Staying relevant for the long haul in the always-changing world of dance music is a near-impossible task, but French dance-pop robot-human-immortals Daft Punk may have found one way to do it--by disappearing a lot. Sounds paradoxical, but by taking nearly a half-decade between each of their albums, and basically keeping totally out of the limelight in between release cycles, they manage to stay outside the trends, existing on a plane of their own, and turning it into an event whenever they actually decide to re-emerge from the shadows and release new music.

However, one byproduct of this philosophy is a relatively shallow back catalogue. Though members Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter have been making music as Daft Punk for nearly two decades now, their discography encompasses just 86 songs--four fewer than even Taylor Swift, who was just four years when the duo released their debut single "The New Wave" back in 1994. That said, that number was even lower before a few weeks ago, when the duo released "Get Lucky," their first single in three years (and not counting live or soundtrack work, their first since 2006), and has gone up by another baker's dozen with the release of their much-anticipated Random Access Memories LP earlier this week.

Let's take a look at those 87 songs, now including all the Random Access Memories cuts and including the handful of commercially released remixes they've done for other artists--as well as the 22 tracks on the duo's oft-overlooked soundtrack to Tron: Legacy. In the case of songs that had multiple versions released--and given that Daft Punk have released three remix albums, there's a lot of those--we went with the version of the song we most preferred. Check out our rankings, and let us know which of the Robots' classics, new or old, are your favorites.

86. "ON/OFF"

Found On: Human After All

Almost unfair to even include this "song," which is really just 19 seconds of channel-flipping on French TV. But Daft Punk inexplicably decided to make it its own track on Human After All, rather than just combining it with "Television Rules the Nation"--possibly to make the album an even ten cuts--so it merits inclusion on our list, an easy choice for the very bottom.

85. "FUNK AD"

Found On: Homework

Similar to "On/Off," "Funk Ad" hardly registers as a real song--it's just their breakthrough single "Da Funk" played backwards for less than a minute, included as the closing track on debut album Homework, possibly for bookending purposes, though it ends up being a totally dissatisfying end to a thoroughly classic '90s album. Another obvious one to get out of the way here.


Found On: TRON: Legacy

One of the least memorable songs from TRON: Legacy--though truth told, only a handful of the album's songs make a really lasting impression outside of the context of the score--"Outlands" is a whole lot of frenetically racing strings and horns for three minutes, possibly brilliant soundtracking a cinematic chase scene, but just kind of exhausting on its own.


Found On: TRON: Legacy

A pounding, creeping track that goes on for a little too long--it's one of the few TRON songs over four minutes, and feels it--though its Morricone-like sense of building anticipation is pretty undeniable.

82. "WDPK 83.7 FM"

Found On: Homework

A mostly unnecessary fake radio advertisement for Homework included as the album's second track, though it rates a little higher than their other non-song songs because of the excellent reduxe clip of early single "Musique" that starts off the track, and how much fun it is to imitate the booming voice of the French radio announcer at the end of the track.


Found On: TRON: Legacy

Another minorly innocuous track from Tron: Legacy, stately and unmemorable. The duo does know how to produce a real righteous horn sound, though.


Found On: The Micronauts non-album single

One of Daft Punk's earliest remix, they take a fairly slight deep house track and give it a little muscle and edge, but still fail to derive a real hook from it. Pedestrian stuff by their later standards.


Found On: TRON: Legacy

Another atmospheric string-and-horn number, with some absolutely booming crescendos, but coming towards the end of Tron: Legacy, it feels inevitably redundant.

78. "WITHIN"

Found On: Random Access Memories

A piano ballad yearning for humanity, with typically vocoder-drowned vocals, which proves that perhaps doing yearning piano ballads is not where the Robots' true strength lies.


Found On: TRON: Legacy

True to Tron: Legacy's Disney roots, "Rectifier" feels like it could have come out of the "Sorcerer's Apprentice" section of Fantasia, so creepy is it in its processional march and wailing violins. It's not much for a Daft Punk mixtape, but it could scare the crap out of your six-year-old cousin, for sure.


Found On: Franz Ferdinand non-album single

As enticing as a Daft Punk remix of Franz Ferdinand's classic dance-punk stomper "Take Me Out" sounds on paper, the final product is a little less appetizing--basically, all Guy and Thomas do the song is to dirty it up a little, spreading an increasingly voluminous squall of synth static across the song's first few verses and final choruses. It's still kinda cool, but it could have been so much more.


Found On: TRON: Legacy

One of the score's more sparse, subtle songs--much more going on atmospherically than melodically, but it's serene enough, and at two minutes, doesn't nearly outstay its welcome.

74. "ARMORY"

Found On: TRON: Legacy

Another atmospheric two-minuter, with some "Moments in Love"-type breathy sounds, and with a bellowing single-note synth riff that comes off as pretty damn cinematic.


Found On: The New Wave non-album single

An early b-side of Daft Punk's sees the duo still trying to find their own voice in house music, coming off as a fun-but-unoriginal mix of LFO and Joey Beltram. Not a bad listen by any means, but it's almost hard to believe they could make a song so anonymous.


Found On: TRON: Legacy

One of the better uses of synth as a core instrument to be found on the soundtrack, something we all thought we'd hear more of when news broke that Daft Punk would be scoring a sci-fi movie. More pounding drums and endless crescendoing, and again, short enough to not become tiresome.


Found On: Homework

An enjoyable-enough intro to Homework, apparently cribbed from their live sets, though it cuts into "WDPK" just as its really starting to build to something. The "Funk back to the punk, c'mon" lyrical hook was memorable enough for Janet Jackson to sample it on her "So Much Betta" track from 2008's Discipline, in any event.

For songs #70-61, click NEXT.

Other Pages: #60-51, #50-41, #40-31, #30-21, #20-11, #10-1

#70. "BEYOND"

Found On: Random Access Memories

Hell of an attention-grabbing string intro to this one, and the bass line is extremely reminiscent of Michael McDonald’s early-’80s classic “I Keep Forgetting," which is never unwelcome. Unfortunately, there’s not too much else to the song beyond that borrowed groove and the shrieking strings that introduce it--it never really goes anywhere and lasts for at least a minute longer than it has to.


Found On: Human After All

Very strong, Green Velvet-like pummeling central riff, but it gets a little grating over the course of four minutes, as does the duo's distorted "I...AM...THE...BRAAIIIIIN....WAAAASHERRRRRR!!!!" vocal proclamations, which get more than a little corny by song's end. Still, great in bite-sized chunks, as when dropped in the group's live sets, best heard on the Alive 2007 release.


Found On: TRON: Legacy

One of the more fleshed-out cuts from Tron: Legacy, sounding like a composition unto itself with its fine use of dynamics and pacing. Still not much of a central melody to latch onto, but perhaps the score's most representative single track.


Found On: Human After All

Takes a while to get going, and even when it does, it never really becomes the dancefloor scorcher you initially expect it to, but the song starts to make sense as it picks gradually picks up speed halfway through, until the song's once arrogantly relaxed pace becomes unlistenably frenetic, probably making some sort of commentary about said "prime time" quickly slipping away. It feels right in the flow of Human After All, anyway.

#66. "OH YEAH"

Found On: Homework

An exceedingly one-note electro-funk filler track to end side C of Homework, but one that doesn't try to stretch its one idea too far in its two-minute runtime, and which is pretty damn funky while it lasts. Another duo of European electro-pop eccentrics with a similarly titled jam from the '80s would undoubtedly approve.


Found On: Discovery

One of the less-memorable cuts from the second half of Discovery, "Veridis Quo" is one of the album's more self-consciously proggy songs, sounding like something Peter Gabriel-era Genesis might've come up with if they were raised on Derrick May and Juan Atkins records. The whooshing synths and flute-like hook are pleasant enough, but are stretched a little too thin over the course of the song's near-six-minute run time.

#64. "FINALE"

Found On: TRON: Legacy

Appropriately epic for a song called "Finale" at the end of a long-ass film soundtrack, and fairly rousing as well, though sadly absent of most of the score's most memorable melodic motifs.


Found On: TRON: Legacy

Timpani, cymbals, gongs--Daft Punk spared no expense with the attention-grabbing opening movement to their first-ever film score. Less predictable here is the good deal of Mr. Mister's "Broken Wings" to be found in the melody, though that's not really a bad thing.


Found On: Random Access Memories

a thickly produced funk ballad with deep bass, airy synths and plenty of muted guitar, the song’s obvious nocturnal, sensual vibe would probably get it instantly dubbed as “porn funk,” if not for the Robots’ distractingly distorted vocals. In any event, the song is a worthwhile sequel to Discovery‘s mood-setter “Something About Us,” similarly hypnotic and seductive, though the five-plus-minute run-time is pretty excessive.


Found On: I:Cube non-album single

Another pre-Homework remix from the Robots. This one has a good deal more flair to it than "Get Funky Get Down," though its house style is much more lithe and fancy-free--listen to that electric piano riff, ferchrissake--than we would eventually get used to from Daft Punk. Still, undeniably catchy.

For songs #60-51, click NEXT.

Other Pages: #86-71, #50-41, #40-31, #30-21, #20-11, #10-1


Found On: TRON: Legacy

One of the more arresting melodies to be found on Tron: Legacy, melancholy and gorgeous without being draggy, and managing to keep an air of menace to it as well. While too many of the songs on the score tend to run long, you actually wish you had a little more time than 1:42 to spend with the appropriately titled "Nocturne."


Found On: TRON: Legacy Reconfigured

The first of several remixes from the TRON: Legacy Reconfigured remix collection to be included on this list, American dance producer Ki Thoery gives the percolating synths of the original "Son of Flynn" a little backbone with his stuttering guitar riffs, and some crashing big beat drums that would have allowed the song to sound right at home on the soundtrack to a late '90s action movie. The spine-chilling piano riff added towards the end is also a nice touch.

#58. "HIGH LIFE"

Found On: Discovery

Probably the least memorable of the many filter disco excursions of Discovery, since after one time through its primary vocal hook and its organ-heavy breakdown, there's not a lot left for the next three minutes. There's still enough joy and pop giddiness included in the song's endlessly repeated hook to make it worth the time spent, though, and to make it worthy of its decadence-promising title.

#57. "EMOTION"

Found On: Human After All

The down-tempo closing track to the duo's third album, "Emotion" self-consciously falls short of being genuinely moving--that's not really the Robots' M.O.--but there is something decidedly hypnotic about the way it pulses, always seeming to go a step slower than it should be going. It's not quite enough to sustain seven highly repetitive minutes, but it's still a good choice of album closer.


Found On: TRON: Legacy

A rare actual unleashing of the synths on the TRON: Legacy soundtrack, the group's "End Titles" theme is one of the group's best blends of the more conventionally cinematic score elements with their own personal bland of futuristic electro-pop. Also check out the Sande Kleinenberg remix of the song from the Reconfigured album for an edit that puts even more pep in the song's step, with gloriously funky results.

#55. "CONTACT"

Found On: Random Access Memories

The lush opening synths make “Contact” sound like it’s going to explode into something off their French countrymen M83′s latest album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, but the synth-organs and drums that take over after the song’s outer-space transmission sample ends put this closer back in Daft Punk (this era of Daft Punk, anyway) territory. it’s an appropriately interstellar way to end a Daft Punk album, even though with its perpetually crashing live drums and lack of any kind of house pulse, it would have sounded completely alien (pun semi-intended) on any other Daft Punk album.

#54. "THE GRID"

Found On: TRON: Legacy

Surprisingly, the only track on TRON: Legacy to include any kind of samples from the movie proper, and all the better for it. The sound of Jeff Bridges' voice as he recalls his first entry into the world of TRON ("I kept dreaming of a world I thought I'd never see...and then, one day...I got in.") is one of the most captivating things you'll hear on the soundtrack, especially when the Rush-like synths kick in immediately after. You can understand why the duo didn't want to rely too heavily on movie dialogue on their first-ever film score, but hell if it isn't pretty damned effective.


