As the decade comes to an end, people have taken to social media to reminisce on past memories of the mid 2000’s. Spotify users will be pleased to see that along with their yearly recap, there is a specialized playlist to wrap up the popular music of the decade. Classics like Lady Gaga and Rihanna bring you back to those early middle school years; while your current favorites slip into the mix.
The Pop Craze
The beginning of the decade saw the exponential rise of stars like Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, and Adele, to name a few. Catchy songs like “Tik Tok” by Ke$ha and “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga dominated the radio, and pop was king. Catchy, fun to sing along to, and full of energy, these songs caught the attention of the older and younger generations; this new sound became a staple for the decade and launched some of your favorite artists into lasting stardom.
As we grew up, artists like Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande — who emerged to fame around the same age as us at the time — transformed before our eyes, and their music stayed a staple through the decade. Musicians who went quiet for a brief period came back with a bang: Beyonce’s album Lemonade was an immediate hit, Taylor Swift’s latest album Lover was a testament to her growth as an artist, and countless more artists released new sounds that reflected their growth from the beginning of the decade.
Punk Goes Pop
The early 2000’s were most known for the heavy punk/emo influence that dominated the culture. Most of us were too young to fully grasp the trend, but bands like Green Day and blink-182 are just as relevant today as they were years ago. Familiar names like Paramore, Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, and Panic! At the Disco have all emerged from the eyeliner and hot-pressed hair to explore new frontiers — Panic! even did a track for the recently-released Disney hit Frozen II.
Pop punk, alt rock, pop rock, and every variation in between became more popular towards the end of the decade, but can credit the original punk resurgence to their growing number of fans. Imagine Dragons, Neck Deep, Waterparks, and Arctic Monkeys are only a few of the bands that emerged in the spotlight during this golden era of emo. More and more edgy, indie, and nostalgic rock music has risen from the speakers, taking over radio and infiltrating modern culture with absolute heart-wrenching bops.
Country music has been on the incline for as long it has been around, but it peaked around the early-mid 2010’s: Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Florida Georgia Line, and Miranda Lambert are only a few of the most iconic names that still bring in streams and influence the aspiring singers of the future. Acoustic guitars and a southern twang were all the rage, and shows like “American Idol” and “The Voice” showcased these aspiring vocalists.
In the later years of the decade, the country scene seemed to loosen its grip on the music industry: Taylor Swift and other icons shifted their attention away from strictly country music to a mix of genres instead. Lil Nas X shot to fame with his rap-country mix “Old Town Road,” showing how the scene has become more of a blend of classical country music and other styles.
Overall, the decade brought on a diverse ecosystem of sounds to explore. It’s hard to identify with just one specific group, because the lines blend so smoothly between them all. Our generation has diversified not only the sound but the artists themselves — women have taken a stronghold on the pop community, people of color like Lil Nas X and Lizzo are taking the entire world by storm, and voices of the young are becoming even louder: Billie Eilish being one of the youngest artists on the Billboard Charts. We had the honor of watching our favorite stars grow up, listen to ever-evolving music, and revel in everything the modern world has to offer. The decade was certainly a rocky one, but a good nostalgia trip is nice every once and awhile.