The year 2005 was one when some beloved artists resurrected their music careers and others built on the excellence of the previous year. To rank the best songs from 2005, we’ll take a look at the year-end chart positions to figure out the best and most successful tracks of that year.
1. We Belong Together – Mariah Carey
We Belong Together was released as the second single from Mariah Carey’s 2005 album The Emancipation Of Mimi. This isn’t the yearning Taylor Swift track though, this song tells the tale of a woman wanting her lover to return and how desperate she was to have him back. It was also the track that was crowned as a comeback song for her music career after dwindling down for a few years.
It would go on to break records on the charts, becoming her 16th number-one track on the Hot 100 and staying there for 14 consecutive weeks. Billboard would eventually list it as the song of the decade and one of the most popular tracks of all time, so it’s no surprise that it topped the year-end charts for 2005.
2. Hollaback Girl – Gwen Stefani
Hollaback Girl was the third single that was released from Gwen Stefani’s debut album, drawing on old-school hip hop and dance music. In the US, it became the first digital download song to sell over one million copies. Critically, the reception was mixed. Some labeled it as the most annoying track ever, while others gave it credit for the minimalist approach taken in its production. That didn’t matter in the long run, as it became her most well-known song and spent four weeks on top of the US Hot 100.
3. Let Me Love You – Mario
Let Me Love You was the second single released from Mario’s 2004 album Turning Point. A remixed version would be released shortly after the original that featured verses from Jadakiss and T.I. Mario would win a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Performance for the song in 2006, but its chart success was nearly unparalleled.
The track was one of the most successful in the history of the Billboard chart, spending nine consecutive weeks on top of the Hot 100. It’s also one of the highest-selling ringtones of all time, at least for those of us who remember having to purchase ringtones on flip phones.
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4. Since U Been Gone – Kelly Clarkson
Since U Been Gone was released as the lead single for Kelly Clarkson’s second album Breakaway. A pop-rock ballad full of power, it was originally written with P!nk in mind, but both she and Hilary Duff turned it down. Clarkson added heavier guitars and belted out how relieved she was that the relationship was over. The track would reach number two on the Hot 100, topped the US Pop Songs chart for seven consecutive weeks, and would be an international Top-10 single.
5. 1, 2 Step – Ciara feat. Missy Elliott
Ciara’s debut album was an instant hit, and it was thanks to amazing songs like 1,2 Step. Featuring Missy Elliot in a backup role, the track was one of the most energetic dance songs of the year and was utterly infectious. It would quickly climb to the number two spot on the Billboard Hot 100, remaining in that spot for seven weeks. The electro influence would also see it top the Dance/Mix Show Airplay and Mainstream Top 40 charts.
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6. Gold Digger – Kanye West feat. Jamie Foxx
Alongside Jamie Foxx, Kanye West would release one of the best and most successful songs of his career. Gold Digger was funny, had a great beat, and was a track that would stick around for years after its release. It set a record for most downloads in a single week with over 80,000 and would win a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance. It would reach the pinnacle of the Hot 100, the second number-one of his career, and was one of the biggest number-one singles of all time.
7. Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Green Day
Boulevard Of Broken Dreams was the hangover that came after the party of Green Day’s Holiday. A somber song that touched hearts all over, it would wind up being remembered as one of the best singles of the decade. Even today, its number-two rank on the Hot 100 remains the band’s best mark. It’s one of their signature tracks, and it was the only song to win both the Record of the Year at the Grammys and Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards.
8. Candy Shop – 50 Cent feat. Olivia
Rapper 50 Cent was still going strong by 2005 thanks to the release of his second album The Massacre. While some complained that he essentially redid Magic Stick, Candy Shop was an incredibly successful hit. The song wound up reaching number one on the Hot 100, giving him the third number-one of his career. The goal of the track during writing for him was to make it as sexual as possible without writing something vulgar or obscene.