Found On: Homework

A song that after 15 years of rocking out to Homework, I still can't recognize from its title alone. Still, that's not a knock on the song--as soon as I hear it, it's "Oh right, this song! I love this song!" and then I'm trying to sing along with the vocab-less vocal hooks and blaring sax hooks. A worthwhile deep cut, for sure. ( claims the vocals are from Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are," though I'm not sure if I buy it.)


Found On: Random Access Memories

To some, listening to disco and electro-pop pioneer Giorgio Morder (writer and producer behind such dance/pop classics as Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” and Blondie’s “Call Me”) relate his early-life experiences and musical inspirations over nine minutes of zooming space-funk probably sounds like a damn good time, to others, it probably sounds absolutely interminable. As for us, we’d fall more in the “damn good time” category, though if you wanted to cut a minute or two from the middle, we wouldn’t be hugely disappointed.


Found On: Musique Vol. 1 1993-2006

Daft Punk twisted British singer/songwriter single's "Forget About the World" into something totally unrecognizable, though given that the original wasn't that great and Daft Punk's remix makes something borderline-ecstatic out of it with just the title phrase and a string sample, it's a forgivable destruction. Really, anything with that trademark Daft Punk hi-hat-and-snare combination as the primary rhythmic track is gonna be irresistible, and this remix is no exception.

For songs #50-41, click NEXT.

Other Pages: #86-71, #70-61, #40-31, #30-21, #20-11, #10-1


Found On: TRON: Legacy Reconfigured

Legendary DJ Paul Oakenfold wisely saved the creepy, spectral four-note riff from the original "C.L.U." and fashioned an old-fashioned trance rave-up around it, complete with "Dominator"-style zooming synths and his own trademark wash of keys lifting the song into the stratosphere. Not to be played at a nightclub before at least 2AM, but it would sound absolutely brilliant around then.


Found On: Human After All

Speaking of creepy, how about the "SSSSSSTTTTTEEEEAAAAAMMMM MAAAAACHIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNE" exhortations in this one? Most likely, the duo are just trying to approximate the hiss of an actual steam machine, but the way they do it makes it sound like the titular appliance is somehow the trademark weapon of a mass murderer or horror villain. Luckily, the song's pogoing hook and relentless chug is enough to keep the song from being overwhelmed by the vocal freakiness, and it ends up as one of the more fun songs on Human After All anyway.


Found On: Daft Club

An early warmup for the group's eventual scoring days came on the intro to their Daft Club remix album, the compilation's sole original composition. You can hear the seeds of TRON: Legacy in the plodding synths, echoing drums and deliberate pacing of "Ouverture," though the production layering and rhythmic propulsion of the song is actually far more compelling than most of that score would end up being. Also, further proof that spelling out your song's title over the course of the song is always a good idea.


Found On: Random Access Memories

Strings, woodwinds, acoustic guitar and all kinds of synths adorn the widescreen shuffle of the instrumental “Motherboard,” one of the most cinematic compositions on Random Access Memories. There’s not much of a hook here to speak of, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as “Motherboard” is more about atmosphere and groove anyway, and it has both of those to spare, with enough going on in the texture of its composition to maintain interest, and make for a damn fine closer to the album’s second act.

#46. "MUSIQUE"

Found On: Musique Vol. 1, 1993-2006

The b-side to the duo's breakout "Da Funk" single, "Musique" was arguably the more representative song of the two--a heavily filtered house anthem with an extremely simple, repetitive, and addictive hook, both vocal and melodic. The filtering itself is almost the hook here, as the simple synth riff fades tantalizingly in and out of audibility on top of a trademark shuffle, with the one-note chant of "Musique!" attempting to explain everything. Not one of the duo's most sophisticated numbers, but an early gem nonetheless.


Found On: Human After All

Not exactly a home run as far as satire is concerned--though like all Daft Punk's prospective social commentary, it's too gleeful to really come off as bitter anyway--but one of the catchier disco-rock workouts found on Human After All, with the the song's faux-guitar strut over the walking 4/4 beat making it sound like a late '70s KISS single. The vocoder-drowned title phrase is as catchy as it needs to be, and sounds like it's saying something even if it really isn't.


Found On: TRON: Legacy Reconfigured

One of the most sophisticated remixes of the TRON: Legacy soundtrack, "Arena" manages to maintain the foreboding feel of the original 90-second instrumental, as well as most of its melodic trademarks (the piercing seven-note synth riff, the thundering tribal drums at song's end), but layers far more texture over it and extends it into a full-length, six-minute song of builds and drops and almost unbearable tension. Songs called "Arena" should always be this big and awesome-sounding.


Found On: Homework

A simple, endless loop of the guitar riff to Karen Young's forgotten disco single "Hot Shot," with some pogoing, scratchy bass laid over top. Another dance outfit would kill for a hook this creative and memorable, for Daft Punk, it's just another cool jam on the second half of Homework.


Found On: TRON: Legacy

For a soundtrack to a movie about being stuck inside a video game world, only one song on TRON: Legacy really sounds like what you'd expect that experience to sound like. With its synth-organ hook sounding like a ping-pong ball bouncing all over an electronic, neon-glowing machine, "Derezzed" was an obvious choice for the album's lead single, and even if it's a little too frenetic to really be effective as a dance song, it's still sort of exactly what you'd want from Daft Punk scoring a video-game movie.


Found On: Random Access Memories

there was a time when it would be virtually inconceivable to think that Daft Punk and Julian Casablancas (of New York alt-rock demigods The Strokes) would do a song together, but these days a collaboration between the two of them doesn’t sound so jarring, conceptually or practically.  A tense, auto-tuned midtempo groove vaguely reminiscent of the Alan Parsons Project’s ’80s prog-pop hit “Eye in the Sky,” which breaks into a recognizably Strokesian pop-rock burst on the chorus, "Instant Crush” sounds almost exactly halfway between where the two artists are right now, and not an awkward stretch of any kind on anyone’s part.

For songs #40-31, click NEXT.

Other Pages: #86-71, #70-61, #60-51, #30-21, #20-11, #10-1

#40. "ALIVE"

Found On: Homework

The "final version" of the duo's lead single "The New Wave," "Alive" isn't one of the group's catchier songs by any stretch--the echoing, thrashing beat and monotonous hook barely give you any melody to chew on--but it remains one of their most intense, singular listening experiences. Coming at the very end of Homework, it's a fairly enigmatic closer, washing your brain of memories of the album that was, until all you can remember is the throbbing, menacing synths of "Alive." There's rapture to be found here too, somewhere, somehow.


Found On: Discovery

"Robot porn music," as my friends used to call it. With its fat, popping bass, lounging synths and super-smooth R&B groove, "Something About Us" would indeed be ideal baby-making music for humans, if not for the stiff, super-auto-tuned vocals that grace the slow jam, making it clear that genuine human emotion is still not totally welcome here. Nonetheless, if robot porn is filled with ballads as lush and funky as this one, that could probably be enough to get the job done for some.

#38. "HORIZON"

Found On: Random Access Memories (Japanese Edition)

Daft Punk's fourth LP has been compared by some insightful critics to another challenging work from another French synth-pop duo, Air's 10,000 Hz Legend. The comparison would be perhaps no more apt than on this gorgeous bonus track from the album's Japanese issue, a primarily acoustic instrumental ballad with light synths and gradually crescendoing drums that reminds of some of the lovelier, though always slightly unsettling, ballads on the second Air LP. Why this song got cut from the regular RAM edition and a couple of the album's overwrought love songs survived editing will forever remain a mystery.


Found On: Homework

Like "Oh Yeah," a short and incredibly simple filler track on Homework, but this one is both far tighter with its creeping groove, and far more lyrically interesting, as the duo list their biggest musical influences one after the other ("Dr. Dre is in the house, yeah / Omega in the house / Gemini is in the house...") in a double-tracked, pitch-altered vocal with a pace and rhythm that makes it surprisingly catchy. For dance music fans, the song also doubles as a good gauge of your knowledge of the genre's history, and as you learn more and do more research, you find yourself recognizing more and more names mentioned in the song. (I still have no idea who DJ Slugo or Paris Mitchell are, though. Sorry, guys.)


Found On: TRON: Legacy Reconfigured

The most over-dramatic song on Tron: Legacy becomes far less overbearing through the Teddybears' remix of the song, which chops the song's sweeping hook up into a slamming electro-funk, near-dubsteppy beat, with racing synths approximating the texture previously provided by the original's swarming string section. The result is one of the more epic, cinematic synth-pop songs you're ever likely to hear, and something that would've been right at home on an excellent deep house collection like Booka Shade's Movements album.


Found On: Discovery

A well-deployed sample of doo-wop group Little Anthony and the Imperials' disco-era jam "Can You Imagine" makes for one of the more joyous, almost riotous cuts on Discovery, a song that sounds like walking into a party for the first time and being greeted by all of your friends having the time of their lives. It's the kind of sound that fellow turn-of-the-century house duo Basement Jaxx perfected over the years, though with the "Rockit"-like scratch breaks in the middle and the old-school hip-hop opening drum intro, it's still unmistakably Daft Punk here.


Found On: Random Access Memories

For a collaboration between two major dance artists–garage/house producer and longtime DP bro Todd Edwards provides vocals–”Fragments” somehow ends up as a super-smooth pop/rock nugget, sounding kind of like Phoenix covering Steely Dan. Still, the song is as catchy and clean-sounding as the Phoenix/Steely comparisons would indicate, and Todd Edwards has a nicely unassuming voice that fits the melody quite beautifully--a nice counter-balance to some of the more overbearing numbers on Random Access Memories.

#33. "BURNIN'"

Found On: Homework

On an album that didn't already have so many great songs with scratchy, scorching synth hooks, "Burnin'" would have had more of a chance to stand out. As is, it'll have to do with being the only such song on Homework to also (eventually) deploy a shuffling beat and bubbly, disco-ready bass hook for counter-balance, therefore not being quite as challenging a listen. I actually prefer the more challenging cuts, but there's a reason that this was the only one of the borderline-painful Homework cuts to be pulled as a single.


Found On: Daft Club

Speaking of the Jaxx, they took one of the more sublime cuts on Homework and made an exotic, almost Indiana Jones-like adventure out of it, adding all sorts of Eastern-sounding hooks, chants and percussion to the mix, turning it into an international party jam that not even Daft Punk could have dreamed of. You wonder what it has to do with the original "Phoenix," minus the occasional "Phoenix, the Phoenix" chants to be found in the song, but when that instantly recognizable sample hook makes its first appearance, all suddenly becomes clear. Probably the best thing to be found on the otherwise subpar Daft Club remix album.


Found On: Discovery

The purest of Daft Punk's electro-funk tributes, jutting and piercing with its slamming faux-drums and guitar-approximating synths, sounding for most of its runtime like something anyone from Yellow Magic Orchestra to Afrika Bambaataa to Cybotron would have been proud to call their own. It's an awesome genre workout, but it's given extra depth by the song's minute-plus outro, which winds things down into something unexpectedly melancholy, and as the third-to-last track on Discovery, provides the perfect palette cleanser for the album's back-to-back epic finishers.

For songs #30-21, click NEXT.

Other Pages: #86-71, #70-61, #60-51, #50-41, #20-11, #10-1


Found On: Sky Sailor EP

A collaboration with TRS-80, with vocals from surreal dream-pop mastermind Ariel Pink, "Sky Sailor" raises the stakes of the original ballad "Solar Sailer" from TRON: Legacy--one of the soundtrack's prettiest, most stirring cuts--with the addition of Pink's voice, gently intoning "Float away, sky sailor, sky sailor." It's enough to turn an already memorable instrumental into something totally inscrutable and awe-striking, a song that, like most of the best Ariel Pink work, absolutely gets underneath your skin and moves you for reasons you can't quite articulate. Well worth tracking down.


Found On: Chemical Brothers non-album single

It bears absolutely no resemblance to the Chemical Brothers' original song, a vocal-led, blissed-out single from their debut LP Exit Planet Dust, but it ends up as one of Daft Punk's most arresting deep house numbers nonetheless, a rich brew of interlocking vocal and instrumental hooks, and one that never becomes monotonous over the course of its near-nine-minute run time. Plus, as a collaboration between two of the most important acts in '90s dance music, it deserves extra points just for not being a gigantic letdown, as most such works are.


