Spinning Platters Picks Six (x2) – 12 Most Important American Pop Songs of The Last Decade

by Dakin Hardwick on December 2, 2009

TigerBeat-JustinBieber P1As the decade comes to an end, it means it’s time for lists. Lots of lists. All making a vague attempt at condensing the most pivotal parts of our popular culture, and spitting them out in a haphazard form. This is a list of what I, personally, consider to be the most important pure pop musical moments of our decade. You will be upset by things on this list. You may think I am a complete idiot for missing “____” by The _____’s. Just remember, this is a list of POP songs. I will not mis-estimate the importance of Radiohead, AR Rahman, The Strokes, Arcade Fire, Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, and other acts that will appear on every other best of the decade list. This is just a pop list. I don’t have room for the Fleet Foxes, I’m sorry.

Please Read, then begin arguing about my picks in the comments area (In no particular order):

1.)Promiscuous/Nelly Furtado
2.)Toxic/Britney Spears
3.)Since U Been Gone/Kelly Clarkson
4.)Ignition/R. Kelly
5.)I’m On A Boat/Lonely Island & T Pain
6.)Teardrops On My Guitar/Taylor Swift
7.)Umbrella/Rihanna
8.)Lose Control/Missy Elliot
9.)Cupid’s Chokehold/Gym Class Heroes (Decaydance Records)
10.)Objection (Tango)/Shakira
11.)See You Again/Miley Cyrus
12.)Paper Planes/MIA

1.)Promiscuous/Nelly Furtado

This ubiquitous single kicked off Timbaland’s second act, and essentially gave us the framework for Justin Timberlake’s FutureSex/LoveSounds. This was a super catchy piece of pop genius:

2.)Toxic/Britney Spears

This song is off of what I consider to be Britney’s finest record, her transitional album In The Zone. This is one of the rare current day pop standards, and one of the few songs that everyone on earth knows & loves.

3.)Since U Been Gone/Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson was the first winner of American Idol. She is also one of the very few to actually become an idol in America.

4.)Ignition/R. Kelly

So, R Kelly’s finest moment of the decade was his extended bit of story telling “Trapped In A Closet,” but I can’t put all of that up. Instead you get his tribute to having sex while driving drunk, and proceed to get it stuck in your head for weeks. And remember, this song is off his record Chocolate Factory, which was a cleaned up album he put out to help improve his image after the big under age sex tape scandal

5.)I’m On A Boat/Lonely Island & T Pain

T-Pain made the 2nd half of the decade, in terms of pop music. Well, him & Lil Wayne. This song will always make me chuckle:

6.)Teardrops On My Guitar/Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift may be the last great pop star. Everyone knows her name, from every age and demographic. She may be a “country” singer, but I believe that she is pure pop.

7.)Umbrella/Rihanna

Another standard. This song will be around decades after Rihanna passes. It will be sung at funerals, birthdays, and any time you need to pay tribute to somebody. This song is in the same class as “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” & “I Left My Heart In San Francisco.”

8.)Lose Control/Missy Elliot

Another song that everyone of every age knows, and even if you hate this song, you can’t not dance to it.

9.)Cupid’s Chokehold/Gym Class Heroes (Decaydance Records)

Mr. Patrick Stump & Co have created a pop juggernaut with their Decaydance Records label. They gave us The Cab, Panic! At The Disco, and other bands made for Tiger Beat magazine. With all of their hits, this may be the biggest song in terms of top 40 radio play.

10.)Objection (Tango)/Shakira

Best music video. Best crossover success from latin america.

11.)See You Again/Miley Cyrus

I can’t do this list without dropping a bone to the Disney machine. They’ve created more popstars than Motown. Hilary Duff, Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato… The list goes on forever…

12.)Paper Planes/MIA

So, this song may not be a “pop” song by strict definition, but this song has permeated our culture more than almost anything this decade.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Tony December 3, 2009 at 9:08 am

An impossible list to really get right for everyone, there seems to be a lot of missing candidates in my book, Black Eyed Peas, Outkast, One Republic, Pink, all have songs that defined a period of time in the last 10 years.

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Gordon Elgart December 3, 2009 at 10:51 am

For all the grandmothers that came into our store looking to buy “Hey Ya,” I can’t believe that’s not on this list. Also, I didn’t know some of the songs you said “everybody knows.” Missy Elliot? Clicked play and thought “oh yeah that song.”

As for American pop songs that have crossed over throughout the cultural divide, my list includes “Single Ladies,” “Umbrella,” “Hey Ya,” “Hollaback Girl,” “Hot in Herrrrrrrre” and “In Da Club.”

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Dakin December 3, 2009 at 11:01 am

You are right about Hey Ya… should have dropped R Kelly for that. I think I overlooked it because I always think of Outkast as a product of the 90’s, and they even stopped touring in 2000. I just plain forgot that it was a newer song than that. As for Black Eyed Peas, “Let’s Get It Started” made my short list, as well as Hot In Herrre & Hollaback Girl, and In Da Club… (Although I don’t think Nelly & 50 Cent have lasted) Keep em coming!! I want more things I missed.

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David Price December 3, 2009 at 11:02 am

yeah, this is a really hard list to do. I would replace Gym Class Heros with like Miley Cyrus. Everything else I can understand but not! Miley, WTF. Also I think that Christina Aguilera and for sure with out a doubt “It’s Gonna Be Me” by ‘N sync should be on this list.

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David Price December 3, 2009 at 11:20 am

Oh, I didn’t see #11 apparently….

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Caroline December 3, 2009 at 12:21 pm

I would replace “Toxic” with “I’m a Slave For You”. Not only is that song Da Bomb, the music video is one of my favorites of all time.

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Ben December 3, 2009 at 1:30 pm

While I’ve heard of all these bands, I recognized maybe 3 of these songs. Clearly I’m out of touch…

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Marie Carney December 3, 2009 at 8:25 pm

First, as I said last night, leaving off Justin Timberlake is a travesty. “Cry Me a River,” in my opinion, is the best pop song of the decade, followed closely by “Umbrella” (so I’ll give you that one).

But I disagree for sure with your Taylor Swift song selection, as any of her other singles is much catchier.

And even more so, that Miley song? Please. You’d have been better off with almost anything, though “The Climb” is of course amazing, and probably one of the Hannah Montana numbers like “I Got Nerve”

Though, as a Disney addict, I would say that the Jonas Brothers probably pump out the best pop gems (Burnin’ Up, SOS). Or you could have looked back at Hillary Duff’s early songs like “Come Clean,” which is a classic.
But really you shouldn’t ignore the songs from movies. Like who could forget “Breaking Free” from the juggernaut that is High School Musical? Or the lesser Camp Rock, which gave us the great, and highly ignored, “Here I Am.”
I could go on and on, but I will stop. Maybe I should just do a pick six of Disney songs? lol.

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Mark Rudio December 29, 2009 at 1:54 pm

I agree “Hey Ya” needs to be on that list.

Since the list is “important” rather than “best,” Shakira should really be represented by “Hips Don’t Lie”- not nearly as good as “Tango/Objection,” but one of the most inescapable songs of the past few years, though “La Tortura” introduced the reggaeton sound to a lot of new listerners.

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