2016 was truly the year of the pop song. I mean every week we had multiple contenders for song of the year being released. Everyone seemed to up their game. So usually I give you a top 20 but this year I had to extend it and give you a top 30 because it gave me too much anxiety.
30. Elizabeth Rose – Shoulda Could Woulda
This offbeat indie-pop track was a early contender to be featured in my Top 30 and rightfully so. The polished electro beat successfully gets cemented in your head and will continuously play in loop making you want to dance under a strobe light while you’re on some sort of trip.
29. The Weekend – Starboy
Some people may disagree with me and debate how this should be higher in the countdown but get over it because it’s here. This song introduced the synth driven sound his fourth studio album was built around and serves you a ridiculously catchy hook.
28. Lady Gaga – Perfect Illusion
Possibly one of the most anticipated comebacks of the year and in typical Lady Gaga fashion her direction was totally unexpected. “Perfect Illusion” welcomed a EDM/rock sound making this the perfect head banging bop. The structure is quite basic but it successfully does what it sets out to do and that is to get stuck in your head. And I mean when she repeats the album title 21 times its hard not to get stuck in your head.
27. Gwen Stefani – Make Me Like You
After a wobbly comeback with “Baby Don’t Lie” and “Spark The Fire” flopping spectacularly on the charts Gwen Stefani finally had some luck. “Make Me Like You” reminded everyone why they originally fell in love with the Anaheim pop queen. The infectious disco-pop track is a gushy love song about a new man in her life and while the groovy beat is driven by cringeworthy lyrics the hook will have you VIBING.
26. Zara Larsson – Lush Life
If you’re a avid pop fan then you will know that technically this song came out in 2015 however it didn’t make massive commercial impact until the first quarter of the year. So hence why I am allowing it to make an appearance in the countdown. This is a MASSIVE pop song and if you haven’t heard it in a club or on the radio then you’re living under a rock my friend.
25. Banks – Fuck With Myself
I always prepared myself for Banks to do something a bit different and go towards a bolder sound and direction and she D E L I V E R E D with this alternative pop gem. “Fuck With Myself” embodies all the sass and confidence her live shows have adapted from the vulnerability we were first introduced to. This song will have you whispering “I fuck with myself more than anybody else” under your breath and loving it.
24. Dua Lipa – Blow Your Mind
Dua Lipa is an artist who is going to be a very important addition to your 2017 soundtrack. Her debut album will be BIG if this track is anything to go by. The production is vibrant, her attitude is on point and she delivers one of the biggest pop choruses of the year.
23. Major Lazer & Justin Bieber & MO – Cold Water
Major Lazer combines two of his most successful collaborators for one big song and the outcome was pretty great. What I loved about this track was the honest and relatable lyrics. Justin’s vocals are a lot more prominent than Mo’s and I do wish her input was a bit more substantial but as a collective they are a dream team.
22. Justin Timberlake – Can’t Stop The Feeling
From the moment this song was released you couldn’t really escape it. Whether you love it or hate it you have to admit it that it had to be included in the countdown regardless. As soon as it starts playing I cant stop the feeling that comes over me which makes me want to start dancing. I’m punny, I know.
21. Betty Who – I Love You Always Forever
I never thought I would include a cover in my top 20 songs of the year but Betty Who proved me wrong. This reimagined version of Donna Lewis’ 90’s anthem is lead by a dreamy synth beat and really gives the song the justice it deserves. Because lets be real the original lacked power in it’s delivery and Betty Who executes it so perfectly.
20. Fickle Friends – Cry Baby
Fickle Friends quickly became one of my favourite bands of 2016 after first hearing this song. It’s infectiously catchy and captures your attention immediately with it’s groovy baseline and Haim styled vocal delivery. Their follow up single “Brooklyn” was just as good so consider this as a tie.
19. Jess Kent – Get Down
Jess Kent has had a killer 2016 and it all started with this KILLER debut. “Get Down” is still on continuous replay 11 months later and once the chorus drops, I drop. The reggae/tropical beat is EVERYTHING. She serves nostalgic Lily Allen vibes and I’m not complaining.
18. Fifth Harmony – Work From Home
I’m not going to lie, I HATED this song when I first heard it. But then it started following me everywhere I went and I ended up falling in love with it. It’s gimmicky but in the best way and if The Pussycat Dolls were still around this would’ve been the sort of bop i’d expect from them.
17. Broods – Couldn’t Believe
From the moment I heard this song when I saw Broods open for Ellie Goulding in Seattle I was shook. The euphoric vibe this song allows to overtake your body is incredible. Seeing an arena full of people feel that emotion too while listening to an unreleased track is not an easy feat and they made it seamless. It’s catchy, relatable and honestly just insanely good.
16. Peking Duk feat. Elliphant – Stranger
Peking Duk are known to be able to provide a good banger and their new single is definitely in that category. “Stranger” follows the same structure to their breakthrough hit “High” and targets the top of the charts. I love Elliphant’s vocals on this, though I do wish her unique personality shone through a bit more.
