music / Columns

411 Readers Poll Results: The Top 20 Songs Of The 2010s

June 4, 2020 | Posted by David Hayter
Kanye West - Runaway

Last week we completed our countdown of the Top 250 Songs of the 2010s. Whether you agreed or disagreed, loved or hated our countdown, hopefully you enjoyed the ride – but now it’s your turn. The votes have been cast, the results have been tallied and it’s time to reveal the 411 Readers Poll results.

Note: The reader’s poll has no limitations in terms of artists or tracks. It is also worth pointing out that when it comes to voting for songs (compared to albums) the voting gets spread incredibly thin. So tracks 20-15 received far fewer votes than tracks 14-1.

20. Foster The People – “Pumped Up Kicks” (2010)

Foster The People didn’t feature on the 411 list, but there is no denying that “Pumped Up Kicks” is one of the premier indie anthems of the 2010s that somehow slipped through our net. Listening back in 2020, “Pumped Up Kicks” feels very distant sonically – more connected to the indie and psych revivals of the 2000s than 2010s’ strange adventures in sound.

19. Justin Timberlake – “Mirrors” (2013)

Justin Timberlake is another artist that didn’t make the cut on the 411 countdown, I’ll happily take the blame for this one: reviewing Man Of The Woods for two different publication likely erased all my positive memories of JT – which is a genuine shame as “Mirrors” is an ambitious, seductive and, by modern standards, understated R&B love letter.

18. Kendrick Lamar – “M.A.A.D. City” (2012)

“M.A.A.D. City” finished 2nd on the official 411 countdown and you can read our mini-essay about Kendrick’s street level teenaged anthem here.

17. Lorde – “Green Light” (2017)

Lorde’s “Liability” featured in 411’s Top 10, but the trouble with picking a narrative driven album track is that you leave out an artist’s globe conquering bangers. Lorde’s whirlwind moment of dancefloor insecurity and seduction would have undoubtedly made our countdown were it not for the one track per artist rule. Check out our original review of “Green Light” 

16. Kendrick Lamar – “Swimming Pools (Drank)” (2012)

Kendrick Lamar finished second in 411’s countdown and truth be told there were at least 10 tracks in contention for “M.A.A.D. City’s” placement. “Swimming Pools (Drank)” is one of Kendrick’s most successful crossover singles: a sorrowful reflection on alcoholism and the perils of using alcohol as an escape from the trauma of the streets.

15. Beyonce – “Formation” (2016)

Following in “M.A.A.D. City’s” footsteps, Beyonce’s zeitgeist capturing anthem, “Formation”, features on both the 411 and readers poll. Read more.

14. Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk” (2014)

Nearly an exact match, the bombastic brilliance and cocksure swagger of Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” finishes just one place higher in the reader’s selection than it did on the 411 countdown.

13. Adele – “Set Fire To The Rain” (2011)

There’s no denying Adele’s dominance in the 2010s and while 411 ultimately opted for “Rolling In The Deep” few would question the inclusion of “Set Fire To The Rain”. This bulldozing anthem drives through the downpour in the verse before soaring triumphant during its arena shattering chorus. “Set Fire To The Rain” isn’t Adele’s biggest hit, but it is the sneaky favorite of millions of music fans the world over.

12. Frank Ocean – “Thinkin Bout You” (2012)

Frank Oceans dreamy and intoxicating rumination on his first gay kiss, “Thinkin Bout You”, becomes the latest track place on both countdowns. Read our full thoughts here.

11. Adele – “Rolling In The Deep” (2010)

An exact match! “Rolling In The Deep” finishes 11th in both countdowns and as a tease for what is to come, this is the one and only time our countdowns will (exactly) agree.

10. Taylor Swift – “All Too Well” (2012)

“All Too Well” – which I think we can safely label Taylor Swift’s finest songwriting accomplishment –  finished 138th in 411’s countdown, but stands as the gatekeeper to the top 10 in the reader’s poll. It’s worth noting that both Taylor Swift and Frank Ocean received a huge number of individual votes (albeit typically lower placements) from the readers and would have finished much high in an unranked vote. Read 411’s take on “All Too Well” here.

