As you may have heard, Pitchfork made some lists.
The music website recently ranked the 200 best songs and the 200 best albums of the 2010s. The lists are recognizably Pitchforkian. They go long on indie bands, singer-songwriters, and “bands” that consist of one person; popular rappers and R&B stars; unpopular pop singers; and electronic composers. They give token nods to metal, country, and music en español, while completely overlooking vital genres from norteño to Broadway to grime. (Though they definitely didn’t overlook Grimes.) Pitchfork has twisted the decade into some kind of shape, and the internet has responded, as the internet will, by bickering.
That said, this list is a clear improvement on Pitchfork’s previous stab at summing up the 2010’s, their “100 Best Albums of the Decade So Far,” published at the end of 2014. The musical choices are generally more exciting, and the new list includes more women, more people of color, and more Taylor Swift, whose #59 album Red didn’t even merit a review at the website upon its release. A couple artists who placed twice in 2014, Ariel Pink and Swans, reverted to ugly duckling status, with nary a mention on the new album list.
Still, 200 of anything is a lot to keep track of. To make sense of this overload, I made a playlist of the most-streamed song from each album. (Or at least each album that exists on Spotify—sorry, Joanna Newsom fans.) Listening to it in shuffle mode is great fun. The playlist has made me feel like a chump for overlooking CHVRCHES and Big Thief, while it’s confirmed that overlooking Mac DeMarco was the right decision.
It’s also revealed some unexpected connections—hence this SUPERFUN TRIVIA QUIZ. Each answer is the most-streamed song from one of Pitchfork’s top 200 albums. Of course you could cheat, but you’ll have way more fun if you don’t. The answers are at the bottom. Now get to work work work work work work.
1. Which song didn’t hit the top 10 of Billboard’s Adult R&B chart?
a.“Latch” by Disclosure ft. Sam Smith
b. “Love Galore” by SZA ft. Travis Scott
c. “Love On Top” by Beyoncé
d. “oui” by Jeremih
2. Match the song with the person or thing that gets fucked up in its lyrics.
a. “Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck)” by Run the Jewels
b. “Drunk in Love” by Beyoncé ft. Jay-Z
c. “Fuck Up Some Commas” by Future
d. “Love Sosa” by Chief Keef
e. “Monopoly” by Danny Brown
1. a bland rival rapper who rocks Crocs at the fucking Wal-Mart
2. a jail
3. some commas
4. the Warhol in the foyer
5. you, because you fucked with them O boys
3. Which song did City Pages call “emotionally crushing” after its singer played Saturday Night Live wearing (you guessed it) a pair of Prince earrings?
a, “Don’t Wanna Fight” by Alabama Shakes
b. “Let England Shake” by PJ Harvey
c. “Pink + White” by Frank Ocean
d. “Tightrope” by Janelle Monáe
4. Which song yielded exactly one, fairly sketchy search result when I googled its title along with “Wilson Phillips”? (Of course, that’s probably all shot to hell once this goes live.)
a. “California” by EMA
b. “The Suburbs” by Arcade Fire
c. “Swerve… the reeping of all that is worthwhile (Noir not withstanding)” by Shabazz Palaces
d. “The Wire” by Haim
5. Match the memorable music video with its concept.
a. “Burn the Witch” by Radiohead
b. “Delorean Dynamite” by Todd Terje
c. “Every Single Night” by Fiona Apple
d. “Formation” by Beyoncé
e. “Genesis” by Grimes
f. “It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)” by the 1975
g. “Somebody Else” by the 1975
1. avant-garde Southern Blackness
2. Buy Doc Brown’s car!
3. Matty Stops Making Sense
4. weirdo discovers slo-mo
5. sad Matty is beautiful
6. She’s wearing the octopus???
7. Wicker Man... but cute!
6. Which song doesn’t appear on an Album of the Year Grammy winner?
a. “Butterflies” by Kacey Musgraves
b. “Instant Crush” by Daft Punk ft. Julian Casablancas
c. “King Kunta” by Kendrick Lamar
d. “The Suburbs” by Arcade Fire
7. Speaking of Grammys, the following songs all appear on albums nominated for Best Recording Package. Which song’s parent album actually won the award, thanks to an elaborate LP sleeve that reveals hidden pictures of stars when you hold it up to the light?
