Jan 29, 2020

Best Songs Of The 2010s

The 2010s was a transformative decade for music. Genres collided, artists redefined their image and world records were shattered over and over again. The difference in music from the start and the end of the decade is drastic, and gives us a good hint of what’s to come in the ‘20s. If there’s one thing all of these songs have in common, it’s the undeniable impact each had on a cultural moment. Certain artists had huge milestones in their career, which has earned them some well-deserved recognition on this list. Here are the 10 best songs from the 2010s.

  • You might remember this song as a bubblegum-pop anthem that would get stuck in your head from time to time. But culturally, “What Makes You Beautiful” single handedly made boy bands cool again.

    After One Direction was formed on The X-Factor UK, their popularity only grew.  They had four albums debut at number one on the Billboard 200, sold out stadiums around the world and became the world’s most popular boy band — even after their hiatus in 2016. They ended the decade as solo artists and have continued to be met with overwhelming support from loyal fans.

  • The 2010s were big for Taylor Swift. She started the decade as a country sweetheart, but she made waves in 2014 with the release of “Shake It Off”. This pop single was her first transition away from the country genre, and it’s a move that completely redefined her career. 

    The song’s message completely frees her from the criticisms and media frenzy that followed her around for so many years. “Shake It Off” became her go-to mantra for shrugging off the haters, and this transition led her to become one of the decade’s most impactful pop artists.

  • Weddings and any millennial couple can attest to the popularity of “Thinking Out Loud”. While “Shape of You” and “Perfect” might be the first songs that come to mind when you think of Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud” is the song that exploded his career.

    The music video alone has over 2.8 billion views, making it one of the singer’s most popular videos. The romantic and soulful pop song expanded Ed Sheeran’s audience beyond young people. It captivated all age demographics and became an ageless classic the world will listen to beyond the 2010s. 

  • You can see Adele’s influence with the song “Hello” solely based on her YouTube channel. The British singer’s powerful ballad has a music video that’s garnered over 2.6 billion views. It’s a timeless classic that won three Grammys for Song of the Year, Best Pop Solo Performance and Record of the Year in 2017. 

  • Beyoncé’s influence on pop culture has been consistent for her entire career, and the fanfare hasn’t slowed down. When she released her album Lemonade in 2016, it shook listeners with its honesty and artistry. 

    One of the standout tracks is “Formation”, which has a captivating music video that protests police brutality and unapologetically embraces Beyoncé’s culture and womanhood. It’s a stellar performance that perfectly amplifies Beyoncé’s intended narrative. We also see her daughter Blue Ivy make an appearance when she was just four years old, which is an adorable touch. 

  • Drake was crowned the official “sad boy” of the decade thanks to his reputation of moody lyrics and beats. His music sells no matter what he releases, so it’s not much of a surprise that “Hotline Bling” had mega success. Drake won two Grammys with “Hotline Bling” for Best Rap/Sung Performance and Best Rap Song. 

    In lesser prestigious specs, the song’s music video has given the world endless memes and gifs thanks to Drake’s iconic dance moves.

  • When you think of Kesha, you might think of the pop artist who fully embraced a partying lifestyle earlier in the decade. And that was true, at least until news broke that she was abused by music producer Dr. Luke. After taking a break from music, she reemerged into the scene with a heartfelt ballad with excellent vocals.

    “Praying” is a song about Kesha coming out stronger after getting hurt. It was released during a pivotal time in this decade, right before the #MeToo movement took off and women began speaking up about abuse by powerful men. Kesha’s song was a personal triumph that reflected on the entertainment industry as a whole, making it one of the most powerful songs of the decade.

  • “Despacito” is one song you couldn’t stop hearing about during the entire year it was released. The song smashed records and was awarded seven Guinness World Records in 2018. The music video has over 6.6 billion views, 36 million likes and spent the most weeks ever at number one for Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart. 

    The song reached international acclaim once Justin Bieber was brought on as a featured artist. His English verse surged the “Despactio” audience beyond Spanish-speaking demographics. It brought Latin music to the forefront in the U.S. and was the first time a song of its kind became mainstream.

  • You don’t have to personally be a fan of “Old Town Road” to know it’s one of the decade’s biggest hits. Any walls that generes held in the music industry were  officially torn down because of this hip hop-country-trap song.

    The collaborative effort redefined music as we knew it. It broke Billboard Hot 100’s record by spending 17 weeks at number one, making it the longest-running leaderboard in the chart’s history. This song also awarded Lil Nas X his first Grammy win for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance in 2020.

  • “Bad Guy” was one of the most offbeat singles to hit radio in 2019. Billie Eilish’s soft voice mixed with high tempo beats created a whole new subgenre within pop music. The song that started out as a creation in Billie’s house brought her all the way to the Grammy stage where she took home five awards and broke the record for youngest artist to win Album of the Year at just 18 years old.

  • There are a ton of songs released in the 2010s that helped define the era. These mainstream hits each contributed their own unique flavors to the music industry and can be credited with expanding genres beyond what audiences are used to. From now on, listening to anything from the 2010s will trigger nostalgia of boy bands, cool teens and milestone social moments.

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