Top 100 Pop Songs of 2010

Year 2010 And Field


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This is admittedly a subjective list based on judgments of quality instead of sales figures or radio airplay. A number of songs have expanded reviews. Click on the word 'Review' to read more information about the song. This list should be a great conversation starter. Feel free to agree or to disagree. Either way, there is a lot of great pop music to be found on this list.

It's a laidback song from Nickelback that's perfect for a barbeque. It's complete with an amusing accompanying music video. Watch the Music Video.

Ke$ha's "Your Love Is My Drug," is an insanely catchy tune complete with giggling and a silly spoken word outro. Watch the Music Video.

For the fourth single from their smash hit album, the Black Eyed Peas turned to this song with a dual personality. It begins as stripped down hip-hop then slides into a jazzy groove for the end section. The result was another #1 pop hit for the group. Watch the Music Video.

Barbados born Shontelle proved that she was not a one-hit wonder with this plaintive ballad that placed higher up on the charts than her first hit "T-Shirt" did.​ Watch the Music Video.

When she was only ten years old, Willow Smith, daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, released this song that went viral on the internet. It's uptempo and extremely catchy, but it can seem a bit simplistic and terribly repetitive as well.  Watch the Music Video.

In an unusual twist, Timbaland sings here. This song also helped keep Katy Perry in the pop spotlight while fans waited for her next album.​ Watch the Music Video.

Taio Cruz' second big hit in the US is a collaborative effort with Max Martin, Dr. Luke, and Benny Blanco. All three are masters of contemporary pop.​ Watch the Music Video.

Taylor Swift's "Today Was a Fairytale," debuted at #2 on the pop singles chart. It was written and performed specifically for the soundtrack to the film Valentine's Day and features Taylor Swift in pop mode singing about a nearly perfect day.

Two of the top teen-oriented artists collaborated on a track that sounded like pure summer fun when it first appeared in the spring of 2010. Sean Kingston and Justin Bieber toured together later in the year.​ Watch the Music Video.

Two teen favorites collaborate here for an outstanding teen dating song. This one is a prime candidate for next year's prom list.​ ​Watch the Music Video.

Jesse McCartney takes the approach here of not messing with a formula that works. He says that it is the song on his upcoming album Have It All that is most similar to the previous Departure collection.​ Listen to the song.

The title track from Kelly Clarkson's album All I Ever Wanted is one of the strongest tracks on the collection. It was originally recorded by the Oklahoma rock band Aranda.

The 17-year-old star of Nickelodeon's show iCarly embarked on pursuing a mainstream pop career this year. The song is centered on the sweetness of young love. Watch the Music Video.

This appealing dance-pop song was initially recorded as a demo by Usher. However, he rejected the song for himself and suggested that his protege Justin Bieber do a recording of the song. Ultimately, there are now versions with both Usher and Justin Bieber taking lead vocals while the other provides backup support. Watch the Music Video.

Borrowing a hook from Janet Jackson's "Again," Iyaz proved here he is no one hit wonder.​ Watch the Music Video.

A debut single as massive as 2009's "Whatcha Say" is a hard act to follow. However, "In My Head" is catchy enough it did the trick turning into another big hit for Jason Derulo.​ Watch the Music Video.

17-year-old Selena Gomez broke into the pop top 40 for the first time with this perky bit of dance pop. The song climbed all the way to the top 10 in the United Kingdom. Watch the Music Video.

A little promotion from the hit TV show Jersey Shore and surefire raps from Pitbull helped bring Enrique Iglesias back into the pop top 10 for the first time in nearly ten years. This is one of the top party hits of the year. Watch the Music Video.

Jay-Z's haunting song is built around Alphaville's 1984 song "Forever Young." This hit served as an introduction to US mainstream pop audiences for British artist Mr. Hudson, a protege of Kanye West.

Linkin Park headed in the direction of more synth textures and less rock guitar on this lead single from the A Thousand Suns album. The album and single were a commercial disappointment for the band in a year in which rock did not fare well at all in music sales.​ Watch the Music Video.

