My Favorite Songs from Each of the 24 Years I’ve Been Alive from the Billboard Top 100

I write a lot of serious things on this blog. Sometimes I think I get too serious that I don’t know how to lighten up.

I love music. At least listening to it. Playing music isn’t something I’m really that good at.

So here are my favorite songs from each of the 23 years I’ve been alive in an attempt to be lighter in content.

Here’s the catch: I’m turning 23 today. That’s right, 23. But there have been 24 years in which I have taken a breath. I turned 23 today, but I started my 24th year of life. Kinda confusing, but here we go.

Each of these songs are taken from the official Billboard Year-End Top 100. The 2015 entry is not, as this year is not over yet. Hope you enjoy!


1992: “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men (#1 on the chart)

I love early 90s boy band/R&B. Oh my goodness. All-4-One’s “I Swear,” New Edition’s “Can You Stand the Rain.” I can’t get enough of it. I forget about it all the time though. This song is so good!

1993: “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by The Proclaimers (#27)

I know this song from its prominent placement on the television show How I Met Your Mother. It’s a great road trip track. So good.

1994: “I Swear” by All-4-One (#2)

No competition for this one. You’ve seen this song mentioned before in this post. So good. First was introduced to it when the Minions “sang it” at the end of Despicable Me 2. Just barely beats out “What Is Love” by Haddaway (#97), famous for its inclusion in the Night at the Roxbury skit on SNL.

1995: “I’ll Stand by You” by The Pretenders (#95)

This was a barren year for me in terms of knowing the songs on this list. I only know this song from the Glee version. “Cotten Eye Joe” (#93) was a second choice here.

1996: “Name” by Goo Goo Dolls (#24)

Gotta be honest with you, I’m really struggling with knowing these songs on these lists. Guess I wasn’t really listening to music much at this time in my life. This is a good one though.

1997: “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart) by Backstreet Boys (#11)

I’m so excited. We’re entering the era of the all-white-guy boy band. Noted some 98 Degrees as well on this list. Usher’s also making an appearance.

1998: “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith (#25)

The song from Armageddon barely beats out ‘N Sync’s “I Want You Back” (#37). A classic of modern love ballads, it takes about a minute to really get going, but once it does, it’s amazing.

1999: “Amazed” by Lonestar (#85)

This one was tough. With “I Want It That Way” (#15), “(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time on You” (#45) and “Iris” (94) providing stiff competition, I went with the most country of these songs, which is surprising because I don’t like country for the most part. But this is too good to ignore. Came in at #8 on the 2000 list.

2000: “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely” by Backstreet Boys (#31)

Breaking into the new millennium with probably my favorite song from these guys. Great groove song. Is this feeling I need to walk with? Tell me why I can’t be there where you are! There’s something missing in my heart.

2001: “All or Nothing” by O-Town (#41)

Continuing the boy band theme, this one-hit wonder drops in nicely here, just beating out Train’s “Drops of Jupiter” (#4) and Enrique Iglesias’ “Hero” (#99).

2002: “U Got It Bad” by Usher (#9)

We enter the Usher era. You may be noticing a pattern here with what I like.

2003: “Cry Me a River” by Justin Timberlake (#32)

Justin Timberlake, Usher. I’m a fan of dudes who sing R&B/pop. It’s just a plain fact. Now I’m kind of surprised that Lonestar and Aerosmith made it on this list.

2004: “Jesus Walks” by Kanye West (#43)

Beats out Usher’s “Burn” (#2) and Evanescence’s “My Immortal” (#19), Kanye’s first entry on this list could honestly be considered a Christian song, but not for the profanity.

2005: “You and Me” by Lifehouse (#12)

The first real middle school slow dance song I really liked. What day is it? It’s slow dance day.

2006: “What’s Left of Me” by Nick Lachey (#54)

We’re getting deeper and deeper into my actual life where I listened to music, so the choices are getting harder and harder. This Jessica Simpson-inspired break-up song is hauntingly beautiful. Well, if you take it seriously.

