Most Nostalgic 2010s Songs
Musical Nostalgia really hits so freakin hard!!!
Well it`s almost unbelievable that the previous decade (2010 to 2019) went so damn fast giving an evidence that time really flies. In this decade movements like Trap music, Cloud rap, Drill music, and Emo hip hop became mainstream. One Direction, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Jessie J, Calvin Harris, Ariana Grande, Drake, Lana Del Rey, Bruno Mars, Avicii, Rihanna, Fifth Harmony, David Guetta, Dua Lipa, Paramore, The Weeknd, Ed Sheeran, Little Mix, Ellie Goulding, Sia, Demi Lovato & One it wonders like Gotye & Passenger to name a few were my most favorites. Here in this list I will mention Songs 2010s which makes me go nostalgic like crazy.
1.) Carly Rae Jepsen, "Call Me Maybe" - Between the endless lip-sync tributes and the lawn-mowing hunk in the music video, Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" is the ultimate Song of the Summer for this decade so far.
2.) Britney Spears, "Till The World Ends" - "Till The World Ends" finds Britney Spears spending her last moments awaiting the apocalypse by provoking movement: her seduction seeps in and makes the listener twitch, while a faceless chorus bellows behind her and clamors for gyration. The single makes its audience wait a full two minutes and 35 seconds before unveiling its euphoric chorus, which reaches toward the heavens and declares that, if the world is about to end, that shouldn't stop anyone from having a good time. For years, Britney fans had been yearning for a dance floor scorcher as potent as "Til The World Ends," and when it arrived in early 2011, pop fans rightly declared that it was worth the wait.
3.) Sia, "Chandelier" - The title here is a misnomer. There's nothing "on the edge" about this track: like all of Lady Gaga's vital songs, it's fully committed, with lyrics that would fit the climactic scene of a war movie, an imperious beat, and synthesizers like battering rams. This song is also notable for its saxophone solo -- famously provided by the E Street Band's Clarence Clemons -- which predated 2014's explosion of sax hooks by multiple years.
4.) Nicki Minaj feat. Ester Dean, "Super Bass" - Sure, Minaj has stronger, wilder, more explosive verses on other tracks… but she has never put together a song better than "Super Bass." It's minimal, streamlined, and onomatopoeic all at once, a seamless combination of vocal dexterity and undeniable hooks.
5.) Beyoncé, "Countdown" - Beyoncé gives a little more of herself with every album. On "Countdown," one of her best songs to date, she gives us a taste of her relationship with Jay Z; it takes on their love of over a decade light-heartedly and with lively excitement, with a chorus built around Boyz II Men's "Uhh Ahh" and a perfect mix of musical styles.
6.) Drake feat. Majid Jordan, "Hold On, We're Goin' Home" - We all knew Drake could sing, but who expected the YMCMB rapper to put out one of this half-decade's loveliest, subtlest synth jams? The song's laid-back nocturnal vibe feels more authentic than any number of overwrought R&B ballads Drake's contemporaries toss at the charts.
7.) Miley Cyrus, "We Can't Stop" - Miley Cyrus completed the smoothest transition from tween star to adult A-lister since Justin Timberlake did the same a decade earlier, with a little help from Mike WiLL Made-It and Rihanna, who turned down the beat. When Miley confesses, "We can't stop," it could mean she and her pretty friends can't because they don't want to, or because they simply can't. Either way, we want to hear this when the party runs late, and that probably won't change over the next five years.
8.) Adele, "Rolling In the Deep" - Adele's debut album, 19, placed the spotlight on the U.K. singer-songwriter, but her sophomore album, 21, solidified her as one of best pop stars of the decade. And she came roaring out of the gate with an undeniable first single; "Rolling in the Deep" highlighted the range in Adele's voice and songwriting, and gave her the timeless single that most artists spend their lives chasing.
9.) Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams, "Get Lucky" - "What keeps the planet spinning?/The force from the beginning," Pharrell Williams answers himself on Daft Punk's comeback smash "Get Lucky." Pharrell is singing about sex, but he might as well be discussing Daft Punk's music: the two French robots that concocted this slice of pop-rock heaven along with Williams and Nile Rodgers had been making immaculate dance music for years, and were not expected to unload their most impeccable single 20 years after their formation. What keeps the planet moving? Daft Punk's universality, which has always existed and was thankfully pushed back onto Top 40 this decade.
