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Year in Review: Best Pop Songs of 2017

  • Year in Review: Best Pop Songs of 2017
    1/ Ludmila Joaquina Valentina Buyo /Flickr Commons

    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
    2/ Stefan Brending/Wikimedia Commons

    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
    3/ The Come Up Show/Flickr Commons

    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
    4/ Eva Rinaldi/Flickr Commons

    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
    5/ julian petroulas/Flickr Commons

    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
    6/ Anton Mak/Flickr Commons

    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
    7/ King County Parks Your Big Backyard/Flickr Commons

    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
    8/ Carlos Delgado/Wikimedia

    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
    9/ Sachyn/Wikimedia

    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
    10/ Chucho Ramírez/Flickr Commons

    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
    11/ Shelly/Flickr Commons

    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.

  • 40. Bad and Boujee
    12/ 300 Entertainment/Vevo

    40. Bad and Boujee

    Artist: Migos Featuring Lil Uzi Vert

    Spotify Plays: 388,363,057

    Release Date: 2017

    Migos’ lead single off of their second album Culture, had just hit the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 when it received a boost nobody saw coming — a shout-out from actor/rapper Donald Glover during his Golden Globes acceptance speech. This endorsement led to a 243% increase in the song’s Spotify streams.

  •  39. Strip That Down
    13/ Kurt Kulac/Flickr Commons

    39. Strip That Down

    Artist: Liam Payne Featuring Quavo

    Spotify Plays: 391,102,986

    Release Date: 2017

    The debut solo single by ex-One Directioner Liam Payne is a far cry from the wholesome, romantic pop that characterized the British five-piece boyband. The raunchy, R&B leaning, club hit “Strip That Down” features writing credits and some backing vocals from Ed Sheeran and a guest verse from Migos’ Quavo.

  • 38. Passionfruit
    14/ The Come Up Show/Wikimedia Commons

    38. Passionfruit

    Artist: Drake

    Spotify Plays: 391,102,986

    Release Date: 2017

    When Drake’s More Life playlist dropped out-of-the-blue in March, “Passionfruit” emerged as the frontrunner early on. It peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April. The mix of dancehall, (a characteristic of many of the rapper’s recent tracks) R&B, and pop details Drake’s “struggle to maintain trust in a long distance relationship,” according to Genius.

  • 37. Slide
    15/ Dave Gold/Flickr Commons

    37. Slide

    Artist: Calvin Harris Featuring Frank Ocean & Migos

    Spotify Plays: 411,160,517

    Release Date: 2017

    Calvin Harris makes it once again on the list with the first single from Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, “Slide.” This nu-disco/pop song is smooth and groovy, and features vocals from the elusive Frank Ocean, who hadn’t participated in a collaboration since leaving Def Jam Records to pursue his career independently.

  • 36. Wild Thoughts
    16/ celebrityabc/Flickr Commons

    36. Wild Thoughts

    Artist: DJ Khaled Featuring Rihanna & Bryson Tiller

    Spotify Plays: 415,362,105

    Release Date: 2017

    The third single off of DJ Khaled’s tenth studio album Grateful, “Wild Thoughts” won best collaboration by a duo at this year’s BET Awards. Its signature guitar riff heavily samples that of Santana's 1999 "Maria Maria,” but the Latin rock legend gave his public approval.

  • 35. Mercy
    17/ Josiah VanDien/Wiki Commons

    35. Mercy

    Artist: Shawn Mendes

    Spotify Plays: 429,621,938

    Release Date: 2016

    The second single off of Canadian ex-Vine star Shawn Mendes’s 2016 album Illuminate peaked at 15 on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s a ballad that details heartbreak, illustrated in the music video by Mendes drowning underwater in a sinking car.

  • 34. Symphony
    18/ Batiste Safont /Wikimedia Commons

    34. Symphony

    Artist: Clean Bandit Featuring Zara Larsson

    Spotify Plays: 435,768,455

    Release Date: 2017

    Though it came at the sixth single off of Swedish singer Zara Larsson’s most recent album So Good, the dance-pop number quickly gained popularity in her home country and abroad, reaching No. 1 in the United Kingdom and the United States in May. The emotional video for the song depicted a man who wrote a symphony to honor his dead boyfriend.

  •  33. Scared To Be Lonely
    19/ The Come Up Show/Wikimedia Commons

    33. Scared To Be Lonely

    Artist: Martin Garrix & Dua Lipa

    Spotify Plays: 439,721,677

    Release Date: 2017

    Dutch DJ Martin Garrix and Dua Lipa’s collaboration on “Scared to be Lonely” is a synth-pop dance number that Garrix hoped would be just as euphoric melodically but lyrically more meaningful than his previous single “In the Name of Love.”

