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Akini's Top 400 Songs of the 2010s: [135-131]

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  • #26
    I guess I need to catch up - slightly more songs I know in this set than the last time I checked in.
    • Nothing Breaks... was a bop there for awhile, though I think it's burned on me now. I just went to listen to it, and was like eh, I'm done. Still probably my favorite thing Miley has done.
    • I know RuPaul and crew will figure heavily - but having never watched the show, it's hard to relate as to what the fuss is. I couldn't even tell you what channel it's on. I still feel like I need to check out Yvie's season though.
    • Kind of sad to see Old Town road so low; thought it might be something that would figure more prominently. To be honest, it ranked #3 on my year end, but when I did my decade end countdown, it rejiggered to 10th or 11th I think, so maybe there was a similar downgrade for you as well.
    • Oh Santa was great! I love the one with the chant at the beginning, but for some reason, that's not the version they play on the radio here. I'd place it in my top five of Christmas songs released last decade.
    • We Are Young is amazing and when I focused on the lyrics, I was really surprised to read them. I don't think i paid them much heed when it was big, but they really are kind of disturbing. I love that it got Janelle a #1 even though I still contend she adds nothing to it.

    Comment


    • #27
      Originally posted by Spartan View Post
      Love the shout out, sorry I haven’t been following this (or the site in general) more closely. I think, although I prefer the original, the Glee version was the one that made me fall in love with the song.
      Ah, thanks for visiting! I've been pretty busy myself (hence the glacial pace of this countdown).

      "We Are Young" definitely worked well for the Glee Cast. It's the perfect song for a high-schoolers, tbh.

      Originally posted by cheapthrills View Post
      [*]Nothing Breaks... was a bop there for awhile, though I think it's burned on me now. I just went to listen to it, and was like eh, I'm done. Still probably my favorite thing Miley has done.
      Aw, really? It's still got another 100,000 miles left in my playlist.

      Originally posted by cheapthrills View Post
      [*]I know RuPaul and crew will figure heavily - but having never watched the show, it's hard to relate as to what the fuss is. I couldn't even tell you what channel it's on. I still feel like I need to check out Yvie's season though.
      It's on VH1! And, yes, you should check out Yvie's season, at the very least. S1 also had a Denver queen do incredibly well.

      Originally posted by cheapthrills View Post
      [*]Kind of sad to see Old Town road so low; thought it might be something that would figure more prominently. To be honest, it ranked #3 on my year end, but when I did my decade end countdown, it rejiggered to 10th or 11th I think, so maybe there was a similar downgrade for you as well.
      None of the 2019 songs really compared favourably to the top tracks of the decade for me.

      Originally posted by cheapthrills View Post
      [*]Oh Santa was great! I love the one with the chant at the beginning, but for some reason, that's not the version they play on the radio here. I'd place it in my top five of Christmas songs released last decade.
      I actually didn't even know a chant-less version existed!

      Originally posted by cheapthrills View Post
      [*]We Are Young is amazing and when I focused on the lyrics, I was really surprised to read them. I don't think i paid them much heed when it was big, but they really are kind of disturbing. I love that it got Janelle a #1 even though I still contend she adds nothing to it.[/LIST]
      I swear, I still don't ever hear Janelle in that song!
      Akini's Top 400 Songs of the Decade: [135-131]

      Comment


      • #28
        365. Brandy Clark - Girl Next Door



        When you took me home
        You knew who you were taking
        Not some Debbie debutante standing in an apron
        Frying up your bacon

        It's not a novel concept, female country music artists fighting against the traditional stereotype of what a 'girl next door' should look and behave like, but Brandy Clark certainly brings some clever lyrics and a spicy edge to the table. I love its defiance. It's a pledge to stay true to oneself in the face of an entire system that urges you to be someone else, and that's certainly a message that doesn't take much stretching for me to connect with. Her concluding message: "If you want the girl next door, then go next door and go right now, and don't look back, don't turn around, and don't call me when you get bored". A mood!
        Code:
        Significance Rating: 1/20
        Year Released: 2016
        Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(1)
        Plays Since 1/1/2012: 47
        364. Taylor Swift - I Almost Do



        And I just want to tell you
        It takes everything in me not to call you

        I must admit my surprise at this never having hit #1 on my daily chart, but when I checked Red's release date, I understood why. At any rate, this one details quite vividly the internal conflict you have with a broken relationship. Interestingly enough, when the album was released, I had a friendship that had been pretty battered for a lot of that year, and "I Almost Do" takes me back to that period. It's crazy the petty things we let ruin beautiful relationships and I always wonder if maybe I'd swallowed my pride, if things would've ended differently in that particular situation. I suppose that's the gift and curse of hindsight.
        Code:
        Significance Rating: 1/20
        Year Released: 2012
        Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #3
        Plays Since 1/1/2012: 57
        363. Ed Sheeran - Shape of You



        And last night you were in my room
        And now my bed sheets smell like you
        Every day discovering something brand new
        I'm in love with your body

        I don't particularly like Ed Sheeran. There's something about his personality that I find off-putting and his music has largely felt soulless to me. "Shape of You", however, is an infectious, island-flavoured, club bop that Ed pulls off rather well. It's got this fresh, light hook that lends itself to excessive replay and the verses are pretty much in his balladry wheelhouse, but when that beat gets funky in the chorus, even I'm moved to groove to it.
        Code:
        Significance Rating: 1/20
        Year Released: 2016
        Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(1)
        Plays Since 1/1/2012: 72
        362. Marina & the Diamonds - Starring Role



        It almost feels like a joke to play out a part
        When you are not the starring role in someone else's heart
        You know I'd rather walk alone than play a supporting role
        If I can't get the starring role

        2012 was a rather exciting year in music for me, as I'd just joined LastFM (on January 1, 2012 no less) and spent so much of that year deep diving into music that my teeny-bopping, bubblegum-pop-loving self felt was fresh, exciting, new, and a shift from the cookie-cutter, American Idol-esque music that I generally enjoyed. Electra Heart was one of my favourite discoveries that year, and "Starring Role" was an easy song to get into, considering its lyrics so expertly captured how I viewed relationships then (and now). This was Marina singing about matching energies long before it became a hastag-able movement on Twitter and other social media. And the melody - it's so luxurious and regal!
        Code:
        Significance Rating: 1/20
        Year Released: 2012
        Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(1)
        Plays Since 1/1/2012: 72
        361. Bruno Mars - The Lazy Song



        Today, I don't feel like doing anything
        I just wanna lay in my bed
        Don't feel like picking up my phone
        So leave a message at the tone
        'Cause today, I swear, I'm not doing anything

        As a millennial who's fairly recently joined the adulthood struggle, I have to say that I relate to "The Lazy Song" on a much deeper level than I did when it was released. At the time, 15-year-old me had no idea just how much of a luxury doing nothing was! I've long felt that the secret weapon of any pop star is accessibility and this song is definitely a track everyone can relate to. It was a huge video smash on YouTube long before hundreds of millions of views became the standard for music videos, with its quirky video featuring Bruno dancing in boxers alongside other men in monkey masks.
        Code:
        Significance Rating: 1/20
        Year Released: 2011
        Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(2)
        Plays Since 1/1/2012: 37
        Akini's Top 400 Songs of the Decade: [135-131]

        Comment


        • #29
          360. Christina Aguilera - Just a Fool (feat. Blake Shelton)



          I'm just a fool for holdin' onto somethin' that's
          Never ever gonna come back
          I can't accept that it's lost

          Released so late in 2012 that I consider it a 2013 song for all intents and purposes, "Just a Fool" is a country-flavoured break-up track featuring all the vocal flourishes from Christina that I've grown to love over the years. To his credit, fellow 'Voice' judge Blake Shelton does a competent vocal on his parts, but the big soaring moments that really capture the emotion of this song are all Christina's. This song connects with me because I'm terrible at letting go of anyone or anything that I truly loved. Further, the theme about being "just a fool", perhaps getting your hopes up on shoulders that aren't strong enough to carry them, resonates with me. Though I didn't capture it as my lyrical highlight, the line "I had my heart set on you" is another favourite lyric of mine because I know how the heart drops when it's set on something or someone that doesn't deliver.
          Code:
          Significance Rating: 1/20
          Year Released: 2013
          Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(1)
          Plays Since 1/1/2012: 65
          359. Adam Lambert - Ghost Town



