The defining songs of the decade

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Every decade has those unforgettable songs that played endlessly on the radio, the choruses inviting nostalgic memories. These past ten years have brimmed with new artists and uplifting beats, introducing us to an iconic repertoire of music. With the start of the new decade here, now is the perfect time to acknowledge some of the past decade’s most defining songs.

“Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO

This 2011 hit became one of the top 5 songs in over 15 countries, with it remaining as the number one song in American charts for six weeks. LMFAO, the group behind the song, was invited to perform in New York City’s New Years Eve Party at Times Square. The song was also featured in Just Dance 3 and in a variety of TV shows, including Gossip Girl and Parks & Recreation.

“We Are Young” by Fun. (ft. Janelle Monae)

This song, released in late 2011, had a long lasting popularity. It took off after it was used in the TV show Glee, which helped introduce it to thousands of more people. In 2012, Fun. sang We Are Young as the opening performance for the MTV awards. Finally, in 2012, Fun. won two Grammys: one for Best Song of the Year and the other for Best New Artist.

“Despacito”by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee

Despacito managed to transcend the Latin world after a version was made with Justin Bieber. The song then became highly popular on American radio stations and the music video even broke the Youtube record with 6 billion views. The song won multiple awards, including The Song of the Year Grammy and Billboard’s Music Award for Top Selling Song.

“Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson (ft. Bruno Mars)

This song remained at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 14 weeks, eventually winning the Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo Grammys in 2016 as well as the Single of the Year award at the 2015 Brit Awards. The song was also performed in collaboration with Beyonce at the Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show. 

“Happy” by Pharrel Williams

“Happy” was originally released as part of the soundtrack album for Despicable Me 2. Not long after its release, “Happy” became the number one song in over 20 countries, eventually being named Billboard’s number one single for 2014. It became a trend for people around the world to make their own videos of the song, in which they would dance at locations across their city.

“Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye (ft. Kimbra)

This song, in a similar way to We Are Young, increased in popularity after being covered on the TV show Glee. This song was included in Gotye’s Making Mirrors album, which won the 2013 Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album. The song itself won the Record of the Year Grammy that same year.

“Rolling in the Deep” by Adele

This Adele 2011 single was an international hit, becoming a chart-topping song in over 10 countries. The song won both the Record of the Year and Song of the Year awards at the 2012–something that has only been accomplished three times before.

“Old Town Road (Remix)” by Lil Nas X (ft. Billy Ray Cyrus)

“Old Town Road,” originally released in December 2018, finally became a hit when a version featuring country singer Billy Ray Cyrus was made in early 2019.  The song proved very popular throughout the summer, remaining at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 19 weeks straight. It received the Favorite Rap Song Award at the AMA’s and won the “musical event of the year” at the Country Music Awards. The song has also been nominated for six Grammys.

“God’s Plan” by Drake

Drake’s song, after being on the Billboard Top 100 chart for 11 consecutive weeks, went on to win Best Rap Song at the 2018 Grammys and the iHeart Radio Award for Best Hip-Hop Song of the Year. It also became 2018’s most streamed song on both Spotify and Apple Music.

“Thrift Shop” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (ft. Wanz)

This song became the number one on the charts and remained in that position for about six weeks, eventually winning two Grammys. In 2013, Thrift Shop was also deemed the longest-running #1 rap song, based on Billboard statistics.

*Information gathered from the Grammy official page as well as from Billboard charts and articles.