Are you ready to feel old, nostalgic, shocked? Well here’s the list to do that. We’ve compiled a list of songs turning 20 in 2024 that will transport you to another lifetime. It’s a time of pre-Spotify, pre-Twitter, pre-iPhone and the inception of Facebook. In the world of music, Michael Jackson, George Michael, Aretha Franklin, Prince, Whitney Houston, David Bowie, Amy Winehouse, James Brown, Chris Cornell and many others were still here. It was also a time before Taylor Swift. And Miley Cyrus. And Justin Bieber. We’ll just leave that there.
There’s nothing like music to define time. That’s why reliving these songs turning 20 in 2024 – the ones that provided the soundtrack of 2004 – is a nice way to remember a different era.
Not surprisingly, many of these are still played today because they’re simply bangers that don’t age. Others are a little old school. But either way, it’s still strange to think they’re now celebrating two decades since their release date!
1. Kelly Clarkson – Since You’ve Been Gone
This anthem turned our breakups into pop-rock empowerment sessions! Who knew saying goodbye could feel so good? This was Kelly Clarkson’s arguably best and biggest hit, despite it being among her first songs released that is now turning 20 in 2024. She has had many other great tracks over her career, such as ‘My Life Would Suck Without You’ and ‘Stronger’, but this is probably the most iconic.
2. The Libertines – Can’t Stand Me Now
Capturing the essence of indie rock’s raw emotion, this song is a musical embodiment of tumultuous relationships, marked by its gritty guitar riffs and candid lyrics. The Libertines started in 1997, fronted by Carl Barât and Pete Doherty, with this track being the debut from their second album. It reached #2 in the UK charts, making it their biggest hit.
3. Green Day – American Idiot
It was difficult to choose which Green Day song to celebrate in our list of 24 songs turning 20 in 2004. This year was one of their best, including the release of ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’ and ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’. However ‘American Idiot’ was like a wake-up call to the world. Like a caffeine shot of political angst and guitar riffs in the form of a great punk anthem.
4. Snoop Dogg – Drop It Like It’s Hot
The coolest, slickest beat that had everyone trying to drop it like it was, indeed, hot. Don’t pretend you haven’t tried to ‘click’ your tongue along (also known as a palatal click FYI). Featuring Pharrell, this song is a staple in hip-hop and one of the best featuring Snoop’s laid-back flow.
It’s a quintessential example of Snoop Dogg’s style and charisma. Although nowadays he’s singing to Just Eat and quitting weed. What is going on?
5. Destiny’s Child – Lose My Breath
This song had us all gasping for air with its fierce beats and even fiercer choreography. If you remember the video, it’s Kelly, Michelle and Beyoncé vs Kelly, Michelle and Beyoncé in a crazy dance-off. The song was a great empowering R&B track with a marching band rhythm. It was also towards the end of Destiny’s Child’s golden era – a year after Beyoncé went solo with ‘Crazy in Love’.
6. Mario – Let Me Love You
Mario became the smooth-talking Romeo of our teenage dreams with this track. It was the type of song that you wish someone was singing about you. Although he’s released five studio albums and gone on to have a great acting career, including recurring roles in ‘Empire’, this song is probably what he is most well-known for. And now it’s one of those songs turning 20 in 2024 that many still listen to today.
7. Kanye West – All Falls Down
An introspective and socially conscious track that highlights West’s lyrical prowess. The song delves into themes of consumerism, self-consciousness, and the pursuit of success. The political Kanye was always here in his early days, it was just a pre-Trump-supporting era. ‘All Falls Down’ was his third single, and featured the vocals of Syleena Johnson. The music video also starred Stacey Dash, aka Dionne from ‘Clueless’ (1995).
8. Usher – Burn
Usher’s smooth voice made heartbreak sound so good, we almost wanted to thank our exes. Almost. This is probably one of Usher’s most infamous songs, although he has a few others that could compete like ‘Yeah’, ‘Confessions’, ‘U Got It Bad’ and ‘Love in this Club’. ‘Burn’ is epic though and a great one for sitting with those overpowering emotions during a breakup.
9. Christina Milian – Dip it Low
This song was the ultimate guide to being flirty and fabulous on the dance floor. It was definitely a change of tone for Christina Milian, who had previously released hits like ‘Am to Pm’ and ‘When You Look at Me’. But this is her biggest hit by far. And we can’t believe it’s one of the songs turning 20 in 2024. It feels like maybe five years ago – ten years tops.
10. Eminem – Like Toy Soldiers
Eminem got deep and reflective, turning toy soldiers into a metaphor we couldn’t shake off. It’s only from looking back we realise how deep this song was. A far throw from the likes of ‘The Real Slim Shady’ and ‘Without Me’, which – although bangers – were a bit more light-hearted. Unless you were Britney or Christina who got slated. Reportedly, this song was all about feuds and overcoming them.
11. Jojo – Leave (Get Out)
Teenage angst never sounded so catchy. Jojo gave us the perfect “bye, boy” anthem. She was only 13 years old at the time, becoming the youngest female solo artist to have a #1 single in the US with this track. In fact, just three years later she’d sold 7 million records across the world. Unlike many of the other songs turning 20 in 2024 on this list, this one does feel old. And it’s probably because Jojo is a fully grown adult now.
