Best Songs From 2001

Many music fans think certain years produce more hits in specific genres than others. However, when you look at the best songs from 2001, you see hits in all genres. If you want to listen to good music from 2001, check out these top songs in no particular order.

Fallin’ by Alicia Keys

Song Year: 2001

This R&B ballad was the lead single from Keys’ debut studio album, “Songs in A Minor.” The single dominated the Billboard Hot 100 chart for six weeks and won five Grammys, including Song of the Year and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. Keys credits the song’s success due to the universal experience of love as shared in the lyrics.

U Remind Me by Usher

Song Year: 2001

The single, written and produced by Jermaine Dupri, Manuel Seal, and Usher, was the lead single from Usher’s third studio album, “8701.” The lyrics are about a man who wants a relationship with a woman, but she looks so much like his ex that it pains him to see her. It received a nomination for Best R&B Song at the 2002 Grammy Awards.

Sick Cycle Carousel by Lifehouse

Song Year: 2001

Lifehouse released “Sick Cycle Carousel” as the lead single from their debut album “No Name Face.” The song reached number one on the Billboard Adult Top 40 chart, and it is one of Lifehouse’s most popular songs. The lyrics are open to interpretation so the listener can get what they want from the mysterious song.

Break Ya Neck by Busta Rhymes

Song Year: 2001

Busta Rhymes released this song as the lead single from his fourth studio album, “Genesis.” The song reached number 31 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song’s lyrics embody creativity and high energy, while the music uses clips of “Give It Away” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Let Me Blow Ya Mind by Eve featuring Gwen Stefani

Song Year: 2001

Rapper Eve featured No Doubt lead singer Gwen Stefani on the first single from her second album, “Scorpion.” The song won the Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration in 2002, and the song charted in several countries worldwide. The single brought Eve mainstream popularity beyond her hip-hop and rap background.

Get Ur Freak On by Missy Elliott

Song Year: 2001

Missy Elliott worked with producer Timbaland on her third studio album, “Miss E… So Addictive.” This song, the first single, reached number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 and was a top 40 hit worldwide. It won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Rap Video in 2001. The song includes samples of Japanese and German languages and is among the best hip-hop songs.

I’m Real by Jennifer Lopez featuring Ja Rule

Song Year: 2001

“I’m Real” is a song by Jennifer Lopez featuring Ja Rule. The song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and was a top ten hit in other countries. It was a commercial success and helped to establish Lopez as a successful artist in the music industry. She was previously considered an actress, though this single is from her second album.

Izzo (H.O.V.A.) by Jay-Z

Song Year: 2001

Kanye West produced this single for Jay-Z, which includes samples from the Jackson 5 hit, “I Want You Back.” It was the first single from his sixth studio album, “The Blueprint,” and reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100. It remains one of Jay-Z’s most popular songs.

My Way by Limp Bizkit

Song Year: 2001

This song was Limp Bizkit’s fourth single from their third album, “Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water.” The song’s introspective lyrics by lead vocalist Fred Durst reflect much of the personal struggle he’s felt throughout his life. The song reached number 36 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was a theme song for WrestleMania.

Survivor by Destiny’s Child

Song Year: 2001

One of the most famous songs starting with S is “Survivor,” written and produced by Beyoncé, Anthony Dent, and Mathew Knowles. It was the title track and lead single from Destiny’s Child’s third studio album. The song was a commercial success, reaching number two on the Billboard Hot 100. The song won a Grammy award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.

Raise Up by Petey Pablo

Song Year: 2001

Petey Pablo’s single “Raise Up,” produced by Timbaland, was the lead single from his debut album “Diary of a Sinner: 1st Entry.” He released the follow-up album, “Still Writing in My Diary: 2nd Entry,” in 2004. The song was a commercial success, certified gold, and reached the top ten on the Hot Rap Songs chart.

All for You by Janet Jackson

Song Year: 2001

“All for You” is the first single from Janet Jackson’s seventh studio album with the same title. The song samples a song by Change and addresses the excitement of flirting with someone new. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 for seven consecutive weeks and reached number one in several other countries. It won a Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording in 2002.

