Every decade is defined by its music. And from the top of the charts to the depths of SoundCloud, the past 10 years have been sonically magical. Though it’s difficult to ascertain which music will be most influential to the legacy of the ’10s, we at The Diamondback felt compelled to at least try.

After I sifted through over 300 song suggestions and solicited rankings from our more musically inclined staff, I finally landed on this, The Diamondback’s Top 50 Songs of the 2010s. And so I present to you a bunch of college kids’ opinions on the music that defined the most formative years of our lives. I hope you don’t hate us by the time you get to the end.

– Allison O’Reilly, diversions editor and the Mother of this project

50. Your Best American Girl – Mitski

This song often resonates with people because of its notion of impossible love, but there’s also no removing Mitski from her Japanese and American heritage, and there’s no ignoring that this song means something more to our dream of an American “melting pot” — one that’s largely gone cold in recent years. “Your Best American Girl” is a loud song with a fierce bass solo, but it’s not angry. There’s love in being who you are, even if it doesn’t give you everything you want. And that’s what the song stands for.

– Lyna Bentahar, news staff writer

49. Doin’ It Right – Daft Punk feat. Panda Bear

There’s something really exciting about the way this infectious Daft Punk beat takes its sweet time building, piece by piece, under a robotic repetitive hook until we finally reach the comforting chorus from Panda Bear. “Doin’ It Right” is the definition of an earworm, and it’s one of the most endearing tracks off the iconic album Random Access Memories.

– Allison O’Reilly, diversions editor

48. Love Yourself – Justin Bieber

While the title might suggest a song promoting some sort of positive, empowering message, Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself” isn’t that. It’s a breakup song with an underlying “fuck you” theme that’s so fundamental to getting over someone that you can’t help but apply it to your own life.

Accompanied by beautifully simple guitar strums and a short horn interlude, there’s plenty of space to appreciate Bieber’s voice. This simplicity is what makes “Love Yourself” a brilliant track, perhaps Bieber’s best ever.

– Evan Haynos, senior diversions staff writer

47. DNA – BTS

“DNA” feels whimsical, colorful and kind of otherworldly, which isn’t surprising. Love — the song’s classic focus — feels that way, too. There are some people in our lives that we can’t imagine not knowing, and “DNA” is for them. Some people we choose, and some relationships feel like destiny. BTS says that isn’t a coincidence. And, with its amazing vocals, rap lines and dance-inducing pop, it’s not a coincidence that “DNA” is one of the best songs of the decade.

– Clara Longo de Freitas, news staff writer

46. Cheap Thrills – Sia

I love this song because of how true it is to itself. It doesn’t take itself too seriously; it’s just a cheery, catchy beat behind lyrics of longing to just turn the radio on because it’s the freakin’ weekend, and I want to have fun tonight! Sia’s vocal talent — and Sean Paul’s interjections — really bring it all home. It’s not a deep song, but it’s a fun one. And sometimes, we just need some cheap thrills.

– Arya Hodjat, managing editor

45. Lemon – N.E.R.D feat. Rihanna

If anything good came out of the 2010s, it was Rihanna rapping.

“Lemon” was the first time most of the world got to see this side of the music/beauty/fashion mogul: Rihanna, the rapper. In discussions about what makes a good rap verse, one criterion is too often left out: Is it actually fun to sing?

If you never imitated Rihanna’s drawn-out “La Ferrar’” or shouted “Mothafucka, we ain’t finished” when this song inevitably came on at the bar, you did this decade wrong.

– Setota Hailemariam, guest writer

44. Space Song – Beach House

“Space Song” by Beach House was perhaps the most well-titled song of this decade. You listen to it, and you feel like you’re floating out there, alone, in space. I’m not sure how Beach House were able to compress the sound of existential dread into a soothing synth, but I’m not complaining, either.

