Today, I clicked on Spotify.me, which gives you personalized listening stats. Dear reader, I found some disturbing info. Pitbull is my top artist, I'm all over the place when it comes to genres and I stream "like a partier." I've been listening to a lot of older stuff recently (read: music I liked in middle school) and I've decided to stop being embarrassed by it. And you know what I found out after delving into that weird, all-over-the-place music? Many of my old favourites still banged! And it got me thinking about what other older tracks fit in that banger category.
But first, let's get down to brass tacks: What makes a banger? It has to be slightly embarrassing, very trendy and irresistibly catchy. Most bangers are products of their era and don't stand the test of time (I'm looking at you, Jason Mraz). I didn't include any songs by musicians that are unequivocally good (e.g., Beyoncé, Kanye West, Weezer) because it is just a FACT that their music does and will forever bang. It also goes without saying that most of these bangers are pop, since other genres (hip-hop, rock, folk) don't always age as quickly or as badly. Call them guilty pleasures, call them throwbacks, but here I present to you 35 songs that still bang:
"One, Two Step" by Ciara, feat. Missy Elliot, 2004
This is the best dance song from the entire 2000s, period.
"TiK ToK" by Kesha, 2010
Ke$ha is dead. Long live Kesha.
"212" by Azealia Banks, feat. Lazy Jay, 2014
The perfect workout song.
"Party in the U.S.A." by Miley Cyrus, 2009
I had a realization a while ago that this song is really just about Miley wearing sneakers while everyone else in L.A. is wearing high heels.
"Paper Planes" by M.I.A., 2007
This song will always remind me of "Slumdog Millionaire"—but in the best way.
"Uptown Funk" by Mark Ronson, feat. Bruno Mars, 2014
Ronson/Mars still make good music, but "Uptown Funk" was SO OVERPLAYED when it came out that people forget how much it truly banged!
"We Used to Be Friends" by the Dandy Warhols, 2003
I was introduced to this song, as many of us probably were, through "Veronica Mars." Many theme songs don't hold up, but this is a rare exception.
"Stranded" by Plumb, 1999
Does anyone know this song? I grew up in a Christian household overseas, and I listened to lots of WOW CDs (the Christian equivalent of NOW). Anyways, this song was on one of them, and it's still surprisingly great.
"Everywhere" by Michelle Branch, 2001
I loved Michelle's whole look: her ripped jeans, messy hair and cool leather jackets. Between her and Avril, the 2000s were a great time for female pop-rock.
"What I Like About You" by Lillix, 2003
I would like to remind everyone that this is from the "Freaky Friday" soundtrack, which is the best movie soundtrack of all time, Hans Zimmer included.
"Anything but Ordinary" by Avril Lavigne, 2002
I never want to hear "Sk8er Boi" or "Complicated" again in my whole life, but Avril's back catalogue is still pretty solid.
"Backstage" by The Donnas, 2003
This is also off of the "Freaky Friday" soundtrack and features a great guitar solo.
"Hallelujah" by Paramore, 2007
It's easy to forget how powerful Hayley Williams' voice is, but this track highlights her range.
"Work It" by Missy Elliot, 2002
Missy at her best.
"Gasolina" by Daddy Yankee, 2004
The definition of a Latino pop banger (and don't even try listening to the remix with Lil Jon).
"I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)" by Pitbull, 2009
Say what you will about Mr. Worldwide, but don't tell me you don't mouth the words, "Uno, dos, tres, cuatro," every time this jam comes on.
"A Milli" by Lil Wayne, 2008
Thanks to "Broad City," this track now reminds me of the pilot's opening scene.
"Short Skirt / Long Jacket" by Cake, 2001
Another show theme song that has stood the test of time—this one from the "Chuck" opening credits.
"Knock 'Em Out" by Lily Allen, 2006
There's something about Lily's cockney accent talk-singing about creepy dudes at the bar that gets me every time.
"Sadie Hawkins Dance" by Relient K, 2001
Relient K was my favourite band for like, 10 years, and I survived many road trips listening to "The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek" and "Two Lefts Don't Make a Right... But Three Do."
"Good Time" by Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen, 2012
Just a fun, fizzy bop.
"Na Na" by Superchick, 2002
Superchick was my life, my passion, my purpose.
"Stuck" by Stacie Orrico, 2003
I don't know how else to tell you that I only listened to contemporary Christian music for the first 12 years of my life.
"Spinnin' Around" by Jump5, 2001
Don't @ me they were Christian tween icons.
"She's Got Me Dancing" by Tommy Sparks, 2009
"(You Drive Me) Crazy" by Britney Spears, 1999
I didn't listen to Britney growing up (please see above comments), but I saw her music video at the end of the movie "Drive Me Crazy," and I was into it.
"Right Action" by Franz Ferdinand, 2013
Hot take: I like this song better than "Take Me Out"!
"Hang With Me" by Robyn, 2010
Better music lovers might say "Call Your Girlfriend" or "Dancing on My Own," but between the podcast "Call Your Girlfriend" and "Girls" season one, they're too overplayed.
Since U Been Gone" by Kelly Clarkson, 2004
The ultimate karaoke daydream song for middle school girls.
"SexyBack" by Justin Timberlake, feat. Timbaland, 2006
"Right Thurr" by Chingy, 2003
"Without Me" by Eminem, 2002
"Thrift Shop" by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, feat. Wanz, 2012
You know you still turn it up whenever it comes on.
"Fancy" by Iggy Azalea, feat. Charlie XCX, 2014
Even after we as a society realized that Iggy sucks, this still bangs in a big way. Maybe it's Charlie XCX.
"Tipsy" by J-Kwon, 2004
"Teen drinking. Is. Very. Bad."
And here is a playlist, because I love you.