Top 20 Biggest Songs of the 2010s

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Top 20 Biggest Songs of the 2010s

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
These songs were inescapable! For this list, we'll be looking at the best-selling and highest-charting singles of the 2010s. Our countdown includes “Thrift Shop”, “Gangnam Style”, “Old Town Road”, “Uptown Funk”, “Despacito”, and more!
Transcript

Top 20 Biggest Songs of the 2010s


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 biggest songs of the 2010s.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the best-selling and highest-charting singles of the 2010s.

Which of these is your favorite? Which ones can you not stand? Let us know in the comments below!

#20: “Dark Horse” (2013)

Katy Perry

This pop star dominated the early 2010s with her album “Teenage Dream,” and “Dark Horse” looked to continue that incredible success. The song was a bit different for Perry, featuring a darker sound, strong elements of trap, and a music video that saw the pop star donned like an Egyptian witch. The song spent 22 weeks in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, including four consecutive weeks at #1. It eventually became the second best selling song of 2014 and is one of the highest selling digital songs in history, moving over 13 million units. “Dark Horse” was especially popular in the United States, where it has been certified 11x platinum. Not a bad follow-up to “Teenage Dream” if you ask us.


#19: “7 Rings” (2019)

Ariana Grande

It’s no secret that this ex-Disney star is currently ruling the pop landscape. Coming in the winter of 2019, “7 Rings” was the second single from “Thank U, Next.” To say it was a success would be an understatement. The song peaked at #1 in nearly 20 countries and has sold over 13 million units worldwide, making it one of the highest-selling digital songs in music history. “7 Rings” broke Spotify records upon its debut, having been played 12 million times in its first 24 hours and 70 million times in its first week. It also spent eight weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100, and Grande became the only solo artist in history to hold the top three spots on the chart.


#18: “Thrift Shop” (2012)

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Who knew that a goofy song about thrift shopping and gator shoes would become so monumentally popular? “Thrift Shop” reached #1 in numerous countries, including the United States where it dethroned Bruno Mars’s “Locked Out of Heaven.” It proceeded to spend six weeks atop the chart. It was eventually named the #1 song of 2013 by Billboard, moving over six million digital copies and becoming one of the best-selling digital singles in the country’s history. It also spent fifteen weeks atop the Rap Songs chart, and in 2019, Billboard officially named “Thrift Shop” the most successful rap song of the 2010s.


#17: “Sunflower” (2018)

Post Malone & Swae Lee

It’s amazing how quickly Post Malone rose to international stardom. In 2015, his Soundcloud-released “White Iverson” was finding a modicum of success. Three years later, he was a mega pop star doing the song for “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” “Sunflower” became Post’s third #1 single and matched a record set by Maroon 5 and Ed Sheeran by spending 33 weeks inside the top ten. It eventually became the fourth most successful song of 2019, moving the equivalent of thirteen and a half million units. It has since been certified 11x platinum by the RIAA and has gone platinum on eleven different country charts.


#16: “Gangnam Style”

Psy

No list of the 2010s would be complete without “Gangnam Style,” and no other song encapsulates the joyous pop mood of the early 2010s quite like this one. This K-pop sensation took full advantage of both the internet and social media. It struck a chord with billions (yes, billions), becoming the most “liked” video on YouTube and the first to reach one billion views. This unprecedented online success transferred over to the traditional charts, and the song peaked at #1 in over 30 countries around the world. “Gangnam Style” ended up having an enormous cultural impact, like helping launch the K-pop craze that would later dominate the latter half of the decade.

#15: “Happy”

Pharrell Williams

Another successful soundtrack tune, “Happy” served as the tie-in single to “Despicable Me 2.” It’s essentially a soul adaptation of “If You’re Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands,” led by Pharrell’s commanding control of music production. While the song reached #1 in over 20 countries, it was especially successful in the United Kingdom. In 2014, “Happy” became the most downloaded song of all time in the country and is currently its eighth highest selling digital single. It also had a great debut year in the United States, selling nearly six and a half million units and becoming the highest selling single of 2014. Pharrell has to be “Happy” about that! Get it?


