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Year in Review: Best Pop Songs of 2017

  • Year in Review: Best Pop Songs of 2017

    Now that the better part of 2017 is in the rearview mirror, it’s time to take a step back and appreciate the sheer volume and diversity of pop music that has graced our ears this year. From the songs that made us wiggle all the way down the grocery aisle, to those that we can’t help but sing along to when they come on the radio (we’re looking at you, “Despacito”), many of these tracks will likely outlast the year and stay in our playlists for the foreseeable future.

    In order to sift out the best of the best of this year’s pop, Stacker reviewed Billboard’s Mainstream Top 40 charts and all-time Spotify plays to determine which songs captured listeners this year. This also includes songs that may have been originally released in the latter part of 2016 but gained popularity in 2017.

    A noticeable trend this year is that the top songs in the country transcended the pop genre, verging into realms such as dancehall, reggaeton, and even rap. This expansion of what we usually classify as pop suggests that Billboard and those who listen to popular music are becoming more inclusive. In fact, Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's "Despacito" featuring Justin Bieber, a Spanish-language song, tied with Mariah Carey’s 1995 hit “One Sweet Day” for the longest run at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. A foreign language song hasn’t been at the top of the charts since “Macarena” in 1996. If this kind of trend continues, we’re due for an exciting 2018.

  • 50. Silence

    Artist: Marshmello Featuring Khalid

    Spotify Plays: 235,475,931

    Release Date: 2017

    This electronic dance-leaning pop ballad is the fruit of a collaboration between two rising stars — DJ Marshmello and 19-year-old R&B singer Khalid. Billboard noted that the song is “a rumbling dance ballad that has the ingredients to take both acts to new heights in their flourishing careers” — in fact,  "Silence" is both artists’ highest debut on the Hot 100.

  • 49. Rockstar

    Artist: Post Malone Featuring 21 Savage

    Spotify Plays: 356,898,774

    Release Date: 2017

    The first single on Post Malone’s upcoming album Beerbongs & Bentleys, “Rockstar” held the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for several weeks in America and abroad, including the UK, Ireland, and New Zealand, among others. The song’s universal appeal can likely be attributed to its glamorous rock and roll “live fast, die young” message.

  • 48. Perfect

    Artist: Ed Sheeran

    Spotify Plays: 358,175,491

    Release Date: 2017

    “Perfect” is the fourth single from Ed Sheeran’s hit-filled album,  ÷, and continues in the same romantic, heart-melting footsteps as Sheeran’s other notable hit songs, including 2014’s “Thinking Out Loud.” The song, written about Sheeran’s girlfriend Cherry Seaborn, is one that, according to the BBC, is "guaranteed to soundtrack thousands of first [wedding] dances before the year is out."

  • 47. Mama

    Artist: Jonas Blue Featuring William Singe

    Spotify Plays: 364,590,877

    Release Date: 2017

    A collaboration between British DJ Jonas Blue and Australian YouTube-minted singer William Singe, “Mama” is a catchy, lighthearted single that comes on the heels of Blue’s 2016 mega-hit “Fast Car.” The DJ described the song as one about that period of your life when you’re young and carefree, without stress, bills, and problems and all you care about is having a good time with your friends every day and night!”

  • 46. iSpy

    Artist: KYLE Featuring Lil Yachty

    Spotify Plays: 364,825,740

    Release Date: 2016

    Rapper Kyle’s “iSpy” was released in December 2016, and gained enough momentum in the new year to peak at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in April. The song’s fun and whimsical feel were translated into an even more silly music video, featuring the two artists heads pasted onto the bodies of little boys dancing on the beach. The video has amassed 171 million views and counting.

  • 45. Location

    Artist: Khalid

    Spotify Plays: 373,291,635

    Release Date: 2017

    The breakout single from R&B/pop newcomer Khalid is the lead single from his debut album American Teen. “Location,” according to the singer, “is a story of young love. The kind of love that you would travel all over the country to find.” Its triple-platinum success led to Khalid’s steady rise in popularity throughout 2017, culminating in an MTV VMA award for Best New Artist later in the year.

  • 44. Feels

    Artist: Calvin Harris Featuring Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry & Big Sean

    Spotify Plays: 373,874,692

    Release Date: 2017

    This funky summer bop is the brainchild of Scottish DJ Calvin Harris, who brings R&B, pop, and rap powerhouses Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry, and Big Sean, respectively, into the mix. It’s the fourth single from Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 and is characterized by a light, warm bassline and a 70s-era disco feel.

  • 43. New Rules

    Artist: Dua Lipa

    Spotify Plays: 380,838,510

    Release Date: 2017

    The powerful electropop single from English singer Dua Lipa’s eponymous debut album charted and peaked so far on the Billboard Hot 100 at 21, Dua Lipa’s first Top 40 song in the United States. The track’s appeal lies in its position as an anthem about female empowerment and mutual support.

  • 42. 2U

    Artist: David Guetta Featuring Justin Bieber

    Spotify Plays: 386,337,860

    Release Date: 2017

    French DJ and producer David Guetta snagged pop crooner Justin Bieber for this single off of the DJ’s seventh studio album. Though the song now has its own original video, it was featured originally in a video in which Victoria’s Secret models lip-synced along to it.

  • 41. 1-800-273-8255

    Artist: Logic Featuring Alessia Cara & Khalid

    Spotify Plays: 387,792,293

    Release Date: 2017

    The impact of Logic’s third single from his third album Everybody is evident even in the song’s title, the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. It’s a track about mental health and how support and help from others is the most effective way to fight suicidal thoughts. Logic, Alessia Cara, and Khalid performed the song at the 2017 MTV VMAs and were joined by real suicide survivors on stage — a bold statement and unforgettable moment for many.

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