          Now, I'm searching for trust
          In a city of rust
          A city of vampires

          It was a challenge settling on a favourite lyric because the verses on this track are insanely strong. They're penned in poetic prose and I've never been satisfied with the chorus that accompanies them. I understand that its emptiness is an attempt to stay true to the track's title, but I still think Adam could've given us more than that short line and some whistles. It's beautiful and relatable, even moreso these past eight months than when it was released five years ago.
          Code:
          Significance Rating: 1/20
          Year Released: 2015
          Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(2)
          Plays Since 1/1/2012: 177
          358. Little Big Town - Better Man



          I wonder what we would’ve become
          If you were a better man
          We might still be in love
          If you were a better man
          You would’ve been the one
          If you were a better man

          Without reservation, I can say that this is a damn good song. I challenge anyone to play this and not feel the deep emotion of the protagonist. The "if" realm is such a dangerous place to reside, and no less so as it concerns love and relationships, but it feels impossible not to lament on what could have been if only. I love the scene and stage of the break-up "Better Man" captures. The pain is still fresh, but the resolve strong and the pride to leave a situation that didn't honour the protagonist's commitment emanates throughout. And if said pride is all the protagonist's left with at the end of the day, it's a better keepsake than the half-realised dream she wisely gave up. This is quality country music, staying true to the roots of the genre and telling a story as simply and honestly as only country music can.
          Code:
          Significance Rating: 1/20
          Year Released: 2016
          Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(1)
          Plays Since 1/1/2012: 102
          357. Beyoncé - Before I Let Go



          Turn around, kick, then slide
          And twirl that ass to the right, now
          Ooh, bunny hop, bunny hop, drop, pop
          Cross your legs, turn around and clap
          Shuffle to the left, let's glide now
          Ooh, drop it down, drop it down low, low
          Low, low, low to the floor, floor
          Bring it up, clap, then roll, roll
          Step on 'em, step on 'em, step on 'em, step
          Step on 'em, kick on 'em, stomp, then you step
          Swag the right, surf the left
          Work the middle 'til it hurt a little

          I don't mean to undersell the lyrics because there are some good, passionate lyrics on this one, but "Before I Let Go" is certainly a 'vibe' song for me. The horns lead the fresh, rich instrumental with conviction and authority. As I'm sure I've mentioned before, there's a club I frequent that faithfully plays this each time I visit, and the crowd faithfully responds. It's special seeing how this song resonates with others; I think they really relate to the endurance element in the lyrics. It always puts me in a good mood. It's an infectiously happy song that way.
          Code:
          Significance Rating: 1/20
          Year Released: 2019
          Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(3)
          Plays Since 1/1/2012: 88
          356. Harry Styles - Watermelon Sugar



          Tastes like strawberries on a summer evenin'
          And it sounds just like a song
          I want more berries and that summer feelin'
          It's so wonderful and warm

          I was confident that Harry Styles would have my favourite post-1D career and that confidence was inspired by my gut feeling believing that he would bring a bit of a fresh lens with retro fittings to pop music, and while he has not consistently delivered on that, he certainly does just that on "Watermelon Sugar". Much like the song before it, "Watermelon Sugar" is such a chill vibe, and that final "watermelon sugar!" that punctuates each chorus with that cool vocal effect just adds to the delight that is this track. I think a lot of songs that speak to the physical acts of love are so lazily penned and delivered, and I love the class, sensuality, and innuendo of this track.
          Code:
          Significance Rating: 1/20
          Year Released: 2019
          Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(2)
          Plays Since 1/1/2012: 57
          Akini's Top 400 Songs of the Decade: [135-131]

          Comment


          • #30
            355. Clean Bandit - Solo (feat. Demi Lovato)



            I wanna f-woop, woop woop, but I'm broken hearted (Oh)
            Cr-cr-cry since the day we parted (Oh)
            T-t-touch, but I got nobody
            So I do it solo

            Emotional dance music is right up my alley and "Solo" feels like a millennial confessional masquerading as a club anthem. The protagonist is bored and frustrated, completely dissatisfied with her dating pool options following the break-up of a relationship she thought would have more mileage. If she can't find anyone decent, she'll go at it "solo" and that'll be that on that. It's fair to say that the relatability factor here was a 10. I loved hearing Demi's voice on a dance track as she doesn't veer into that lane often and Kamille serving those ever-crucial, ever-catchy supporting vocal moments in the chorus makes this track infectious. I do wish it were a bigger hit than it turned out to be, though.
            Code:
            Significance Rating: 1/20
            Year Released: 2018
            Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(1)
            Plays Since 1/1/2012: 57
            354. Keith Urban - Blue Ain't Your Colour



            'Cause blue...
            Looks good on the sky
            Looks good on that neon buzzin’ on the wall
            But darlin', it don’t match your eyes
            I’m tellin’ you...
            You don’t need that guy
            It’s so black and white, he’s stealin’ your thunder
            Baby, blue ain’t your color

            While the title may suggest that Keith is adding fashion critic to his repertoire, he's actually crooning to a lonesome lady, who's all alone at a bar by herself because her boyfriend or husband hasn't been good to her (he's making some wild assumptions early on here), but as soon as he launches into that bluesy, country-western-and-jazz-infused chorus, even I'm swooning a bit. This song is so tender, sweet, kind - for me, it's the best thing Keith's ever done, and that guitar solo that precedes the final chorus is just divine.
            Code:
            Significance Rating: 1/20
            Year Released: 2016
            Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(1)
            Plays Since 1/1/2012: 49
            353. Niall Horan - Slow Hands



            Yeah, I already know that there ain't no stoppin'
            Your plans and those
            Slow hands (woo)
            Slow hands

            For years, Adam (king_oxymoron) tried to make the case for Niall being the most appealing guy in 1D, but my firm pro-Harry stance didn't waver. And with Zayn and his "Pillowtalk", plus Liam pre-JT tribute act status, Niall wasn't even in my top 3, so when this came out, I thought the folk-pop sound rather decent, the melody mildly appealing, and didn't give it any further consideration (or plays, for a while). Then, rather randomly, I played Demi Lovato's "Body Say", which has a lyrical highlight that includes the lyric, "You can touch me with...slow hands", and that reminded me of Niall's song, which I then revisited, connected with, and here it is, two years later, his sole (solo) representative on the countdown. Funnily enough, I still often play "Body Say" and "Slow Hands" after each other to this day.
            Code:
            Significance Rating: 1/20
            Year Released: 2017
            Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(2)
            Plays Since 1/1/2012: 64
            352. The Weeknd - Often



            She asked me if I do this every day, I said, "Often"
            Asked how many times she rode the wave, "Not so often"
            Bitches down to do it either way, often
            Baby I can make that pu**y rain, often
            Often, often, girl I do this often
            Make that pu**y poppin', do it how I want it
            Often, often, girl I do this often
            Make that pu**y poppin', do it how I want it
            Often

            There's unfiltered misogyny in this track that should probably turn me off from it, but...that beat - it's just sick! The way it ebbs and flows with the arrogant, swagger-heavy lyrics is just special and really sells the song (as well as Abel's more outrageous claims). The Weeknd's music has always stood out from the pack to me because somehow he manages to seamlessly marry some rather intriguing elements of R&B, hip/hop, and trap, and create a lane in the urban music scene that no one else really traverses. It's become a part of his signature sound and I love it. He's also got a smooth, beautiful voice that you don't mind having on repeat.
            Code:
            Significance Rating: 1/20
            Year Released: 2015
            Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(1)
            Plays Since 1/1/2012: 52
            351. John Legend - Love Me Now



            Something inside us knows there's nothing guaranteed
            Yeah, girl, I don't need you to tell me that you'll never leave, no
            When we've done all that we could to turn darkness into light, turn evil to good
            Even when we try so hard for that perfect kind of love, it could all fall apart

            Too often we wait until people pass away to give them their flowers, and on "Love Me Now", John Legend says he wants his flowers and he wants them now. I love the message, to cherish each moment you have with the ones you love, as our mortality will inevitably betray us and we won't be able to engage in those acts of love anymore. The studio recording of this was already good enough and would have gotten John on this list, but the Spotify Studios mix is even more magical. Distilled from the heavy production of the original studio recording, John's rich baritone vocal is given the prime time treatment, and assisted by a minimalist piano backing, it really sells the core message of the song in an even more powerful way than the original mix.
            Code:
            Significance Rating: 1/20
            Year Released: 2016
            Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #2
            Plays Since 1/1/2012: 62
            Akini's Top 400 Songs of the Decade: [135-131]

            Comment


            • #31
              'Solo' is absolutely amazing. One of Clean Bandit's finest songs!