– Arya Hodjat, managing editor

43. So Many Details – Toro y Moi

Toro y Moi always create refreshing combinations of traditional instrumentals and the synth, and it’s no different for the 2013 track “So Many Details.” The fast-paced chillwave music is a perfect pair with singer Chaz Bear’s (nee Bundick) breezy vocals. The funky rhythm section packages the song as a perfect fit for a kickback, while Bear sings about a relationship picking back up to where it started.

– Camryn DeLuca, assistant engagement editor

42. This is America – Childish Gambino

The height of the decade saw the Black Lives Matter movement, and so followed a wave of black protest songs, brought to a head with Childish Gambino’s “This is America.” Every high, every feel-good moment in the song is torn down with the same, bleak reminder of the reality black Americans face every day in this country. Gambino demanded America’s attention, and he got it with this song.

— Lyna Bentahar, news staff writer

41. Somebody Else – The 1975

“Somebody Else” is an iconic track from The 1975, defined by Matt Healy singing existential thoughts about love behind quick, techno beats. At 5 minutes and 48 seconds, “Somebody Else” is a perfect example of how The 1975 has mastered the art of length, proving that pop songs don’t have to be short to be catchy. The 1975 is always unapologetically themselves, making their songs unforgettable moments from the 2010s.

– Audrey Decker, senior diversions staff writer

40. Shallow – Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper

In what became a blockbuster hit, Lady Gaga does not fail to amaze with her vocal performance. And as she belts “I’m off the deep end” at the top of the chorus, even Bradley Cooper gets to show off his non-acting talent.

Played three times in the modern remake of A Star is Born, “Shallow” is a dramatic story about addiction and love, and a great combination of vocals, piano, and guitar.

– Julia Nikhinson, photo editor

39. The Ideal Husband – Father John Misty

Kicking off with horns reminiscent of tornado sirens and anxious lyrics about being exposed to the world, “The Ideal Husband” runs on adrenaline and fear. Father John Misty has to go through a rough state of mind just to sing it onstage — the song is self-hating, loud and demanding, but most of all, it’s intoxicating.

— Lyna Bentahar, news staff writer

38. Your Dog – Soccer Mommy

Driven by a thumping bassline, “Your Dog” cruises into a manifesto of pure defiance, before slipping into watery resignation by way of an edgy electric guitar. Perhaps the best part of listening to this song, though, is that you get to scream “I don’t wanna be your fucking dog” at the top of your lungs and nobody can tell you to shut up — I don’t make the rules.

– Christine Condon, special projects editor

37. All Too Well – Taylor Swift

“All Too Well” is the best Taylor Swift song ever. This is the song I always cry in the shower to when I get my heart broken. The lyrics are so poetic they give me chills — “Time won’t fly, it’s like I’m paralyzed by it/ I’d like to be my old self again, but I’m still trying to find it” — and the crashing drums, dramatic piano and angry guitar add a perfect layer of chaos. No other song captures the pain of falling out of love quite as perfectly.

– Allison O’Reilly, diversions editor

36. Tongue Tied – Grouplove

Hearing “Tongue Tied” on the radio was the first time I ever experienced melancholy. Odd, considering its bouncy, infectious synth, yet appropriate for a single off Never Trust A Happy Song.

As a 12-year-old, the wall of sound made me yearn for teenage life. Now, as a 20-year-old, it still makes me yearn for teenage life. And it features literally the best lyric ever written: “Take me to your best friend’s house / Marmalade, we’re making out.” Yearning and marmalade and making out — what more could you want?

– Daisy Grant, diversions editor

35. Self Control – Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean singing, “I’ll be the boyfriend in your wet dreams tonight,” at the beginning of “Self Control” after his twangy, high-pitched rap is forever drilled into my head. His chilling voice in the song never fails to calm me down and take me to another place. The smooth yet raw vocals are Ocean in essence. “Self Control” is a stand-out for Ocean, showing the breadth of his abilities as a singer and producer.

– Audrey Decker, senior diversions staff writer

34. Gooey — Glass Animals

It’s no wonder that “Gooey” opens with “fresh out of an icky, gooey womb” — when this fourth track on ZABA gets a grip on you, it’s like entering a new world filled with lyrical trips.

