The decade is over—what a jarring thing to say, right? But what remains constant is the music, the songs that defined each year and made it worthwhile.
As 2019 has officially come to an end, we remember the rise of Lizzo and the return of the Jonas Brothers. It’s all too much for our hearts to handle. To cope, we picked our top 50 pop songs of the year so we can replay them again and again, launching us into pop music heaven.
50. “Malibu Barbie” – Miya Folick
Miya Folick‘s debut album Premonitions released last year, making her an exciting new addition to the indie-pop music scene. Her snarky single “Malibu Barbie” lists the classic L.A. stereotypes. The hotshot car, perfect manicure, increasing credit card limit and longing for cosmetic surgery all invade the lyrics. Not to mention her whispery vocals add a haunting effect to an otherwise sarcasm-driven track.
49. “Waste My Time” – Grace Vanderwaal
Fifteen-year-old Grace Vanderwaal has a knack for creating the ideal pop bop. “Waste My Time” is full of longing desire—and savoring the moment in a short-lived relationship. The singer knows she shouldn’t give it a chance, but decides to anyway. If anything, the track offers valuable insight—we only live once so we might as well take that risky chance.
48. “okay” – LANY feat. Julia Michaels
We’ve all dealt with that pesky heartbreak, constantly wondering if we’ll ever dig ourselves out of that heartwrenching hole. LANY and Julia Michaels desperately try to reassure themselves in their collab “okay.” Back and forth, the artists repeat that same mantra with that uncertain question tacked on at the end—”I’m gonna be okay, right?” It’s what we ask ourselves when the pain in our hearts gets a bit too heavy—good to know even pop music’s biggest stars feel that same thing.
47. “Raising Hell” – Kesha feat. Big Freedia
Kesha is back after her Grammy-nominated album Rainbow made waves in 2017. Her collaboration “Raising Hell” with rapper Big Freedia is a high-energy track, backed by an excitable choir. The pop star shows off her capable vocals as she claims she doesn’t “wanna go to heaven without raising hell.” It backs up her mantra of living life on the edge without worrying about the inevitable consequences.
46. “Boy With Luv” – BTS feat. Halsey
Once upon a time, there was NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, and One Direction—but now room must be made for K-pop group BTS. Their popularity remains unmatched in South Korea and now they’ve broken records in the U.S. with their dedicated fanbase. “Boy With Luv” features dark-pop artist Halsey and expands the group’s ever-growing success. The catchy hit intertwines elements of original K-pop goodness with those classic pop chart-toppers.
45. “Beautiful People” – Ed Sheeran feat. Khalid
Ed Sheeran and Khalid teamed up to bring an uplifting bop to shout when we’re doubting ourselves. “Beautiful People” is bold and loud as it differentiates our desire to seek belonging through material things and fame. It begs us to be ourselves despite the world’s predetermined fate for us. All in all, it’s a song that we can take with us into 2020 and a motto we can live by forever.
44. “Don’t Worry About Me” – Zara Larsson
Swedish pop princess Zara Larsson never fails to make pop perfection. “Don’t Worry About Me” is the follow-up single to “Ruin My Life”—it’s practically a continuation of Zara’s ever-growing vulnerability. She begs her ex to stay away and to worry about themselves. The concern thrown her way isn’t needed, she can take care of herself. Resilience and confidence are evident—she doesn’t need the reassurance of an ex to make her strong, she has her own well-earned strength.
43. “Liar” – Camila Cabello
Denying a toxic crush? Camila Cabello has a song for you. “Liar” is about the person we desperately don’t want to like—we deny it until we can’t any longer. “Oh no, there you go, making me a liar,” Camila sings as she slowly unveils he desire for someone she shouldn’t want. The single is reminiscent of her previous hit “Havana,” incorporating that classic Cuban style she stays true to.