  • 32. Issues
    20/ Terminam os Jogos Olímpicos Rio 2016/Wikimedia Commons

    32. Issues

    Artist: Julia Michaels

    Spotify Plays: 441,931,022

    Release Date: 2017

    Though Julia Michaels is more recently known for her breakout single “Issues,” Michaels has been working behind the scenes for years, writing songs for other high-profile artists. She penned the wildly popular Justin Bieber song “Sorry” and Selena Gomez’s “Bad Liar,” to name a few.  As a solo artist, however, she is seeing success, with “Issues” peaking at No. 11 on the Billboard charts.

  • 31. There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back
    21/ Josiah VanDien/Wikimedia Commons

    31. There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back

    Artist: Shawn Mendes

    Spotify Plays: 449,184,661

    Release Date: 2017

    The song dropped in 2017 as a bonus in the re-issue of Mendez’s 2016 album Illuminate, and has since skyrocketed in the charts to its peak at No. 6. Many critics feel that this song exhibits all of Mendez’s strong guitar riffs, but more edginess than before.

  • 30. Thunder
    22/ Despasito/Wikimedia Commons

    30. Thunder

    Artist: Imagine Dragons

    Spotify Plays: 449,321,484

    Release Date: 2017

    After peaking at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100, “Thunder” became rock group Imagine Dragons’ fourth top 10 hit since they came on the scene in 2008.

  • 29. Black Beatles
    23/ Kevin Cortopassi/ Wikimedia Commons

    29. Black Beatles

    Artist: Rae Sremmurd Featuring Gucci Mane

    Spotify Plays: 453,985,732

    Release Date: 2016

    Hip-Hop duo Rae Sremmurd’s Black Beatle surged in popularity to No.1 for seven weeks due to its use in a viral internet trend called the “Mannequin Challenge.” Someone films as they walk through a group of people in various poses, with the song playing in the background.

  • 28. Mi Gente
    24/ Telemundo /Wikimedia Commons

    28. Mi Gente

    Artist: J Balvin & Willy William Featuring Beyoncé

    Spotify Plays: 459,933,110

    Release Date: 2017

    “Mi Gente” had already been released by Colombian singer J Balvin and French producer/singer Willy William in the summer, peaking at number 19, but reached its zenith after a remix featuring Beyoncé was released later in September. She hopped on the track to support Puerto Rico hurricane relief efforts, and because of her influence, “Mi Gente” unseated “Despacito”’s 35-week reign at the top of the Hot Latin Songs chart. This is the first time in Billboard chart history for two non-English singles to reach the top 10.

  • 27. Believer
    25/ Tuomas Vitikainen/Wikimedia Commons

    27. Believer

    Artist: Imagine Dragons

    Spotify Plays: 468,838,708

    Release Date: 2017

    The lead single from the band’s third album Revolve is a booming anthem that peaked at number four on the Billboard charts. The song, according to band member Dan Reynolds, was inspired by his battle with arthritis in 2015. He told People that, “The meaning of the song is really reflecting on specific things in my life that were painful, whether it was anxiety and dealing with crowds, feeling overwhelmed by that or the success of the band, disease, going through depression—anything that was a source of pain in my life. And just rising above that, finding a place of perspective where I could be appreciative of the pain in my life and make it my greatest strength.”

  • 26. Castle On The Hill
    26/ Drew de F Fawkes/Flickr

    26. Castle On The Hill

    Artist: Ed Sheeran

    Spotify Plays: 482,260,991

    Release Date: 2017

    Ed Sheeran released “Castle On The Hill” as a double lead single, along with the wildly popular “Shape of You” ahead of his album ÷ . According to Billboard, Sheeran was the first artist to debut two top 10 singles in the same week in the history of the Hot 100. The song is a personal, sweeping anthem about his hometown of Framlingham, with the castle being Framlingham Castle (where he performed earlier in the year).

  • 25. Swalla
    27/ Adam Bielawski/Wikimedia Commons

    25. Swalla

    Artist: Jason Derulo Featuring Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign

    Spotify Plays: 484,305,804

    Release Date: 2017

    The lead single from Derulo's fifth album 777, “Swalla” is a dancehall/pop crossover that is made to be played on an island dancefloor. It peaked at number 29 on the Billboard Hot 100

  • 24. Congratulations
    28/ Drew Yorke-Slader/Flickr Commons

    24. Congratulations

    Artist: Post Malone Featuring Quavo

    Spotify Plays: 494,400,014

    Release Date: 2016

    The single from Post Malone’s debut album Stoney not only charted at number eight, but found success on YouTube as well. The video for “Congratulations” has garnered more than 546 million views.

