4 of the Best Alternative One-Hit Wonders From the 2010s

The 2010s were a fun time for alternative music. While many moan and groan at the trends and indie-voice “cursive singing” hits of the era, there were actually quite a few great songs that came out during that decade. And some of those hits were the best their artists ever made. Let’s look at four examples of the best alternative one-hit wonders from the 2010s!

Videos by American Songwriter

1. “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye

We can’t talk about alternative one-hit wonders from the 2010s without mentioning this Gotye hit featuring Kimbra. When this track was released in 2012, it blew up on radio stations and basically any physical place that had a speaker. It was no. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for a solid eight weeks and bounced around the charts for a solid 59 weeks after. “Eyes Wide Open” came out just a few months later, where it peaked at 96 for only one week. Gotye hasn’t released a hit since.

2. “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster The People

Mark Foster of Foster The People was famously an advertisement jingle-writer before he penned the hit “Pumped Up Kicks”. This makes a lot of sense. “Pumped Up Kicks” was annoyingly catchy. So catchy, in fact, that few realized the song was about school shootings. The jingle outweighed the lyrics for most. It peaked at no. 3 on the Hot 100 and charted for 40 weeks in 2011, and the band’s subsequent songs never charted nearly that far.

Still, their catalog is impressive and they’ve collected a strong and consistent fanbase over the years. This is more of a case of one song going hyper-popular than it is any discount to the rest of their offerings.

[See Foster The People On Tour With Blink-182 In 2024]

3. “Shut Up And Dance” by Walk The Moon

Walk The Moon was a great band from the 2010s that had clear 1980s rock influences that resonated with audiences. The 2014 song “Shut Up And Dance” was a certified banger and peaked at no. 4 on the Billboard charts, and it stayed on the charts for over a year. Their next charting song was “One Foot” in 2018, which only made it to no. 65. They haven’t had a hit since, and it’s honestly kind of a bummer.

4. “Little Talks” by Of Monsters And Men

For even the most diehard indie and alternative rock fan, this song got so old. It was a go-to song on the airwaves for weeks in 2012. It was inescapable for a while. “Little Talks” peaked at no. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 and it moved around the charts for about 48 weeks. The Icelandic band has continued to make music since that massive hit, but none of their singles have charted on the Hot 100.

Photo by Tom Cooper

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