If you need to quickly learn the aspects of human nature in any given moment, just look at the Top 100 Hot Singles. However weird it may sound, the top songs of that year both define and reflect society in that period of time. Songs are like a time capsule. From lyrics, mixing style, production tendencies, and of course, visuals, hit songs walk hand in hand with human history. So today we’ve brought you a thorough analysis of beauty standards of the last 20 years through the Top 100 lens. We used the highest position available taken by a female artist for each of the 2 decades in Top 100. Grab some popcorn while you’re at it 😉
Faith Hill’s Breathe took the number ONE spot on Billboard in 2000. Slim natural figure, dyed blonde hair with dark roots, thin painted eyebrows, brown lips, gray or blue eyeshadow, natural-looking short fingernails, this was THE era for American women. They were everywhere, from magazines, billboards, newspapers, crossword journals, T-shirts, school supplies, we were INUNDATED with this stereotype. In 2020 however, this look is rather associated with wealthy MILFs and high-class soccer moms. Funny how things change 😆
Alicia Keys’ Fallin’ got the 2nd spot in Top 100 that year. While keeping the same eyeshadow tones and body type as Faith Hill, Alicia Keys was a pioneer in making black women be part of the mainstream pop culture. The natural hair, the hoops, the lipgloss, the large jeans, the short crop top, the leather jacket, the hat, all were seen now as the cool girl type with a wild side.
Ashanti’s Foolish took home the 2nd spot in 2002. Ashanti, interestingly enough, visually is a mix right between Faith Hill and Alicia Keys: loose hair like Faith’s but naturally colored like Alicia’s, Faith’s brown lip shade but with Alicia’s lipgloss texture, a cool attitude like Alicia but very feminine gestures like Faith. What stayed the same: thin painted-on eyebrows, slim body type, very little jewelry, light-color nails, the hat from 2001. What became new: the eyeshadow evolved! finally! with lighter beige shades transitioning to a natural brown. Also, the face makeup evolved, and we see a complete foundation with highlighter and blush. The nails also grew longer, looking actually a bit plastic.
Enter the era of Beyoncé! Bey snatched the 3rd spot on Top 100 with her Crazy In Love song with her now-husband, Jay Z. There is so much to notice here! Let’s start with the body type: she is still slim, but curvier than all 3 women before her, having a very hourglass-ish figure, whereas the top-charting women before her were rather straight from head to toe. In the video, we have plenty of emphasis on her derriere and legs, so Bey was actually quite a revolutionist for that time and age. She kept the loose hair BUT… she gave it plenty of blonde highlights and had her natural black hair dyed brown. Also her eyebrows! Thank you Bey for having ended the thin, fake-looking eyebrows trend that reigned for years! She kept the lipgloss but gave up that brown shade, choosing a pink one instead. Also, her makeup got much, much heavier, with an abundance of black eyeshadow, black fake lashes, and black eyeliner. Her wardrobe also went heavy on urban tendencies, sporting what we now know as the staple R&B chick style, BUT… she still chose to dance, move, and act very feminine. Also, the jewelry increased in volume and size. The high heels, tight jeans, the fur coat, Beyoncé was the first black mainstream diva.
Welcome back Alicia! Her song If I Ain’t Got You got placed 3rd in Top 100 for the year of 2004. Here we see an upgraded version of very-natural self mixed with Beyoncé influences: darker makeup but not too heavy, more jewelry, more fur coats and less of the leather jackets, thicker naturally looking eyebrows, a light nude lipgloss, loose hair with braids on one side, a sexier top with a large V cut. This is very much THE Alicia Keys impregnated in everyone’s mind. This is how we think of her when we hear her name.
We Belong Together brought Mariah Carey the first place on Top 100 in 2005. And the resemblance to Faith Hill’s Breathe visuals is astonishing: same white silk lingerie, same hair color, same scene in bed, exaggerated facial expressions, sensual femininity, all dresses and flowing outfits aka no pants whatsoever. Mariah though, added the modern glamorous woman touch to this pristine innocent girl look: long hair extensions, sparkles and glitter, more makeup leaning on natural tones, very beautiful eyebrows, and surprise surprise! Mariah is actually the fullest figure so far in 5 years. Let’s see what the next years bring us!
