37 Best Songs From 2002

Best Songs From 2002

The early 2000s were a time of change for the music industry, with digital streaming becoming more common and the rising popularity of pop, hip-hop, and R&B.

Whether it’s Eminem’s album The Eminem Show, Alicia Keys winning a Grammy Award, or the premiere of American Idol, 2002 had some memorable music related moments moments.

Let’s take a walk down memory lane with some top songs from 2002.

“Without Me” by Eminem

Song Year: 2002

Marshall Mathers cemented his status as a rap legend with his fourth studio album, The Eminem Show, released in 2002.

“Without Me” takes a dig at public figures like Dick Cheney, who criticized Eminem previously. It also raps about the artist’s rise to success and his undeniable influence on the music industry in the early 2000s.

“Complicated” by Avril Lavigne

Song Year: 2002

This energetic pop rock ballad turned Avril Lavigne into a superstar, only two years after she signed her first record deal.

The lyrics talk about hiding one’s true feelings and remain relatable to this day, making “Complicated” one of the most memorable songs of 2002 and possibly one of the best pop songs of all time.

“Foolish” by Ashanti

Song Year: 2002

“Foolish” was Ashanti’s debut single, a moving soul and R&B track about a painful breakup that remains one of the best songs of 2002. The song stayed at the top of the Billboard charts for ten consecutive weeks and the music video earned three nominations at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards. Watch it to see how many celebrities you can spot!

“Luv U Better” by LL Cool J

Song Year: 2002

This catchy single climbed to the top of the R&B and hip-hop charts towards the end of the summer and proved that LL Cool J, one of the best rappers of the 90s, was still relevant. The touching love song is the result of a collaboration between songwriter Case Woodard and the Neptunes, a production duo that includes Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo.

“Like I Love You” by Justin Timberlake

Song Year: 2002

“Like I Love You” was Justin Timberlake’s debut solo single after ‘N SYNC went on a permanent hiatus. This commercial success helped launch Justin Timberlake’s solo career.

“The Game of Love” by Santana (feat. Michelle Branch)

Song Year: 2002

“The Game of Love” was an international success for Santana. Michelle Branch’s vocals infuse the song with a sense of longing that complements Santana’s legendary guitar-playing skills.

Fun fact: Tina Turner was the original female performer for this song.

“Freak Like Me” by The Sugababes

Song Year: 2002

With its fun lyrics and catchy beat, “Freak Like Me” remains one of the quintessential dance songs of the early 2000s. This 2002 song is actually a cover of an Adina Howard song released in 1995.

“Clocks” by Coldplay

Song Year: 2002

This alt rock track reached Billboard’s top ten modern rock charts in 2002. The catchy piano melody turned the song into a popular tune for samples.

“Stole” by Kelly Rowland

Song Year: 2002

“Stole” still feels relevant today with its lyrics that discuss difficult topics like teenage pregnancy and gun violence. The song was a worldwide success and played a significant part in launching Kelly Rowland’s post-Destiny’s Child career.

“Work It” by Missy Elliott

Song Year: 2002

With its raunchy lyrics, animal noises, and reversed vocals, Work It remains a unique artistic creation that celebrates female sexuality. The song quickly rose to the top of the charts but proved to be less popular than Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.”

“Hot in Herre” by Nelly

Song Year: 2002

“Hot in Herre” remains one of the most memorable party songs of the early 2000s. This single won a Grammy Award and set one of the first online streaming records on AOL Music.

“A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton

Song Year: 2002

We can’t talk about good music from 2002 without mentioning “A Thousand Miles.” The pop song features one of the most recognizable piano hooks.

Fun fact, this was one of the most requested songs from U.S. troops stationed abroad in 2002.

“Gangsta Lovin’” by Eve (feat. Alicia Keys)

Song Year: 2002

“Gangsta Lovin’” was Eve’s second chart-topping hit for 2002 following her collaboration with Missy Elliott on “4 My People.” Featuring Alicia Keys, this July release remains one of the most recognizable songs of the summer of 2002

“Girlfriend” by ‘N SYNC (feat. Nelly)

Song Year: 2002

“Girlfriend” marked the end of an era for ‘N SYNC as the last single the band released. The song made it to the top ten Billboard charts and became a Gold-certified single in three countries.

“Oops (Oh My)” by Tweet (feat. Missy Elliott)

Song Year: 2002

“Oops (Oh My)” is the result of a collaboration between Tweet and Missy Elliott. The R&B track briefly topped Billboard US R&B and hip-hop charts. It precedes “Call Me,” Tweet’s second hit released in 2002.

“Lose Yourself” by Eminem

Song Year: 2002

Featured in the biopic 8 Mile, “Lose Yourself” tells the story of Eminem’s humble beginnings. It was the rapper’s first song to rise to the top of the charts and remains an impressive display of Eminem’s rapping skills.

“Full Moon” by Brandy

Song Year: 2002

“Full Moon” is an upbeat and catchy love song with elements of pop and R&B. The song was the most successful single debut in the US hot R&B and hip-hop charts. Brandy had another successful single from the same album with “What About Us?”

“Don’t Let Me Get Me” by Pink

Song Year: 2002

“Don’t Let Me Get Me” was a commercial success for Pink. The single reached the top ten spots on the Billboard Hot 100 charts and was a success in several countries. The lyrics that reference Britney Spears make this song representative of early 2000s pop culture.

