"Music doesn't lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music."
-- Jimi Hendrix
Post links to music you love, or music you've made
You heard them relentlessly, everywhere you went - stores, sporting events, your dentist's office, etc.
They were constructed, edited, and produced deep underground in labs by musical scientists wearing white lab coats who knew exactly how to construct good pop that would stay in your mind for far too long.
They aren't the "best" pop tracks of the decade - but they're pop hits that made it into the collective consciousness, the tracks your mom can probably sing the lyrics to, and you probably can as well, and they don't suck (so there are huge hits that didn't make my list).
By the way, technically the new decade starts in 2021, but...no one really cares.
Here's my list, what are yours?
Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe (2011)
The track that was lipsynced to a thousand times over, or remade in some way.
I think it was the strings and the disco beat coupled with easy to sing lyrics that made it one of the top viral videos of a song in the 2010s.
The best version (featuring Carly) is Jimmy Fallon, Carly Rae Jepsen & The Roots Sing "Call Me Maybe" (w/ Classroom Instruments)
Or you can search for every version every made
Taylor Swift - Shake It Off (2014)
I'm a sucker for lab produced pop music as long as it's perfectly produced and 3:10 - 3:25 seconds long. That's basically what this whole list is about.
When I first heard this track I thought it was probably one of the best cookie cutter pop tracks I'd ever heard - until 2:19, and then Taylor tries to...rap...and totally fucks it up.
The video is sort of charming, but it also looks like a GAP ad.
Seriously, this is infectious pop your grandmother could love. It's perfectly produced, the horns are great, the beat is up tempo, the backing vocals are perfect...and then we're hearing about "haters" and "getting down to this sick beat" processed through what seems like a bullhorn. Then it goes into a parody of Hey Rickey.
Lana Del Rey - Video Games (2011)
Using retro 8mm footage, old cartoons, archived tv news clips, and modern shots of famous people drunkenly stumbling around L.A. - Lana creates a longing for a time past that her listeners probably never even experienced.
"Heaven is a place on earth where you tell me all the things you want to do".
This is the slowest and most melancholy of the tracks listed here (it's also probably the best video), but "It's you, it's you, it's all for you" will stick in your brain for a while. Plus the strings are pretty great.
Adele - Someone Like You (2011)
This was everywhere - it made it into that cultual rhelm where it won't be forgotten for a long, long, long time.
The production is perfect, but if I hear it one more time...
Katy Perry - Teenage Dream (2010)
Katie Perry and her team basically put together an ode to being young and wanting to having sex. The video sucks and this is one of the most paint by numbers tracks on the list, but holy shit - it works.
Justin Timberlake - CAN'T STOP THE FEELING! (2016)
This starts in the most conventional R&B manner but at 26 seconds the backing comes in, and then at 1 minute it ups the ante.
With lyrics "I can't stop the feeling!" and "Dance! Dance! Dance!" it's not profound in anyway shape or form.
This rips off pretty much everything from the 1970s - disco, Michael Jackson, Earth Wind and Fire, etc. (you name it).
The thing is those musical scientists perfected a pop song that could be used in some shitty animated movie (I think it's "Troll"), but once you get to the pseduo gospel at the end...you've totally bought into it.
Meghan Trainor - All About That Bass (2014)
O.k. Meghan's scientists created a track called "All About That Bass" about proud curvy women...that's basically backed by a stand up bass.
It's got harmonies I guess. There's also a bit of pop spanish guitar.
The thing is - even the mlb commandeered the track in their marketing.
Daft Punk Feat Pharrel Williams - Get Lucky (2013)
A track about how eveyone's going to get laid tonight.
This is Chic/Nile Rodgers "influenced" (I actually think Niles worked on this), but due to the Daft Punk influence we get vocoders and some synths. The thing is it's sooooooo smooth, and "we're up all night to get lucky", so what could go wrong?
Gotye - Somebody That I Used To Know (2012)
The clear choice of a pop hit for hipsters.
Lorde - Royals (2013)
The clear choice of a pop hit for hipsters #2 but the beat, her voice, the synth, and the harmony makes it all works. Definitely a pretty huge condemnation of consumption culture.
Clean Bandit - Rather Be ft. Jess Glynne (2014)
This is sort of a by the numbers house track, the thing is it's got violin, and it went to #1 in the U.K. in it's first week of release, the video went viral, then it won the Grammy for best dance recording.
Cee Lo Green - FUCK YOU (2010)
A perfect Motown/Funk track with the best title (and maybe video) and production of the 2010s - Danger Mouse had to be in on the production, listen with headphones.
Pharrell Williams - Happy (2013)
Pharrell is probably involved with more tracks on this list than any onther person.
Here he's doing another Marvin Gaye impression, but...it's o.k. I'll take either Marvin or Pharrell doing Marvin, I don't care.
With pride mixed with a little arrogance, I can happily say I have never heard or heard of any of the songs.
I have heard of some of the artists
In the category of music that doesn't suck, at a Christmas party I heard a Christmas Trap.
I have certainly heard worse
I heard a Christmas Trap
I heard a Christmas Trap
Might want to lose the "T" there.
Check them out. It's basically cookie cutter stuff - pop, 110 - 130 bpm, talking about nothing, with lyrics that can be construed as "fun".
The point here is there's tons of this stuff, and some do it better than others (so see above).