10 Songs You Can't Even Believe Are 10 Years Old
In 2003, American troops invaded Iraq, action star Arnold Schwarzenegger became governor of Kahleefawnia, and two former American Idol contestants released soon-to-be hit records in the same week. (Has it really been a decade since we first heard the name Clay Aiken?) If it seems like these 10 songs – among the most popular in 2003 – are still new, you might be stuck in a time warp. Or maybe you just stopped caring after grunge died.
"Rock Your Body" by Justin Timberlake
When we first heard Justin Timberlake was going to release a solo album, many of us knew that he'd been in a boy band. We didn't necessarily know which one – it could have been 98 Degrees, the Backstreet Boys or Menudo, for that matter – we just knew that 12-year-old girls had posters of him, and that was reason enough to believe his solo album would suck. So when the 'N Sync member released this solo disco tune, co-written with the Neptunes, even the most ardent haters gritted their teeth and conceded that it was actually quite catchy. The song purposefully channeled Michael Jackson, and Timberlake performed it when MJ's sister Janet had her infamous "wardrobe malfunction" during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show.
"Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera
Just three years after a teenaged Aguilera released the bubblegum pop song "Genie in a Bottle," the former Mickey Mouse Club star began referring to herself as Xtina, donned assless chaps and released a video for her song "Dirty" that could make a Mouseketeer's ears blush. The move backfired, making Aguilera the butt of SNL jokes. Luckily, her next single was this Linda Perry-written song – appropriately about believing in yourself no matter what others think. "Beautiful" became an anthem in the gay community, and made us forget all about that "Dirty" video (OK, except for the mud wrestling scene).
"In Da Club" by 50 Cent
When we still weren't quite sure if it was cool to call him Fiddy, Curtis Jackson – a.k.a. 50 Cent – was an underground rapper with a Rasputin-like fortitude, having once survived nine gunshot wounds. But after releasing this fun-at-the-club song – produced by Dr. Dre, on Eminem's label – the only thing getting shot up was Fiddy's bank account. The album it appeared on sold 872,000 copies in its first four days, and "In Da Club" became ubiquitous. When an MTV news correspondent went to Kuwait City to report on the pending war, "In Da Club" was the first song he heard on the radio, showing the international appeal of "gettin' rubbed."
"The Game of Love" by Santana, featuring Michelle Branch
When Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears were sexed-up girls with methodically-made pop careers, Branch was a dressed-down girl-next-door, an Arizona teen who played guitar and wrote songs about anguish and young love. In 2002, the lucky teen was asked to record with Santana, who had recently enjoyed huge success with guest singers. Branch – now a 30-year-old mom – belted out the vocals admirably, and the song gave Santana another huge hit in 2003.
"Travelin' Soldier" by the Dixie Chicks
As Natalie Maines introduced this anti-war song during a 2003 concert in London, she uttered the now-famous words, "We're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas." And just as these Texans were enjoying their first Number One single, the band's career was turned upside down. Country stations refused to play their songs, fans boycotted their music and death threats were levied. While artists such as Bruce Springsteen and Merle Haggard rushed to their support and the documentary Shut Up and Sing offered their side of the story, the Chicks have not had a song in the Top 20 country charts since Maines dissed Dubya.