Shape of You
Not really a song but a guide track, initially intended for Little Mix or Rihanna, with placeholder instrumentation and a chorus that was clearly written as a duet but with Ed singing both parts. This being the most-streamed song of the decade is like saying the initial illustrated storyboard for Avengers is the most-watched film. Still, I suppose nothing defines the 2010s more than everything being so terrible that barely competent mediocrity suddenly becomes the appealing option.
Drake ft Wizkid & Kyla
The 2007 funky house classic Do You Mind had already defined Kyla’s decade; it was around the time she recorded the vocal for the track that she started dating one of its producers, Errol Reid. They married, had kids and she pretty much stopped making music and then one day she got a call from Sony saying Drake wanted to sample her vocal. Now she’s on one of the biggest songs in Spotify’s history. Moral of the story: if someone asks one to vocal a funky house track, one should.
Post Malone ft 21 Savage
Why are rappers always claiming they want to be rock stars: what is it they’re craving? A drizzly mid-afternoon set at the Larmer Tree festival? An hour in the 6 Music studio debating the week’s releases? “I’ve been fuckin’ hos and poppin’ pills / Man, I feel just like a rock star,” Malone sings. He should try spending an afternoon with Dan from Bastille for a taste of the reality.
The Chainsmokers ft Halsey
Has there ever been an act so successful and yet so anonymous? Never mind picking them out of a lineup, if they stripped off to reveal the words “WE ARE THE CHAINSMOKERS” written on their arse cheeks, would you have any idea who they were? It’s little surprise that they slip out their songs incognito; no one would want to put their face to something that sounds like the soundtrack to a YouTube compilation of the “raddest skateboard tricks ever vol 8”.
Thinking Out Loud
Sheeran’s best-written song and worst vocal performance: presumably his falsetto couldn’t withstand the rush to get the song into the hands of wedding DJs. This is a charming ode to love in later life, although his political silence throughout the decade may mean that when his “memory fades” he can’t complain if there is no time for romance as the UK retirement age by then is 105.