I n a sea of songs, it can be hard to pick the ones that float to the top. They might be the ones that rise to the top of the charts, or the ones inspiring think pieces and late-night conversations. But no matter what, they reflect our cultural moment. More explicit social commentary has a place here, in the form of thoughtful hip-hop from the likes of JAY-Z and Frank Ocean. And there are a few surprises—like an unassuming Oldies-style hit from a low-key rock outfit , and a song that speaks to a feminist moment in the form of purest pop gold from a bold voice on the rise. Here Ballerini hits all the right notes: a personal story told in a way that makes it universally relatable; a sparkling, unhurried melody; a nostalgic mood. Buy it on iTunes.
10. Kelsea Ballerini, “Legends”
The Number Ones. Album Of The Week. But pop music ultimately lives and dies by the single. It is the currency by which household names and treasured memories are made. A word about my methodology: subjective. A few more words about it: This list represents an extremely loose and personal concept of what constitutes pop music. Country, which mostly seems to exist in its own vacuum-sealed universe, barely factored into this column this year, so I left it off this list. As for mainstream-adjacent figures like Lana Del Rey and Frank Ocean, I included them when I felt like it, arbitrarily yet somehow also with exact correctness.
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.
The Billboard Hot is a chart that ranks the best-performing singles of the United States. Its data, published by Billboard magazine and compiled by Nielsen SoundScan , is based collectively on each single's weekly physical and digital sales, as well as airplay and streaming. At the end of a year, Billboard will publish an annual list of the most successful songs throughout that year on the Hot chart based on the information. For , the list was published on December 11, calculated with data from December 3, to November 25, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved December 11, Retrieved December 12, Billboard Year-End Hot singles.