The future of music

50 Best 2000s Rock Songs (Greatest Hits)

December 8, 2023
Best 2000s Rock Songs

I’ve selected the best 2000s rock songs, a compilation that captures the raw energy and diverse soundscapes of this era’s greatest hits.

This article is a journey through the tracks that defined and revitalized rock music in the new millennium.

Table of Contents

Top 2000s rock songs

  • “Rest In Pieces” by Saliva
  • “Loser” by 3 Doors Down
  • “Crawling” by Linkin Park
  • “Someday” by Nickelback
  • “It’s Been Awhile” by Staind
  • “Blurry” by Puddle of Mudd
  • “In The End” by Linkin Park
  • “How You Remind Me” by Nickelback
  • “Bad Day” by Fuel
  • “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World

1. “Rest In Pieces” by Saliva

This early 2000s rock song was written and recorded by American rock band Saliva, from their 2002 album Back into Your System.

“Rest In Pieces” was written by James Michael and Nikki Sixx, both of the rock band Sixx: A.M.

The music video, for the popular song that reached successful heights in mainstream US charts, shows the band as they are touring globally.

2. “Loser” by 3 Doors Down

‘Loser’ quickly became the epitome of 2000s rock!

It was released in the year 2000 from 3 Doors Down’s debut album, The Better Life.

The song spent 21 weeks at the number-one position on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks – an all-time record for the chart.

It is written from the perspective of a childhood friend of lead lyrist Brad Arnold’s, who became addicted to cocaine, with the heavy lyrics containing multiple allusions to suicide.

3. “Crawling” by Linkin Park

This song won a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance in 2002!

Singer Chester Bennington remarked that “Crawling” was the most difficult song to sing live.

Bennington also commented on the meaning of the early 2000s rock song, stating it was inspired by his own battles with substance abuse. 

“Crawling is about feeling like I had no control over myself in terms of drugs and alcohol, hence the line “These wounds they will not heal…”.

4. “Someday” by Nickelback

“Someday”, an early 2000s rock song by Canadian rock band Nickelback, was released in 2003 as the lead single from their successful album The Long Road.

It reached number one in Canada for three weeks and number seven in the United States.

In the latter it charted for 50 weeks, thus breaking records and becoming Nickelback’s longest-charting single!

“Someday” also charted within the top 10 of the UK Singles Chart, where it reached number six.

5. “It’s Been Awhile” by Staind

“It’s Been Awhile” is a 2000s rock song, written by American rock band Staind.

The hit song was released in 2001 as the lead single from their studio album Break the Cycle.

It is Staind’s best-known song, becoming a number five hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2001 as their only song to reach the top 10.

Worldwide, “It’s Been Awhile” became a top-20 hit in Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the UK.

6. “Blurry” by Puddle of Mudd

“Blurry” is a power ballad by the American rock band Puddle of Mudd, released in 2001 from the band’s debut album, Come Clean.

The early 2000s rock song quickly became the most successful rock song of the year in the US, topping the Billboard Mainstream Rock and Modern Rock Tracks charts as well as their year-end listings.

“Blurry” also found success outside the US, reaching the top 20 in Ireland, New Zealand, and the UK.

7. “In The End” by Linkin Park

This is a song by Linkin Park from their debut album Hybrid Theory.

In the End” received positive reviews by music critics, who complimented the song’s signature piano riff.

It reached number two on the US Billboard Hot 100, the band’s highest peak on the chart, and was their first song that peaked within the top 40 in 2002.

In 2021, it became the first nu metal song to surpass one billion streams on Spotify!

8. “How You Remind Me” by Nickelback

“How You Remind Me” is another early 2000s rock song by Canadian rock band Nickelback.

Kroeger referred to it as the song that put Nickelback on the map when it was played at their concert in Sturgis, South Dakota.

“How You Remind Me” was nominated for the Kerrang! Award for Best Single, and was also rated the number-one rock song and number-four alternative song of the 2000s by Billboard.

9. “Bad Day” by Fuel

This early 2000s rock song by American rock band Fuel was released from their second album, Something Like Human, in 2001.

According to lead singer Brett Scallions, “We tried recording ‘Bad Day’ back when we did the Sunburn album [in 1998] and just didn’t get it right. It was a song that was with us way before we signed on with Sony and Epic.”

