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Our Favourite 15 Songs of the Decade

With 2019 having just wrapped up the decade, it’s time to reflect on the last ten years and look back on the music we’ve been blessed with. It’s been an amazing period for electronic music, with genre-defining electronica from the likes of Avicii, Wilkinson and Disclosure. Hip-hop heavyweights Drake, Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West have also helped dictate the landscape of the genre.


But what are the best songs of the last ten years? Some of our Membership Team —  Kizzy, Elliot, Georgia, Vela and Rianna — cast their votes to decide and put together a playlist to match...


1. Bicep - Glue

Despite only being two years old, it’s already safe to say that Glue has become an undisputed anthem. It’s a constant fixture of DJ sets, adverts, promos, festivals and, of course, Bicep’s celebrated live show at Printworks. So, whether it’s dipped in sunshine at a festival, or driven through subwoofers to pierce the bleak winter nights, Glue has evolved into the very glue which cements the electronic music scene.


With genre-jumping sound which flirts with glitchy IDM and euphoric electronica, househeads, dance devotees and ravers the scene over continue to celebrate and champion the defining Bicep track. It’s one of the most important songs in recent years, and our favourite of the last decade.


Elliot says:

“Glue is a huge festival favourite of mine. I’ve seen Bicep multiple times and Glue’s always greeted by the best crowd reaction you can find at any festival or venue.”


Georgia says:

“Nothing else like it. When I first heard Glue I was moved. It’s one of those really euphoric songs that I never get bored of. Best served closing a festival at 6am with lots of lasers.”


Rianna says:

“Bicep undoubtedly monopolised the festival line-ups this summer and last, and it’s not surprising. Glue is a last-song-of-the-set kind of track, one that provides all the euphoric feels.”


Kizzy says:

“I love Glue because it’s that one tune that you can put on at pres or afters, and it’s the right mood for both — or literally any other time for that matter. I even put it on when I go for a run and I never seem to get bored of it.”


Vela says:

“I look back to Junction 2 in June. Bicep headlined and closed out Saturday night, and of course finished it off with Glue. I had something of an out of body experience and it felt like it was just me and them.”

2. DJ Koze- Pick Up

Last year, DJ Koze quietly went about releasing one of the finest electronic albums of 2018, in typically-nonchalant DJ Koze manner. Knock Knock blurred the lines of a multitude of genres and movements, from disco to house to techno, and Pick Up was the biggest gem.


Georgia Says:

“Rooted in French house, complete with a lo-fi Gladys Knight sample, subtle record noise and overarching disco vibes, Pick Up instantly resonated with the electronic music community. Like Rhianna, I saw Pick Up live at sunset at Junction 2 and it was such an unforgettable moment. I seemed to have heard it at every festival since, and genuinely don't see how you can dislike it.”


3. Lapsley - Operator (DJ Koze 10" Disco Version)

DJ Koze has had a monumental decade and is one of a few artists to feature more than once in this list. That said, Lapsley’s breakthrough single hit the sweet spot between a lot of genres even before DJ Koze got hold of it.


Rianna Says:

“The remix is subtle, and ingeniously inherits all that made the original so great. It was one of my most played songs of 2018, and my go-to when I first plugged in my headphones every day. It will always remind me of his unbelievable set during a blissful sunset at Junction 2 this summer.”

4. Chase & Status - Blind Faith (ft Liam Bailey)

Whether you’re a dnb devotee or squirm at the thought of it, odds are you still like Chase & Status. The odds are even greater with Blind Faith. From the euphoric ‘sweet sensation’ sample that continues to raise hairs across the scene, through to Bailey’s delicate, yet strangely powerful vocals.


Besides its impact, influence and unbudging celebration across electronic music, what makes Blind Faith a song of the decade is its encapsulation of the Chase & Status sound. Infused with trademark C&S guitars and powered by collaboration, this track refuses to be confined to either drum and bass or pop music.

5. Kanye West - Runaway (ft Pusha T)

What can be said about a song like Runaway? Undoubtedly the best hip-hop song of this decade and found, of course, on the best hip-hop album of the decade. The opening piano promises lonesome delicacy, the manic drums and samples boast unpredictability and unrest, and the vocals fall between choral grandeur and crushing heartbreak. It’s everything that Kanye’s Dark Twisted Fantasy masterpiece stands for.


Pusha T’s verse still stands as one of, if not the, greatest guest verse of all time, with egotistical brags and reflective frustration, sat alongside each other in just 16 bars of genius. And when you think that Runaway has dealt all that it can with its hypnotism and symbolism, it’s still not done. The outro ‘guitar solo’ is perhaps the encapsulating moment from the album.