15. Zayn – Pillowtalk
Zayn was the first of the One Direction boys to release his solo project and so far he remains as the best. “Pillowtalk” is a testament to that. This sexually fuelled track gives you emotion, sex, falsetto and power.
14. The 1975 – Somebody Else
I expected a lot from The 1975’s sophomore studio album and while it may have not delivered the same level that their debut did it was still close. This song however stood out for many reasons. From the production to the vocals and to the lyrics there was a raw sense of vulnerability and emotion. And then I re-fell in love with it when Verite covered it and transformed it with a groovy baseline.
13. Rihanna – Needed Me
My most anticipated album of the year was Rihanna’s “Anti” and she didn’t disappoint. It may have been very different to what some were expecting but to me it was what Rihanna does best and that is give you pure attitude and emotion. “Needed Me” was the perfect example of this and slightly showcased her Barbados roots.
12. Beyonce – Sorry
Beyonce dropped yet another surprise album and it detailed a demise of a relationship which had everyone pointing fingers at Jay-Z. “Sorry” was one of the more pop friendly cuts that controversially went viral with the “He better call Becky with the good hair” line. The whole song is full of attitude, anger and emotion and if you have a cheating ex then this is the song to dedicate to them.
11. Chainsmokers feat. Halsey – Closer
Halsey meets EDM. I say, YES. YES. YES. These two artists are a collaboration made in heaven and with her vocals perfectly harmonising with Andrew’s this is one unforgettable song. Though if they could do a decent live performance of it already then I may have considered making it higher in the countdown.
10. Mike Snow – Genghis Khan
Some people may get angry at me including this in a Pop” countdown but I don’t even care because it’s a banger and a half. There’s just something about this chorus which makes me want start doing lunges and punch the air. Also MS MR’s cover of this in Triple J’s Like A Version is V GOOD.
9. Calvin Harris feat. Rihanna – This Is What You Came For
I have some simple thoughts about this one; I’m very grateful that Rihanna and Calvin Harris collaborated again and that Taylor Swift didn’t do the vocals on it.
8. Ariana Grande – Into You
Ariana Grande has really stepped it up this year and proved that she is the princess of pop. “Into You” is THAT pop song that whether you’re a fan or not you know all the lyrics to and have some choreographed dance moves ready for when it comes on at the club. I’m in love with this song and how it makes me feel when I hear it.
7. Drake – One Dance
Drake had to feature on this at some point and I mean what a song. Like you may be over it, but I am not. This song gave you island roots and allowed for some ridiculous dancing. it’s taken me a long time to really appreciate Drake’s music but I am finally on board the bandwagon.
6. Martin Solveig ft Tkay Maidza – Do It Right
2016 really was the year of TKAY and with the release of her debut album I couldn’t be any more prouder of the direction she is going towards. However it was her collaboration with Martin Solveig that had me bopping and gasping this year. “Do It Right” is the ultimate pop song and highlights both of their strengths. It’s a summer anthem with it’s playful beat and lyrics and I promise you won’t get it out of your head quickly.
5. Tove Lo – Cool Girl
2016 for me was about getting a new Tove Lo album and “Lady Wood” didn’t disappoint. And neither did it’s lead single. “Cool Girl” is an infectious dance-pop track that lyrically looks at pretending to be someone you’re not and sacrificing your ideals to make someone like you and realising that you don’t want any of that. It’s vibey, relatable and her haunting vocal delivery is intriguing.
4. Neiked – Sexual
I discovered this song in early August when it had very minimal plays on Spotify and I quickly proclaimed it as one of the best songs of the year. Fast track a few months and the rest of the world has finally caught on and it is currently one of the biggest songs globally. “Sexual” is a captivating tropical pop track that has everything a good summer pop song needs; a killer hook, mind blowing vocals, sex appeal and quotable lyrics.
3. Mo – Final Song
MO is stepping toward a more dance friendly sound after her collaborations with Major Lazer have been topping the charts. “Final Song” is ironically one of the final songs on my countdown and I’m beginning to lose words to describe the catchiness and soppiness. So there you go. That’s my review on that banger.
2. The Veronicas – In My Blood
Because I grew up listening to The Veronicas I can’t help but feel so proud of their evolution as artists. “In My Blood” was a true gamble that paid off. No one expected them to go this drastically with the pop-dance sound but it worked so incredibly well. Their storytelling is still as evident as ever and somehow their vocals keep getting stronger and stronger. I don’t think I will EVER get over this song. It’s like “Untouched” all over again.
1. Flume feat. Tove Lo – Say It
BANGER. BANGER. BANGER. As soon as I heard this song I knew that it would be the song of the year. To put it simply for you; Tove Lo’s vocals compliment Flume’s production and this pop masterpiece was born. Thank you.