The 2000s witnessed some returning ’90s stars receiving updated versions, hip-hop breaking geographical boundaries and the neo-soul movement becoming widespread. Furthermore, this decade saw girl groups emerge with Britney Spears cementing her place as one of pop music‘s major figures.
The Neptunes’ club banger combined explicit themes, funk guitar and club production into an unexpected smash hit that has endured on charts for years.
When The Strokes first burst onto New York City music scene in early 2000, they weren’t the first group of scruffy downtown rockers to gain popularity among their audiences – but their arrival caused it to seem that being part of a band with your friends could actually be cool again and inspired an array of similar unstructured groups to form as imitators bands.
Julian Casablancas, Fabrizio Morrone, Albert Hammond Jr and Nikolai Fraiture formed their band in 1998 in a basement rehearsal space before performing at various local venues such as Spiral and Acme. Is This It, their debut album released in 2001 to wide acclaim by critics and featuring several hit singles including “Is This It,” and “Reptilia.”
During this period, The Strokes embarked upon an international tour. Their music became mainstream; appearing as musical guests on numerous late-night talk shows. Additionally, they released their self-made mini-documentary In Transit which followed them during a European tour in 2002.
Is This It was a pivotal moment in popular music of the decade, marking one of only a few instances where an entirely new musical movement made such an enormous splash. It caused shockwaves through rock circles while reinvigorating guitar music-in general that had been relatively stagnant since Nirvana.
Is This It began a new era of rock music, inspiring an entire generation to don leather jackets and form their own bands. Their influence remains far reaching today – many contemporary artists cite The Strokes as an influence.
Room on Fire was released by the band in 2003, marking an experimental turn in their sound; songs such as ‘Last Nite’ and ‘Someday’ challenged rock convention. Room on Fire proved commercially successful while earning positive reviews from critics; its release led to tours with Oasis as well as appearances on several late night talk shows. Following its success, Comedown Machine followed in March 2013; recording took place at Manhattan’s Electric Lady studio under producer Gus Oberg’s watchful eye.
The 2000s were a challenging period for the music industry. Downloaded music grew, traditional radio was falling out of favor, and some record store chains even went bankrupt; yet artists found new ways to release and reach wide audiences with their work; dance/hip hop music continued its rise while many new artists emerged.
Sean Paul (real name Ryan Francis Henriques), known for his debut single Dutty Rock that hit pop mainstream in 2002. Since then, Sean Paul has released six albums; Stage One was his breakthrough album and chart-topper Heatwave is one of them. Additionally he can often be found appearing on MTV shows such as Punk’d or 106 & Park as well as featuring in games Def Jam Fight for NY or Icon.
Though dancehall is not usually associated with conscious lyrics, Paul makes use of his unique vocal and lyrical talent to craft songs with profound messages that are both entertaining and uplifting. Lion Heart stands as an exemplary song which encourages us to live life fully without forgetting where we come from.
Dancehall music has traditionally been associated with sexual overtones; Paul showcased his softer side through She Don’t Mind – an ode to his mother who stood by him even during his darkest hours and helped guide his career forward. For this track alone, Paul used his soft vocals to highlight an emotive topic; which only helped to cement further success for him in his career.
Hip-hop was another genre that experienced tremendous expansion during this decade, thanks to artists such as Lil Wayne and Outkast pushing its limits further than ever. Auto-tune also made an entrance in music during this period and eventually became part of melodic trap music genres.
The 2000s was also a fruitful period for rock music, with bands like Radiohead making significant strides forward with their careers. Their complex sound and intricate lyrics can be heard on tracks like “Numb / Encore.” This track stands as an outstanding example of an artistic piece with multiple layers to take in but which can still easily appeal to many listeners.
The White Stripes
Jack White and Meg White’s Detroit garage rock duo became an international phenomenon thanks to its raw, primitive style of music. Receiving critical acclaim as well as MTV attention, fans came flocking to see them perform, with many showing fierce devotion for every show they played. Along the way they created an intriguing mythology by insisting they are siblings while adhering to a visual theme consisting of red and white imagery.
White Blood Cells was recorded and self-released by Sympathy for the Record Industry as an independent effort in 1999, taking inspiration from punk, metal, blues and backwoods folk music styles ranging from De Stijl to bluegrass folk.
After the success of its debut album, the band switched labels and recorded 2003’s Elephant at London engineer Liam Watson’s Toe Rag Studios – its lead single “Seven Nation Army” is still an integral part of their set list and widely considered one of the greatest rock songs ever.
By the time they released their self-titled third album in June 2005, The White Stripes had grown into an arena-filling powerhouse. Their new record explored more sonic realms than its predecessor and included their initial experiments with electronic music.
As soon as The White Stripes’ 2007 album Icky Thump came out, Jack White began working on side projects such as Goober & the Peas and Two Star Tabernacle; working alongside producer Brendan Benson on The Raconteurs as well as starting his own record label Third Man Records.
Though they no longer perform together, The White Stripes remain one of the most influential acts from the 2000s. Their stripped-back approach to music, refusal to follow trends, and smart marketing techniques inspired numerous artists. Reformed twice since, with Jack White at its helm both times reuniting as leader. Jack also produced albums by Nas, Insane Clown Posse, and Jay Z among many other artists.
Kylie Minogue was widely considered one of the most successful pop stars of the 00s. Her transition from innocent girl next door to seductive sex siren earned her many fans and respect from other artists, garnering her more fame than many could ever hope to attain. On 2000’s Light Years album she combined disco music with her trademark reinvention style to release its lead single Spinning Around to tremendous acclaim both across Europe and Australia, with its music video perfectly capturing Minogue’s seductive charm and sexual allure – which set her apart from other female pop stars of her time.
As Light Years became a success, Minogue took time away from music to focus on her personal and television projects – including an ABBA tribute special called Dancing Queen and various stage appearances including closing ceremony of 2000 Sydney Olympics. Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue’s duet on the dark ballad “Better the Devil You Know”, with its accompanying music video depicting John Everett Millais’ painting Ophelia, proved highly popular. Additionally to her musical career, Minogue found success as an actress as well. Her roles ranged from cameo appearances in films, TV, miniseries and miniseries up to leading parts in film and TV projects; two recent examples being Young and Hungry and San Andreas as examples of these roles.
Minogue continued her pursuit of dance and disco music on her fifth studio album, X (2007), featuring a globally popular title track and music video. However, this release marked a turning point in her career; as it marked Mushroom Records and producers Stock Aitken & Waterman as her last collaborators before finding more creative freedom with Aphrodite (2010) featuring collaborations with Pharrell Williams & Sia; her subsequent albums Kiss Me Once (2014) and Golden (2018) would incorporate elements of country and dance-pop.