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Chart Flashback: 2002

A decade ago, Usher knew all about U, Pink had a party plan, and No Doubt had words for the girls backstage. We revisit and regrade the pop week that was

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1. Usher, ”U Got It Bad”
Sometimes it’s hard to tell if he’s singing about love or an ankle monitor bracelet (”You know you got it bad when you’re stuck in the house/You don’t wanna have fun/It’s all you think about”), but R&B’s ultra-loverman still sells his silky ode to the girl who finally locked him down. B+

2. Nickelback, ”How You Remind Me”
Is it an epically cruddy Canadian simulacrum of post-grunge? Yes. Is it also secretly kind of awesome? As fusilli-haired frontman Chad Kroeger growl-coos in the chorus: ”Yeah, yeah, yeah-uh, no, no.” So true! B

3. Ja Rule feat. Ashanti, ”Always on Time”
A long-overdue celebration of what really keeps a romance going: hot, nasty, mutually consensual punctuality. B+

4. Pink, ”Get the Party Started”
Basically a sonic piñata filled with candy and confetti and tequila shots — except instead of a stick and a blindfold, all you need is your repeat-button finger. A

5. Creed, ”My Sacrifice”
Everyone always talked about Creed being a Christian band. But mostly they seemed pretty busy worshipping at the altar of quietquiet-LOUD, in the annex chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual EddieVedderus. C+

6. Shakira, ”Whenever, Wherever”
As long as the ”wherever” is Colombia, the ”whenever” is 2002, and the ”whatever” is Spanglish yodeling, pan flutes, and Tilt-a-Whirl hips, then yes, her schedule’s pretty open. A-

7. Linkin Park, ”In the End”
Before nü-metal crashed to earth like a poorly goateed Hindenburg, rap and sludgy riffs were in happy — which is to say, profoundly screamy and existential-angsty — harmony. B-

8. Alicia Keys, ”A Woman’s Worth”
Welcome, class: Professor Keys will now speak to the poor exchange rate of dollars to ladybucks among young males who fail to recognize the relative value of round-the-world cruises and bubble baths. Please take notes. B+

9. The Calling, ”Wherever You Will Go”
Uh-oh, someone’s been spending their Sundays with Creed. And apparently, some pretty wild Saturday nights with Matchbox Twenty. B-

10. No Doubt feat. Bounty Killer, ”Hey Baby”
It’s every groupie’s dream: a ragga-pop tribute in song! Except Gwen — just sippin’ on chamomile (and doing some light ab work) at the after-party — is not a fan of all those ”tank tops and flirty words.” She’s saving herself for Mr. Gavin Rossdale, thank you very much. A-

Source: Joel Whitburn Presents The Billboard® Hot 100® Charts—The 2000s