Found On: Homework

An absolutely gorgeous two-minute interlude amidst all the robo revelry of Discovery, the impossibly lush, breathing synths and pulsing drum heartbeat of "Nightvision" don't last long, but make for one of the most stunning listens on the album nonetheless. The fact that the whole thing is unshakably reminiscent of 10cc's '70s soft-rock heartbreak classic "I'm Not in Love" doesn't hurt its standing here, either.


Found On: Musique Vol. 1, 1993-2006

Ian Pooley's original deep house single, with its "Rock the discotheque!" exhortations and skittering, pulse-racing beat, was a gem in its own right, but Daft Punk take it to the clouds above by calming the beat down a little bit, finding a funky bass groove to go with it, and adding "Choooord memory" croons on top, which are catchy enough to avoid ending up being too corny. By the time Daft Punk interrupt their remix with a fake radio broadcast advertising the very remix being listened to, they've so taken over the original jam that the arrogance feels well-earned.

#26. "FRESH"

Found On: Homework

The best parts of this one come in the song's opening minute, which provides a brief respite from all the slamming beats and euphoric synth hooks on the album to provide a little chilling-on-the-beach time, as the sound of crashing waves is pierced with a gloriously sun-baked organ riff, instantly melting all your troubles away. The ensuing house number that follows--another filter-heavy number with an endlessly repeated vocal loop--isn't bad either, but the song never quite matches the bliss of that opening minute again.


Found On: Human After All

Another maybe-commentary on modern society from DP's third album, "Technologic" finds most of its rhythm and catchiness in another vocal list, this time of a seemingly endless succession of rapid-fire 21st century commands, like "Write it, get it, paste it, save it, load it, check it, quick, rewrite it." The chipmunk-sounding pitch-altered voice inevitably becomes annoying by the end of the song, but there's enough of a propulsion to the strings of commands (and enough of an impact when the voice ceases to simply intone the title phrase) that it remains a highly worthwhile single nonetheless. Busta Rhymes evidently thought so, sampling one of the strings of commands for the vocal hook to his "Touch It" hit.)


Found On: TRON: Legacy Reconfigured

It seems almost unfair to include M83's remix of "Fall" on a Daft Punk list, since the French synth-pop outfit takes only the sparsest of elements from the original Daft Punk instrumental, and essentially fashion a brand-new M83 song out of it. Nonetheless, it's a pretty fucking good M83 song that they made out of it, one that would've been a highlight on their Hurry Up We're Dreaming album, and one which continues to be a live favorite for the band, with its dreamy verse vocals and compulsory sing-along "NA-NA, NA-NAAAAA" chorus sections. A must-listen for fans of either artist.

#23. "MAKE LOVE"

Found On: Human After All

One of the slinkiest grooves that Daft Punk ever devised, with an almost bossa nova shuffle to it, and a simple, playful guitar (or is it just another synth?) riff providing all the melody necessary--it doesn't really go anywhere over its five minutes, but you don't really want it to, so that's fine. It could've been the backing track for a truly badass hit single for the Doobie Brothers or Steely Dan in the mid-'70s, and you get the feeling that Daft Punk would take that as a gigantic compliment.


Found On: Random Access Memories

It starts with a crashing, all-instruments-on-deck intro that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on an Electric Light Orchestra single, then quickly settles into a gentle disco groove--and within the first few minutes, you know just about all you need to know about the exceedingly '70s-indebted Random Access Memories. It’s not subtle, and it’s more than a little cheesy, but it’s also very authentically Daft Punk, and it’s also considerably sublime, as the duo finds themselves right at home in the song’s inclusive, yacht-rock-smooth groove.

#21. "VOYAGER"

Found On: Discovery

Straight-faced filter disco doesn't make too many appearances on Discovery, the album too bursting with pop quirks for any such obvious genre excursions. Still, "Voyager" is about as straightforward as they come--with its shimmering guitar riff, "Billie Jean" like drum beat and up-and-down-the-register bass line, the song is just a vocal away from being a great Chic deep cut. Luckily, Daft Punk do their heroes proud, and "Voyager" is one of the most sheerly enjoyable, if not exactly one of the most mind-blowing, cuts on the album.

Other Pages: #86-71, #70-61, #60-51, #50-41, #40-31, #10-1

#20. "END OF LINE"

Found On: TRON: Legacy

Easily the TRON: Legacy song that would fit least awkwardly on a non-score Daft Punk album, "End of Line" rides one of the duo's most striking synth riffs over some warbling bass and a comfortable walking beat, for a song that sounds like it belongs on the Drive soundtrack just as much as anything TRON-related. It's so good that it really makes you wonder what TRON: Legacy could have been like if the duo had focused solely on sci-fi-sounding synth-pop as in their wheelhouse as this, rather than attempting to prove they could pull off a more conventional-sounding film score as well. But at the end of the day, we do not question the Robots.

#19. "TOUCH"

Found On: Random Access Memories

A sweeping, eight-minute-plus epic that shifts from melodramatic prog-pop to Andrew Lloyd Weber-like theatricality to soaring disco to honky-tonk ragtime to near-gospel balladry and all back again, “Touch” is undoubtedly the most ambitious thing to be found on Daft Punk’s third album, obviously meant to serve as the LP’s centerpiece, and certainly one of the most singular pieces of music you’re likely to hear in 2013. The fact that it’s not a complete disaster is, from the outset, a pretty sizeable accomplishment--we’re actually all the way in on the whole crazy thing, but if you could only stand to listen to all 8:17 of it once or twice in a year, we couldn’t really blame you.

#18. "ROCK'N ROLL"

Found On: Homework

At pretty much the opposite end of the spectrum from the smooth-sailing disco vibes of much of Random Access Memories reside the brutal house scratches of "Rock'n Roll," a song which doesn't even come close to living up to its namesake in sound, but does get there in sheer ballsiness and attitude. Compared to "Rock'n Roll," even a song as intense as "Alive" sounds puny and weak, the hammering beat matched with a revving hook that sounds like the synth equivalent of tires screeching against rubber, while handclaps in the background pretend that everything is still all fine and dandy. It could have ended up as unlistenable--and to some fans, it probably is--but its build is handled with such mastery by the duo that instead it's just one of the most visceral and exciting listens to be found in their discography--even if it's hard to go back to the mellow beach sounds of "Fresh" afterwards.

#17. "GET LUCKY"

Found On: Random Access Memories

Speaking of smooth-sailing disco vibes, you won't get much closer to the spirit of 1979 in 2013 pop music than Daft Punk's Pharrell-assisted "Get Lucky," which even features Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers in the pocket. If not for the song's typically high-in-the-mix bass groove, and the robots' late-song echoing of Pharrell's "We're up all night to get lucky!" hook, the song would be almost unrecognizably human-sounding, but it still packs that giddy pop rush that all the best Daft Punk singles have. And, thanks to the incredible anticipation surrounding the song's release last week, it's also their highest-charting single in the U.S. to date, even becoming the duo's first top ten hit on this week's Hot 100.


Found On: Human After All: Remixes

The original "Robot Rock" was a worthy, if slightly hard-to-grasp at first, lead single for the Robots off their third album, a purposefully dumb but impossibly catchy jam keyed around a well-chosen (though perhaps a mite too cleanly lifted) sample from '80s funk-rock outfit Breakwater's single "Release the Beast." The Soulwax remix of the song gets a little more playful with it, though, messing around with the phrasing and instrumentation of both the beat and the hook, adding some much-appreciated variety to the gonzo-ness of the original. You can't properly appreciate it without already knowing the original, but once you do, you might end up preferring the remix for the long haul.


Found On: Discovery

Possibly Daft Punk's most recognizable song, largely thanks to its sampling in Kanye West's chart-topping pop hit "Stronger," the mechanical grind of "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" makes it a worthwhile choice for de facto group anthem, even though there are greater pop thrills to be had for the group elsewhere in their discography (and particularly on Discovery). The endless "Work it harder, do it better..." chant may get a little monotonous at times, but when the song cuts from the final-sounding "never over" to the super-robo-funky breakdown section, though, it's easily one of the most singular moments to be heard in 21st-century dance music.


Found On: Musique Vol. 1, 1993-2006

A third-generation remix for Daft Punk, as it's a remix of a Scott Grooves experimental house cut that was itself a spin on Funkadelic's '70s funk standard "Mothership Connection." Daft Punk truly takes things interstellar with it, though, brilliantly turning the original "If you hear any noise, it's just me and the boys" chant into a human/robot call-and-response hook over an Afrika Bambaataa-like beat, before the song erupts into one of the most pleasurable house grooves the duo ever devised, one that bridges the gap between the harder edge of Homework and the glossier pop rush of Discovery. Probably the group's best-remembered remix, and for good reason.


Found On: Random Access Memories

Panda Bear, not exactly known as a go-to party-starter in his work as a solo artist or the singer for Animal Collective, is one of the more idiosyncratic choices for collaborators on Random Access Memories, but his earnest, reaching vocals hit all the right notes on this surprisingly catchy jam, as he sings “If you lose your way tonight / That’s how you know the magic’s right.” It’s a much less obvious slam dunk than the duo’s two Pharrell collaborations, but it’s arguably a richer return, a surprisingly successful blend of the starkly hypnotic qualities of the best Panda Bear songs and the crowd-pleasing maximalism of the best Daft Punk jams.

#12. "TOO LONG"

Found On: Discovery

With its title phrase, countlessly repeated throughout the song, considered alongside its ten-minute run time, "Too Long" would easily court mockery were it not such a fun song and perfect closer for Discovery. In fact, "Too Long" is not the least bit too long at all--rather, the way it gradually unfolds over the course of its ten minutes is one of the most impressive things to be found on Discovery, how the song slowly sinks into its groove before switching things up completely half-way through, and taking off even further into the house stratosphere from there. By song's end, you'll be singing "Do you need it? / (Hey!) / Well, I need it too! / (Well, all right!") up until you hit play on the album again.


Found On: Discovery

For a song that starts with the sound of a bell tolling--an established metal trope for the likes of Metallica and AC/DC--and includes what sounds suspiciously like an Eddie Van Halen-style finger-tapping solo, you'd think "Aerodynamic" would be Daft Punk's entree into the world of headbanging. Yes, but no--"Aerodynamic" rocks, for sure, but not without breaking the house-readiness of Discovery, rather just providing the absolutely perfect transition track between the album's two much-less-meat-headed first two lead singles--one so good that it was eventually released as a single in its own right, despite being a much less obvious choice than several other songs on the album.

For the top ten songs, click NEXT.

Other Pages: #86-71, #70-61, #60-51, #50-41, #40-31, #30-21


Found On: Human After All

The opening and arguably best track on Daft Punk's third album, "Human After All" finds the perfect balance between house energy and rock instrumentation and posturing--all obviously filtered through the duo's typically electronic and (ironically, intentionally) dehumanizing musical style. It's catchy, it's propulsive, and it sets the tone--much to the displeasure of many HAA detractors--for absolutely everything on the album to follow. Much of Daft Punk's music is indebted to electronic forefathers Kraftwerk, the original Robots, but "Human After All" is the song you could most picture them coming up with had they been born 25 years or so later.

#9. "REVOLUTION 909"

Found On: Homework

Politics and social protest don't often enter the realm of Daft Punk's music, but they make a brief appearance at the beginning of "Revolution 909," for the memorable rave bust skit ("Stop the music and go home, I repeat...") that intros the song, a strike at the French government's stance against such festivities. The rest of the song proves that the best revenge is raving well, as "Revolution 909" is one of the group's purest house numbers, down to the tastefully deployed vocal chants that keep the hook moving, and the 1-2-3-4 beat stutter in the song's breakdown section. It's a subtle anthem, but an undeniable one nonetheless. And its music video even teaches you how to make tomato sauce, for some reason!