42. “I Wish” – Hayley Kiyoko
Trying to pick up the pieces after a stale relationship? Hayley Kiyoko‘s dreamy single “I Wish” is just for you. The artist longingly reminisces on her past relationship’s failures, wondering where it went wrong. She yearns for clarity, chanting “I wish” like it’s a mantra, hoping it’ll give her answers. It’s stripped back compared to her previous hits that consisted of mostly dance-laden beats—a fresh take on a promising pop musician.
41. “Nice To Meet Ya” – Niall Horan
When Niall Horan says it’s “Nice To Meet Ya,” we don’t question it or second-guess his motives—so when his new single offers that same greeting, we welcome it with open arms. “Nice To Meet Ya” sounds like it belongs in an iconic superhero movie montage or at the end credits when things all turn out okay. Niall is charming his way through like usual—it’s fitting considering the track takes us on a journey through Niall’s first-time meeting with a girl he’s had his eye on all night. It’s a far cry from that innocent One Direction boy we once knew.
40. “In My Bed” – Sabrina Carpenter
We overthink, obsess, and panic. Then we repeat the cycle. Sabrina Carpenter’s “In My Bed” is a clever play on words—when we’re constantly stuck inside our heads, stricken with paranoia, we don’t know how to get out. “I wanna be alone/But all these emotions won’t leave me alone” should be plastered on a t-shirt—the motto for anyone plagued with anxious thoughts.
39. “Don’t Start Now” – Dua Lipa
After her Best New Artist win at last year’s Grammy Awards, Dua Lipa became an in-demand artist. Her breakout single “New Rules” was one of the most popular songs of the year and now she’s back with her new track “Don’t Start Now” to jumpstart her next era. It brings in elements of her previous music but with a retro twist. Just like her collab with Diplo and Silk City on “Electricity,” she sets the fast-paced, disco tone that makes us excited for 2020 Dua.
38. “Dancing With A Stranger” – Sam Smith feat. Normani
Sam Smith and Normani banded together in the melancholic, slow-jam “Dancing With A Stranger.” Whether it’s meant to be taken literally or metaphorically, they’re moving on from an old flame. The freeing nature of meeting someone new, freeing themselves from the familiarity of former habits rings true. Sam and Normani are a duo that melt together with soothing vocals and reassuring hooks. If another collab is in the works, we need it ASAP.
37. “Never Really Over” – Katy Perry
For a while, it seemed like the Teenage Dream era Katy Perry was long gone as she dabbled into more eclectic pop with her song “Swish Swish.” It had fans longing for her early career hits rather than the songs she delivered later on. But “Never Really Over” is Katy’s step back into that familiar sound—the fast-paced chorus and its addicting beat launch us back to the Katy we once knew and loved.
36. “Mean It” – Lauv feat. LANY
Get LANY and Lauv together and the outcome equals the perfect emo bop. “Don’t build me up just to let me down,” the artists plead with a lost lover. They convey the aching uncertainty of newfound love—soft vocals fly over a soothing electronic beat that bring comfort despite the track’s heartbreaking nature. The pair’s music styles intertwine in the most perfect way, making us hopeful for even more collabs from the duo.
35. “Graveyard” – Halsey
“I know when you go down all your darkest roads/I woulda followed all the way to the graveyard,” Halsey hauntingly croons in her single “Graveyard”—a track that addresses the effects of a potentially toxic relationship. When our significant other is struggling, we struggle as well. Halsey takes on those emotions head-on, realizing that she might go to that dark place too if she isn’t careful.
34. “Late Night Feelings” – Mark Ronson feat. Lykke Li
Nothing can beat the utter grooviness of Mark Ronson’s “Late Night Feelings.” Featuring indie artist Lykke Li, the song’s title is quite literal. Mark revealed it was written after a tiring day at the recording studio. It differs greatly from the artist’s other album tracks—the ongoing synth-beats, echoey vocals, and desperate lyrics.
33. “I Want You” – Tayla Parx
Tayla Parx’s bubbly single “I Want You” is her owning up to her crush as she begs the question, “Can you really blame me wanting you?” It’s relatable in the sense that we can’t choose who we like—we could have the cream of the crop but who catches our eye is up to our hearts. Tayla chants “I want you” like it’s a prayer as the energetic beats take the backseat and make it pop music gold.
