By Jack Sharkey, February 17, 2017

Every Friday during 2017 we’re going to offer up five songs from each of the last fifty years that tell the story of music as it existed during that year, and how that music ultimately played a role in getting us to where we are today. We're taking the journey backwards for a different persepctive on how music has evolved over the past half century. Week 7 brings us to 2010, the end of the first decade of the 21st Century.

 

Like every subjective list of art, we hope this will at times make sense and at others spark debate (and maybe even a little criticism). Take the trip with us in 2017 as we look back on the music that got us to where we are today.

 

2010

As the Aughts ended, new school R&B, hip-hop, country, some rock & roll, and post-modern bubblegum all made strong appearances, but no particular genre ruled popular music. There were shifts in style and taste that would become popular musical movements in the following years, but for the most part 2010 was a mixed bag of styles. 

 

 

The Cave - Mumford & Sons The imagery and content inform us this is folk music well beyond the instrumentation. The album was truly designed to be listened to in a single session but the breakout hit The Cave was a staple in 2010. In the following years, artists in a lot of different genres took up Mumford & Sons instrumentation, making this band a trendsetter in spite of their throwback nature.  

 

 

Use Somebody - Kings of Leon There are two conceptual Nashvilles: The boiler-plate corporate country scene and everything else. Kings of Leon introduced the rest of the world to the "everything else" part of Nashville, which in turn legitimized an entire musical movement in every other musically important town in the country.  

 

 

King of Anything - Sarah Bareilles In a year that was a bit all over the place, King of Anything is a sleeper: Melding current pop styles, timeless pop styles and the tradition of singer-songwriters telling ex-lovers just exactly how horrible they were, Sarah Bareilles carried the torch of what went before and let the world know what was to come.

 

 

Teenage Dream - Katy Perry Like it or not, this was the way "pop" music was going to sound for the foreseeable future: hyper-corporate, hype-sexualized, and the same choppy melody line processed over a couple fo chords here and there. Teenage Dream would be recycled into a hit by several different pop stars over the next half decade. 

 

 

New York - Alicia Keys New York loves songs about itself, yes that's right, the city itself is very pleased when people sing love songs to it, but besides all of that, this is one of those songs that transcends genre and era, which also means it can also fit into any genre or era. Truly a classic.  

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