Found On: Random Access Memories

“Lose Yourself to Dance” may or may not be the second single off Random Access Memories, but it’s hard to believe it won’t get pulled eventually. Like "Get Lucky," “Dance” unites the holy pop-funk trinity of Daft Punk, Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers and Neptunes beatmaker / hook singer Pharrell Williams for a disco workout of undeniable divinity. Pharrell’s falsetto fits like a diamond-studded glove over Rodgers’ shimmering guitar hook and the Robots’ popping bass and clapping drums, and by song’s end, you’ll be strapping on the polyester and Googling the location of the nearest roller rink. Not groundbreaking by any means, but still very impressive stuff.


Found On: Discovery

The most underrated song on Discovery is probably this first-half blast of pure pop giddiness, brilliantly using the "Something's in the air!" shout from the beginning to Barry Manilow's "Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed" as a lift-off point to a stomping juggernaut of crashing beats and layered synths. Eventually, the song breaks out into a cacophonous flurry of laser noises, because the song has no other way to get more intense in its joyful exuberance. Coming off the hushed prettiness of "Nightvision," it's an absolute barnstormer of a dance-pop song, and it takes till the end of "Something About Us" to properly come down from.


Found On: Discovery

Another "Billie Jean"-like intro gives way to one of the most inspired hooks the duo ever devised. What really stuns about "Face to Face" is not just the funkiness of the song's chopped-together synth-and-bass hook, but the precision with which it is assembled--seemingly no two notes come from the same source material, yet it all still comes together for a rhythm and melody as transfixing and easily understandable as anything you might find in a song by their duo's rock/pop countrymen Phoenix. By the time collaborator and long-time influence Todd Edwards comes in with his pitch-perfect vocals about a strained relationship or some such (I've listened to this song dozens of times without ever once paying attention to what the words actually mean), the song's already an absolute winner. How it was never released as an official single--not that it would have been a hit in the States anyway--remains a mystery.


Found On: Homework

The song that really brought Daft Punk to prominence in the U.S., and simply put, one of the catchiest songs ever recorded. It's bad enough at the outset with the insta-funk of its Chic-inspired bass line, and on-the-down-beat synth-guitar riff, but then that three-word title vocal comes in--"Around the world, a-round-the-wooo-ooorrrrld"--and it's just game over. Good luck doing or thinking about anything else for the rest of the day without tapping the song with your fingers and humming the hook to yourself. The song doesn't really go anywhere else from there over the course of seven minutes, minus some drop-and-rebuild sections, but it doesn't have to, because it's already got you hooked for life. A video with different groups of eccentrically dressed dancers playing the various parts of the song also ensured that appropriate accompanying visuals would be an inextricable part of the Daft Punk experience from then on.


If you remember song #15 on this list, "Rock'n Roll," and how intense I talked about that song being, understand that I mean it as no small feat when I say that "Rollin' & Scratchin'" makes that song sound like "Music Sounds Better With You" by comparison. A slow-burning--and I mean burning house anthem, "Rollin' & Scratchin'" takes a little while to get going, but once it does, it will make you sorry for ever doubting it. The term "acid house" is an important descriptor in the dance music lexicon, but rarely do the songs it describes actually sound like literal acid is dripping off the beats. That's what "Rollin' & Scratchin'" does. The screaming two-note static hook becomes so vicious by song's climax that it actually sounds like it's ripping its own song (and the performers behind it) to shreds.

As with "Rock'n Roll," it could have verged on unlistenable (and probably still does for some), but the pacing of it is so perfect and the peak is handled with such respect for the song's blistering hook that it becomes as exhilerating as any of the group's more crowd-pleasing pop numbers. Back-to-back with "Around the World" on Homework, it's about as incredible a one-two punch as you're likely to find on any dance LP ever.


Found On: Discovery

Ask any of the millions of rock kids who don't normally care for dance music but still get down to Daft Punk which song of theirs it was that first wormed its way into their heart, and chances are pretty good the answer you'll get is "Digital Love." It's not quite the perfect pop song that Discovery's lead single is--there's no real chorus or vocal hook to speak off, just the George Duke-cribbed synth-guitar riff that runs throughout the song, but the song is still sweet and grabbing enough with its gleeful-but-sighing verse lyrics about a party-and-romance fantasy (start any Daft Punk fan off with a "Last night I had a dream about you..." and they should be able to recite the whole thing) that its appeal is easily understandable even for non-dance listeners.

Then there's the Supertramp-like bridge, the slamming breakdown section, and of course, the Yngwie-like, uber-righteous, "Aerodynamic" redux guitar shredding that takes the song to its close, all of which combine to make "Digital Love" perhaps Daft Punk's most delectable pop concoction.

#2. "DA FUNK"

If there was a cooler dance song released in the '90s, I'm not sure what it was. From the moment the song kicks into full-gear with its muscular beat and pounding, one-note BOOM. BOOM. BOOM. BOOM. bass line, and that growling, indescribale riff comes in over top, it's just the coldest, most badass thing the entire AMP generation had to offer--not even The Prodigy, with producer Maxim's violently zooming beats and crazy-eyed frotnman Keith Flint's lunatic raving on top, ever created a dance song quite this imposing. You don't title a song "Da Funk" without being able to back it up, and Daft Punk do so and then some on this one.

The song might not have had quite the same worldwide impact it did, though, without the impossibly clever Spike Jonze music video, with its dogman lead character and cold-world setting, imbuing the song with a weird kind of humanity. After you see the video, you can't listen to the song again without picturing it as some kind of paean to the lonely, unforgiving streets. And hey, we can't really blame the dogman for his tragic refusal to give up his radio at video's end--we might not have made it through the '90s without constantly blaring Daft Punk, either.


As many incredible songs as Daft Punk have, it would still feel wrong putting any song but this one at #1. "One More Time" is, in the end, the song that Daft Punk will be remembered for, a song whose worldwide reputation as one of pop music's great unifying tracks will ultimately make the fact that it only ever peaked at #61 on the US Hot 100 seem absolutely insane. Romanthy's incredibly auto-tuned vocals might've sounded cheesy upon first listen--little did we know then how simply ahead-of-their-time they were--and the song's relentless groove (pilfered brilliantly from Eddie Johns' "More Spell on You") might've seemed a little too maximalist, but after some time, concerns about cheesiness fell by the wayside as the song's pop rush--as pure as that of "Crazy in Love," or "Call Me Maybe," or any other pop song released in the 21st century--triumphed over all, making concerns about freshness or coolness seem petty by comparison. Eventually all that matters is celebrating one more time, and not stopping the dancing.

"One More Time" was recently voted by readers of dance magazine Mixmag as the greatest dance song of all-time, and it's hard to find too much fault in their choice. If you're looking for a song that gets everyone on the dancefloor, that everyone's always glad to hear at any time, and that properly expresses the senses of joy and release that the best pop music provides, you're not going to do to much better from anyone, from any era, than Daft Punk's "One More Time."

Thanks for reading through our ranked list of every Daft Punk song! To take a quick glimpse at our list from #90-1 in its entirety, and to listen to a Spotify playlist featuring all of the songs available in order, click NEXT.

Other Pages: #86-71, #70-61, #60-51, #50-41, #40-31, #30-21, #20-11

Rank    Song

86    On/Off

85    Funk Ad

84    Outlands

83    Disc Wars

82    Wdpk 837 fm

81    Flynn Lives

80    Get Funky Get Down

79    Recognizer

78    Within

77    Rectifier

76    Take Me Out

75    Arrival

74    Armory

73    Assault

72    Rinzler

71    Daftendirekt

70    Beyond

69    The Brainwasher

68    The Game Has Changed

67    The Prime Time Of Your Life

66    Oh Yeah

65    Veridis Quo

64    Finale

63    Overture

62    The Game of Love

61    Disco Cubizm

60    Nocturne

59    The Son of Flynn (Ki: Theory Remix)

58    High Life

57    Emotion

56    Tron Legacy (End Titles) (Sander Kleinenberg Remix)

55    Contact

54    The Grid

53    High Fidelity

52    Giorgio By Moroder

51    Forget About the World

50    C.L.U. (Paul Oakenfold Remix)

49    Steam Machine

48    Ouverture

47    Motherboard

46    Musique

45    Television Rules the Nation

44    Arena (The Japanese Popstars Remix)

43    Indo Silver Club

42    Derezzed

41    Instant Crush

40    Alive

39    Something About Us

38    Horizon

37    Teachers

36    Adagio for Tron (Teddybears Remix)

35    Crescendolls

34    Fragments of Time

33    Burnin'

32    Phoenix (Basement Jaxx Remix)

31    Short Circuit

30    Sky Sailor (Float Away)

29    Life Is Sweet

28    Nightvision

27    Chord Memory

26    Fresh

25    Technologic

24    Fall (M83 vs. Big Black Delta Remix)

23    Make Love

22    Give Life Back to Music

21    Voyager

20    End of Line

19    Touch

18    Rock'n Roll

17    Get Lucky

16    Robot Rock (Soulwax Remix)

15    Harder Better Faster Stronger

14    Mothership Reconncetion

13    Doing It Right

12    Too Long

11    Aerodynamic

10    Human After All

9    Revolution 909

8    Lose Yourself to Dance

7    Superheroes

6    Face to Face

5    Around the World

4    Rollin' & Scratchin'

3    Digital Love

2    Da Funk

1    One More Time

Other Pages: #86-71, #70-61, #60-51, #50-41, #40-31, #30-21, #20-11, #10-1


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Justin Timberlake has so few solo albums—incredibly, The 20/20 Experience, out today, is just his third full-length LP—and waits so long in between the releases of each, that sometimes it seems like his discography should be comparable with a group like the Sex Pistols or Nirvana, an artist whose musical output was relatively small, but whose impact was so great that their catalog still stands alongside that of any of their more-prolific peers.

Well, we've done the research, and believe us when we say that that's not exactly the case. Despite only having the three solo LP's, JT's musical output over the last two decades—and yes, he's been around for nearly 20 years now, despite still being only 32 years—has, when you factor in his three-plus albums as a member of 'N Sync and his dozens of guest appearances on other artists' records over the years, been rather tremendous both in quality and quantity.

In fact, we counted a staggering 147 commercially released songs that Justin has been on over the years, and as we did with fellow pop legends Taylor Swift and Rihanna on the release dates of their new LPs last year, we're counting down every single one of them, from worst to first. (Because JT's discography is so sizeable, though, we're gonna breeze through the lowest 47, and gradually get a little more in depth from there as we get closer to the top.)

Join us as we look back through the entirety of Justin Timberlake's Hall-of-Fame-worthy discography, and see where all your favorite 'N Sync and JT solo jams (including the ten cuts off 20/20 Experience—12 with bonus tracks!) rank. And as always, let us know where we badly screwed up.

147. "On the Line" ('N Sync, On the Line Soundtrack)

146. "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" ('N Sync, "For the Girl Who Has Everything" B-Side)

145. "If I'm Not the One" ('N Sync, No Strings Attached (Europe Edition))

144. "In Love on Christmas" ('N Sync, Home for Christmas)

143. "You Got It" ('N Sync, 'N Sync)

142. "The First Noel" ('N Sync, Home for Christmas)

141. "Could It Be You" ('N Sync, No Strings Attached (Europe Release))

140. "Somewhere Someday" ('N Sync, Pokemon: The First Movie OST)

139. "Space Cowboy (Yippie-Yi-Ya)" ('N Sync, No Strings Attached)

138. "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On an Open Fire)" ('N Sync, Home for Christmas)

137. "This Is Where the Party's At" ('N Sync, No Strings Attached (Europe Edition))

136. "The Only Gift" ('N Sync, Home for Christmas)

Not a ton of songs of interest in our first dozen—all 'N Sync numbers, including a number of Christmas songs and a several Europe-only bonus tracks. The more intriguing songs here would probably be the group's cover of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," featuring a rare Chris Kirkpatrick lead falsetto vocal, the unsettling "In Love on Christmas" (which attempts to turn "Jingle Bells" into a Jodeci-type sex jam) and the supremely dated "Space Cowboy," which includes the bizarre couplet "Here it comes, millennium / And everybody's talkin' bout Jerusalem."

