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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.