We all remember those 2000s rock songs that were strangely beloved, but at the same time incredibly dated.
There remain a handful of truly awkward sentimental rock songs from the 2000s rock revival that we’d all love to forget. But, just for the sheer entertainment of it, we’ve compiled a list of some of the revival’s most painful efforts.
From songs that focus on telling kids to appreciate what they’ve got while their families begin to suffer from the 2007 financial crisis to tracks so sappy that we don’t know if they’re about a lover or Jesus, here are 10 of the most painfully awkward songs to remind you of the 2000s.
Don’t Stop Dancing by Creed
Scott Stapp’s post-grunge quartet is no stranger to crafting corny anthems. After all, this is the same group that featured aerial silk dancers at their 2001 SuperBowl Halftime Show while they sang “Higher.” With that said, obviously Creed had some smash hits, but “Don’t Stop Dancing” makes my skin crawl.
Stapp’s droll is so thick and throaty here that it almost satirizes itself. “Although I hurt, I must be strong,” he warbles in the above music video, as he lightly thrusts towards the microphone. To this day we’ve never heard anyone sing the word “life” with so much nonsensical vigor.
If I Were You by Hoobastank
The innocuous kid’s laughter and uplifting power chords at first glance might sound inspiring and heartwarming; but make no mistake, “If I Were You” by Hoobastank merely translates to “get off my lawn, you damn kids!”
“You never say a word unless it’s to complain,” Singer Dougg Robb yells to those young whippersnappers. “It’s driving me insane!” The chorus further drives this sentiment home. “If I were you, holding the world right in my hands,” Robb cries out. “The first thing I’d do is thank the stars for all that I have, If I were you.” The song’s candid black and white music video, and beefy ballad chords try to twist this resentment into an inspiring homage to growing up, but the sentiment ultimately pales when faced with, ya know, present reality.
Battleships by Daughtry
Similar to Creed, Daughtry was a 2000s commercial rock band – led by former American Idol contestant Chris Daughtry – that was cool until it wasn’t. Their 2006 debut album, and every single from it, sold millions of copies and were inescapable on the radio, with their sophomore album even more so.
But from there, the dated rock act had a steady fall from grace. By the time 2013’s Baptized rolled around, their sound had plateaued, and their overall vibe had become grimly corny. “Battleships” made this evident, with its insufferable “boom, boom, booms” the final nail in the coffin for a band that had steeply declined.
The Sex is Good by Saving Abel
Perhaps the most misogynistic rock group to emerge from the 2000s rock revival outside of Buckcherry, Saving Abel offered honky-tonk rock tunes that never rose above fratty debauchery. They’d sing about meaningless sex, drinking, drugs, and the occasional tattoo. But “The Sex Is Good” reminds us why this band needed to disappear for good. “I’m not in love, but the sex is good,” lead singer Jared Weeks groans. “You can’t mistake it, because it’s understood.” Enough said.
We Don’t Have To Look Back Now by Puddle of Mudd
When a lead singer as degenerative as Wes Scantlin tries to write an earnest love song, the result is almost guaranteed to be painfully awkward. Scantlin can’t even pretend to look emotionally available in the track’s music video.
“From the dark into the light, we can leave it all behind,” Scantlin calls out with a sly glint in his eye as he looks at the camera. The video, which follows a downtrodden (goth?) teen as she fights for the douchey popular boy’s attention, is also painfully dated.
Broken Road by 12 Stones
You guys remember 12 stones, right? Those Louisiana rockers that are best known for their nameless appearance in Evanescence’s “Bring Me to Life” and for a small blip on the mainstream charts after their single “Anthem for the Underdog” soundtracked 2008’s Never Back Down?
Anyway, they haven’t done much since those days. They’ve mostly churned out a couple of stale rock records that did more bad than good for the band. But “Broken Road,” not to be confused with their other song which is simply called “Broken,” was kind of the beginning of the end. With lyrics like, “Can’t you see I’m bleeding? But I won’t bleed anymore,” it’s no wonder these cringey guys kinda faded into obscurity.
This is War by Thirty Seconds to Mars
Self-absorbed and melodramatic beyond all reason, “This is War” by 30 Seconds to Mars isn’t even the band’s worst song, it’s just their most uncomfortable one.
The sentiment behind corny lyrics like, “It’s the moment of truth, and the moment to lie, the moment to live and the moment to die,” is merely that war is bad: a simple, fleeting concept that Jared Leto tries to drive home through his self-absorption in the single’s music video, wherein he stars as a front-line soldier and even fires off a couple of rounds before a tank comes hurling towards him out of mid-air. Why is the tank suddenly airbound? Well, because of aliens of course.
Loser by 3 Doors Down
This milquetoast rock track is about a kid who’s addicted to cocaine and blames his addiction on everyone else. “You’re getting closer, to pushing me off of life’s little edge, cause I’m a loser,” Brad Arnold sings.
Considering how often the chorus is repeated throughout, Arnold means it, too. It’s also impossible to absorb this line with a straight face: “Addiction needs a pacifier, the buzz of this poison is taking me higher.”
The Way We Were by Default
For those who don’t recognize the name Default, they were pretty much on track to be the biggest Canadian rock act since Nickelback — until they just kind of weren’t. The group fizzled out after four albums, with lead singer Dallas Smith going on to pursue a country music career.
They have since reunited at the request of no one and are currently planning a comeback of sorts. But with a love song as dated as “The Way We Were,” it’s hard to imagine them crafting anything of earnest value in 2021. Not to mention that the music video reminds us of those early 2000s young-adult dramas that we’d all love to forget.
Broken by Lifehouse
No one encompasses the discomfort of early 2000s rock ballads better than Lifehouse. “You and Me” was an insufferable wedding anthem for years; and in an effort to capitalize on that, the Cali rockers crafted some truly cringe pieces of music, “Broken” being a prime example.
“The broken locks were a warning, you got inside my head,” croons Jason Wade. “I tried my best to be guarded, I’m an open book instead.” The track plateau’s into a horrendous chorus, ending up sounding more Christian rock than emotional love ballad. “In the pain, there is healing, in your name, I find meaning.”