Halfway point: Best songs of the decade so far (2010-2014)

We are at the halfway point of the 2010s. Let's face it, a lot of contemporary popular music is not created to have a lasting impact. It's consumer music that you use and discard. 
With that in mind, it's tempting to not bother with today's albums and go back and listen to the golden era of popular music.
Still, even if the music of the 2010s is weaker than previous decades, there are nonetheless a bunch of very good songs. And a few great ones. 
I'm excluding 2015 songs because the impact of those has not settled yet. 
Having listened to many new tracks over the last five years, it's going to be a very difficult task to narrow it down to the songs that mean the most to me. Here's my attempt. If there's interest in a Spotify playlist, feel free to ask, and I'll add that.
 I'm splitting the list in two below. The big songs that have had a cultural impact, and then the various songs that are important to me. Enjoy!

Link to YouTube playlist

The big songs:

Get Lucky (feat. Pharrell Williams) by Daft Punk

Seasons (Waiting On You) by Future Islands

Somebody That I Used To Know by Gotye

Gangnam Style by PSY

Rolling in the Deep by Adele

Skyfall by Adele (Skyfall soundtrack)

Happy by Pharrell

Who Did That to You? by John Legend (Django Unchained soundtrack)

Blurred Lines [feat. T.I., Pharrell] by Robin Thicke

Let It Go by Idina Menzel (Frozen soundtrack)

Runaway by Kanye West

Time by Hans Zimmer (Inception soundtrack)

Nightcall by Kavinsky (Drive soundtrack)

Video Games by Lana Del Rey

Ho Hey by The Lumineers

Jubilee Street by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Good Intentions Paving Company by Joanna Newsom

Hollywood Forever Cemetery by Father John Misty

Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites by Skrillex (Spring Breakers soundtrack)

Do I Wanna Know? by Arctic Monkeys

Fancy (ft. Charli XCX) by Iggy Azalea

Young Blood by The Naked And Famous

The Lazy Song by Bruno Mars

Counting Stars by OneRepublic

Nuclear Seasons by Charli XCX

Outro by M83

Oblivion (feat. Susanne Sundfør) by M83 (From Oblivion soundtrack)

The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) by Arcade Fire

A Real Hero (feat. Electric Youth) by College  (Drive soundtrack)

Feels Like We Only Go Backwards by Tame Impala

I Follow Rivers (The Magician Remix) by Lykke Li

Lotus Flower by Radiohead

Titanium (ft. Sia) by David Guetta

Gold on the Ceiling by The Black Keys

Can't Hold Us by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Lazaretto by Jack White

Royals by Lorde

We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift

Shake It Off by Taylor Swift

Diamonds by Rihanna

Only Girl (In The World) by Rihanna

On Melancholy Hill by Gorillaz

Oblivion by Grimes

Master Hunter by Laura Marling

The Cigarette Duet by Princess Chelsea

Paradise by Coldplay

Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen

Chandelier by Sia

Levels by Avicii

Don't Stop The Party (feat. TJR) by Pitbull

Little Talks by Of Monsters And Men

Radioactive by Imagine Dragons

Whistle by Flo Rida

Riptide by Vance Joy

Till the World Ends by Britney Spears

Good Feeling by Flo Rida 

The Fall by Rhye

Songs that are important to me:

Don’t Walk Away by Chromeo
Take The World by She Wants Revenge
Give Life Back To Music by Daft Punk
The Sun Always Reminds Me of You by Marissa Nadler
Chinatown by Destroyer
Hey Moon (Molly Nilsson cover) by John Maus
Don't Fuck With My Money by Penguin Prison
Five Seconds by Twin Shadows
Don't Do It by Sharon Van Etten
Tell Me A Tale by Michael Kiwanuka
Home (RAC mix) by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Carmen by Lana Del Rey
Sqworm by Ramona Falls
Marijuana by Chrome Sparks
Bourgeois by Phoenix
Emmylou by First Aid Kit
Shameless by Groove Armada & Bryan Ferry
If I Were Me by Dave Grohl (Sound City soundtrack)
Mantra (Sound City soundtrack)
Hero by Family of the Year (Boyhood soundtrack)
What Are You Going to Do When You Are Not Saving the World? (Man of Steel soundtrack)
Song On The Beach  by Arcade Fire & Owen Pallett (Her soundtrack)
Hiding Tonight by Alex Turner (Submarine soundtrack)
We Take Care Of Our Own by Bruce Springsteen
One For You, One For Me by Bright Eyes
Push the Sky Away by Nick Cave
Disappearing by The War On Drugs
Beth/Rest by Bon Iver
Wake Up Your Saints by The National
Lady by Chromatics 
Clementine by Sarah Jaffe
When You Rest by Sarah Jaffe
Better Than Nothing by Sarah Jaffe
This Love (Will Be Your Downfall) by Ellie Goulding
We Got It Wrong by St. Lucia
What if it isn't out there? by The Silver Seas (listen on Spotify)
The Bay by Metronomy
Come On by Will Young 
Alone in my home by Jack White
Take It Out On Me by Chairlift
Wall Street by Van Dyke Parks
Forget That You're Young by The Raveonettes
Warm In The Winter by Glass Candy
Smart by Girl in a Coma
All The Rowboats by Regina Spektor
110% by Jessie Ware
Sugah Daddy by D'Angelo
I'm New Here by Gil Scott-Heron
Whatever Happened to the Times by Bobby Womack
A Young Girl's World by Daughn Gibson
10 Mile Stereo by Beach House
Shut Up by Savages
Up All Night by Best Coast
Wait and See by Holy Ghost
Wedding Song (feat. Justin Vernon) by Anais Mitchell
American by Sean Rowe
I L U by School of Seven Bells
Over the Border by Saint Etienne
A Pure Accident by Badly Drawn Boy
The Drying of the Lawns by The Tallest Man On Earth 
Play for Today by Belle and Sebastian
Werewolf by Fiona Apple
Sugar by Garbage 
So Sorry by Geoffrey O'Connor
Like They Say It Does by Geoffrey O'Connor
Live Your Life by Yuna 
Wonder (live) by Emeli Sandé
Halftime by Amy Winehouse
Turnpike Ghost (Steel Train Cover) by Tegan & Sara
Take Another Look by The Cars
Black Skinhead by Kanye West
Dark Fantasy by Kanye West
Stone's Gone Up by David Lynch
This Woman's Work (Director's Cut version) by Kate Bush
Cocaine Blues by Escort
On Our Own by Diamond Rings
Soldier of Love by Sade
What Is to Be Done by Stars
Caution Repetitive by Princess Chelsea
Country Dumb by Josh T. Pearson
Cut You Off (To Grow Closer) by Kendrick Lamar
Caregiver by Memoryhouse
Heirloom by Memoryhouse
Fell Sound by Mirrorring
To Begin (live) by Alela Diane
Compassion by Prince
God's Whisper by Raury
Real Good Hands by Gregory Porter 
Zeitgeist by Black Sabbath 
Choices (Yup) by E-40
Not Afraid by Eminem
Cherry Coffee by Kelela
Disparate Youth by Santigold
Cementality by 
King Krule
Song for Zula by Phosphorescent
Hot Peppers by Emily Bear
Pelican by The Maccabees
Spitfire by Public Service Broadcasting