10.) Katy Perry, "Teenage Dream" - Katy Perry's anthemic pop savvy is so strong that nothing -- not even the knowledge that this song is about Russell Brand -- can dampen the heart-on-sleeve, fist-in-the-air satisfaction of "Teenage Dream." Similar to Madonna's "Like a Virgin," this is a song about a love so intense it makes you shiny and new -- timed to the millisecond for pop perfection.
11.) Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris, "We Found Love" - No artist has ruled the radio this decade with such colorful tenacity as Rihanna this decade -- from the electro-grind of "S&M" to the tortured pop-rap of "Love The Way You Lie" to the aching balladry of "Stay" to the muted R&B of "Take Care," Rih has dazzled with every new hat tried on, while always retaining her singular appeal. Of course, "We Found Love" is the crown jewel (or yellow diamond) in that run of hits, a saccharine assault that turned the idea of finding love "in a hopeless place" into a rally cry, and translated the intensity of Calvin Harris' electro-pop mania into a endlessly pleasurable release at the height of the EDM boom. "We Found Love" is not a song that relies too heavily on its vocal take, but it's difficult imagining any artist striking the same balance of voice-cracking vulnerability and giddy joy that Rihanna mines on the track. She makes this look easy, and always has. Rihanna struck many poses during the past five years, but "We Found Love" was the one that made us gasp the loudest.
12.) Kesha, "TiK ToK" - "This song captures the pop presence of the early 2010s, when party music was taking over." —totallyjack. Even though this music video was out in 2009, but this straight bop absolutely carried over into 2010. One couldn't turn on the radio without hearing it. It was the song we needed to bring us into this new decade.
13.) Gotye feat. Kimbra, "Somebody That I Used to Know" - This indie hit seemed to take off out of nowhere, which led to tons of people online covering it. It's raw and catchy as hell. Currently, it has 1.2 BILLION views on YouTube. You probably sing-screamed it in your car post-breakup, when you were really going through it.
14.) LMFAO feat. Lauren Bennett, GoonRock, "Party Rock Anthem" - This was THE song of 2011, probably. It's catchy as hell and super upbeat, and you're lying if you say you and your friends never danced to it at a house party.
15.) Psy, "Gangnam Style" - "This was the first large-scale viral video on YouTube and the first to reach 100 million views. It basically broke the internet." —Jerry1014. Bet you thought you'd seen the last of this song in 2012, but it makes the cut because it was such a phenomenon. Sorry not sorry it's now stuck in your head. (*Whispers* "HEYYY SEXY LADY.")
16.) Foster the People, "Pumped Up Kicks" - This song was everywhere in 2011 and 2012. It's exceptionally catchy, despite the dark lyrics, which makes it a great earworm.
17.) Fun feat. Janelle Monáe, "We Are Young" - Post–the Format and pre-Bleachers, Nate Ruess and Jack Antonoff were part of Fun, which created a few hits (see also: "Some Nights") in the '10s, but "We Are Young" was most definitely an anthem.
18.) DJ Snake and Lil Jon, "Turn Down for What" - SCREAMS* "ANOTHER ROUND OF SHOTS." Is this song giving you flashbacks to the time you blacked out for the first time after leaving the club at 3 a.m.? It certainly was a hit in 2014, and it's hard NOT to go wild when you hear it today.
19.) Lorde, "Royals" - Lorde's sound was unique when she first broke out, and "Royals" came out in full force throughout 2013 and 2014. You couldn't go to the grocery store without hearing this song, and that was OK. It's a song you enjoyed jamming to every time it came on.
20.) Lana Del Rey, "Summertime Sadness" - Lana Del Rey is another artist who is unique in her sound, and "Summertime Sadness" lives on famously even now. (It reached popularity in 2013.) It's dark with a hint of sweetness and hope, and it absolutely made you FEEL THINGS.
21.) Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, "Uptown Funk" - I'm sorry, but it's truly impossible not to dance in your seat when you hear this song. "Uptown Funk" really brought it in 2015. The bass slaps. The beat hits. It's uplifting. What's not to like!!!!
