10 lead singles from the 2000s that define these iconic album eras
These artists knew how to set the proper tone for an era.April 12, 2021
In the modern age of rapid releases, instant gratification and seemingly endless content, it’s easy to take singles for granted. After all, it’s hard to fully appreciate a new track—or even an album—for what it’s worth when you’ve got hundreds to choose from. Throwback to the 2000s alternative scene, though, and it’s a different story altogether.
Back in the day, our favorite music was so much harder to come by. Sure, you could resort to LimeWire if you didn’t have an iTunes gift card ready, but that involved effort (if not directly, then with the daunting task of removing computer viruses). So, when you came across a good lead single, you immediately started gearing up to get the whole album.
Now did these tracks always set the proper expectations for the coming record? Well, no… But it was always a great treat when they did. And, of course, great treats merit retrospective appreciation posts.
Here are 10 lead singles from 2000s alternative music that were totally representative of their albums.
“Weightless” – All Time Low
All Time Low set some serious expectations for themselves with their 2007 album, So Wrong, It’s Right. Of course, Nothing Personal hit them out of the park. We couldn’t ask for a better song to introduce the era than the first one on the tracklist. “Weightless” delivers the exact brand of breezy, neon-pop relatability that carries through the rest of the record—and the band’s discography.
“Welcome To The Black Parade” – My Chemical Romance
Just try to name a more iconic single. We’ll wait. “Welcome To The Black Parade” was undoubtedly the perfect track to introduce the dark, theatrical energy of My Chemical Romance‘s highly anticipated third iteration. Not only is it one of the most beloved songs from The Black Parade, though—it’s perhaps their most popular of all time. Even nearly 15 years later (ouch), the single is still hugely influential, inspiring creative endeavors from Trivium mashups to Clerks 3.
“Peace Sign / Index Down” – Gym Class Heroes
If Gym Class Heroes knew how to do anything, it was compiling the perfect album and kicking it off right. The Quilt is just one example of many. The band introduced their fourth iteration with “Peace Sign / Index Down,” featuring Busta Rhymes. The song set a high standard for the record with its charged, in-your-face variety of alternative hip-hop. No surprise, the broader collection didn’t disappoint in the slightest.
“Skyway Avenue” – We The Kings
Sure, “Check Yes Juliet” may be the We The Kings hit that everybody and their mother remember the words to. But let’s give credit where credit is due. “Skyway Avenue” set the scene for the band’s 2007 debut. The upbeat beacon of catchy pop-punk energy wraps up the whole essence of the self-titled album with a neat little bow. Even with a tracklist full of iconic alternative anthems, we couldn’t pick a better representative single.
“DONTTRUSTME” – 3OH!3
Need we actually elaborate on this one? Anyone who had listened to 3OH!3 prior to WANT probably had some idea of what the sophomore effort would bring. But for anyone who hadn’t, “DONTTRUSTME” told them exactly what they needed to know. Between its danceable, electronic energy and totally questionable lyrics, this single made it clear that we’d be listening to an album unlike any that had come before it.
“Feeling This” – blink-182
There’s a good reason that even Mark Hoppus regards “Feeling This” as one of the best blink-182 songs of all time. After all, the track perfectly captures all the beloved pop-punk energy of the band’s 2003 Untitled album. From its ever-catchy chorus to the memorable lyrics and cross-fading outro we nearly missed, the single was made to be iconic.
“Ignorance” – Paramore
Paramore‘s Brand New Eyes marked an era of maturation for the pioneering alternative outfit. We were never going to be totally ready for it, but, that said, “Ignorance” gave us a real good idea of what to expect. Twisting Riot!‘s anthemic pop-punk energy with radio-ready refinement, the band showed us exactly where they were headed right out of the gate.
“Girlfriend” – Avril Lavigne
Given the immediate, widespread success of “Girlfriend,” we weren’t sure if Avril Lavigne‘s The Best Damn Thing could possibly live up to all the hype. As it turns out, though, the lead single was just amping us up for what was to come. The album, though divisive among fans, proved to be an absolute powerhouse of poppy, alternative energy.
“We’ve Got A Big Mess On Our Hands” – The Academy Is…
The Academy Is… took a vastly different sonic approach on Santi in comparison to their debut album, Almost Here, and they weren’t going to beat around the bush when it came to revealing their new direction. “We’ve Got A Big Mess On Our Hands” definitely came as a big surprise to fans, though it wasn’t unappreciated. The single flawlessly kicked off an era that pulled us straight down into the gritty depths of TAI…
“Sugar, We’re Goin Down” – Fall Out Boy
Given the extent of Fall Out Boy‘s stylistic range, it’s actually surprising that any one song could represent a whole album. Take a listen to “Sugar, We’re Goin Down,” though, and just try to tell us that it doesn’t emanate the essence of From Under The Cork Tree. A masterful display of hooky, relatable pop punk, the single pulls the entire album together in just under four minutes.
What do you think were some of the best-representative lead singles to come from 2000s alternative albums? Let us know in the comments!