  • 23. Don’t Wanna Know
    29/ Timothy Tsui/Wikimedia Commons

    23. Don’t Wanna Know

    Artist: Maroon 5 Featuring Kendrick Lamar

    Spotify Plays: 497,551,987

    Release Date: 2017

    “Don’t Wanna Know” featuring rapper Kendrick Lamar was released as the lead single for Maroon 5’s sixth album Red Pill Blues. Despite reaching number six on the Billboard charts, the band’s 12th top 10 hit, the song was pulled from the album and released as a bonus track on the deluxe edition.

  • 22. Fake Love
    30/ Zulytheslg/Wiki Commons

    22. Fake Love

    Artist: Drake

    Spotify Plays: 499,907,862

    Release Date: 2017

    This more alternative R&B/pop single was released as the lead single off of More Life and hit number eight on the Billboard Hot 100. It. depicts Drake’s frustration with people who only appreciate him for his commercial success.

  • 21. Attention
    31/ Disney/ABC

    21. Attention

    Artist: Charlie Puth

    Spotify Plays: 504,044,200

    Release Date: 2017

    Puth’s first foray into funk, “Attention” is a bouncy, edgy pop song that set the tone for his forthcoming 2018 album Voicenotes. His third top ten single is rumored to be about Puth’s ex-girlfriend, actress Bella Thorne, who allegedly toyed with him even though they had broken up.

     

  • 20. 24K Magic
    32/ Brothers Le /Wikimedia Commons

    20. 24K Magic

    Artist: Bruno Mars

    Spotify Plays: 510,590,062

    Release Date: 2016

    Released in late 2016, “24K Magic” is the lead single from Bruno Mars’ third full-length album of the same name. The funky, disco-influenced track debuted at number five on the Billboard Hot 100 and was later sampled by rapper Kendrick Lamar on the introduction to his song “Loyalty.”

  • 19. Stay
    33/ Charitos Yap/Wikimedia Commons

    19. Stay

    Artist: Zedd & Alessia Cara

    Spotify Plays: 512,669,702

    Release Date: 2017

    “Stay” is both Alessia Cara and electronic music producer Zedd’s third top ten hit, peaking at the seventh spot on the Billboard chart. Before the release of the single, Zedd told Billboard that it’s “a really interesting mix of the old Zedd and the new Zedd.”

  • 18. Paris
    34/ The Come Up Show / Wikimedia Commons

    18. Paris

    Artist: The Chainsmokers

    Spotify Plays: 515,607,455

    Release Date: 2017

    The follow up to their record-breaking hit “Closer,” Paris was released in early 2017 as the lead single off of the DJ duo’s debut album Memories...Do Not Open. Though it didn’t receive as much success as their 2016 track, it still managed to peak at number six on the Billboard chart, the Chainsmokers’ fourth top 10 hit.

  • 17. I Feel It Coming
    35/ Kayla Johnson/Wikimedia Commons

    17. I Feel It Coming

    Artist: The Weeknd Featuring Daft Punk

    Spotify Plays: 538,680,757

    Release Date: 2016

    The success of The Weeknd’s “I Feel It Coming” endured from late November 2016 until the following year, when it snagged fourth place on the Billboard chart. This sunny, light bop featuring Daft Punk also put out a music video for the song that amassed more than 265 million views.

  • 16. Starving
    36/ kloekard1/Flickr Commons

    16. Starving

    Artist: Hailee Steinfeld & Grey Featuring Zedd

    Spotify Plays: 549,820,556

    Release Date: 2016

    The romance-steeped “Starving” rode a wave of success from the summer of 2016 until well into the next year. The collaboration between actress/singer Hailee Steinfeld and duo Grey and Zedd got as far as the twelfth spot on the Billboard chart. Steinfeld told Nylon that the song depicts a relationship in which you feel so fulfilled that you don’t know how you ever lived without the other person.

  • 15. Side To Side
    37/ Emma/Wiki Commons

    15. Side To Side

    Artist: Ariana Grande Featuring Nicki Minaj

    Spotify Plays: 575,322,765

    Release Date: 2016

    Another top song with a verse from Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande’s “Side To Side” is a steamy track from her 2016 album Dangerous Woman whose heat sustained it throughout the winter and into the next year. The song is Grande’s eighth top ten hit and the video was nominated for best choreography at the 2017 MTV VMAs.