Glass Animals’ songs rarely make sense to me, but still, I bop along to phrases like “peanut butter vibes” (probably my next tattoo) as if that’s a completely intuitive way to describe the vibes. With its hypnotic pings at the start which give way to thumping bass, “Gooey” feels as sultry as the impulsive triste its lyrics describe. After listening, you’ll surely want to be Dave Bayley’s “little pooh bear.”

– Nora Eckert, assistant news editor

33. I Love It – Icona Pop feat. Charli XCX

When you hear the opening sequence of this song, it’s a signal that it’s time to party. It needs no introduction, as it is immediately recognizable. This is one of those simple, one-hit-wonder songs that will remain iconic for years to come. The second the lyrics pick up, you can be sure to hear at least three people screaming at the top of their lungs, gathering more friends to sing with them. And, yes, I am usually one of those people.

– Alyson Trager, diversions staff writer

32. Bound 2 – Kanye West

I once got campus safety called on me for singing (screaming) “Blood on the Leaves” at 1 a.m. with some friends in my dorm. “Bound 2,” just a few tracks beyond “Leaves” on Yeezus, holds less of a sentimental spot in my heart, but it’s undoubtedly contributed much more to the cult of Kanye.

Though you may know its spoofs better than the original (think shirtless Seth Rogen), the video exposed Kanye and Kim as a couple, and by the end, you were hoping they did make it to Christmas. And clean their sink.

– Nora Eckert, assistant news editor

31. Hold Up – Beyoncé

An island-inspired slow jam from Beyoncé’s hit album Lemonade, “Hold Up” is a composed coo to let her lover know that he’s wronged her and she knows it. She barely has to raise her voice for this warning track, to let him know how bad he’s screwed up, with the exception of a chaotic, too-brief bridge (that makes for a perfect lead-in to to “Countdown,” which she often performs with “Hold Up”). Make sure you don’t skip the music video for this one — it’ll make you never want to cross Queen Bey, especially with a baseball bat in her hand.

– Jason Fontelieu, senior staff writer

30. Pristine – Snail Mail

“Pristine” was my introduction to Snail Mail, and when I first heard the song’s clean guitar intro, I was instantly hooked. And after way too many listens to count, I fell even more in love with the track.

Lindsey Jordan’s pining yet sarcastic lyrics about romance are backed by her chugging, powerhouse guitar, while the song’s explosive choruses and final verse leave you wrapped in her emotions. And best of all, Jordan and her bandmates are just getting started.

– Alexander Dacy, assistant engagement editor

29. Golden Hour – Kacey Musgraves

With just a few gentle strums of her acoustic guitar, Kacey Musgraves quickly wins you over with this charming love letter to her husband. The title track of her Grammy-winning 2018 album, Musgraves delivers a stripped back, mellow performance that is easy to sink into and is a refreshing alternative to mainstream bro-country music.

– Alexander Dacy, assistant engagement editor

28. Hannah Hunt – Vampire Weekend

Hauntingly soft and sweet, “Hannah Hunt” showed us Vampire Weekend can create a beautiful ballad while keeping their quintessential pop sound. The refrain lyrics, “Though we live on the U.S. dollar / You and me, we got our own sense of time,” reminds me of young love and living with no cares. I listened to Vampire Weekend on repeat in high school, so for me this song is an anthem, hearkening back to hopeful days of the early 2010s. “Hannah Hunt” positioned Vampire Weekend as a leading indie rock band of the decade.

– Audrey Decker, senior staff writer

27. bad guy – Billie Eilish

“bad guy” isn’t just an entrance into the mainstream music world for Billie Eilish, it marks her unapologetically kicking down the front door of the industry and saying, “I’m here. Deal with it.”

That’s what “bad guy” is about, an in-your-face display of pure talent and charisma from a 17-year-old that is spurred on by brilliant production from her brother Finneas and features one of the most intoxicating beats on this list.

