The Decade: A Retrospective Timeline Part I

March 21, 2000 - *NSYNC Breaks One Week Sales Record
Teen pop reached its peak in the spring of 2000 when boy band *NSYNC sold a mind blowing 2.4 million copies of their album No Strings Attached in its first week. Later in the year, Eminem would set the record for the biggest first week sales for a rap album with 1.7 million copies of The Marshall Mathers LP sold, and Britney Spear's 1.3 million copies that Oops!...I Did It Again shifted in its first week would set the record for a female artist. Little did record labels know that these massive sales would wouldn't last, and that by the end of the decade, they would be faced with record low sales.

A live performance of "Bye Bye Bye", "No Strings Attached"s first single.


April 12, 2000 - Metallica Sues Napster
In April, the Metallica song "I Disappear" began receiving radio airplay before being released. The song, which was to be featured on the "Mission: Impossible II" soundtrack, landed on the Napster file sharing network, along with the band's entire catalog. Livid, Metallica filed a lawsuit not only against Napster, but UCLA, Yale, and Indiana University. Dr. Dre and Madonna followed suit, and eventually, the RIAA itself was suing illegal downloaders across the country.

Metallica rages against file "sharing" in this 2000 MTV Video Music Award skit.


October 23, 2001 - Apple Releases the iPod
To say the iPod changed everything is a bit of an understatement. Clunky CD players became a thing of the past and your entire music collection (or at least 5 GB of it in 2001) could fit in your pocket. The iPod changed the way music was consumed. If you didn't want an entire album, you didn't have to get it, you could just hand pick the songs you like. It was only a matter of time until iTunes became one of the largest music distributors on the globe.

The first dancing black silhouette iPod commercial featuring the Black Eyed Pea's "Hey Mama".


April 3, 2002 - Avril Lavigne Releases "Complicated"
Canadian singer Avril Lavigne was on the verge of getting dropped when little known production team The Matrix was asked to work with her. The result was "Complicated", an ironic tune about pretentious posers. Lavigne was marketed as the "anti-Britney", a more "hardcore" alternative to manufactured teen pop. A perfectly fine punk-pop song, "Complicated" wasn't at all ground breaking, but it did signal the end of an era - the teen pop bubble had burst.

Avril Lavigne performs "Complicated" on Nickelodeon.



June 11, 2002 - "American Idol" Premieres
Television has always played a big role in music, from Ed Sullivan to "American Bandstand", but never had it been used to create a star. "American Idol" was the democratization of popular music, allowing viewers to text in to vote for their favorite performer in hopes they would be crowned the eventual Idol. The show was a juggernaut in the ratings, capable of reaching 38 million viewers during the finale of season 2.

Kelly Clarkson auditions for "American Idol" with Madonna's "Express Yourself" and reminds us how stupid the phrase "cool beans" was.


November 30, 2002 - Girls Aloud Win "Popstars: The Rivals"
"Popstars: The Rivals" aired on Britain's ITV1 the fall of 2002 under the premise that two pop groups would be formed and compete for the coveted Christmas No. 1 single. The all-male group One True Voice was formed and went head-to-head with Girls Aloud. While One True Voice released some unforgettable and predictable glop of a single, the Aloud recorded "Sound of the Undergroud", the most inventive and groundbreaking debut single reality television has ever produced. Fueled by songwriting and production team Xenomania, the Aloud went on to release 20 consecutive top 10 hits and be named the "one truly great pop act" reality TV has given us.

Girls Aloud perform their Christmas No. 1 hit on the "Popstars: The Rivals" Finale.


August 23, 2003 - Madonna Kisses Britney, Christina at Video Music Awards
Madonna just released the first flop record of her career with the divisive American Life when MTV asked her to perform at their 25th anniversary Video Music Awards. Her two heirs apparent, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, were both in career slumps as well. The two sang "Like A Virgin", the song Madonna famously debuted at MTV's inaugural show. The Queen of Pop then emerged from a wedding cake to sing "Hollywood" before locking lips with the two Princesses of Pop (Although Christina got the shaft when the camera panned to Britney's ex). It was the kiss seen 'round the world that outraged the nation, dominated the tabloids, but unfortunately failed to sell any records.

The kiss.


February 1, 2004 - Janet Jackson Exposes Boob On Live Television

The whole Madonna/Britney/Christina kiss caused uproar, but it was nothing compared to the backlash Janet Jackson faced following her halftime performance at Super Bowl XXXVIII. Justin Timberlake came on stage to sing "Rock Your Body" which includes the line, "Better have you naked by the end of this song." The song ended, and sure enough, Timberlake ripped off a piece of Jackson's costume to reveal her bare breast, only covered by "nipple shield". Dubbed a "wardrobe malfunction" by the media, CBS got fined a buttload of money, Timberlake got a pass and Jackson was crucified.

