For the next few weeks, Amherst Wire entertainment is bringing the best of the decade right to you. We’ve taken the best and most memorable songs of the decade to give you the ultimate nostalgia trip. Check out the newest installment of our decades playlist below to take a trip back to the middle of the decade.
“Tell Your Friends” – The Weeknd
Jonathan Kermah, editor in chief
Every time I hear The Weeknd’s sultry singing of the line “go tell your friends about it” repeated on the hook of the intro track of his sophomore studio album “Beauty Behind the Madness,” I can’t help but compare him to Paul Revere. I immediately picture a bunch of Weeknd fans in XO hoodies going door to door alerting the public, “The Weeknd is coming! The Weeknd is coming!”
In 2015, the Weeknd had returned with his old vices of drug use and love making on “Beauty Behind the Madness,” but this introduction manages to fit in a reflection of the journey it took to get to the level of success the Canadian R&B star has reached at that point…alongside all the drug induced partying. Add in the suave guitar riffs on the outro of the track and you’ve got one of my favorite album openers of the decade.
Other picks: “90210” – Travis Scott ft. Kacy Hill, “Momma” – Kendrick Lamar
“Thought It Was a Drought” – Future
Trevor Wilson, editor
“Dirty soda, Spike Lee / White girl, Ice T / Fully loaded AP, Yeah.”
You already know what comes next. Future’s iconic intro to his trap masterpiece “DS2” serves as one of the decade’s most memorable songs. I can’t think of many other intro tracks off the top of my head that set the listener up quite like “Thought It Was a Drought.”
Driven by ethereal strings, glowing keys and snappy drums, Future welcomes you to his universe and opens the gates to his luxurious, drug-fueled dystopia with one of the most memorable hooks in hip-hop. Combined with braggadocious lyrics and an infectious delivery, Future delivers lines like, “B**** I’ma choose the dirty over you / You know I ain’t scared to lose you / They don’t like it when you’re telling the truth / I’d rather be realer than you.”
Other picks: “Legend” – Drake, “The Less I Know The Better” – Tame Impala
“Right Now” – Lil Uzi Vert
Shane Guilfyole, writer
2015 was the year Lil Uzi Vert found himself on many people’s radar. Through his project “Luv is Rage,” Vert introduced audiences his signature moody, punk-inspired sound. Produced by Sonny Digital, “Right Now” appears as the sixth track on the project. In Uzi’s mind, Love is rage and he projects this mantra throughout the track. Lust, money and power are all covered throughout the verses through notable bars like, “Even though I want you, I can’t take you home right now / I’ma let you take the number to my phone right now / You gon’ force me just to get up in my zone right now” and “’I’m stacking my money, I’m counting blue notes / You look at my pockets, fat just like glucose.”
Other picks: “Echo” – Kevin Abstract, “Huey” – Earl Sweatshirt
“B**** Better Have My Money” – Rihanna
Nasya Blackshear, writer
“Don’t act like you forgot, I call the shots shots shots” and boy does she. After an unfortunate altercation with her financial accountant, Rihanna clapped back with a total banger “B**** Better Have My Money” which is honestly up there as one of her most iconic moments. The song is literally four minutes of Rihanna straight flexing on everyone and it’s pure gold. I remember this song coming out and thinking “Rihanna really went hard on that one” because, well, she did. “B**** Better Have My Money” is the original bad b**** bop and continues to live on as such. I mean she really said, “turn up to Rihanna while the whole club’s f****** wasted” knowing that she’s the almighty bad b****.
Other picks: “ILYSB” – LANY, “La Belle Femme” – Hunny
“Hello” – Adele
Julia Donohue, editor
When it first came out, “Hello” was a welcome surprise. Fans had patiently waited for the songstress to release another tear evoking ballad, having seen little action since her album “21” and her nueva classic “Skyfall” in 2012. “Hello” transitioned into Adele’s next phase of life and album, “25.” While the song gently details the physical and emotional distance of losing a lover, somehow the track became an anthem for parodies and memes alike. Not to be confused, the track itself is simply beautiful. However, never since has there been a song that has evoked so much personal fear. Turning on the radio, going on YouTube and even watching Ellen, this song was inescapable. As far as two years later, the song and it’s album would infamously outshine Beyonce’s “Lemonade” at the 59th Grammy Awards. It’s hard to know what makes a song attract this much human connection but it leans toward oversaturation and in some ways, ruins a soulful ballad into a generic moneymaker. “Hello” is in no way a bad track, it’s excellent but by repeatedly stuffing it into the consumers face, the music industry does what it does best; makes too much of a good thing into a bad thing.