  • 14. Unforgettable
    38/ Soletron/Flickr Commons

    14. Unforgettable

    Artist: French Montana Featuring Swae Lee

    Spotify Plays: 579,507,780

    Release Date: 2017

    “Unforgettable” is a pivotal hit for both French Montana and Swae Lee — it’s French Montana's first top 10 song as a lead artist and Swae Lee's first as a solo artist. The song was originally released with Jeremih in November 2016, but was re-released and remastered the following April. The video for the song has amassed over 500 million views on YouTube.

  • 13. That’s What I Like
    39/ Guise Archives/Wikimedia Commons

    13. That’s What I Like

    Artist: Bruno Mars

    Spotify Plays: 579,601,414

    Release Date: 2016

    The soul-flavored single from Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic was described by Rolling Stone as one that "brings the silky vibes of 12 Play–era R. Kelly into the boom of modern trap.” Its groovy, sexy hook propelled the song to 43 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at No.1 in May. It also is Mars’ eighth song to top the Pop Songs chart, tying him with Justin Timberlake for the most tracks among male soloists since its creation in 1992.

  • 12. I Don't Wanna Live Forever (Fifty Shades Darker)
    40/ By Fiona McKinlay/Wikimedia Commons

    12. I Don't Wanna Live Forever (Fifty Shades Darker)

    Artist: Zayn & Taylor Swift

    Spotify Plays: 592,532,288

    Release Date: 2017

    This unique collaboration between Zayn Malik and Taylor Swift came about for the soundtrack of the movie “Fifty Shades Darker,” the second of a trilogy. Though songs made for movies don’t usually have a long shelf life beyond the film, the sultry nature of the song and popularity of the two artists gave the song enough legs to secure the number two spot on the Hot 100 chart. Additionally, the music video won the 2017 MTV VMA for best collaboration.

  • 11. It Ain’t Me
    41/ Gorvell / Wikimedia Commons

    11. It Ain’t Me

    Artist: Kygo x Selena Gomez

    Spotify Plays: 596,933,209

    Release Date: 2017

    Selena Gomez and Norwegian DJ Kygo come together for the dance-pop “It Ain’t Me," and its success goes to show that listeners love when their favorite artists work together. The song beat Kygo’s previous single “Firestone” to become his highest-charting U.S. single. This also marked Gomez's eighth top 20 hit in less than four years.

  • 10. Humble.
    42/ Batiste Safont/Wikimedia Commons

    10. Humble.

    Artist: Kendrick Lamar

    Spotify Plays: 606,186,952

    Release Date: 2017

    Although at its core “HUMBLE.” is a hip-hop song, its universal appeal and seamless transcendence into other genres at certain points has earned it a place in Billboard’s pop palace. The lead single from Lamar’s fourth album Damn. stood firm in the top spot in the Hot 100, marking his first number one as a lead artist. The music video also won the highest accolade — video of the year — at the 2017 MTV VMAs.

  • 9. In The Name Of Love
    43/ Drew de F Fawkes/Wikimedia Commons

    9. In The Name Of Love

    Artist: Martin Garrix & Bebe Rexha

    Spotify Plays: 608,066,436

    Release Date: 2016

    This 2016 summer anthem held its ground throughout the next year, hitting the top of the Billboard US dance club songs chart and 24 on the Hot 100. The electropop “In The Name Of Love” was hailed by Billboard as “a charming track, as delicate as it is clean. It's Garrix sharing his softer side.”

  • 8. I’m The One
    44/ Meghan Roberts/Wikimedia Commons

    8. I’m The One

    Artist: DJ Khaled Featuring Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance The Rapper & Lil Wayne

    Spotify Plays: 612,267,580

    Release Date: 2017

    On “I’m The One,” DJ Khaled brings together members of hip-hop and rap royalty to create a bouncy, dancey number for a wide fanbase. The song saw success immediately after debuting at No. 1 on the Hot 100, the first rap-inclined song to do so since Eminem’s “Not Afraid” seven years earlier. It was also Khaled, Chance The Rapper, and Quavo (sans Migos)’s first No. 1 singles. The playful video for the song also quickly rose to popularity, gaining more than 840 million views on YouTube.

