Music is arguably the ultimate barometer of culture. The music critic and podcast host Chris Molanphy said that each decade is divided into two main movements when it comes to music, and in the middle, a song that changes the course of the charts. Popular music in the 2010s went from heavy EDM, to girl-power pop, to R&B, to hip-hop, sprinkled with exceptions to the formula like Adele’s power ballads.
But to make things a little bit interesting (as we like to do at Young STAR), we’re looking at the music from this decade that you may not have heard of (yet). The club is perhaps the best place to hear new music, so naturally, we asked six of our favorite DJs from Manila for their top three songs of the last 10 years.
There are some from the Top 40 chart you will probably know by heart, some from the local scene (of course), some that are a little more niche, and some that you’ve probably already danced to but didn’t know the name of. Some are even so good they appear twice on this list.
Deathless Gods by Tarsius (2011)
This one is such an incredible banger. No matter how many times I hear it live or play it during my sets, it never gets old. This mega-talented duo (and easily the nicest guys on the scene) managed to create a local dance floor classic.
Two Thousand Seventeen by Four Tet (2017)
There’s a cleansing song for everyone — this one’s my go-to. Soothing, tempering, and a strong reminder as to how deep Kieran Hebden’s musical imagination can go. Play this as a winddown after a hard night or when you wake up in the morning!
Let It Happen (Soulwax Remix) by Tame Impala (2015)
I’ve dropped this track more times than I can remember. Easily my No. 1 of the decade. The build-up’s great and the guitar riffs are mesmerizing! It’s a song I like to catch people off-guard with.
Gemini Month by Ciao (2019)
Produced by Canadian DJs Regularfantasy and Void Mirror, Gemini Month by the duo’s moniker, Ciao, is easily my favorite recent release of the decade. Being a Gemini myself, it’s no surprise that I’m drawn to the electronic record’s interweaving of deep house progressions, tranceinspired melodies, and technoleaning percussion.
Spiritual Encounter by DMX Crew (2016)
Spiritual Encounter is, to me, the best track on DMX Crew’s 2016 release “You Exist.” The underrated UK artist never fails to make his way onto my set lists; Spiritual Encounter is undeniably the track I play most frequently at my club gigs.
Inspector Norse by Todd Terje (2012)
Todd Terje holds a special place in my heart for being one of the first artists to get me into dance music. Inspector Norse’s funky and punchy melody always gets the dance floor moving and provides a nice nostalgic touch to any set. A certified banger from the recent decade.
Inspector Norse by Todd Terje (2012)
Released in 2012 by Norwegian DJ/producer Todd Terje, Inspector Norse is one of those super good vibe tunes you can drop anywhere and anytime — its release is very much in line with the resurgence of house and nu disco. When DJs drop this track and you’ll find it irresistible not to dance when it hits the middle part.
Why Won’t They Talk To Me? by Tame Impala (2012)
The song that pretty much defined my decade is Why Won’t They Talk To Me? by Tame Impala, which was released some time around 2012. I was going through some hard times and I remember this song just cut to the core of me, and knew exactly what I was going through. Pretty much all songs on their second album “Lonerism” defined my decade, but that track really stuck to me. — James
New Rules by Dua Lipa (2017)
For me, Dua Lipa’s New Rules is this decade’s “Song to chuck your boyfriend’s clothes out the window to.” (Laughs) — Mafia (Editor’s note: Mafia and James are still very much a couple.)
Forrest Gump by Frank Ocean (2012)
I was 13 when I first heard Forrest Gump, having freshly accepted my sexuality and my feelings about an older girl I met in the summer. Now that I’ve lived a little more and kissed more girls, this song pierces right through me all the more. Through this celebration of a past love, albeit a lost love, Frank reminds us of the power of memory.
212 by Azealia Banks (2012)
Any PoT (Person of Taste) would know that this is the track that started it all. Azealia Banks was my entry point into ballroom music and using the C-word, and she’s still the reason I’m tweeting hip-hop hot takes today. Though Azealia has become such a polarizing figure, the infectious beat and unapologetic ferocity of 212 will always be an indubitable serve. #ImWithHer
I Can Change by LCD Soundsystem (2010)
An underrated cry-dance banger. This album opened the decade and set the tone for an iconic era in indie. All at once sonically rich, lyrically vulnerable, and effortlessly cool, there’s nothing else I’d ask to put on for the 3 a.m. drive home, my own personal tunnel song.
Ain’t It Fun by Paramore (2013)
For a band that really made a name for itself in the 2000s, Paramore still had something in them to create music for the next decade, which I think has aged very well. It’s fun, light, nostalgic and still fits very well in the diverse space of music that developed in the early part of this decade.
Pyramids by Frank Ocean (2012)
Even with such an amazing list of music that came out in the same year (extremely stacked with Kendrick Lamar’s “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City,” Passion Pit’s “Gossamer,” Bob Dylan’s “Tempest,” Lana Del Rey’s “Born To Die,” etc.), Frank Ocean really solidified himself as a true artist with this album, and specifically this single (which also had a great music video).
Alright by Kendrick Lamar (2015)
King Kendrick’s much-anticipated follow-up to “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City” took a turn for the political in America. He made sure he made his presence felt with his stand yet still created a banger that everyone can sort of relate to. Some would say it’s a little too charged but that made it all the more iconic.
Wake Me Up by Avicii (2013)
When this song debuted in Ultra Music Festival 2013, a lot of EDM fans were quick to dismiss this “country” track. A few months later, it was playing on so many radio stations, yet few were willing to admit having dissed the track. We’re sorry and we miss you, Avicii. RIP.
Love On Top by Beyoncé (2011)
There’s no reason for anyone to not have the lyrics to this song memorized by now. When people were talking about that one song (in this case, from the 2010s) that anyone can sing whether sober, drunk, or hungover, this was what they were talking about.
Someone Like You by Adele (2011)
This was a tough choice for me. If I were to let my bias get in the way, I’d have gone with Frank Ocean’s Thinkin’ ‘Bout You. However, when it comes to moving on, it’s best to be proactive, and the lyrics to this song’s definitely got the instructions down.