My Life Soundtrack: The Songs that Defined My 2010s

A few days ago, I saw my “2019 Wrapped” on Spotify. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, Spotify wraps up your 2019 by showing you the artists, songs, albums, podcasts, and the genres you listened to the most during the year; hence, why it’s called “2019 Wrapped”. What a cool concept, I thought! Why not wrap up the 2010s? Unfortunately, I didn’t start using Spotify until earlier this year, so I’m afraid that won’t be possible.

Inspired by Spotify’s “2019 Wrapped”, here’s my 2010s Life Soundtrack. I’d like to honour my favourite artists and the songs that defined my decade from years 2010 to 2019. As this list is about celebrating the music of the 2010s, it will only include songs released in the last 10 years. This proved very difficult because I listen to a lot of old songs (i.e., The Beatles, Ella Fitzgerald, Elton John, etc.). However, I think we need to recognize that so much great music was produced in the last decade and for that, I’m grateful.

Moreover, the list will only include songs that mean something to me, or songs that were descriptive of some aspect of my life at one point. For instance, though I listened to a lot of Cardi B last year, you won’t see her here because I frankly wasn’t able to relate with her. I mostly listen to her for fun. Maybe I can create another list for that, but it’s definitely not going to be a “life soundtrack” type of list.

Without further ado, here’s my 2010s Life Soundtrack arranged by year of release. It’s very trimmed down, but it’s true to the heart. All these songs mean so much to me.

2010s Life Soundtrack

Excuses by The Morning Benders (2010)
This is honestly my favourite love song of all time. I was so obsessed with it; I learned to play it on piano by ear. This song has “first love” written all over it. It’s cute, nice, and makes me feel things.

Favourite lyrics: And I made an excuse / And you found another way to tell the truth / I put no one else us above us / We’ll still be best friends when all turns to dust

Now That I’m Older by Sufjan Stevens (2010)
How dare you make me feel things, Sufjan Stevens? I don’t always like Sufjan Stevens’ songs, but when I do, I fall in love with it. The song is not ordinary in any way. One listen to it, you’ll soon realize there is so much going on vocally and instrumentally. Somehow, he pulled it off masterfully. The true meaning of this song is not in the lyrics; it’s in the music.

Favourite lyrics: To demonstrate my love for you / You, I thought I was so in love / Some say it wasn’t true / Now that I’m older / Now, now that I’m older / There’s so much travel

Thieves by She and Him (2010)
First of all, I love She & Him so much, and I’m so sad that they haven’t released an album since 2016. Thieves is just one of my many favourites from them. They were a huge part of my late teens and early twenties because I listened to them everyday during my commute to school. I’m confident that I memorized all their songs from their first two albums. I do believe they’re underrated despite Zooey Deschanel’s Hollywood celebrity.

Favourite lyrics: I’m not a prophet / old love is in me / New love just seeps right in / and it makes me guilty

Hello My Old Heart by The Oh Hellos (2011)
This song has a powerful message. It’s about choosing vulnerability and opening yourself to someone else, even though there’s no guarantee that you won’t get hurt. A complete avoidance of pain is a complete avoidance of life. I like to listen to this song to remind me of that.

Favourite lyrics: Nothing lasts forever / Some things aren’t meant to be / But you’ll never find the answers / Until you set your old heart free

The North by Stars (2012)
I’m not completely sure what this song is about, except that the chorus speaks to me because I struggled with insomnia in the past. I guess I took it quite literally. Reading the lyrics now, I think it’s about immigrating to Canada and leaving your former life behind to start anew.

Favourite lyrics: Good luck, bad luck, survival / Sleep is my friend and my rival

Every Single Night by Fiona Apple (2012)
I refer to this song as the ultimate overthinker anthem, overthinking in a way that causes so much suffering, a trait of which I am not proud. Finally, an overthinker made a song about overthinkers! I think people who struggle with clinical depression and anxiety will also find this song comforting.