– Evan Haynos, senior staff writer

26. Mi Gente – J Balvin and Willy Williams

I’m not really one for dancing at bars or clubs, but any time I hear the opening notes of “Mi Gente” I fly off my chair and join the party. Latin pop has taken the U.S. mainstream by storm this decade, and this club banger is one of the most influential. And even though my Spanish language skills are subpar at best, I can still feel the message when Willy Williams exclaims “La fiesta no para, apenas comienza!”

– Allison O’Reilly, diversions editor

25. thank u, next – Ariana Grande

Also the name of her fifth album, Ariana Grande’s “thank u, next” is an empowering breakup song. After a long year full of loss and heartbreak, the queen of pop released this song to reflect on how she learned from her each of her exes, and now she’s moved on. Not only did this song signal the arrival of another album, but it also gifted us with a cameo-filled music video and a magical fragrance.

– Helen Zhang, copy editor

24. Go Gina – SZA

It’s no surprise to me that SZA has become such a popular mainstream female artist. If you’re looking to wind down after a final or need some study-enhancing beats, SZA’s “Go Gina” should be your go-to. Since her debut in 2012, SZA has only continued to show us how talented she is. Her voice harmonizes perfectly with the rest of this song. You’ll definitely catch yourself randomly humming the melody — it’s just too good.

– Amanda Hernández, staff writer

23. Dance Yrself Clean – LCD Soundsystem

To paraphrase a YouTube comment I once read, “If you can’t handle me at my 0:00 to 3:07, you don’t deserve me at my 3:08 to 8:58.”

Didn’t get that? Well, you obviously haven’t listened to it enough. Go do it again now. Headphone users, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

— Arya Hodjat, managing editor

22. Someone Like You – Adele

“Someone Like You” became an immediate classic when it came out in 2011, and rightfully so. At first listen, the song seems to be a typical love ballad, but paying closer attention to the lyrics reveals Adele’s introspection and nuance; the song accurately represents the conflicting bittersweet feelings of denial and nostalgia that follow a breakup. To me, the most powerful part of the song is how honest and raw Adele is — sometimes if I really focus on the lyrics and her soulful voice, I find myself having to wipe away a tear.

– Anastazja Kolodziej, copy editor

21. Consideration – Rihanna feat. SZA

“Consideration” will go down in history as one of the best album-opening tracks of all time — let alone this decade.

The first number on Anti, an entire album of classics, “Consideration” floats out the gate and immediately begins to set a moody scene, complete with imagery from fellow R&B songstress SZA.

It’s a brief, cryptic vignette, but above all else: It’s gorgeous. With a hammering beat and delicate, precise runs from both Rihanna and SZA, it ends by simply letting the music play on, as listeners absorb the brilliance they just witnessed.

– Setota Hailemariam, guest writer

20. TikTok – Ke$ha

(Editor’s note: This song was released in November 2009 but we made an exception because it’s just that iconic.)

“TikTok” is the definition of a pop anthem — there was no better way for Ke$ha to break into the mainstream scene than with this hit. Her electric energy can be felt from start to finish and her unapologetic attitude makes it the perfect dance bop. Autotune has never sounded so good.

– Alyson Trager, staff writer

19. Super Bass – Nicki Minaj

This song will always hold a special place in my heart. I remember dancing along to it while I tried to beat my friends in Just Dance 4. Ah, those were the days.

“Super Bass” is a guarantee for laughs and questionable dance moves. It’s an iconic 2010 hit that has remained a crowd favorite ever since — I’m pretty sure everyone still knows all the lyrics. I know I do.

– Amanda Hernández, staff writer

18. Cut To The Feeling – Carly Rae Jepsen

While you might know Carly best for her song “Call Me Maybe” — one of the most inescapable songs of 2012 — she has since cemented herself as a cult favorite among the LGBTQ+ community, with songs such as “Cut to the Feeling.” Whether this song reminds you of Mark Kanemura dancing in his bedroom with wigs for every color of the rainbow or Monique Heart’s epic cartwheel fail from RuPaul’s Drag Race, this song definitely will evoke some sort of “feeling” for you.