I’m a Slave 4 U by Britney Spears

Song Year: 2001

Britney Spears wrote this single with Pharrell Williams, then partnered with the Neptunes for production. The song was a hit on its own merit but became part of pop culture history after Spears performed it live at the MTV Video Music Awards with a snake draped across her shoulders while dancing provocatively.

Be Like That by 3 Doors Down

Song Year: 2001

Grunge band 3 Doors Down released “Be Like That” as the second single from their debut album “The Better Life.” The song deals with feelings of alienation and anger. Singer Brad Arnold said he wrote the choruses and verses separately but found they came together to make a cohesive, emotional song.

The Whole World by Outkast featuring Killer Mike

Song Year: 2001

Outkast has several hit singles, such as “Ms. Jackson” and “Hey Ya!” This is their first collaborative single featuring Killer Mike. The song hit number 36 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the top 20 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. “The Whole World” won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance in 2003.

Where the Party At by Jagged Edge featuring Nelly

Song Year: 2001

Jagged Edge is an R&B group that formed in 1995 but didn’t have a hit single until the 2000 song “Let’s Get Married.” Their collaboration with Nelly brought them more widespread fame and airplay. The song earned a Grammy nomination but lost to Eve’s collaboration with Gwen Stefani, which is later on the list.

The Middle by Jimmy Eat World

Song Year: 2001

Jimmy Eat World released this song as the second single from their fourth studio album, “Bleed American.” The song was the band’s breakthrough hit, reaching number five on the Billboard Hot 100 and top ten on the Alternative Songs chart. The song’s music video got frequent airplay on MTV’s show Total Request Live because it featured young music fans in their underwear.

Dance & Shout by Shaggy

Song Year: 2001

Jamaican musician Shaggy released “Dance & Shout” as the lead single from his fourth studio album “Hotshot.” It was also on the soundtrack for the movie “For Love of the Game.” The song hit number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the top ten on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart. Shaggy sampled the Jackson 5 song “Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)” on the single.

Last Nite by The Strokes

Song Year: 2001

The Strokes released “Last Nite” as the second single from their debut album “Is This It.” It’s one of The Strokes’ most popular songs, and several artists, like Vitamin C, Chay Suede, and Kesha, have covered or sampled it. The video shows the band performing live without special effects, though the singer throws his microphone off-camera during the song.

Everywhere by Michelle Branch

Song Year: 2001

Michelle Branch’s first single, “Everywhere,” from her debut album “The Spirit Room,” hit number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and crossed over to become a top 40 hit on the Adult Top 40 chart. Branch wrote the song when she was 15 and got her start performing it as an opener for the pop band Hanson.

Bouncin’ Back (Bumpin’ Me Against The Wall) by Mystikal

Song Year: 2001

“Bouncin’ Back (Bumpin’ Me Against the Wall)” is Mystikal’s third consecutive top-40 hit. He partnered with the production team the Neptunes for those three successful singles, which include “Shake Ya Ass.” The single got a Grammy nomination but lost to Nelly’s song, “Hot in Herre,” which the Neptunes also produced.

One Last Breath by Creed

Song Year: 2001

Creed had a reputation as a religious band, and the lyrics to “One Last Breath” play into that argument. The song is about someone needing help and wanting to remedy mistakes they made in the past, which can apply to God and religion. The song is from the band’s third album, so they already had several hits under their belt, such as “With Arms Wide Open.”

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger by Daft Punk

Song Year: 2001

French electronic music duo Daft Punk combines rock, funk, disco, and pop to make catchy, danceable music. They released this single from their second album, “Discovery,” and released a live version of the song as a single in 2007. Daft Punk used a vocoder to make robotic voices for the track, which Kanye West sampled in his song “Stronger.”

What It Feels Like for a Girl by Madonna

Song Year: 2001

Madonna is a true hit-maker, and she continued her popularity from the 80s with this hit single in 2001. The single was the third single from her eighth album, which included the number-one hit “Music.” The music video features Madonna committing various crimes, like hot-wiring a car, causing a wreck, and starting a fire.