10. “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World

“The Middle” by American rock band Jimmy Eat World is considered the band’s signature song.

It was a number-five hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 2002 and reached the top 50 in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

The song was a breakthrough hit for Jimmy Eat World, who had self-financed the recording of the Bleed American album after being dropped by Capitol Records in 1999.

11. “Bring Me To Life” by Evanescence

This early 2000s rock song, by American rock band Evanescence, was released in 2003 on their debut studio album, Fallen.

The song was written by Lee when she was 19, after an exchange with a friend during a time in which she was in emotional and relationship turmoil.

“Bring Me to Life” is about having been desensitized and realizing all the things that she had been missing in life.

12. “Somebody Told Me” by The Killers

This top 2000 rock song, by American rock band the Killers, was released as the second official single from the group’s debut studio album Hot Fuss in 2004.

It was written as a group by band members Brandon Flowers, Mark Stoermer, Dave Keuning and Ronnie Vannucci Jr.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Brandon Flowers said of the song and its lyrics: “This is the story of trying to meet someone in a club.”

13. “Faint” by Linkin Park

“Faint” is well known as one of the best rock songs of the 2000s!

It is a song by American rock band Linkin Park from their second studio album, Meteora.

It reached the top thirty on the majority of the charts it found itself on, peaking at number 48 on the Billboard Hot 100!

The song reached number one on the US Modern Rock Tracks, becoming the band’s third number-one hit on the chart.

14. “Dirty Little Secret” by The All-American Rejects

“Dirty Little Secret” is a 2005 song by American rock band the All-American Rejects.

Released as the lead single from their album Move Along, “Dirty Little Secret” was written by Nick Wheeler and Tyson Ritter, who claimed that because they were both in long-term relationships they had to “concoct some histrionics”.

Wheeler said “[…] sometimes there’s not enough drama or turmoil to write about, so he simply writes stories. And that’s where the lyrics come from.”

15. “Speed Of Sound” by Coldplay

In 2005, British rock band Coldplay released “Speed of Sound” on their album X&Y.

Chris Martin, lead singer, acknowledged that the band’s inspiration for the song came from English art rocker Kate Bush. 

When the song was released, it debuted at number two on the UK Singles Chart. 

It was their first top ten hit in the US and up until “Viva la Vida” hit number one in 2008, their most popular song.

16. “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” by Green Day

This rock song from 2004 is characterized by its dismal and depressing lyrics.

It is told from the viewpoint of “Jesus of Suburbia,” the protagonist of the album American Idiot.

The album’s prior track, “Holiday,” which depicts Jesus of Suburbia experiencing the high of being in the city, contrasts with this.

“Holiday” was compared to a party in MTV’s Green Day Makes a Video, and “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” to the subsequent hangover.

17. “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid” by The Offspring

The Offspring, a popular American punk rock band, wrote the song “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid” in 2008.

It is the second single from the band’s eighth studio album, Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace.

The punk rock hit sold 1.6 million copies in the US and spent 11 weeks at No. 1, making it the Offspring’s longest-ever streak at the top. 

According to the RIAA, “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid” has Platinum status.

18. “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon

Kings of Leon released “Use Somebody” as the second single from their 2008 studio album, Only by the Night

In Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, the Republic of Ireland, and Australia, the song garnered a lot of popularity and airplay.

Positive reviews for the song led to it winning Grammy Awards for Record of the Year, Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, and Best Rock Song. 

19. “Sex on Fire” by Kings of Leon

Sex on Fire” is a single from Kings of Leon’s album, Only by the Night.

The track became their first number-one single in Australia, Finland, Ireland, and the UK, and was the second-most downloaded single ever in Britain in 2009. 

As of 2012, the song had sold 1.2 million copies in the UK!

It also saw significant success in the USA, where it peaked at number one on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart.

20. “Kryptonite” by 3 Doors Down

The debut single by the American rock group 3 Doors Down, “Kryptonite,” debuted on the US Mainstream Rock Tracks and Modern Rock Tracks charts, spending 9 and 11 weeks at the top, respectively.

Additionally, it peaked at number one for five separate weeks on the Mainstream Top 40 chart, number four on the Adult Top 40 chart, and number three on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the group’s highest-charting single!