              Comment


              • #32
                'Solo' is catchy as hell and one of my favourite songs of the past few years.
                My YouTube Channel - The best songs of the 80s, 90s and 2000s

                Comment


                • #33
                  Originally posted by luckyONE View Post
                  'Solo' is absolutely amazing. One of Clean Bandit's finest songs!
                  Originally posted by Benny View Post
                  'Solo' is catchy as hell and one of my favourite songs of the past few years.
                  Glad "Solo" stood out to both of you!
                  Akini's Top 400 Songs of the Decade: [135-131]

                  Comment


                  • #34
                    350. Ariana Grande - Break Up with Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored



                    Then you realize she's right there (Yeah)
                    And you're at home like, "Damn, she can't compare"

                    The most intriguing title, which stood out to fans among the songs on thank u, next's pre-release-day tracklist, "Break Up..." had the high hurdle of expectation to clear before we even heard it, and I'd say it cleared the bar. It's familiar territory for the young pop star - a sleek pop jam that Ariana peppers with her now signature vocal flourishes, and its video is a big selling point as well, featuring the criminally gorgeous Charles Melton. Because the universe loves to make fun of me, there was actually a day when I was driving in traffic and a guy who may or may not have had an interest in me (and who may or may not have had a girlfriend) was driving right behind me and this song was next on my playlist and was blasting loud enough for him to hear.
                    Code:
                    Significance Rating: 1/20
                    Year Released: 2019
                    Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(3)
                    Plays Since 1/1/2012: 108
                    349. Lana Del Rey - Off to the Races



                    Light of his life, fire of his loins
                    Keep me forever, tell me you own me
                    Light of your life, fire of your loins
                    Tell me you own me
                    Gimme them coins

                    The most sonically adventurous track on 'Born to Die', "Off to the Races" is an exceptional track that perhaps I never gave a full opportunity to bloom as it stood in the background of two supreme favourites from the same album. It's an alternative blend of glam-pop and grimy hip/hop, complete with vivid and passionate storytelling. Lana's not known for her stellar vocals, but I absolutely love her voice on this; she sounds angelic on the falsetto parts. The way she casually alternates between her Bonnie-level badass and pinup Barbie doll personas is pretty impressive, too.
                    Code:
                    Significance Rating: 1/20
                    Year Released: 2012
                    Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(1)
                    Plays Since 1/1/2012: 58
                    348. Solange - Losing You



                    Tell me the truth boy, am I losing you for good?
                    We use to kiss all night but now there’s just no use
                    I don’t know why I fight it, clearly we are through
                    Tell me the truth boy, am I losing you for good?

                    Backdropped against the easel of a quirky, summery, uptempo groove, "Losing You" is a deeply emotional half of a break-up conversation. I remember feeling quite cool liking this one, as it was outside of my cookie cutter palate circa 2012 (which one could argue isn't much different now, almost eight years later). At the time, it was the best thing Solange had ever done, but four years later, she would one-up it.
                    Code:
                    Significance Rating: 1/20
                    Year Released: 2012
                    Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(2)
                    Plays Since 1/1/2012: 50
                    347. RuPaul - Kitty Girl (feat. Kennedy Davenport, Shangela, Bebe Zahara Benet, & Trixie Mattel)



                    Steppin' to the plate, I'm Trixie Mattel
                    Got my name in the game, better learn it well
                    'Cause I'm the MVP heading up to bat
                    And I'll go to third base, but I'd never tell that
                    I got bleach in the blonde like Pamela
                    And I'm steppin' out the box like Shangela
                    I got long thick legs, a tarantula
                    And if you call me kitty girl, I can handle ya

                    I've never considered Trixie Mattel to the best at anything, so quoting her verse as the highlight is a pretty big deal. She slays here, though, and while the queenly quartet that are featured here feel hodgepodge-y, with the glaring absence of the AS3 champ that never was, BenDeLaCreme, they managed to contribute to what is, effectively, my favourite RuPaul track! I will admit that I heard the song before watching the season and feared that RuPaul was dying, with that last line ("Keep your head up, Ru."). About the song - it's high-energy, high-camp, disco-dance fierceness. As I've said before, the foundation track that they remixed was actually pretty damn catchy to begin with, so they had something decent to work with, which is rare. This song makes me happy, though. It throws the kitchen sink of self-esteem at you and that's always been the appeal of drag to me - clever fun that uplifts.
                    Code:
                    Significance Rating: 1/20
                    Year Released: 2017
                    Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(1)
                    Plays Since 1/1/2012: 75
                    346. Girls Aloud - On the Metro



                    I left my heart at the disco
                    Now I'm crying on the metro
                    Wrote your name on the window (on the window)
                    Oh baby I don't know why, why did you go?
                    Now I'm crying on the metro

                    Musically, I grew up as an American Idol kid, so you can forgive me for not knowing who Girls Aloud were in 2012. I'd seen so much of UKMix in euphoric uproar over their return that I thought I would give them a chance (and had more than a few personal chart comrades who directly and indirectly encouraged the exploration). "Something New" came out first and floored me, but this one was another of their new 'Ten' tracks and I thought it to be a firm, undeniable bop! Sleek, catchy, you-start-I-finish callback pop, this was part of the early journey of GA becoming my favourite girl group.
                    Code:
                    Significance Rating: 1/20
                    Year Released: 2012
                    Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(1)
                    Plays Since 1/1/2012: 61
                    Akini's Top 400 Songs of the Decade: [135-131]

                    Comment


                    • #35
                      345. Rihanna - Love the Way You Lie (Part II) (feat. Eminem)



                      Even angels have their wicked schemes
                      And you take that to new extremes

                      The sequel to the biggest global smash released in 2009, "Love the Way You Lie (Part II)" featured more Rihanna and less Eminem, a make-up that Paul referred to as a "winning formula". Speaking of Paul, it's largely due to him that I got into this track as he championed it all those years back, even claiming it was superior to the original...a statement I didn't agree with when he made it, but I certainly agree with now. It's interesting that we got two songs from this particular pair, both on different ends of the domestic violence coin. This RiRi-led take is a lot more sombre and subdued that the Eminem-led original. On this part two, there are some incredibly poetic lines spread across the verses, which are each so poignant and powerful (and clearly superior to the chorus). This is the first of many appearances from my Bajan queen and the first of several from the hip/hop emperor.
                      Code:
                      Significance Rating: 1/20
                      Year Released: 2010
                      Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #2
                      Plays Since 1/1/2012: 34
                      344. Dua Lipa - New Rules



                      One: Don't pick up the phone
                      You know he's only callin' 'cause he's drunk and alone
                      Two: Don't let him in
                      You'll have to kick him out again
                      Three: Don't be his friend
                      You know you're gonna wake up in his bed in the morning
                      And if you're under him, you ain't gettin' over him

                      I think most people would agree that the pre-chorus makes this song special. The way she simply lists the rules makes it an effective earworm, which is the goal of any pop song worth its salt. Dua has this icy, cold alto voice and it's such a perfect match for this instructional break-up track. Production-wise, "New Rules" is certainly lacking as its main chorus is really a singular sentence on loop over a dance beat, but before you grow wary of it, a new verse and that aforementioned, epic, pre-chorus rolls 'round again and you're bopping once more. I'm not entirely sold by the Dua Lipa love - when this ranked #7 on the site's decade-end countdown, I thought it was entirely too high - but this one is an undeniable keeper. I don't imagine she'll ever top this one for me, but I'd love to be proven wrong.
                      Code:
                      Significance Rating: 1/20
                      Year Released: 2017
                      Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(2)
                      Plays Since 1/1/2012: 95
                      343. Glee Cast - Survivor/I Will Survive



                      I'm a survivor
                      I'm not gonna give up
                      I'm not gon' stop
                      I'm gonna work harder
                      I'm a survivor
                      I'm gonna make it
                      I will survive
                      Keep on survivin'