– Jason Fontelieu, senior staff writer

17. Gimme All Your Love – Alabama Shakes

Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes has one of the best voices in the history of rock music. Her tone is unforgettable and her range is incredible, effortlessly jumping from a shiny, staccato soprano to a gritty, bellowing alto. But her vocals aren’t the only reason “Gimme All Your Love” is a standout track off 2015’s Sound & Color — it’s carried by unforgettable instrumentals. From the sultry bassline starting around 2:30 to the explosive climax of a guitar solo around 3:10, this song will have you feeling a special appreciation for music.

– Allison O’Reilly, diversions editor

16. Royals — Lorde

Teen ennui was the defining factor of the 2010s, and we have Lorde to thank for that. And we have “Royals” — with its bare-bones synth and haunting harmonies — to thank for Lorde.

This song made minimalist, bleak pop mainstream. It turned the teenage experience into something more meaningful than the countless 2000s club hits would have had us believe and introduced us to one of the most influential artists of the decade. So, really, all we can do is thank it.

– Daisy Grant, diversions editor

15. Cigarette Daydreams — Cage The Elephant

“Cigarette Daydreams” makes me want to go stand outside in pouring rain and make important life decisions. It’s the song version of a sigh — a cathartic combination of acoustic guitar, piano and vocals that, when played at top volume, can either be soothingly hopeful or poignantly nostalgic. It’s emotionally versatile and universally relevant: a song that will last not only through this decade, but the next.

– Daisy Grant, diversions editor

14. Truth Hurts – Lizzo

“Truth Hurts” was released in 2017, but gained popularity in 2019 after going viral on TikTok. I first heard the song this past summer on the radio, and it caught my attention right away. The lyrics are so memorable and, in typical Lizzo fashion, encourage women’s empowerment.

Whenever I hear “Truth Hurts,” I think back to the silent disco at NextNow Fest earlier this fall. My friends and I debated whether the song would play, and once it did, the crowd erupted. Despite the song’s newfound popularity, its message and relatability cement its place among the best songs of the decade.

– Anastazja Kolodziej, copy editor

13. Midnight City – M83

“Midnight City” is ripped straight from the ‘80s, and I mean that in the best way. The song is four minutes of dreamy, synthy bliss, sure to transport you to a different decade and put you in a chilled-out mood. M83’s magnum opus — masterfully produced by frontman Anthony Gonzalez and Justin Meldal-Johnsen — is punctuated by a minute-long sax solo, arguably the best this side of George Michael’s “Careless Whisper.”

– Alexander Dacy, assistant engagement editor

12. Sober – Lorde

From the whispered opening lines (“Night, midnight, lose my mind”) to the horn-heavy chorus, Lorde effectively sums up the mindset of young party culture on “Sober,” a high point from her 2017 album Melodrama. No matter how much fun you have or how many memories you make, the question remains: “But will we do when we’re sober?”

– Jason Fontelieu, senior staff writer

11. Pyramids – Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean never disappoints. And “Pyramids” demonstrates just how talented he is as a storyteller. Music is all about making people feel something, and Ocean knows that. “Pyramids” embodies his dedication to songwriting, making it the perfect choice a chill drive around the city or a walk around campus.

– Amanda Hernández, staff writer

10. The Less I Know The Better – Tame Impala

On my own personal ranking for this list, I had this song at No. 1. And then, apparently, I forgot to submit my ranking for consideration. Oops.

So, I’ll make my case for this song here. In terms of everything — its lyrics, sound, meme potential — no single track embodied the 2010s better. In just over three and a half minutes, Kevin Parker manages to tell us a story of heartbreak and redemption, unrequited love and anguish. It’s a memorable story, too, sonically and lyrically; I dare you to listen to it and not get that opening riff stuck in your head.

In a 2015 interview, Parker said of this song, “the lyrics are pretty dorky and the groove is pretty dorky.” But the 2010s were dorky times, filled with pining over something or someone we want but can’t have. What could be a more fitting top choice for such a decade?

