The decade of the 2010s was packed with outstanding music that continues to resonate with music enthusiasts throughout the world. The 2010s featured some of the biggest and most popular records in music history, from pop superstars to rock anthems and everything in between. The greatest singles of the 2010s had something for everyone, whether you were dancing to a catchy tempo or singing along to a heartfelt ballad. Join us as reminisce the top hits of the 2010s that marked this incredible decade and remember the memories that made these hits so memorable.
1. Robin Thicke – Blurred Lines
“Blurred Lines” is a song by American performer Robin Thicke from his sixth studio album, also titled “Blurred Lines” (2013). It features American artists T.I. and Pharrell Williams. The song, which was produced entirely by Williams, was released as the album’s debut single on March 26, 2013, through Star Trak Recordings and Interscope Records. Thicke revealed that the song is about his ex-partner, Paula Patton, in the lyrics. The musical style of “Blurred Lines” is an R&B and pop song with bass guitar, drums, and percussion.
While some music critics criticized the song, accusing it of fostering rape culture, it was a financial success. It topped the music charts in 25 countries and made the top five in another six. “Blurred Lines” stood at the top of the US Billboard Hot 100 for 12 weeks in a row, making it the longest-running single in the country in 2013.
2. Ed Sheeran – Shape of You
“Shape of You” is a spectacular hit song by Ed Sheeran, a prominent English singer-songwriter. The song was released as a lead single from his third studio album, ÷, (2017), on January 6, 2017. Its success was swift and extensive, as it soared to the top of singles charts in 34 countries, including the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, where it became the best-performing song of 2017.
On December 10, 2018, the song became the first song in history to receive 2 billion streams on Spotify. With almost 3.3 billion streams, it is now the second most-streamed song on the site, trailing only “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd. With 2.4 billion streams by December 2019, “Shape of You” was also the most-streamed song of the decade on Spotify. For more information on Ed Sheeran’s early life and career, check out our article, Find Out More About Ed Sheeran and His Career in Music.
3. Adele – Hello
“Hello” is a powerful ballad by the brilliant English singer-songwriter Adele, released as the lead single from her third studio album, 25 (2015), on October 23, 2015. The song was an instant hit, garnering global praise and topping the charts in 36 countries, notably the United Kingdom, where it became Adele’s second chart-topper after “Someone Like You.” Adele’s standing as a music powerhouse was cemented further with the song’s greatest opening week sales in three years.
“Hello” debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, where it remained for an unprecedented ten weeks. Adele’s fourth number-one hit on the list, and she set multiple records along the way, including becoming the first artist to sell over a million digital copies of a song in a week. “Hello” had sold 12.3 million units worldwide, including combined sales and track-equivalent streaming, by the end of 2015, making it the sixth best-selling single of the year.
4. Pharrell Williams – Happy
Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy” grabbed the world by storm. On November 21, 2013, it was released as the sole single from the soundtrack album for the film Despicable Me 2 (2013), backed by a long-form music video. The song was written, produced, and performed by Pharrell Williams, and it featured a catchy and energetic tune that was difficult to resist. Its upbeat and joyous lyrics also struck a chord with people all around the world.
The song became an instant hit, reaching the top of the charts in 22 countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand. It was the best-selling song in the United States in 2014, selling 6.45 million copies and 1.5 million in the United Kingdom. People all around the world created their own music videos and dance routines to the song, and “Happy” became a cultural phenomenon.
5. The Chainsmokers – Closer
The Chainsmokers’ “Closer” featuring Halsey was an instant hit upon its debut in 2016. The song marked the first time the popular American DJ combo and rising star singer Halsey collaborated. Both Andrew Taggart (one-half of the Chainsmokers) and Halsey contributed vocals to the song’s distinct sound and appeal.
“Closer” was also named the highest-ranking electronic dance music (EDM) song on Billboard’s Decade-End list for the 2010s, cementing its position in music history. “Closer” was also named the highest-ranking electronic dance music (EDM) song on Billboard’s Decade-End list for the 2010s, cementing its position in music history.
