serpentine riffs and trick-mirror hooks -- all typified by this Side B gem. If your head isn't spinning by the time frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala c-c-c-cackles the final chorus, chances are you didn't make it through in one piece. -- C.P.

22. Lee Ann Womack, "Thinkin' With My Heart Again" (I Hope You Dance)

A startlingly delicate ballad, Lee Ann Womack relates with disarming tenderness the experience of unexpectedly running into a former love -- in a grocery store, of all places ("Aisle four is where he caught me"). As the guitars and strings do all the sobbing for her, Womack lets herself fall back into her old feelings, only to find out that her old guy's got a new gal, leaving her the same crestfallen way she started the song: lamenting "I only needed coffee." Robyn would no doubt have a field day with a disco cover. -- A.U.

21. Nelly, "St. Louie" (Country Grammar)

In case it wasn't obvious enough from the friggin' Blues jersey he wore in his first hit video, Cornell Hayes made damn sure you didn't get more than one line into the first proper song on his debut album without knowing he was repping the Gateway to the West. "You can find me in St. Louie/ Where the gunplay ring all day/ Some got jobs, and some sell yay'/ Others just smoke and f--k all day," he sing-raps, while bass pops like bubblegum and playful steel drums trace the melody underneath him. Ultimately, a tourism advertisement that probably did more for the local economy than the 1998 home run record chase. -- A.U.

20. Elliott Smith, "Somebody That I Used to Know" (Figure 8)

The melancholy came naturally with Elliott Smith’s acoustic singer-songwriter staples, even when he seemed “happy to go.” In the case of “Somebody That I Used To Know,” Smith quite explicitly writes a former counterpart out of his life -- but his resigned acceptance is contradicted by the lyrics’ bitter dismissiveness and recurring waves of a gleaming guitar melody that crash in like good memories flooding back. Though the farewell is less than fond this time around, it always gives listeners a reason to come back. -- B.K.

19. No Doubt, "Magic's in the Makeup" (Return of Saturn)

In the space of three singles on 1995's Tragic Kingdom, Gwen Stefani turned from punk to rock star to pop star, leaving her understandably confused about who she even still was behind all her suddenly glamorous trappings. "I want to be myself/ A counterfeit disposition can't be good for my health" she moans over sympathetic synths and warm bass, wondering if you can still claim to be "just a girl in the world" when you've already gone diamond. The musically rich mid-tempo ballad proved she'd have the songwriting chops to navigate the murkier times, and the dub-pop groove pointed the way to the sonic escape the band would find in Jamaica on next album Rock Steady. -- A.U.

18. Linkin Park, "Pushing Me Away" (Hybrid Theory)

A fragile, high-pitched intro, a chorus you can feel in your chest, and rapper Mike Shinoda popping up at the end of each verse to vocalize the unsaid portions of singer Chester Bennington's verses: Hybrid Theory's buried gem "Pushing Me Way" was undoubtedly a warmup for follow-up set Meteora's biggest single, "Numb." The opening guitarscape is predictably exquisite, and Bennington's refrain is appropriately cathartic, but don't sleep on the importance of drummer Rob Bourdon's insistent stick work, pushing where so many other nu-metal drummers would be lagging. -- A.U.

17. Sade, "It's Only Love That Gets You Through" (Lovers Rock)

Hidden at the end of Sade’s soulful Lovers Rock, “It’s Only Love That Gets You Through” reads like a note from the songwriter to herself. “Girl, you are rich even with nothing/ And you know tenderness comes from pain,” she sings, introducing the track. The song is about surviving through the worst to make it to your best, and although she is singing about a “rugged road,” the surrounding sound is all softness. It’s only in the last line of this last song that Sade’s warm, supple voice, accompanied by humming keyboards, arrives at the ultimate lesson: “It’s only love that gets you through.” -- C.W.