21. “Like a Stone” by Audioslave

The second single from the American rock group Audioslave’s self-titled debut studio album, “Like a Stone” was made available in 2003.

Their biggest US hit, the song topped the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks and Hot Modern Rock Tracks charts.

It rose to the fifth-best alternative song performance of the decade on the Alternative Songs chart and to the eighth-best rock song performance of the decade on the Mainstream Rock chart.

22. “Californication” by Red Hot Chili Peppers

American rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers released their seventh album, Californication, in 1999.

When the title track was released in 2000, it peaked at number one on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks and Modern Rock Tracks charts, and was their third number-one single in Iceland. 

Included in almost every set, “Californication” has remained one of the band’s most played songs and is now the third-most performed song overall with over 500 performances!

23. “I Disappear” by Metallica

“I Disappear” was Metallica’s single from the Mission: Impossible 2 soundtrack, made available in early 2000.

The early 2000s rock song has been compared as a grunge-influenced version of “Enter Sandman” by music writer Mike McGuirk of the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

McGuirk also claimed that this new song with a “mega” riff and “catchy as hell” melodic choruses demonstrated that the group was not afraid to experiment with new sounds.

24. “It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi

The early 2000s rock song, “It’s My Life”, is by the American rock group Bon Jovi.

Made available in 2000 as the first track from their seventh studio album Crush, the song peaked at number one in various countries including Austria, Flanders, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain, and Switzerland.

One of the best rock songs of the 2000s, it became the band’s biggest post-1980s hit tune and helped them gain a new, younger following.

25. “No Leaf Clover” by Metallica

“No Leaf Clover” appears on Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony’s live album S&M.

The song was one of two brand-new works, along with “Human”, completed for the band’s 1999 collaboration with the San Francisco Symphony. 

On the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart it was the group’s fourth number 1 success, spending seven weeks straight at the top.

26. “With Arms Wide Open” by Creed

The rock song “With Arms Wide Open” is by the American rock group Creed, released in 2000 as the third single from Human Clay, their second studio album.

As the band’s first and only song to top the chart, the song peaked at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 in November 2000.

It was nominated for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group at the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards in 2001.

27. “Chop Suey!” by System of a Down

“Chop Suey!” is the lead single from the second album Toxicity (2001) by the Armenian-American heavy metal band System of a Down.

The early 2000s rock song helped the band to receive their first Grammy nomination in 2002 for Best Metal Performance, and is frequently regarded as the group’s anthem.

According to Daron Malakian in an interview, “The subject of the song is how others judge us differently depending on how we pass.”

28. “The Diary of Jane” by Breaking Benjamin

American rock band, Breaking Benjamin, wrote the the 2000s rock song “The Diary of Jane.”

It was made available in 2006 as the third single from their album Phobia.

The song, which is among their most well-known and popular, became the fastest-added single in Hollywood Records history.

The song became their most commercially successful single when it was certified 4x Platinum in the US in 2021, peaking at the top of three rock charts.

29. “The Pretender” by Foo Fighters

“The Pretender” is a 2000s rock song by American alternative rock band Foo Fighters.

It served as the group’s lead single from the album Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, released in 2007.

On the Billboard Hot 100 it peaked at number 37, making it one of the their most popular songs and their third top-40 hit.

Dave Grohl described itas “a stomping Foo Fighters uptempo song, with a little bit of Chuck Berry in it.”

30. “Animal I Have Become” by Three Days Grace

“Animal I Have Become” is a 2000s rock song by Canadian rock band Three Days Grace.

It was made available as the lead single from One-X, their second studio album, and is the group’s debut record featuring Barry Stock, their fourth member.

Both the US Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and the US Modern Rock Tracks chart saw the song spend seven and two weeks, respectively, at number 1.

31. “Breaking The Habit” by Linkin Park

Rock band Linkin Park released the song “Breaking The Habit” as the ninth song from their second studio album, Meteora.

The song was successful, becoming Meteora’s fifth straight single to top the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, an accomplishment unequalled by any other artist in the chart’s history.

In contrast to their prior nu metal/rap rock performances, this one lacks distorted guitar riffs and Mike Shinoda’s rap vocals, a sound they would eventually develop.

32. “Uprising” by Muse

One of the best rock songs of the 2000s, English rock band Muse released “Uprising” in 2009.

