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A Musical Decade in Review December 11, 2009

Posted by markgeil in Music.

It’s year-end chart time, time to guess which song topped the charts, which movie sold the most tickets, or which book had the biggest impact from the year gone by. For those (like me) who really dig these retrospectives, this year brings a special treat in not only year-end charts but also DECADE-end charts. Billboard’s charts are out today. See what you think:


Thinking back, some songs really stick out for me. Seems like I couldn’t escape them on the radio, regardless of the station. They set trends, spawned imitators, and usually played themselves dry. I’m thinking of songs like You’re Beautiful by James Blunt (a one-hit-wonder, by the way), Complicated by Avril Lavigne, or Umbrella (ella, ella, eh eh eh) by Rihanna f/Jay-Z. None of those was even in the top ten. Umbrella was #57, Avril’s angst was #83, and Blunt was #86 (but I will forever be grateful for that song since I do such a killer imitation of it). Even Taylor Swift and her Love Story dropped in at #73.

Some of the bigger songs were little jolts to my memory. In the last post I mentioned Smooth by Santana f/Rob Thomas, which landed at #33. And I bet you totally forgot there was a huge band called Creed in this past decade. With Arms Wide Open was #46. Here’s another monster song you might have forgotten about, one that I would have guessed was top 5, but no. Number 20 was Hey Ya! by Outkast. I say shake it like a Polaroid picture anyway!

The surprise of the Top Five for me? How You Remind Me by Nickelback, at #4. Seriously? Nickelback was that big? Still, the best of the best were quite expected. At number two, Ursher’s got the voice to make ya booty go smack. Yeah! by Usher f/Lil Jon & Ludacris was everywhere in 2004. And the number one song of the decade was by the artist who owned the previous decade, Mariah Carey. We Belong Together was her surprise comeback from 2008 that broke chart longevity records and added to Carey’s own record-breaking sales history.


This one is a hoot, as it reminds one of just how long a decade is. The biggest album from a decade’s worth of Billboard 200 albums charts featured Justin Timberlake before Super Bowl halftime fiascos, before Sexyback and Cry Me a River. Way back when, the songs were Bye Bye Bye and It’s Gonna Be Me, and the album was the absolutely massive “No Strings Attached” by N*Sync.  

Honorable mention goes to Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida”, the top digital album of the decade.


There are lots of ways to determine the big winner. Some are fairly specific. The most downloaded artist was Rihanna. The artist played the most on the radio was Beyonce. The number one performing artist on the Hot 100 chart was Usher. But combine the song chart and the albums chart, and you get the big winner, the Slim Shady, Marshall Mathers, the one and only Eminem.


Some other interesting chart observations include the Soundtrack category. The soundtrack of the decade was not High School Musical. No, HSM1 was #2, HSM2 was #5, and HSM3 was #19 (a most impressive trifecta, though).  Nor was the soundtrack of the decade associated with Hannah Montana. She landed at #4 and #6 and #14. No, the big winner was altogether different: O Brother, Where Art Thou?

As you know I follow Christian music as well. The biggest song of the decade was Word of God Speak by MercyMe, edging out the astonishing debut from Aaron Shust, My Savior, My God. MercyMe also took honors as artist of the decade, followed by Casting Crowns, Jeremy Camp, and Chris Tomlin. P.O.D.’s “Satellite” was the biggest album. The surprise of the Christian charts for me was a relatively late-arriving song from a relatively new artist, Tenth Avenue North. I knew By Your Side was a big hit, but I had no idea it was the number three song of the entire decade.

These lists make me wonder how the music of this past decade will eventually be described. We all know 50’s music, and 70’s disco, and 80’s pop, and 90’s grunge. I think this past decade will be urban, but I’m not sure.

Now if we could just decide what to call the decade, I’ll be happy.



1. kimtan » Blog Archive » Quick scan of the net - high school musical - December 15, 2009

[…] https://markgeil.wordpress.com/2009/12/11/a-musical-decade-in-review/The soundtrack of the decade was not High School Musical. No, HSM1 was #2, HSM2 was #5, and HSM3 was #19 (a most impressive trifecta, though). Nor was the soundtrack of the decade associated with Hannah Montana. … […]

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