Australian duo Yolanda Be Cool built a worldwide pop sensation around a sample of a 1950s Italian pop song. It is quite repetitive but good for a solid smile the first few times through.

Flo Rida collaborated here with one of the hottest pop-dance producers, David Guetta. The result was another extremely catchy pop hip-hop song that brought Flo Rida his fifth top 10 pop hit in the past three years.​ Watch the Music Video.

Taylor Swift's first single from the massively successful Speak Now was somewhat disappointing seeming a bit too similar to previous hits. Fortunately, "Mine" is one of the weaker tracks on the album. There ​were multiple outstanding tracks to come when the album hit stores.​ Watch the Music Video.

Reportedly "If It's Love" was written around the same time as Train's hit "Hey, Soul Sister." It was intended as a thank you to Train's fans. Watch the Music Video.

The first single from Michael Jackson's posthumous album does feel a bit incomplete but is clearly in the mode of other classic uplifting Michael Jackson anthems. Watch the Music Video.

Wiz Khalifa makes his debut in the pop mainstream with a musical celebration of the colors most associated with his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Norwegian duo StarGate produced the song.​ Watch the Music Video.

The first single from Jay Sean's first album after his massive breakthrough in 2009 with "Down" is musically more of the same and nearly as catchy. This year's most valuable featured artist Nicki Minaj adds her personality to the project.​ Watch the Music Video.

The song "Jar Of Hearts" by singer Christina Perri caused a sensation after it was used as the soundtrack to dance on the reality competition show So You Think You Can Dance? The song climbed on to the Billboard Hot 100 after being released independently on iTunes. Later Atlantic Records reissued the song, and it began to rise on the charts again.​ Watch the Music Video.

Adam Lambert headed to the Max Martin hit factory here. It is catchy but slightly faceless. The accompanying music video is more distinctive than the song.​ Watch the Music Video.

The Black Eyed Peas continue to march to the beat of their drummer. Here they build a song around the 1980s Dirty Dancing hit "(I've Had) The Time Of My Life." The primary concerns are celebration and fun.​ Watch the Music Video.

The Ready Set is 21-year-old solo performer Jordan Michael Witzigreuter. He was signed to a recording contract by Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz. On this track producer, J.R. Rotem takes him in a pop dance direction. Watch the Music Video.

The final hit from Lady Gaga's collection The Fame Monster sounds like a musical tribute to none other than Ace of Base. It also came complete with a controversial video. Watch the Music Video.

R&B singer Trey Songz hit the pop top 10 with this song about the joys of hanging out in a club. It features a rap from Nicki Minaj performing as her alter ego Roman Zolanski.​ Watch the Music Video.

Sean Kingston collaborated with the StarGate production team for the first time here. It keeps him on the dance floor and became Sean Kingston's seventh top 40 pop hit in less than four years.​ Watch the Music Video., Nicki Minaj, and a big sample from the Buggles' classic "Video Killed the Radio Star" equaled tremendous musical fun. It even caused the re-united Buggles to create their cover version of "Check It Out." Watch the Music Video.

The UK's Taio Cruz made his US debut with this ultra-catchy R&B and pop blend. It was a #1 smash hit helped by a strong rap assist from Ludacris. Watch the Music Video.

Showing off his versatility rapper B.o.B. collaborated with Rivers Phoenix, lead vocalist of the band Weezer, for a catchy power pop song that resulted in his third consecutive top 10 hit. Watch the Music Video.

Mike Posner's second hit single drops most ​hip-hop influences and moves more strongly in an electro-pop direction. He worked with hot producer Benny Blanco in putting together the record.

Shakira's official anthem for the 2010 World Cup combines African and Latin elements for a truly international pop sound.​ Watch the Music Video.

Trash pop at its finest. The duo 3OH!3 returned with party girl Ke$ha in tow. Good trashy fun or irritating? Most audiences did have a strong opinion. Watch the Music Video.

Usher returned to the dance floor following his massive hit "OMG." This time it was with surefire pop melodies from Max Martin and a guest rap from Pitbull. Watch the Music Video.