It served as the lead single on The Resistance, the group’s fifth studio album.

On the US Billboard Hot 100, “Uprising” peaked at position 37, also reaching its peak in the top 10 in seven other nations.

Muse’s best-selling single was certified gold in four countries, platinum in three (including the UK), and double-platinum in the United States.

33. “Headstrong” by Trapt

“Headstrong” acts as the lead song from American rock band Trapt’s self-titled debut album from 2002.

On the US Billboard Mainstream Rock and Modern Rock Tracks charts, it peaked at number 1 before becoming popular on general pop radio.

Additionally, in 2003, the song was honoured with two Billboard Music Awards for “Best Modern Rock Track” and “Best Rock Track.” 

34. “Last Resort” by Papa Roach

The first song by the American rock group Papa Roach is titled “Last Resort.”

The song appeared on the soundtrack for the movie Ready to Rumble in 2000, and soon after, it was included on Papa Roach’s second studio album, Infest.

In late 2000 it spent seven weeks at the top of the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and successfully reached the top 10 in Austria, Germany, Portugal, and the UK.

35. “Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance

The Black Parade, the album by American rock band My Chemical Romance, contains the song “Welcome to the Black Parade” (2006).

The single’s music video won MTV’s “Greatest Music Video of the Century” award in 2017 and was selected one of the Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

It peaked at number one on the UK Singles Chart, and number nine on the US Billboard Hot 100.

36. “Snuff” by Slipknot

“Snuff” by the American heavy metal group Slipknot is their highest-charting single to date, taken from their fourth album All Hope Is Gone, released in 2009.

It was ranked sixth among the greatest music videos of all time by Roadrunner Records.

As the band’s final single to feature original bassist Paul Gray, who passed away eight months after its release, Corey Taylor pays tribute by playing an acoustic rendition of “Snuff” during solo acoustic performances.

37. “Prayer of the Refugee” by Rise Against 

“Prayer of the Refugee” is by the American rock band Rise Against, from their fourth studio album, The Sufferer & the Witness (2006).

Lead singer Tim McIlrath wrote the lyrics, which cover topics including forced migration and societal problems related to refugees.

The rock song employs a structure that contrasts quiet, melancholy sections with frantic, chaotic choruses.

It was certified platinum by the RIAA after reaching number seven commercially on the Alternative Songs list.

38. “Toxicity” by System of a Down

“Toxicity” is a single released in 2002 by the Armenian-American heavy metal band System of a Down.

First appearing on the album of the same name, the song was written by Malakian, Odadjian, Tankian, and Dolmayan.

It is distinguished by its dynamic chorus, aggressive vocals, and prominent drum beat.

Stylus Magazine called the song a nu metal classic and ranked it 14th on VH1’s 40 Greatest Metal Songs.

39. “Tears Don’t Fall” by Bullet for My Valentine

“Tears Don’t Fall” is a song by Bullet for My Valentine, a Welsh heavy metal band.

It is the fourth single from the band’s debut full-length studio album, The Poison.

The song received the Kerrang! Award for Best Single, reaching number 24 on the Hot Mainstream Rock chart and number 32 on the Alternative Rock chart.

It has become a staple to their live set and usually draws in a large crowd response.

40. “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers

“Mr. Brightside” is the first single released by the Killers, and is one of their first songs.

It is their best-selling song in the US and the UK, selling over 3.5 million copies in each.

With 307 weeks (5 years, 10 months) on the chart as of 2022, it is the longest-charting single on the UK Singles Chart Top 100, and is one of the top fifteen most downloaded rock tracks of all time.

41. “Give Me a Sign” by Breaking Benjamin

“Give Me a Sign,” also known as “Give Me a Sign (Forever and Ever),” is a song by the American rock band Breaking Benjamin.

It was released as the second single from their fourth album Dear Agony in January 2010.

The song was successful on the Billboard rock charts, reaching number six on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, number nine on the Hot Rock Songs chart, and number 10 on the Alternative Songs chart.

42. “Numb” by Linkin Park

The song “Numb” is by the American rock band Linkin Park, released as the third single from their second studio album, Meteora (2003).

The popular rock song is one of Linkin Park’s most well-known and critically acclaimed songs, spending 12 weeks atop the Billboard Alternative Songs chart.

