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Songs of the Past Decade

| Isabella Gamez | igamez22@dtechhs.org | January 28, 2020 |

  How do we measure musical legacy and worth? Throughout the past decade, many artists and songs left memorable impressions, earning them a place within lists for top songs of the decade. The process of deciphering how songs fit into this past decade is no easy task. The number of ways to judge a great song is endless. All the songs earning themselves the title of “top songs of the decade” had a variety of enjoyable qualities, whether it is the ability to listen to it on repeat without ever getting tired of the recurring melody and lyrics or something you can only listen to when you wish to submerge yourself in feelings. It may even initiate a whole new style and sound. One thing is for sure; the 2010s had it all. 

Snagging the number one spot for the most popular song of the decade according to multiple sources, including Billboard, is “Uptown Funk,” by Mark Ronson, featuring popular artist Bruno Mars. Released on November 10th, 2014, the song is a funk-meets-pop mash-up with a spirit comparable to the signature 1980s-era sound. Its upbeat lyrics tackle fashion, self-love and “traditional masculine bravado.” Across the globe, “Uptown Funk” reached number one on the charts of 19 countries and the top ten of 15 others. “Uptown Funk” resided at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 list for 14 weeks. In a poll at d.tech, “Somebody I Used to Know” by Gotye was the most popular song, with 36% saying it was their personal favorite song of the decade, with “Uptown Funk” as a close second. Sophomore Madeline Hsu reflected fondly on the song when describing her middle school science experience, “My eighth-grade teacher assigned us to make a parody covering the material from that unit. My friends and I immediately and unanimously settled upon “Uptown Funk.” Its upbeat, catchy tune made it an easy choice for us,” she said in-between laughs “It will forever be one of my favorite memories of the decade.”  

Accompanying “Uptown Funk” in the top ten, sitting at the number seven spot is “Old Town Road,” released on December 3rd, 2018. The song immediately gained immense popularity on TikTok, and by March of 2019, reached the number 19 spot on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart before the organization disqualified it for not being true to the genre. This ignited a contentious debate concerning the true definition of country music. Critics of Billboard‘s decision to remove the song from the country charts include artists such as Moses Sumney and Billy Ray Cyrus. These artists argue that the removal of the song is proof that the music industry doesn’t enable black artists to have the same creative license as white artists. The remix featuring Billy Ray Cyrus eventually hit number one on the flagship Billboard chart, the Hot 100, for a record-breaking 19 consecutive weeks. All over the world, multiple renditions of “Old Town Road” have topped the national singles charts. Since then it has been nominated for record of the year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards, with its music video receiving a nomination for Best Music Video. Creator Lil Nas X is the first LGBTQ artist to win a Country Music Association (CMA) award. He has been nominated for six Grammy Awards. Despite the song not being her style, freshman Margaux Knobel commented: “It was a great song, but it was so overplayed people started to hate it.”

Claiming top album of the decade is Adele’s 21. Since its initial release date of January 24th, 2011, it has been praised by critics for its underrated production, vintage aesthetic, and vocal performance. 21 took the number one rank on the top charts in more than 30 countries. It became the world’s best-selling album of the year for 2011 and 2012, including in the United States. In addition, 21 spent the most weeks on Billboard’s 200 charts of any album by a woman.

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