Somalia born Canadian rapper and singer K'Naan gained worldwide acclaim with this anthem. It was used extensively by Coca-Cola in advertising surrounding the 2010 World Cup.

Teen star Selena Gomez moved into a more adult dance-pop sound here. It continued her hit streak and likely picked up some new adult fans to go with her solid teen base. Watch the Music Video.

Drake previewed his debut album Thank Me Later with this powerful meditation on the impact of his rise to stardom over the previous year. Watch the Music Video.

Ke$ha's world in which the ordinary becomes sexy and the trashy becomes exceptional continued here. "Take It Off" was the fourth consecutive top 10 pop hit from her debut album Animal.​ Watch the Music Video.

Irish band the Script made their US pop breakthrough with this song. Witty wordplay and midtempo pop rock proved tremendously appealing on pop radio. Ultimately "Breakeven" was certified platinum for download sales.  Watch the Music Video.

This sexy and intense song of desire and lust from Alicia Keys was made even more powerful in the music video by tackling interracial dating as the primary plot element.​ Watch the Music Video.

Drake turns a quest for love into something sounding like a near desperate search. The controversial video contains a surprise ending that will shock the first time through. Watch the Music Video.

Nicki Minaj was easily the featured rapper of the year. For her first major solo pop hit, she samples the Annie Lennox song "No More I Love Yous" for a hook.​ Watch the Music Video.

"Rocket" sounds like Goldfrapp took a wide range of 80s pop influences and threw them in a blender. This delightfully catchy song is what came out. Watch the Music Video.

Kelis returned in 2010 and moved away from strong R&B to a more electronic dance-pop oriented sound. The inspirational lyrics are inspired by her son Knight. Watch the Music Video.

If you feel that you tend to run into the song "Secrets" nearly everywhere, it's probably not your imagination. OneRepublic's hit has been featured in a wide range of TV shows as well as advertising by Ralph Lauren and for Apple's iPhone 4. It is a grand, sweeping ballad in the tradition of the group's first major hit "Apologize." ​Watch the Music Video.

Matisyahu's spiritually uplifting prayer for peace in our world was used extensively as a theme song for NBC's coverage of the 2010 Winter OlympicsWatch the Music Video.

The Cash Money hip-hop label rolled out its superstar list of young rap artists to put together this clever collaborative effort. Nicki Minaj, Drake, and Lloyd are among those featured here. Watch the Music Video.

Travie McCoy stepped away from his group Gym Class Heroes for this first solo effort. Honey sweet vocals on the hook by Bruno Mars helped it become a top 5 smash. Watch the Music Video.

This lead single from Justin Bieber's second album gets a lot of the credit for making him truly a world pop superstar. "Baby" rolled into the top 5 in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. It proved he can deliver a hit single that instantly sounds timeless in its appeal. Watch the Music Video.

The lead single from Sara Bareilles' album Kaleidoscope Heart delivers more of the literate piano-based pop that animated her breakthrough "Love Song." It was inspired by her frustration with the amount of unsolicited advice she has received from others on how to live her life. Watch the Music Video.

Chris Brown continued the rehabilitation of his mainstream pop career by heading back to the type of R&B dance music that made him a pop star in the first place. Watch the music video to enjoy Chris Brown's immense dancing talent as well.  Watch the Music Video.

80s dance pop is the touchstone for this US debut hit by the duo La Roux. Ultimately "Bulletproof" amounts to a bit of an "I Will Survive" for a new generation.​ Watch the Music Video.

Romanian musician and producer Edward Maya created an international pop sensation with this adaptation of an Azerbaijani song. The record reached #1 in at least ten different countries before making it to the US. Watch the Music Video.

"Rude Boy" is nearly the only upbeat moment on Rihanna's album Rated R. However, even here the upbeat skates along the borderline of intensity when teasing of the unidentified male in the song runs along the border of taunting. The island lilt of the music here helped make this a huge #1 hit.​ Watch the Music Video.