Promiscuous by Nelly Furtado and Timbaland classified as 3rd in 2006, and we see in Nelly a morphed version of all previous trends before her time. Fit body (notice she’s neither modern curvy nor slim, she is actually rather perfect), medium-length hair of a dark-reddish color but mostly wavy, statement jewelry, fully done face (actually very similar to our 2020 standards), and she also dared to bring some red lips to the game, sporting multiple club looks. The crop tops are very cropped and her abs are my oh my, to die for. The low jeans with thick belts were so in! The nails stayed short though. Seems Nelly did carry on Mariah’s touch of sparkling outfits.
Oh the memories <3 … When we all thought the song was called To the left 😆 Irreplaceable was surprisingly crowned number ONE! Not that it didn’t deserve it but we can’t fathom a slower-paced song about relationships taking any accolades 14 years later. Also, Bey’s body got fitter, having mostly the same structure as Nelly Furtado. The red hair tonalities are still in, as are the natural nails, the nude lips, the large earrings, the low jeans with thick belts, but she lost her top along the way being literally in a skirt and a bra only in one scene or two. Also, an interesting eyeshadow trend raising! Reddish, earthy colors apparently were a thing! As was heavy blush.
Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis placed 2nd in Top 100 and brought some interesting slight changes to what the beauty standard was. Her body, was the curviest thus far giving Mariah a run for her money. Her dark, wavy, long hair was filled with blonde highlights. Her makeup was heavy on black, sporting surreal smokey eyes. Her outfits were feminine through and through, with glittery dresses and plenty of sparkles. Jewelry was full mode on. Funnily, in the US version of the music video, the blonde highlights dissapeared and she went for the reddish hair tonalities as we previously noticed, and the makeup went lighter, opting for nude shades. The sparkles and glitter stayed though. Still… short nails though! We have never noticed just how subtle these stars were with their manicure! 🙄
Finally an artist that feels normal to us now! Who would have thought? 😮 Poker Face peaked at number 2 on the charts and with it, we’re entering Gaga’s era! The era of exploring creativity and bending the standards. We also upgraded the visuals big time, making much more interesting and entertaining music videos. And FINALLY some nail art! Not long, but at least colored and painted more than black or nude. The outfits are off the charts, obliterating any possible similarities between her and previous artists. No one could compare to Gaga’s extravagance and boldness in fashion. The only existing pattern between her outfits would be body-tight. All her clothes stick to her skin emphasizing her slim but hourglass-ish body. And she’s sporting white hair! Now that would be rather common, but back then, after decades of black and blonde hair, white was revolutionary! She also shows more skin than all female celebrities before her. And high heels were a huge trend! Looking back, Lady Gaga opened the gates for all artists to push boundaries visually and step out of their comfort zone. What a legend.
Another number one hit! The only celebrity thus far embracing her common self. No skin-tight clothes, no high heels, no perfectly done face or hair, no diva-ish tendencies whatsoever. In just 2 years, Lady Gaga and Kesha altered the course of music industry trends FOREVER, being literally the 2 sides of the same coin. One super glamorous and sensual, the other one super wild, carefree, and happy. We love both. Kesha was always seen as the cool hipster chick that made beach bums look like something to aspire to. Now look back to 2000 and look at 2010. 2 Universes apart. As for her body type, she just seems normal, and we’re not really able to tell if she’s skinny or fit because of the loose clothes, and that’s absolutely fantastic! <3
The first overweight woman to have taken the first spot in probably… forever! You can call her curvy and all that, but let’s call things what they are. She was clearly overweight compared to decades of female bodies that got the top spots. And even according to herself. The body positivity movement should seriously award Adele their own Nobel prize for her courage to show herself to the world as she was and betting all of her existence as an artist on her voice and none of the sexy outfits, high heels, long hair, not even a trace of the strong trends that preceded her mainstream career. This was a huge achievment for humanity as well. We had a woman that was loved by everyone based off her talent and skill alone. Refreshing and inspiring!
Kesha seemingly struck a chord with music consumers all over the world, as after her success relatable stars were more and more preferred to the glamorous faces with rather hard-to-achieve body goals. So we got Carly Rae Jepsen with Call Me Maybe on the 2nd spot, and if we were to compare her to the likes of Mariah, Beyoncé, Nelly, Leona, they got NOTHING in common 😆 Super casual outfits, very simple hairstyle with bangs, dark natural hair, no dance moves, no dramatic expressions, just the girl-next-door vibes. She is thin however, Faith Hill and young Alicia Keys type of thin. We’re now realizing that the entire 2009-2012 era was revolutionary, with very different typologies taking the top spot every year. Impressive!
