When you think about hits from the 2000s, the first half of the decade in particular, there's some serious(ly hilarious) visuals that are bound to spring up in your mind. It was, of course, just before the advent of YouTube, so you'd actually have to appreciate a music video, sit through a million Black Eyed Peas songs before you'd get to that one special hit. You treated those videos with a lot more respect.
The irony is that now, thanks to the video streaming service, these vintage songs are accessible AF. And when you rewatch all of your old faves, you start to remember that they're still a jam…but those videos are worthy of a deep side-eye. Here are just a few notable mentions.
"Leave (Get Out)" – JoJo
"Get Out" is about JoJo going onto Myspace and finding some new girl is ahead of her on her boyfriend's Top 8. Afterward, JoJo really wants this guy to get out of her life but that's gonna be really hard because they both attend the same school, which is somehow populated by students who look like they're in their mid-20s.
Oh, wait a minute, JoJo found her friend's number on her ex's phone. Which like, it's the 2000s, so that's one step above a Zack Morris brick phone. How did she even find it, what kind of archaeological dig did she have to do there? Anyway…
We're not going to lie to you, her vocals are actually damn impressive for someone so young, and particularly for someone who looks like an early version of the Cash Me Ousside girl. This is still a great track, and we've all at some point or another related to the immortal lyric, "You said that you would treat me right, but you was just a waste of time."
However, there is only one thought on our mind whenever we rewatch this vid: who's the idiot who let JoJo date in the first place? She was like literally11.
"Pieces of Me" – Ashlee Simpson
The legacy of "Pieces of Me," like Ashlee Simpson's entire career, will be forever tainted by that Saturday Night Live lip-syncing incident. It is law: no matter how many solid albums you release, when you botch your first SNL performance it's a permanent stain. And that's a real shame, because "Pieces of Me" as a standalone piece of work is solid, and the music video is.. .also something.
Ashlee is one of those old school MTV reality stars, back when things weren't (or were at least less) scripted, so it's charming to seeing those grainy clips contrasted with the COMPLETE ARTIFICE of Ashlee "recording" the song. It's like looking at an Instagram pic that went hard on the facetune and Claredon. You know what is real AF? Ashlee's weird seizure-dancing, which bleeds into just about every music video she has ever done. You know what is not real? Being punk when you're wearing a tank top that says "punk" on it.
Whatever, this is still a controversial fave, suffice to say we still want to chime in whenever she does the whole "OOOOOOH" thing.
"My Happy Ending" – Avril Lavigne
This masterpiece about romantic disappointment was lyrical gold for your LiveJournal icon. And it's still effective if you text the video at 3 am to your ex-boyfriend with zero context.
Not…that we've tried.
Secret time: Avril Lavigne is seriously so beautiful in this video, and also always, she just has these delicate features that she bogs down with all these accessories from Hot Topic and it's a bummer for real. Like you just really get the sense that she was in love with this guy, they do all the typical in-love things — like have dates at the effing laundromat.
Also, when she beats her boyfriend to death with a carnation? So punk.
Yeah, we could write novels about the hilarity in any and all of Avril Lavigne's music videos. Instead, we'll just say that this makes us feel a lot of things and that whole tutu and combat boots look definitely dominated the darker parts of middle school.
"Toxic" – Britney Spears
Even if you were the kind of adolescent nonconformist who was supposed to hate Britney Spears, you probably loved "Toxic." We don't think that's necessarily changed with the passage of time: red-haired Britney is a serious BAMF, she's really embracing her status as a sex symbol, and it's just so much more creative than "Slave 4 U."
At the same time, there are so many painfully extra moments woven in this vid, particularly during the airplane scenes. When she grinds up against that Dollar Store Brad Pitt in the airplane bathroom? Weird. Is he wearing a scrunchie? Watch this one again, because Stewardess Britney on the whole makes us uncomfortable.
"Don't Cha" – The Pussycat Dolls
This entire sentiment is obnoxious and reeks of insecurity and desperation. Which, listen, we've been there. When we're out dancing in moving jeeps, wearing leopard print bras, and hanging out, we also don't understand why our crush is dating some dumb basic.
Regardless, it's definitely a guilty pleasure — yet upon re-listening, we remember the Pussycat Dolls' voices being stronger. Now that we're taking a second glance, it's very clearly the Nicole Scherzinger show starring 26 other randos in hot pants.
"My Humps" – The Black Eyed Peas
This is a bad song.
This is objectively a bad song.
Like legit relisten to this without your nostalgia glasses on, every lyric is stupid as hell, Fergie's entire hook is fairly weak, "lovely lady lumps" is gross terminology. So much of this music video makes us cringe. Regardless, if you drank enough tequila and this came on you'd go from eye-rolling to rubbing your a– against Will.I.Am in like .2 seconds.
"Ain't No Other Man" – Christina Aguilera
Maybe this an acquired taste, especially for you "Genie in a Bottle" purists or "Dirrty" girls, but we can't help it. Everything in this video is so sparkly that it feels like we're being visually glitter bombed. TBH we wish that Christina had stuck with her retro thing for a good long while. We think starring in Burlesque probably killed that fun. Almost definitely.
Anyway, maybe it's not an old time standard, but this is a better song than "My Humps."
"Hollaback Girl" – Gwen Stefani
Everyone remembers the iconic "b-a-n-a-n-a-s" chorus. Everyone (tried to) forget that weird era in Gwen's career when she paraded around four Asian women as her accessorizes quipped, in broken Japanese, "Super Kawa-ii." At worst, this is all very badly handled and racist and would never, not for a second, fly in 2017. At best, she's acting like the one white chick in your school who had an anime character as her profile pic for six years. So…
This song, which is still pretty excellent, is actually a diss track towards Courtney Love. You'd think that'd be an easy win, you know? And then you watch this video and feel a little weird that Gwen, a woman in her mid-30s at the time of her album, is literally taking her feud to the schoolyard, all the while making moves like the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz.
Look, we love Gwen more than our own biological family, and we're grateful that we'll never spell bananas wrong ever again. Even still, her Love Angel Music Baby phase does not translate well in a much more woke world.
"Mr. Brightside" – The Killers
We don't have anything bad to say about this song because it is magical. It will be the first dance at our wedding, and "Coming out of my cage and I've been doing just fine" will be engraved on our headstone.
The music video is also iconic. This clown girl with cotton candy for hair decides to seduce Emma Roberts' dad and also the entire cast of Moulin Rouge! to make Brandon Flowers jealous. Clearly it works, because he wrote a whole song about being all tortured and green-eyed over it.