Demonstrating her maturation as an artist, "A Year Without Rain" is an elegant dance ballad by Selena Gomez and her band the Scene. It became a top 40 hit on both pop and dance charts.​ Watch the Music Video.

Michael Buble successfully brought his sophisticated adult pop to the mainstream for the first time with the thoroughly charming "Haven't Met You Yet." It became his first top 40 pop hit after a string of bestselling albums. ​Watch the Music Video.

In the spirit of her perennial holiday hit "All I Want For Christmas Is You" Mariah Carey released her second-holiday album Merry Christmas II You. The lead single is a bubbly uptempo song borrowing the spirit of Motown and Phil Spector holiday classics. Watch the Music Video.

This hit from the DJ partnership known as Duck Sauce samples Boney M's song "Gotta Go Home." The song hearkens back to classic disco with the utterance of "Barbra Streisand" as the only actual words that appear among the lyrics.

Pink promotes her greatest hits collection with this celebration of the underdog that does seem to sum up the attitude of many of her top tracks of the past. Max Martin collaborated and helped bring Pink her second #1 pop hit single.

Robyn says that this dance-pop hit is about things being both scary and fun when you meet someone new and fall in love. It is intelligent and irresistibly catchy pop that Robyn does particularly well.​

Nearly ten years after their last appearance on the Billboard Hot 100, Sade returned with this spare, elegant, heartbreaking song. It went clear to #1 on the jazz chart while crossing over into R&B and pop. Watch the Music Video.

With the release of "California Gurls," Katy Perry announced confidently that, "Summer begins here!" It did, and this delectably sweet perky pop song dominated the charts in the summer of 2010. ​Watch the Music Video.

Mike Posner's charming blend of pop and hip-hop was an anomaly on this past summer's Warped Tour, but it helped ensure a wide audience for his pop debut. Watch the Music Video.

Matt and Kim's punk dance pop reached an even wider audience this year with their album Sidewalks opening at #30 on the album chart. Mainstream pop radio and audiences undeservedly overlook their music.

The biggest hit yet from the raucous punk-pop band Paramore is a reflective, bittersweet ballad. Watch the Music Video

"Little Lion Man" is the debut single from British folk-rock band Mumford and Sons. It has been nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Song as well as the group being nominated for Best New Artist.

It didn't seem to make obvious sense for a collaboration automatically, but brought out the splashy born entertainer in Usher. The result went straight to #1. Watch the Music Video.

Eminem previewed his Recovery album with a track that is truly inspirational. The result was a #1 debut on the pop singles chart.​ Watch the Music Video.

"All the Lovers" sounds like a grand culmination of Kylie Minogue's international pop success. This is beautiful, swirling disco pop that sparkles and shimmers in your ears.

Maroon 5 tightened up their sound here and provided more depth to the instrumental track with the guidance of legendary pop-rock producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange. Watch the Music Video.

Despite what might seem gimmicky about the use of the "f" word in an alternative version of this song, "Tonight (I'm Lovin' You)" shows Enrique Iglesias in the club dance mode that is his musical comfort zone.

It was a year later than fans initially expected, but when Coldplay's Christmas record finally appeared, it sounded like a potential perennial holiday hit. The song begins in a melancholy tone but ends up proudly hopeful for the future. Watch the Music Video.

Rihanna introduced her album project with this, well, loud and proud demand for potential lovers. It was a powerful return to club-ready dance-pop by one of the world's top pop artists. Watch the Music Video.

The sound of B.o.B. turned more haunting on his second hit. Production from Alex Da Kid and a stellar vocal from Paramore's Hayley Williams helped turn this into a massive hit. Watch the Music Video.

Ke$ha introduced her EP with her most solid creation yet. The song is a celebration of uniqueness and the beauty of individuals delivered in Ke$ha's inimitable style and words.​ Watch the Music Video.

Love songs in pop music make up a very crowded field. That makes it difficult for any individual song to stand out, but Katy Perry did it on "Teenage Dream." The quality of the song itself was demonstrated further when Glee's version became one of the biggest hits the show has had yet. Watch the Music Video.

