CREDIT: YouTube Screenshots

Of all the pieces of art and entertainment that I’m ranking for the decade, songs are probably the most personal. Yet somehow I feel compelled to consider how they affected the world at large moreso than all the other categories. The tunes that I value the most aren’t just the ones that make my own heart sing but also the ones that draw all of us closer together. So as I assembled this list, I asked myself both, “What has made me dance these past 10 years?” and “How would I like to dance with everyone else?” Here’s what that playlist looks like.
(I aimed to stick only to songs that were released as singles, as opening this to deep album cuts would’ve made things so overheated.)

25. Taylor Swift, “Style” – A most groovy and interesting peak into a heart in flux.
24. Lorde, “Royals” – Certain songs define a generation and make us all feel like we’re part of that generation. And you know what? That’s pretty cool.
23. Justin Timberlake, “Mirrors” – Love spanning generations; prime material for a good cry.
22. Ariana Grande, “No Tears Left to Cry” – Wringing relief from tragedy: a simple, and powerful, formula.
21. Beyoncé ft. Kendrick Lamar, “Freedom” – Is this what freedom feels like? Cuz it sizzles.
20. Sia, “Chandelier” – Our emotions are often both a danger and a party.
19. Kesha, “Praying” – We may not all worship a god, but we can all access the power of our spiritual selves.
18. The Chemical Brothers, “Eve of Destruction” – If you ever find yourself heading toward apocalypse, make sure to keep it rockin’.
17. Carly Rae Jepsen, “Run Away with Me” – The sentiment of “take a chance” distilled into its purest musical form.
16. AWOLNATION, “Sail” – An anthem for when you just gotta yell something that previously wasn’t yelled that often.
15. Lana Del Rey, “Mariners Apartment Complex” – The pinnacle of LDR, which feels like the discovery of a new element.
14. Rihanna, “Only Girl (in the World)” – We all deserve to feel this euphoric.
13. The Black Keys, “Tighten Up” – Brother, can you spare a love song?
12. Tove Lo, “Disco Tits” – Two of the greatest words in the English language come together for one great song.
11. Tame Impala, “Elephant” – A soundtrack for when you’re walking along the street like a cool fool.
10. Disclosure, “When a Fire Starts to Burn” – Fire continues to be an excellent musical metaphor.
9. Tove Lo, “Glad He’s Gone” – We all deserve to have a friend listening to us the way that Tove Lo listens to us when we listen to her music.
8. Miguel, “Waves” – When all your appetites are in an unbeatable steady flow.
7. Childish Gambino, “This is America” – I prefer it when guns are songs, and every once in a while, somebody really takes aim and fires.
6. Katy Perry, “Teenage Dream” – Transcendence. Ebullience. Bliss. All the sublimity.
5. Adele, “Rolling in the Deep” – Certain songs just keep you alive.
4. Daft Punk ft. Pharrell and Nile Rodgers, “Get Lucky” – If the robots are going to keep telling us to get busy all night, I think we’re going to do okay.
3. Miley Cyrus, “We Can’t Stop” – Hey, someone has to say “party” at least once a decade.
2. Tame Impala, “Let It Happen” – We must regularly be blessed with a cloud of psychedelia to wash over us.
1. DJ Snake and Lil Jon, “Turn Down for What” – When the dust settles, this is the soundscape I want us all to be trapped in.