35. Mis-Teeq - Scandalous (2003) (171 points) From one British girl group to another. Mis-Teeq released their debut single 'Why' in Spring 2001 and quickly became the hottest urban group in the UK, thanks to their suave ability to blend R&B and garage. In fact, their debut album was entitled 'Lickin' On Both Sides' as a nod to their dual genres. 'Why' was initially promoted as an R&B ballad, but once the garage remix came out, suddenly the public took notice, particularly due to the freestyling and rapping abilities of Alesha Dixon. Several top 10 hits followed, none bigger than 'All I Want' which was on the garage side of things. They released their second album 'Eye Candy' in 2003 with the lead single 'Scandalous'. This one brought them back to R&B, a wise move as garage was dying out at this point. It became their biggest hit in the UK after peaking at #2 and selling 200,000 copies. After being featured on the soundtrack for infamous flop 'Catwoman', it was released as their debut single in the US and became their only hit there, peaking at #35. A couple more singles followed, but poor sales of the album, declining chart success for the singles, and the demise of their record label led to the group's split. Alesha Dixon, the rapper (but also decent enough singer) of the group found the most success afterwards, winning reality show 'Strictly Come Dancing' and becoming a TV personality, namely as a judge on Britain's Got Talent. She had also scored a few top 10 singles as a soloist. matthew_dixon and bluecherry had this top 10.
34. Alicia Keys - No One (2007) (171 points) We're back to Alicia Keys now, for her 6th entry. This time, it's the lead single from her third album 'As I Am'. This is arguably her most successful single, sitting at #1 for 5 weeks on the Hot 100 and 10 weeks on the R&B chart. After a very successful era for 'The Diary of Alicia Keys', 'No One' just exploded instantly in the US and helped the album sell 742,000 copies in its first week, a record number for an R&B album. Since its release, it has received some backlash due to being overplayed and repetitive, but the stats put it at #48 on Billboard's All-Time list. Around the world, it is also one of her biggest hits, going top 10 in countries for the first time since 'Fallin'' 6 years earlier. She didn't really score any other big hits from the album though, thus none of them make an appearance on our countdown.
33. India.Arie - Video (2001) (172 points) One of the brightest, but underrated, new talents to emerge in the decade was singer-songwriter-musician India.Arie (although she has won a Grammy for Best R&B album, so she's not entirely unappreciated). Her debut single 'Video', which rebels against social norms, has become an empowering anthem and helped her to become one of the most acclaimed songwriters of the decade, thanks to her political and positive messages. It remains her biggest single and was awarded 47 points from bluecherry, as well as top 10 from cheapthrills.
32. Mariah Carey - Touch My Body (2008) (179 points) After her huge comeback in 2005, the pressure was on for Mariah to maintain it with her next album, E=MC². The lead single was 'Touch My Body', a mid-tempo R&B song produced by Christopher "Tricky" Stewart, moving away from Dupri and Cox who aided her comeback. It was a controversial choice, as the song 'Migrate' had been picked as a standout by reviewers, was a fan favourite and even charted on the Hot 100 due to heavy radio airplay. But once 'Touch My Body' became Mariah's 18th #1 single, making her the soloist with the most US #1s, everyone was happy. It sold 286,000 digital copies in its first week, which was a record at the time! The video is one of her most popular too, with its comedic storyline and vivid colours. At the time, Mariah Carey and Janet Jackon were on the same record label, and it was suggested that the label, Island/Def Jam, had put all their efforts into 'Touch My Body' while neglecting 'Feedback'. In fact, from November 2007-April 2008, Celine Dion, Janet Jackson, Madonna and Mariah Carey all released studio albums! RayRay had this at #7
31. Destiny's Child - Say My Name (2000) (181 points) The oldest song to appear on our countdown is 'Say My Name' which was released in November 1999 in the US, but in Spring 2000 outside the US. Perhaps that is why it charts at a somewhat disappointing #31 on the countdown, despite being Destiny's Child's signature song (according to UKMIX). Its success was spread out into 2001, after it won Grammy Awards for Best R&B Song and Best R&B Performance by a duo or group. It was the first DC video to feature new members Michelle Williams and Farrah Franklin, who were replacing original members LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson. However, they did not record new vocals for the song, so you can see them lip-syncing to harmonies sung by LeToya and LaTavia in the video. In fact, LeToya and LaTavia claim they didn't know they were out of the group until they first saw the 'Say My Name' video! Despite all the controversy, it became their biggest hit to date, topping the Hot 100 and R&B charts, while going to #3 in the UK.