6. Frank Ocean - Thinkin Bout u

Vela Says:

“I have a personal connection to Thinkin Bout U, and it reminds me of so many moments in my life. When I heard it I fell in love with it immediately and then had it on repeat throughout university. With its dreamy synths and Frank’s hypnotic vocal performance, it’ll forever be my fave.”

7. Arctic Monkeys - Do I Wanna Know?

AM is widely regarded as one of Arctic Monkeys’ best-loved albums and perhaps their most commercial. Celebrated with a deserved headline slot at Glastonbury 2013, AM resonated with a landscape of fans new and old, and flirted with influences from spoken word, garage rock, hip-hop and more.


Besides the massive hits elsewhere on the album, Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High? and R U Mine? to name a few, Do I Wanna Know? opened proceedings with its sinister guitar and echoing chill. It was a hit that promoted Alex Turner and Co. to one of the world’s most important bands.


8. Fatima Yamaha - What's a Girl To Do

With a headline show at Junction 2 in June 2019, it seems Fatima Yamaha has finally returned to the spotlight after many years hidden away. 2017 was the last we’d heard from the Dutch DJ and producer, with the equally-impressive Araya.


Despite being released back in 2004, What’s a Girl To Do? took on a new, ‘this-decade’ form after heavy influence from house label, Dekmantel. A true encapsulation of the label’s rich, vibrant, synth-heavy sound, What’s a Girl To Do? set a precedent for following years, as the artist and label’s big breakthrough.


9. Avicii - Levels

Avicii‘s breakthrough moment came when Levels was released back in 2011. The track was the ultimate fusion of genres, crossing elements of house and EDM with huge pop hooks and soaring soul vocals from Etta James samples.


This perfected amalgamation of sounds would go on to become a blueprint for EDM anthems for years to come, and helped pave the way for future hitmakers David Guetta, Calvin Harris and Swedish House Mafia to name a few.


10. Kanye West & JAY Z - N**gas in Paris

Watch The Throne promised to be a landmark piece of hip-hop when it was teased before the beginning of the decade. When it arrived in 2011, it hit number one in the UK and US, earned seven Grammy Awards, and became the highest grossing hip-hop tour of all time.


It perhaps didn’t match the musical cohesion and technical prowess as much as Kanye’s Dark Twisted Fantasy, but it did solidify the might, power and influence of two of hip-hop’s biggest contributors. WTT’s grandeur and decadence was best encapsulated with N**gas in Paris, a song which collided a hard-hitting electronic style with the glam of rap, and authority of superstardom.


11. Frank Ocean - Pyramids

It’s no surprise to see Frank Ocean a part of decade-end lists, with his genre-jumping, sound-swapping albums continuing their legacies into the next decade.


Pyramids challenged the structure of a typical R&B/pop song, with three distinctive chapters creating a varied, yet somehow cohesive 10 minutes. With punchy synths packed into phase one, followed by a midpoint breakdown of seduction and lust, Pyramids’ outro fuses both worlds together, resulting in a triple-pronged pop masterpiece.


12. Disclosure - Latch (ft Sam Smith)

Both parties’ breakthrough 2012 single. Disclosure once described Latch as ‘too weird for the radio and not clubby enough for the clubs’. It’s a fair description for a song boasting an infectious hook alongside an underground-ish two-step instrumental.


Ultimately, both pop and dance music scenes embraced Latch as one of it's own, turning it into a mainstay of DJ sets throughout 2012 and onwards. Latch even broke through in America, charting at number seven on Billboard’s 100.


13. Wilkinson - Afterglow

Drum and bass is a genre as British as they come, much like fellow UK favourite, grime. This decade has seen dnb climb to even more significant heights, and a part of that can be credited to Wilkinson’s Afterglow.


Afterglow is among a select few drum and bass tracks to break the UK top ten. And with its soaring pop vocals crossed with hard-hitting basslines and euphoric drops, it also topped the dance charts and was certified platinum. As a result, it introduced a new wave of dnb appreciators.


14. Jorja Smith - Blue Lights

Kizzy Says:

“Blue Lights takes me back to a very specific time — back when I first heard it at a huge party after a My Nu Leng event during university years. I had mainly listened to male artists, so Jorja Smith’s vibe was something completely new to me. Blue Lights was the first track of hers I discovered. She’s got an amazing voice, the instrumental is smooth and soulful and it’s all topped off with a mad Dizzee sample at the end.”


15. Kendrick Lamar - The Recipe (ft Dr Dre)

Elliot Says:

“As the lead single from what I consider to be the biggest hip-hop album of the decade, this was the track that introduced me to the world of Kendrick Lamar. The song heavily samples Meet the Frownies and quickly became an album favourite of mine. I still regularly play it, because it never gets old.”


Curious about what didn’t make the list? Here’s a playlist with the above, as well as some of our other favourites that just missed out!


Header image credit: ratemyrave.com

BY

Joe Stevens

@joeweststevens

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