Register Sunday | June 16 | 2019

Decade in Review: Top Singles 100-51

I’ve fluctuated awkwardly around my yearly “singles” list each year, at one point keeping a steadfast commitment to only including legitimate, record-company approved releases. Last year I abandoned it completely and produced my mixtape project instead. Now, the decade’s conclusion at hand, I once again return to a singles list as an artificial –- but useful –- construction for looking at some of the decade’s biggest and best tiny moments of glory.

I’ve made a list of 100, but I’ll only be providing writeups for the top 50 (which will begin tomorrow). You’ll probably look through and say “how is POP SONG X higher than ALTERNATIVE SONG Y?” to which I say, so what? I think we do –- and should –- ponder the individual song under slightly different terms than the album, especially if that song is part of a broader conversation and not just something you enjoy in the comfort of your living room. It’s got to be about distilling an idea or emotion to something lean and essential, which is why it’s perfectly reasonable to have a number of Top 40 songs alongside some of the decade’s biggest standards in rock, hip hop, indie rock and so-forth. (If anything, my list includes several mainstream rock tracks which Internet tastemakers have, in my view, neglected. I only hope I’m not artificially inflating them to make a point, but hey, none of us are perfect).

Also, one last disclaimer: don’t presume that any 2009 singles or albums on these decade lists will be in the exact same order on my yearly list (to come at the end of the month). I totally reserve the right to change my mind. That’s why Internets are awesome.

Without further ado, songs 100-51.

100. The New Pornographers – Use It

99. Arcade Fire – Rebellion (Lies)

98. Broken Social Scene – Lover’s Spit

97. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Y Control

96. M.I.A. – Paper Planes

95. Stars – Your Ex-Lover is Dead

94. Gorillaz – Feel Good Inc.

93. Sloan – Who Taught You to Live Like That

92. No Doubt – Hella Good

91. Hot Chip – Ready for the Floor

90. Ted Leo + Pharmacists – Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone?

89. Annie – Chewing Gum

88. Animal Collective – My Girls

87. The Darkness – Growing On Me

86. Queens of the Stone Age – The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret

85. La Roux – Bulletproof

84. U2 – Vertigo

83. The Flaming Lips – Do You Realize?

82. The Futureheads – Hounds of Love

81. The Shins – Kissing the Lipless

80. Britney Spears – Toxic

79. Gwen Stefani – What You Waiting For?

78. The Organ – Memorize the City

77. MGMT – Kids

76. Kanye West – Touch the Sky

75. Manic Street Preachers – Your Love Alone is Not Enough

74. R.E.M. – Imitation of Life

73. Stars – Elevator Love Letter

72. Coldplay – Clocks

71. Japandroids – Young Hearts Spark Fires

70. Beyonce ft. Jay-Z – Crazy in Love

69. Bloc Party – This Modern Love

68. Metric – Dead Disco

67. Sigur Ros – Untitled #1

66. LCD Soundsystem – Tribulations

65. Camera Obscura – Lloyd, I’m Ready to be Heartbroken

64. PJ Harvey – This is Love

63. Rihanna ft. Jay-Z – Umbrella

62. The Postal Service – The District Sleeps Alone Tonight

61. Scissor Sisters – Take Your Mama.

60. The White Stripes – Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground

59. The Knife – We Share Our Mother’s Health

58. Death Cab for Cutie – The New Year

57. Interpol – Obstacle 1

56. Sam Roberts – Don’t Walk Away Eileen

55. The Roots ft. Cody Chestnut – The Seed 2.0

54. The Killers – When You Were Young

53. The Gaslight Anthem – The ’59 Sound

52. The Hold Steady – Stuck Between Stations

51. Radiohead – Idioteque


Read top singles of the decade: 50-31