Genre labels are unavoidable in music. But labels can be misleading, and are ultimately ineffective in describing the music itself. Over many decades, the musical landscape has seen songs undergo an amalgamation of many stylistic influences--from rock and opera to pop and classical--and the inevitable use of labels to identify these emergent styles has resulted in phrases like contemporary classical, indie classical, alt-classical, and more.
No matter what you call it, the worlds of pop music and classical music have undeniably collided, and this interaction is perhaps most evident when listening to the contemporary art songs of the past decade, which saw more and more "indie" musicians delving into territory once reserved for the "serious" classical music crowd. With the absurd distinction between serious and non-serious musics largely eradicated, it's time to take stock of some of the best alternative art songs of 2001-2010. Of course, it's impossible to include all of the deserving songs of the past decade in a list of ten, but hopefully this Top 10 List will serve as an introduction of sorts. Please note, these ten songs are not ranked. Placing these works in some sort of hierarchy seems to me an unnecessary and unproductive endeavor.