It was never decided what to title the 2000s; it was a decade of technological advancements, terror, and upheaval. Whatever you think of the 2000s, one thing is certain: the music was of exceptional quality. Who doesn’t love a solid one-hit wonder? They came; they conquered and vanished.
Here are the top 31 2000s one hit wonders:
1. “1985” by Bowling for Soup
This rock tune from 2004 is classic eighties nodding single. The track, which reached #23 on the US Billboard Hot 100, depicts the existence of a middle-aged lady trapped in a time loop. She was never content with life she desired when she was a teenager. Before she married and started a family, she had huge goals. The tune encourages us to live our lives without regrets in avoid looking back on our past as this lady did.
2. “Heaven” by Los Lonely Boys
In this Grammy Award-winning pop song from 2004, the protagonist is a gentleman lost, tired, and looking for divine help. He begs God to help him escape the jail he’s been dwelling in within himself, feeling incarcerated and sad. The narrator believes that God will reward him with a celestial prize if he demonstrates faith.
3. “I Wanna Be Bad” by Willa Ford
I don’t know about you, but we miss promiscuous Y2K pop. We had no business listening to this when younger, but we simply couldn’t help it. Willa Ford deserves a spot among the one hit wonders of the 2000s.
4. “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter
The snuggle tune for the fifth season of “American Idol” was Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day,” which earned the track tremendous clout to become the year’s biggest single. The song reached number one in April and remained there for five weeks. But Powter’s luck ran out, and he hasn’t appeared on the hot playlists again.
5. “Back Here” by BBMak
You probably recall BBMak’s appearance on Nickelodeon’s Even Stevens, where the British pop band attempted to produce a track with a “Sacramento sound.” Though there is almost certainty Sacramento sound doesn’t exist, BBMak’s “Back Here” repurposed all ’90s pop cliché for Y2K. Even though they were never heard from again, they left an iconic song that hasn’t gone away even after 16 years.
6. “Stanky Legg” – GS Boyz
Take a moment to remember the late noughties and you’ll remember this iconic dance track. While many dances from the 2000s hip hop culture were embraced within popular music, this track seemed to stand out amongst its contemporaries. Now go ahead and do the stanky legg…
7. “The Boys of Summer” by The Ataris
This rock song is a remix of a classic tune by Don Henley from 1984. The Ataris are a rock band renowned for their cover of this song in 2003, which charted at 20 on the US Billboard Hot 100, making them a one-hit wonder. Too bad that their biggest song had to be a cover, right?
The song depicts a man’s cherished recollection of a young woman with whom he had a summer fling when he was younger and how the experience has stayed with him.
8. “Young Folks” by Peter Bjorn & John
In the mid-aughts, the song was featured in every advertisement. If Etsy were a song, this soothing midtempo pop number would be it, certainly! The whistling at the start of the track makes us forget our problems and just vibe, which is why we love it!
9. “Turn Me On” by Kevin Lyttle
This song is thought to have faded to obscurity after its original popularity. It’s enjoying a resurgence as meme-bait in trendy internet hangout spots. Lyttle’s voice is amusing and acceptable throughout the song, and the reggae-infused sounds paved the way for early Rhianna singles like “Pon De Replay.”
10. ”Lean Back” by Terror Squad
Terror Squad, a hip-hop group, ranked no. 1 with “Lean Back” in August 2004, ushering in a new dance move. Afterwards, the group sank to No. 62 with a follow-up song, “Take Me Home,” released late 2004. While individually the artists featured in the song may have other hits, this was certainly the Terror Squad’s crown jewel in their discography.
11. “Why Can’t I?” by Liz Phair
This was a great and crisp rock/pop track released in 2003 by Liz Phair. While it may be a bit simplistic, it sure had all the qualities of a pop radio hit (a recipe that many artists have sought to achieve) back in the day.
12. “Pieces of Me” by Ashlee Simpson
Perhaps it was the Saturday Night Live lip-syncing scandal, or maybe it was the string of awful reality shows she and her elder sister Jessica had on MTV, but the world appeared to forget about Ashlee Simpson fast. The lone significant radio success, on the other hand, was so popular in 2004 that it seemed to be playing on repeat. Simpson’s single had stood out as a strong record of the times, although it first dominated the radio when it premiered.
13. “Bulletproof” by La Roux
This 2009 electro-pop song reached #8 on the US Billboard Hot 100 becoming a global smash because of its infectious beat and catchy hook. The protagonist is fed up with making the same errors repeatedly. She reassures ’s self and the person who previously deceived her. Though the track was a triumph for La Roux, singer Elly Jackson blamed the song’s fame for her panic episodes. She later regretted the hit as a result.
14. “Such Great Heights” by The Postal Service
In early 2000s indie circles, the Postal Service, which consisted of Death Cab for Cutie’s singer and lyricist Ben Gibbard and electronic musician Dntel, were famous individually. Once they got united, though, they created a fantasy in the shape of “Such Great Heights.” Of course the individual artists in the group had other hits outside of the Postal Service, but this was definitely the peak of the group.
Millennials will easily notice this tune as the music of their first relationship. The Postal Service never released another album, but this iconic track will forever live on.