135. "Giddy Up" ('N Sync, 'N Sync)

134. "Best of My Life" ('N Sync, 'N Sync (German Edition))

133. "U Drive Me Crazy" ('N Sync, 'N Sync (British Edition))

132. "Losing My Way" (Solo, FutureSex/LoveSounds)

131. "Love's in Our Hearts on Christmas Day" ('N Sync, Home for Christmas)

130. "Some Dreams" ('N Sync, 'N Sync (Singapore Edition))

129. "Under My Tree" ('N Sync, Home for Christmas)

128. "You Don't Have to Be Alone (On Christmas)" ('N Sync, How the Grinch Stole Christmas OST)

127. "I Guess It's Christmas Time" ('N Sync, Home for Christmas)

126. "I Need Love" ('N Sync, 'N Sync)

We hit our first JT solo song, with the exceedingly overwrought attempt at social awwreness "Losing My Way," the sole misstep on FutureSex/LoveSounds and arguably Justin's worst number of the last ten years. Aside from that, just a lot more Christmas and bonus fare, though "I Need Love" and "Some Dreams" are both interesting in how much they sound like pop music from an era well before JT's prime, the former a Real McCoy-esque Eurodance jam and the latter a light reggae flirtation that sounds like it could have been on the Free Willy soundtrack. (And no, "U Drive Me Crazy" isn't the same as the Britney song, though it probably could and should have been.)

125. "It's Christmas" ('N Sync, Home for Christmas)

124. "Crazy For You" ('N Sync, 'N Sync)

123. "I'll Be Good For You" ('N Sync, No Strings Attached)

122. "Role Model" (FreeSol, Single)

121. "If Only Through Heaven's Eyes" ('N Sync, Light It Up OST)

120. "Fascinated" (FreeSol, Single)

119. "Everything I Own" ('N Sync, 'N Sync)

118. "Forever Young" ('N Sync, 'N Sync (German Edition))

117. "Here We Go" ('N Sync, 'N Sync)

116. "Home for Christmas" ('N Sync, Home for Christmas)

The first guest appearances show up here, courtesy of rap/rock outfit FreeSol, demonstrative of JT's surprisingly poor taste when it comes to selecting and grooming proteges. (At least he gets to do some super-Auto-Tuned rapping on "Role Model," though his verse won't exactly have you clamoring for an entire Justin mixtape.) Aside from that, there's also the Babyface-penned Fallen Homies ode "If Only Through Heaven's Eyes," and the Bread cover "Everything I Own," one of a handful of soft-rock standards the group would cover in their early days, though not one of the best.

115. "I'll Never Stop" ('N Sync, 'N Sync (Japanese Edition))

114. "Money" (Matt Morris, When Everything Breaks Open)

113. "Nite-Runner" (Duran Duran, The Red Carpet Massacre)

112. "Riddle" ('N Sync, 'N Sync (German Edition))

111. "Spaceship Coupe" (Solo, The 20/20 Experience)

110. "That Girl (Will Never Be Mine)" ('N Sync, On the Line OST)

109. "Bringin' Da Noise"('N Sync, No Strings Attached)

108. "Falling" ('N Sync, On the Line OST)

107. "Where Is the Love?" (Black Eyed Peas, Elephunk)

106. "The Nature" (Talib Kweli, Eardrum)

A lot more guest appearances, including another lame protege (Matt Morris, the manifestation of JT's coffee-house singer/songwriter career fantasies), a valiant-but-ill-fated comeback attempt (Duran Duran's Timbaland-and-Danja-produced Red Carpet Massacre, a disaster for all involved) and another blugh stab at social awareness (The Black Eyed Peas' "Where Is the Love?," somehow a worldwide smash hit). Also the first song from 20/20 (the over-cooked "Spaceship Coupe") and two highest-ranked of the three songs 'N Sync contributed to On the Line, the super-forgettable star vehicle for Sync members Lance Bass and Joey Fatone, which showed why Justin was the only member of the group destined for that particular type of multi-platform mainstream success.

105. "I Never Knew the Meaning of Christmas" ('N Sync, Home for Christmas)

104. "I Believe in You" (Joe, My Name Is Joe)

103. "That's When I'll Stop Loving You" ('N Sync, No Strings Attached)

102. "Celebrity" ('N Sync, Celebrity)

101. "Hole In My Head" (Rihanna, Single)

Our last five before getting into the Top 100 give us the first appearance of 'N Sync's best album—the title track off Celebrity—as well as the first song to appear on two of our every-song-ranked lists (though for what it's worth, it was only #109 from Rihanna's catalogue).

And now, onto the Top 100. For songs #100-91, click NEXT.

Other Pages: 90-81, 80-71, 70-61, 60-51, 50-41, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11, 10-1


Found On: The Lonely Island, Non-Album Single

The least funny of JT's three Lonely Island collaborations with comedian Andy Samberg, though it's hard to deny "Your mom says hi, JINX!" or the "HELICOPTER DICK!" bridge, and Lady Gaga is a welcome presence, as always.

99. "WINNER"

Found On: Jamie Foxx, Non-Album Single

There might never be a song more custom-designed to be used in NBA on TNT commercials than Foxx's "Winner," which was decently rousing, but still fell well short of the gold standard set by Fort Minor's "Remember the Name."

98. "WORK IT"

Found On: Nelly's Nellyville

A lesser single from Nelly's smash 2002 album, "Work It" is enjoyable enough Nelly by-the-numbers, with a fun video set at the Playboy Mansion (including a cameo from Hugh Hefner, natch).

97. "MY STYLE"

Found On: The Black Eyed Peas' Monkey Business

A much funkier and less overbearing JT/Peas collab than the far-more-popular "Where Is the Love," though if he wasn't repeatedly shouted out by producer Timbaland, you might never be able to spot that Justin is the one singing the song's hook.


Found On: 'N Sync's Home for Christmas

Another all-too-rare Kirkpatrick lead vocal, with some seriously sweet sax work making the song stand out from the rest of the bland Home for Christmas originals. Co-written by Martin Briley, '80s one-hit wonder for the underrated "Salt in My Tears."


Found On 'N Sync's 'N Sync

A Babyface-style "Money can't buy you love" ballad from the group's first album. Good, but not as good as Backstreet Boys' "All I Have to Give."


Found On: Reba McEntire's Reba Duets

One of the few country dalliances of the Memphis-born Timberlake's career came on this Reba duet, a stark, beautiful ballad that actually could've used a whole lot more JT than the spare backing vocals that he provides.


Found On: 'N Sync's Home for Christmas

Few R&B groups of their era did a capella as well as 'N Sync, and their accompaniment-less rendition of the Christmas standard (featuring the group trading off on lead vocal, climaxing with Kirkpatrick's falsetto) one of the most fun tracks on Home for Christmas.


Found On: Madonna's Hard Candy

One of two three-way collabs between Madonna, JT and Timbaland on Madge's Hard Candy, and though both were quite funky, it's not surprising that the fairly unmemorable "2night" wasn't the one pulled as a single.


Found On: 'N Sync's Home for Christmas

Thoughtful of 'N Sync to take a break from all the Christmas celebrating to give a shoutout to New Year's as well—especially with the "5! 4! 3!..." countdown that begins the track. One of the more useful songs from Home for Christmas, certainly.

For songs #90-81, click NEXT.

Other Pages: 147-101, 80-71, 70-61, 60-51, 50-41, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11, 10-1


Found On: No Strings Attached

Some pop songs will be forever cool in whatever niche is currently popular, and Johnny Kemp's New Jack Swing anthem "Just Got Paid" is certainly one of them, a worthy inclusion of cover on 'N Sync's second album. And considering how many copies No Strings Attached sold, Kemp is probably very grateful for the inclusion.


Found On: 'N Sync's Celebrity

Pretty lite-sounding for where 'N Sync were elsewhere on their third album, but a very pretty ballad just the same, with a big key change at song's climax—an unfortunately neglected art in 21st-century pop music.


Found On: The 20/20 Experience

An impressively lush number, and one that unfolds rather beautifully over its first couple minutes—but it just doesn't need to be two movements and eight minutes long when the song's only real lyrical idea is about equating love and sensuality (and possibly oral sex) to chewing gum.

87. "BOUNCE"

Found On: Timbaland's Shock Value

The beat is an absolute monster, and the JT-sung chorus hook of "Bounce / Like yo' ass had the hicuuuuuups..." is obviously awesome. Unfortunately, the song couldn't leave well enough alone, and the second half of the chorus, with JT listing every possible menage-a-trois combination ("It's you on me and me on you / Then you on me and me on you and you on her...") gets very quickly exhausting.


Found On: 'N Sync's Celebrity

Nice "Strawberry Fields"-like intro, and a cute double-time switch-up when the song gets to the chorus, though there's ultimately not a ton to grab onto here songwise outside of the lithe, bouncy production.


Found On: 'N Sync's 'N Sync (German Edition)

The production on this one makes it sound more like it's from 1987 than 1997, but the backing harmonies on the chorus are so gorgeous and the pace is so hypnotic that the datedness of it all isn't nearly as much of a problem as you'd imagine from the first few seconds.


Found On: 'N Sync's 'N Sync

One of JT's earliest attempts at the sophisticated loverman thing, with impressively un-embarrassing results considering that Timberlake was still only 16 at the time of recording. Cool syncopated rhythmic backing (and approximation of the classic "Don't Look Any Further" bass line) here too.


Found On: Kenna's Make Sure They See My Face

Kenna's career never quite took off the way JT and The Neptunes (producing here) hoped it would, but the dude still wrote some decent indie rock jams, and this one, with Justin pitching in on backing vocals, was about as catchy and head-bopping as any released in 2007.


Found On: 'N Sync's Home for Christmas

The most enjoyable of the Home for Christmas originals, "Merry Christmas" was a fine choice for the album's lead single, and remains a worthwhile inclusion on contemporary-pop-themed holiday playlists.


Found On: Music of the Heart OST

A duet with '80s pop megastar Gloria Estefan, 'N Sync's highest-charting single of the '90s—and a much-bigger hit than the forgettable Meryl Streep movie it soundtracked—is hardly the first song anyone will think of when remembering the group's salad days. But it is nonetheless a perfectly respectable "One Sweet Day"-type pop power ballad (penned by songwriting legend Diane Warren), with a key change that puts "Selfish" to shame.

For songs #80-71, click NEXT.

Other Pages: 147-101, 100-91, 70-61, 60-51, 50-41, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11, 10-1


Found On: Justified

Stevie Wonder-influenced almost to the point of pastiche, the electric-piano-led "Nothin' Else" is hardly a highlight on Justified, but is still smooth and mysterious enough that it would've blended in just fine on side three or four of Songs in the Key of Life.


Found On: 'N Sync's 'N Sync (Singapore Edition)

Yes, that "More Than a Feeling." 'N Sync's largely a capella cover of Boston's classic rock standard really shouldn't work as anything except parody, but damn if it doesn't actually come off as a joyful, creative rendition of the brilliant (and possibly indestructible) 1976 anthem.


Found On: Justified

A lovely strings-and-acoustic mid-tempo ballad, the kind of song that Justin Bieber just can't wait until his voice is adult enough to carry. Filled with cute little sonic detail—like the sound of JT inhaling deeply after the "I wanna be your air" lyric in the first verse—courtesy of The Neptunes, the primary architects of Timberlake's solo debut.


Found On: 'N Sync's Celebrity

'N Sync's third album was chock full of these incredibly frustrated-sounding kiss-off-type songs, with tense, buzzing, lean production to match. "See Right Through You" probably isn't the best of the bunch, but it does have JC demanding "DOES HE FFFFREAK THE WAY THAT I DO? / 'Coz you know that I know how to!," which is pretty fun.


Found On: The 20/20 Experience

Another 20/20 track that starts intriguing, but whose impact is dulled by its unnecessarily long running time. Damn, is it good to hear those classic Timbaland "uh-huh"s on the pre-chorus, though—we had no idea just how much we had missed him.


Found On: Hope for Haiti Now

A JT duet with singer/songwriter protege Matt Morris on one of the most over-covered songs in history for charity sounds like an even bigger recipe for disaster than an 'N Sync cover of Boston, but the arrangement is a lovely one and Morris and Timberlake (the latter's voice virtually unrecognizable) really blend quite seamlessly together, stately and not too showy. An impressive line item for Justin's vocal resume.


