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The 10 Greatest New Zealand Music Moments From the Last Decade

From pop sensations to sibling duos to globetrotting bands

Spark & Spotify – Bringing You Closer to the Music

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the partnership between Spark NZ and Spotify. To celebrate, Rolling Stone NZ decided to look back at some of the past decade’s greatest Kiwi music moments. Check out our selections below or listen to the ‘Spark x Spotify 10 Years Playlist’ here.

Lorde – “Royals”

When Spark NZ first partnered with Spotify in 2014, the song of the moment was by Ella Yelich-O’Connor, AKA Lorde. “Royals” appeared on Lorde’s 2013 debut album, Pure Heroine, but was written in 2012 during a school holiday break and recorded with producer Joel Little.

It was originally on her 2012 EP Love Club but the strength of the song saw it carry over to the full album release, hitting Spotify playlists and propelling the artist into the musical stratosphere: “Royals” topped the charts in the US, UK, Canada, and New Zealand, achieving diamond status of 10 million sales worldwide.

Listen on Spotify here.

 Six60 – “White Lines”

In 2015, Kiwi favourites Six60 released “White Lines”, the third single from their self-titled second album. The platinum-selling song, which reached #5 on the New Zealand charts, captured the imagination with its sense of community spirit. It’s “White lines and blue skies / Who told you that we can’t fly?” chorus continues to inspire fans around the world.

Listen on Spotify here.

Broods – “Bridges”

 Featuring siblings Georgia Nott (lead vocals) and Caleb Nott (production/vocals), Broods stepped up to the plate in 2014 with the release of their self-titled debut EP and the lilting “Bridges” led the way, capturing the attention of listeners with it atmospheric, wistful intent. The song achieved platinum status in New Zealand and Australia, as well as charting highly on Billboard’s US alternative charts. 

Listen on Spotify here.

Kings – “Don’t Worry ‘Bout It”

Arguably New Zealand’s song of the year in 2016, “Don’t Worry ‘Bout It” by Kingdon Chapple-Wilson, AKA Kings, may have had late night clubbing overtones but was actually inspired by his young daughter. “It was Christmas time, we were stressing about Christmas presents, and money, and my daughter just wasn’t worried at all,” he told RNZ at the time.

“She was just running around the playground, so the first words in the song “run free boy run free, that’s what I would have said to the young me” came to me just from watching her run free and be not stressed.” The song later saw Kings awarded Breakthrough Artist of the Year at the NZ Music Awards.

Listen on Spotify here.

Lorde – “Green Light”

Being the first single from her second album, 2017’s Melodrama, “Green Light” was always going to be an important song for Lorde, given the success she was following up on with her Pure Heroine LP debut and its worldwide hit, “Royals”. “Green Light” didn’t disappoint, its post-breakup themes resonating strongly with her ever-growing fanbase. It was a #1 hit in New Zealand and reached #6 on that year’s triple j Hottest 100. 

Listen on Spotify here.

Six60 – “Vibes”

 “Vibes” was the sixth single released from Six60’s monstrous self-titled 2017 EP. While it received some criticism for its references to firearms, the song itself is breezy yet somehow irrepressible. It also went on to become the top performing song by a New Zealand act in 2018.

Listen on Spotify here.

BENEE – “Soaked”

The lead single from BENEE’s debut EP, FIRE ON MARZZ, the funky alt-pop anthem “Soaked” was released on Spotify in September 2018 and immediately made an impression on the NZ charts, peaking at #14 and setting the artist also known as Stella Rose Bennett on her way. In 2019, BENEE recorded a version of the song in te reo Māori for the Waiata/Anthems compilation album.

Listen on Spotify here.

 L.A.B – “In the Air”

“In The Air” was the second single released from L.A.B.’s third album, [2019’s] L.A.B. III. It’s a summery groove that speaks to the soul, so much so that it went on to be a #1 hit that topped that also topped the end of year New Zealand charts. The song also features backing vocals from acclaimed Aotearoa singer, Lisa Tomlins.

Listen on Spotify here.

L.A.B – “Why Oh Why”

L.A.B followed up the 2019 success of “In the Air” with the infectious “Why Oh Why”. It was the first taste of their L.A.B. IV album, which saw the band spending 2020 off the road due to COVID-19 lockdowns and focusing on the studio and went on to win Single of the Year at the 2021 Aotearoa Music Awards.

Listen on Spotify here.

Marlon Williams – “Don’t Go Back”

“Don’t Go Back” was the fifth single from Marlon Williams’ seventh studio album, [2022’s] My Boy. ““There are a lot of New Romantic influences in “Don’t Go Back”,” he told American Songwriter upon its release. “I love the songwriting and over-the-topness of bands like Duran Duran.

“I was too young to have a sense of it the first time around, but at least to the modern ear there’s a silliness to the pathos in that music that definitely had an influence on the tone of the record.” My Boy went on to top the New Zealand albums chart.

Listen on Spotify here.

Have these hits whet your appetite? Then don’t miss out on the next decade of great New Zealand music. Spark offers amazing deals on Spotify Premium. Head to spark.co.nz/spotify for more details.

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