                      At its best, you won't find many shows on TV better than Glee, and the idea to merge these two survivor songs was genius. Further, to separate two of the cast's best vocalists and have them as vocal leads on this was brilliant. So genius and brilliance, that's what this mash-up is. They're already working with two immaculate classics, but it's the segues that make the marriage seamless. The way the "I Will Survive" verses ramp up to that legendary "Survivor" chorus, then they pull a switcheroo with the verse/chorus arrangement and finally let you get the "I Will Survive" chorus towards the end but have the background vocals chanting the "Survivor" vocals - it's just insane! This show introduced me to the term theatricality, and this song is one but several masterclass examples of the same.
                      Code:
                      Significance Rating: 1/20
                      Year Released: 2011
                      Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(2)
                      Plays Since 1/1/2012: 24
                      342. Tinashe - Die a Little Bit (feat. Ms. Banks)



                      Sometimes I can’t, but I’ve been told I need to breathe
                      This life ain't something for someone like you and me

                      I'm tempted to copy/paste my 2019 write-up here, but I shan't. Instead, I'll just ramble and inevitably repeat the exact statements anyway. This is a complete song, which is a difficult achievement for a track that's only 2:45 long. The fresh beats, the incredible (and highly relatable) lyrics, the monologues involving the young boy. From line one, I'm sold, as Tinashe speaks to the anxiety that I've been dealing with the past five years. She then segues into a deadpan, robotic, "Drink, smoke, dance" chant. Through her Genius interview, fans learned that the song's inspiration was her party days in LA, where drinks and sex came in endless supply, but sincerity and authenticity were scarce commodities. This song speaks about the struggle to connect in a world that feels increasingly soulless and scripted, and in an attempt to integrate, the protagonist numbs herself and joins the status quo where fickleness is the order of the day. There's brilliant social commentary on this, and it's really infuriating that a message like this isn't really getting the audience it so richly deserves.
                      Code:
                      Significance Rating: 1/20
                      Year Released: 2019
                      Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(1)
                      Plays Since 1/1/2012: 54
                      341. Beyoncé - Sorry



                      He only want me when I'm not there
                      He better call Becky with the good hair
                      He better call Becky with the good hair

                      I don't have a stand set up, but expect a lot of 'Lemonade' on this countdown, the first serving of which is the deceptively titled anthem, "Sorry" (plot twist: she's not sorry). There are three quality versions of this track: the demo, the 'Homecoming' live performance (that so brilliantly segued into "Me, Myself and I"), and the original mix. I love them all. There's so much pride in this song, and just the right serving of petty, too (pride and pettiness can co-exist!) but that final lyric is one for the ages. It created a witch-hunt and rekindled the long-time discussion of beauty standards that disadvantage minority women, particularly those with African-American roots. My sister and I love this song, so much so that one day when we were driving and had parked when the song had about 25 seconds runtime left, we waited until those final lines so we could sing along and respectfully let the track end before tending to our errands.
                      Code:
                      Significance Rating: 1/20
                      Year Released: 2019
                      Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(1)
                      Plays Since 1/1/2012: 137
                      Akini's Top 400 Songs of the Decade: [135-131]

                      Comment


                      • #36
                        "Love The Way You Lie, Pt. II" is absolutely amazing.

                        Also dig "Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored".

                        Comment


                        • #37
                          Time to catch up again
                          • Usually not into Ed either. The Shape of You is pretty much the only song by him I enjoy (that doesn't have a feature). Even that one took me awhile to get into.
                          • Ghost Town is on my yearly Halloween playlist So I know it very well, and I agree the chorus is anti-climatic, but the music is such an atmospheric bop.
                          • Before I Let Go was such a highlight to Homecoming. I didn't give it the love it deserved when it came out, but I love it now. Such a throwback vibe.
                          • Have to agree with king_oxymoron on Niall - he and Zayn are the only ways I pay dust to. Slow Hands is great though I'm hoping his new stuff isn't there because it came too late to be included in the countdown.
                          • I love the shout-out to Spotify Studios in that reading of Love Me Now - there's been several times that the studio version outdoes the original.
                          • Not crazy about Break Up... , but that story is hysterical - did anything ever come from that?
                          • I'd never heard of Losing You before the countdown I did, and really enjoyed it - definitely proves Solange is not some Bey clone.
                          • Glad to hear Eminem has some more songs to come and of course RiRi, though I still prefer Part 1.
                          • Dua still hasn't topped Be The One for me, but New Rules (and Don't Start Now, which I take it did not make the cut here) are definitely close. I was glad Dua made the top ten if only because there was no other representative form the second half of the decade otherwise.
                          • Wow, yes, that's right, Glee was going strong at the start of the decade. What a perfect time for it to be popular - for that brief six/seven year period people actually bought singles again. Their mash-ups were always a highlight. I think they had better than that one, but maybe there's more Glee to come.

                          Comment


                          • #38
                            Originally posted by luckyONE View Post
                            "Love The Way You Lie, Pt. II" is absolutely amazing.

                            Also dig "Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored".
                            Glad you appreciate those two!

                            Originally posted by cheapthrills View Post
                            [*]Usually not into Ed either. The Shape of You is pretty much the only song by him I enjoy (that doesn't have a feature). Even that one took me awhile to get into.
                            I don't like him, but I thought it was pretty smart to release that and "Castle on the Hill" at the same time, as he insulated himself from his core fanbase hating "Shape of You" by giving them a safe mid-tempo ballad. I suspect he and his team didn't expect "Shape of You" to blow up the way it did.

                            Originally posted by cheapthrills View Post
                            [*]Ghost Town is on my yearly Halloween playlist So I know it very well, and I agree the chorus is anti-climatic, but the music is such an atmospheric bop.
                            Ah, it seems like such a sombre track for Halloween!

                            Originally posted by cheapthrills View Post
                            [*]Before I Let Go was such a highlight to Homecoming. I didn't give it the love it deserved when it came out, but I love it now. Such a throwback vibe.
                            Indeed! I still need to hear the original actually.

                            Originally posted by cheapthrills View Post
                            [*]Have to agree with king_oxymoron on Niall - he and Zayn are the only ways I pay dust to. Slow Hands is great though I'm hoping his new stuff isn't there because it came too late to be included in the countdown.
                            That's not why.

                            Originally posted by cheapthrills View Post
                            [*]I love the shout-out to Spotify Studios in that reading of Love Me Now - there's been several times that the studio version outdoes the original.
                            Yep! I think most of my favourite songs have live performances that are either just as good as the original studio recording or better!

                            Originally posted by cheapthrills View Post
                            [*]Not crazy about Break Up... , but that story is hysterical - did anything ever come from that?
                            Just irritation and disappointment. There's a song much higher up, whose write-up will likely consist of me venting about that and other irritations/disappointments.

                            Originally posted by cheapthrills View Post
                            [*]I'd never heard of Losing You before the countdown I did, and really enjoyed it - definitely proves Solange is not some Bey clone.
                            Aw, yay at you checking out and enjoying "Losing You"!

                            Originally posted by cheapthrills View Post
                            [*]Glad to hear Eminem has some more songs to come and of course RiRi, though I still prefer Part 1.
                            Even though part I was overexposed, I actually still like it.

                            Originally posted by cheapthrills View Post
                            [*]Dua still hasn't topped Be The One for me, but New Rules (and Don't Start Now, which I take it did not make the cut here) are definitely close. I was glad Dua made the top ten if only because there was no other representative form the second half of the decade otherwise.
                            The voters threw the best of the second half of the decade at the lower end of the top 20.

                            Originally posted by cheapthrills View Post
                            [*]Wow, yes, that's right, Glee was going strong at the start of the decade. What a perfect time for it to be popular - for that brief six/seven year period people actually bought singles again. Their mash-ups were always a highlight. I think they had better than that one, but maybe there's more Glee to come.
                            ABSOLUTELY!

