As a culture, we are obsessed with throwbacks. From #tbt to the influx of 18-30 year olds wearing Buddy Holly glasses, we can’t get enough of the past. Why then, I ask, have we forgotten about the most influential era of music—the early naughts? I propose a revolution. No longer shall we dance to Miley and Avicii in frat basements. Here are ten forgotten but incredible party songs that we should be jamming out to at parties (and alone in our rooms) instead.
1. Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin’)
Although everyone’s favorite semi-obese R&B/rap/pop/garbage artist is now less than relevant, there was a time when T-Pain ruled the world. This song brings me back to the days of bar and bat mitzvahs—and has the secret power of making even the nerdiest Jewish boys pop and lock it on the dancefloor. And T-Pain autotuned before it was cool. So thanks, T. For everything.
Before Nicki Minaj and Azealia Banks, there was Eve. The original bad bitch, Eve flew a little more under the radar than Missy Elliot or Lil’ Kim but definitely should not be overlooked. With the opening lyric, “You gotta shake yo’ a$$,” Eve is virtually handing us a golden invitation to let our freak flags fly. We’ll take it, Eve.
3. Hollaback Girl
We all remember how scandalous this song was—and how mad our moms would get when we sang along in the car. Clearly the best of Gwen’s non-No Doubt phase, Hollaback Girl has the perfect beat to shake yo’ tailfeathers to. Plus, Gwen’s obsession with the Harajuku Girls is simultaneously bizarre and fascinating. This shit really is bananas.
4. 1, 2 Step
This song is just incredible. While Ciara is truly a forgotten gem, the real winner on this track is Missy Elliot. After all, she rhymes “filet mignon” with “nice and young.” And “1, 2 Step” has the easiest possible dance associated with it, so everyone can feel like a winner! (You actually just step one foot over the other. Super simple.)
5. No Scrubs
On the heels of their new VH1 biopic, CrazySexyCool (starring Keke Palmer, the girl from that spelling bee movie) which 4.5 million people
were crazy enough to watch tuned in for, TLC is officially the ultimate throwback. This girl-power anthem reminds us of simpler days—a time when Zack Morris and his massive cellphone inspired lust and jealousy in the heart of every tween, when flower-print pants were socially acceptable, and when the lyric “scrub” was used not ironically.
6. Laffy Taffy
While D4L’s illustrious career didn’t really go anywhere after this musical masterpiece (I wonder why…), “Laffy Taffy” can only be described as a modern classic. With a few more years under my belt, the inane lyrics have taken on some new meanings (the Jolly Rancher metaphor is much more vulgar than my sixth-grade self realized). But who needs good lyrics when you have that incredibly annoying yet amazing backbeat that reminds you of Mario Kart sound effects? Forget all that: once you’ve got a little jungle juice coursing through your veins, “Laffy Taffy” is without a doubt the best dancing song of all time.
7. Love in this Club
Vintage Usher is epic. While his music videos from this era err on the overdramatic side (see: Same Girl), his voice makes us all melt. And when the mood is just right, Usher definitely isn’t the only one who wants to make love in this club (or Whisko). Use his beautiful pipes to your advantage, whisk up that crush and hit the dancefloor.
8. Get Ur Freak On
Missy be puttin’ it down. While Missy is currently in hibernation (probably tanning in Aruba with 10-15 incredibly toned male models), she is the reason female rappers exist. The vaguely Indian-themed beat virtually forces you to swing your hips and also contains arguably the best line ever written: “Is that yo’ chick?”
Although I may get a lot of flak for this, I would argue “Toxic” is far and away the best mid-2000s Britney jam. And while Britney’s incredible career has been slightly overshadowed by her bald head and idiotic commentary on the X-Factor (and the abominable “Work Bitch“), she really is the queen of pop. So appreciate Britney’s glory days, because it seems to be all downhill from here.
10. Candy Shop
This was the first dirty song I ever heard. When my brother told me that the lollipop discussed in the song was not reminiscent of a Dum Dum, I was slightly disappointed—but mostly intrigued. What was this lollipop made of? My head was reeling, but soon enough, the head of the playground told me the truth. Life was never the same.