Think about popular music around the turn of the millennium, and what comes to mind? Maybe it's the teen-pop that dominated TRL, or the rap-rock and nu-metal that rose up seemingly in response to it. Maybe it's the crossover hip-hop and R&B jams that made household names out of Timbaland and The Neptunes, or the four-quadrant country that propelled Shania Twain and the Dixie Chicks to diamond-level sales. Maybe it's Eminem. Maybe it's "Who Let the Dogs Out?"
What probably doesn't come immediately to mind, however, is the music that served as the glue for top 40 radio during this period: accessible, catchy, cleanly produced rock music built on sonic foundations of processed guitars and/or driving piano. This was the dependable, generation-spanning pop-rock that filled in the gaps between some of the meteoric musical moments and careers shooting off around it. We call it Minivan Rock.
Why Minivan Rock? Well, think of it as the Y2K-straddling equivalent to the smooth soft rock that was similarly ubiquitous on radio playlists of the mid-1970s to early '80s -- what's since come to be known as Yacht Rock. While those Michael McDonald and Christopher Cross hits were ostensibly best enjoyed by the affluent while cruising in their personal vanity vessels on the high seas, by the late '90s the vehicular status symbol for the suburban had become the minivan. And when the local top 40 or adult top 40 channel was blasting through the car radio, these were the songs most likely to be fun for the whole family. (BuzzFeed wrote about a similar idea in 2017.)