27 Reasons 2003 Was The Most Game-Changing Year In ’00s Music

Now usually I don’t do this but, uh… 2003 was the best.

1. Jan. 22: The world receives the gift of “Ignition (Remix),” a song so simple, carefree, and hypnotizing that 10 years later, an official petition will call for it to become the national anthem.

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2. Jan. 26: No Doubt, Sting, and Shania Twain rock the Super Bowl halftime show.

Donald Miralle / Getty

Al Bello / Getty Images

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3. Feb. 3: The documentary Living With Michael Jackson premieres in the U.K. Afterward, interviewer Martin Bashir is criticized for manipulating and exploiting the troubled star.

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4. Feb. 6: The world meets 50 Cent, “the rapper who got shot nine times,” and he sells 872,000 copies in four days.

Shady / Aftermath / Interscope

It becomes the top-selling album of the year.

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5. Feb. 23: Nickelback is nominated for Record of the Year at the 45th Annual Grammy Awards for “How You Remind Me.”

Oh, how things change.

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6. And Nickelback singer Chad Kroeger’s future wife, Avril Lavigne, is nominated for three Grammys, including Song of the Year for “Complicated.”


Which is maybe the grandmother of summer songs from this decade, like “Call Me Maybe” and “Shower.”

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7. And Norah Jones drops one of her FIVE Grammys that she won that night.

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Because five Grammys is a lot of Grammys.

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8. March 4: Evanescence releases their debut album, Fallen, spawning a new generation of goth-y pop rock fans.

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9. March 7: The White Stripes release a song that will forever be drunkenly sung and chanted in soccer stadiums across Europe.

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10. March 10: On the eve of the Iraq War, the Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines says two sentences that change the group’s career forever.

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11. March 11: Wordplay-loving Jason Mraz puts out “The Remedy (I Won’t Worry),” inspired by his friend who had cancer.

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12. April 7: Justin Timberlake releases the disco-tastic “Rock Your Body,” and becomes a legit sexpot.

Oh, hai.

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13. April 28: Apple launches the iTunes Music Store, effectively killing off MP3 services like Napster, and changing the music industry forever.

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The store launches with 200,000 songs available for download, at 99 cents each, and more than 1 million songs are sold in its first week.

Later that year, Apple finally makes iTunes available to Windows users.

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14. May 6: Jewel shocks us all when she ditches the guitar and jeans for stilettos and sex on “Intuition.”

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15. May 20: Beyoncé releases “Crazy in Love,” proves that horns make everything 100 times better.

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16. May 21: Ruben Studdard wins the second season of American Idol, and then we basically never hear from him again.

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While his debut album, Soulful, debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his later work doesn’t perform as well. He does go on to release six albums — some of which are well-received by critics — but none of them really make an impact in the mainstream pop scene.

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17. June 4: Justin Timberlake and Xtina celebrate their post-teenybopper independence, kicking off their joint Justified and Stripped Tour.


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18. July 1: Ashanti debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart with her sophomore album, Chapter II.

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Thereby blessing the universe with “Rock Wit U (Awww Baby).”

Murder Inc.

Murder Inc.


She also RIDES AN ELEPHANT in the video.

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19. Aug. 25: A milkshake is no longer defined as just a delicious dessert drink.

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20. Aug. 28: Madonna shocks your parents and makes history at the MTV VMAs when she locks lips with Britney Spears.

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Thanks to a cutaway reaction shot of Justin Timberlake, we don’t get to see that she kissed Christina too.

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21. Sept. 8: Everyone indulges their emo side with Linkin Park’s “Numb,” which spends 12 weeks at the top of Billboard’s Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart.

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The chart’s name was changed to Alternative Tracks in 2009.

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22. Sept. 9: OutKast changes weddings and bar mitzvahs forever when they release “Hey Ya!”

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23. Sept. 30: The world meets a Louis Vuitton backpack rapper named Kanye West, who releases his debut single “Through the Wire.” We all wonder just HOW someone raps with their mouth wired shut.

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Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam

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24. October: A Sri Lankan-born British rapper named M.I.A. releases “Galang,” which enraptures music critics.

She re-releases the song in 2004 via XL Recordings.

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25. Nov. 14: Jay Z “retires” with The Black Album. The world learns what problem Jay Z does not have.

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26. Nov. 18: Britney Spears breaks her own record, becoming the first female artist to have four consecutive albums hit No. 1 on the Billboard chart with In the Zone.

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It’s propelled by the career-defining single “Toxic.”

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27. And Blink-182 release their kind of serious, self-titled fifth album, proving that even punk kids grow up.

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