The Audio Diva 2000's: Justified, Stripped...and Feeling Floetic [2002]

Monday, November 9, 2009

2002 is quite a blur to me for the sheer fact that there were only three things that mattered that year: Justin Timberlake, my first cell phone and Marching Band UIL Competition. My love for Justin Timberlake went to it's ultimate teeny-bopper zenith that year, with the former boyband member embarking on a solo career and me collecting the posters, books, singles and everything with his mug plastered on it. I know my parents probably paid for at least three cars that man owns. Marching band became much more grueling, as this season we were slamming the competition with our show based on the music of 70's soul-jazz band, Blood, Sweat and Tears. Personally, it was the best show we did, as there was some tricky formations that looked pretty darn awesome from the stands. I also believe I perfected my slides and flanks, thus I became a lead marcher of the clarinet line...but I'm just talking band nerd speech for those who are totally confused.

I became kind of obsessed with musical theater around this time due to me upping my geekazoid factor by joining the drama team, and being around those who prayed in the Church of Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth. The Chicago movie and its soundtrack were huge for me, and I can remember re-imaging "The Cell Block Tango" with plastic chairs in the costume closet with my drama club pals. Good times, and sore necks from all that swiveling....

Musicians in 2002 didn't themselves too seriously because there were a bevy of hip-hop anthems and pop party jams that emerged that year. The best of the anthems was Nelly's "Hot In Herre" (and you have to pronounce "here" like "hurr" to sound legitimate). Some people took that song literally and took off their clothes...and it wasn't even hot anywhere.... On the serious side, "Clocks" and it's tinkling piano opening by Coldplay was the inescapable song of that year, even though I preferred the more evolving, "The Scientist". 2002 also saw the emergence of two R&B singers with names who started with "A". I'm talking about Ashanti and Amerie, and "Foolish"-ly we listened to Ashanti more so than to Amerie, who had one of the better R&B songs that year with, "Talkin' To Me". Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Vivian Green and Sia were the new kids on the block as well in 2002. No Doubt were 'rocking steady' with The Neptunes, who were the hot producers of the year, as Missy Elliott was 'working it' and talking about those "Gossip Folks". Justin Timberlake wasn't the only member to break from a group, as Kelly Rowland was the first Destiny's Child member to go solo this year as well. She gave us the smashing, "Can't Nobody" a song that sadly fell on deaf ears, as did Mariah Carey's quiet comeback from the Glitter mishap, the underrated Charmbracelet. 2002 was also when we lost the talents of Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes and Run DMC's Jam Master Jay to tragic events. As for the first cellphone, let's just say it was a blue Verizon Kyerocera (do they even make those anymore?) and about as big as a piece of roast beef, it was the beginning of bigger things to arrive....

The Big 3 of 2002

Justin Timberlake
There was a time where Justin Timberlake was well...a singer. Currently, he's continuously on Saturday Night Live as if he's a cast member (Lorne Michaels just hire him already...), or he's swinging a golf club or pitching products for commercials. Sure he's producing for other artists and is attached at Timbaland's hip, but back in 2002, Justin Timberlake was well...the MAN. Many will disagree, but songs like "Cry Me A River" and "Like I Love You" were kind of inescapable at that time. Justified was the highly anticipated debut that was to show (and did show) that Justin was bigger than the boyband wind pants he wore while in *NSYNC. It spawned four grand hit singles and still remains to be the best thing he has done. In honesty, this is how I'd like to remember Justin Timberlake...him wearing the Michael Jackson fedora, singing "Senorita, I feel for you" and being the best soulful White boy around at that time. Not that other guy now...

Christina Aguilera
It seems every female pop star at that time was trying to shed their wholesome image and unleash their inner sex kitten. Out of all those who tried, Christina Aguliera did it better and with a much better album in tow. With ass-less pants and smudgy eye makeup, Christina shed her goody-good image and got a little "dirrty". In honesty, she didn't need to do the sex tart gimmick, her sophomore album Stripped showed the singer at her best as she vocally wowed with tracks such as "Beautiful" and "Fighter". The un-released tracks were the gems as "Loving Me 4 Me" and the jangly rock stomp of "Make Over" are still two favorites of mines. A year later, I would see Christina give her all live, and I became an even bigger fan than before.

Floetry was one of those "Hmm...this album looks good, let me just buy it" type of purchases, and it proved to be one of the smartest buys for me that year. In fact, this was the album that kind of started me on how I discover music now...just by cover art attraction, and fortunately, that trick hasn't steered me off into a muddy ditch. The British duo continued to grab my attention, especially after seeing the video for "Floetic", which actually got some plays on MTV. In retrospect, "Say Yes" was possibly the best song that was released that year and still to this day it's one of the best expressions of love set to music I've ever heard.

Top 15 Songs of 2002

1. Cry Me A River-Justin Timberlake
2. Hella Good-No Doubt
3. Say Yes-Floetry
4. Fighter-Christina Aguilera
5. Full Moon-Brandy

6. Objection (Tango)-Shakira
Shakira started singing in English and dyed her hair blonde, and of course purists got a little miffed. Still it wasn't like the music she put out was bad..."Objection (Tango)" was my personal favorite with it's boisterious appeal, plus that cartoon music video was hilarious.

7. Can't Nobody-Kelly Rowland
8. Talkin' To Me-Amerie
9. Work It-Missy Elliott

10. If I Could Go-Angie Martinez
She's always been a radio personality, but Angie gave "singing"--or should I just say "music"--a go, and actually gave us a pretty spunky single. Truthfully, this is quite a fun tune due to the chorus with bounces around on a Latin-pop beat. Lil' Mo and Sacario (what ever happened to them?) provide the flows on this to take this song to #15 in 2002.

11. U Don't Have To Call-Usher
12. Bright Lights-Matchbox 20
13. Die Another Day-Madonna

14. Hit The Freeway-Toni Braxton
Yep, this was a atomic bomb for Toni Braxton as this song barely charted and led to her not charting much after that, but this was a jam that nobody heard. If you missed it, you missed out. The Neptunes gave Toni a perfect R&B groover that just didn't quit. Funny, rapper, Loon was on you know this is a relic.

15. The Scientist-Coldplay


  1. Oh, Toni. How my heart weeps for her. I love her.

    And yes, Xtina.. back when she was amazing! I am worried about her. She seems to be making some mis-steps.

    CHICAGO!! Best musical ever. Can't wait for NINE.

  2. I swear we are sisters from other mothers. It's kind of ridic.

    And you totally made me want pull out and bring back that Angie Martinez song. That was my JAM!

  3. Will,

    'Chicago' is LOVE for me, especially since I saw the musical live the next year in 2003. Just amazing! I'm kind of anxious for 'Nine' as well.


    My sista! I heard that Angie Martinez song in the grocery store of all places one day, and I had to literally drop the bread I was holding and dance a bit in the aisle (luckily, nobody was in the aisle at that moment LOL). That song just makes me remember 2002 and how music wasn't so serious then!


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