"Scandalous" has such brilliant production backing it. "No One" was definitely overplayed to an intolerable degree, and it's lost a lot of its lustre due to that. "Touch My Body" is cute, but it's so mediocre by Mariah's standards. "Say My Name" is divine, an absolute and undeniable bop, and comfortably among my favourite songs of all-time.
Oh wow, so happy to see Video get ranked high. I was beginning to think I was the only one that voted for her. I love that India's song are all about inclusion and empowerment One of my favorite recent songs by her is called Cocoa Butter -as in "your love is cocoa butter for my soul." Oh my!
I figured No One would be high, looks like I ranked No One 12th. That was a grade A smash from Ms. Keys.
Nominate songs for the 2000-2009 Female-Led Singles Countdown here. Participate in Fifty Shades of UKMix here.
Scandalous - it's okay, but I prefer all the singles from their first album No One - hate it, generic and overplayed. And shouty Video - love it! Gorgeous voice and lyrics, the world needs more music like this. My #28 Touch My Body - it's cute, but nothing special. Lambs overrate this video Say My Name - one of their best, even if somewhat overrated. I didn't like this new DC though. My #35
30. Beyonce feat. Jay Z - Deja Vu (2006) (186 points) Deja Vu was the lead single from Beyonce's second album 'B'Day'. Released in the summer of 2006, and facing tough competition from Justin Timberlake, Nelly Furtado and Fergie, the song received mixed reviews when it came out. The obvious comparisons to 'Crazy in Love' were made, with many people saying it was an inferior re-hash. Similarly to 'Crazy in Love', the song featured her future husband Jay Z, incorporated trumpets and horns, and had a video filled with dancing and costume changes. However, it couldn't match the success, peaking at #4 in the US and top 20 in several countries, paling compared to 'Crazy in Love' which went top 10 around the world. The song did go to #1 in the UK but fell fast. The era got off to an underwhelming start thanks to 'Deja Vu', but in the forthcoming years, the song has gained cult like status, and has become very popular overtime. This is evidenced on UKMIX, by entering our top 30, mostly thanks to LilyofTheValley and abi putting it top 10.
29. Mary J. Blige - No More Drama (2002) (189 points) Believe it or not, this is Mary Blige's first appearance in the entire top 200, despite releasing 20 singles during the decade. This one is obviously one of the more successful ones, the title track from her hugely successful 2001 album. It peaked at #15 in the US and #9 in the UK. The song is one of Mary's most personal. She has detailed the troubles and personal issues she faced during her life up until this point in several interviews, including alcohol and drug abuse and being sexually molested as a child. After a near death experience in 1999, she sought help and the result was quite literally, no more drama. The video showcases her raw emotion and also features cameos from Mariah Carey and Diddy, who had recently faced their own dramas at the time. It also samples the theme music for US soap opera 'The Young and The Restless' and has since become the theme tune for telenovelas in South America. LongingHeart and stevyy both put it top 10, although it's not known whether that is due to Mariah's 3 second cameo in the video.
28. Usher feat. Lil Jon and Ludacris - Yeah! (190 points) Some thought it would be top 10, but 'Yeah!' stalls at #28 on our countdown. However, it is one of the best performing male tracks on our list (and Usher is easily the most popular male on this countdown) so it's not all bad. Usher's most successful single of his career is this one, serving as the lead single for one of the best selling R&B albums of all-time, not just the 00s. Released in early 2004, he enlisted Lil Jon, who was the pioneer behind crunk music, which was becoming hugely popular at the time. The club banger became a huge hit, going to #1 all over the world and ending 2004 as the #1 song in America. It was also the #2 song of the decade there. Unlike the other songs on the album, it's not deeply personal, instead focusing on the beats. This is Usher's 6th and final appearance in our top 100.