22.) Major Lazer and DJ Snake feat. MØ, "Lean On" - This dance-electronic-house bop took over in 2015, and we couldn't get enough of it. It was EVERYWHERE, and it was pure goodness.
23.) Adele, "Hello" - Adele made an incredible follow-up album to 21 in 2015, and "Hello" was the first single. When you heard the chorus hit for the first time, her vocals gave you goosebumps. She's a legend.
24.) Luis Fonsi feat. Daddy Yankee, "Despacito" - If you don't remember, this was THE song of the summer in 2017. It's so feel-good that you can't help turning it up and dance when you hear it. You bump it loud or you don't bump at all. What an absolute hit.
25.) Ariana Grande, "No Tears Left to Cry" - It's also hard to select ONE Ariana Grande song of the last decade because she had a ton, but "No Tears Left to Cry" is a solid selection. Her angelic vocals and pop beats made this song a hit in 2018.
26.) Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, "Shallow" - This song won a Grammy. Do we need to say more? We will. Gaga slays the vocals and hooks of this song, delivering a truly powerful performance. It shook 2018 to its core.
27.) Justin Timberlake, “Mirrors” - Timberlake pushed at the limits of his heartthrob image and soul-inheritor sound throughout the decade, most persuasively on the seven-minute “Mirrors,” giving plush R&B crooning a prog-rock redesign thanks to Timbaland’s immaculate production. If the music seemed to head toward the stratosphere, the subject matter was grounded in real-life needs and desires. “I wrote the song ‘Mirrors’ for my wife,” the singer said. “The video became a dedication to my grandparents. I learned about long-lasting love from them. I know that’s what I have with my wife.” —J.D.
28.) Fifth Harmony, “Work From Home” - Fifth Harmony’s 2016 smash hit with Ty Dolla $ign tested the limits of how many double entendres regarding work and labor could be packed into one three-minute song. Just in case you didn’t get the steaminess of lines like “Let’s put it into motion/I’ma give you a promotion,” the girl group’s Director X-helmed music video — starring a group of muscled, oiled-up construction workers — made sure the message rang loud and clear. —.C.S.
29.) Icona Pop feat. Charli XCX, “I Love it” - Ransacking the dance floor with one of the more bumper-sticker-worthy generational salvos of the 2010s — “You’re so damn hard to please/We gotta kill this switch/You’re from the Seventies/But I’m a Nineties bitch” — the Swedish sloganeers of Icona Pop, along with collaborator Charli XCX, turned aggravation into euphoria on their breakout hit. “We like when you can listen to a song when you are happy and you can listen to it when you are sad,” Icona Pop’s Caroline Hjelt told Rolling Stone. “Sometimes we have a message in the song that might be kind of angry or sad, but the song sounds happy.” —J.D.
30.) Rihanna, “Diamonds” - Most of her Top 40 peers would have sounded absurd singing this full-throated celebration of true love and starry skies, but Rihanna made it sound like scripture. (Just for fun, take a moment to imagine Taylor Swift or Katy Perry getting away with “Palms rise to the universe as we moonshine and molly.”) Rihanna’s at her most radiant here, stretching out vowels like psychedelic taffy — “So shiiiine briiiiiight, toniiiiiiiiight, you and IIIIIIIIIIIII . . .” — over majestic Scandinavian synths. Hit singles come and go, but “Diamonds” is forever. —S.V.L.
31.) One Direction, “Story of My Life” - When Zayn Malik peevishly asked, “Would you listen to One Direction at a party with your girl? I wouldn’t” — the 2010s equivalent of Lennon’s “granny music” dig at McCartney — this big, juicy, soft-rock ballad by his former band is probably one of the songs he had in mind. The thing is, like the Beatles before them, 1D had an uncommon knack for finding new sparks in old clichés. The boys sing the sad-schmuck confessions in “Story of My Life” so well you believe every word. Even Zayn’s. —S.V.L.