Found On: Jimmy Fallon's Blow Your Pants Off

JT and long-time showbiz bud Jimmy Fallon do a pretty respectable job blowing through three decades or so of hip-hop history, with Timberlake matching Fallon voice-for-voice with his spot-on renditions of Mike D (on the Beastie Boys' "Paul Revere") and Snoop Dogg (on Dr. Dre's "Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang"). The two would repeat the gimmick on Fallon's show three more times, with diminishing but still-fun returns.


Found On: Sergio Mendes' Timeless

Legendary pianist Sergio Mendes attempted a Santana-like comeback with Timeless, an album of collaborations with modern-day artists, including JT singing the hook on "Loose Ends," one of the few Justin attempts at showing a social conscience that actually doesn't come off as cringe-worthy—even despite the disappointing-but-unsurprising presence of Nice interpolation of "What's Goin' On," too.


Found On: 'N Sync's No Strings Attached

Slightly eye-roll-worthy in its self-conscious 21st-centuriness, but a necessary step in the evolution of 'N Sync (and JT) into pop futurists, and a very ahead-of-its-time deployment of Auto-Tune. Nobody else but Cher, Daft Punk and (for some reason) Kid Rock was using Auto-Tune like that at the turn of the century.

71. "DRESS ON"

Found On: The 20/20 Experience (Deluxe Edition)

A Timbaland guest verse! We're amazed it took until the bonus tracks on 20/20 Experience to get one, but the slinky shuffle of "Dress On" is as good a place as any for it. And the song still clocks in at under five minutes! Legendary restraint for JT here—though even at that blink-and-you'll-miss-it length, Timbo still finds time for another human-beatbox-type hook at the end. Not every song needs one of those, Timothy.

For songs #70-61, click NEXT.

Other Pages: 147-101, 100-91, 90-81, 60-51, 50-41, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11, 10-1


Found On: The Lonely Island's Turtleneck & Chain

A lustful mother swap that comes just short of falling into overbearing ughness, and just catchy enough as a mid/late-'00s R&B pastiche to avoid being a one-note bad joke. Plus, "My dad can't satisfy her in the bedroom ever since in he passed away" and "Every Mothers' Day needs a Mothers' Night" are pretty goddamn funny.


Found On: Esmée Denters' Outta Here

Of Timberlake's many handpicked younger artists to become commercial disappointments, Denters probably produced the most actually above-average pop music, including the unfaithful-lover lament "Casanova." The song is helped tremendously by a super-cold Danja beat, but Timberlake also gives the song a jolt on the chorus: "I'm trying to tell you sister / He's running around on ya!"


A light Neptunes breeze soundtracking another Justin vocal in which he plays superhero to a wounded PYT—although in this one, there's at least the lyrical switch-up of the girl having been laid off at her job, and not bruised emotionally by an unappreciative ex. Regardless, when the Neptunes are playing it this smooth, the lyrics are fine as long as they don't get too far in the way.


Found On: Timbaland's Shock Value 2

Proof that the hot-girl-as-fast-food extended lyrical metaphor has very limited appeal over an entire song. Still, Justin's hook is supremely catchy, and the clanging beat was one of the last great productions of Timbaland's second golden period, like the world's funkiest signal for a wedding toast.

66. "4 MINUTES"

Found On: Madonna's Hard Candy

Madonna's last enormous radio hit to date, and proof that she could still trend-hop musically with the best of them. Still, "4 Minutes" demonstrated that JT and Timbo were starting to run aground a little creatively, as the song's groaning hook and shuffling beat both reminded of previous, superior collaborations between the two.


Found On: Justified

A rare sort of understated nu-soul number from Timberlake, without a big attention-grabbing hook or big vocal swell or anything. Not the most memorable song he's ever done, but sweet and unassuming in a way that few ballads he's done recently are. Where did the Stevie Wonder influence go in your music, JT?


Found On: Shark Tale OST

A Timbaland/Timberlake collab from in between JT's first two albums, demonstrating the easy, obvious chemistry between the two. Neither appears to be trying all that hard on this one, but that's kind of the charm, as cool seems so effortless for the two—just listen to Timbo's repeated, matter-of-fact protestation "I ain't tryin'a be rude, dude, but we tryin'a tear up the place." Thankfully, the Shark Taleness is contained to a couple off-hand "fish in the sea"-type references.


Found On: 'N Sync's Celebrity

A skittering, bouncy sex jam that sounds, like a handful of 'N Sync songs from this period, like it was recorded inside an overactive pinball machine. Interestingly, this was the only song on an 'N Sync album with both JC and JT credited as co-writers, showing the arguable potential of a Lennon/McCartney-type partnership between the group's two most dominant members.


Found On: The 20/20 Experience (Deluxe Edition)

The hook kinda sounds like "Like I Love You" playing in reverse, which is pretty damn cool, and by the time the horns kick in on the chorus, you're wondering why the hell this song was left off the album's proper tracklist. It sort of makes sense by the song's end, though, as "Body Count" doesn't have a lot going lyrically, and the "Make my body count" hook becomes a little grating. Still, a highly worthy addition to the 20/20 Experience.


Found On: Justified

Again, hardly one of JT's most memorable lyrics, and the song goes about a minute longer than it needs to, but the Neptunes were in such a zone around the Justified era that "Last Night" is borderline essential just for its hypnotic layers of synth-strings and shimmering electric piano. Plus, no song called "Last Night" has ever been less than awesome.

For songs #60-51, click NEXT.

Other Pages: 147-101, 100-91, 90-81, 80-71, 50-41, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11, 10-1


Found On: T-Pain, non-album single

T-Pain's original was one of the more likeable pop songs of the late '00s, a twinkling, minimal ballad with some endearingly quirky lyrics ("I can put you in a mansion / Somewhere in Wiscansin"). Timberlake is very game for the song's fine remix, even playing along with the song's bizarre off-rhyme scheme ("I can see you breathless / Staring out across the bay in Massachusetts") and adopting T-Pain-level Auto-Tune for the first time since "Digital Get Down." Fun stuff.


Found On: T.I.'s Paper Trail

"Dead and Gone" quickly became one of the most-overplayed rap hits of the late '00s, but if you didn't get sick of it, then Justin's chorus hook and memorable bridge ("I turn my head to the East...") were probably the reasons why. Why did every song released around then make such a point of neeedless "OH!" and "AY!" shouting, though?


Found On: 'N Sync's 'N Sync

Hey, don't knock it till you try it. "Sailing," originally a soft-rock classic for Christopher Cross in the early '80s, turns out to be a super-fine fit for the gorgeous harmonies and hazy production of early 'N Sync, turning the song into a very worthy late-'90s successor to PM Dawn's "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss." We'd pay ten bucks for an entire 'N Sync-does-Yacht-Rock compilation, for sure.


Found On: 'N Sync's 'N Sync

If you can get past the craw-sticking "Your love is like a river, peaceful and deep" lyric, one of the sweeter, better-crafted ballads of Justin's early career, for sure. Also led to one of 'N Sync's earliest cross-genre collaborations, as the group would later back up the legendary country group Alabama on a rendition of the song.

56. "FLOATIN'"

Found On: Charlie Wilson's Charlie, Last Name Wilson

Some smooth soul from Uncle Charlie, with Timberlake doing an impressive job of holding his own on the second verse. Feel-good stuff, though of course shows up spitting on the third verse to remind us all that this world is forever imperfect.


Found On: Justified

Timbaland always had a fascination with Eastern music, which popped up occasionally in his work with Justin Timberlake, probably most notably on the flute-heavy "(Oh No) What You Got," a worthwhile interruption of the run of megahits that constitutes the first side of Justin's debut album Justified. You'll be shouting "Oh no! GIRRRRRRLLLL..." along with JT and Tim by song's end, guaranteed.


Found On: Timbaland's Shock Value

A fun Timbo/Justin jam that just sounds like the two of them kinda getting loose before a serious day's work in the studio. There's not much actual song to speak of here, but as far as warm-up tunes go, it's a blast, with Tim's cartoonishly over-dramatic "I THINK I'M GETTING A CHAARRRGE!!!" exhortations being particularly smile-inducing.

52. "I'M LOVIN' IT"

Found On: Justified (Deluxe Edition)

A decade's worth of over-use of the song's chorus in crappy McDonald's commercials has probably conditioned JT fans to lunge for the "skip" button whenever they hear the "ba-da-ba-baaaa-baaaaa" hook in this one, but the full song is a lost JT gem, wrapped around a classic Neptunes beat, with choppy guitars and slamming drums that demand a physical response of some sort. Even the "ba-da-ba-baaaa-baaaaa" hook is great, if you can listen to it without visualizing the discomfort and pain associated with taking the second-to-last bite of a Big Mac you never really wanted in the first place.


Found On: The 20/20 Experience

The fake "JT and the Tennessee Kids" introduction at the beginning is unnecessary and a little grating, but the song itself is one of 20/20's most enjoyable, a gentle, soothing soul groove with an excellent chorus ("I'm in love with that girl / So don't be mad at me"). And not to belabor the point here, but actually cutting things off before the five-minute mark helps this one out a lot.

For songs #50-41, click NEXT.

Other Pages: 147-101, 100-91, 90-81, 80-71, 70-61, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11, 10-1


Found On: The best ballad from the first 'N Sync album, with an instantly memorable chorus and a literal-minded-but-TRL-beloved video (starring Amber from Clueless!) setting the group in straitjackets in an insane asylum. The key change at the end is obviously a highlight, but the bridge that leads up to it—with the group just going big on harmonized "oooh-ooooh"s and "la la"s—is arguably even better, as is JC's climactic "Crazy!!!" shouting at the end.


Found On: Esemée Denters' Outta Here

The love-as-drugs extended metaphor is a tired one—though not so tired that JT didn't spend eight minutes with it on a song still to come on this list—but at least Denters casts herself as the villain in this one, dispensing her love like a peddler trying to get customers desperately and self-destructively hooked. It's a cute lyrical twist, and a fantastic JT/Stargate co-produced beat, making Denters kind of sound like an evil Teena Marie. If this song wasn't a hit, it probably just wasn't ever gonna happen for Esmée.


Found On: 'N Sync's No Strings Attached

Another 'N Sync jam from inside a pinball machine—you can hear the group jumping from bumper to bumper in the chorus, for sure—and one of their stronger non-singles from this time period, compact and catchy, showing what a clear zone the group (and their expert team of writers and producers) was in around the turn of the century. They probably would have had a bangin' music video for this one, too.


Found On: The 20/20 Experience

Over a decade after JT's one and only collaboration with Gloria Estefan, he finally puts out a jam that sounds like an audition for the Miami Sound Machine. The latino-influenced funk of "Let the Groove In"—with a little "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" for flavor—is a clear highlight of 20/20 for its first three minutes, but again, like much of the album, things become redundant over seven-plus minutes. The groove's gotten in already, Justin, no need to keep forcing it.


Found On: Justified

Another production tour-de-force, courtesy of Timbaland and forgotten co-producer Scott Storch (who Timbo would later call out on another song still to come on this list), with squelchy electric piano and subtle strings and electric guitar combining into one of the most seductive grooves on Justified—needless to say, no small accomplishment. The call-and-response between Timbo and JT on the chorus was further demonstrative of the undeniable chemistry between the two—chemistry Justin never even really shared with his 'N Sync partners.


Found On: 'N Sync's No Strings Attached

The ballad third single off No Strings Attached, written by one-time MOR pop/rock great Richard Marx. "Promise" is a ballad worthy of his "Right Here Waiting" in terms of undeniable mainstream competence, adopting a sort of "Truly Madly Deeply"-inspired formula of a light drum shuffle with gently plucked guitar and airy, spacious production. Not forward thinking as some other stuff the group was doing around this time was, but deeply satisfying, nonetheless.


Found On: Bubba Sparxxx's Deliverance

Man, whatever happened to Bubba Sparxxx? That dude was awesome.


