It’s time for my entry in our List v. List v. List v. List competition. I worry my peers will have the edge here because I’ve been out of touch with most music since the mid 2000s. I just kinda fell into re-listening to the bands that I liked. While some of my favorite bands released albums this decade, none of those outpaced their previous efforts. Most of the new music that permeated happened because the songs were too big to ignore. I don’t know. I do know I’m out of touch.
Or maybe people will like my list the best because I’m so out of touch, I only know the songs they know. It’s a dice roll. I’ll take my chances.
I will say there seemed to be more one-hit wonders in the past decade than I remember. Is it just because there’s so much out there that it’s hard to stay on top? It makes you respect the Justin Timberlakes who’ve managed to stay on top for so long. But not so much so that he makes the list. Sorry, JT. You brought sexy back a year too early to qualify and your Troll song didn’t make the cut. I’m anti-troll.
There are a bunch of songs on my “Call Me Maybes” list that didn’t end up here from one off groups. The Passion Pit, Fun, Alice Merton, The Head and the Heart, the list of band names you probably don’t remember is long this time around. However, you probably remember. “Take a Walk,” “We are Young,” “Funny Business,” or “Lost in My Mind” as they’re all awesome songs. Usually to crack my top ten, a band or musician had to be that much greater and sustain some level of success to inch out the others. So let’s get to it!
Even though I’m out of touch, I did wait for B94’s top 8 at 8 countdown each night and held down the play and record buttons on my boombox and…wait. That’s not what happened. I linked each song’s video under its entry, but if you want to just rock out with one click, check out the paylist on our youtube page by clicking here.
Now instead of some dj talking over the first 10 seconds of the song, you just have to sit through some ads. Then stick around for some of our other lists or videos or whatnot!
Honorable Mention: I have one that I actually wrote up as part of the list but bumped for other options. The more I though about it, the novelty humor was awesome, but not best of the decade awesome. I wasn’t going to waste that typing, though!
Jon Benjamin Jazz Daredevil “I Can’t Play Piano, Pt. 1
The voice of Sterling Archer, Bob from Bob’s Burgers, and Coach McGuirk from Home Movies decided to live out his dream of being part of a jazz band. He did everything necessary: rented a studio, hired the best studio musicians, and…well, there’s one thing he forgot.
I must have played this song for everybody I knew when I discovered it. There’s just something about it that’s just pure hilarity. It starts off so normal, and then…you just have to wait and hear it for yourself.
Ok. Onto the list proper!
10. Arcade Fire: “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”
As my wife put it, this is the Arcade Fire song they play on the radio. We listen to hipster radio, btw. I did feel this song best encompassed their synth-pop influenced album The Suburbs. It took me a minute to adjust, but once I did, this song slid into semi-regular rotation.
9. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Soundtrack “Black Sheep” by Metric
I love the music from Scott Pilgrim and this song he had the benefit of being in the regular rotation at my Saturday gig for years. I heard it so much, I forgot it came from Scott Pilgrim. I definitely forgot that Captain Marvel sang the vocals! In my defense, she wasn’t Captain Marvel yet. Still, I’mma have to go watch Scott Pilgrim again.
8. Mumford and Sons “I Will Wait”
This is just a beauty of a song. It’s sappy and melodramatic and self-serious and everything you’re looking for when you’re a particular mood. The trick to this one is that it can be any one of several different moods. This song blends perfectly fine into the background or could bring out a tear or raise your hopes or whatever emotional state you’re looking for at the time.
7. Hamilton Soundtrack “My Shot”
Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton swept the nation, and Hamilton fever overtook my house at some point, too. “My Shot” was the song I probably sang the most the loudest, but the soundtrack has a number of tunes to rock out to as you’re driving down the road to a showdown with Aaron Burr.
6. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis “Thrift Shop”
Macklemore wants to ask my grandpa for his hand me downs. Ok. Macklemore made being cheap cool for a summer way back when. Everybody was poppin’ tags! It WAS F’ing awesome.
Ah man, he got the Velcros!
I also gave Macklemore and Ryan Lewis the pick becuase I also really liked “Can’t Hold Us.” That’s 2 good songs. Did you hear that Meghan Trainor, Walk the Moon, or I-G-G-Y? 2 songs. You can have more than one, even if you’re getting your stuff from Goodwill.
5. Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars “Uptown Funk”
Bruno Mars is a performer. He can do anything, and he demonstrated as much this decade, whether it was putting on a solid Super Bowl Halftime Show, a great concert, or an unbelievable effort on SNL—Mars is incredible. This song even holds up in Kids Bop mode.
4. Carly Rae Jepsen “Call Me Maybe”
Is this the best pop song ever? Maybe. Infections, unimportant, and wonderful, it checks all the boxes. Thank you, Carly Rae. People tell me Carly Rae Jepsen has more than one song, too. I don’t care. This one’s enough.
3. Josh Ritter “Getting Ready to Get Down”
This song best represents my default music preference. It’s stripped down, high energy, guitar rock with a hint of rebelliousness. Everything else seems to be moving towards such an over-produced sound, but I’ll gladly listen to musicians like Ritter take things back to the basics any day of the week. Ritter consistently leaves you with songs you’ll be humming over and over again for days whether it’s for the tune or the lyrics or both.
“The Red Sea, the Dead Sea, the Sermon on the mount, if you wanna see a miracle, watch me get down tonight!”
I also love the line “when you get damned in the popular opinion, it’s just another damn of the damns you’re not giving tonight.”
2. Lizzo “Juice”
All the Lizzo is all right by me. “Good as Hell” or “Truth Hurts” or her entire Tiny Desk Concert could have conceivably all made the list. But the Juice has this guy wandering around telling people it’s not his fault he’s out here getting loose. Blame it on the juice. Indeed, Lizzo, indeed.
1. Taylor Swift “Shake It Off”
People think I have nothing in my brain, too Taylor. But I keep cruising. I also can’t stop or won’t stop grooving because the music in my mind tells me it’s going to be all right. Any time I hear this song, I stop and listen. And then ask to hear it again. It’s catchy. The beats are fun. It’s got a horn section in the background. It’s a pop masterpiece as far as I’m concerned. As far as T. Swizzle goes, I think this is her best. Personality-wise, I don’t think I would like Taylor Swift in real life. Sometimes her sensitivity comes off as cloying, but at the same time…I don’t want to like Taylor Swift, but she’s so good at what she does, I have no choice but to love Taylor Swift. She’s not the pop princess we want, but she is the one we deserve.
So there you have it! Another list in the books! This one was hard. A decade is a long time. There’s lots of great pop music in a decade. Lots of great songs to sing along to like a maniac on your drive to work. Lots of songs to bop up and down to while taking care of chores around the house. Here’s hoping to even more catchy stuf,f to come. And more Lizzo.
Before I go, let me slide one more song onto the playlist from my buddy Mike Medved who graciously helped us out with a brand new theme song!!! You’ll have to wait for the new year to hear our new theme, but until then you can listen to Mike’s single “Country Limousine.”
Until next time, I’ll be chillin’ listening to whatever autoplays next after my playlist!