Remember the time that Avril Lavigne was a really big deal? 2004 was that time. Her second album, Under My Skin, was de second best selling album of the year and spawned the singles My Happy Ending, Don’t Tell Me, Nobody’s Home and He Wasn’t. Okay, maybe 2004 really did happen ten years ago.
The Superbowl Half Time show
You have good Superbowl shows and fantastic-never-forget Superbowl performances. Beyoncé’s show last year was great, don’t get me wrong, but you’ll only remember it because of the power outage she caused. Then you have Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake’s performance at the Superbowl in 2004. I don’t have to remind you what happened, but this is probably the most influential half time show ever. It made the phrase “wardrobe malfunction” a household term and Janet’s left breast made sure no other big event would ever be broadcasted without a couple of seconds delay again.
Queen Of Pop
If you have the third best selling album in the States, one could say you’ve had a pretty good year. But that’s just an acceptable-to-normal year for the Queen of Pop not-named-Madonna. Besides In The Zone, Britney Spears also released her first Greatest Hits album and ended with that compilation in the top 15 of best selling albums of the year worldwide. But, that too, would be just an average year for Miss Spears. Besides music, Britney was busy on a whole other level. She released as many albums as times she got married and found time to tour the country. 2004 was a hell of a year for Britney Spears.
The Beginning Of Adam Levine’s Career
Even though Songs About Jane was released in 2002, it took two more years for Maroon 5 to really take off. Adam Levine and his band scored a moderate hit with Harder To Breathe in ’02, but This Love and She Will Be Loved both became monster hits in 2004. You could argue that the foundation for Levine’s future, where he would go on to work with Kanye West, 50 Cent, Alicia Keys and Kendrick Lamar, was laid ten years ago.
Outkast Receives Grammy For Album Of The Year
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below marks as the beginning of one of the saddest splits in music history. It is an OutKast album, but it is not really an OutKast album. Despite the fact that it’s just two solo albums of two artists who previously recorded together, it was extremely successful. Hey Ya! won’t ever be forgotten and The Way You Move was one of the best songs in a year that was loaded with great songs. Speakerboxxx/The Love Below has been certified diamond for selling 5.5 million records (because it’s a double-album, the RIAA multiplies the copies sold by two). But in my mind, it will always be the beginning of the end.1
John Mayer Steals Everyone’s Girlfriend’s Heart
The last single off John Mayer’s third album would go on to be his biggest hit till date. Daughters won numerous awards, including the Grammy for Song of the Year. It’s ironic that Mayer himself didn’t really like this song to be a single. He preferred Come Back To Bed or Something’s Missing as follow-up single to Bigger Than My Body and Clarity. According to Wikipedia, Daughters is hailed as John Mayer’s best song, which is completely insane and feels like saying that Caught Up is Usher’s best song. It’s good, but it’s not even close to being his best2
Jay-Z Already Rules The World
Fresh off the success of The Black Album, Jay’s so-called retirement album, Jay-Z teamed up with Linkin Park for MTV’s Mash Up. The CD/DVD package of six of these mash ups ended up to be the best selling CD/DVD of the year 2004. The great success of the collaboration between Mike Shinoda’s Linkin Park and Shawn Carter became apparent after still hearing Numb/Encore every hour on the radio six months after it was released. Let’s go back one more time:
Lil’ Fizz, J-Boog, Raz-B and Omarion3 had a short but sweet run in the early ’00s. Three successful tours, hit singles as Uh-huh, Gotsta Be, Girlfriend and of course Bump, Bump, Bump. B2K was officially dissolved after filming You Got Served. Badaboom became the last single (okay, the last single is actually Do That Thing but who’s heard of that song?!) and in 2004 the group released the obligatory Greatest Hits.
Fergie Makes The Black Eyed Peas Relevant
At the end of 2003, a little hiphop group released Elephunk. It’s the group’s third album, but the first one with their new female member: Fergie.4 The singles from the album, Where Is The Love?, Hey Mama, Let’s Get It Started and Shut Up, all became massive hits and out of nowhere, Will.I.Am, Fergie and The Black Eyed Peas were superstars.
Usher Has His Thriller Moment
You really thought this list would end without one mention of Usher? The photo atop this post probably tipped you off, but 2004 really was Usher’s year. Sure, Britney, Jay-Z and Avril had great years, but no one even comes close to Usher in 2004. A couple of years after releasing 8701, Usher becomes the first R&B artist to ever sell more than one million albums in the first week. Just some other random facts about Confessions:
- Delivered Usher 8 Grammy nominations, he won three;
- Became the best solo album of the 00’s (and second best overall album of that decade);
- Went diamond in 2012, meaning more than 10 million copies have been sold in the US alone;
- Spawned four chart-topping singles: Yeah!, Burn, My Boo and Confesions Part II.5
Prepare for a couple of thousands words on Confessions and it’s impact in March. For now, here’s Usher’s great VMA performance in 2004:
- Maybe 2014 will be the year of the reunion. OutKast will be headlining Coachella, according to it’s schedule. I’ll believe it when both André and Big Boi are on stage. Together. At the same time. Performing OutKast songs. ↩
- My humble opinion on Mayer’s best tracks? Neon, Belief, Stop This Train and In Your Atmosphere in some order. ↩
- No wonder why Omarion was the most successful of the group with names like that. ↩
- Fun fact: Originally they approached Nicole Scherzinger to join the band, but she was already under contract as a member of Eden’s Crush. Both Fergie and Nicole Scherzinger turned out fine. ↩
- Caught Up was also released as a single, but never reached the top spot. ↩