Found On: Justin & Christina

A totally forgotten gem from a totally forgotten split EP that Justin did with Christina Aguilera after Justified, which each artist contributing one new song and a couple remixes to promote their co-billed Justified & Stripped tour. "Why When How" shows an alternate career Justin could've had as an intimate lounge singer of short, sweet love songs if he and Timbaland hadn't decided to conquer the charts and reinvent popular music instead. We're probably better off that he went with the latter, but the former might've been cool too.


Found On: The 20/20 Experience

Of the many long songs on 20/20 Experience, "Wall" maybe comes the closest to justifying its seven-minute running time, perhaps because its groove is so weird and mysterious and hypnotic from the beginning, and probably partly because its B section actually goes to some interesting (but not totally illogical) places. And personally speaking, I could listen to Timbaland commanding "DANCE!...DON'T HOLLLL' DA WALL!!" for hours.


Found On: The 20/20 Experience

The best of the inexcusably long 20/20 songs, because the Prince-inspired falsetto-funk ballad is so perfect for its first five minutes. If it cut off there, "Pusher" might be 10-20 spots higher on this list, but unfortunately we still have to put up with three minutes of bad drug/love-pun rapping and "J-J-J-J-JUNKIE FOR YOUR LOVE!!" exhortations after that. Why, JT, oh why?


Found On: FutureSex/LoveSounds

Easily the least memorable of the FS/LS singles, but that's more a compliment to the rest of the album's hits than a knock on "Summer Love," still a very fine futuristic R&B Jam—just one that doesn't contain many mysteries beyond its squelchy synth hook and inspired vocal rhythms on the verse. It shows how ahead of the game JT and Timbaland were on this album that "Summer Love" sounds pedestrian by their standards, though.

For songs #40-31, click NEXT.

Other Pages: 147-101, 100-91, 90-81, 80-71, 70-61, 60-51, 30-21, 20-11, 10-1


Found On: 'N Sync's Celebrity

Rather than just displaying an obvious Stevie Wonder influence, the group actually got Stevie to do a little harmonica-blowing on this ballad off their third album, and Stevie's unmistakable presence, along with a very solid chorus, make this probably the group's best ballad not to be released as a single.


Found On: 'N Sync's Celebrity

"Tell Me" is like a more muscular, even harder-hitting version of one of those Darkchild-produced Destiny's Child breakup jams, with the same kind of stop-start rhythms, slamming beats and nervy, pissed-off-sounding vocals. Even though the song is ostensibly a love song, it sounds so testosterone-fueled and aggressive that it's almost a little bit intimidating. Very interesting stuff from the group that was doing "Tearin' Up My Heart" just two albums earlier.


Found On: 50 Cent's Curtis

With a lead rapper who felt like giving more of a shit than 50 Cent clearly felt like giving at the late-'00s stage of his career, "Ayo" could've been a stone classic, since it got one of Timbo's finest, most fascinating beats (even if it does crib rather liberally from Crystal Castles' "Courtship Dating"), and a classic JT chorus to boot (even if I've never bothered to consider the full implications of "I'm tired of using technology / Why don't you sit down on top of me?"). Oh well, still quite a jam regardless.


Found On: The Game, non-album single

Even in 2010, The Neptunes and Justin hadn't lost their Justified-era chemistry. The Game got a classic Neptunes beat and a classic JT hook for the lead single to his R.E.D. Album, but for whatever reason—possibly because it was 2010, and the public's once-insatiable appetite for such jams had long since dissipated—it ended up not even making the album. Still, if this was released in 2003, it could've been The Game's "Beautiful." (The Snoop Dogg one, not the Christina one).


Found On: 'N Sync's Celebrity

Another pissed-off Celebrity jam, like an unofficial sequel to Strings' "Bye Bye Bye." Not quite as in-your-face as "Tell Me, Tell Me...Baby," but arguably the better, more coherent song, with an excellent chorus hook and production that doesn't distract from the song's message quite so much. (At just three minutes, one of the group's more efficient cuts, as well.)


Found On: Ciara's Fantasy Ride

Almost too easy, with Timberlake and Ciara—two of the biggest stars of the '00s—celebrating their own sexiness and general irresistible-ness with this slinky pop tango. It's not much better than it has to be, but that's still pretty damn good, especially on the song's awesome "This is the part where we fall in love..." breakdown section. Quality video too, of course.


Found On: FutureSex/LoveSounds

The kind of effortlessly flawless electro-funk that JT and Timbo were tossing off with disturbing ease on FutureSex/LoveSounds—technically, "Sexy Ladies" isn't much more than filler on the album, but it's still utterly captivating, as Timbaland's screeching synth hook matches JT's perfectly Prince-ian "I've got sexy laaaadies / Alloverthefloor..." chorus note-for-note, with the popping bass line providing able support underneath. Again, just too easy.

33. "POP"

Found On: 'N Sync's Celebrity

With its wikky-wikky scratching and minorly corny vocal effects, "Pop" hasn't aged as well as some of the other up-tempo cuts on Celebrity, but there's no denying that it was an eye-opener at the time, with 'N Sync's adventurousness with production and song structure—not to mention the opening callout response to the group's haters—showing that maybe there was something a little more to them (and JT in particular) than some of their less ambitious peers.

32. "SHADES"

Found On: Diddy - Dirty Money's Last Train to Paris

One of the most bonkers songs that JT ever appeared on, a six-minute grinder that oscillates between Lil Wayne's stream-of-conscience rambling, Bilal's plaintive romantic pleading and Justin's hit-or-miss attempt at hashtag rapping ("I can read your mind / Professor X / We can press rewind / VHS"). Of course, this is all over a lurching, pulsating, almost frightening-sounding beat, and all while Diddy sporadically pops up to echo sentiments like "Never made love on marmalade." It is like nothing else you will ever hear, and while that might be for the best, it's still an extremely fascinating piece of music.


Found On: FutureSex/LoveSounds

One of only two non-Timbaland-produced songs on FutureSex, JT doesn't miss a beat with "Damn Girl," the most traditionally funky and soulful number on the album, with one of the best drum tracks he's ever falsetto'd over. (Nice organ work, too.) Co-producer can't resist showing up as a guest rapper late in the song—when will America learn?—but his positive contributions behind the decks outweigh his negative contributions on the mic.

For songs #30-21, click NEXT.

Other Pages: 147-101, 100-91, 90-81, 80-71, 70-61, 60-51, 50-41, 20-11, 10-1


Found On: 'N Sync's No Strings Attached

The stunning a capella closer to the group's second album, with a fantastic and moving lyrical conceit and some of the loveliest harmonies the group ever committed to record. By the way, Chris Kirkpatrick must've gotten so excited whenever he heard the group was gearing up for an a capella number, knowing he'd probably get a shot at splitting the lead for one of the only times on the album. It's a treat for us too, Chris.

29. "SIGNS"

Found On: Snoop Dogg's R&G: Rhythm & Gangsta

JT curses! OK, that's not really the most notable thing about "Signs," one of the Neptunes' best horn-led grooves with an awesome JT falsetto hook (and Charlie Wilson coming in off the bench with an inspired Gap Band lift), but it was kind of a big deal at the time to hear Justin singing "I'm not sure of what I see / Cupid, don't fuck with me." It proved there was no going back to Orlando, at least.


Found On: 'N Sync's Celebrity

Easily the weirdest song that 'N Sync ever recorded, the closer to the group's third album (and thus technically the last song the group released), without its vocal, "Do Your Thing" could have fit on any number of albums from IDM producers like Aphex Twin and Squarepusher, a minimal, skittering, almost alien-sounding beat that even a pop visionary like Timbaland probably would've blanched at a little. The group rides the beat well, too, making it in an inscrutable and supremely odd but somehow still satisfying closer to their final album. Where you at, producer James Moss? You're kinda awesome, dude.


The first (and one of the best) of 'N Sync's angry post-breakup songs, with the group really putting it out there with the song's title and lyrics like "I'm glad that I met him, heh / 'Cause now I know the competition's very slim to none." The song's hyper, over-active beat would point the way to the sound of the group's third album, and show that the saccharine hooks and nice-guy sentiments of the group's debut was already well in the rearview.


Found On: Timbaland's Shock Value

The victory lap for Timbaland, JT and Nelly Furtado, and considering that they were the trio most responsible for the sound of popular music in 2006, it was a well-deserved one. None of the three sound like they're trying particularly hard as they deflect shots from haters and even throw a couple back (particularly in Timbo's Scott Storch-busting verse: "I'm a real producer / You just a piano man"), but that's because none of them needed to try all that hard back then, so effortless was their dominance over the pop world. A number-one hit that not that many people really remember, but one well worth revisiting.


Found On: 'N Sync's 'N Sync

The song that cemented 'N Sync as being on the Backstreet Boys' level of popularity, and one of the enduring classics of the whole TRL era. Some of the lyrics are kinda clunky, especially on the chorus, but it's not like it really matters—you know all the words, and you'll sing them at the top of your lungs at a moment's notice whenever and wherever you hear it for the rest of your life.


Found On: Justified

JT's no stranger to emotive breakup ballads, but nowhere else in his discography does he sound as emotionally vulnerable as he does on the Justified closer "Never Again"—Justin really sounds like he's fighting back tears as he sings "You didn't say you're sorry / I don't understand..." on the chorus. It's some pretty affecting shit, its sparse arrangement and lack of rhythmic backing track standing in stark contrast to the 12 songs that preceded it on the album, making the song even more of a stunner. Too bad Timberlake never worked with writer/producer Brian McKnight again—there really might've been something there.


Found On: FutureSex/LoveSounds

Prince was a frequent reference point for JT and Timbaland over the course of FutureSex/LoveSounds, but nothing on the album sounds like it was ripped directly from Purple Rain like "Until the End of Time," down to the filtered, echoing drums and the ripping guitar solo on the climax in live performances. Of course, if you know Purple Rain at all, you know what a huge compliment that is, and "End of Time" is positively "Beautiful Ones"-worthy in its approximation of the Purple One's sound. We went with the duet with Beyoncé here, because how often are you going to get Bey and JT on the same song in this life? Both versions are great, though.

22. "CHOP ME UP"

Found On: FutureSex/LoveSounds

From that brief period when Three 6 Mafia were popular enough—Oscar winners!—that it wasn't weird to see them as one of just a handful of guests on a Justin Timberlake album. They're great of course, DJ Paul screaming about "crying rivers like Timbaland and Timberlake," but the song's real star is Timbo, with those Houston-friendly, down-modulated "SCREWWWWED up" and "CHAWP me up" samples that prove the irresistible hook on the chorus. A classic of its time period for so many reasons.


Found On: Justified

An ideal opener to Justin's first solo album, and one of the best fourth singles ever released off any pop album ever, "Senorita" is absolutely bursting at the seams with perfect pop hooks. You think you've gotten the general idea, and then JT comes up with the male/female call-and-response section, and you realize you're just getting started. Catchy, exapnsive, inclusive and impossibly fun, the fact that "Senorita" doesn't make JT's top twenty should really tell you something about how much great music this guy has been involved in over the years.

For #20-11, click NEXT.

Other Pages: 147-101, 100-91, 90-81, 80-71, 70-61, 60-51, 50-41, 40-31, 10-1


Found On: Justified

The lost classic off Justified, and one of the Neptunes' all-time most-underrated efforts—a lithe, sashaying beat that proves how great the duo was at doing more with less, using minimal drums, one repeated zooming synth note and the slightest hint of flute to create one of their most immaculate, irresistible beats ever. The fact that they could afford to bury this song on the second half of Justified shows what a historic zone both artist and producer were around this time period.


Found On: FutureSex/LoveSounds

The stomp of the opening title track to JT's second album is a subtle but undeniable one—Justin and Timothy don't demand that you get out of their way, they just know that you're not gonna have a choice. Justin had never sounded this adult before, this confident, this...weirdly patient. With the understated chug of the verses bursting into the smothering synths of the chorus, there was simply no denying it—Timbaland and Timberlake would soon be here, and we would have no choice but to welcome our new pop overlords.

