music / Columns

The Best Songs of the 2010s: Lizzo, Bruno Mars, Post Malone, More

December 23, 2019 | Posted by Rob Stewart
Lizzo

(The Playlist of my Top Ten! Play it in the background while you read for maximum effect!)

Did you hate my list of the best movies of the 2010’s? It’s possible, and that’s fine. Everything is subjective fun, and I’m just presenting these lists as a chance to encourage discussion and sharing of tastes among everyone. And if you weren’t a fan of my movies, chances are you will DESPISE this list. It’s… objectively bad. But I’ll get to that in a bit! But I wanted to present you with alternatives. My list was just one in a series, and here are my podcast cohosts’ efforts: Andy’sChad’s, and our special guest for the month, the ladies from Rock Candy. So let us know whose was your favorite overall!

In the meantime…

 

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You don’t have to BE rich to appreciate songs about it!

See, here’s my secret, Cap: I don’t really care about music. I’m not someone who listens to music for fun. Given the entire spectrum of entertainment media–TV, movies, books, comics, games, etc–music is the absolute last source I’d go to just for fun. Music exists, for me, as something to accompany driving and exercising. And basically, podcasts have supplanted it for driving, too.

That said, I’m a musical chameleon, if anything; I listen to what the people around me listen to, and I take on an interest in that. Growing up, my family was huge Jimmy Buffett fans, so I grew a taste for him. In high school and college, my best friend listened to pop-punk and emo, so I listened to that. In the mid-2000’s, my girlfriend listened to Asian pop music, so I adapted to that. My wife listens to rap and songs to pole dance to, so… yeah. And I’ve been with her for the whole of the 2010’s! Chameleon.

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Not even a Karma Karma Karma Chameleon!

I have a few hard-and-fast things that I’ll never get into no matter who the closest people in my life are–looking at you, grunge music, country music, and, like, The Eagles–but mostly, I just go with the flow. And the flow for me has been pop music for a very long time.

You’ll deal! It’s just one list!

There was an additional rule in place to make sure all of lists are varied: One song per artist! So no one can just cop out and pick, like, four songs from one album they loved.

All right… ready for a 2010’s Popsplosion?

(*Last minute clarification… I am having THE ABSOLUTE DAMNEDEST time getting these videos to embed here for some reason. Hopefully I got it worked out, but… I might not have. If they aren’t here, they are on the playlist I posted above. Sorry!)


#10. “Bodak Yellow” – Cardi B

Look, I don’t know why this is here. You don’t know why this is here. No one knows why this is here.

I’mma be honest, when I was making my initial cut list, and this snuck into my first 45 songs, it was just as a slight “yeah, that’s catchy, I’ll include it for now”. And then I kept cutting songs two or three at a time, and every time I did, I’d pass over this and hum “I don’t dance now, I make money moves”. And then I thought, “No just keep it a bit longer”. And then with eleven songs left… it was still there. I measured it in my head against the song that finished as my top Honorable Mention, and… here we are. It’s catchy and infectious, and it’s easily Cardi’s best (only good?) song to date.

People give me crap for not liking the Beatles, but you know how I know modern music is better? The Beatles never sang “my pussy clear like a lake / he want to swim with his face“. Tell me that isn’t better than saying “Hey Jude” 38 times in a row. I’m just sayin’.


#9. “Talk Dirty” – Jason Derulo ft 2 Chainz

SPEAKING OF AMAZING LYRICS, we have “You know the words to my songs / no habla Ingles / our conversations ain’t long / (but you know what is)“.

Also the song has horns? So there’s that! Did you ever wish rap was ska? Ugh. I actually can’t complain; I hum the horns part of this song a lot. “Do-do-do-do do do do do-do do do-do-do-do-do-do (talk dirty to me)“.

I never really cared much for Derulo until this song. He was just… “The Guy Whose Name Starts All His Songs”. But this… this was catchy. You can’t not move your shoulders to this.

2 Chainz’ bit in this song is glorious. “Every picture I take, I pose a threat“. Rap is the bestest, guys.


#8. “Sorry Not Sorry” – Demi Lovato

That video, tho.

Video aside–but seriously, JESUS is Demi fucking gorgeous–this song is fun to sing to. Also, it is one of the many, Many, MANY songs my wife and I sing to our cats. Most notably when Chester does something bad. “Chester is sorry, (he’s no sorry!)”

Yep, that’s my life. I don’t know what to tell you.

I dig the main verse to this. “Payback is a bad bitch, and baby I’m the baddest. You fucking with a savage; can’t have this can’t have this“. Whatever, it’s nifty. It makes me feel powerful. I, too, am a savage, and I, too, can not have this!

Video’s still great, too.


#7. “Bounce Back” – Big Sean

I was tossing up two Big Sean songs here: “Bounce Back” and “I Don’t Fuck With You”. Probably by the time this video is released, I will switch this several times. I’ll cover both here because I am smart and don’t want to have to re-write it every time I swap!