“Long Time Gone” by the Dixie Chicks

“Long Time Gone” by the Dixie Chicks

Song Year: 2002

Country and bluegrass band the Dixie Chicks won a Grammy Award for this cover of a Darrell Scott song. “Long Time Gone” topped the country charts and is still one of the most recognizable singles of the band.

“Ain’t It Funny (Murder Remix)” by Jennifer Lopez (feat. Ja Rule)

Song Year: 2002

This track is a remix of the J. Lo track “Ain’t It Funny” released the previous year. Following the success of the “I’m Real” remix, J. Lo embraced a more modern and upbeat sound and released an entire album filled with remixes and collaborations.

“Dilemma” by Nelly (feat. Kelly Rowland)

Song Year: 2002

“Dilemma” is an emotional duet between Nelly and Kelly Rowland. With two of the biggest rap and R&B artists of the early 2000s involved, it’s no surprise that the track stayed at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart for a total of 10 consecutive weeks.

“A Moment Like This” by Kelly Clarkson

Song Year: 2002

If you’re looking for good music from 2002, “A Moment Like This” is a unique mix of soul, pop music, and R&B that helped launch Kelly Clarkson’s career after winning American Idol.

“Underneath Your Clothes” by Shakira

Song Year: 2002

In 2021, Shakira released her first English-language album with Laundry Service. “Underneath Your Clothes” is the second single released from this album and was a commercial success.

“Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera

Song Year: 2002

Christina Aguilera won a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance with this emotional pop ballad. The song quickly became a double platinum hit and became an anthem for the LGBT+ community.

“Sk8er Boi” by Avril Lavigne

Song Year: 2002

With “Sk8er Boi” Avril Lavigne released a teen anthem that remains emblematic of early 2000s pop culture. The track mixes several genres, including pop, rock, and punk while featuring a catchy chorus.

Fun fact: Avril Lavigne has performed this song in every single one of her concert tours.

“Cry Me a River” by Justin Timberlake

Song Year: 2002

“Cry Me a River” is a single from Justin Timberlake’s debut solo album released in 2002. The song features elements of pop music and R&B and discusses a painful breakup. The inspiration behind the song is probably Justin Timberlake’s relationship with Britney Spears, which ended in 2002.

“Fell in Love With a Girl” by The White Stripes

Song Year: 2002

With “Fell in Love With a Girl”, the White Stripes established themselves as an alt rock band to be reckoned with. The single was their first song to reach the top of the alternative charts. The band would go on to have a timeless hit with “Seven Nation Army” the following year.

“The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World

Song Year: 2002

With its unique mix of pop, punk, and emo pop, “The Middle” feels emblematic of Jimmy Eat World’s musical style. The single comes from the band’s first self-financed album and turned out to be a success in the rock charts.

“My List” by Toby Keith

Song year: 2002

Did you know country was the second most popular music genre in 2002 in the charts behind rap? With “My List,” Toby Keith stayed at the top of the country charts for close to a month.

The lyrics invite the listeners to think about what matters the most in life while the music video includes references to the 9/11 attacks.

“The Good Stuff” by Kenny Chesney

Song year: 2002

“The Good Stuff” was a summertime hit for Kenny Chesney. It stayed at the top of the charts for seven consecutive weeks and remains one of the biggest country hits of 2002.

“What’s Luv?” by Fat Joe

Song year: 2002

This catchy rap song features two of the early 2000s biggest names, Ja Rule and Ashanti. “What’s Luv?” includes a catchy chorus inspired by the Tina Turner hit “What’s Love Got to Do With It” combined with the kind of modern beat that defined rap and R&B at the time.

“All You Wanted” by Michelle Branche

Song year: 2002

Michelle Branch’s hit “All You Wanted” features some great guitar playing and an emotional chorus that makes the song easy to remember. The alt rock track peaked in sixth position in the US Billboard Hot 100 and did well in other countries.

“Just a Friend 2002” by Mario

Song year: 2002

“Just a Friend 2002” is an updated version of Biz Markie’s 1989 single “Just a Friend.” The lyrics of this newer version are about a man who experiences heartbreak after finding out that his girlfriend has been cheating on him.

“Oh Boy” by Cam’ron

Song year: 2002

One of the 100 greatest hip-hop songs of all times according to VH1, “Oh Boy” stayed at the top of the Hot R&B and Hip-Hop Singles charts for a total of five weeks. The song is about a successful drug dealer and originally included a verse from Jay-Z that producers decided to remove.

“Down 4 U” by Ja Rule, Ashanti, Vita and Charli Baltimore

Song year: 2002

With so many talented artists involved, it’s no surprise that this catchy collaboration became a hit during the summer of 2002. The song takes its inspiration from the 1987 Roger Troutman hit “I Want to Be Your Man.”

“Jenny From the Block” by Jennifer Lopez (feat. Jadakiss and Styles P)

Song Year: 2002

“Jenny From the Block” is a fun and catchy R&B song where Jennifer Lopez pays homage to classic hip-hop music by incorporating several samples from the 70s.

“All My Life” by The Foo Fighters

Song Year: 2002

“All My Life” was a commercial success in the US and the UK for the Foo Fighters. The powerful grunge track won a Grammy Award and topped the alternative charts for ten weeks. It’s still one of the most successful and recognizable songs of the band to this day.

Top Songs From 2002, Final Thoughts

The music industry changed with the new millennium, and the top songs from 2002 are representative of the trends that defined the early 2000s with the rise of rap as a mainstream genre or the growing popularity of collaborations and remixes.

Whether you lived through the early 2000s or simply like old-school music, this list features the best tracks from that era that have remained popular to this day.

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