Soon, I will post my top 10 albums of the 2010s. Which are your favorite songs of the decade so far? Any overlaps with my list?


  1. Love this. There is so much to love here. So many great tracks. It's funny, because some of these tracks, like 'Somebody that I Used to Love', feel so much older than just 5 years!

    1. @Fisti: Thanks, glad you’re enjoying the list! When I think what I was doing when I played those tracks from 2010, it reminds me several years have pasted. Does feel like longer than 5 years ago.

  2. I wish I had been more in tune w/ contemporary music as you Chris. But I LOVERolling in the Deep and Skyfall by Adele. I just discovered Emeli Sandé thanks to Not Another Happy Ending, I LOVE her song Clown and would be keen to check out her other work.

    1. @Ruth: Wonder by Emeli Sandé I heard in an ad prior to cinema screenings I went to on a holiday to London in autumn 2012. The song has been stuck in my head ever since! The ad: https://vimeo.com/74710718
      I don’t remember her other work, except Here It Comes from soundtrack to Trance. I’ll look up Clown.

  3. Awesome job! Some of my favorites from each list would be: "A Real Hero", "Runaway", "Royals", "Diamonds", and "Nuclear Seasons"; and "Warm in the Winter", "This Love (Will Be Your Downfall)", "10 Mile Stereo", "Werewolf", and "Wonder". I'm a big fan of Jessie Ware, but I forgot how great "110%" is. Thanks for the reminder!

    I'm not a music junkie, but I'm tempted to make a list of some kind. ;)

    1. @Josh: Thanks a lot! I remember you love A Real Hero. I read they actually changed the name of 110% when it was released in the US , due to a dispute over the sample used in the track., it was retitled to “If You're Never Gonna Move” .
      Feel free to borrow the list idea :)

  4. Hi old friend! I've just nominated you for a Liebster blog Award: http://cinephiliaque.blogspot.com/2015/08/liebster-blog-award.html

    1. @Michael Parent: Thanks for nominating me. I just posted my answers to your questions today:

  5. You should totally do some YouTube/Google Music playlists! These are fantastic lists, and I've not heard so many of them before. I'd listen to the hell out of these playlists ;)

    1. @Jaina: hey presto! I added a YouTube playlist link in the post. Popular songs: #1-48 , and important to me: #49-113

      The playlist:

  6. This is a very good idea. Besides working as a retrospective, I think it is successful in showing what are the sounds that define these past 5 years. Also it's interesting to compare this with the past decade and see how it influenced this music and just how much of it has changed.

    1. @The sound and the screen: Thank you! I agree with your comments, and I hope my playlist includes most of the defining songs and sounds of the last 5 years. I could have included Katy Perry, Calvin Harris, Ed Sheeran, Miley Cyrus, and Sam Smith, but I don't like their music. I'll let other people promote those singers.

  7. What a comprehensive list. My only issue is with the big songs. I tend to think a lot of them were just ubiquitous and obviously big hits, but hardly great songs. I mean, Gangnam Style and Call Me Maybe? Seriously...ugh. On the other hand, I do love a number of them, as well. Haven't heard a lot of the ones under "Important to Me." Great work!

    1. @Wendell Ottley: Thank you. The “big songs” are not meant as favorites of mine. They are simply popular songs that have received a lot of radio play/attention and which many are familiar with. I do like many of those, but like you, I’m not in love with Call Me Maybe or Gangnam Style. The latter is obviously a big deal in terms of its influence on dance( over 2 billion hits on youtube)
      Thanks, I hope you give some of the ”important to me” a listen. You might be interested in the tracks by Gil Scott-Heron and Bobby Womack.

  8. Wowwwww, nice work here! Thanks for including a playlist link -- I just added/subscribed to it. Looking forward to checking out some of your personal favorites.

    1. Eric @ The Warning Sign: Thanks for the praise and for subscribing! I hope you find some tracks you enjoy from the playlist.


What do you think about the post? I look forward to hearing from you. Rest assured I will reply soon.


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