Music

A decade on: The songs that turn ten in 2022

Thinkin Bout You by Frank Ocean 

Words by Suraya Rumbold-Kazzuz

Considering his relative ostracization and avoidance of the spotlight, it feels all the more important to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of Frank Ocean’s album Channel Orange and perhaps the most well-known song from the album: Thinkin Bout You. The song has become one of Ocean’s most well-known and the album itself is now a staple in 2010s music. Even now, ten years later, the song is as listenable as ever. Unlike other songs which were released that year, Ocean’s 2012 release highlights the importance of ignoring trends in favour of creative integrity. The song doesn’t adhere to the typical electronic sounds that were popular and common amongst most other songs released in 2012. Rather the song is pared back and focused in on the songwriting and voice. 

Frank Ocean has always stood out amongst his contemporaries as somebody who releases music, which is unique and different, which makes his song Thinkin Bout You that much more important. The song is captivating, part of the reason that it has stood the test of time. The lyrics are relatable, and probably always will be. As is typical of Frank Ocean, he captured a feeling and made it accessible to his audience. The song acts as a perfect example of how strength in songwriting can lead to a hit record that is listenable ten years later.

I Knew You Were Trouble by Taylor Swift

Words by Rubie Barker

It is hard for me to believe that it has been a decade since I bought my first album. People had bought albums for me in the past and a NOW album was a staple under the Christmas tree from the moment I had a cd player of my own. But in 2012, not only did my family now have an iPod touch, but I got an apple music voucher of my own to spend. And the album I chose to purchase was none other than Taylor Swift’s Red. With so many amazing songs to choose from though there is one that stands out to me from that time in my life. ‘I knew you were trouble.’.

As soon as that riff begins at the start I am transported back to warm summer days where my biggest concern was which song to make a video star to today. Most of the time it was ‘I knew you were trouble.’ and I have never grown tired of it and thanks to Red (Taylors Version) ten years on, it is back in my playlist. As a 12-year-old, the electric guitar and keyboard transported me into the world of Taylor Swift, angry at her ex, possibly Harry Styles, possibly John Mayer. But I also just think I loved the melody. I can’t be the only one who loves it still, as it is her third biggest selling single in the UK. The first line of the song “Once upon a time”, now is such a reminder of Swift’s storytelling ability, as part of her wider repertoire of ‘Love Story’ and ‘The Story of us’. I am sure that in another ten years’ time, ‘I knew you were trouble’ and Taylor Swift will still be as present in my playlists and hopefully in the charts. 

Primadonna by MARINA. 

Words by Rowan Davies. 

Growing up as a kid that didn’t necessarily conform to societal and cultural norms came with the perfect opportunity to find myself within the works of influential artists that stood out from the rest. Primadonna by MARINA is one of those songs that captures those nostalgic moments where I was first immersed in the culture of queer icons, art, and sound. 

Marina officially stepped into the mainstream with a song that was unapologetic in its message that preached striving for ambition, assuring us that we can be whoever, and whatever we wanted to be. 

Though Electra Heart stands as a powerful body of pop music, the individual single was ahead of its time back in 2012 for a number of reasons. It was one that marked the artistic presence of electric dance in contemporary pop, and lyrically, emerged as a quintessential (queer) female power anthem fusing both musical and lyrical aspects that formed a sensational and vital pop ballad. In turn with its musicality, Marina’s distinct vocal style was perfect for a song that defined 2012 contemporary dance-pop. Shifting from a high-pitched but softly sung chorus Marina quickly reverts to her distinct spoken-word like vocal approach during the song’s verses, maintaining her unique quirkiness that made us fall in love with her in the first place.   

Little Things by One Direction

Words by Abi Edwards

Picture this – it’s 2012, and you’re rushing home from school as fast as you can to turn on your computer because One Direction have released their newest music video on YouTube. Granted, not everyone was a fan of the boy band or their music, but 13-year-old me was a huge fan. In particular, their acoustic number, Little Things, has stood the test of time for me.

The song depicts a relationship where the girl has insecurities, but her partner believes that she is still perfect anyway. Looking back now, the lyrics are extremely cheesy, but I fondly remember playing the song over and over on repeat, and even learning it on the guitar. The line “You can’t go to bed without a cup of tea” (sung by Louis Tomlinson), wasn’t only my favourite, but I found it funny because I’d never heard anyone sing about a cup of tea in a song before. Ten years later, lots of things have changed (including my music tastes), but hearing the song on the radio, or unexpectedly on a Spotify playlist, is enough to spark a little bit of nostalgia, and put a smile on my face.

2012 had many iconic songs (shout out to Starships by Nicki Minaj and Hall of Fame by the Script and will.i.am), but for me, Little Things in particular brings back fond memories, and makes me want to go back to a simpler time of homework and buying the band’s latest album. 

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