2007: “Hey There Delilah” by Plain White T’s (#7)

Again, more and more difficult. This one beat out “What Goes Around…Comes Around” from JT (#22) and Omarion’s “Ice Box” (#45). I was addicted to this song.

2008: “Love Lockdown” by Kanye West (#74)

Beats out OneRepublic/Timbaland’s “Apologize” (#5) and Gavin Rossdale’s “Love Remains the Same” (#94). This is from one of my favorite albums of all-time, 808s & Heartbreak.

2009: “Heartless” by Kanye West (#9)

Likely the only album on this list with two entries. This is the better second single from 808s & Heartbreak. Outruns Owl City’s “Fireflies” (#60) and Jesse McCartney/Ludacris’ “How Do You Sleep?” (86).

2010: “Breakeven” by The Script (#27)

Inches away from Drake’s “Find Your Love” (#32) and Michael Buble’s “Haven’t Met You Yet” (#39). I was obsessed with Train’s “Hey Soul Sister” (#3) at this time, but The Script wins for longevity’s sake.

2011: “Colder Weather” by Zac Brown Band (#99)

This is a surprise to me. Didn’t know this would have made the top 100, but I like this song a lot. I’ll take this over Christina Perri’s “Jar of Hearts” (#55) (with which I thankfully unsuccessfully auditioned for an Elon acapella group) and David Guetta/Usher’s “Without You” (#73).

2012: “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction (#10)

The boys from England make their mark as the boy band genre returns to the list for the first time in 12 years. Beats out “Somebody I Used to Know” by Gotye (#1), Justin Bieber/Big Sean’s “As Long as You Love Me” (#34) and Demi Lovato’s “Give Your Heart a Break” (#39). Fun fact about this song: this summer I was on Campus Outreach’s Summer Beach Project. I would often bring a couple guys back to our lodging from work at Wal-Mart. We would blast this song.

2013: “Mirrors” by Justin Timberlake (#8)

This one was hard to beat. Lots of good songs on this chart. The one that came closest was One Direction’s “Story of My Life” (#26). But “Mirrors,” in my opinion, is a timeless song that will never get old.

2014: “Demons” by Imagine Dragons (#23)

This was probably the hardest decision. Defeats several great songs like John Legend’s “All of Me” (#3), Magic!’s “Rude” (#7) and JT’s “Not a Bad Thing” (#45). Barely sneaked by JT. That takes a lot on this list.

2015: “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran

Barely overcomes “Where Are U Now” and “What Do You Mean,” two Bieber hits. It’s that good.


So now that you’ve seen all 24 songs, I reveal my own chart: The Lifelong 24, by Zach Horner. These are not my favorite songs of all-time, just the definitive ranking of this list of songs.

  1. “Mirrors” – Justin Timberlake (2013)
  2. “Demons” – Imagine Dragons (2014)
  3. “Hey There Delilah” – Plain White Ts (2007)
  4. “Thinking Out Loud” – Ed Sheeran (2015)
  5. “Heartless” – Kanye West (2009)
  6. “What’s Left of Me” – Nick Lachey (2006)
  7. “What Makes You Beautiful” – One Direction (2012)
  8. “Love Lockdown” – Kanye West (2008)
  9. “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely” – Backstreet Boys (2000)
  10. “All or Nothing” – O-Town (2001)
  11. “I Swear” – All-4-One (1994)
  12. “Breakeven” – The Script (2010)
  13. “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” – Aerosmith (1998)
  14. “U Got It Bad” – Usher (2002)
  15. “Amazed” – Lonestar (1998)
  16. “You and Me” – Lifehouse (2005)
  17. “Cry Me a River” – Justin Timberlake (2003)
  18. “Colder Weather” – Zac Brown Band (2011)
  19. “Jesus Walks” – Kanye West (2004)
  20. “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” – The Proclaimers (1993)
  21. “Name” – Goo Goo Dolls (1996)
  22. “End of the Road” – Boyz II Men (1992)
  23. “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)” – Backstreet Boys (1997)
  24. “I’ll Stand By You” – The Pretenders (1995)
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