At the start of 2010, with my interest piqued by the 2009 Christmas number one race between Joe McElderry and Rage Against The Machine, I decided that for the entirety of the 2010s, I would follow what was happening in the UK music chart, no matter how terrible the music was. I’ve always liked the way that pop culture nostalgia can be packaged neatly into decades, and I thought it would be cool to follow the evolution of one from start to finish.
Though I’m a list obsessive and had loved following the chart as a kid in the ’90s (the tail end of that happy period in UK pop music that roughly ended with the demise of Smash Hits and Top of the Pops), I’d lost interest during the ’00s, largely because I was Too Busy Being Goth. I was roughly aware that some of the more pop-punk and emo stuff that was featured in the rock magazines I read was in the charts around mid-decade, but I didn’t really have any idea of what was going on in pop music at all, other than what people were dancing to on Strictly.*
Eight years in, it’s been interesting, and catching up with the chart has become such an ingrained weekly habit that I expect I’ll keep doing it into the ’20s and beyond. 90% of 2010s chart music, IMO, is awful, but there has been some stuff I like – the more electro-pop direction of the early part of the decade was good, as was the brief folk-rock trend. Unfortunately the quality seems to have dipped a bit in the last couple of years and at the moment it all seems to be uninspiring EDM, offensively bad sampling of classic ’90s dance, bland forgettable pop-by-numbers and Ed Sheeran ballads. I can’t remember the last time there was an actual rock song in the charts.
Some stats, ’cause I like stats:
I’ve liked 250 songs from the 2010s enough to add them to my Spotify playlist.
- 42 from 2010
- 49 from 2011
- 26 from 2012
- 33 from 2013
- 27 from 2014
- 20 from 2015
- 20 from 2016
- 32 from 2017
- 1 from 2018 (so far).
My 2010s playlist does get a look-in when I’m in a more dance-y/upbeat mood, but obviously it doesn’t get anywhere near the amount of airtime my 1980s playlist gets. Nothing beats the ’80s for me as far as pop songs (and, let’s face it, most things) are concerned.
* I’ve never been Too Busy Being Goth to watch Strictly.