16. Primal Scream, "Shoot Speed/Kill Light" (XTRMNTR)

Nu-metal dourness reigned supreme in 2000, but the bleakest, grimiest album released by a major rock band that year was undoubtedly XTRMNTR, from Scottish shape-shifters Primal Scream. A future-punk classic armed with anti-fascist Molotov cocktails, the set ended with the unexpectedly incandescent "Shoot Speed / Kill Light" -- mostly an instrumental apart from its four-word title chant -- in which the band hunkers down with a pulsing metal rave-up, willing each other through the muck and into the 21st century. Not optimistic, exactly, but survival is its own form of hope. -- A.U.

15. Luomo, "Synkro" (Vocalcity)

One of six gorgeous 10-minute-plus micro-house journeys found on Finnish producer Luomo's masterful Vocalcity set, "Synkro" pulses like a flickering streetlight on a rainy night. True to the album's name, ambient sounds and voices whoosh through the production while the song builds stealthily to its simple vocal refrain: "I've got to keep on moving with you/ Because you move/ The way you move." Lush and minimal, intimate and massive, "Synkro" achieves the rare nocturnal combo of matching the comfort of being inside with the excitement of being outside. -- A.U.

14. PJ Harvey, "You Said Something" (Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea)

It's a dangerous thing to fall in love with a person and a city at the same time, but PJ Harvey took the plunge on her Mercury Prize-winning 2000 LP, and didn't worry about how deep she had to go. All of Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea carries that double-dose of second-hand intoxication, but no song more than the waltzing "You Said Something," in which Harvey's wonder at her Big Apple romance gets so wide-eyed you fear for her corneas. "On a rooftop in Brooklyn at 1:00 in the morning/ Watching the lights flash in Manhattan/ I see five bridges, the Empire State Building/ And you said something/ That I've never forgotten." We never find out what the "something" is -- does it even matter? -- A.U.

13. Ghostface Killah feat. Cappadonna, Method Man & Redman, "Buck 50" (Supreme Clientele)

Ghostface Killah’s Supreme Clientele is a virtuosic display of individual lyrical genius from Wu-Tang’s Iron Man, yet it wouldn’t be the same without its one stellar posse cut. For much of “Buck 50,” Ghost cedes the floor to his cohorts -- Method Man is the smooth-talking alpha, Cappadonna lets his gruff flow barge in for some nice one-liners, and Redman’s got so much energy that he nearly starts his verse too soon -- but then the master of ceremonies strides in over the buttery soul sample, and drops his infamous coda, “Supercalifragalisticexpialidocious/ Dociousaliexpifragalisticcalisuper/ Cancun, catch me in the room, eating grouper!” -- J. Lipshutz

12. Madonna, "Impressive Instant" (Music)

The synth-groan that opens the song is, by all indications, the sound of a pop star who's just had her first kid and released her most introspective album and wants to hit the friggin' clubs already. Coming after the set's title track and lead single on Music, "Impressive Instant" cranks up the electro-pop exhilaration even further, Madonna dragged to the dancefloor by forces greater than herself: "And the world is spinning, spinning baby out of control/ I let the music take me, take me where my heart wants to go." It sounded like the future, if we were lucky. -- A.U.

11. Modest Mouse, "Third Planet" (The Moon & Antarctica)

Modest Mouse were four years away from floating on to the mainstream charts when they made their major label debut with The Moon & Antarctica, but opening track "3rd Planet" demonstrated their knack for hypnotic nihilism was already fully formed. Gentle, sad acoustic plucking gets quickly bulldozed by spiky post-punk guitar fury as Isaac Brock ponders the interconnectedness and circularity of life – and more importantly, death. -- JOE LYNCH

10. Backstreet Boys, "Get Another Boyfriend" (Black & Blue)

It proved too late for the Backstreet Boys to play catchup with *NSYNC by the time of third album Black & Blue, but they did manage one deep cut on the set that hit as hard as No Strings Attached's smashes. "Get Another Boyfriend" is BSB at their melodramatic finest -- apologies, "The Call" -- built on a Martin/Yacoub skeleton of squelching synths and piano stabs so violent they sound like the ivory is gonna plow through the wood underneath. The group is up for matching the histrionics with their own vocals: "He'll eat you up from inside slow/ And then he doesn't want to know" AJ cautions on the verse, before Nick jumps to the foreground to shout the same warning, while racing the piano hook to the chorus. First-mover advantage and all that, but this shoulda been "Bye Bye Bye" huge too. -- A.U.

