An element that makes Beyonce's"Irreplaceable" resonate deeper after hearing it multiple times is that the subject matter of female strength and independence is at the core of her entire B'Day album that features the song. "Irreplaceable" will remind many listeners of concepts central to Terry McMillan's Waiting to Exhale which remains a cultural touchstone over 15 years after its release.
“Umbrella” is unique in that it is constructed of a hip-hop beat but has an edgy rock sound. The song is somewhat stripped-down and consists mostly of a standard drumbeat up until the chorus. At the hook, however, Rihanna kicks her vocal up a notch alongside a roaring bass line, creating an aura of desperation, as if the whole thing could explode at any moment. The experience climaxes in Rihanna’s catchy, repetitive pronunciation of the song’s title. "Umbrella" was nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year Grammy Awards. It spent ten weeks at the top of the UK pop singles chart, the longest of any single in the decade.
This gentle, soulful celebration of hanging out with treasured friends introduced Corinne Bailey Rae to the world. Although it missed the top 40 in the US, the song was still nominated for Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Record of the Year. The opening line of the song references Bob Marley's classic "Three Little Birds."
It's difficult to imagine a more effective song to introduce Mika. The lyrics describe an attempt to channel the spirit of the eternal princess Grace Kelly with a touch of Queen's Freddie Mercury to make it all a bit more upbeat. He's willing to be whatever will pull pop fans into his performance orbit. The song was a top 10 hit around the world, but failed to rise as high in the US due to lack of pop radio support.
Using a riff from "Straight to Hell" by the Clash and negative, violent stereotypes of immigrants as source material, M.I.A. fashioned one of the most bracing pop hits of the decade. It's all wrapped in a gently rolling, almost lazy sounding package so laidback that the first time you hear the gunshots it may jolt you out of your seat. "Paper Planes" manages to wrap irresistible catchiness, political relevance, and musical surprises in one tight package.
A significant influence on Gwen Stefani's "cheerleader rock" hit was an interview in Seventeen magazine where Courtney Love referred to Gwen Stefani being a "cheerleader." Stefani's response appeared in NME.
"Y'know someone one time called me a cheerleader, negatively, and I've never been a cheerleader. So I was, like, 'OK, f**k you. You want me to be a cheerleader? Well, I will be one then. And I'll rule the whole world, just you watch me.'" "Hollaback Girl" was born.
Perhaps the perfect song for going out on a weekend night, "I Gotta Feeling" spent fourteen weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 helping to give the Black Eyed Peas a stunning combined 26 consecutive weeks at the top. The song has an indescribable sense of joy that is ultimately powerfully infectious.
"Viva La Vida" soars in with a grandiose instrumental arrangement and sweeping lyrics detailing the pain of being deposed from a lofty position. The big sound of the song constantly verges on becoming overblown, but Coldplay know how to walk the tightrope perfectly. Bells and chimes and orchestral swells are all there on the chorus, but Chris Martin's voice still pierces through like a clarion call. Lyrically, the pain of the protagonist is clear, but the sweep of words about Jerusalem bells, Roman cavalry, and Saint Peter give "Viva La Vida" an air of intelligence. The song became Coldplay's first #1 pop hit in the US and won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year.
Avril Lavigne was only 17 when this stunning song introduced her to worldwide pop audiences. The song details with the emotions accompanying dealing with a boyfriend who behaves as a different person around different groups of people. "Complicated" was a #1 pop radio hit for 11 weeks.