If I had to rank the music of every year I’ve been alive, 2006 would have to be in the top 10. I went through Billboard’s Hot 100 from 16 years ago and picked out the choicest tracks. It’s hard to believe that some of these classic bops were released 16 years ago! Here are 16 songs that are celebrating their “Super Sweet 16” this year.
“Breaking Free” from ‘High School Musical’
Does this make you feel old? I remember this movie coming out in elementary school, and we sang this song while walking to class for weeks after. High School Musical’s climactic track “Breaking Free” was the first song released as a single for the movie, and it’s a classic.
Since the movie came out, the song has been covered several times, including for High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. “Breaking Free” was also in the top ten on two Billboard charts. And since we don’t really talk about songwriters of Disney Channel much, it was written by Jamie Houston. Thanks, Jamie!
“Shoulder Lean” by Young Dro feat. T.I.
“Shoulder Lean” was Young Dro’s debut single from his first album. He started his career off with a big bang! It was a massive hit when it was released, and you can still hear it playing at junior high dances. It even featured at a sorority formal last year, according to my cousin.
Young Dro’s debut topped two Billboard charts and won the BET Mobile Hot Ring Award. “Shoulder Lean” even won Young Dro the Best Rapper Award at the 2006 Ozone Awards. Dro’s last album was released in 2015, but he does have some mixtapes out as recently as 2019 and new music on the way.
“Promiscuous” by Nelly Furtado feat. Timbaland
This song came back on my radar around this New Year’s, and I’m so glad it did. “Promiscuous” was a single from Nelly Furtado’s third album. It’s a conversation between two people accusing each other of bad behavior, but the song is so good.
The song marked the first time a Canadian female artist made it to number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 since 1998. “Promiscuous” might not have won the Grammy it was nominated for, but it did manage to snag Best Pop Single at the 2006 Billboard Awards.
“Ain’t No Other Man” by Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera has been a powerhouse for years, and “Ain’t No Other Man” is no exception. Inspired by her marriage to Jordan Bratman the year prior, this song is the lead single from her fifth album, Back to Basics.
“Ain’t No Other Man” topped Billboard’s Dance/Mix Show Airplay and Dance Club Songs weekly charts. It also peaked on the weekly Hot 100 chart and appeared on many other charts. The song also got Aguilera a Grammy Award for the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 2007.
“Call Me When You’re Sober” by Evanescence
While Evanescence might be better known for “My Immortal” or “Bring Me to Life,” this song is one of their most heartbreaking tracks. “Call Me When You Sober” is about a relationship where one person suffers from addiction and the other must make the choice to leave.
The song was officially released on September 4, 2006, but it was leaked online and to radio stations earlier that year on July 31. Since being released, it’s been featured in various video games and reached the top ten on several Billboard charts.
“Fergalicious” by Fergie
When I was listening to “Fergalicious” again for the first time in years, I realized the version I listened to in the car was much shorter than the studio version – a whole minute shorter.
Fergie wrote the song with will.i.am, but they also credited the writers of “Give It All You Got” by Afro-Rican and “Supersonic” by J.J. Fad because both songs were sampled on this track. When’s the last time you watched the colorful, candy-coated music video?
“Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol
“Chasing Cars” will always be my favorite Snow Patrol. And it’s not because it’s been featured in so many shows and movies, from Grey’s Anatomy to One Tree Hill to Just Go with It.
This song is such a classic that it has been covered by popular singers like Ed Sheeran, Tim McGraw, and Faith Hill. The song is about true love with absolutely no twists or turns – just pure romance and nothing else. It’s one of the most heartfelt songs I’ve ever heard.
“Unfaithful” by Rihanna
Rihanna needs no introduction, but maybe you’ve forgotten “Unfaithful.” It’s not the most memorable single from A Girl Like Me, but that’s only because the album was so strong overall. The song is about a woman regretting cheating on her partner, and the music video perfectly accompanies the song.
