Playlistin': 10 Picks from Time Magazine's 100 Best Songs

Image c/o Andy Buscemi

Back in 1923, the iconic TIME Magazine was born, and coincidentally the world of popular music was just starting out at well. Compiling a list of The All-TIME 100 Songs" seems like a daunting task, but the magazine pulled it off, writing up an uh-MAY-zing selection of tunes from the 1920s all the way to 2010. In turn, we were inspired to pick our fave jams from each decade and broke down the lyrics to all of the classic pop hits:

1. The 1920s: Ol' Man River - Paul Robeson

Best Lyrics: "Old Man River, Old Man River / He don't say nothin', he must know somethin' / Old Man River, he just keeps rollin' along"

Why we chose it: With the deepest voice we've ever heard in pop history, Paul Robeson reflects on the hardships of African-Americans in the early 20th century. It's a classic song that will continue to stand the test of time.

2. The 1930s: Over The Rainbow - Judy Garland


Best Lyrics: "Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high / There's a land that I heard of, once in a lullaby / Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue / And the dreams that you dare to dream, really do come true"

Why we chose it: 
Judy Garland's iconic, song-bird voice defined the 30's. The Wizard of Oz is a classic still known to everyone young and old and this song never ceases to bring tears to our eyes.


3. The 1940s: Baby It's Cold Outside - Ella Fitzgerald

Best Lyrics: "I ought to say no, no, no, Sir / (Mind if I move in closer?) / At least I'm gonna say that I tried / (What's the sense of hurting my pride?)"

Why we chose it: 
Considered a Christmas classic generation after generation, "Baby It's Cold Outside" is a simple little ditty about a woman trying to reason with herself about spending the night with her gentlemen charmer. But, it's so cold outside!!! Sung beautifully by one of the greatest female singers of all time, it's no wonder this hit was our choice for the 1940s.

4. The 1950s: Tutti Frutti - Little Richard

Best Lyrics: "Tutti frutti, oh Rudy / Tutti frutti, oh Rudy / Tutti frutti, oh Rudy / A whop bop-a-lu a whop bam boo"

Why we chose it: "Tutti Frutti" gave the young people of the 1950's an exciting, infectious song to dance to like they had never danced before. The fact that it's still used in movies and media today makes this song our pick for this decade.

5. The 1960s: I Heard It Through The Grapevine - Marvin Gaye

Best Lyrics: "Ooh, I bet you're wonderin' how I knew / 'Bout your plans to make me blue / With some other guy you knew before / Between the two of us guys you know I love you more"

Why we chose it: The 60s were all about Detroit's youthful, soulful Motown Records. One of the standout stars of the label, Marvin Gaye, had the sweetest vocals and the suavest demure as he captivated audience with his talent. "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" tells the intricate tale of an unfaithful lover, and Gaye belts it out so desperately that it's considered not only the best song of the 60s, but pop music itself. 


6. The 1970s: Iron Man - Black Sabbath

Best Lyrics: "Nobody wants him / He just stares at the world / Planning his vengeance / That he will soon unfold"

Why we chose it: Iron Man defines the 70's hard rock genre and exaggerates the fact that there were so many new genres of music emerging at the time.

7. The 1980s: Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division

Best Lyrics: "Why is the bedroom so cold turned away on your side? / Is my timing that flawed our respect run so dry? / Yet there's still this appeal that we've kept through our lives / But love, love will tear us apart again"

Why we chose it: Although the 80s appeared to be slick, shiny & new on the outside, underground was a different story. The late 70s gave birth to punk music, while in the early 80s it blossomed into new wave. Nobody was writing music like this until Joy Division came along singing woeful, synth-tinged songs about self-deprecation and lost love. Their iconic presence and effect on music makes this the best song of the 1980s.  


8. The 1990s: Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana

Best Lyrics: "With the lights out, it's less dangerous / Here we are now, entertain us / I feel stupid and contagious / Here we are now, entertain us"

Why we chose it: When Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" went mainstream, so did the grunge movement. This song represents the early 90s zeitgeist. Kurt Cobain has said he wrote it after being "disgusted with my generation's apathy, and with my own apathy and spinelessness."

9. The 2000s: Hey Ya - Outkast

Best Lyrics: "If what they say is, 'Nothing is forever' / Then what makes it, then what makes it / Then what makes it, then what makes it / Then what makes love the exception"

Why we chose it: When this song hit the airwaves, it was an instant hit. Even your mother was shaking it like a Polaroid picture! Outkast's ability to defy all ages AND genres clearly makes "Hey Ya!" the number one pick from the 2000s.


10. The 2010s: Tightrope - Janelle Monae

Best Lyrics: "Cause baby whether you're high or low / Whether you're high or low / You gotta tip on the tightrope / T-t-t-tip on the tightrope"

Why we chose it: Janelle Monae's upbeat and infectious hit "Tightrope" not only has an excellent message, it's also got a rhythm that could fill any dance-floor on the planet. This was an easy pick as one of the best songs of the 2010s.

What do you think of our song choices? Let us know in the comments!

-AH & SJ