P!nk’s Just Give Me A Reason ft. Nate Ruess was placed 7th in Top 100 and slowly we feel the trend of fit bodies making it into the mainstream. Thank God and thank P!nk for having always opted to show off her toned arms instead of hiding them. For having done some incredible acrobatics in her music videos instead of just posing pretty. P!nk was a true pioneer of physically strong women being sexy and desirable in pop culture. She is sporting Gaga’s 2009 platinum hair shade, and that’s about it. She’s seen in lingerie, in a dress, in pants. Fashion-wise, Pink is super relatable and cute. She feels real. Authentic.
Dark Horse peaked at number 2 on Top 100 and this is the third female pop singer with white hair! But then again, this is exactly why seeing a young woman with platinum hair on the subway in 2020 is nothing out of ordinary. Also, she wears about 3 other wigs in this video alone, so we can’t really categorize her. Oh, yeah, wigs are so in by 2014, becoming the new standard in entertainment. Katy flaunts a grown woman body, an insane variety of colors, incredibly diverse makeup looks, and highly artistic outfits. By 2014 an abundance of colors and mixed fashion styles were the new okay. 2020 starts feeling closer and closer!
Blank Space was placed 7th and curiously, Taylor Swift feels like she used to be your neighbor but then she made it and is now highly glamorous. She manages to sport couture outfits, dresses, and retro-ish hairstyles, while talking to the camera in a very natural way, reaching to the audience much farther than many, many female celebrities. Taylor is tall and thin, with a very model-like body type. She is very much the modern diva. The young, rich girl who does as she pleases and come to think of it, Instagram and Tik Tok live off of this type. This is your modern influencer, showing off her wealth, her looks, her material possessions, her long list of ex-lovers, her vacay destinations, and little to no effort dances on Tik Tok. We get it now. We get why Taylor has so many fans and is indestructible. She IS the new generation in one person.
Peaking at 4th place, Work was the IT song in clubs across the world for a very long time. We’re also entering the little-to-no-clothes era. When nipples stopped being censored on YouTube. As many other things were. Also this was the rise of ridiculous outfits that were purchased only for Instagram purposes. The extremely long hair extensions are also a staple accessory in every IG influencer’s repertoire. And WELCOME long nails!!! After 16 years of waiting, Rihanna kicked off the long nails trend! Thank you Queen!
Bodak Yellow reached number 24 on 2017’s year-end hottest songs. Which is shocking, given that the previous years women were in the top 10 guaranteedly. Welp… 2017 was not the year for female singers. Cardi though, single-handedly jumpstarted the fashion nova trend, the insanely long nails, the red bottoms, excessive wealth display, zero-to-hero background story. Being ghetto-fabulous and looking like a stripper is now goals thanks to Cardi. And we’re not saying this in an offensive way. This IS the reality we’re living in.
Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line grabbed the 3rd spot in 2018 with Meant To Be. And here we see the thick trend taking place. We are still heavy on the Instagram influencer beat face. The glam touches, the glitter boots, the chains, a sort of still-looking-rich-when-casual vibe. This music video from 2018 is still relevant visually-wise in 2020.
Did we mention before how colors and variety are the new norm? yup? well it continues to be so. The heavily tattoed Halsey is very representative of the wild child of generation Z and Millenials hitting 30 but still acting like 18. Slim body type, short hair strongly reminding us of P!nk, some club outfits and we’re still rocking red lips and gold chains. Will 2020 be the year we end the Rihanna look? Cause we’re kind of over it.
Since we don’t have an end-of-the-year list for 2020 yet, we are going to use the current one, which lists Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion at number 2 with WAP.
The end of the world is near 😆 If we compare to where we left off 20 years ago… Seems women have turned from angels to dominatrixes. We’re just curious where is it gonna go from here on. Because stripper culture is going strong at the moment. Luckily for us, they’re actually good looking women. Their body types show the thick hashtag running at full speed and Lady Gaga probably likes Cardi’s unusually creative chain-like hairstyle. We also know Cardi has a fake butt and fake breasts and is quite literally put on a pedestal by 75.2m followers. It is very likely we have reached plastic bodies historic peak. Is it gonna be a slow curve down or a free fall?