a. “33 ‘GOD’” by Bon Iver
b. “Lazarus” by David Bowie
c. “Nobody” by Mitski
d. “Something Gone Wrong” by Chickenfoot
e. “Swing Lo Magellan” by Dirty Projectors
f. “Two Weeks” by FKA twigs
8. Speaking of the Grammys, what thrilling performance at the 2017 awards included shoutouts to a dead group member and “President Agent Orange”?
a. “Hard Times” by Paramore
b. “Learning to Lose” by Margo Price ft. Willie Nelson
c. “Stonemilker” by Bjork
d. “We the People…” by A Tribe Called Quest
9. In a 2013 concert review, which song did City Pages call “pop-dubstep masochism-lite”?
a. “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga
b. “Come Down to Us” by Burial
c. “I Knew You Were Trouble.” by Taylor Swift
d. “Rill Rill” by Sleigh Bells
10. Match the song with its sample.
a, “I Like It” by Cardi B
b. “Itz Not Right” by DJ Rashad
c. “Ni**as in Paris” by Jay-Z and Kanye West
d. “Pick Up” by DJ Koze
e. “POWER” by Kanye West
1. “21st Century Schizoid Man” by King Crimson
2. “Hope Your Feelings Are Like Mine” by Vicki Sue Robinson
3. “I Like It Like That” by Pete Rodriguez
4. “Neither One of Us” by Gladys Knight and the Pips
5. Will Ferrell describing “My Humps” in the movie Blades of Glory
11. Which “girl” group song followed the Bananarama Model—the singers sang almost the whole thing in unison—when it appeared during an NPR Tiny Desk Concert?
a. “Before the World Was Big” by Girlpool
b. “Honey Bunny” by Girls
c. “Rosebud” by U.S. Girls
d. “Trans Day of Revenge” by G.L.O.S.S.
12. What song’s piano part did City Pages describe as sounding like McCoy Tyner: “forte chords around E-minor seven, octaves and a fifth in the left hand... with the right hand leaving out the third (interval) in favor of the fourth (or eleventh), so the chord’s minor quality is implied more than stated”?
a, “Change of the Guard” by Kamasi Washington
b, “Green Light” by Lorde
c. “Gum Gum” by Hailu Mergia
d. “Snowflake” by Kate Bush
13. Match the song with its high-profile commercial use.
a. “Black Skinhead” by Kanye West
b. “Dancing On My Own” by Robyn
c. “Window Seat” by Erykah Badu
d. “You Want It Darker” by Leonard Cohen
1. The Assassins Creed Origins video game trailer
2. Delta Airlines in-flight boarding music
3. Hannah and Marnie dancing at the end of a Girls episode
4. The Wolf of Wall Street movie trailer
14. I haven’t done the math because I don’t wanna kill my soul, but thanks to his guest verses, the most-represented songwriter on this list may be Drake. Which song does NOT have an Aubrey Graham songwriting credit?
a. “Magnolia” by Playboi Carti
b. “MIA” by Bad Bunny
c. “Only” by Nicki Minaj
d. “Work” by Rihanna
15. In a 2015 profile, what wordy song did City Pages cite as evidence of its artist’s “latent elitism”?
a. “Chateau Lobby #4 (In C for Two Virgins)” by Father John Misty
b. GOT IT GOOD” BY KAYTRANADA
c. “White Sky” by Vampire Weekend
d. “You’re Not Good Enough” by Blood Orange
16. Nearly all the songs on the playlist were written or co-written by the people performing them, but four are covers. Which of these songs isn’t a cover?
a. “Blue Ridge Mountain” by Hurray for the Riff Raff
b. "Dancing in the Dark" by Downtown Boys
c. “Doin’ Time” by Lana Del Rey
d. “Into the Black” by the Chromatics
e. “Me and the Devil” by Gil Scott-Heron
17. At a 2014 First Avenue show, what song did its singer call “the only song that I have that’s kind of funny”?
a. “Dancing and Blood” by Low
b. “Drone Bomb Me” by ANOHNI
c. “Every Time the Sun Comes Up” by Sharon Van Etten
d. “no tears left to cry” by Ariana Grande
18. Which ravishing bit of instrumental music becomes unsettling if you remember it’s about alien Scarlett Johansson sucking the innards out of some horny dudes?