6. Rihanna – We Found Love
Rihanna and Calvin Harris’ collaboration “We Found Love” was a huge success. The song was published in 2011 and instantly became a worldwide success. The song’s peppy speed, engaging melody, and memorable lyrics captivated listeners all over the world.
“We Found Love” topped the charts in the United States, the United Kingdom, and a number of other nations upon its release. It lasted ten weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, making it Rihanna’s longest-running number-one single. The song was also Rihanna’s eleventh number-one hit, placing her third among female music artists with the most number-one singles.
7. Drake – One Dance
On April 5, 2016, Drake released “One Dance” as the second single from his album “Views.” Nineteen85, Noah “40” Shebib, and WizKid produced the song. Crazy Cousinz and Kyla’s 2008 song “Do You Mind” is sampled on the tune. The song contains afrobeats, dancehall, and house music influences.
“One Dance” was an instant hit and a huge commercial success. The song reached number one on the charts in several countries, including the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. It was Drake’s first number-one single as a lead artist in the United States, and it lasted 10 weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100. “One Dance” popularized afrobeats and exposed Nigerian singer WizKid to a broader audience. Drake’s breakthrough with the song helped to solidify his position as one of the music industry’s biggest musicians.
8. Wiz Khalifa – See You Again
“See You Again” was written by Wiz Khalifa, Charlie Puth, and DJ Frank E. and was released on March 10, 2015. The song is a memorial to actor Paul Walker, who died in 2013 while filming Furious 7. The words of the song concentrate on the closeness of friendship as well as the grief of saying farewell. The song’s music video includes footage from the film as well as scenes from Walker’s earlier performances in the franchise.
The song was a commercial success, reaching the top of the charts in a number of countries, including the US, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. It spent 12 non-consecutive weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, tying Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” for the second longest-running rap number-one hit in the country, trailing only Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road.” It was also the first rap song to receive one billion Spotify streams. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified the song diamond in 2019, denoting sales and streaming of over 10 million units in the United States. You can check out our article, “Learn More About the Career of Charlie Puth,” to get more information on this talented musical artist.
9. Luis Fonsi – Despacito
“Despacito” is a reggaeton-pop song by Luis Fonsi featuring rapper Daddy Yankee that was released as a single from Fonsi’s 2019 studio album Vida. Fonsi, Erika Ender, and Daddy Yankee wrote the song, which was produced by Mauricio Rengifo and Andrés Torres. It was released on January 13, 2017, and quickly became a big international smash, peaking at number one in many countries.
“Despacito” became a worldwide phenomenon, breaking countless records and winning numerous honors. It spent a record-breaking 16 weeks at the US Billboard Hot 100 chart’s top hits. It was also the first Spanish-language song to top the Hot 100 since “Macarena” in 1996.
10. Lil Nas X – Old Town Road
“Old Town Road” is a hip-hop/country fusion song by American rapper Lil Nas X that served as his first single. The song was first released independently in December 2018 and quickly garnered popularity on the social video-sharing platform TikTok before being re-issued by Columbia Records in March 2019.
The song gained popularity on the internet after its first release, but when it hit the Billboard charts, it was rejected from the country chart for not being country enough, generating a dispute about the definition of country music. However, this disqualification did not dampen the song’s appeal, as it ascended the charts, finally landing at the peak of the Billboard Hot 100 chart and remaining there for a record-breaking 19 weeks.
Overall, the 2010s were a fantastic decade for music, with several successes that enthralled listeners all around the world. There was no shortage of excellent music that defined the decade, from pop to hip-hop, dance to rock, and everything in between. Adele, Ed Sheeran, Drake, and Lil Nas X ruled the charts, but other one-hit wonders left indelible imprints on popular culture. These top hits of the 2010s continue to captivate audiences today, reminding us of a period when music had the power to unite us all together.