Although they came out in 2001, iPods only really became realistically attainable for the majority of us sometime around 2004 when prices began to finally drop ever so slightly and when those savings from our Saturday jobs were finally starting to add up ($14.42? I'll own an iPod in no time!). The idea that we could fit our entire musical collection on a device smaller than our purses was remarkable to us; iPods were a musical revolution, and they gave us the opportunity to not only carry all of our music everywhere but to also flaunt it as proof of how truly eclectic and cultured our tastes were. But, being eclectic didn't automatically mean that you were original in any way, because looking back, there was a definite crossover of songs that every millennial had on their iPods.
And so it was the indie kids who were eager to show off the pop songs which they believed were truly a step above the average crowd pleaser, the pop kids who were eager to show that they had an angry side too and had the metal songs to prove it, and the metal kids who wanted to flaunt that they were still in touch with their emotions above all that riffing and yelling with a delicate collection of feelings in melodic form.
So come, share a set of ear buds with me and let’s take a trip back to the songs that every millennial had loaded up on their iPods.
1. Gwen Stefani - "Hollaback Girl"
Let's get real about this: In 2006, this was the song to have blasting through your ear buds to make you feel you feel like an absolute boss on your morning commute to school.
2. The Postal Service - "Such Great Heights"
Oh, you poor emotional angel. You might not think that you know this song, but you totally do and the odds are you listened to this through your headphones in your bedroom so you could enjoy swooning over that brooding hottie in your art class with total privacy.
3. Kelly Clarkson - "Since U Been Gone"
Admit it, you slammed the volume of this song up to full blast, stood on your bed, and mimed every last lyric of this spectacular power-ballad until you were red in the face. There's no shame here, sister.
4. Justin Timberlake - "Cry Me A River"
Even all the "cool" people I knew had this song on their iPods, and you know why? Because it's a bona-fide bitter break up classic, that's why.
5. Ciara feat. Missy Elliott - "1, 2 Step"
This song made it near impossible to use public transport without getting caught breaking out into a "1, 2 Step" jive of your own. I've never been able to get on the 75 bus route since.
6. Outkast - "Hey Ya"
Despite its cheerful exterior, the intimate, high-quality environment provided by an iPod meant that we all came to realise that "Hey Ya" was actually hiding some devastating lyrics about heartbreak, making our subsequent enjoyment of the song sullied with anguish.
7. The Killers - "Mr Brightside"
Simply, they were on the soundtrack of every teen show of the time, and as a result, that first album of theirs crept its way into our hearts (and onto our iPods) overnight.
8. Destiny's Child - "Lose My Breath"
I still can't believe that this song doesn't get more love because it delivers such high volumes of fierceness that I feel pumped for life even just after hearing the five seconds of its intro.
9. Nelly Furtado - "Maneater"
Is this song anything other than completely badass? Legit makes you want to own whatever place you happen to be strolling into.
10. Amerie - "1 Thing"
Can we all just agree that this is easily one of the greatest pop songs ever written? Masterpiece.
11. Kings Of Leon - "Molly's Chambers"
Back in the early '00s, Kings Of Leon were the just a bunch of super hairy-looking guys who kind of made you want to become the Penny Lane to their Stillwater, but you weren't exactly sure why. The best place for them? Hidden away on your iPod whilst you decided whether you even liked them and what kind of witchcraft they were holding over you.
12. Snoop Dogg Feat. Pharrell - "Drop It Like It's Hot"
This was the best jam for your lunch breaks; find a patch of sun to sit in and kick back to that laid back beat. Bliss.
13. N.E.R.D - "She Wants To Move"
All dubious lyrics aside (my ass is not a spaceship, guy!), this was one of the most infectious pop songs of the early '00s, and if you didn't have it on your iPod, then you lived a tormented existence where it simply swirled around your brain without your permission, instead.
14. Phantom Planet - "California"
Erm, The O.C. theme song, anyone? As if any of us owned an iPod and not load up with this total gem of a song. It's instant joy, my friends.
15. Death Cab For Cutie - "The New Year"
Speaking of The O.C., you know as well as I do that Seth Cohen had a far bigger influence on your iPod collection that you'd care to admit. Like, just how were you ever gonna snare that Adam Brody lookalike unless you had Death Cab on there?
16. Kelis - "Milkshake"
The perfect song for those of us who loved any or all of the following: songs with a killer beat, milkshakes.
17. Pink - "Don't Let Me Get Me"
Pink just totally got you, right? She knew the score.
18. Linkin Park - "Numb"
Such emotion. Much anger. Don't worry about me mom and dad, I'm just skulking in my room to music that you can't even hear.
19. Bright Eyes - "Easy/Lucky/Free"
Conor Oberst was the pin-up boy for sensitive, artsy, semi-emo individuals who wore their hearts on their sleeves and liked to shout emotional climaxes rather than sing them.
20. Evanescence - "Bring Me To Life"
Total operatic, goth drama. Maybe you were proud to have this on your iPod and maybe not, either way, you probably still had it on there and you know as well as I do that you never skipped past it when it came on shuffle.
21. Christina Aguilera Feat. Lil Kim - "Can't Hold Us Down"
I don't care what anyone says this song is one big scoop of fierce, musical empowerment on a tall, sassy cone of sex-positive wonder.
22. The Walkmen - "The Rat"
OK, so this one is a little less universal, but all that I know is that for about 10 years whenever I went to a party and there happened to be an iPod dock there at some point during the night a deeply emotional dude would stumble over and put this on from his own collection before spilling wine everywhere whilst he danced to it (also, I would dance to. Because I love it).
23. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Date With The Night"
The best song for sharing an earbud over with your best friend whilst en-route to a night out.
I remember my first iPod Classic all too clearly, and I also remember the day it died on me — there are some deaths that devices just cannot recover from, ladies. R.I.P little fella, and may these songs continue to play in whatever junkyard in the sky you're currently shuffling through.