                            I was such a huge Gleek back in the day. Between that and American Idol, they really influenced/shaped a good chunk of my music taste.
                            Akini's Top 400 Songs of the Decade: [135-131]

                            Comment


                            • #39
                              340. Alicia Keys - Holy War



                              So we can heal each other and feel each other
                              We can break these walls between each other
                              Baby, blow by blow and brick by brick
                              Keep yourself open, yourself open

                              The events of November 8, 2016 made it so that there was no publication of my daily chart that day and the day thereafter. On November 10, 2016, when I'd summoned enough strength to resume normal activities, "Holy War" was the #1 song. The track's message of unity and embracing and respecting differences, having basic empathy for our fellow human-beings, and relentlessly pursuing the end goals of peace and love felt especially poignant, and as nationalism, racism, and sexism proved themselves to not be relics of the past, and reared their heads in increasingly disturbing and upsetting ways the past four years, it's been a great anthem of what we can be at our very best.
                              Code:
                              Significance Rating: 1/20
                              Year Released: 2016
                              Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(1)
                              Plays Since 1/1/2012: 54
                              339. Usher - Hot Tottie (feat. Jay-Z)



                              Say you gon ride, but just don't fall off

                              It may be hard to believe now, but in 2010, Usher was arguably the hottest male R&B act on the planet and on "Hot Tottie", he's in full 'playa' mode, essentially auditioning a woman of interest for the role of FWB, inquiring about whether or not she can deliver on her big claims. I love the grimy R&B production, the deep vocal moments from Usher at the back ends of the chorus every time he sings "hot tottie", and even Jay-Z, the king of hit/miss verses, delivers an undeniably hit verse, braggadocious and overtly sexual, just as the song required.
                              Code:
                              Significance Rating: 1/20
                              Year Released: 2010
                              Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #2
                              Plays Since 1/1/2012: 31
                              338. Christina Aguilera - Prima Donna



                              I'm a prima donna, I can rule the world
                              Don't care who's around me, I can rule the world
                              So hands up, catch this feeling, there's no stopping this
                              Right now in this moment, I can rule the world

                              I've said before that I'm a pretty simple consumer of pop music, and if I have a diva with big vocals, on an electro-pop beat belting with unabashed conviction a fun club chorus, I'm sold. The bridge on this is just incredible. I'll never forgive the GP for letting 'Bionic' flop.
                              Code:
                              Significance Rating: 1/20
                              Year Released: 2010
                              Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(1)
                              Plays Since 1/1/2012: 55
                              337. Paramore - Still into You



                              I should be over all the butterflies
                              But I'm into you (I'm into you)
                              And baby even on our worst nights
                              I'm into you (I'm into you)
                              Let 'em wonder how we got this far
                              Cause I don't really need to wonder at all
                              Yeah after all this time I'm still into you

                              Maintaining the band's true-to-form rock edge, this pop track bursts with effervescent joy, speaking of a love that endures even through the "worst nights". It's no puppy love, it's a love that "makes sense". It's such a perfect anniversary song. Interestingly enough, I feel like we don't get songs that speak to this side of love - the lightness, the happiness, the seamless ease. I wish we got more of these tracks.
                              Code:
                              Significance Rating: 1/20
                              Year Released: 2013
                              Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(1)
                              Plays Since 1/1/2012: 81
                              336. Lady Gaga - Applause



                              Give me that thing that I love (I'll turn the lights out)
                              Put your hands up, make 'em touch (Make it real loud)

                              If you'd told me at the end of 2013 that "Applause" would 'only' finish at #336 on my decade-end countdown six years later, I would've taken offence at you insulting my monster cred like that, but this has just not aged well. It was a very in-the-moment masterpiece and I think its oversaturated production worked against it in the long run. Still, I can't help but appreciate its earnestness and honesty. "Give me that thing I love!" is as much a command as it is a plea. It's a real statement on the artist/fan dynamic, the interdependence on both parties for sustenance and validation. I miss pop music that had wild, unfiltered emotion like this one. As its play count indicates, I played this rather liberally, though most of those 300+ spins were frontloaded. 'ARTPOP' had several superior moments, one of which we won't see for some time.
                              Code:
                              Significance Rating: 1/20
                              Year Released: 2013
                              Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(4)
                              Plays Since 1/1/2012: 301
                              Akini's Top 400 Songs of the Decade: [135-131]

                              Comment


                              • #40
                                Applause was definitely one of those songs that got play just because people were ready for new Gaga - it actually was a solid hit for her, but compared to the insanity of her previous albums, it underperformed. It's my least favorite of her lead singles, but it still made it to #2 just on anticipation alone.

                                Comment


                                • #41
                                  'Still Into You' is very catchy, I played it a lot when it was released. 'Applause' is one of Gaga's strongest singles, it reached number one on my personal chart.
                                  My YouTube Channel - The best songs of the 80s, 90s and 2000s

                                  Comment


                                  • #42
                                    Originally posted by cheapthrills View Post
                                    Applause was definitely one of those songs that got play just because people were ready for new Gaga - it actually was a solid hit for her, but compared to the insanity of her previous albums, it underperformed. It's my least favorite of her lead singles, but it still made it to #2 just on anticipation alone.
                                    For me, it's easily superior to "Perfect Illusion" and "Stupid Love".

                                    Originally posted by Benny View Post
                                    'Still Into You' is very catchy, I played it a lot when it was released. 'Applause' is one of Gaga's strongest singles, it reached number one on my personal chart.
                                    Glad you like those two! "Still into You" is probably still the poppiest thing Paramore have ever done and I thought it was a rather fresh direction for them.
                                    Akini's Top 400 Songs of the Decade: [135-131]

                                    Comment


                                    • #43
                                      335. Jennifer Lopez - First Love



                                      I wish you were my first love
                                      'Cause if you were my first, baby
                                      There would have been no second, third, or fourth love
                                      Oh-oh-oh-oh
                                      I wish you were my first love (First love)
                                      'Cause if you were my first, baby
                                      There would have been no second, third, or fourth love

                                      A fun, sleek, simple electro-pop dance jam, "First Love" features here because of those lyrics in its chorus. It's such a sweet notion - wishing that your great, ultimate love was first, to save you from the time and turmoil that it took you to get to that special person. I also love those lyrics because it speaks to that gut instinct you have when you find your soulmate. J.Lo had much bigger hits during the 2010s - I don't rate "On the Floor" high so it was never seriously considered for this countdown - but this is the one that stood out from the pack for me.
                                      Code:
                                      Significance Rating: 1/20
                                      Year Released: 2014
                                      Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(2)
                                      Plays Since 1/1/2012: 86
                                      334. Dami Im - Sound of Silence



                                      Tryna feel your love through Facetime

                                      I was tempted not to quote any of the lyrics on this track because they're all rather pedestrian. The big selling point here is the vocal. Dami sings with such conviction! I think "Sound of Silence" proves I'm a sucker for big, swelling ballads, regardless of how well they may (or may not) be penned.
                                      Code:
                                      Significance Rating: 1/20
                                      Year Released: 2016
                                      Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(1)
                                      Plays Since 1/1/2012: 94
                                      333. OneRepublic - Counting Stars



                                      I feel the love and I feel it burn
                                      Down this river, every turn
                                      Hope is our four-letter word
                                      Make that money, watch it burn
                                      Old, but I'm not that old
                                      Young, but I'm not that bold
                                      And I don't think the world is sold
                                      On just doing what we're told

                                      A very easy song to love (and to keep on repeat), "Counting Stars" has this innocent, childlike point of view in its lyrics that I really like. In lieu of boring sheep, we've got stars, symbols of dreams that exist beyond capitalistic profit margins and strict bottom lines. I love the sense of wonder that permeates throughout this track. Its starry melody is so uplifting. For me, this is the very best of OneRepublic.
                                      Code:
                                      Significance Rating: 1/20
                                      Year Released: 2013
                                      Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(2)
                                      Plays Since 1/1/2012: 117
                                      332. Fergie - M.I.L.F.$



                                      Heard you in the mood for a little MILFshake
                                      Welcome to the Dairy Dutchess Love Factory
                                      I could whip it up, fix you up straight away
                                      Come on in the front door, leaving at the back door
                                      Whip it, flip it, hey
                                      Been working at your service to give it to ya
                                      Didn't mean to make you nervous, you motherf**ker

                                      If this were a video countdown, "M.I.L.F.$" would easily be top 20. What a video! Giving the M.I.L.F. moniker a more PG-13 rebrand, "M.I.L.F.$" celebrates the power of mothers in the Hollywood spotlight, with a video featuring some of the most famous mamas on the planet. The song is such a wild ride. There's no structure. Fingersnap beats, whistles, heavy trap booms, random spelling lessons - it's the best kind of messy.
                                      Code:
                                      Significance Rating: 1/20
                                      Year Released: 2016
                                      Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(1)
                                      Plays Since 1/1/2012: 53
                                      331. Usher - Climax



