The first decade of the new century was a great time for pop music. It is exceedingly difficult to narrow down the best to only 40 albums, but here are the best and most influential pop albums for 2000-2009.
The boy band *NSYNC celebrated their liberation from manager Lou Pearlman with this album. The group was at the top of the pop world and proved it when No Strings Attached became the first album to ever sell more than two million copies in a single week. The sales of 2.4 million copies is still the highest recorded since SoundScan started tracking in 1991. The band set another record by selling nearly 10 million copies in the collection's first year of release. *NSYNC's first and only #1 pop single, "It's Gonna Be Me," is here along with the top 5 smashes "Bye Bye Bye" and "This I Promise You."
Daddy Yankee was the undisputed king of the Puerto Rican urban style of music known as Reggaeton. This mostly live collection consolidated his status while bringing the music to the mass of pop music fans with the party smash "Rompe."
The Arctic Monkeys were THE British music sensation of 2006. The band's blue collar indie rock sound struck a major chord with pop fans in the UK, and they became a critical sensation in the US. The band had two #1 hit singles, "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" and "When the Sun Goes Down," before the album ever hit stores. It then became the fastest selling debut release in UK history. The album won the year's prestigious Mercury Prize and was a top 25 hit in the US as well.
Shockwaves rolled through American Idol fans when Chris Daughtry was surprisingly eliminated before making it to the show's finale. However, the loss seemed to have no repercussions for his subsequent recording success. The debut album from his self-named rock band soared to #1 on the album chart and was declared the fastest selling debut rock album in the SoundScan era. The band generated five top 40 pop singles from the album and ultimately sold over 4.5 million copies of the record.
Hybrid Theory was the name of the group before they changed their name to Linkin Park. The band rode a wave of popularity for the musical style known as nu metal into the charts and mainstream consciousness. This debut album initially received mixed critical reviews, but it has grown in stature over time. Commercially, this set peaked at #2, but eventually sold over 10 million copies in the US alone. The track "Crawling" won the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance, and the album produced the #2 pop single "In the End."
The release of Confessions consolidated Usher's status as the top young male R&B vocalist. The album presented a more mature artist than in the past and raised more than a few questions from observers about how much of the confessional collection was autobiographical. On the heels of the #1 smash single "Yeah!" the album sold a towering 1.1 million copies in its first week of release. Ultimately Confessions sold 10 million copies and generated a total of four #1 pop singles. The Grammy Awards celebrated the album with three accolades including Contemporary R&B Album of the Year.
After Christina Aguilera's emergence as a teen pop star, she took artistic control of her second English language album Stripped. She fused a number of styles into a more adult, and, in some places, highly sexual sound. Upon initial release, reviews were decidedly mixed, and the album was criticized for lacking focus. Over time the collection can now be seen as a fascinating depiction of the emergence of a major artist. The album initially debuted at #2 on the US album chart and began to fall quickly in the charts due to the commercial failure of the first single "Dirrty." However, with the success of the moving, Grammy winning inspirational ballad "Beautiful," Stripped began to sell steadily and ultimately moved over four million units.
With support from Eminem, rapper 50 Cent had a swift rise to commercial success as one of the top rap artists of the mid decade. His first album Get Rich or Die Tryin' soared to the top of the charts and produced three top 10 singles. The second The Massacre sold over one million copies in its first week of release. Four singles rolled into the top 10 including the #1 hit "Candy Shop." The Grammy Awards nominated The Massacre for Rap Album of the Year.
Colombian singer-songwriter Shakira was an international Latin music star when she decided to try and break into the English-language market. Laundry Service touched on a wide range of musical styles and successful brought Shakira's unique vocal approach to an even wider audience. The album debuted at #3 on the charts in the US and landed in the top 10 in countries around the world. It includes the top 10 pop singles "Whenever Wherever" and "Underneath Your Clothes."
The duo MGMT are a duo producing intelligent electronic pop music that has gradually gained tremendous recognition for their first full-length album Oracular Spectacular since it was first released as a digital only album. Britain's NME named it the best album of 2008. It eventually climbed into the top 40 on the Billboard album chart and has been certified gold. A new generation of pop fans experienced the duo's music when they opened for Paul McCartney in concert in August 2009.