Also, fuck Trevor.

– Arya Hodjat, managing editor

9. Love It If We Made It – The 1975

When you finish listening to “Love It If We Made It,” it feels as though someone is waking you up by abruptly turning on the light. It’s disorienting, and the psychedelic, pulsating metric of the track has something to do with it. With references to police brutality, the 2015 drowning of a three-year-old Syrian refugee and Donald Trump’s “I moved on her like a bitch” comment, it very much feels like you are in an interrogation room with bright light hitting your face.

Though each listener is individually not guilty, The 1975 is telling us that we have failed as a population. We lack empathy and meaningful connections and are left with bigotry, disinformation and general emptiness. It feels uncomfortable — and it’s supposed to feel uncomfortable. In a track that blends electropop, funk and new wave, “Love It If We Made It” delivers a powerful message pertaining to humanity. But the best way to describe this track? A wake-up call.

– Clara Longo de Freitas, staff writer

8. Shake It Out – Florence + the Machine

Did beautiful queen witch woman Florence Welch deliver three albums this decade that I could argue are three of the best of the past 10 years? Yes. Is “Shake It Out” from 2011’s Ceremonials the song where she snapped the hardest? Also yes.

What I consider the alternative, cool-girl version of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” this song seeps into your soul, from the melodic poetry in the lyrics to the effortless versatility of Florence’s voice. Almost as if screaming to the heavens, Florence provides a proclamation of perseverance amongst whatever bevy of demons you may be facing, to battle along the road to light and self-love. And as she succinctly puts it: “It’s hard to dance with a devil on your back, so shake him off!”

– Jason Fontelieu, senior staff writer

7. Thinkin ‘Bout You – Frank Ocean

No musician can portray raw human yearning quite like Frank Ocean can. This is perhaps best embodied by half of his musical career being comprised of people wondering where the hell he went. But when Frank shows up, you listen.

And boy, does he have something to say this time. The opening strings — for better or for worse — smack you right in the face and drags you down into the, well, ocean. Then he takes you on a journey through the trials and tribulations of this failed relationship. It’s a personal, intimate ride. And just when he may have lulled you to sleep, he reels you back by hitting some insane high notes.

The Hailey’s Comet-esque arc of Frank Ocean’s career gives his work the air of being borne out of necessity. He’s only doing this because he has something to say, you think. And then, you might think, maybe he just has a really good publicist. But if there’s one thing I can say about this song, it’s that you can’t fake something so real.

– Arya Hodjat, managing editor

6. God Is A Woman – Ariana Grande

A powerhouse anthem of female empowerment, with metaphor-heavy visuals and a live show to match, “God Is A Woman” is Ariana’s greatest work to date. It’s a gorgeous display of her entire vocal range all the way up to the whistle tones in the final chorus and a shining example of the magic borne out of Ariana layering her own voice to make the perfect harmony.

“GIAW” preaches the power of pussy, warning Ariana’s lover that having sex with her is such an amazing gift it will convince them that, if there is a higher power, she must be a woman, because duh.

And this song is nothing without its genius music video, laden with vaginal imagery (like the T-shirt I wear once a week with the still of her fingering planet earth) and reimagined classic paintings of God with Ariana at the center. And who can forget Madonna reciting that Pulp Fiction monologue before Ariana literally smashes the glass ceiling with a hammer? It’s all dripping with the energy of a pop icon — and if you didn’t already take Ariana seriously, “God Is A Woman” forced you to.

– Allison O’Reilly, diversions editor

5. Avant Gardener – Courtney Barnett

You know those days where you feel like you’re just floating through life, not making an impact on your surroundings like you’re some sort of ghost? That’s what “Avant Gardener” sounds like. It is the foggy, stoned mindset of depression and the scratchy chaos that comes with anxiety. “Avant Gardener” is an artful stream of consciousness, chock full of worried words spoken in a carefree monotone.

