Top ten throwback artists of the early 2000s and late 90s


Iconic girl group Destiny’s Child, which was made up of Kelly Rowland, Beyonce Knowles, and Michelle Williams, strike a pose at the peak of their success.

Gillian Rush, Managing Editor

Whether you’re taking a joyride with friends, working out, or just need to listen to some pump-up songs, nothing sets the mood quite like some good ol’ ’90s and ‘00s throwbacks.  If you’re ever feeling down, here are a few sing-along artists to bring out your nostalgia.

1. Avril Lavigne

This is absolutely indisputable. Avril Lavigne is the poster-girl for teen angst and unrequited love.  If you weren’t connecting to her lyrics before you could divide, you were listening to the wrong music.  “Complicated,” “Girlfriend,” and “Sk8er Boy” are absolute classics and are essential to any throwback list.

2. The Killers

When “Mr. Brightside” comes on nowadays, you can bet that someone in the room will know every single word, and will be entirely comfortable belting it out.  The Killers were kind of edgy and pretty good during the 2000s era; really, they were good period.

3. Destiny’s Child

This list would be incomplete if it didn’t pay homage to Queen Bey’s beginnings.  They were the American Spice Girls, but they had their own unique sound that helped the R&B-music genre transition from the ‘90s to the ‘00s.  They were sex icons, feminism-fuelers, and record breakers. “Say My Name,” “Independent Woman,” and “Survivor” are still some of the best songs. Ever.

4. Tupac Shakur

Whether you think 2Pac is alive or not, you can’t argue that his music is legendary.  Even Snoop Dogg called him the greatest of all time.  He was different than anyone who came before or after him, and he seriously set the tone for rap of the ‘90s. “Ambitionz Az A Ridah” and “Changes” are two of his most memorable pieces.

5. Backstreet Boys

Backstreet Boys are the ultimate boy band.  Aside from creating songs that are not only timeless but also catchy, Backstreet dominated the era as they soon became the best selling boy band of all time.  “I Want It That Way” will always be their best song, bar none.


Another iconic boy band, *NSYNC was Justin Timberlake’s major entry into the public eye.  When the band reunited in 2013 for Timberlake’s VMA hosting debut, it was like our childhood flashed before our eyes.  “It’s Gonna Be Me” (thank you for the memes) and “Bye Bye Bye” are among their most iconic and always pull at the heartstrings.

7. Nirvana

Nirvana is the epitome of ‘90s grunge, and their music is still honored today as some of the decade’s best.  Unfortunately, the band’s career was cut short by Kurt Cobain’s death.  However, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is arguably the alternative rock anthem of the ‘90s, and the band’s greatness could be evident in that song’s success.

8. The Kooks

Though the Kooks have made music in recent years, one can argue that their better albums were made during the earlier 2000s.  Their songs aren’t exactly party music, but they definitely ignite nostalgia whenever you hear them.  Even if you missed them when they were really big, you’ve undoubtedly heard the upbeat “Naive” or “She Moves in Her Own Way.”  For many, the Kooks were the first not-really-that-mainstream band to steal our hearts.

9. Jesse McCartney

If you play the 2000s pop station on Pandora, fifty percent of its playlist consists of Jesse McCartney, and for good reason.  He made songs praising his crushes that entirely articulated our elementary school feelings.  There’s nothing better than hearing one of McCartney’s catchy songs and realizing you know all the words after growing up hearing them on the radio. Although “Leavin’” and “Right Where You Want Me” are classic songs, nothing could ever trump “Beautiful Soul.”

10. The Notorious B.I.G.

Nicknamed Biggie and Biggie Smalls, The Notorious B.I.G. was the East Coast focal point of the East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry, where 2Pac was the West Coast focal point.  His album Ready to Die is remembered as a hip-hop classic, and for good reason; it introduced Biggie to the hip hop world in 1994 and included songs such as “Juicy” and “Big Poppa.”  “Old Thing Back” is also one of The Notorious B.I.G.’s most renowned songs.