The 100 Best Songs of the 2010s

The legacy of pop music in the 2010s will be a similar story to that of many a blockbuster released in this decade: a largely reductive look backwards bookended by a few interesting new ideas. We started off with a boom in pop music spearheaded by Lady Gaga and Kanye West in the final years of the aughts, paving the way for the demolition of the barrier between indie pop and mainstream pop by groups like Foster the People and AWOLNATION. Dubstep, though derided by many critics, could have been the sound of these past 10 years with a little finesse.

But everything was ruined in 2013 by Daft Punk with their absolutely horrible funk-redux album Random Access Memories. The rest of the decade followed suit and mercilessly pilfered the past, using only the worst elements of old genres to create music that pushed no boundaries and existed only to say “hey look i can make my songs sound just like the old times”.

Most artists took their cues from a small handful of influences: the aforementioned Daft Punk, The Black Keys, Lana Del Rey, Sam Smith, Arctic Monkeys, and Mumford & Sons. Eventually everyone started doing everything, resulting in one giant genre that all dabbled in simultaneously. It wasn’t until 2017 that mumble rap emerged as something brand new and switched things up a little, morphing into a more melodic variant that may lead to something new in the 2020s.

For now, here’s what I salvaged from the past 10 years. This list is far from groundbreaking. Nor is it a representation of the decade’s biggest hits. It’s not culturally relevant or a succinct snapshot of what will be remembered in years to come. Instead it’s a thorough collection of songs with hooks. If there’s one thing I can guarantee, it’s that every one of these tracks has an instantly recognizable melody. It may not be trendy or popular, but this is undoubtedly the only countdown you’ll find on the internet of the decade’s catchiest songs.

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