Rapper Nelly returned to the top 5 on the pop singles chart for this time in five years with "Just a Dream." It is an R&B laced pop lament that sounds timeless the first time it is heard. Watch the Music Video.

L.A. based electro hip-hop collective Far East Movement came seemingly out of nowhere to launch this #1 smash celebrating drinking at clubs. The first ultra-catchy hook is courtesy of a sample from singer Dev. Watch the Music Video.

With the help of producer Alex Da Kid and featured vocalist and songwriter Skylar Grey, Diddy has made a strong return to the pop charts. The homecoming here is a welcome re-introduction by the pop mogul. Watch the Music Video.

After landing in the top 5 as featured vocalist on debut singles from B.o.B. and Travie McCoy, Bruno Mars went straight to the top with his first solo hit. His "Just the Way You Are" is likely to supersede the Billy Joel classic of the same name in the minds of many pop fans. Watch the Music Video.

Taylor Swift's second single from the Speak Now delivers an apology in song. It is a lyrically powerful creation with a bit of a rock ballad feel.

Utah's Neon Trees are one of the breakout pop acts of 2010. "Animal" is based in 80s pop influences and gained one of the broadest audiences of any song in the year. It reached the top 10 on alternative, rock, adult pop, and mainstream pop radio formats.  Watch the Music Video.

Although most of Bruno Mars' songs lean to the happy side of love, "Grenade" shows his heart can be broken as well. Stellar break-up lyrics along with his sure hand for a pop melody have turned this song into another top chart hit for Bruno Mars. Watch the Music Video.

This potent mix of pop, folk, and more than a bit of soul anthem introduced mainstream pop audiences in the US to Florence and the Machine when she delivered a stunning live performance of the song at the MTV Video Music Awards. It returned to the charts again later in the year after a showstopping Glee performance of "Dog Days Are Over." Watch the Music Video.

Kanye West returned with an instrumental track that can leave you awestruck and words that will make you think. In essence, it was Kanye West back in his groove.​ Watch the Music Video.

The audacity of the title and lyrics made "F**k You!" an instant viral hit when it first appeared on YouTube. When the dust settled a bit this song co-written by Bruno Mars and his team the Smeezingtons made it clear it is one of the most cleverly constructed pop songs of the year with a powerful classic Motown influence. Watch the Music Video.

Katy Perry's third single from the album became her third consecutive #1 hit. It is a powerfully uplifting anthem encouraging listeners to celebrate themselves and look to the future with a positive point of view. Watch the Music Video

Swedish pop singer Robyn says she was inspired by classic sad disco anthems in this vulnerable dance-pop song. It became her first #1 pop hit at home in Sweden after hitting the charts there for 15 years. Watch the Music Video.

This plaintive painful ballad was one of the biggest country crossover hits in recent memory. It is reminiscent of classic 70s pop with highly memorable emotional lyrics. The song climbed to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as hitting #1 on the adult pop, adult contemporary and country charts.

Two massive talents made their pop mainstream debut on this single, and it went straight to #1. Rapper B.o.B. and pop songwriter, producer and vocalist Bruno Mars are a magical recording pair. The sweet result of their collaboration sounds close to pop hip hop perfection.  Watch the Music Video.

This song could be at least somewhat autobiographical for both Eminem and Rihanna. "Love the Way You Lie" movingly addresses the issue of domestic violence from the point of view of both people involved. As expected with such a sensitive topic, the song generated controversy. This is one of the most daring mainstream pop hits of the year. Watch the Music Video.

One of Rihanna's most romantic songs features red-hot rapper and singer Drake. This second single from actually soared to #1 on the US pop singles chart before the first single "Only Girl (In the World)."  Watch the Music Video.

"Runaway" is a stunningly beautiful Kanye West song dedicated to a "toast for the douchebags." The piano figure that serves as the song's center is positively haunting. The release of the single was accompanied by an epic 35-minute video that incorporated additional music from Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album. Watch the Music Video.