9. Coldplay, "Sparks" (Parachutes)

It's a testament to the unbelievably deep bench of Coldplay's debut album that the band released five singles -- half of the project's 10 tracks -- and this wasn't one of them. "Sparks" contains so many of the touchstones that would become synonymous with the British rock band in the ensuing decades, from the hopeless romanticism of its lyrics ("My heart is yours/ It's you that I hold on to/ That's what I do") to the "la-la-la-la-ohhhhh" finale foretelling the epic wordless hooks of "Clocks," "Viva La Vida" and countless more Coldplay classics. The song's biggest look came five years after the release of Parachutes, when it soundtracked a surprisingly touching scene from 2005's Wedding Crashers, of Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams' characters tiptoeing out of their rooms to see each other, but hesitating with second thoughts, as Chris Martin's dreamy vocals float above the hallway. We saw sparks. -- K.A.

8. OutKast, "Spaghetti Junction" (Stankonia)

“Spaghetti Junction” is meant for cruising, not only because of the interchange imagery evoked by its title, but by the full plate of piping hot bars that would take an entire road trip -- or one night of Atlanta traffic -- to get down. Over a relatively straightforward beat co-produced by the duo, André 3000 and Big Boi wind in and out of each other’s lanes to recount the miles they’ve covered, while looking ahead to the potential misleading directions that could cause their paths to stray. The pair have always proven formidable behind the wheel, but they offer their guidance here to remind their passengers that there are many ways onto the highway, but only one way off. -- B.K.

7. Britney Spears, "Don't Go Knockin' on My Door" (Oops!...I Did It Again)

One of the two Max Martin creations on Oops that didn’t become an iconic smash, “Don’t Go Knockin’ on My Door” certainly sounds like it could’ve been another one: It has the same punchy, in-your-face production as the album’s titular lead single, and an empowered post-breakup message that parallels the LP’s third hit, “Stronger.” To top it all off, the song ends with a phone conversation between Spears and a gal pal, when she confidently declares, “I know I’m a little picky, but hey, I just know what I want.” Even without radio play, the formula of “Don’t” is just so typically Britney that it’s still a classic in the hearts of stans. -- T.W.

6. Deftones feat. Maynard James Keenan, "Passenger" (White Pony)

Two alt-metal giants operating at the peak of their powers. There were bigger songs on Deftones' masterpiece third LP White Pony, but none feel bigger than this epic, assisted by Tool vocalist Maynard James Keenan. Deftones singer Chino Moreno builds breathy anticipation on the song's brooding verses ("Chrome buttons, buckles, and leather surfaces/ These and other lucky witnesses") before his counterpart takes the wheel and floors "Passenger" down the freeway. MJK sounds absolutely unstoppable on the chorus, but his contributions lie even deeper in the song's DNA: Months before he laid down his vocals, Kennan co-wrote the entire song with Chino and co., injecting Deftones' heady aggression with Tool's mathematical malice. -- C.P.

5. Erykah Badu, "Green Eyes" (Mama's Gun)

A true soul odyssey, in which Erykah Badu uses the titular body part to represent envy, insecurity, desperation and devotion -- sometimes all at once, sometimes with one voice for each. A three-part epic of appropriate size for closing an album as momentous as Mama's Gun, the song even starts with her seemingly trying to retcon herself into vocal jazz history, sounding like she's sampling a '30s hit of hers from a previous lifetime. But with "Green Eyes," she created a song powerful enough to serve as a sort of unlikely standard for the 21st century -- longtime Badu acolyte Tyler, the Creator even quoted it prominently on the song he burned down the Grammys with earlier this year. -- A.U.