                                      Going nowhere fast
                                      We've reached the climax
                                      We're together, now we're undone
                                      Won't commit, so we choose to run away
                                      Do we separate?
                                      Oh, don't wanna give in, so we both gave up
                                      Can't take it back, it's too late, we've reached the climax

                                      Widely considered one of the best-produced R&B songs of the 2010s, "Climax" saw Usher enlisting the assistance of Diplo to deliver an electro-R&B stunner. Honestly, it's insane just how fresh "Climax" sounds even now, eight years later. I always felt like this was a great mix of Usher's R&B bread and butter that satisfied his core demographic, and a more futuristic, pop-influenced sound to draw in a new audience. He'd been so heavily criticised for his previous 'Raymond v. Raymond' which saw him go way more dance-pop than many people probably ever expected him to go that this felt like a fair compromise. At any rate, you can imagine that as much as I appreciate this, I appreciated those dance-pop anthems even more, so expect several more appearances from Mr. Raymond.
                                      Code:
                                      Significance Rating: 1/20
                                      Year Released: 2012
                                      Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #2
                                      Plays Since 1/1/2012: 65
                                      Akini's Top 400 Songs of the Decade: [135-131]

                                      Comment


                                      • #44
                                        Love 'Sound of Silence', it's one of the best ESC songs of the 2010s.
                                        I was obsessed with 'Counting Stars' at the time, it's the best thing OneRepublic have ever done. The 'make that money, watch it burn' part is fantastic.
                                        My YouTube Channel - The best songs of the 80s, 90s and 2000s

                                        Comment


                                        • #45
                                          Originally posted by Benny View Post
                                          Love 'Sound of Silence', it's one of the best ESC songs of the 2010s.
                                          I was obsessed with 'Counting Stars' at the time, it's the best thing OneRepublic have ever done. The 'make that money, watch it burn' part is fantastic.
                                          Strongly agree with you on both thoughts!
                                          Akini's Top 400 Songs of the Decade: [135-131]

                                          Comment


                                          • #46
                                            330. Daft Punk - Get Lucky (feat. Pharrell Williams)



                                            Like the legend of the phoenix
                                            All ends with beginnings
                                            What keeps the planet spinning
                                            The force from the beginning

                                            Light, summery disco fun, "Get Lucky" hearkens back to the legendary disco-pop funk magical stylings of Earth Wind & Fire. It's got this lethal groove that's beyond addictive. Early on, I felt it would be a classic, and I have full confidence that it will be. It's less than a decade old, but it already feels timeless.
                                            Code:
                                            Significance Rating: 1/20
                                            Year Released: 2013
                                            Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(2)
                                            Plays Since 1/1/2012: 134
                                            329. Kelly Clarkson - People Like Us



                                            They can't do nothing to you, they can't do nothing to me
                                            This is the life that we choose, this is the life that we bleed
                                            So throw your fists in the air, come out, come out if you dare
                                            Tonight we're gonna change forever

                                            Pop music has long been a lifeline for society's misfits and outcasts to feel connected to the message of solidarity in the struggle. I like to think "People Like Us" is a collective anthem for anyone who feels disenfranchised for just existing and being their authentic selves. And whether that be due to one's sex, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, national origin, or other 'identity marker', this song serves as an uplifting reminder that we're never alone, to never give up, and to continue fighting the good fight.
                                            Code:
                                            Significance Rating: 1/20
                                            Year Released: 2013
                                            Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(1)
                                            Plays Since 1/1/2012: 144
                                            328. One Direction - Kiss You



                                            If you don't wanna take it slow
                                            And you just wanna take me home
                                            Baby, say, yeah, yeah
                                            And let me kiss you

                                            I remember listening to this song for the first time and wondering why in heavens "Live While We're Young" and "Little Things" preceded it as singles. "Kiss You" so succinctly captures the magic of 1D - high-powered, fun fructose pop goodness (with light sexual innuendo for good measure). The music video for this was pretty impressive, and featured a liberal number of affectionate interactions with the two most popular members, Harry and Zayn, which made the fangirls (and me) swoon.
                                            Code:
                                            Significance Rating: 1/20
                                            Year Released: 2013
                                            Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(3)
                                            Plays Since 1/1/2012: 145
                                            327. Foxes - Let Go for Tonight



                                            Fell from the sky
                                            We fell from the sky, and started walking

                                            The intensity and melodrama of the verses are so taut with tension that when that big explosive chorus washes over you, it really does feel like a significant release, and as someone whose life has felt wrought with anxiety the past five years or so, "Let Go for Tonight" is a welcome reminder to sometimes ease up, exhale, and relax. The paint fight video was a perfect accompanying visual.
                                            Code:
                                            Significance Rating: 1/20
                                            Year Released: 2014
                                            Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #2
                                            Plays Since 1/1/2012: 108
                                            326. Lady Gaga - The Cure



                                            If I can't find the cure, I'll
                                            I'll fix you with my love
                                            No matter what you do, I'll
                                            I'll fix you with my love
                                            And if you say you're okay
                                            I'm gonna heal you anyway
                                            Promise I'll always be there
                                            Promise I'll be the cure (Be the cure)

                                            I know I've described other songs as earnest, but this is really, really earnest. There's so much genuine devotion and love in this track. The level of selflessness actually punches me in the feels, to be honest, and the point of view isn't the typical empowerment/do-it-yourself kind of theme that I normally love; it places the 'burden' of healing on someone else's shoulders, and on someone who doesn't even view it as a burden. You can forgive the public for glossing over it as it wasn't attached to a major studio release and came less than six months after 'Joanne', but I've always loved it. It may just be me missing them, but I feel like we don't get songs with these kind of themes often anymore.
                                            Code:
                                            Significance Rating: 1/20
                                            Year Released: 2017
                                            Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(3)
                                            Plays Since 1/1/2012: 162
                                            Akini's Top 400 Songs of the Decade: [135-131]

                                            Comment


                                            • #47
                                              325. Rihanna - What Now



                                              I've been ignoring this big lump in my throat
                                              I shouldn't be crying
                                              Tears were for the weaker days
                                              I'm stronger now, or so I say
                                              But something's missing

                                              Big ballads aren't what you think of when you think Rihanna, but she's done some pretty decent ones over the years, and I remember early on preferring this to "Stay" as my go-to 'Unapologetic' ballad/non-bop. That "two-sided mirror" line is a bit clunky, but the whole song is so relatable. Even the song title is my exact reaction when random unpleasant surprises pop up, though later on in the decade, I did connect more with the numbness with which the track's protagonist grapples. I love how just as you think the song's about to wind up and die down, she powers through one more time on the "I don't know where/what/how" outro.
                                              Code:
                                              Significance Rating: 1/20
                                              Year Released: 2013
                                              Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(2)
                                              Plays Since 1/1/2012: 111
                                              324. Christina Aguilera - Maria



                                              Where, where, where is Maria?
                                              Why, why, why don't I see her?
                                              I, I just wanna see her
                                              Where, where, where is Maria?
                                              Oh, I just wanna see ya, Maria

                                              I can say with my full chest that Christina Aguilera was the underheralded diva of the 2010s! Quality singles and album tracks galore that pop fans and music critics unconscionably slept on. "Maria" is one of those brilliant, overlooked gems. Here, Christina's gone in search of her pre-adult self, the raw, unsanitised, purest version of Christina and she's struggling to find her within the version of herself she's had to become to deal with the struggle that is oftentimes life. Today, I actually saw a photo of myself from seven years back and this song hit me like a tonne of bricks again. The young MJ interpolation is so brilliantly incorporated here, almost as if her younger self is seeking present-day Christina with as much fervent desperation as Christina's seeking her. I am a big fan of this one.
                                              Code:
                                              Significance Rating: 1/20
                                              Year Released: 2018
                                              Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(1)
                                              Plays Since 1/1/2012: 48
                                              323. Taylor Swift - All Too Well



                                              And I know it's long gone and
                                              That magic's not here no more
                                              And I might be okay, but I'm not fine at all

