Adele, “Rolling In the Deep” (2010)
Songs about love gone incorrect remained a pop staple in the 2010s : All the decade ’ s technological advances didn ’ thymine do much for love affair, when all was said and done. The precede single from Adele ’ s blockbuster second base album 21 was a four-minute cardinal belly laugh shaped into a rolling-thunder epic, with the british belter ’ randomness formidable alto making every charge against her ex—abandonment, handling, just being a generally bad guy—add up until they were equally high as a funeral pyre. It ’ s an exercise in pop catharsis that doubles as an exorcism for the demons that lurk after an affair flames out.
Reading: The 10 Best Songs of the 2010s
Robyn, “Dancing on My Own” (2010)
Since her days as a adolescent toss off protégé of Max Martin, Robyn has been one of pop ’ mho curious figures, veering in her own direction in ways that the masses would finally follow. 2010 ’ randomness heartbroken “ Dancing on My Own ” is part mini-movie, part might ballad, and all feel. Her to-the-bone descriptions of watching her sleep together concern kiss another are searing even glum, with the energy they conjure channeled into punching-bag drum programming that shrouds her pain in a cleanse fire.
Sky Ferreira, “Everything Is Embarrassing” (2012)
A slow burner with the glistening synths of late- ’ 80s sophistipop and the furtively hurt vocals of late- ’ 90s alt-rock, Sky Ferreira ’ s sulky 2012 one “ Everything Is Embarrassing ” was a atavistic that represented pop ’ sulfur next wave. Artists like Ferreira, Charli XCX, and Haim all operated in a direction that was analogue to the charts, exploring how they could take the verse-chorus-verse ideal to 21st-century realms. “ Everything Is Embarrassing ” evokes the full-body fawn that ’ south often felt when taking an emotional risk, its lavish arrangement providing the comfort for any agonies that might follow.
Luke James, “I Want You” (2012)
New Orleans-born singer-songwriter Luke James ’ spell and chops helped his act forays, including his become as Johnny Gill in BET ’ s The New Edition Story and his comedic cameo in 2019 ’ s Little, a mention with audiences. His soulful, bursting-with-energy voice established him as one of R & B ’ south leading vocalists, and this 2012 mash note is a shining example of why. A heart-eyed emoji set to music, “ I Want You ” takes the love song to church—and thanks to James ’ skyscraping falsetto and talk gusto, he makes romance seem like the most holy place request.
Taylor Swift, “All Too Well” (2012)
Taylor Swift ’ s 2010s were filled with stadium-sized spectacles that cemented her condition as one of the universe ’ mho biggest pop stars. This track off 2012 ’ sulfur Red is proof that she became one of music ’ south grande dames because of her ability to crystallize emotional details. A midtempo guitar ballad with quietly devastating lyrics, “ All Too Well ” nods to her country-prodigy past, but with the sort of maturity that transforms evening the most dramatic moments of one ’ south life fade into shades of gray.
Hospitality, “I Miss Your Bones” (2013)
The open of this 2013 single by Brooklyn trio Hospitality is all about brittleness. Its piston-precision guitar riffs and the nip delivery of singer Amber Papini turn her requests to a long-gone lover— ” Take me on a flat tonight, ” “ Tell me not to leave and cry ” —into desperate commands. As her sense of longing reaches a fever slope, the band leans on an incipient groove and a full-on indie-psych finale breaks out, dispatch with sputtering guitar solo—so when the song ultimately whirls to a crippled, it evokes the tail end of a crying jag that can lone be stopped by a sudden, deep sleep .
Paramore, “Ain’t It Fun” (2013)
Tennessee emo-pop band Paramore rebooted itself with its 2013 self-titled album, bringing programmed drums and glossy strings into its high-octane guitar-bass-drums mix. It worked like a charm, with singer Hayley Williams sounding newly energized by the possibilities of her band ’ randomness bigger sound. On “ Ain ’ t It Fun, ” she uses that expanded palette—and a huffy gospel choir—to hack and holler her manner through the gnarlier bits of growing up.
Dierks Bentley, “Drunk On a Plane” (2014)
The claim of “ Drunk On A Plane ” hints at a admonitory narrative about the dangers of open-bar fly, but country wanderer Dierks Bentley ’ s songwriting skill turns this 2014 singalong into an affect fib about being stuck with the side effect from a love gone wrong. Bentley ’ sulfur narrator has nonrefundable tickets to his now-canceled Cancún honeymoon, so he decides to take the fledge ; along the way, he reflects on how he arrived in seat 7A. It ’ s a amiable update of Nashville ’ s drinking-song template, and Bentley ’ second skilled songwriting makes plain the commiseration behind every whiskey-and-Coke order.
Khalid, “Young Dumb & Broke” (2017)
Flipping the “ millennials are killing [ x ] ” trend-piece construct on its head with a smirk and some desert-heat synths, this 2017 single by Houston-based pop prodigy Khalid is an anti-anthem for “ young, dumb, broke high school kids. ” Its sing-song topline eases it into even the most overstimulated listeners ’ minds, but its simmer anxiety about life ’ s big questions helps it resonate beyond its fade-out.
Lil Nas X, “Old Town Road” (2019)
2019 ’ s biggest pop sense didn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate catch there because of TikTok, or the yeehaw movement, or controversies over chart placements. Lil Nas X ’ south sparse smash—based off a Nine Inch Nails throw sourced from YouTube—gained momentum steadily, then unstoppably, because it ’ south so much fun to consume, whether in its master barely-two-minutes human body, as one of its star-studded remixes, or merely mimicking the hook while around friends. It ’ s a impertinently minted build blockage for pop, allowing listeners to hear the likely in nation, trap, country-trap, and any early hybrid genre that might come to biography in the streaming old age. Contact us at letters @ time.com. partake THIS STORY