#18. "SUIT & TIE"

Found On: The 20/20 Experience

No, it didn't stun with the new in quite the same way that previous JT lead singles had, but it did prove that when it came to pop singles you heard once that echoed in your head until you heard it a second time, there was still nobody quite like Justin. Months later, we've yet to hear "Suit & Tie" once without having it stuck in our head for at least an hour after—and glad to have it there—and if that's not good enough for us for a lead single, we should probably re-adjust our expectations a little.


Found On: 'N Sync's 'N Sync

The first we ever heard of Justin, and still one of the more immaculate pop singles he's ever been involved with. Everything about "I Want You Back" is just right, from the subtle harmonies on the second verse to the "You're the one I want / You're the one I need" lead into the climactic chorus, to that booming piano hook that splits up the chorus and the verse. "Tearin" was the bigger MTV hit at the time, but "Back" was always the better song, and remains the finest jam from 'N Sync's diamond-selling first album.


Found On: FutureSex/LoveSounds

As with "Never Again" on Justified, JT switches it up on the closer to FutureSex/LoveSounds—after spending 11 songs pushing pop music relentlessly forward, he recruits Rick Rubin to go old-school soul on the 12th track, a pitch-perfect take-me-back ballad that again proves Justin's musical and emotional versatility. He's closer to Lady Gaga in his pop instincts, but he could have been Adele too had he wanted to.


Found On: FutureSex/LoveSounds

An epic kiss-off song, and one whose length and multi-part nature (and how little the song suffered for its relative progginess) proved just how far Justin had burst through his ceiling as a pop artist and megastar. The song is a mite too close musically to JT's prior "Cry Me a River" and has a bit too condescending a self-righteous edge to its lyrics for it to be considered as one of his all-time classics, but if this is your album's third single, chances are you're doing pretty OK.


Found On: The 20/20 Experience

Completing the trilogy of JT album closers that completely flip the script on the albums that preceded them, the gorgeous "Blue Ocean Floor" follows nine tracks of crowd-pleasing, floor-filling funk with a stark, atmospheric, and lyrically obscure ballad in which Justin discretely invites his beloved to meet him at the bottom of the ocean, as guitar plays in reverse and seagulls and cassette-tape sound-effects float above him. It's stunning proof of yet another direction that Timberlake could've gone in his career—that of the more esoteric, sonically adventurous balladeer, like Thom Yorke or Frank Ocean—and the fact that he nails it this beautifully is probably the most impressive thing about the album.


Found On: 'N Sync's No Strings Attached

JT's first number one, and (incredibly) the only chart-topper 'N Sync ever had. "It's Gonna Be Me" is an obvious winner from the first time you hear its trademark cascading riff on the intro, following with the robo-croaking voice exhorting "IT'S GONNA BE MEEEEEE..." Remarkably, the song only gets better from there, with a show-stopping and instantly memorable chorus, and a stunning bridge that keeps the song's impressive momentum going all the way to its final chorus. A deserved classic of turn-of-the-century pop.


Found On: The 20/20 Experience

Unlike the rest of the eight-minute tracks on 20/20, "Mirrors" actually gets stronger as it goes, not revealing all of its tricks at first, as its guitar-led beat takes hold and multi-tracked chorus worms its way into your heart. The lyrics, while not quite "Blue Ocean Floor"-level obscure, are still impressively thoughtful and poetic for a singer as direct as Justin usually is, and make up a worthy ode to Justin's new bride–even if that bride happens to have starred in an unfortunately high percentage of the worst movies of the 21st century.


Found On: The Lonely Island's Incredibad

Several dozen Lonely Island parodies later, most representing diminishing returns, it's hard to remember just how fresh and hilarious Justin and Andy Samberg's original early-'90s R&B sendup was upon its debut back in 2006, back when it was still novel to have Aaron Hall-sounding ballads about giving your dick as a holiday present. Years later, it's still incredibly impressive, though that shock of the new the first time you heard Justin crooning "Kwanza / Dick in a Box!" or "BACKSTAGE AT THE CMA'S A DICK IN A BOOOOOOOXXXXX!!!" might be borderline impossible to impart to future generations.

For the top ten songs, click NEXT.

Other Pages: 147-101, 100-91, 90-81, 80-71, 70-61, 60-51, 50-41, 40-31, 30-21


Found On: 'N Sync's Celebrity

The song that most represented the turning point in Justin Timberlake's career. It was still ostensibly an 'N Sync him, but his is the only vocal you'll specifically recall from the song—even the harmonies just sound like him blending with himself—and the song's angular, addictive Neptunes groove clearly points the way to the sound he'd soon adapt on his own. Given how good and successful "Girlfriend" was, it's no surprise that was the direction Timberlake would take—and no surprise that another Justin would harken back to it ten years later with an adult breakthrough of his own.

#9. "MY LOVE"

Found On: FutureSex/LoveSounds

Proving that comeback single "SexyBack" was no fluke, "My Love" made it two-for-two with the pop mini-masterpieces for JT and Timbo, the song absolutely pulsing with sonic and musical creativity, hypnotic from its opening chopped-up synth riff. Justin had used the falsetto plenty of times before, but never quite this remorselessly, floating above the song's gorgeous beat like a higher pop power, listeners hanging on his every word. T.I.'s verse isn't perfect ("They call me 'candle guy' / Simply 'coz I am on fire"), but he was the obvious guy to get at the time, and the rest of the song can certainly take the hit anyway.


Found On: 'N Sync's Celebrity

Rather than sounding trapped in a pinball machine like so many of 'N Sync's turn-of-the-century jams, "The Game Is Over" sounds firmly stuck in an '80s video game arcade, with Pac-Man and Donkey Kong-type sound effects popping off irresistibly at virtually every second, feeding brilliantly into the song's general breakup lyrical conceit ("You played yourself," "Try again, 'coz the game is over"), before exploding into a furious Chemical Brothers-type bridge and then the song's climactic final chorus. The result is one of the most creative songs of the boy band era, and one of the greatest 8-bit-inspired pop songs ever released.


Found On: Justified

The song that established Justin as a solo star every bit on the level he had left with 'N Sync, "Cry Me a River" stands as maybe the most beloved pop kiss-off song of the 21st century not released by someone named Taylor or Adele, an absolutely flawless pop ballad. Every detail of the production and songwriting—from the writing sound effects, to Justin's self-echoing "DON'T ACT LIKE YOU DON'T KNOW IT!" to the way the music momentarily cuts out on the chorus's "HIIIIIMMMM!!!"—is scientifically designed for maximum pop impact, proving for the first time that there's no substitute in pop for when Timbaland and Timberlake get in the lab together.


Found On: FutureSex/LoveSounds

"Lovestoned" would be a good, possibly great single all on its own, the song's almost entirely beatboxed beat proving more infectious than irritating (unlike most of its type), and Timberlake's perfectly tailored chorus proving a main event worth waiting a couple verses for. But it's the combination with the "I Think She Knows" outro, and the two minutes or so of transition time that connects the two, that really makes the song a special one—there are few moments in '00s pop as transcendent as when the guitar hits for the first time to introduce the "She Knows" section, the Top 40 equivalent of the angelic guitar breakdown section in indie rocker Interpol's "PDA." It just seemed unfair that JT should be able to go this next-level on his friggin' singles.


Found On: Justified

Every male pop star born after the year 1970 has some level of Michael Jackson infatuation, and JT was certainly no exception. "Rock Your Body" was probably Justin's best crack at classic MJ, a disco-tinged club banger that the Neptunes' custom-designed to sound like pure Off the Wall good times, complete with a slow-walking bass line, male/female call-and-response vocals, and some absolutely expert-timed handclaps. MJ might not have had a human-beatbox breakdown in any of his classic singles, but somehow it worked for JT. Justified might not have sold 500 billion copies like Thriller, but if you want to compare the albums single-for-single, songs like "Rock Your Body" make it an argument worth having.

#4. "GONE"

Found On: 'N Sync's Celebrity

JT's all-time greatest ballad, and rightfully viewed in retorspect as his solo debut (like "Careless Whipser" was George Michael's solo debut, even though it was technically a Wham! song). There's just nothing in pop history quite like "Gone," the ghostly way the title phrase echoes throughout the chorus, the way the verse subtly shifts key in transitioning to the devestating chorus, the way the beat just dissolves into a sea of eerie harmonies on the bridge...and that's not even getting to the million clever little production tricks, like the tick-ticking of the clock on the second verse, or the silent-film music that inexplicably introduces the track.

Everything about it is just right and totally heartbreaking, and it shows better than any other 'N Sync song why JT—also a co-writer on the song—had too much talent to stay a member in a boy band, even one as good as 'N Sync, for much longer.


Found On: 'N Sync's No Strings Attached

Chances are, if you remember Justin's pre-solo career for only one song, it's "Bye Bye Bye," 'N Sync's best-remembered hit, and the song that, along with Backstreet's "I Want It That Way," defined the turn-of-the-century boy band era. Although "I Want It That Way" is probably the more enduring song, "Bye Bye Bye" was the one that proved there might be a real legacy to the entire era, a far more lyrically and musically complex song than anything that came before it, but with a chorus and lyrical conceit that still screamed CLASSIC POP SONG CLASSIC POP SONG. After this song, every other boy band (including Backstreet) sounded at least one step behind the times, and it was no surprise that it helped propel 'N Sync (and, eventually, their fearless leader) to a sales level that none of the other groups would again manage.


Found On: Justified

Easy to forget now, but there was a time when the success of Justin's solo venture was very far from a sure thing. Official solo debut "Like I Love You" might not have totally and instantaneously dissuaded all doubts—it only peaked at #11 on the charts, and was premiered in a VMAs performance that suggested Timberlake hadn't completely worked out his solo identity yet—but it proved that his music talent was absolutely undeniable, and that his solo success would eventually catch up.

The sheer amount of ideas contained in the under-five-minutes of "Like I Love You" is greater than that of 95% of pop albums—you can hear the song 25 times and still be like "oh right, I forgot about this part of the song" upon 26th listen. Working with an all-time great Neptunes beat and a top-flight guest contribution from rap duo The Clipse, everything Timberlake does here—the falsetto, the spoken-word, the musical call-and-response—works beautifully, proving an innate grasp of the concept and workings of mainstream pop music that nobody else in the 21st century—with the possible exception of Beyoncé—has matched.


Found On: FutureSex/LoveSounds

Even amidst a back catalog as successful and diverse as JT's, "SexyBack" still stands apart as a signature, singular moment. When the song came out, there were still some lingering doubts about JT's long-term viability—he had disappeared almost completely for the three years following the end of Justified's run, and nobody knew if he'd be able to live up to that album's success upon his eventual return. Well, "SexyBack" put a stop to those concerns, and unlike with "Like I Love You," this time it was instantaneous and total.

From the first time through "SexyBack"—hell, by the end of the first verse—you knew you were listening to a classic, a song that would still be played, referenced and revered decades down the line. The declaration "I'm bringing sexy back," while obviously ridiculous in nature, nonetheless instantly made complete sense coming from Justin, with Timbaland's backing "Yup!" providing all the reinforcement he would need. By the time JT got to crooning "Dirtyyyy baaaaaaabe..." on the pre-chorus (or bridge, if you believe Timbaland's internal road map), you were as in on the first JT comeback as you could possibly be.

And of course, Timbaland had a lot more to do with the song's success than merely introducing the various parts of the song. You forget now, but in 2006, Timbaland had as much to prove as anyone, spending a couple years fading in popularity before hitching his star to Nelly Furtado's return and enjoying the biggest crossover hit of either artist's career with "Promiscuous." But even that couldn't compare to the jolt of "SexyBack," a juggernaut consisting just of a simple two-note synth riff, a bubbling, unstable-sounding beat, and some tension-creating guitar picking. You had no idea what you were listening to with "SexyBack," but it certainly sounded like the future.

Ultimately, "SexyBack" is the reason why we care about Justin Timberlake's second comeback—this time after a six-year absence—as much as we do. Even though all the odds were stacked against him, we were so badly burned the last time we doubted him, we couldn't possibly dare do it again.

Other Pages: 147-101, 100-91, 90-81, 80-71, 70-61, 60-51, 50-41, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11