I think it got pretty cluttered after the nineties with the rise of digital music and the decline of physical music and MTV.
There are like dozens of subcultures (electronic, punk, rock, metal, indie, pop, hiphop, trap, edm, idm etc.).
So it’s hard to find these non-genre-specific classics that really spoke to as wide as audiences as older classics.
As radio and social media still existed there was and still is a pop culture, but it’s mostly pop and some indie youth stuff that often gets incorporated into the pop culture as fast as there is any sign of it being profitable
I always tried to be open-minded, but I seldom really saw a subculture blossom into pop culture without it being diluted or oversaturated in the last decades.
But one probably should find most songs on some best-of lists if you want them to be more or less objectively classified as classics.
I’ll try it as an exercise and pick the songs for each decade I agree most on after googling some best-of-decades lists, maybe add some personal favorites that come to mind:
- Gorillaz, ‘Clint Eastwood’
- Amy Winehouse, ‘Rehab’
- Aaliyah, ‘Try Again’
- LCD Soundsystem, ‘Daft Punk is Playing at My House
- Queens of the Stone Age, ‘No One Knows’
- Green Day, ‘American Idiot’
- The White Stripes, ‘Seven Nation Army’
- OutKast, ‘Ms. Jackson’
- Christina Aguilera, ‘Beautiful’
- Daft Punk, ‘One More Time’
- Britney Spears, ‘Toxic’
- Rihanna, ‘Umbrella’
- Gnarls Barkley, ‘Crazy’
- Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”
- Muse “Hysteria”
- Adele, “Someone Like You”
- DJ Snake feat. Lil Jon, “Turn Down for What”
- Carly Rae Jepsen, “Call Me Maybe”
- Sia, “Chandelier”
- Luis Fonsi feat. Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber, “Despacito”
- Daft Punk, “Get Lucky”
- Lil Nas X, “Old Town Road”
- Lorde, “Royals”
- Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
As said these are just the ones that I vibe with or think had a deep impact on culture from the two Rolling Stones list of best 100 songs of these decades. As said there are surely dozens of songs with way more staying power in their respective niche as long as it still has fans to rediscover it.
I’d say it’s too early for the 2020s to tell how it goes forward with music culture and what will be remembered. Looking at the top 100 of the 2020s on Wiki I also seem to have missed the last 3 years of pop culture as nothing really stood out that I can imagine having any staying power in these charts. As said, most number 1s today seem standard celebrity popstars from the 2010s just churning out even more soulless stuff than I’m used to. As said sometimes in retrospect it’s easier to tell.
I always like to be open-minded and try to see if “I’m hip with what the kids listen to”, but I also rather use my listening time to find the music I like in the vast sea of old and new music, which is normally not found on any hit lists.
Alright hope my ramblings made some sense, interesting topic. Let’s see if there are some users here who may know some better songs that have some staying power from these decades.