12. Avril Lavigne – Don’t Tell Me
Avril’s rebellious spirit in this song was the anthem for every girl who wanted to take charge. This song was all about empowering listeners to stand up for themselves in relationships. It wasn’t as iconic as her other songs like ‘Complicated’, ‘Sk8ter Boi’, and ‘Girlfriend’, but it’s one of those that you’re happy you came across again in the middle of a 2000s playlist.
13. Kelly Clarkson – Because of You
2004 was clearly a Kelly Clarkson domination, so we had to list another of her great songs turning 20 in 2024 here. ‘Because of You’ is a deeply personal ballad that showcases Clarkson’s emotional range. The song’s poignant lyrics about the impact of familial relationships struck a chord with many. And even if they didn’t – you still belted it out alongside her. It’s the kind of song that we still listen to and most likely choose to sing at karaoke nights.
14. Slipknot – Before I Forget
A heavy metal powerhouse, blending aggressive riffs with introspective lyrics. This Grammy-winning track is a standout in Slipknot’s discography for its raw energy and complexity. It’s the type of song that if you listened to it back in the day, brings back goosebumps when you hear it today because it was just that good.
15. Joss Stone – Don’t Cha Wanna Ride
A groovy, soulful track that made us all want to cruise down memory lane. Joss Stone had the type of songs that could make you escape to the 60s while living in the early 2000s, and this track epitomised that. The lyrics are a little dubious still ‘A car this fine don’t pass your way everyday, Don’t cha want to ride baby’…nevertheless it was a summery song of the moment.
16. Tupac – Ghetto Gospel
A posthumous release that blends Tupac’s poignant lyricism with Elton John’s classic “Indian Sunset.” The song reflects on societal issues, showcasing Tupac’s depth as a rapper and a thinker. The lyrics are all about the war on the streets, where he tributes Malcolm X and Bobby Hutton. It was produced by Eminem, showing the artistry of three great musicians of that time. The remix was hailed as being a genius and it was clearly a hit, topping the charts back in 2004 for three weeks.
17. Gwen Stefani – Hollaback Girl
This song taught us all how to spell “bananas” and made us feel like cheerleaders with attitude. This song marked Stefani’s successful foray into solo artistry. Its playful tone and memorable lyrics made it a pop culture phenomenon. It feels a long way from her No Doubt days known for ‘Just a Girl’ and ‘Don’t Speak’, which is why it’s surprising to hear that this song is already 20 years old in 2024.
18. Mario Winans – I Don’t Wanna Know
Possibly one of the most painful songs to listen to. If you’ve ever cheated on anyone or have been cheated on, this song will hurt. But it’s also a great track generally. It has the beat of Fugees’ ‘Ready or Not’ and was later part of The Weeknd’s ‘Creepin” in 2022. But it’s the lyrics and soft vocals of Winans that really make this song haunting. It’s THE jam for any blissfully ignorant lovers out there.
19. Akon – Lonely
Akon made loneliness sound so catchy, we almost forgot to feel sad. It reached #1 for eight weeks, which in hindsight feels like it must have been overplayed a lot. However, it was still undeniably a hit. In fact, in 2023, ‘Lonely’ reached YouTube’s Billion Views Club, showing just how much this 20-year-old song is still listened to today. Unfortunately, we can still all relate to that ‘lonely’ feeling from time to time.
20. The Killers – Mr Brightside
The anthem for every person who’s ever felt jealous, in the catchiest way possible. It’s quite possibly the biggest track of the songs turning 20 in 2024, and possibly of the 2000s overall. Here are some impressive facts:
- It’s the longest-charting single in the UK Charts Top 100 ever.
- It’s the most streamed track before 2010.
- Among the top 15 most downloaded hits in the UK ever.
- It’s the second-most streamed song on Spotify from the 2000s.
- Ranked among Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
Go on, play it now – you know you want to see what all the Hot Fuss is about.
21. Snow Patrol – Run
A hauntingly beautiful track that made us all want to run into the arms of our crush. It feels like this, alongside ‘Chasing Cars’, was played in every romcom and teen drama show around. And let’s not forget Leona Lewis’ version too. The words may sound profound and romantic, but Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody actually wrote it following a bender where he fell down some stairs and then tried to smash up his room. Regardless, even in 2024, this 20-year-old song is still widely listened to.
22. Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out
This song had us all tapping our feet with its infectious beat and quirky lyrics. It catapulted Franz Ferdinand to international fame, earning them multiple award nominations and wins. Lyrically, “Take Me Out” is a playful take on romantic pursuit and flirtation, with lines like “I know I won’t be leaving here with you.” The lyrics are catchy and memorable, making it a favourite for sing-alongs.
23. Natasha Bedingfield – These Words
Natasha’s bubbly pop tune had us all believing in the power of words and catchy choruses. It was released in 2004 as part of her album ‘Unwritten’ (she’s clearly obsessed with words). It’s a clever and self-aware take on songwriting and the struggle to find the right words to express one’s feelings. Bedingfield sings about her search for inspiration and the challenge of creating a song that’s both genuine and appealing.
24. Ray LaMontagne – Trouble
A soulful, raspy ballad that makes feeling troubled feel somewhat comforting. Although a great song, it almost became overshadowed by many Pop Idol contestants attempting to belt it out in a bid to become famous. With lines like “Trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble / Trouble been doggin’ my soul since the day I was born” it resonates with anyone who’s ever faced challenging times. It’s a nice acoustic song that rounds off our list of 24 songs turning 20 in 2024.
If you’re still looking to see how songs age, why not read our list of 10 songs that turned 10 in 2023!