The song was written by Ne-Yo and Stargate. Rihanna is to thank for Ne-Yo’s brilliant song; she’d heard Mario’s “Let Me Love You” and had wanted to work with the writer since. It was a sharp turn from what she’d put out before, but it stands the test of time.
“Chain Hang Low” by Jibbs
For some reason, my P.E. teacher played “Chain Hang Low” throughout most of the semester following the release of this album. I think she had it mixed up with the children’s song, “Do Your Ears Hang Low?” which was sampled for Jibbs’s single.
Even better than P.E. class, this song is still played at junior high and high school dances. It’s no wonder this song managed to chart so high in the United States, Ireland, and New Zealand. Sadly, Jibbs’s last song was released in 2016.
“Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It” by Dem Franchize Boyz
I cannot believe it’s been 16 years since “Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It” came out. I remember the first time I heard this song, and it feels like it was just last year. But maybe that’s because some of the lyrics were sampled from two songs: “Holding on to You” by Twenty One Pilots and “Lean with Me” by Juice WRLD.
Sadly, the band stopped making music together in 2012, and Gerald “Buddie” Tiller died in 2019. The members of Dem Franchize Boyz started the band because they were close friends who loved making music, and you can hear how much fun they had when you listened to “Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It.”
“Déjà Vu” by Beyonce feat. Jay-Z
Beyonce’s lead single from her second solo album isn’t talked about nearly enough nowadays. Yes, even more amazing songs have come out in the last decade, but some of my favorites are her first singles. So, let’s talk about “Déjà Vu”, shall we?
This song topped two separate Billboard charts and was nominated for several awards. Sadly, it didn’t win any. There were also various versions released, and the Freemasons’ version was released during the 2007 Grammy Awards.
“Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance
Anyone who went through an emo phase is bound to recognize this song just from the first note. In fact, TikTok brought this song back a couple years ago, and I haven’t stopped seeing videos of adults reliving their emo days.
In addition to being recognized as “MTV’s Greatest Music Video of the 21st Century” in 2017, it was featured in Lucifer. And fun fact about the costuming: the costume designer for the music video recently worked on The Secrets of Dumbledore and the upcoming live-action The Little Mermaid.
“Rehab” by Amy Winehouse
Amy Winehouse’s short career is studded with incredible music, but “Rehab” became her signature song. It was a single from Back to Black, Winehouse’s last album before her death. The song itself was Amy refusing to go to rehab, and the lyrics are just as heartbreaking as you’d expect.
“Rehab” has been covered by several artists, including Lea Salonga. Winehouse won three Grammy’s and an Ivor Novello Award for the song.
“How to Save a Life” by The Fray
I don’t think there will ever be a day I won’t sing along with this song, even in public. And though it’s been sixteen years, “How to Save a Life” is still one of The Fray’s most popular songs. The song topped three separate Billboard charts.
In addition to being extremely popular, “How to Save a Life” has three music videos. The first was released on September 12, 2006; the third and most recognizable was released on December 6, 2006. But the most exciting video was the second, which included clips from Grey’s Anatomy.
“SexyBack” by Justin Timberlake
Timberlake got his first number-one single as a solo artist on the Billboard Hot 100 was “SexyBack,” and it lasted seven weeks there. Whether you love this track or hate it, I’m sure you have the song burned into your brain because it was played so much on the radio.
Timberlake won several awards for this album, from the Grammys to MTV to People’s Choice. “SexyBack” has consistently been put on “Best Songs of the 2000s” lists, and it’s been on several Billboard and international charts. Is there any other Timberlake song that you could instantly recognize like this one?
“Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira
While I’m on the topic of iconic songs that are instantly recognizable, let’s talk about Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie.” With its upbeat lyrics and fast beat, it’s no surprise that there have been over two million ringtone downloads of this song so far.
Even in 2020, fourteen years after its release, fans ate it up when Shakira performed this banger with Jennifer Lopez at the Super Bowl halftime show. “Hips Don’t Lie” has also been featured in several video games, such as Just Dance 2017, and won multiple awards.