Headphone Nation’s 100 Favorite Songs Of The Decade (So Far): 2010-2014

Courtney Barnett – “Avant Gardener”

I guess we’re calling much of this decade’s indie music “Mumblecore”, and Courtney Barnett’s best song (so far) is a good example of this genre while also being an exception, since most mumblecore bands don’t write as good of lyrics as Barnett does (“The paramedic thinks i’m clever ‘cos i play guitar /
I think she’s clever ‘cos she stops people dying”). Ok maybe I have no idea what Mumblecore is, but I love this song.

Crystal Castles ft. Robert Smith – “Not In Love”

This decade’s indie rock version of Electronic Dance Music. Plus, anything Robert Smith is involved in deserves to be mentioned. Just ask the kids from South Park.

Cut Copy – “Need You Now”

With the end of LCD Soundsystem, there was a void left for musicians to rise up and create smart dance music for all the kids who hated Skrillex and who weren’t quite ready for Aphex Twin. Cut Copy was one of the few bands who accepted the challenge, and “Need You Know” is the sound of their triumph.

 D’Angelo and The Vanguard – “The Charade”

The story behind this album makes any song off Black Messiah worthy to be on this list, but all the songs, especially “The Charade”, just sound amazing. It’s good to have you back D’Angelo.

Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers – “Get Lucky”

This decade’s “Crazy”, the one song that every single human being has listened to and has enjoyed, and mankind will continue grooving to this song as long as music is still being made.

Danny Brown – “Lonely”

2013’s Old was a refreshing collection of Blood-On-The-Raps from a self-proclaimed hipster rapper who championed Love’s Forever Changes as his favorite album. “Lonely” is especially disarming by its brevity and directness.

 David Bowie – “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)”

The Next Day could have been so-so and it would have still been praised as a Bowie comeback (mostly because it would have been a reassurance that he wasn’t terribly sick, like the rumors were saying at the time). But The Next Day ended up being a worthy entry into the Bowie cannon, and “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” is an exciting song in which Bowie looks back on his life and what fame means to him now and to all the young kids who try to imitate him (“They are stars, they’re dying for you, but I hope they live forever”). Kids these days can still learn a thing or two from the master.

 Deafheaven – “Dream House”

There’s no real way to describe this song with a simple genre description. “Shoegaze-Black-metal” comes close I guess, but that would imply that people who don’t like those genres wouldn’t like “Dream House”. It’s not for everyone, but it’s those people’s loss for missing out on one of the most beautiful songs of this decade. Yes, this song is beautiful.

Death Grips – “I’ve Seen Footage”

For being one of the easiest bands to hate in this decade, it’s almost impossible to hate this song if you take it for what it is – a goofy (and catchy) take on hip-hop, or whatever the hell this band was going for. I’m sure you can try and find some sort of cryptic meaning in this song, but maybe it’s best to just turn your brain off and enjoy.

Deerhunter – “Helicopter”

“Helicopter” sounds like the soliloquy of a person at the very end of life. There’s the sudden need for God (“Take my hand and pray with me, my final days in company”), Death itself at the scene of the crime (“The Devil now has come for me, and helicopters circling the scene”), the wanting of life to end when you’re just putting off the unavoidable (“The light’s inside my cave, I’m tired of my cave”), and the irony that drugs, once used to make life more bearable, now keep us alive but in pain (“Oh, these drugs they play on me, these terrible ways, they don’t pay like they used to pay”). It’s heavy stuff, just like Halcyon Digest is a heavy record, but it all works only in a way that Bradford Cox and the rest of Deerhunter could pull off.

Destroyer – “Kaputt”

The moment when we all realized that the 80’s revival had lasted longer than the actual 80’s and that we were ok with it.

 Disclosure ft. Sam Smith – “Latch”

It’s great that Sam Smith is being nominated for Grammys, but this universal hit is still his, and Disclosure’s, shining moment.

Dismemberment Plan – “Daddy Was A Real Good Dancer”

We could all use a little Dismemberment Plan in our lives (more specifically we could all use a little Emergency & I in our lives). “Daddy Was A Real Good Dancer” is a wonderful, bittersweet tale of remembering one’s father when you’re approaching the age of fatherhood.

Drake ft. Majid Jordan – “Hold On, We’re Going Home”

Because in this decade, the best rappers were the ones who could best rewrite the Miami Vice theme song.

Drake – “Over My Dead Body”

“Over My Dead Body” is probably a song written for guys like me who always felt that Drake was more of a meme than a person. It’s the first time I ever heard Drake and thinking to myself that he was a talented rapper but also a talented storyteller. If I ever feel that I don’t “get” Drake, I just go back to this song and remember that this man has the talent.

 EMA – “California”

I don’t think there’s ever been a song about explicitly hating California and calling it out on all its bullshit and sounding so direct. So when Erika M. Anderson starts her song with a “Fuck you California, you made me boring.”, you know that you’ve got something special here, and something very honest. And for a song that doesn’t really have a chorus, this song keeps you hooked all the way through.

Eric Church – “Springsteen”

In which country music finally got around to listening to Born In The U.S.A and figured that the Boss was American enough to be inspired by.

Fleet Foxes – “Helplessness Blues”

Fleet Foxes’s first record sounded like interpretations of old medieval folk music that was critic-friendly and Starbucks-approved. But Hopelessness Blues transcended any sort of folk pigeonholing with Robin Pecknold’s earnest search for truth and beauty and his growing confidence as a singer-songwriter. The near-perfect title track vocalizes an entire life’s journey in a compelling (and surprisingly economical) 5-minutes.

Flying Lotus ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Never Catch Me”

How do you directly address Death in a song? If you’re Steven Ellison aka Flying Lotus, you hire Kendrick Lamar and you go straight for the heart and ears. How do you directly address Death in song? You laugh in its face, and then you outrun it.

 Foxygen – “On Blue Mountain”

I’m convinced that Jonathan Rado and Sam France are actually time travelers from 1960’s Haight-Ashbury whom have come to save our world from mumblecore and bi-polar rappers by teaching us how to be groovy man.

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