Here at the end of the decade, there have been lots of lists recapping the best music of the 2010s. Given Billboard’s reputation as a statistical arbiter, they’re also presenting lists that look back on the decade’s most popular music, quality notwithstanding.
One of those lists quickly became the subject of much confusion and consternation. On Sunday, Billboard (which shares a parent company with Stereogum) posted the top 10 rock songs of the decade. Numbers 1, 2, and 3 all belonged to Imagine Dragons (“Believer,” “Thunder,” and “Radioactive”). Three more were by Twenty One Pilots (“Heathens,” “Ride,” and “Stressed Out”). The list also had one song each from Panic! At The Disco (“High Hopes”), the Lumineers (“Ho Hey”), Walk The Moon (“Shut Up And Dance”), and Portugal. The Man (“Feel It Still”). And that was it. Those 10 were the biggest rock songs of the decade.
Some people on Twitter responded that these are not rock songs, or that rock is dead, or that the general public has extremely dispiriting taste — all reasonable takes, and yet, this is definitely reflective of rock as it existed on the radio in the 2010s. The genre’s mainstream has been in a weird place for a long time. For what it’s worth, between #11 and #20 the list includes two more Imagine Dragons songs, two by Foo Fighters, Lorde’s “Royals,” and one each from Bastille, Hozier, AWOLNATION, Fall Out Boy, and the Black Keys. Check out the full top 100 if you dare.
The top rock songs of the decade 🎸
— billboard (@billboard) December 29, 2019