Follow Billboard. All rights reserved. The past and the future combined in , a year of satisfying comebacks from veteran artists and exciting breakouts from newer ones. Read the list below, with a Spotify playlist of all at the bottom. An unlikely combination of three very different alt-leaning acts, "I've Been Waiting" is far more seamless than it has any right to be, finding common ground in the artists' shared pop sensibilities. As it toggles between vocals from all three, it's impossible to tell where the verses stop and the chorus starts -- it's all hooks, really, a song where every part feels like That Part.
In a more just world , this would've been the song to get the late Lil Peep his first Hot top 40 hit. Now please, get off his lawn. There are a lot of "what ifs" when a relationship ends, but the title of Lady Antebellum's latest heart-wrenching hit has to be one of the scariest.
The song -- which recalls the same yearning tone as the country trio's breakout single "Need You Now" -- perfectly captures that fear of the unknown, thanks to Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley's hopeless harmonies. We all know the desperate feeling of struggling to move on, and we all should know there's a light at the end of the tunnel eventually Koffee, "Rapture".
Born two months inside the new millennium, the year old Jamaican-born singer-songwriter-rapper delivers a quiet confidence that avoids intimidation and instead feels like an invitation. Adam Lambert, "Superpower". Not like it really required much of a stretch for a guy currently serving as the frontman for Queen to embrace a 21st-century version of stomping, arena-sized glam rock, but it's still heartening just to hear how much Lambert seems to have found his musical sweet spot.
Coldplay, "Orphans". The lead single off Coldplay's eighth studio album contains so many of the elements of a classic Coldplay song. James Blake feat. Andre , "Where's the Catch". Both highly danceable and genuinely cool, "Where's the Catch" walks the line between electronic music and hip-hop with the calm swagger of the truly lifted, a vibe extended to any listener.
Pronoun, "Stay". If you're going to use one of the most well-traveled song titles in pop history for your new album's lead single, you better find something new to add to it. The Swedish star seemingly hails from a bygone era of pop: She cut her teeth as a songwriter alongside mega-producers Max Martin and Xenomania, then debuted with the kind of lustrous electro-bangers her home country is famous for.
But those club anthems don't quite rule the way they used to, so she switched it up with this pep talk to a brokenhearted BFF. Young Thug, J. Kehlani feat.
Mura Masa feat. Indie-pop darling Clairo has a penchant for tender, hyper-specific lyrics, and British producer Mura Masa is known for his futuristic, grungy beats.
The two make a mismatched but perfect pair on this clever snapshot of an on-again, off-again relationship, where intentional sonic discord echoes emotional turmoil. Maxo Kream, "Meet Again". Saweetie, "My Type". Justin Bieber, "10, Hours". On its face, "10, Hours" seems like a typical "I love my wife" ballad. Burna Boy, "Anybody". Oh no, there she goes, making another catchy, Cuban-inspired bop.
It's a little bit flamenco, a little bit reggae, and a lot addictive, especially that final second instrumental section that puts you right inside a Miami lounge. Ambjaay, "Uno". Mabel, "Don't Call Me Up". Charlie Puth, "Mother". Whatever the real story about the song's origins, though, it's not nearly as compelling as the song's driving groove, which splits the difference between "The Way You Make Me Feel" and "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," or its falsetto'd chorus, which summarizes the entire song in one sly, scummy lyric: "If your mother knew, she'd keep me so far from you.
Aldous Harding, "The Barrel". Future, "Crushed Up". It was hardly a reinvention from what made Future an undisputed A-lister over the second half of the s, but in this case, no reinvention was necessary.
The suggestion: What Jenny wants, Jenny gets. Tierra Whack, "Only Child". Tame Impala, "Patience". The result? Clocking in at just over two minutes, the song will have your head spinning by the time it's over. Despite being about the emotional roller coaster of late-night phone calls that was teen love in the s, the lead single showcased the audible joy the sisters had reworking songs they wrote in high school. Blake Shelton, "God's Country".
His powerful vocal delivery only adds to the memorable ode to the South alongside hand-clapped rhythms and dusty guitars. Snow, "Con Calma" Remix. But the Katy Perry version, which helped propel the song to No.
Big Thief, "Not". Burning through that three-minute solo, Lenker draws strength from the experience of nearness, both to others and to the earth. Who knew a braces-wearing teenager was capable of piledriving the rap game before his 18th birthday? Miley Cyrus, "Slide Away". It has all the makings of a headline-inspired hit; commentary on a very! In a time where everything is public, Cyrus controlled the narrative in the best way she knew how.
Sharon Van Etten, "Seventeen". Frank Ocean, "In My Room". Shaed, "Trampoline". Shaed's been having dreams, and in , many of them came true. Topping the Alternative Songs chart and peaking at No.
But with that real-life verisimilitude, the gorgeous-but-queasy ballad becomes practically overwhelming, an emotional swell as head-swimming as its woozy synths and weeping strings. You won't find many songs on albums by indie singer-songwriters this decade that feel this raw, this confessional, this private -- let alone on one of the year's biggest pop blockbusters. Doja Cat feat. Tyga, "Juicy". But such is the allure: even on the Tyga remix, Doja is in full control. Clairo, "Bags". Ed Sheeran feat. Justin Bieber, "I Don't Care".
Lizzo, "Juice". Is she an outsider making mainstream inroads, or an underground talent tweaking their sound to fit in on Top 40? Is the juice she speaks of orange, or apple?! Ultimately, when the result is as irresistibly immediate and durably relistenable as this, who cares about any of that? The singer-songwriter born Melina Duterte flexes her production chops in heady waves of guitar and percussion, beautifully entangled, like constellations streaming by.
A perfect dream of the open road. Harry Styles, "Watermelon Sugar". Fans are desperate to dissect the meaning behind this sticky-sweet song -- Styles has neither confirmed nor denied that it's, well, carnally charged -- but why read too far into what is just a simple pleasure to listen to? Like the title suggests, Jepsen croons about all the thoughts swirling around her mind as she begins a steady fling: "I think I'm coming alive with you.
Dua Lipa, "Don't Start Now". There are a lot of snappy lines in here to match the crisp nu-disco beat, and one of the best and most straightforward has to be "Walk away, you know how. Meanwhile, the Jonas Brothers will probably continue to perform it at every awards show until the end of time -- not that we mind one bit.
Dance, dance, dance, dance! Summer Walker feat. Drake, "Girls Need Love" Remix. His added dose of passion helped the track peak at No. In addition to stunning harmonies, the infectious dance-pop beat mesmerizes. BTS feat. Halsey, "Boy With Luv". This sleek, shimmering boy-band gem is one of BTS' purest pop confections yet, though two hip-hop interludes also give the song a harder, more contemporary edge.
The Highwomen, "Redesigning Women". His gift for simple melodies and cutting, emotional lyrics is on full display here, even as the drums keep things upbeat, and along with the singalong chorus, makes it club-ready. Galvanized by his past, Polo strides confidently into the future. Ava Max, "Sweet But Psycho". Here, Balvin takes on the opening lines, chanting and singing in a register far lower than usual before Bad Bunny picks up in a higher voice. FKA twigs, "Cellophane".
A sparse backdrop of burbling keys and a beat-boxed rhythm leaves her strained, impossible vocal range on full display, each lyric as clear and sharp as a shard of glass.