#14: “Moves Like Jagger” (2011)

Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera

This band has enjoyed a string of huge hits throughout the decade, including 2015’s “Sugar.” And they opened the decade in spectacular fashion with “Moves Like Jagger,” a fun disco-esque tune co-performed with Christina Aguilera. It was Maroon 5’s second #1 hit and Aguilera’s fifth, but her first in ten years (following 2001’s “Lady Marmalade”). By the end of its debut year, “Moves Like Jagger” had sold seven million copies, and it has currently sold fourteen and a half million, making it one of the best selling digital songs of all time. This is the tune that officially transitioned Maroon 5 from a successful pop rock band into a worldwide pop sensation.


#13: “Blurred Lines” (2013)

Robin Thicke ft. T.I. & Pharrell Williams

While “Blurred Lines” was met with fierce criticism for its questionable lyrics and objectionable music video, it was nevertheless a commercial sensation. It reached the top five in over 30 countries and topped the charts in 25 of them. It was actually Thicke’s first number one - a feat that was undoubtedly aided by the song’s racy music video. “Blurred Lines” was the most successful single of 2013 in both the United States and Britain, selling millions of copies and spending twelve consecutive weeks atop the Hot 100. It has since sold nearly fifteen million digital copies and easily remains Robin Thicke’s signature song.


#12: “God’s Plan” (2018)

Drake

While found on the “Scary Hours” EP, “God’s Plan” served as the first single from Drake’s enormously successful “Scorpion.” The song became Drake’s second #1 as a solo artist and actually debuted atop the Hot 100, making it just the 29th song in history to have done so. It held the top spot for eleven weeks, making it the first song in over 20 years to spend its first eleven weeks at #1. The feat was previously accomplished by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men’s “One Sweet Day.” And while it was the second highest selling digital song of 2018, it was the most streamed, with over 1.5 billion audio and video streams throughout the year.


#11: “Call Me Maybe”

Carly Rae Jepsen

This teen pop sensation would have fit right at home in the late ‘90s, so timeless is its sound. Perhaps people were feeling a little nostalgic for simple ‘90s pop, because “Call Me Maybe” became an immediate worldwide hit. The song peaked at #1 in fourteen countries and made Carly Rae Jepsen the first Canadian female to top the Hot 100 since Avril Lavigne. The song has also sold exceptionally well on digital platforms. In fact, it has sold approximately eighteen million copies, making it the 15th best selling digital single of all time. “Call Me Maybe” is what every record producer was saying after the wild success of this hit.


#10: “Old Town Road” (2018)

Lil Nas X

The success of this song proves the value and importance of social media in regards to personal marketing. The song rose to fame on TikTok before setting a variety of industry records. Not only was it the fastest single to be certified diamond by the RIAA (after just eleven months), but it also spent a record-breaking nineteen weeks at #1 on the Hot 100. By accomplishing this feat, “Old Town Road” finally dethroned Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men’s “One Sweet Day” after 23 years. It also broke some Spotify records, like spending nine consecutive weeks earning more than 100 million streams. “Old Town Road” helped launch Lil Nas X’s career, and he successfully defied all those who called him a future one-hit wonder.


#9: “Havana” (2017)

Camila Cabello feat. Young Thug

This Cuban pop star has found success in the Latin pop corner with songs like “Havana” and “Señorita.” The latter was the third highest selling single of 2019, but its success is thanks in large part to what came before. “Havana” peaked at #1 in 23 different countries and has been certified diamond by the RIAA. It took 23 weeks to get to #1 in the United States, having been repeatedly blocked by Post Malone’s “Rockstar.” But that just proves the song’s incredible staying power. That fact is further bolstered by its Spotify record. In June of 2018, “Havana” reached one billion streams and became the most streamed song by a female solo artist in Spotify history.


#8: “Bad Guy” (2019)

Billie Eilish

The historic, months-long reign of “Old Town Road” finally came to an end thanks to “Bad Guy.” Released as the fifth single from “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”, “Bad Guy” easily surpassed the first four and became a bonafide cultural phenomenon. The song earned immediate praise for its lyrical content, sparse production, and Eilish’s distinct whispery vocals. By pushing aside “Old Town Road” in August of 2019, Eilish became the first artist born in the 2000s to land a #1 single. “Bad Guy” was also the best performing song of 2019, selling nearly 20 million units and reaching #1 in over ten countries. It made Eilish a global phenomenon, and she has successfully ridden its wave ever since.


