The Catalyst

Best Music by the Decades

Marvin Gaye was on of our top music picks.

Marvin Gaye was on of our top music picks.

Anna Fowler, Staff Writer

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The Catalyst newsroom has compiled a list of some of the best music from each decade, and from this year so far. Here are a few of the best songs from each musical era.  

The 1960’s was an era of freedom of expression, which was widely represented in the music made at the time. Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” is a prime example of the talent of the Motown community, based in Detroit. Other genres like soft rock and folk music were very popular, including Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline”, which has a very light, happy sound.

With the 1970’s came the beginning of disco and funk music, but classic rock was still the solid foundation of American music. Hall & Oates’ “Rich Girl” is a perfect example of this soulful and smooth genre. Although veering into the genre of hard rock, Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” has a beautifully full sound with a guitar intro that can be recognized by almost everyone.

The 1980’s brought bright and bold music that could get anyone dancing, including Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love”, a funky song with a great bassline. Popularized by the cult classic movie “The Breakfast Club”, Simple Minds’s hit “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” includes a precise drumline and Jim Kerr’s breathy voice, which come together to form an emotional and iconic song.

After the very electronic sound of the eighties, the 1990’s brought a different, more soulful sound, focusing more on the artists’ voices. This is especially evident in Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing”, with a background of a full orchestra which spotlights Houston’s gorgeous and powerful vocals. This comes in contrast with Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch’s “Good Vibrations”, a hip hop track which is nearly impossible to not dance to. The cheerful piano and tight background vocals combine to make a song that can turn any frown upside down.

On Train’s “Drops of Jupiter”, the introductory piano chords are the epitome of 2000’s pop. After one verse, the guitar and orchestra come in as a harmonic backdrop, creating a soothing and smooth sound. This is nearly the opposite of Outkast’s 2003 hit, “Hey Ya!”, a groovy hip hop hit with unique vocals and harmonies. This song goes back and forth between Andre Benjamin’s suave singing voice and rhythmic rapping.

With a swarming intro and booming bass, Rihanna’s “Needed Me” expresses the electronic sound of the 2010’s. Complex vocal runs and a slightly slow but powerful tempo make this song a standout. Although not very well known, J Balvin’s spanglish song “Safari” includes a latin-inspired beat and female background vocals, and features Pharrell Williams, one of the most highly regarded songwriters of our time.

In terms of 2017, there have already been many great releases. Our newsroom suggests checking out the following songs:

“New Rules” – Dua Lipa

“El Amante” – Nicky Jam

“It’s A Vibe” – 2 Chainz ft. Ty Dolla $ign, Trey Songz, Jhené Aiko

“Love” – Lana Del Rey

“Tunnel Vision” – Kodak Black

These five songs encompass several genres, showing the diversity of 2017’s best music. To see the rest of the newsroom’s Best of the Decades playlist, go to Spotify:

https://open.spotify.com/user/akf20vb/playlist/7z0tTzjwbfFVL2iy7ASdtW .

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