The 2010s were a banner decade for popular and indie music, which makes it near impossible to assemble a list of the best music from the past 10 years. But our Hey, Listen! Intern Victor Corral Martinez has put together this list of his favorites, featuring everything from one of Kendrick Lamar’s rap anthems to The XX’s lilting love song.
The Growlers — “Love Test” (2014)
“Love Test” was the standout track on The Growler’s already stacked album, “Chinese Fountain.” You could interpret the song as a warning, telling your heart to be cautious of your lover’s intent and the surf rock guitars provide the perfect backdrop to Brooks Nielsen’s lyrics.
Frank Ocean — “Thinkin Bout You” (2012)
Leave it to Frank Ocean to deliver one of the decade’s best songs. Wrapped in a simple beat from producer Shea Taylor, widely known for his work with Beyonce, Ocean’s lyrics dive into reflection, love and heartbreak. Ocean’s vocal range brings the listener into the pain and happiness of past love.
The XX — “VCR” (2010)
“VCR” is a love song, pure and simple. A gentle xylophone instantly sets the atmosphere for Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim’s trademark, moody vocals. The minimal production of “VCR” was an unlikely way to help propel the band into superstar status this decade. And yes, the album featuring this track was released in August of 2009, but “VCR” was released as a single in January of 2010, so it makes the list on a technicality.
Kendrick Lamar — “Alright” (2015)
To say Kendrick Lamar had a good decade would be the definition of an understatement. With “Alright” Kendrick shows us the struggles of growing up in Compton and greater Los Angeles. With its focus on police brutality in the Black-American community, “Alright” became an anthem across the country in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Tame Impala — “The Less I Know The Better” (2015)
I’d describe Kevin Parker as a musical genius. Tame Impala’s driving force wrote and recorded all of the music for “Currents,” and for me, the break out hit is the funk-driven “The Less I Know The Better.”