9. Don’t Cha – The Pussycat Dolls feat. Busta Rhymes
The Pussycat Dolls weren’t the first group to release Don’t Cha, but their version was definitely the most successful. It was one of the songs that helped them transition from a burlesque group into a pop group but kept the sultry nature of their work as a whole intact. The track would reach the number-two spot on the Hot 100 but would top both the UK Singles and UK Hip-Hop/Rap charts and was a Top-10 single across much of Europe.
10. Behind These Hazel Eyes – Kelly Clarkson
Kelly Clarkson’s Breakaway album was massive, and this isn’t the last time it will appear on this list. Behind These Hazel Eyes served as the second single for the album, narrating the relationship she had with an ex-boyfriend. It peaked at number six on the Hot 100 but spent a record—at the time—15 weeks within the Top 10 of the chart. It would then go on to become her first track to top the Adult Pop Songs chart and reached the Top 10 of six other countries.
11. Disco Inferno – 50 Cent
Disco Inferno was the lead single for 50 Cent’s The Massacre album. And while it wasn’t an international hit the way the lead of his first album was, it would still be a huge success in the US. The song would reach number three on the Hot 100, giving him his fourth solo Top-10 single and earning him a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Solo Performance.
12. You and Me – Lifehouse
You And Me was the lead single of Lifehouse’s eponymous third album, and it would hit the radio in January 2005. The track would also get an extended version meant to be played at marriages, which saw it become one of the most popular wedding songs of the year. It eventually took the top spot on the Adult Top 40 and Adult Contemporary charts, peaking at number five on the Hot 100.
13. Don’t Phunk with My Heart – The Black Eyed Peas
Don’t Phunk With My Heart was the lead single of The Black Eyed Peas Monkey Business album. It would quickly gain traction with music critics, earning a place as one of the best songs on the album. In terms of chart success, the track would reach number three on the Hot 100 and win the group the Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.
14. Lose Control – Missy Elliott feat. Ciara and Fat Man Scoop
The music did in fact make people lose control. Missy Elliot featured Ciara on her sixth studio album after appearing on Ciara’s debut album in 2005. It was an interesting pairing, as Ciara wasn’t much of a rapper at the time. Despite this, she killed the uptempo dance track and helped produce a hit single. Lose Control would reach number three on the Hot 100 and was a top-30 hit internationally.
15. Shake It Off – Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey’s album The Emancipation Of Mimi produced several hits in 2005, with Shake It Off being the second most successful one of the year. It was the third single on the album in the US, marked by simple production and drawing on hip hop origins. It would eventually peak at number two on the Hot 100, blocked by Kanye West’s Gold Digger and her own We Belong Together from reaching the top spot of the chart.
16. Mr. Brightside – The Killers
Mr. Brightside was one of the first songs The Killers ever wrote, and this was the most popular one they ever put out. It would initially be released in 2003, but a rerelease of the track in 2004 would turn it into a hit. UK Radio Stations named it the Song of the Decade after it spent 363 weeks on the UK Singles chart. In the US, the track would reach number eleven on the Hot 100 and the number three spot on the Alternative Airplay chart.
17. Just a Lil Bit – 50 Cent
The third single from The Massacre, Just A Lil Bit would wind up earning 50 Cent yet another top-five hit in the US when it reached number three on the Hot 100. Several remixes would be produced featuring other rappers, and The Game would redo the song on his own as a way to diss 50 Cent and the rest of the G-Unit rappers.
18. Pon de Replay – Rihanna
Rihanna would become one of the biggest names in music and business by 2022, but we should never forget her debut single was Pon De Replay. The lead single of her Music Of The Sun album in 2005, this track would become one of the biggest dance/club hits of the year. It peaked at number two on both the US Hot 100 and UK Singles chart and reached the top of the US Dance Club Songs chart.
19. How We Do – The Game
Before The Game decided to redo Just A Lil Bit to diss 50 Cent, he featured him on his debut album. How We Do was the second single from his debut album The Documentary in 2005. It would go on to peak within the Top 10 in several different countries, landing number four on the Hot 100 and spending 28 consecutive weeks on the chart.