27. Kelis - Trick Me (2004) (192 points) Kelis is one of the few American R&B artists who is much more popular outside the US. She released her first album 'Kaleidoscope' in 1999/2000, and quickly became one to watch thanks to her crazy hair and crazy attitude. After her second album 'Wanderland' was pulled, it wouldn't be until 2004 that she would truly reach her peak with her album 'Tasty'. With the Neptunes on lead production (like her previous 2 albums), it was actually Dallas Austin who produced the second single from the album, Trick Me. Following on from the success of lead single 'Milkshake', it went top 10 all over Europe, including #2 in the UK (frustratingly blocked by Frankie's response to Eamon, 'F.U.R.B.'. The song wasn't released in the US due to her record label collapsing shortly before its release. As 'Milkshake' has gathered a reputation for being a novelty song, many would argue that 'Trick Me' is Kelis' best track, and surely Erotica would agree as he put it #1. Kelis followed it up with two more successful singles, thus capping off her peak era. In 2006, she released 'Kelis Was Here' and chose not to work with the Neptunes, who had been with her since Day 1. That album bombed, largely thanks to a generic R&B lead single - everything Kelis was not. Since then, she has delved into EDM and alternative music, which hasn't been successful but has pleased her fanbase.
26. Aaliyah - Rock The Boat (2002) (199 points) Aaliyah has not been seen on our countdown since she opened it at #100 with posthumous single 'Miss You'. I'm sure everybody knows what 'Rock The Boat' represents and the tragedy behind it. Aaliyah released her self-titled album in summer 2001, and after the lukewarm reception to lead single 'We Need a Resolution', Aaliyah confirmed that she would be releasing two upcoming and coinciding singles from the album, 'More Than a Woman' and this one. The video for 'More Than a Woman' had already been shot, so Aaliyah and her team jetted off to the Bahamas to record the beach themed video for 'Rock The Boat'. After Aaliyah had shot her scenes for the video, she and 8 members of her team boarded a flight back to the US on August 25th 2001, even though they were initially scheduled to leave later in the week. Shortly after take off, the plane crashed and Aaliyah, aged 22, died instantly, along with everybody on the plane, including the pilot. As news began to spread, it was confirmed that the plane was carrying too much weight, but also that the pilot had not been licensed to fly the plane and had traces of alcohol and cocaine in his system. Aaliyah's death shocked the music world, and 16 years later is still felt in the R&B industry. The video for 'Rock The Boat' was eventually released a few months later and the song charted at #14 in the US and #12 in the UK.
Whitney Houston - I Learned From The Best - I like this song but didn't consider it, couldn't remember whether it was 99 or 00 - wouldn't have made a difference Britney Spears - I'm a Slave 4 U - no Michael Jackson - You Rock My World - weak Santana feat. Wyclef Jean and The G&B Project - Maria Maria - this is cool, didn't appreciate it enough at the time Chante Moore - Straight Up - my #30, love it. Such a fun bop! Janet Jackson - I Want You - I like it, but didn't vote for it. Some of her best vocals of the decade Amy Winehouse - Rehab - so annoying Wyclef Jean feat. Mary J. Blige - 911 - my #45, really mellow and beautiful song Tweet - Oops (Oh My) - I like Tweet, but hate this song Toni Braxton - Please - not the Toni I like Mary Mary - Shackles (Praise You) - it's okay but a bit annoying. It probably suffered due to be 1999 in the US. It was #80 on the 90s countdown Janet Jackson feat. Carly Simon - Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song is About You) - one of my fave Janet songs, but the album version! My #19. City High - What Would You Do - I find this one too preachy and whiny Mariah Carey - Crybaby - I like it, but probably better as an album track Nivea feat. Jagged Edge - Don't Mess With My Man - my #10, such a bop and memories of summer 2002 which was incredible Ciara feat. Missy Elliott - 1, 2 Step - it's fine but been ruined by mainstream popularity
Deja Vu - I liked it at the time, especialy the final pre-chorus. Kinda basic now. No More Drama - I love 90s Mary, but she was hit and miss for me in the 2000s, this one being a miss Yeah - I don't like it nor do I hate it Trick Me - Kelis used to be so cool! I really liked this song, but it got kinda overplayed. Rock The Boat - gorgeous song, although it could be shorter. It could have gone top 10 in the UK if they didn't release it so late (something I've already commented on with 'Dip It Low' and 'Hit Em Up Style'. It was released like 2.5 months after the video started being played, even I was bored of the song by the time it got released) My #36