#7: “Uptown Funk” (2014)

Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars

To this day, “Uptown Funk” is Bruno Mars’s most successful single. And that’s saying something! Released in November of 2014, “Uptown Funk” reached the top ten in 34 different countries and peaked at #1 in 19 of them. It spent fourteen weeks atop the Hot 100 and 21 weeks in the top three, beating a record set by Santana and Rob Thomas’s “Smooth.” It also tied the record set by Flo Rida’s “Low” by spending 13 weeks atop the Digital Songs chart. Finally, “Uptown Funk” broke the record for most streamed song in one week, with 15 million streams. It is easily one of the defining songs of the decade.


#6: “Rolling in the Deep” (2010)

Adele

This English artist burst onto the scene in the early 2010s, with her album “21” spawning a ludicrous number of global hits. The second single, “Someone Like You,” is the fourth best selling single of the 21st century with 17 million copies. But that’s nothing compared to “Rolling in the Deep.” The song has sold over 20 million units, making it the ninth highest-selling digital song of all time. It also broke or met numerous records. It spent 65 weeks on the Hot 100, tying the record for the fourth longest run in the chart’s history. It also became the best selling digital song by a female artist, moving nearly nine million copies in its first year of release.


#5: “See You Again” (2015)

Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth

Made for “Furious 7,” “See You Again” serves as a tribute to the late Paul Walker, who had died in a car accident sixteen months before its release. It’s currently the second longest-running #1 rap song in Hot 100 history, having spent 12 non-consecutive weeks at the top of the chart. “See You Again” also made Spotify history on April 13, 2015, breaking the record for most streams in a 24 hour period with 4.2 million plays. That’s about 3,000 streams every minute! It also set the record for most Spotify streams in a single week, being played nearly 22 million times between April 6 and 12. The wound of Walker’s death was evidently still fresh, and this song helped heal us all.


#4: “Something Just Like This” (2017)

The Chainsmokers & Coldplay

By the mid to late 2010s, The Chainsmokers were taking over the mainstream EDM scene with songs like “Don’t Let Me Down” and “Closer.” The latter was especially popular, and it has since sold over 20 million units. Sensing the truck loads of money that could result from a collaboration, Coldplay decided to get in on the action. And what a collaboration it was. “Something Just Like This” was an instant success, reaching #3 on the Hot 100 and becoming the sixth best selling song of 2017. But the song has incredible lasting power and has since sold 21.5 million units, making it the fifth highest-selling digital single of all time.



#3: “Work” (2016)

Rihanna feat. Drake

The 2010s were a great time for Rihanna, as she released a number of popular singles like “Needed Me” and “Love on the Brain.” But with “Work,” the Barbadian artist was placed in very good company alongside the Beatles, Mariah Carey, and Elvis Presley. With “Work” reaching #1, Rihanna accrued the fourth-most number one singles in the history of the Hot 100. This was her 14th chart topper, breaking the tie she shared with Michael Jackson. The song has since accumulated well over a billion streams and has sold 32.5 million digital copies, making it the fourth highest-selling digital song in history.


#2: “Despacito” (2017)

Luis Fonsi feat. Daddy Yankee

Integral in popularizing Latin pop, “Despacito” broke numerous industry records. The song did the incredible feat of reaching the top ten in close to 60 countries, and even topped the charts in 47 of them. It was also the first Spanish song in 20 years to top the Hot 100, following, of all songs, “Macarena.” It was the first Latin song to be certified diamond by the RIAA and holds the record for the longest reign atop the Hot Latin chart with 56 weeks. “Despacito” also tied “One Sweet Day” for the longest run atop the Hot 100 and became the first video on YouTube to hit seven billion views. To put it mildly, “Despacito” was a cultural tour de force that proved virtually unstoppable.

#1: “Shape of You” (2017)

Ed Sheeran

This English singer from West Yorkshire is arguably the biggest artist of the decade, scoring countless megahits like “Perfect” and “Thinking Out Loud” - both of which have sold approximately 20 million units. And then there’s “Shape of You,” which is statistically the biggest song of the 2010s. In fact, Billboard has named it the ninth most successful song ever. Since its release, “Shape of You” has sold 41.5 million units, making it the best selling digital single of the 2010s and the second highest of all time. It’s also the most streamed song on Spotify, accruing nearly three billion streams by the end of 2021. “Shape of You” is the definitive song of the 2010s and an anthem for generations to come.
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