100 Best Songs of the 2010s – #37: “Hey, Soul Sister” by Train

The song at #37 on my list of 100 Best Songs of the 2010s is “Hey, Soul Sister” by California pop-rock band Train. From their fifth studio album Save Me, San Francisco, the song is a sweet and joyous celebration of lust and love. Technically, the song is from the previous decade, as it was released in August 2009, but didn’t peak on most charts until early 2010, so qualifies for inclusion on my best songs of the 2010s list. It’s the best-selling single of Train’s career, and also highest-charting, reaching #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #1 on the Adult Top 40 and Contemporary charts. It was named the #1 song of 2010 on the Adult Top 40 chart and #3 on the Hot 100. It also reached #1 in Australia, Hungary, Ireland and the Netherlands.

Band front man Pat Monahan teamed up with New York-based Norwegian songwriting and music production duo Espionage (consisting of Espen Lind and Amund Bjørklund, who wrote Beyoncé’s smash hit “Irreplaceable”, among others) to write “Hey, Soul Sister”.  Monahan told them he wanted the song to have an INXS vibe, and after they wrote the melody, he wrote the lyrics and started to sing the song, but wasn’t pleased with what they’d come up with. He later recalled: “Espen, who’s like a huge star in Norway, picked up a ukelele and said, ‘Hey, how about this?’ I said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ And it made the difference. It made my words dance. It made sense. These words were meant to dance with ukulele and not guitar.” (Wikipedia)

The heartwarming lyrics speak of being besotted with a woman and singing her praises, and are nicely delivered by Monahan with an endearing fervor guaranteed to bring a smile to even the dourest face. “Hey soul sister, ain’t that Mr. Mister on the radio, stereo. The way you move ain’t fair you know. Hey soul sister, I don’t wanna miss a single thing you do tonight.” The charming video was filmed in front of Chango Coffee in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Top 50 Songs of 2010

In 2010, a wide range of established rock artists, including Eminem, Train, John Mayer, Lifehouse, Weezer, Muse, Cage the Elephant, Phoenix, Three Days Grace, and Alice in Chains produced great songs. New artist Ke$ha had one of the biggest hits of the year with “Tik Tok,” her irresistibly fun “let’s get drunk and party” song. Lady Gaga was back in full force with her album “Fame Monster,” a collection of songs that dealt with the dark side of fame and doomed relationships, including the brilliant “Bad Romance,” easily her best song. And jazz-pop singer Michael Buble’s “Haven’t Met You Yet” was a guilty pleasure and a delightful throwback to the 60s. The Script, The Black Keys, Mumford & Sons, Mike Posner, Neon Trees, and American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert all scored their first major hits. Another newcomer was the incredibly talented Bruno Mars, whose collaborations with R&B/hip-hop artists Travie McCoy and B.o.B. gave us a taste of some great music to come from him.

My pick for best song of 2010 is Country pop band Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now,” an achingly beautiful song of loneliness and longing.

1. NEED YOU NOW – Lady Antebellum

3. TIK TOK – Ke$ha
4. BREAKEVEN – The Script
5. BAD ROMANCE – Lady Gaga
8. HAVEN’T MET YOU YET – Michael Buble
9. LAY ME DOWN – The Dirty Heads featuring Rome Ramirez
10. TIGHTEN UP – The Black Keys
11. TEENAGE DREAM – Katy Perry
12. ALL THE RIGHT MOVES – OneRepublic
13. HALF OF MY HEART – John Mayer featuring Taylor Swift
14. COOLER THAN ME – Mike Posner
15. TELEPHONE – Lady Gaga featuring Beyonce
16. LOVE THE WAY YOU LIE – Eminem featuring Rihanna
17. 1901 – Phoenix
18. ANIMAL – Neon Trees
19. SECRETS – OneRepublic
20. BREAK YOUR HEART – Taio Cruz featuring Ludacris
21. UPRISING – Muse
22. MISERY – Maroon 5
24. NOT AFRAID – Eminem
25. KINGS AND QUEENS – 30 Seconds to Mars
26. BACK AGAINST THE WALL – Cage the Elephant
27. BREAK – Three Days Grace
28. YOUR DECISION – Alice in Chains
29. LISZTOMANIA – Phoenix
30. LIFE AFTER YOU – Daughtry
31. IF YOU ONLY KNEW – Shinedown
32. IN ONE EAR – Cage the Elephant
33. WHATAYA WANT FROM ME – Adam Lambert
34. DYNAMITE – Taio Cruz
35. DJ GOT US FALLIN’ IN LOVE – Usher featuring Pitbull
36. NOTHIN’ ON YOU – B.o.B. featuring Bruno Mars
37. JUST A DREAM – Nelly
38. SAVIOR – Rise Against
39. ALEJANDRO – Lady Gaga
41. SOMEDAY – Rob Thomas
42. IMPOSSIBLE – Anberlin
43. HALFWAY GONE – Lifehouse
44. UNDO IT – Carrie Underwood
45. LITTLE LION MAN – Mumford & Sons
47. YOUNG FOREVER – Jay-Z featuring Mr. Hudson
48. IMPOSSIBLE – Shontelle
49. MY BEST THEORY – Jimmy Eat World
50. BILLIONAIRE – Travie McCoy featuring Bruno Mars