20. Beverly Hills – Weezer
Beverly Hills was the third single to come off of Weezer’s Make Believe album and hit radio in March 2005. The song owned the Alternative Airplay charts by rising to the number one position and even made it to number two on the Mainstream Top 40. It would wind up peaking at the number nine and 10 positions on the UK Singles and US Billboard Hot 100 charts respectively.
21. Oh – Ciara feat. Ludacris
The third single from Ciara’s debut album would see her team up with Ludacris on the writing and performing of the song Oh. It was a hip hop ode to the city of Atlanta that won her quite a few accolades. One of Pitchfork’s top tracks of the year, it would earn her a Grammy Nomination for Best New Artist as well. Eventually, it would top the Rhythmic chart and reach number two on both the US Hot 100 and the US R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts.
22. Lonely No More – Rob Thomas
Rob Thomas would leave Matchbox Twenty to embark on a solo career, and his debut album rode his previous success with the band. The lead single of the album would end up being Lonely No More, which is still his biggest solo hit to date. The song would become a number-one hit in Hungary and reach the sixth spot on the Hot 100 in the US.
23. Drop It Like It’s Hot – Snoop Dogg feat. Pharrell Williams
The lead single of Snoop Dogg’s seventh album, Drop It Like It’s Hot would wind up being one of the biggest hip hop tracks of 2005. To this day, it’s remembered as an iconic single and its success was a testament to that. It was his first number-one on the Hot 100, spending three weeks in the top spot, and also became his first number-one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
24. Hate It or Love It – The Game
Another hit single from The Game’s debut album The Documentary, Hate It Or Love It was the third official single to be released from the album and again featured 50 Cent. It would eventually peak at number two on the Hot 100, kept from the top spot by 50 Cent’s Candy Shop. It remains The Game’s highest-charting single of all time.
25. Lovers And Friends – Lil Jon
Lovers And Friends saw Lil Jon’s crew team up with Usher for one of the best songs on Crunk Juice. It got mixed critical reviews, but the track still made it to number three on the Hot 100 and number 10 on the UK Singles chart.
26. Soldier – Destiny’s Child feat. T.I. and Lil’ Wayne
The year 2005 wound up being the end for Destiny’s Child, but their final album was a huge hit regardless of that fact. Soldier saw the girl group team up with T.I. and Lil’ Wayne and earned the group the award for Best R&B/Soul Single by a Group, Band, or Duo at the Soul Train Music Awards.
27. Breakaway – Kelly Clarkson
The title track of Kelly Clarkson’s 2005 hit album, Breakaway was actually originally intended for Avril Lavigne. She recorded it for the second Princess Diaries film instead, eventually including it on her second album. It was a huge hit, reaching number six on the Hot 100 and giving her a third Top-10 song on that chart.
28. Switch – Will Smith
Will Smith’s music career was still kicking in 2005, and Switch was the lead single on the rapper’s fourth album. It would eventually peak at number seven on the Hot 100 and topped the Australian Singles charts.
29. Let Me Hold You – Bow Wow feat. Omarion
The first single to come on Bow Wow’s fourth studio album, Let Me Hold You saw him team up with Omarion to produce a Top-10 hit internationally. The track would peak at number four on the Hot 100 and was a number-one single on the Hot Rap Songs chart, a spot it held for seven weeks.
30. Like You – Bow Wow feat. Ciara
Like You came from that same album, serving as the second single released for radio., It would wind up making it to number three on the Hot 100 and taking the top spot of the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. To this day, it remains Bow Wow’s highest-charting track.
31. Rich Girl – Gwen Stefani feat. Eve
To round out the top 31 songs of 2005, we have Gwen Stefani’s Rich Girl. Alongside Eve, she produced a hit single that reached number seven on the US Hot 100 and number four on the UK Singles chart.
As a contributing writer for Music Grotto, Dakotah writes and produces professional music/media content. He works closely with editorial staff to meet editorial standards and create
quality content for the Music Grotto website. Dakotah is passionate about music in a wide variety of genres, from hip-hop to country and lo-fi to metal, and he enjoys creating music pieces for Music Grotto.