Courtney Barnett perfectly encapsulates how it feels to lose control of yourself with the chorus, repeating “I’m having trouble breathing in” in the first half of the track before transitioning to “I’m not that good at breathing in” by the end. She sounds so exasperated, so tired of having to try so hard to barely make it by. In so many ways, this song is the perfect explanation of the past few years of my life — longing to make things better for myself but always feeling discouraged by the crushing mundanity of everyday existence. But at least I have the kickass guitar solos Barnett composes to make existing feel a little better.

– Allison O’Reilly, diversions editor

4. Formation – Beyoncé

The emphatic kickoff to the iconic Lemonade era, “Formation” dropped onto a world not ready for it. Little did we know this would be the beginning of some politically-charged music appearing in Queen Bey’s discography. With a powerful music video to match, this song stands up against police brutality and other important issues facing the black community in today’s America. She affirms her pride in her identity as a black woman and lets her “Albino alligator” haters know that she’s not bothered by them.

Not only did “Formation” cement Beyoncé as one of the most influential musicians of all time, but it made a shit ton of white conservatives mad with a tribute to the Black Lives Matter and Black Panther movements during her 2016 Super Bowl performance and provided some of the most badass lyrics of the decade (see: “best revenge is your paper”) — she also made us see Red Lobster in a whole new light.

– Jason Fontelieu, senior staff writer

3. Ribs – Lorde

Never has there ever been a song so perfectly tailored for a cathartic late-night drive as you scream out the window. From Lorde’s epic debut album Pure Heroine, “Ribs” is so simple yet so profound. The first 48 seconds of the song are filled with angelic vocals, setting the scene for a beautiful tale of friendship and confusion.

As young people, we consistently feel the need to have everything figured out, but we’re treated like we’re too stupid to know. Lorde gets that, and that’s how she writes. “It feels so scary, getting old,” as she puts it. There will be good times throughout it all, but the best way to stay sane is to simmer in the now, by allowing yourself to love those around you, “laughing ’til our ribs get tough.”

– Jason Fontelieu, senior staff writer

2. Runaway – Kanye West

Even if you’re not convinced that Kanye West is, as he has repeatedly claimed, a genius, “Runaway” makes a pretty persuasive argument. The nine-minute track is both much longer and much more intricate than a traditional rap or hip-hop song, but is all built around the simple yet famous set of descending piano notes that introduce it.

West and his production team build up, break down and transform those notes into a masterpiece, featuring a verse contribution from Pusha T where every single line is brilliantly lethal. The last three minutes give way to something unexpected — West repeating a set of barely distinguishable melodic lines through his vocoder, a device that distorts your voice, while a collection of strings play in the background.

Even without understanding the words he says at the end, listeners can feel the raw emotion, capping off a song where West exemplifies a sense of self-awareness that is almost unrecognizable from his current persona.

“You’ve been putting up with my shit for way too long,” West raps. “Run away as fast as you can.”

– Evan Haynos, senior staff writer

1. Born This Way – Lady Gaga

Fierce, unique, energetic, revolutionary. These are just a few words to describe the song that defines the decade: “Born This Way.” The electricity in Lady Gaga’s dance beat is just as prominent in the lyrics she sings. Not only does this song have an incredible tune, but a message that was before its time. Lady Gaga literally made being different cool and brought self-love to the mainstream. Through the songs she created — and lyrics as simple and poignant as “don’t be a drag, just be a queen” — she helped pave the way for a decade of LGBTQ+ liberation and celebration.

The 2010s were defined by the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, RuPaul’s Drag Race, national marriage equality, the first openly gay presidential candidates and so much more. “Born This Way” manages to encapsulate all the emotions those things delivered and all the change that is still yet to come in a four-minute song. Gaga tells us “No matter gay, straight or bi, lesbian, transgender life/ I’m on the right track, baby, I was born to survive.” It’s a track that will resonate for decades to come. It’s something we can all look back on with admiration and continue listening to, bringing us up when we’re feeling down and out.

Alyson Trager, diversions staff writer

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