Top Ten Singles of the 2010s

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Over the past decade, there has been a multitude of fantastic songs which made it extremely difficult to narrow the list down to only ten! Because of this, I have added a runner up section which features songs that also deserved recognition but missed out on the top ten. The rule I made for the top ten was that there could only be one song per artist to make sure that there would be a mix of different genres and artists on the list. Enjoy!

Runner Ups

Love on the Brain – Rihanna

photo taken from Ali Express

Who would’ve ever thought Rihanna would release a retro, doo-wop love song? As it turns out, her extremely passionate and expressive vocals over the vintage chords created one of the best songs in her entire catalogue.

Thinkin Bout You – Frank Ocean

photo taken from Genius

Before this, Frank Ocean was just another member of the rap collective Odd Future. “Thinkin Bout You” showed off Frank’s impressive range and revealed his show-stopping songwriting to the world.

Royals – Lorde

photo taken from Wikipedia

“Royals” was meant to be a song given out for free but ended up winning Song of the Year at the Grammys. On this song, Max Martin told Lorde to switch the chorus and the prechorus. Thankfully, she didn’t listen and ended up defying the traditional song structure of pop music to give listeners a taste of her unique approach to songwriting and storytelling.

Top Ten

10. No Tears Left to Cry – Ariana Grande

photo taken from Ariana Grande Fandom

After the attack at her show in Manchester, Ariana Grande took a much-needed hiatus. Her triumphant comeback was marked by the release of “No Tears Left to Cry” which combined Ariana’s angelic vocals with a beautiful, heavenly soundscape. Instead of being stuck in regret, depression, and fear, she chose to look past those things and encourage the legions of fans who still believed in her.

9. Run Away With Me – Carly Rae Jepsen

photo taken from Carly Rae Jepsen Fandom

It would be a shame for Carly Rae Jepsen to be remembered only for her diamond hit “Call Me Maybe”. “Run Away With Me” allowed her refined abilities as a pop songwriter to take center stage. Complete with blazing saxophones and a gargantuan chorus, “Run Away With Me” is four minutes of pure pop bliss.

8. Love On Top – Beyoncé

photo taken from Genius

If Beyoncé has not convinced you by the end of this song that she is one of the most talented performers of this generation then you need to hit replay. The multiple key changes, flawless vocals runs, and fitting instrumentals are a testament to how Beyoncé takes every aspect of her music to the max.

7. Summer Friends – Chance the Rapper ft. Jeremih & Francis and the Lights

photo taken from DJ Booth

This song is absolutely gorgeous as each element successfully communicates Chance’s nostalgia and desire to return to the summer. His verses are some of his best yet and the soundscape created by Francis and the Lights’ vocals, synths, and other various textures that would fit in at an arcade feel like the audio equivalent of watching a sunset.

6. A Prayer – Kings Kaleidoscope

photo taken from Jesus Freak Hideout

The controversy surrounding this song almost overshadowed its greatness. Almost. It sounds tortured, rough, and raw before breaking out into a response to the lead singer’s questions of God during his severe anxiety. The passionate “I love you” near the end is one of the few musical moments that never fails to send chills down the spine.

5. Teenage Dream – Katy Perry

photo taken from Katy Perry Fandom

When I think of the quintessential 2010s pop song, “Teenage Dream” always comes to mind. The minimalistic instrumentals of the verses seem fitting before the immaculately constructed and sugar sweet hook. At the time, this song and the album of the same name dominated the radio and will continue to be a truly iconic moment in pop history.

4. All Too Well – Taylor Swift

photo taken from Amazon

For every gigantic hit single, there are many other songs in Taylor’s discography that reveal her talent and versatility as a songwriter. “All Too Well” is one of those songs. The song itself feels more like a scrapbook than a ballad and walks the listener through the history of a relationship. It focuses on the little moments such as a lost scarf, dancing in the kitchen, and running red lights which make the song feel lived-in rather than fabricated for profit. It’s raw and breathtakingly beautiful.

3. Track 10 – Charli XCX

photo taken from Genius

The production choices alone on this song are constantly surprising and perplexing. The song at its core would be good enough to go toe-to-toe with whatever Max Martin has worked on this decade. But Charli is not interested in a good melody, she wants to manufacture an entire sonic soundscape. This song seems to constantly evolve throughout its 5 minutes runtime and is unlike any other song out there. The chaotic synths, swirling distortion, and pitch-shifted vocals create an atmosphere that showcases how far ahead Charli is among her contemporaries.

2. All of the Lights – Kanye West

photo taken from Genius

It would be foolish to think that, despite his many controversies, Kanye West has not had an enormous impact on the sounds of this decade. “All of the Lights” finds Kanye at an all time high in terms of production, flow, and creative decisions. His choice to involve Rihanna, Fergie, and Elton John (among others) on the track would seem fantastical to most other artists but all of their contributions blend so well into the atmosphere Kanye has created. Upon its release, it showcased the mountainous possibilities for rap music and inspired countless artists for years to come.

1. Love It If We Made It – The 1975

photo taken from Wikipedia

When selecting which song would be number one of the decade the choice to me was fairly obvious. The ideal choice would be one that captured the true spirit of the decade and featured a memorable vocal performance, flawless instrumentals, and impactful lyrics. There is no other song I can think of that not only fulfills these criteria but exceeds them at every turn. The instrumental layers and subtle harmonies on the chorus make for one of the most beautifully anthemic musical moments of all time. Lyrically the song focuses on the sheer amount of good and bad information/news that we are presented with while hoping we’ll “make it” through the challenges left by the failures of modernity. It’s thoughtful, challenging, and unbelievably euphoric.

Thanks for reading!

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