The TRL Pop Quiz works like this: our editors are posed a music-related question and have only 15 minutes and just 100 words to research, choose and explain their answers. Since we're almost off to a brand new decade, it's time to look back at the years that were. This week's quiz: Name two of the best pop songs of the 2010s.
Solange was determined to re-define the pop landscape as we know it, and she accomplished her mission in 2012 with the Dev Hynes-produced single "Losing You." True completely changed the game for Solange and gave her the foundation to build the platform she always envisioned on her own terms. It took a while for me to get into Grimes, but “Oblivion” used to come on while I worked at Urban Outfitters all the time and eventually I decided to look up the lyrics. I was shocked when I realized that the song was about the association of trauma with assault. - Sydney Gore
You can’t talk about pop in this decade without naming Rihanna, an icon who, in an era of carefully-constructed images, has always succeeded by seeming the most human. Her self-possession, driven by an endless store of quiet confidence, feels attainable. “Needed Me” is a distillation of this attitude, a sleek refusal to be saved by anyone other than herself. Meanwhile, every ‘80s dream that the 2010s has ever had—and there have been many—culminates in Carly Rae Jepsen’s “When I Needed You,” a track that channels effervescent Madonna-era pop, complete with slap-happy basslines, screwy synths, and an anthemic chorus. - Gus Turner
"Where Have You Been?" by Rihanna has everything a good pop song should, riding this haunting wave of longing into crescendos of gritty passion before sinking back into its ocean. From a pure dance-pop perspective, she may never deliver anything this perfect. Flume’s "Never Be like You" featuring Kai came at a moment where it felt like we had just figured out how to meaningfully merge EDM with pop and R&B, and this song makes apologizing for doing wrong sound absolutely wonderful. - Terron Moore
“The Rhythm,” from MNEK’s 2015 EP Small Talk, is the electronic dance pop single of my dreams. It gives me flashbacks of late 90s R&B dance remixes like "Nobody’s Supposed To Be Here" by Deborah Cox. On the flipside, RAYE’s "Cigarette" featuring Mabel and Stefflon Don is a tropical jam. The song is from her upcoming collaborative mixtape and is about being addicted to someone’s love, like one might be addicted to cigarettes (say no to smoking, FYI)."- Kristen Maldonado
"Call Me Maybe" is certainly of the best pop songs of the decade: fun, light and truly impossible to not sing along to when if it comes on. Carly Rae Jepsen is the queen of pop we don’t deserve, but were blessed with anyway. “Green Light” by Lorde makes me feel like the night is young and I’m hanging my head out of a moving car while feeling sad and excited and young and dramatic. And that’s exactly how I want pop music to make me feel. - Leah Williams
I’m giving my picks for best pop songs to two queer women of color. Where was "Sleepover" by Hayley Kiyoko when I was 14 and coming out (as what I identified as lesbian back then)? This song was me every single month of high school, especially when I was having sleepovers with my crush, who also happened to be my boyfriend’s sister. And If "Sleepover" was the soundtrack to awkward high school years, then "Honey" by Kehlani is the sweet ballad of right now. More songs about queer love, please! - Landyn Pan