4. Eminem, "Kill You" (The Marshall Mathers LP)

After pissing half the world off on his debut album the year prior, many wondered what the hell Eminem was going to do next. But he was just getting warmed up. To quote the rapper’s Angry Blonde book: “If anything...I got worse.” For The Marshall Mathers LP opener “Kill You,” Em goes on a deliriously thrilling sing-song tirade about the critics who need to get off his back, how crazy his mother is, and how wicked his thoughts can get. Beneath all the graphic lyricism, the song actually showed just how brilliant Em’s dexterity is ("I invented violence, you vile venomous volatile bitches / Vain Vicodin, vrin vrin vrin!").

But talent alone wasn’t enough to keep Eminem behind enemy lines: The rapper was made an example of during a 2001 congressional hearing, where former Rep. Barbara Cubin stated: "When you hear the words about raping your mother or killing your mother, I think that the industry should be embarrassed that that's award-winning entertainment.” When the freaking government thinks a singular “Parental Advisory” warning label isn’t enough for your music, you gotta be doing something right. -- B.G.

3. D'Angelo, "The Line" (Voodoo)

So much of the appeal of D’Angelo’s Voodoo has to do with the way its songs sprawl out, refusing to abide by conventional pop track lengths -- after all, its breakout hit “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” is over seven minutes long on the LP. “The Root” is a mesmerizing album highlight also partially due to how long it is: at six-and-a-half minutes, the song fuses different elements of D’Angelo’s neo-soul experiment -- deep bass, wispy electric guitar, layered harmonies, lots of falsetto -- and then just lets that mixture roll on, the chorus about falling under a romantic spell repeated to a point of hypnosis. Nobody on earth pulls off extended grooves with the skill of D’Angelo, and Voodoo is full of them -- “The Root” just happens to be the most deliriously replayable, and fully formed. -- J. Lipshutz

2. *NSYNC, "It Makes Me Ill" (No Strings Attached)

While there’s really no arguing that classics “Bye Bye Bye” and “It’s Gonna Be Me” were the perfect first two singles for *NSYNC’s then-record setting second album No Strings Attached, most fans would argue it’s blasphemous that “It Makes Me Ill” is only an album cut. The fiery track introduced a more R&B-inspired style from the pop phenoms — “Ill” was written by Kevin Briggs and Kandi Burruss, co-writers of TLC’s “No Scrubs”; it features a fluttering sound effect reminiscent of Destiny’s Child’s second Hot 100 No. 1 (and Billboard’s top song of 2000) “Say My Name” — which showcased both *NSYNC's growth and audacity to push the boundaries of a traditional boy band sound.

Fortunately “It Makes Me Ill” received some of the recognition it deserved nearly 20 years later, thanks to Ariana Grande, who interpolated its rolling pre-chorus in the bridge of her 2019 single “Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored” that reached No. 2 on the Hot 100 — hinting that *NSYNC missed an opportunity for a fourth top 5 No Strings Attached hit. -- T.W.

1. Radiohead, "Idioteque" (Kid A)

"Who's in the bunker?" All of us these days, obviously, but that wasn't the only thing to come in the new millennium that Radiohead predicted with this immaculate climax to their epochal Kid A album. A reinvention that in 2000 seemed daring, maybe even career-risking -- swapping out the guitars for synths and drum machines -- would sound commonplace to the point of eye-rolling cliché for a major rock band 20 years later. Of course few of today's post-genre alt set would approach doing so with anywhere near the grace or verve of Radiohead (and producer Nigel Godrich) -- who weaved an eight-second sample from an 18-minute electronic instrumental into an electro-pop hook that glistened so brightly and so loudly that it sounded like it was literally reflecting the future.

As much as "Idioteque" sounds like 20 years later, even more so, it feels like 20 years later. There was cacophony to be found throughout Kid A -- singer Thom Yorke sounds like he's being assaulted and suffocated by horns on "The National Anthem" -- but on "Idioteque," the noise pollution surrounding Yorke comes mostly from his own voice, a sea of thought fragments submerging him while the song's metronomic heartbeat steadily pumps blood through his nervous system. It's the chillingly sublime sound of throwing your hands up in the face of life's endless content scroll, of giving into the anxiety, of laughing until your head comes off. It's the sheer terror of knowing what's to come and not being able to do anything about it, with the pure relief of knowing what's to come and not being able to do anything about it. It's everything all of the time. -- A.U.