9. Harry Styles – “Sign Of The Times” (2017)

Harry Styles’ tender, weightless and beautiful Bowie-esque ballad was an alternate on the 411 list, but it’s easy to see why this glorious 70s throwback ranks so highly among readers. This was the moment when the former One Direction star made it clear he would not follow Zayn Malik in chasing modern R&B trends, instead he’d delve into the British rock canon for inspiration. Styles’ decision remains bold, while his peers found themselves wallowing in 90s revivalism he cast his net far broader to write retro-futuristic pop music that – at the decade’s end – feels more timeless than anything his former bandmates or celebrity peers have managed to produce.

8. Daft Punk ft. Pharrel + Nile Rodgers – “Get Lucky” (2013)

This was a genuinely tough choice. Daft Punk finished 6th on the official 411 countdown with their mesmeric love letter to art of creation itself “Giorgio by Moroder”. The trouble with limiting yourself to one track per artist is that you are forced to choose between the grand artistic statement and the pristine banger. In many ways I’m relieved the readers backed “Get Lucky”, both sides of Daft Punk’s sound deserve celebration. Nile Rodger’s delicate disco guitar forms the backbone of this airy but irresistible anti-EDM anthem. “Get Lucky” was the sound of the summer in 2013 and every summer since.

7. M83 – “Midnight City” (2011)

One of the biggest climbers between countdowns leaping from no.94 to a 7th placed finished, but that should come as no surprise. Not only is “Midnight City” an incadescent peach of a track that thrives on both a packed dancefloor and alone through headphones, M83 are without question one of our readers favorite acts. Read our full thoughts here.

6. Kendrick Lamar – “Alright” (2015)

It’s no shock to see “Alright” place so highly, it is unquestionable Kendrick Lamar’s most important track. Overnight “Alright” was transformed into an anthem for the burgeoning “Black Lives Matters” movement, with crowds of protestors and mourners across America chanting “we gon’ be alright” in unison. The perfect blend of an unsettling-yet-trippy arrangement with a wild, swerving verse that leads to a chorus that speaks profoundly to faith, communal spirit and resilience in the face of indignity. “Alright” believes in a brighter future while acknowledging the soul crushing brutality that must be endured en route to that better tomorrow.

5. Bon Iver – Holocene (2011)

The deft and understated in its magnificence, “Holocene” leaps eight places to secure a top five finish in the readers poll. Read our full thoughts on this soulful and slight wonder here. 

4. Gotye ft. Kimbra – “Somebody That I Used To Know” (2011)

I braced myself dog’s abuse when placing Gotye in the upper echelon of the 411 countdown. I genuinely thought our readers might find the idea of having a “one hit wonder” in the top 10 absurd, but little did I know that they would rank the pained post-break-up angst of “Somebody That I Used To Know” even higher than I did!

3. Robyn – “Dancing On My Own” (2010)

Gotye and Robyn remain back to back, but have been bumped up a handful of positions. Robyn’s tears on the dancefloor act of defiance, “Dancing On My Own”, sits atop the aggregated song of the decade list (when all the critic’s lists are taken into consideration), so it’s no surprise to see Robyn triumphing on both 411 lists.

2. Kanye West – “Runaway” (2010)

Kanye West and “Runaway” just misses out on being a consensus no.1. Read our full thoughts on “Runaway” here. 

1. Lorde – “Royals” (2013)

The reader’s vote was a two horse race between “Runaway” and “Royals”. Similar to “Get Lucky’s” appearance earlier earlier in this countdown, I am glad that the readers have recognised Lorde’s breakout hit single as the choice between bangers and profound album cuts was incredibly difficult to make. “Royals” is one of the defining anthems of the decade as Lorde ruminates on the strange disconnect between the glitz laden life that’s sold to modern teenagers through pop and hip hop and the mundanity of their actual real world existence.


Thank you to everyone who voted, followed-along or commented over the last month.