Joy was elusive in , in everything from politics to Hollywood to the isolated cultural bubbles where most Americans now look for shelter. The one exception? Pop music. In , pop established a true counter-narrative: cross-pollinating, democratic, and often as buoyantly unbothered as it has ever has been. Genres melded and sometimes combusted completely. This year in pop can ultimately be boiled down to one emblematic moment, when a stripper-turned-Instagram-star-turned-reality-star-turned-hip-hop princess dethroned the biggest major label superstar of her generation at No. Just to recap: our heroine gets paid to party, her nether regions are gold-plated, and bank tellers are completely exhausted by her frequent deposits. Demi Lovato always seemed like a workhorse pop star, diligent but never quite expanding past middle management. Paramore excels at big, brash, emotional calls to arms. Even at her most publicly beset, Taylor Swift possesses a secret weapon that separates her from the competition: truly unimpeachable songcraft.
Featuring eleven Number 1s, including Dua Lipa, Calvin Harris and Clean Bandit.
Follow Billboard. All rights reserved. If albums had something of a soft landing on the pop landscape in , then songs more than picked up the headline-grabbing slack. The Man and Sam Hunt did so domestically. And even with all this, it was still a year where the very best singles might not have been the very biggest. Lady Gaga, "The Cure". Following her rootsy, personal Joanne LP, "The Cure" comes across like Gaga's concession to radio's now waning love affair with trop-pop. Even so, the track is unmistakable Stefani Germanotta, from the smoky coo on the verses hello, jazz chanteuse Gaga to the full-throated, mountain-top-tickling bellow that announces the chorus. The Killers, "The Man".
It wasn't all bad news for big names this year, though, with some pros releasing excellent work that cemented their place at the top of their respective genres, like Kendrick Lamar with his outstanding DAMN singles, and DJ Khaled with the playground exuberance of his posse cuts. Then, we ranked them, starting with the year's most disappointing best-sellers, and working our way through the list to determine 's defining singles. Below, see our ranking of the 50 biggest songs of , ordered from worst to best. Swang , Rae Sremmurd Sales rank: No. Believer , Imagine Dragons Sales rank. Perfect , Ed Sheeran Sales rank: No. Slippery , Migos Sales rank: No.
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