Oh, 2012, what a year you were. There were so many noteworthy hits from Taylor Swift to Nicki Minaj and even Rihanna. You have to admit that 10 years later, the massive pop bangers we hear now don’t even compare to these iconic tracks from the past. Although we’ve aged a decade and more music has been introduced in the past 10 years, these songs will always hold a special place with us.
If you’re looking to reminiscence on 2012, here are 10 songs that are turning 10 this year:
“I Knew You Were Trouble” by Taylor Swift
The fact that this song is already 10 years old proves just how fast time moves. Back at the time of its release, Taylor Swift was preparing to drop Red, which would combine the sounds of country and pop music to create one of her best albums to date. “I Knew You Were Trouble” is by far one of her most popular, and there’s no doubt that this song is timeless.
“Diamonds” by Rihanna
Who would’ve thought Rihanna would temporarily leave the music scene after the release of ANTI back in 2016? Not anyone, especially with her impressive ability to top music charts everywhere. “Diamonds” was the lead single off her seventh studio album, Unapologetic, and was a beautiful display of the singer’s vocal abilities. This song instantly became a hit and helped Rihanna stay in the mainstream for years to come.
“I Love It (ft. Charli XCX)” by Icona Pop
Whenever “I Love It (ft. Charli XCX)” comes on, everyone knows the words, proving how much of an impact this 2012 club anthem had on music fans at the time. It’s the perfect breakup song, unabashed and unapologetic in its nature. Also, Charli XCX was featured on this song at the time and now is a huge electronic pop artist, which shows how with time, many artists can grow and flourish with the help of just one song.
“Boyfriend” by Justin Bieber
Beliebers everywhere lost their minds when the singer released this track, slyly showing he could somewhat rap. If you weren’t crushing on Justin Bieber after listening to this song, then you definitely weren’t the average teenager. With its catchy chorus and sensual tone, “Boyfriend” allowed for Bieber to mature as a performer and move on from his successes from the past.
“Kiss You” by One Direction
One Direction really understood the assignment with this song. “Kiss You” made fans everywhere fall in love with Harry, Liam, Louis, Niall and Zayn and was the fun, lighthearted and playful love song Directioners were waiting for. The music video was also just as memorable, with the boys using green screens, motorcycles and themed costumes to emphasize the excitement that comes with being in love.
“Starships” by Nicki Minaj
“Starships” was the summer pop anthem we all needed in 2012, most likely playing from every radio worldwide as Minaj used her witty lyricism and over-the-top production to get listeners up and dancing within minutes. Ten years later, this song hasn’t lost its excitement nor its summer feel and is a fantastic song to add to your summer playlist. Nicki Minaj’s impact on pop music in the 2010s shows just how influential she was as an artist with her own vision.
“Summertime Sadness” by Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey’s debut single came out in 2012 as well, catapulting her to fame in an instant with the well-received “Summertime Sadness.” The dramatic production made listeners feel like they were being transported into another time, one where Rey is the damsel in distress begging her lover not to leave her on a sour note. It was the quintessential sad summer song we all secretly wanted and were pleasantly surprised with.
“Wide Awake” by Katy Perry
Katy Perry was one of the leading female pop singers at the time, struggling through a failed marriage to Russell Brand and mental health issues. “Wide Awake” was the singer trying to heal through what life was throwing at her in 2012, acting as an escape into a fantasy world where Perry can vent openly and find happiness again. While it was one of her more serious tracks, pop music fans instantly gravitated toward its vulnerable tone and lyrical imagery, making it a standout for Perry.
Thrift Shop (ft. Wanz)” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Out of all the songs that came out of 2012, “Thrift Shop (ft. Wanz)” may just be at the top of the list for most memorable. Coming out of left field, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis were entirely unknown as artists until their rap debut about buying fur coats and designer products at a thrift store went viral. “I’m gonna pop some tags / Only got $20 in my pocket” is a lyric everyone can easily recall, laughing at just how eccentric the song is.
“Gangnam Style” by PSY
One of the first K-pop songs to go mainstream was “Gangnam Style,” which was spunky and another song meant for dancing to. You couldn’t go to any school dance or wedding without hearing this song, and as soon as you heard the intro, it was time to run to the dance floor. Overall, this song was so random and humorous that nobody even batted an eye toward it but, instead, embraced the song for bringing people together within seconds.