It also topped the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart for three weeks and peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100.

43. “No One Knows” by Queens of the Stone Age

“No One Knows” is a song written by band members Josh Homme and Mark Lanegan for the American rock band Queens of the Stone Age, released in 2002 as the first single from their album, Songs for the Deaf.

The song was a success, becoming the band’s first Billboard Hot 100 single and their only single to top the US Alternative charts.

It also earned a Grammy nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance in 2003.

44. “Somewhere I Belong” by Linkin Park

The early 2000s rock song “Somewhere I Belong” is by the American rock band Linkin Park.

It was released on February 24, 2003, as the first single from their second studio album, Meteora, and is the third track on the album.

The rock song topped the Billboard charts for both Mainstream Rock Tracks and Modern Rock Tracks, peaking also at number 1 on the New Zealand Singles Chart in April 2003.

45. “What I’ve Done” by Linkin Park

This 2000s rock song by the American rock band Linkin Park is from their third studio album, Minutes to Midnight (2007).

At the 52nd Grammy Awards, the live version of “What I’ve Done” (from Road to Revolution: Live at Milton Keynes) was nominated for Best Hard Rock Performance but unfortunately did not win.

It is the band’s most commercially successful single in terms of pure sales, having been certified six times platinum by the RIAA.

46. “Burn It To The Ground” by Nickelback

“Burn It To The Ground” is the fourth single from Nickelback’s sixth studio album Dark Horse.

It has been extensively used for various promotional purposes, including television, film, and primarily sports-related promotions.

The rock song, according to frontman Chad Kroeger, is about drinking “everything in sight.”

It’s a live staple of the band’s Dark Horse World Tour, with Kroeger usually beginning the song with the words “this song is the theme song of my life.”

47. “By The Way” by Red Hot Chili Peppers

“By The Way” was Red Hot Chili Peppers’ sixth number-one hit on the Modern Rock Tracks chart, topping the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart for seven weeks.

According to guitarist John Frusciante: “It wasn’t our decision to release that song first, but [our managers’] enthusiasm convinced us.”

Anthony Kiedis, vocalist, elaborated: “That single was an over-the-top assault on non-commercialism, […] It was shocking to me, but also thrilling, that it was so well-received [in the United Kingdom].”

48. “Psychosocial” by Slipknot

Slipknot’s song “Psychosocial” is a heavy metal song from their 2008 album All Hope Is Gone.

Rolling Stone praised the popular rock song, saying it “slows down the tempo to bludgeon with a steady, pounding groove instead of all-out thrash in a manner.”

They further explained, “That track is capped off with a time-signature shattering guitar/drum breakdown that will leave the best air-instrumentalists stumped”.

49. “Knights of Cydonia” by Muse

“Knights of Cydonia” is the closing track on Muse’s 2006 album Black Holes and Revelations.

The rock song’s title refers to Mars’ Cydonia region, which gained public attention due to the appearance of a rock formation that resembled a human face.

The first live performance of “Knights of Cydonia” occurred on 13 May 2006 at a BBC Radio 1 event, Radio 1’s Big Weekend, held at Camperdown Park in Dundee.

50. “Hard to Explain” by the Strokes

“Hard to Explain”, by the Strokes, was released in 2001 as the lead single from their debut album, Is This It.

The single was ranked third on the NME Top 100 Songs of the Decade list.

Furthermore, Rolling Stone ranked the song 59th on its list of the “100 Best Songs of the 2000s” and, The Independent and Paste ranked the song second and first on their lists of the 20 greatest Strokes songs, respectively.

Best 2000s Rock Songs – Final Thoughts

This concludes our list of the best records from the year 2000! 

It’s important to keep an open mind when it comes to the music you listen to.

Whether you’re a heavy metal head-banger or a casual pop-rock fan, begin by giving some of these songs a listen.

Doing so will expose you to a whole new world of music, and you’ll never look back!

Similar Articles:

Best Rock Bands of the 2000s

Best Songs of the 2000s

Best Indie Songs

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

view profile

best emo songs
Previous Story

55 Best Emo Songs of All Time (Classic Emo Anthems)

best mariachi songs
Next Story

45 Best Mariachi Songs of All Time (Popular Hits)

Latest from Entertainment & Playlists