15. “Butterfly” by Crazy Town
Rap-rockers from Los Angeles, Crazy Town soared to the number one spot in March 2001 with the Red-Hot Chili Peppers-inspired “Butterfly,” staying around for two weeks. After that high, the group’s wings were cut, so they never returned to the top 100 lists.
16. “Just the Girl” by The Click Five
“It’s better to burn out than fade away,” Kurt Cobain reportedly stated. He might’ve been referring to The Click Five, too, had he still have been alive to see the bands biggest hit. “Just the Girl” reached number 11 on the US Billboard 100 Chart in 2005 and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. Regrettably, they never had another great hit.
17. “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley
Gnarls Barkley hit on that explosive combo of a jammable groove with crooning that anyone could chant along to, and it was a once-in-a-lifetime moment for them. In 2006, it was impossible to avoid seeing home footage of people dancing to this song or hearing it booming from cars. Again, we’re simply counting this as a one hit wonder for Gnarls Barkley the duo, not the individual artists involved.
18. “Bleeding Love” by Leona Lewis
Apart from “Bleeding Love,” Leona Lewis didn’t have further major successes. However, she did give it her best on this one. “Bleeding Love” remained at No. 1 for seven weeks, a new milestone until recently surpassed by Drake’s “One Dance.”
19. ”Dry Your Eyes” by The Streets
”Dry Your Eyes,” The Streets’ most famous song, was a kick in the gut for beefy boys and prototypical sad boys. Mike Skinner’s unique mix of grit and compassion is used to explore the terrible sorrow that follows a heartbreak. Gazza’s emotions at Italia ’90 were musically equal.
20. “This Is Why I’m Hot” by MIMS
“This Is Why I’m Hot” was MIMS’ message to the world, and the song spent two weeks at the top of the charts in March 2007. The second song from the Jamaican rapper, “Like This,” reached No. 32 in July 2007.
21. “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Goyte and Kimbra
Another unavoidable song. It was the go-to tune for indie film teasers, but neither Goyte nor Kimba had another hit after that.
22. “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt
You couldn’t switch on the radio network without listening to this number one track on several stations back in 2005. James Blunt described his hit tune as “annoying” and apologized for its widespread overuse.
After locking eyes with his ex-lover on the subway when she was with another guy he hadn’t seen before, he was compelled to create the global blockbuster. They didn’t speak to each other after that. The track was supposedly written in less than three minutes by Blunt.
23. ”Laffy Taffy” by D4L
In January 2006, Atlanta’s D4L hit a home run with “Laffy Taffy,” which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. On their next release, “Betcha Can’t Do It Like Me,” the foursome only got to number 72.
24. “Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus
In the 2000s, pop rock was popular, and this legendary Wheatus single was one of several that would go on to be cult classics. Despite its modest popularity in the United States, the song was an international hit the world over. Not bad for a group of self-described hoodlums in their adolescent years.
25. ”Hounds of Love” by The Futureheads
Theoretically, it’s a tragedy. In reality, it’s everything you’ve heard about indie disco. Perhaps it was the ‘Heads’ brisk rhythm change; it might have been the fact that everything sound more adorable when sung in a Mackem accent; maybe it was just that folks like to shout ‘uh uh oh oh oh’ when they’re upset, but Kate Bush’s classic got a delightful new perspective on life in their grip.
26. “Wherever You Will Go” by The Calling
Anyone who regularly tuned to pop radio in the 2000s will assume that Lifehouse wrote this song. The Calling’s single hit, “Wherever You Will Go,” has all of the hallmarks of a Lifehouse song, but it’s distinctive enough for late-night boozy sing-alongs. Among the 2000s one hit wonders; this stirs up some special memories.
27. ”Inside Your Heaven” by Bo Bice
With “Inside Your Heaven,” which landed at No. 2 in July 2005, Bo Bice conquered the hearts of the “American Idol” audience. Fans rapidly checked out as the cams were switched off. The one hit wonders of the 2000s wouldn’t be complete without this masterpiece by Bo Bice.
28. “I’m a New Soul” by Yael Naim
This 2008 folk ballad brought solace amid the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and the economic and political crisis. It tells the story through the eyes of a protagonist who claims to be a new soul, a life novice. The single was famous in several countries and peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 list in the United States.
29. ”22 Grand Job” by The Rakes
A 22-grand job can afford a hotel in Zone 3 and scarcely an Uber nowadays. On the other hand, the Rakes were describing the entry-level trudge with a sparkle in their eye and a spring in their angular, art-rock stride in 2005.
30. “Absolutely (Story of a Girl)” by Nine Days
This song does have the most insanely infectious hook in recent decades. Put that on at whichever event and witness as everyone over the age of 20 get a sudden rush of nostalgia, even if they didn’t recall any of the words other than the hook’s opening few lines.
31. ”Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by Jet
Among the one hit wonders of the 2000s, this track is a bit mired in disdain, and we can accurately state that Jet was certainly at the misfortune of some not so great reviews. Pitchfork even gave Jet’s album Shine On a 0.0 rating and a noteworthy critique.
Still though, we think the track is quite catchy and deserves a spot on this list!
As the Head Editor and Writer at Music Grotto, Liam helps write and edit content produced from professional music/media journalists and other contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.
Liam’s lifelong love for music makes his role at Music Grotto such a rewarding one. He loves researching, writing and editing music content for Music Grotto.