  • 7. Something Just Like This
    45/ Global CItizen Festival/Wiki Commons

    7. Something Just Like This

    Artist: The Chainsmokers & Coldplay

    Spotify Plays: 657,178,598

    Release Date: 2017

    An unlikely duo, The Chainsmokers and British rock royalty Coldplay came together to create “Something Just Like This,” at the delight of their respective fanbases. The song peaked at number three on the Hot 100 list, many thanks to the song’s electropop flavor and its use as the theme for the 2017 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament theme.

  • 6. Say You Won’t Let Go
    46/ Vinch/Wikimedia Commons

    6. Say You Won’t Let Go

    Artist: James Arthur

    Spotify Plays: 684,493,020

    Release Date: 2016

    The lead single from British crooner James Arthur’s 2016 album Back From The Edge is his first hit in the U.S., peaking at number 11 on the Hot 100 chart. He found fame as the winner of Series 9 of the X-Factor, and though he generated some controversy along the way (he once used homophobic lyrics in a song), he’s since apologized and seems to be back on the track of success.

  •  5. Starboy
    47/ Wikimedia Commons

    5. Starboy

    Artist: The Weeknd Featuring Daft Punk

    Spotify Plays: 854,895,578

    Release Date: 2016

    The R&B/electropop song about The Weeknd’s reluctant acceptance of his fame is the lead single off of his album of the same name. According to Genius,  “[The Weeknd] has come a long way, but with negative consequences in his journey to the top, he has developed mixed feelings towards fame.” Despite this inner battle, this song ironically propelled him to even more fame, as it has earned more than 854 million Spotify plays and the No. 1 spot on the Hot 100 chart.

  • 4. Let Me Love You
    48/ Lou Stejskal/Flickr Commons

    4. Let Me Love You

    Artist: DJ Snake Featuring Justin Bieber

    Spotify Plays: 857,949,106

    Release Date: 2016

    After spending a few months under the radar, Justin Bieber came out of relative obscurity to add his vocals to Major Lazer’s “Cold Water”, and then the next month to French DJ Snake’s “Let Me Love You.” The sincere EDM/pop crossover track was released in August 2016, but has continued to flourish in 2017, reaching as high as number four on the Hot 100. A remix was later released with R&B singer R. Kelly’s vocals.

  • 3. Despacito
    49/ Brankestein/Wikimedia Commons

    3. Despacito

    Artist: Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee Featuring Justin Bieber

    Spotify Plays: 916,843,894

    Release Date: 2017

    “Despacito” was originally released in January 2017, but the sexy reggaeton-pop tune became the megahit it is today due to Justin Bieber’s addition on a remix version in April. The success of this track goes to show that Bieber seems to have the Midas touch when he joins a song — in fact, as of this summer, “Despacito” was the most streamed track ever, reaching over 4.6 billion streams across many platforms, including YouTube and Spotify. The song won four Latin Grammys and is nominated for awards in many other ceremonies to come, including the American Music Awards. Perhaps the most heartening aspect of the success of 'Despacito' is that it (and the success of J Balvin’s “Mi Gente”) could signal the start of a resurgence of popular Spanish-language music in the U.S.

  •  2. Closer
    50/ W&W/Wikimedia Commons

    2. Closer

    Artist: The Chainsmokers Featuring Halsey

    Spotify Plays: 1,151,754,239

    Release Date: 2016

    “Closer” had a stellar 2016, beating Drake’s “One Dance” for the title of the longest-running No. 1 single of that year (11 weeks). The Chainsmokers' and Halsey's first number one single on the Billboard Hot 100, the sultry “Closer” continued to hold its dominance through the next year, garnering a nomination for best pop duo/group performance at the 2017 Grammys. Between the youthful abandon and palpable chemistry between the two vocalists, as well as nostalgia plays in the lyrics (including a Blink-182 reference), the song is cemented as a defining soundtrack to the past two years.

  • 1. Shape of You
    51/ Wikimedia Commons

    1. Shape of You

    Artist: Ed Sheeran

    Spotify Plays: 1,423,186,231

    Release Date: 2017

    Ed Sheeran’s dual single release paid off in enormous ways. “Castle On The Hill” was already a smash hit, but the more edgy, sexy “Shape Of You” outperformed not just in the U.S., but around the world. The song charted at No. 1 in 44 different countries, and in September beat Drake’s “One Dance” to become the most streamed song on Spotify of all time (1.4 billion streams). It spent a total of 33 consecutive weeks in the Hot 100’s top 10, more than any other song since the list’s inception in 1958. But Sheeran doesn’t just have his fans to thank for the success of his song — because the song’s pre-chorus seemed to be inspired by TLC’s famous 1999 hit “No Scrubs,” the singer awarded co-writing credits to the band’s members.

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