The Infamous Wardrobe Malfunction.


February 10, 2004 - Kanye West Releases "The College Dropout"
Kanye West had already made a name for himself as a producer, revitalizing Jay-Z's career with The Blueprint, but his debut record positioned him as one of the greatest rappers of the decade. The College Dropout flew in the face of every hip-hop cliche at the time. West eschewed gangsta rap in favor of introspective soul sampling rap touching on racism, religion, and African American culture. The album earned West eight Grammy nominations, opened up rap to a new audience, and changed the direction the genre was headed in.

Kanye West wows the crowd with a mesmerizing performance of "Jesus Walks" at the 2005 Grammys (He doesn't show up until 1:40).



February 28, 2004 - Usher Begins 28 Total Weeks Atop Billboard Hot 100
Usher's domination of the charts in 2004 was unprecedented. His album, Confessions, has sold over 10 million copies in the United States, and it spawned four No. 1 hit singles. "Yeah" first hit the top spot in February, a position he didn't let go of until August, save a single week when American Idol winner Fantasia stormed the chart. After "I Believe" and "Burn" took their turn at the top, the album was reissued with "My Boo" which did likewise and began the trend of re-releasing albums for increased sales and chart topping singles.

Usher performs "Yeah!" live in concert.


October 22, 2004 - Ashlee Simpson Caught Lip Syncing on "Saturday Night Live"

Ashlee Simpson took the stage that fated October night to perform her get-out-from-under-the-shadow-of-her-sister single "Pieces of Me" and it went off without a hitch. Unfortunately, things didn't go so well when the time came to perform her second song of the night. Simpson got on stage, put the microphone up to her lips, and "Pieces of Me" began playing again. She danced a little "jig" before "wandering" off stage. At shows end, Simpson thought she could make everything better by saying her band started playing the wrong song...riiiiight. Her career would never recover, but lip syncing would go on just the same.

Ashlee Simpson's SNL Lip Syncing Fiasco.


November 30, 2004 - Jay-Z and Linkin Park's Mash-up Album "Collision Course" Debuts At No. 1
The underground bootleg mash-up genre was hated and feared by the record industry due to it being made entirely of illegally used music. DJ Dangermouse faced EMI's wrath after distributing The Grey Album which featured mash-ups of Jay-Z and Beatles tracks. Some mash-up artists eventually received the blessing of the labels to put out a legal album, such as Richard X's Presents His X Factor Vol. 1 a year earlier, but Jay-Z's and Linkin Park's album represented a commercial and cultural peak for mash-ups. It wasn't pieced together by a kid in his parent's basement, but by the artists themselves. It hit No. 1 in America and has sold nearly 2 million copies to date.

Jay-Z and Linkin Park mash-up their mash-up with Paul McCartney at the 2006 Grammys


December 14, 2004 - Kelly Clarkson Releases "Since U Been Gone"
Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone" is one of the best pop songs of all time. Written and produced by Max Martin and Dr. Luke, two proven hit makers, and given more of a rock edge at Clarkson's insistence, the song proved to the world that reality show musicians can offer something of value to the world. Even more importantly, "Since U Been Gone" forever changed the pop-rock landscape and dictated the type of music Clarkson, as well as a host of other female singers were expected to make.

Kelly Clarkson rocks out to "Since U Been Gone" at the 2005 VMAs


September 2, 2005 - Kanye West Tells America that George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People
NBC aired A Concert for Hurricane Relief to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Actor Mike Myers was on screen with Kanye West when West first went off script. "I hate the way they portray us in the media," he said before complaining about unfair depiction of blacks in the hurricane's aftermath. Myers looks concerned that West is off script and resumes to give his spiel after a minute before Kanye gives his infamous line, "George Bush doesn't care about black people." Bad press for the Bush administration, but Kanye became a household name.

Kanye West becomes a household name during the Concert for Hurricane Relief telecast.


October 21, 2005 - Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" Becomes First Song To Sell 1 Million Downloads
It was touted as an inventive neo-Queen schoolyard romp, but man, it got old fast, didn't it? Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" was a milestone single though, because in an era of hip-hop domination on the nation's charts, Stefani became the only non-hip-hop artist to go No. 1 except for American Idol winners the week after the show's finale. "Hollaback Girl" reached its peak of popularity just as iTunes was beginning to be seen as a good way to purchase music. The timing was perfect for the song which became the first to sell 1 million downloads.

"Hollaback Girl" in all its glory.


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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'll never forget watching Madonna kiss Britney Spears for the first time...

God Bless**AmY** said...

You mean N*Suck right?

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hun*ter said...

Yes Amy, that's what I meant. And I too remember where I was when I saw that kiss...birthday party of Ashley Freeham. And thank you college singles for spamming my blog. Any comment is good...right?

Margaret.... said...

Job well done Hunter! I am very impressed

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