The Space Between by Dave Matthews Band

Song Year: 2001

Dave Matthews Band released “The Space Between” as the lead single from their fourth studio album “Everyday.” The lyrics address feelings of loneliness and the desire for connection, which go nicely with the music video. Dave Matthews plays an acoustic guitar on an empty dock before an old man’s boat reaches him and the rest of the band appears.

Family Affair by Mary J. Blige

Song Year: 2001

Mary J. Blige worked with Dr. Dre for the lead single on her sixth studio album, “No More Drama.” “Family Affair” hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and the top ten on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. It won the Grammy award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance in 2002. Blige performed the song at the 2022 Super Bowl LVI halftime show.

Like Spinning Plates by Radiohead

Song Year: 2001

Radiohead isn’t a band that gets tons of airplay like other artists on this list, but “Like Spinning Plates” was a standout song in 2001. It was the B-side of the single “I Might Be Wrong.” The song stands out because it’s a live performance of the unreleased song “I Will,” played in reverse.

Wish You Were Here by Incubus

Song Year: 2001

Incubus started making music in 1991, but “Wish You Were Here,” the lead single from their fourth studio album, “Morning View,” was their breakout hit. It reached number two on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and is still one of their most popular songs. The lyrics address longing and nostalgia while remaining happy at the moment.

Captain Easychord by Stereolab

Song Year: 2001

Stereolab is a British-French rock band that formed in London in 1990. “Captain Easychord” captures the band’s signature sound of 1960s pop, featuring lush harmonies and electronic keyboards. The lyrics are English but include French phrases and a philosophical overview that contrast nicely with the upbeat tempo.

Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me) by Train

Song Year: 2001

“Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)” is the first single and title song from their second studio album. The song hit number five on the Billboard Hot 100 and the top five on the Adult Top 40 chart. Singer Pat Monahan says he wrote the lyrics after his mother passed away from cancer. Though Train has other singles, this is one of their most famous.

Imitation of Life by R.E.M.

Song Year: 2001

American rock band R.E.M. had dozens of hits in the 90s and released “Imitation of Life” as the lead single from the album “Reveal.” The lyrics address the struggles of fame and the way the media affects the lives of celebrities. It was a fitting topic for a famous band releasing their eleventh album.

I’m a Believer by Smash Mouth

Song Year: 2001

Smash Mouth covered this song for the soundtrack of the 2001 film “Shrek.” Neil Diamond wrote it in 1966 for the Monkees to perform. It was a number-one hit for the Monkees, and the Smash Mouth version reached number 25 on the Billboard charts.

Lifetime by Maxwell

Song Year: 2001

American singer-songwriter Maxwell released his third studio album, “Now,” in 2001. “Lifetime” was the first single, with emotional lyrics addressing devotion and commitment. Maxwell sings about wanting to try and work things out instead of letting his life continue on without meaning.

Hella Good by No Doubt

Song Year: 2001

No Doubt released this single as a farewell on their fifth album, though they reunited in 2012. It was a catchy, moody way to ensure they stayed in the listeners’ minds, with sexy vocals and danceable beats. The single is a result of the band’s partnership with hip-hop producers the Neptunes and shows their musical versatility.

How You Remind Me by Nickelback

Song Year: 2001

Nickelback released “How You Remind Me” as the first single from their third studio album, “Silver Side Up.” Most fans now consider it their signature song since it’s so recognizable. It was one of the most successful singles of the 2000s and earned a Grammy nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance with Vocal in 2003.

Mad Season by Matchbox Twenty

Song Year: 2001

Matchbox Twenty broke onto the rock scene in the late 90s. “Mad Season” was the first single and title track of their second studio album. The lyrics address the band’s struggle to stay level-headed after fame, but many listeners relate to it as trying to make a relationship work despite the difficulties.

Top Songs From 2001, Final Thoughts

These top songs from 2001 represent just a small sample of the many great hits of the year. Whether you listen to pop, rock, rap, or country, there were a lot of great hits that year in all genres of music. Singers, bands, and rappers were all creating innovative songs that took over the airwaves and made 2001 an impossible year to forget.

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