                                              'Red' is a tricky album for me as the album dredges up unpleasant memories (the timing of its release coincided with a particularly traumatising event, which is why a lot of my favourite songs from the LP didn't go to #1 as I was distracted with other things around its release date) and because "All Too Well" is a slow, sad song, I suppose I don't love playing it on repeat. It's a damn good song, though. The way Taylor recounts the steps of a relationship, each page in her shared story with her lover from glorious inception to debilitating destruction, is striking. There's a phrase that Taylor repeats for effect throughout the track that stands out to me: I was there. "Wind in my hair...down the stairs...running scared...it was rare", a chorus isn't complete without that phrase with Taylor reminding us that she was there, and I love that because sometimes memories feel so intangible and transient that it's necessary to remind you that they were factual snapshots of your past and that you were there as they happened: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
                                              Code:
                                              Significance Rating: 1/20
                                              Year Released: 2012
                                              Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #2
                                              Plays Since 1/1/2012: 56
                                              322. P!nk - Are We All We Are



                                              Four, that's how many years it took me to get through the lesson
                                              That I had to do it all on my own
                                              Three, that's how many Hail Mary's they would pray for me
                                              Thinking I was gonna end up all alone
                                              Two for second chances that you've given me
                                              Can it be, lucky me, lucky me, now let's go
                                              One, it's what we are, it's what we are

                                              I feel like a broken record at this point, but at my core, I really am a shameless pop fan, who just loves the pure fun, high-octane fuel, rebellious energy of the genre, and "Are We All We Are" is one of many receipts in this countdown to support that. Its cheering chants and anthemic vibes do the most for me.
                                              Code:
                                              Significance Rating: 1/20
                                              Year Released: 2012
                                              Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(2)
                                              Plays Since 1/1/2012: 78
                                              321. Rihanna - Where Have You Been



                                              Where have you been?
                                              All my life, all my life
                                              Where have you been all my life?
                                              Where have you been all my life?
                                              Where have you been all my life?
                                              Where have you been all my li-i-i-i-ife?

                                              Rihanna is an artist of great significance in my life, so it's a notable fact that "Where Have You Been" is the only 'Talk That Talk' track that features here. It's got an insistent, thumping dance beat that makes it the perfect rave song, but it's also got a slight airiness in its production that I like, and it's accompanied by one of my favourite RiRi music videos. The song earned a few brownie points in the fall of 2013 when I met one of my all-time fave UKMixers, ECE, in a club as the DJ blasted this from the speakers.
                                              Code:
                                              Significance Rating: 1/20
                                              Year Released: 2012
                                              Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(3)
                                              Plays Since 1/1/2012: 133
                                              Akini's Top 400 Songs of the Decade: [135-131]

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                                              • #48
                                                320. Solange - F.U.B.U. (feat. BJ the Chicago Kid & The-Dream)



                                                When you feeling all alone
                                                And you can't even be you up in your home
                                                When you even feeling it from your own

                                                It's a unique experience being Black in America - unique and tiring - and on "F.U.B.U.", Solange reaches out to her team mighty melanin brothers and sisters to acknowledge the shared struggles, but also to celebrate the resolve it takes to be unapologetically oneself in a world that seeks to tax you for doing so. I find this song to be such a therapeutic jam, the way it glides so smoothly, still speaking to the covert and explicit (and oftentimes violent) forms of racism, but providing a communal space to exist free of self-censorship. The use of "ni**a" throughout is a statement move and I fully support it. Only one group of people should be allowed to use it and Solange exercises that right liberally here.
                                                Code:
                                                Significance Rating: 1/20
                                                Year Released: 2016
                                                Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #2
                                                Plays Since 1/1/2012: 40
                                                319. Fall Out Boy - The Phoenix



                                                Put on your war paint!

                                                I love fist-pumping rock anthems and from this track's "war paint" intro, I'm sold. It's the perfect stage-setter and comeback song, and feels like a natural progression from the "I Don't Care" boys, boasting the same stubbornness as that first gem of theirs I knew.
                                                Code:
                                                Significance Rating: 1/20
                                                Year Released: 2013
                                                Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(1)
                                                Plays Since 1/1/2012: 49
                                                318. Brandy - No Such Thing as Too Late



                                                And when it's time
                                                I won't even have to tell you so
                                                You'll see the stars all shining the same
                                                So take your time
                                                'Cause love ain't got nowhere to go
                                                It'll be way better if we wait

                                                Okay, so I loved this song a lot more once upon a time than I do now (in 2012, I very much would have expected this to feature among the top 100 here). Still, even now I appreciate its message. It feels like millennial dating is so sex-focused and I like how this song endorses a more patient approach and slow build-up to a physical consummation of a relationship. That's my preferred approach anyway (insert single status as supporting receipt). Also, Brandy's vocals on this are divine. She has such a sweet voice and it blends so seamlessly over the minimalist R&B melody. I'm quite upset this was never a single actually. It probably would've flopped, but this is definitely a song I wish more people knew.
                                                Code:
                                                Significance Rating: 1/20
                                                Year Released: 2012
                                                Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(5)
                                                Plays Since 1/1/2012: 192
                                                317. Taylor Swift - ...Ready for It?



                                                I-I-I see how this is gon' go

                                                It's a rather flimsy reason to love a song, but I'm low-key obsessed with "...Ready for It?" in great part to that quoted lyric above. It is literally something I say all the time, as I see the path where people's nonsense and moves are likely to lead, and just swerve back to my good 'ol peace lane. It's got a really catchy chorus, though, and the dark industrial beats that characterise much of 'Reputation' are a perfect fit for this track.
                                                Code:
                                                Significance Rating: 1/20
                                                Year Released: 2017
                                                Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #2
                                                Plays Since 1/1/2012: 40
                                                316. Rihanna - Bitch Better Have My Money



                                                Turn up to Rihanna while the whole club ****in' wasted
                                                Every time I drop, I am the only thing y'all playin'
                                                In a drop top, doin' hundred, y'all in my rearview mirror racin'
                                                Where y'all at? Where y'all at? Where y'all at?
                                                Like bra, bra, bra

                                                Three months subsequent to her "FourFiveSeconds" release, which confounded the bulk of the Navy and had us wondering whether or not Paul McCartney had blackmailed her into recording a full-out hipster folk record for R8, the good sis RiRi returned to familiar territory with this, "Bitch Better Have My Money". It was big, braggadocios, anthemic, club-ready, and a whole lot of fun - it felt safe and comfortable, and even the title reeked of Fenty greatness. Then two things came that made it rather iconic in my view: the iHeartRadio Music Awards performance, with the helicopter, Lil Kim-inspired outfit, and effortless swagger, and the music video. I had to check to see which video won the video of the year VMA in 2015 - it was "Bad Blood" - but this was the true best video from that year. A seven-minute ride featuring abduction and ransom, economical luggage arrangement, random boat rides, drugs and strippers, and, finally, murder, this song and its video are essentially what I love about pop music - taking something that at face value seems rather trite and giving it meaning. Listening to the song in the context of the accountant who reportedly almost left the biggest female artist of the new millennium bankrupt affixes several new layers to the song.
                                                Code:
                                                Significance Rating: 1/20
                                                Year Released: 2015
                                                Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(1)
                                                Plays Since 1/1/2012: 157
                                                Akini's Top 400 Songs of the Decade: [135-131]

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                                                • #49
                                                  315. Cardi B - Bodak Yellow



                                                  Now she say she gon' do what to who? Let's find out and see
                                                  Cardi B, you know where I'm at, you know where I be

                                                  The major-label debut single from reality star turned rap princess, "Bodak Yellow" was a moment of enormous cultural significance, due in great part to it becoming the first hip/song by a solo female hip/hop artist to reach #1 in the US. It immediately inserted Cardi B into mainstream pop culture and she would spend much of the remaining part of the decade cranking out hit after hit in unprecedented fashion for a female emcee, and it all started with this, "Bodak Yellow", which channels Cardi B's larger-than-life personality through a credible flow and some pretty hard-hitting, memorable lines. It's a great club anthem, with an inspiring backstory that's fuelled Cardi B to become, in less than three years, one of the biggest hip/hop names of the 21st century.
                                                  Code:
                                                  Significance Rating: 1/20
                                                  Year Released: 2017
                                                  Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(5)
                                                  Plays Since 1/1/2012: 220
                                                  314. Taylor Swift - Out of the Woods