32.) Lil Nas X, “Old Town Road” - Created by a 19-year-old peddler of Twitter memes using a $30 web-sourced beat, popularized by TikTok users swapping street clothes for cowboy get-ups, and inscribed into history after topping the Hot 100 for a record 19 weeks, this booming two-minute ballad and its viral-engineered remixes impeccably crowned a decade of disruption, and not merely because it was extremely online. Growling lines about cheatin’ and ridin’ horses — the Nine Inch Nails sample, a spooky little banjo figure, only sounds twangy in context — and recruiting a gleefully game Billy Ray Cyrus for the remix that made it even more huge, Lil Nas X cheekily appropriated country-music tropes, and kids, in turn, rushed the barricades of mainstream pop with his burner hip-hop track. “I got bored one day and made this song,” Nas later told Rolling Stone. It was his boredom with the status quo, not just his solution to it, that spoke to a new generation. —N.C.
33.) Drake, “Hotline Bling” - Drake (rightfully) slammed the Grammys for awarding this not-very-rappy song Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Performance, wondering if they picked those categories just “because I’m black.” But in their defense, it’s a pretty great little jam. Caribbean in feel but powered by a Seventies soul sample, widely covered — the video even more widely memed, the song’s less a pop smash than a marvel of the internet: a user-generated triumph of the mainstream. —N.C.
34.) Meghan Trainor, "All About That Bass" - A paean to the bottom end, just not the kind of bottom end audiophiles are usually obsessed with. Trainor was not a pop star herself, but a writer for hire when she penned the track, a collaboration with Kevin Kadish that took all of 40 minutes. Borrowing some of the tropes of doo-wop (Trainor had been a fan since she was introduced to it by her father), the soca-flavoured song is a no-description-spared celebration of the fuller figure.
35.) Ed Sheeran, "Shape Of You" - In the UK, you know you’ve made it when your song in used in an advert for middle class supermarket Marks & Spencers. Such was the ubiquity of Shape Of You. Sheeran was already big – stadium-filling big – by the time Shape Of You shimmied its sinuous hips across the world’s speakers in 2017. Inspired by TLC’s No Scrubs (that tune’s writers also get a nod on the credits) the song went on to become the biggest-selling single of 2017, and in 2018 became the first track to break two billion plays on streaming service Spotify. Originally conceived as a duet between Rihanna and rap star Rudimental, the head of Sheeran’s label convinced him to keep the track for himself.
36.) Nicky Romero, “Toulouse” - Chris Brown swiped the searing syncopated synth line from Nicky Romero’s breakthrough hit for his imminently forgettable “Turn Up the Music,” but he didn’t even take the song’s best part: The belching post-drop hook is what really makes “Toulouse” fizz like the best French bubbly. — A.U.
37.) Armin Van Buuren feat. Trevor Guthrie, “This Is What It Feels Like” - A stadium singalong in any era, but one particularly suited to the swells of EDM anthemery. You wouldn’t necessarily guess that it was inspired by a neighbor’s death from brain cancer, but the emotional lift of the song definitely feels more real than your typical Big House Vocal. — A.U.
38.) David Guetta feat. Kid Cudi, “Memories” - With just a three-chord piano underline, an insistently pounding pulse, and the Man on the Moon’s weed smoke-dried husk of a voice, the legendary French producer spins yet another lean, effective party-starter. — H.B.
39.) Mr. Probz, “Waves (Robin Schulz Remix)” - Anything Robin Schulz weaves through his ProTools turns to gold, as first illustrated from his remix of Dutch artist Mr. Probz’s “Waves.” The secret is his light touch: compared to his uptempo remixes, the original suddenly sounds as if it’s been slowed down. Just give it a beat. — H.B.
40.) Martin Solveig feat. Dragonette, “Hello” - As winning as a tennis ace; Martin Solveig hypnotizing with ramming guitars and pianos while Dragonette leads a master class in lame-dude dismissal. As a superfluous-but-not-unwelcome bonus: Maybe the best use of single-“Hey!” shout breaks since “What I Like About You.” — A.U.