IDFWY is tremendous because that’s, like, the WHOLE SONG. “I don’t fuck with you. You little stupid ass bitch, I ain’t fuckin’ with you. You little dumb ass bitch, I ain’t fucking with you. I got a million trillion things I would rather fucking do, than to be fucking with you“. Sean REALLY wants you to know he isn’t messing around with you! It’s an important message, I guess. Big Sean has many things to do aside from screwing with you. Little stupid ass.

Bounce Back is a little more fun rhythmically, if less directly on-message. Also, at one point he switches up the tempo to yell “I WOKE UP IN BEAST MODE“, which is just daily goals for everyone. Always endeavor to wake up in Beast Mode, kids! It’s the best way to start your day.

And also? If you aren’t sure if an ass is real? Hit it, and see if it bounces back. Music can teach you things!


#6. “Sunflower” – Post Malone & Swae Lee

Such is the power of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse that it made me love a Post Malone song. Wow.

I actually have learned many (some?) of the words to this song by now, but I still sing it like Miles from the movie with the confused mumbling. Which is how the Post Malone parts of all Post Malone songs sound! Seriously, have you ever listened to “Psycho”? Indecipherable garbage! I want a Post Malone / Bob Dylan duet of nonsense words.

But anyway, Sunflower is heartfelt, has a good rhythm, and is the right mixture of upbeat and light. It just makes me happy when I hear it; it’s melodically peaceful. Even Posty’s part.


#5. “Gangnam Style” – Psy

In the most hipster thing I’m going to say today, I dabbled in K-Pop and J-Pop a bit in the mid-2000’s. Just enough so that when this song came out, it was kind of a comfort food. Very much a “Oh, I remember this” sort of sensation.

The video for Gangnam is friggin’ marvelous; Psy is hilarious. And the song is poppy and catchy enough that you have to move to it even when you can’t understand it. Also, the video is tremendous. Watch it!

Best foreign language hit of the decade; fuck off, “Despacito”. You’re the pits and everyone hates you.


#4. “I Just Had Sex” – Lonely Island ft. Akon

I definitely wanted needed to have a Lonely Island song on the list, and this one beat out “Motherlover” and “3-Way (The Golden Rule)” as far as songs from this decade go. I might like those two a bit more as songs, but this is the best to listen to for the first time, and the video is wonderful. Also, you just accept Justin Timberlake as a self-effacing dude who should be singing about awkward sexual encounters with Andy Samburg; hearing Akon on this track singing about doing it with his penis is such a blast.

It’s not, like, a REAL song, I guess, but it’s funny. I ask for so little from music! Just give me a decent beat and some lyrics that make me laugh.


#3. “Truth Hurts” – Lizzo

I can’t stop singing this song this year ever since about the second time I heard it. It might be a real problem. I always sing it when I hear it somewhere. Often I sing it when it’s not. It’s a big song; it’s probably always playing somewhere in the world, and I am just channeling it.

Lizzo is god damn infectious, and she is already a borderline national treasure. I thought “Juice” was a fun song, and then she came out with this insidious ear worm of a tune, and it solidified her as the best thing going in music currently.

“Truth Hurts” is poppy and intense and empowering, and Lizzo’s voice is bloody amazing. I need to get me a man from the Minnesota Vikings.


#2. “Uptown Funk” – Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars

I know this isn’t technically a BRUNO MARS song, but I’m using it as my Bruno Mars entry because everyone who doesn’t look deeper would just ASSUME it’s his, and it might as well be. Also, it’s the best song he has ever touched, even though many of his own are almost equally great.

This… this is a dancing song. It’s a pure biological imperative to dance when you hear this song. It appeals to grandma’s at weddings and people in their 20’s. It’s for EVERYONE.

And Bruno has the most “fun” voice in the world. You just hear him singing an up-tempo hit like this, and you can’t help but think, “there’s a guy who is enjoying himself”. I hear he does a lot of coke! So that helps, I’m sure.


#1. “Tik Tok” – Ke$ha

Before anyone goes deep-diving on me here, I will be transparent: The album on which “TiK ToK” debuted dropped on January 1, 2010. HOWEVER, TiK ToK as a single was released in November 2009. Am I going to hold a month-and-a-half against this song when it finished #1 on the Billboard Top 100 for the year of 2010?

I am not.

Kesha, who you may or may not know is my future second wife, is one of my favorite things to happen to music ever. Her songs are all a riot, and she crafted and assumed this impeccable party girl identity to best market herself and her rock anthems. She’s just… just the best.

I love a ton of her songs from the 2010’s, from “Cannibal” to “We R Who We R” to “Blow” to… all of them! But this was the raddest, and it was her first hit. And you know what’s different about it from entries #2-#10? I HATED TiK ToK when I first heard it! But that’s because I wasn’t in on the joke. As I listened more, though, it is such an undeniable gem and Ke$ha is the Beastie Boys of the 2010’s. Song of the decade!


Ha! Yep, not an indie song in sight. Or even a rock song, right? I don’t know what to tell you guys. It’s my list, and this is what I listen to. But it’s not about me, it’s about all of us, so… what were YOUR top ten songs of the last ten years?

Anyway, I’m going to go listen to Bodak Yellow again. You can’t even stop me.

Until next time… take care!