Favourite lyrics: That’s where the pain comes in / Like a second skeleton / Trying to fit beneath the skin / I can’t fit the feelings in / Every single night’s alight with my brain

Happy Pills by Norah Jones (2012)
Is a soundtrack complete without at least one song about heartbreak? This whole album was literally about heartbreak and was titled “Little Broken Hearts”. I’m 100% sure Norah Jones got her heart broken and wrote the album from experience. I adore her.

Favourite lyrics: Trying to pick up the pace / Trying to make it so I never see your face again / Time to throw this away / Want to make sure that you never waste my time again

How They Want Me to Be by Best Coast (2012)
This song is about refusing to betray yourself despite expectations from other people and finding someone who’ll accept you for “you”. I automatically fell in love with this song after one listen because it’s a reminder to be your most authentic self, a very INFP thing if I may say. Also, I’m a huge fan of the California beach sound that is basically what Best Coast is all about.

Favourite lyrics: I don’t want to be how they want me to be

Digital Witness by St. Vincent (2014)
There is no mistake that this song was written in the 2010s because it’s about people’s obsession with being positively perceived on social media and influencers who will literally do anything for likes and followers. St. Vincent makes a good point; some of them have even died from it.

Favourite lyrics: Digital witnesses, what’s the point of even sleeping? / If I can’t show it, if you can’t see me / What’s the point of doing anything?

Shake It Off by Taylor Swift (2014)
I will never be ashamed to say that I’m a huge Taylor Swift fan and absolutely nobody can change my mind about that. Shake It Off is a pick-me-up type of song; I listen to it whenever I’m sad, and I swear it uplifts me everytime. Godbless Taylor.

Favourite lyrics: But I keep cruising / can’t stop, won’t stop moving / It’s like I got this music in my mind / saying I’m gonna be alright

Blessed by Daniel Caesar (2017)
This song will play at my wedding, I promise. Songs that are about finding someone who’ll accept your worst and ugliest self really give me so much happiness and completely destroy me at the same time.

Favourite lyrics: And yes, I’m a mess / but I’m blessed to be stuck with you

Pretty Shining People by George Ezra (2018)
As you can probably tell by now, I have an affinity for songs that are about anxiety or at least touch this subject. This song’s message is quite hopeful, upbeat, and reassuring that you will be okay. Also, you’re not the only one.

Favourite lyrics: Why why, what a terrible time to be alive / If you’re prone to overthinking / Why why, what a terrible time to be alive / If you’re prone to second guessing

I have to say it was very difficult to write this list because I listened to so much music in the last 10 years! Music is so important to me, and the 2010s definitely did not disappoint.

What about you? What songs made it to your 2010s Life Soundtrack?

Photo by Simon Noh on Unsplash

4 thoughts on “My Life Soundtrack: The Songs that Defined My 2010s

  1. I’ve been pestering my friends for their top 2019 lists for the past week because as I see it, what better way to understand someone than to know what their most listened to songs of 2019 were? I think it really shines a light onto a person in a unique way that nothing else can. I’m also glad that your list is a collection of songs that I (mostly) have not heard of. The one notable exception is St. Vincent, but then I’m surprised that someone else is a St. Vincent van.


    1. St. Vincent just seems like the coolest chick. I was an automatic fan. ☺️

      Thanks for taking the time to read it. And I agree, I think the type of music people listen to can reveal so much about someone. I’m curious to know what made it to your list!


      1. Honestly I don’t think I could put a list up for the whole decade. I’d really have to think about it. But for 2019 I played Alvvays’ “Antisocialites” nearly nonstop. It’s such a great album. Early in the year I was into Weezer pretty hard. And besides that mostly a bunch of random stuff.


      2. I just watched the music videos on Youtube. I really liked it. Thanks for the recommendation!

        If you can do a decade wrap, you should blog about it. You are right that it takes a lot of time. To be honest, I’ve been creating this playlist for years LOL, but even then, it’s a lot of reflection and reminiscing.


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