Written by Spears and her background vocalist Annette Artani, the piano-led ballad with string instruments is entirely different than the rest of her dance-pop singles on 'In the Zone'; the lyrics were scrutinized by the press, suggesting the song is about her relationship with ex-boyfriend, Justin Timberlake: 'I may have made it rain / Please forgive me / My weakness caused you pain / And this song is my sorry.'
Described as "club funk," this was the beginning of Timberlake's new sound -- breaking away from his previous R&B/pop-sounding album 'Justified' and moving into more rock with the help of producer Timbaland. Included on his sophomore album 'FutureSex/LoveSounds,' the song was inspired from David Bowie and David Byrne's cover of James Brown's 'Sex Machine.' 'SexyBack' was not only certified 3x platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) but won a 2007 Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording. Fans loved the new sound as well, honoring Timberlake the People's Choice Award for Favorite R&B Song.
'All the Things She Said' (2002)
The English version of "Ya Soshla S Uma" (literal translation: I've lost my mind) is the first single from Russian t.A.T.u.'s debut English album '200 km/h in the Wrong Lane.' The song reached worldwide success, having been certified in 10 countries ranging from silver to 2x platinum. The music video caused controversy, which features the duo Yulia and Lena (and their lesbian facade) in school-girl uniforms kissing in front of a crowd of on-lookers. Check out a 2003 AOL Sessions performance of their hit single.
A remix of OneRepublic's 2006 'Apologize,' this top pop song was featured on Timbaland's debut 'Timbaland Presents Shock Value.' On the track, Timbaland mixes in his own vocals and drum beats in the chorus, which was produced by not only Timbaland, but also Greg Wells and OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder. The song was certified 3x platinum by RIAA.
With a catchy melodic back-beat, this was the first Nelly Furtado/Timbaland collaboration, sung as a conversation between a man and woman with "promiscuous" intentions: "Promiscuous girl / You're teasing me / You know what I want / And I got what you need." This top pop song earned a Grammy nomination for the Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals and won Single of the Year at the 2007 Juno Awards.
'Too Little, Too Late' (2004)
At 16 years-old, JoJo's breakthrough song (and also her lead single of 'The High Road') caught the attention of critics, who compared the singer/actress's pipes to Beyonce and Kelly Clarkson. In the catchy R&B/pop song's music video (directed by Chris Robinson), JoJo comes to terms about her relationship with her unappreciative boyfriend, role-played by UCLA Bruin's soccer player Mike Zaher. The video also shows soccer footage of Zaher and his teammates, which was fortuitously filmed at the same time as the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
'A Thousand Miles' (2002)
This piano-driven pop song with string arrangements originally gave Carlton a huge case of writer's block, taking her a year to finish. But the final product had huge success, being nominated for three Grammy Awards: Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s). Dabbling with the idea of reality vs. fantasy, Carlton wrote the song about a guy she was crushing. She adds that the tune is "about a love that so consumes you that you do anything for it. That's how I felt at that time."
'Since U Been Gone' (2004)
A great post break-up song to rock out to -- the Max Martin and Dr. Luke produced track is arguably Clarkson's biggest single to this day, which expresses relief about a previously failed relationship. (We've all been there, right?) The pop song (with rock elements) went on to be the second US digital download to sell over one million copies.
'My Immortal' (2003)
Written by former guitarist Ben Moody (with lead singer Amy Lee's additions in the chorus) the piano ballad's music video shows Moody meandering through streets morning the "fictional death" of Lee, who is shown in a white dress singing: "And if you have to leave, I wish that you would just leave / Your presence still lingers here and it won't leave me alone / These wounds won't seem to heal, this pain is just too real." Lee later tells 'Rock Sound' magazine the irony of the video's theme of separation; specifically that the group did not realize Ben Moody would later leave the band: "It's almost like the director knew what was going to happen, but he [couldn't] have known. It's just one of those fate things."
'Just Dance' (2008)
GaGa supposedly wrote the Akon-collaborated song in just 10 minutes, which refers to being intoxicated at a club. With lyrics like "How'd I turn my shirt inside out," and "I love this record but I can't see straight anymore" we can't help but dance along to her party-ready tune. The song made AOL Radio's Best Party Songs list and was nominated for a 2009 Grammy in the Best Dance Recording category, but lost to Daft Punk's 'Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.'