Released in the fall of 2003, Totally Hits 2003 collects 20 radio hits from the spring, summer, and fall of 2003. By this point, the quotient of actual hits on both the Totally Hits and Now That's What I Call Music collections had begun to dip, as minor and potential hits started to edge out songs that actually made an impact on the charts and airwaves. Happily, Totally Hits 2003 is an exception to that trend. Many of these 20 songs were big hits that defined the pop mainstream in 2003, which means there's a lot of teen pop, some urban soul and hip-hop, and just a little hard rock. There's a big emphasis on American Idol finalists, with Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, and Ruben Studdard all getting play (with "Miss Independent," "This Is the Night," and "Flying Without Wings," respectively), and there's also Justin Timberlake's slinky "Cry Me a River," Xtina's hit-that-wasn't "Fighter," Avril Lavigne's bratty "Sk8er Boi," Michelle Branch's "Are You Happy Now?," and Jewel's dance-pop extreme makeover "Intuition." There are some more mature selections, too, in Santana's "Why Don't You & I," Jason Mraz's "The Remedy (I Won't Worry)," Uncle Kracker's "In a Little While," and Luther Vandross' "Dance With My Father." Sean Paul gets play with both his "Like Glue" and Blu Cantrell's "Breathe," while the annual Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott single, "Work It," is also included. The rest is generic radio material for 2003, but it captures the era well, particularly when it's placed in the context of the radio hits, and that's what ultimately makes Totally Hits 2003 one of the better collections of contemporary radio hits released in 2003.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine