Top Ten Dance Pop Songs of the 2020s80s gloss, 90s rave, early '10s EDM. For quite some years, roughly the second half of the 2010s, dance pop seemed to have been a thing of the past. Too different was the modern idea of a personal pop singer-songwriter to the escapism of the dance floor. However, almost instantly when the 2020s hit, so did a revival of disco, techno and synth pop. It was an explosion for fans of pounding beats, ridiculously catchy melodies and thick layers of synthesizers. The song needn't be happy-go-lucky anymore either: torch songs and songs about drowning heartbreak with music and dancing bloomed like never before. So, let's dive right into the neon pool and talk about our favorite dance pop songs of the 2020s!
Dua Lipa set the tone for what dance pop music would look like in the 2020s. While her self titled debut album still felt fairly anonymous, her sophomore record "Future Nostalgia" was straight up historic. An uproar in popular music that brought the magic of dancefloors, synthesizers and neon of past decades back on the map, all while coming across as modern and refreshing, intelligently tying together the titular components of "Future" and "Nostalgia". It already has a place among the great albums of the world. And no track on it is crafted better than "Physical", whose fast paced beats, foreboding bubbling synths, dramatic flutes and ultimately, explosive chorus give it an inimitable "let's have an intimate dance on the edge of the crumbling world" vibe. Brilliant.
"Addict" was made by fandom music producer Silva Hound together with voice actors from the viral pilot episode of "Hazbin Hotel", and became his first overlap with mainstream attention. While a fanon product, it was later acknowledged by creator VivziePop who gave it an animated music video that's one of the best of the decade so far. What makes this song go so hard is how it manages to give insight to the characters' traumas and mental scars, which they drown in excess, delivered with one of the most expressive melodies of its era and a beat that mimicks David Guetta's early 2010s EDM hits. It's a combination that works INCREDIBLY well, no matter how all over the place it reads on paper, and causes one of the most emotive and, fittingly, addictive songs of the 2020s.
"Addict" was my number 1 most listened to song of 2020 and my 10th most listened to song of 2021, culminating 300 points in my rating system, over 100 points more than the current second place of the decade (as of ...more
Since I'm not as active on here anymore, you probably don't know how much I adore Ava Max. She embodies the very idea of a pop star; she's exactly how it would have looked like if the MTV era smoothly transisted into today's ideas without multiple counter movements in between. She combines melodies for the ages with charismatic performances, and has a star appeal that we know from Madonna, Lady Gaga and Christina Aguilera. "Sleepwalker" is the highlight of her fantastic second album "Diamonds & Dancefloors", an addictive mini-epic of tears and dances. Its chorus is the most memorable, its beats the most hard hitting, and the synthesizer solo rivals that of Kylie's "All The Lovers".
Katja Krasavice made an astounding leap from being a "sex YouTuber" who just tries out singing for the lulz to one of Germany's foremost pop and rap stars (she does both and is good at it) collaborating even with stars like Doja Cat. "Raindrops" is her fourth number 1 hit in her home country (all of them in 2021) and one of the early 2020s songs with the most replay value. Admittedly more minimalist and slower paced than the other songs, the track whose tune takes (credited) inspiration from "Ievan Polka" without ever fully copying it, is still an infectious cathartic anthem for the broken hearted who want to let loose in the grooves of the late hours. Katja is assisted by Leony, the new pop princess on the German music scene, and in the original version the two alternate between German verses and an English chorus. The exists an "international version" though with the entirety in English, but its production was also slightly altered. But the most important thing remained there: the ...more
Miley Cyrus and Billy Idol - a combination that some time ago would have sounded strange, but that sounds fairly reasonable in the 2020s. Miley is no longer seen as a teen star, and also no longer seen as controversial and scandalous, she's become a respected music artist who constantly reinvents herself and achieves acclaim. Even her past efforts have been reappreciated. It makes perfect sense the rebellious legend of today goes well with the rebellious legend of the past. We could expect their song "Night Crawling" to rock, which it does, but what we could not expect is how this rock is combined with pounding dance beat and gloomy keyboards that perfectly mixes the world of the clubs with the world of the moshpits. It's darkly danceable.
Roxi Drive is a woman on a mission: to bring back the 80s. While earlier in her career, she achieved this through the modern synthwave subgenre, which draws from 80s influences, aesthetics and to an extent tropes and stereotypes, but still feels modern in its approach and production. Nevertheless, later on, after she met the right producers, she not only managed to flawlessly continue the tradition of authentic 80s music (also due to her ability to sing like they did some 40 years ago), but made some tunes that would have stuck out for their pop appeal and quality even back in the day. "Video Fantasy" is such a highlight. Somewhere between new wave and synth pop, early Kylie, a-ha and Kim Wilde, it unleshes an upbeat storm of lush production, fast paced rhythm and sing along chorus. Hear it once, and it's stuck in your ear all day.
If 2020s dance pop stands for one thing that's a harsh contrast to the 90s, where dance music's popularity peaked, it's how the dance pop of the 20s decade is driven by a sense of drama. "Last Dance", Greece's ESC contribution in 2021, feels almost operatic due to the way its chorus is orchestrated like an intense film score - it almost mimicks the Saw theme for a bit. It's without a doubt a glorious spectacle, larger than life and with a wistful "let's dance our last dance" as its central chorus line.
Helene Fischer is the biggest German music star of the 21st century. By any measures. Initially becoming famous as a schlager singer (a genre that lives from a soap opera style tonality, musically and lyrically), she slowly transistes into pop territory, culminating in the release of her 2021 blockbuster album "Rausch", a full blown pop effort. For the album's lead single "Vamos a marte", she gathers Puerto Rican superstar Luis Fonsi for a bilingual duet about how the two star crossed lovers (or in this case, Mars crossed lovers) speak a "language without words". It's perfectly melodramatic, especially with Fischer's signature strong vocals. Both artists perfectly fit into the early 2020s zeitgeist of emotive dance pop.
Fox Stevenson is one of those artists where you wonder why they never broke through in the mainstream, at least in Europe. His song "Dreamland" from 2019 is such a big moment you'd expect it to be an iconic landmark in popular music (but considering the internet can catapult even years old songs to retrospective fame, let's not give up hope yet). His 2022 is another song that only leaves you in disbelief how it's not all over the radio: the fast paced beat, the ultra earworm-inducing melody altering between falsetto and normal singing like nothing, the very likable down to Earth aura even if singing about a person he does not like. This song is a treat and like the rest of his output really deserves more widespread attention.