Other picks: “Can’t Feel My Face” – The Weeknd, “How Deep Is Your Love?” – Disciples
“Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” – Silentó
Brianna Silva, writer
Upon releasing his debut single, “Watch Me (Whip / Nae Nae,” Silentó gained instant success. From playing on radio stations to school dances, it quickly became clear that the once unknown 17-year-old rapper, had a knack for music. While it was filled with fresh new sounds, “Watch Me” is fondly for its iconic dance moves to accompany lyrics like, “Now watch me whip (kill it!) / Now watch me nae nae (okay!)” and “Do the stanky leg, do the stanky leg.” By creating an interactive hit, Silentó proved that listeners have a much greater impact in the music industry than they think.
Other picks: “Don’t Wanna Fight” – Alabama Shakes, “Worth It” – Fifth Harmony ft. Kid Ink
“Blank Space” – Taylor Swift
Chloe Lindahl, writer
Taylor Swift dropped “Blank Space” as part of her “1989” album. It all occurred after her hiatus from the music industry following a vicious public fight with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian as well as increasingly negative publicity from the paparazzi concerning her love life. In “Blank Space,” Swift capitalized on serial dater persona the media had labeled her and created a satirical song and music video poking fun of the extreme label. Her music video was one for the ages and features an over the top Swift is shown as a psychotic lover following madly in love and then madly out of love at the drop of a hat. It was a turning point in her career and the public image that had been shoved upon her. Swift has always excelled at taking matters into her own hands and “Blank Space” was a perfect example of this.
Other picks: “Take Me To Church” – Hozier, “Suburbia” – Troye Sivan
“Love Yourself” – Justin Bieber
Kacey Connolly, editor
After a three-year hiatus, Justin Bieber dropped his “Purpose” album in 2015, forever changing his tween heartthrob image into a drastically different bad boy, tatted up man. While many of us were skeptical of Bieber’s new album, many were pleasantly surprised with his hit single “Love Yourself.” Fresh from his break with longtime girlfriend Selena Gomez, Bieber drove fans wild with iconic verses like, “‘Cause if you like the way you look so much / Oh baby you should go and love yourself” and “My mama don’t like you and she likes everyone.” From songs like “Baby” and “Never Say Never” to “Love Yourself,” Bieber managed to impress with a new sense of maturity and age that broke him free of his little kid brand. A true bop of 2015, this track still sends me straight into the feels.
Other picks: “Stitches” – Shawn Mendes, “Uma Thurman” – Fall Out Boy
“Killing Strangers” – Marilyn Manson
Adam Buckley, writer
Whatever predictions people had about the 2015 release the Pale Emperor, Marilyn Manson defied them all. A gritty explosive record with surprising blues elements, draped in bluesy swagger and confidence, Manson created an album that not only matched his legendary 90s’ output but surpassed it to release the finest record of his career. Incorporating elements of southern gothic, David Bowie, and the familiar moody ambience, the Pale Emperor finds Manson at his most comfortable in years. Relying less on blatant shock rock, the new direction fits like a glove for the road-weary voice of Manson; he has never sounded more at home with collaborator Tyler Bates. The record’s first single, Killing Strangers, became the de-facto soundtrack for the game-changing Keanu Reeves action flick John Wick. Much like Reeves, Manson appears ready for nothing more than reinvention.
Other picks: “Let It Happen” – Tame Impala, “Cirice” – Ghost
“Summertime” – Vince Staples
Astghik Dion, editor
“Summertime ‘06,” the debut studio album from Vince Staples is what gave us “Jump Off The Roof,” “Loco” and the track that made Staples a household name immediately after the release, “Norf Norf.”
Being from Long Beach, Calif., much of the album narrates the struggles he faced as a youth, and the crimes he committed as a result. The album is a book, and each song is a page revealing more and more of the brutally honest, nonchalant and somewhat cold blooded lyricist from the west coast. The entirety of the album seems rather grim and distant- no matter how upbeat the production may be.
Halfway through the double album however is an unexpected moment of softness, the title track “Summertime.” The beat is soft and somewhat distorted, produced by Clams Casino who produced many other songs on the record. The song is warm, and almost reminiscent of a love ballad – if Staples were to ever even consider making a love song. “My teachers told us we were slaves/ My momma told me we was kings/ I don’t know who to listen to/ I guess we somewhere in between/ My feelings told me love is real/ But feelings here can get you killed,” he speaks in a monotone voice. There is unwavering honesty coming off the track, and a touch of vulnerability Staples never exposes which makes the song stand out amongst the rest.
Other picks: “The One Time in Houston” – Wale, “L$D” – A$AP Rocky