If trap is the funeral music of the Reagan revolution, then this decade began as a glorious wake. But then 2016 happened, and the country awoke wondering if reports of the revolution’s death had been greatly exaggerated. Trap took a turn for the emo, and we were left holding mournful, atonal tunes from the SoundCloud set.
What this decade has not been able to dampen, however, is the globalization of pop, a globalization that seeped in through the mainstreaming of electronic dance music, that built on the successes of Korean pop acts, and that peaked toward the end of the decade with the relentlessly danceable stylings of dancehall and reggaeton.
A chubby South Korean rapper broke the Internet; a slew of Scandinavian D.J.’s transformed the way we make pop music; a teenager from New Zealand spawned numerous copycats trying to chase her sound. A Toronto native and the world’s most famous Barbadian brought the dancehall beat into the Billboard Hot 100. The beats, the drops, and the inexorable breakthrough of reggaeton have given us reason to continue shaking our tailfeather in the midst of this global political farce.
Here are some of the decade’s greatest global pop hits, representing a mix of 13 countries. And just for good measure, we’ve thrown in a sprinkling of funeral music to go along with it.
Lynn Q. Yu is an Editor at Large for AIR MAIL