a. “aisatsana ” by Aphex Twin
b. “Black Origami” by Jlin
c. “Love” by Mica Levi
d. “Rev8617” by Skee Mask
19. In a 2017 review, what “apocalyptic” song about babies did City Pages suggest “could refer to either our stunted, pussy-grabbing president or a new generation of Nazi-intolerant freedom fighters born to stop him”?
a. “Heat Wave” by Snail Mail
b. “Just One of the Guys” by Jenny Lewis
c. “Mustn’t Hurry” by Fever Ray
d. “That Battle Is Over” by Jenny Hval
20. Wow, you sure know a lot about the decade’s best records—but do you know which life form referenced in these songs appears earliest in the fossil record?
a. “Cranes in the Sky” by Solange
b. “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales” by Car Seat Headrest
c. “Hungry Hippo” by Tierra Whack
d. “Licking the Orchid” by Yves Tumor
e. “Turtles All the Way Down” by Sturgill Simpson
f. “Your Dog” by Soccer Mommy
g. “Zebra” by Beach House
1. Jeremih’s mainstream R&B hit “oui,” d, didn’t do as well on adult R&B radio. The two “Love” songs topped the Adult R&B chart, and “Latch” hit #10.
2. a2, b4, c3, d5, e1
3. Reed Fischer spotted the earrings during “Don’t Wanna Fight,” a.
4. Shabazz Palaces, c, has nothing to do with Wilson Phillips. I’ve never heard the Haim connection, either, but the internet argues otherwise.
5. a7, b2, c6, d1, e4, f3, g5
6. “King Kunta,” c, appeared on To Pimp a Butterfly, which controversially lost the best album Grammy to Taylor Swift’s 1989 (not on the Pitchfork list)—which is still less mysterious than “Instant Crush” having more streams than “Get Lucky.”
7. We don’t talk enough about the Grammy award for Best Recording Package. Specifically, we don’t talk about the national disgrace of Chickenfoot III losing to The Suburbs. Anyway, “Lazarus,” b, appeared on David Bowie’s (apparently) exquisitely packaged Blackstaralbum. Deepening the nation’s shame, Chickenfoot does not appear on the Pitchfork list.
8. A Tribe Called Quest, d, mourned the recently departed Phife, and Busta Rhymes explained The Scenario to the recently elected president.
9. When you think of masochistic dubstep, Keith Harris thinks of Taylor Swift, c.
10. a3, b2, c5, d4, e1
11. The duo Girlpool, a, performed this delightful feat.
12. Dylan Hicks analyzed Cameron Graves’ piano part in “Change of the Guard,” a.
13. a4, b3, c2, d1
14. Drake is nowhere to be found on “Magnolia,” a.
15. Jerard Fagerberg heard the good Father’s latent (or maybe not so latent?) elitism in “Chateau Lobby,” a.
16. Alynda Lee Segarra’s original “Blue Ridge Mountain,” a, only sounds like it’s always existed. “Doin’ Time” does Sublime doing Gershwin, and “Into the Black” is named for Neil Young’s “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)” but sounds more like “My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue).” “Me and the Devil” reworks Robert Johnson’s “Me and the Devil Blues,” and Downtown Boys’ “Dancing in the Dark” re-imagines Springsteen as a Communist.
17. Sharon Van Etten, c, said that. Erik Thompson heard her.
18. “Love,” c, is from Mica Levi’s soundtrack to Under the Skin. It’s a great first-date movie.
19. Dan Weiss was analyzing “Mustn’t Hurry,” c.
20. As near as I can tell, the internet’s scientific consensus goes: Turtles are older than orchids, which are older than cranes (although cranes are basically the same now as they were millions of years ago!), which came before hippos, which predate orcas, which beat horses. All of these are way older than the relatively recent phenomena of drunk drivers and your dog.