                                                  You took a Polaroid of us
                                                  Then discovered (then discovered)
                                                  The rest of the world was black and white
                                                  But we were in screaming colour

                                                  It bears repeating that Taylor Swift has a knack for penning and delivering melodramatic love songs, but "Out of the Woods" offers something new, thematically-speaking, in that the frantic chorus captures the anxiety of a new relationship, with frail roots, and the ever-persistent fear that those roots will inevitably give way and the whole union, beautiful and exciting as it may be, will fall apart. I love the intensity and panic in the chorus.
                                                  Code:
                                                  Significance Rating: 1/20
                                                  Year Released: 2014
                                                  Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(7)
                                                  Plays Since 1/1/2012: 174
                                                  313. Sara Bareilles - I Choose You



                                                  Let the sun fade out to a dark sky
                                                  I can't say I'd even notice it was absent
                                                  'Cause I could live by the light in your eyes

                                                  Oh how my heart melts when I listen to this! I really do believe that a relationship essentially consists of your partner 'choosing' you every day and the way the song swells in poetic prose to that glorious declaration in the chorus is just...beautiful. It's wedding-worthy for me.
                                                  Code:
                                                  Significance Rating: 1/20
                                                  Year Released: 2014
                                                  Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(1)
                                                  Plays Since 1/1/2012: 152
                                                  312. Marina & the Diamonds - Homewrecker



                                                  When everything is life and death
                                                  You may feel like there's nothing left
                                                  Instead of love and trust and laughter
                                                  What you get is happy never after
                                                  But deep down all you want is love
                                                  The pure kind we all dream of
                                                  But we cannot escape the past
                                                  So you and I will never last

                                                  My most-played (but not favourite) Marina song (with or without her diamonds), "Homewrecker" was a big stunner for me in 2012, with its spoken verses filled with potent, sage observations, and its big, raucous, scandalous chorus. The juxtaposition of the two styles in the one track felt like such a perfect marriage. The whole 'Electra Heart' LP was a new sonic experience for me and this was my top track from the album then and is my top track now.
                                                  Code:
                                                  Significance Rating: 1/20
                                                  Year Released: 2012
                                                  Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(1)
                                                  Plays Since 1/1/2012: 102
                                                  311. Florence + the Machine - Spectrum



                                                  Say my name
                                                  And every colour illuminates
                                                  We are shining
                                                  And we will never be afraid again

                                                  Florence + the Machine do this kind of celestial pop that gets me every time, no more so than on the 'Ceremonials' LP. This song got a bump in appreciation from me when Yvie Oddly performed it at her hometown Pride celebrations in 2019. The way the low, dark verses segue into that chorus that just bursts with verve and colour is a tremendous build to a satisfying climax.
                                                  Code:
                                                  Significance Rating: 1/20
                                                  Year Released: 2011
                                                  Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #2
                                                  Plays Since 1/1/2012: 76
                                                  Akini's Top 400 Songs of the Decade: [135-131]

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                                                  • #50
                                                    310. 99 Souls - The Girl Is Mine (feat. Destiny's Child & Brandy)



                                                    Excuse me, can I please talk to you for a minute?

                                                    I berate DJ acts for producing some of the most uninspired, repetitive, annoying music that the GP takes and transforms into massive hits, but every now and then, some actual cleverness is baked into the mix and 99 Souls came through in a big way with this unlikely, twinkling house melding of two R&B hits of yesteryear. It's a shame Monica wasn't on board for the modern refresh, but Brandy executed her duties exquisitely. Also, the way Beyoncé's "Girl!" is emphatically inserted in the chorus is such genius placement. House R&B is certainly a fusion I'd like to hear more of in the future.
                                                    Code:
                                                    Significance Rating: 1/20
                                                    Year Released: 2016
                                                    Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #2
                                                    Plays Since 1/1/2012: 55
                                                    309. Kacey Musgraves - Follow Your Arrow



                                                    If you can't lose the weight, then you're just fat
                                                    But if you lose too much, then you're on crack
                                                    You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't
                                                    So, you might as well just do whatever you want

                                                    Easily one of country music's top songwriters of the 2010s, Kacey Musgraves's breakthrough hit "Follow Your Arrow" encourages blazing your own path in a world where you're bound to incite criticism with whichever road you traverse anyway, so why not live your best, truest life? The wordplay is clever (whore/horrible), the guitar-led instrumental simple and consistent, and the sound effects well-placed (with those gorgeous whistles randomly sprinkled throughout and the bar-hooting yeahs in the chorus). This is quality country music, through and through.
                                                    Code:
                                                    Significance Rating: 1/20
                                                    Year Released: 2014
                                                    Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(1)
                                                    Plays Since 1/1/2012: 97
                                                    308. Usher - Good Kisser



                                                    You pull it out, then you open wide
                                                    You make me wanna tap out and retire
                                                    Them pretty lips leave me so inspired

                                                    I must confess, rather shamefully, that I completely missed the memo that this song was about oral sex. It wasn't until I was talking about how much I liked it with one of my classmates in college that she expressed surprise that I would like a song "like that", and I was like "he's just talking about kissing, that's fairly PG-13", and, well, you can imagine how I was dutifully informed that the lyrics were more R-rated than I'd initially assumed they were. Anyway, I listened to the song with fresh ears and actually enjoyed the song more, with full knowledge of the lyrics' content. It's just good R&B music, with good vocals, a catchy melody, and decent hook. The video's also pretty good. In the grand scheme of Usher's career, this one will likely be overlooked, but I think it's one of his career-finest moments.
                                                    Code:
                                                    Significance Rating: 1/20
                                                    Year Released: 2014
                                                    Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #2
                                                    Plays Since 1/1/2012: 60
                                                    307. Maroon 5 - It Was Always You



                                                    Hazel eyes, I was so colorblind
                                                    We were just wasting time, oh oh
                                                    For my whole life, we never crossed the line
                                                    Only friends in my mind, but now I realize
                                                    It was always you

                                                    The rock kids' loss in the 2010s proved to be pop fans' gain as M5 went all the way pop with 2010's 'Overexposed' and haven't looked back since. This mid-tempo pop ballad is pretty relatable, nothing too revolutionary in its tale of how your soulmate was right in front of you the whole time, friendzoned, watching you waste time and energy on meaningless flings and doomed-from-inception relationships. It's the rom-com trope that's kept on troping for ages...but I like it a lot. It's such a pleasant listen and the way Adam extends those "you's" in the chorus is a simple but beautiful touch.
                                                    Code:
                                                    Significance Rating: 1/20
                                                    Year Released: 2014
                                                    Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(1)
                                                    Plays Since 1/1/2012: 119
                                                    306. Cheryl - Parachute



                                                    I don't tell anyone about the way you hold my hand
                                                    I don't tell anyone about the things that we have planned
                                                    Won't tell anybody, won't tell anybody
                                                    They wanna push me down
                                                    They wanna see you fall down
                                                    Won't tell anybody how you turn my world around
                                                    I won't tell anyone how your voice is my favourite sound
                                                    Won't tell anybody, won't tell anybody
                                                    They wanna see us fall, they wanna see us fall

                                                    It's hard picking a favourite lyric from "Parachute" because I literally love every single line in the verses, but I ended up going with verse one because so many same-sex relationships have to live in the dark and that discreet profile is captured brilliantly in verse one. In verse two when she sings, "Don't believe the things you tell yourself so late at night, you are you worst enemy, you'll never win the fight", I'm just, like, "Nope, you can't punch me in the feels like that - unacceptable, Cheryl!" The first two-thirds of this track do absolutely so much for me, then it feels like it runs out of steam in the home-straight, with its limp, repetitive final chorus and an unnecessarily long outro, which is why it's not 200 places higher. Still, this is far and away my favourite Cheryl song. She's never been my fave GA girl, but this song is amazing...though the critic in me does suspect that it'd have been even better in someone else's hands.
                                                    Code:
                                                    Significance Rating: 1/20
                                                    Year Released: 2010
                                                    Akini's Daily Top 20 Chart Peak: #1(1)
                                                    Plays Since 1/1/2012: 146
                                                    Akini's Top 400 Songs of the Decade: [135-131]

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