41.) Above & Beyond feat. Richard Bedford, “Sun & Moon” - An impressively slow-developing trance-pop anthem, not even getting to its proper chorus until two minutes in and not even beginning to build to its true synth-frosted peak until after that. The highs are well worth waiting for, though; by the time guest vocalist Richard Bedford gets to the final soaring chorus, his fingers won’t be the only ones touching the sky. — A.U
42.) Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina, “Stereo Love” - Even if you can’t recall another thing about this song, you’ve certainly heard its celestial accordion floating distantly through your Atlantic City hotel, unsure if it’s actually part of the song or a band playing the Italian Restaurant across the way who somehow managed to get their wires crossed with a pool party DJ. Different soundtracks to shameless pleasure are no strangers to the red and white stereo wires, but in this ode to them — one of the first unmistakably club-set tracks to make waves on Top 40 radio this decade — EDM plays matchmaker. — D.W.
43.) Baauer, “Harlem Shake” - Before it simultaneously became a viral-video punchline and a lightning rod for criticisms of cultural appropriation, “Harlem Shake” was simply one of most incendiary dance tracks of the decade, boiling over like an overflowing pot of pasta and scalding everything in its vicinity. There’s a reason why it didn’t need all that much explanation when clips of idiots spontaneously combusting at the song’s moment of detonation flooded the Internet: Keeping your s— together when this thing hits just isn’t something that people do. — A.U.
44.) David Guetta feat. Sia, “Titanium” - The one David Guetta song even haters have to begrudgingly give it up for, “Titanium” has a buoyancy that belies its name, gradually rising from its misleading new-wave guitar intro into the miles-high flight of its towering post-chorus. Of course, the real star of the song is its guest vocalist, a star-making appearance from a singular voice we’d underappreciated for far too long, imbuing the song’s elemental title phrase with enough pain and perseverance to turn it into a rallying cry that rivals “I Will Survive.” — A.U.
45.) Zedd feat. Foxes, “Clarity” - You know that feeling you get when you pick up a piece of warm garlic bread and butter starts to ooze out of its pores as you crunch it between your teeth on your first bite? That, friends, is “Clarity,” the surprisingly soulful smash that went supernova for Zedd and Foxes in 2012. It’s nouveau disco for the masses by way of choral-infused electronica, somehow binding its parts together unflinchingly and ending up more delectable for it. — B.C.
46.) Martin Garrix, “Animals” - To a certain extent, EDM appeals to a baser, more visceral part of us: Don’t think, just dance. Just move. “Animals” takes this to its logical extreme — in the video, animal mask wearers (one of whom is Garrix) torch a car and terrorize the dance floor — but the message is already there in the ominous trap-claps. We’re all “f—kin’ ANIMALS,” after all. — H.B.
47.) Duck Sauce, “Barbra Streisand” - It took a rollicking sample from Boney M and a four-word monotone chorus to make it clear just how much our girl Barb was meant to become an EDM mega jam. Sing it with us now: Oo-oo who-oo-oo whooo-oo – BARBARA STREISAND! — A.Z.
48.) Swedish House Mafia feat. John Martin, “Don’t You Worry Child” - Sung by John Martin, imitating the raspy emotional belches you make when you’ve had too many vodka Red Bulls, the supertrio’s pièce de résistance connected with audiences enough in its shout-along chorus and up-up-up synth eruptions to become the group’s signature smash. Of course this was months after they’d already announced their imminent breakup, the song’s huge success and schlocky (but effective) sentimentality rubbing our faces in how much we’d miss them while they were waving goodbye on their victory lap. - B.C.
49.) Avicii, “Levels” - Nothing defines this era in dance quite like “Levels,” the song that conclusively proved that the only thing separating young bedroom-studio DJ aspirants from worldwide superstardom was one undeniable synth riff and one exceedingly well-placed vocal lift. Nothing particularly magical to Avicii’s recipe, but there was no arguing with the ingredients: The hook was to the early ’10s what Darude’s “Sandstorm” was to the ’00s, and the sample was so universally rousing that Flo Rida PRACTICALLY tripped over himself on the way to the studio to steal it. It sounded like a classic the first time, the tenth time, and the hundredth time that you heard it, and even as DJs overplayed it to the point where his management made videos begging them to stop, it never lost its glisten. “Levels” accomplishes what all great dance music should: being unmistakably of its time, and yet growing increasingly timeless as the years advance. Decades after the phrase “EDM” becomes as timestamped and dated as “ratchet” or “FOMO,” they’ll still instinctively flood the floor when the clarion call of “Levels” comes blaring out of the speakers. — A.U.