32. “Church” – Aly & AJ
“I do bad things for the sake of good times” is how Aly & AJ‘s “Church” begins and honestly, who can dislike that? The sister duo have been spicing things up since their return last year, shaking up their usual early 2000s pop style to modernized 80s pop. In “Church,” they do it effortlessly and without the hassle of pleasing the stressful Disney masses.
31. “Mother’s Daughter” – Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus delivered a dose of badassery in her high-powered single “Mother’s Daughter.” It’s perhaps one of this year’s most powerful feminist anthems—she demands no one mess with her “freedom” while she proclaims her powerful essence with all the confidence in the world. With the song’s empowering lyrics and high-energy beat, “Mother’s Daughter” is a track for the ages—and one we’ll blast when we feel like overthrowing the patriarchy.
30. “Blame It On Your Love” – Charli XCX feat. Lizzo
When a duo like Charli XCX and Lizzo pair up, we’re bound to get something phenomenal. “Blame It On Your Love” is one of the many collabs Charli has delegated—and with one of music’s biggest rising stars, it was destined to be a mega-hit. It combines Lizzo’s signature attitude with Charli’s revolutionary pop creativity—a pairing we could only dream of.
29. “Prophet” – King Princess
King Princess‘ raspy voice launch us into another world in her single “Prophet.” She proclaims her lover a prophet, someone she can’t stop thinking about—almost worshipping her to the highest degree. The track is groovy, showing off the lengths King Princess can go to when milking her craft. As one of 2019’s most prominent rising stars, this song showcased her progressive music style.
28. “Icy” – Kim Petras
Nightclub jams galore—Kim Petras delivers them time and again. “Icy” is one of the first singles from her debut album Clarity and its high-octane mega-pop at its finest. Kim’s voice reverberates as she belts the chorus, “Now I got an ice cold heart”—a jarring thing to hear in a potential breakup anthem. She’s created a tune for the ones who feel bitter, the ones who struggle to recover from broken hearts. If anything, it makes us stronger listening to a track that validates our hardened feelings.
27. “Señorita” – Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello
Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello turned up the heat in their collab “Señorita.” It kickstarted their highly publicized romance and created a certified hit. The track sounds how summer should feel—toes in the beach sand and tequila on the brain. Whether you cringe or fawn over Shawn and Camila, there’s no denying this song dominated this year.
26. “Now That I Found You” – Carly Rae Jepsen
Carly Rae Jepsen is the “queen of pop” among her fans and with “Now That I Found You,” she further solidifies that fan-proclaimed title. It’s overflowing with energy with dance club beats galore as Carly’s angelic voice belts about her latest love. It embodies true love and how joyous it is to finally find the romance you’ve been searching for all along.
25. “Lose You To Love Me” – Selena Gomez
It’s been quite some time since Selena Gomez has stepped fully into the music scene. Her small break left fans wondering when she’d return—so when “Lose You To Love Me” revealed itself to the world, it was an unexpected but welcome surprise. Selena has had her fair share of very public relationships—whether or not this emotional track is about those painful breakups is unknown—and she isn’t afraid to sing about it. The single is raw, unveiling a more exposed Selena—one that is willing to bare her soul for much-needed closure.
24. “Downhill Lullaby” – Sky Ferreira
We never thought we’d see the day when Sky Ferreira returned to music. Hassles with record labels and freedom over her creativity always seemed to get in the singer’s way. But now “Downhill Lullaby”—her first single since 2013—has set the tone for her journey back into the scene. A nearly six-minute eerie ballad brings a whole new light to Sky’s original vision. The artist’s vocals are haunting along with its heavy, deep bass line that reveals an ominous layer to this downright unique single.
23. “Circles” – Post Malone
Post Malone traveled down the indie-pop path in his hit “Circles.” It’s a slight change from his breakout single “Rockstar”—the echoing guitar strings make way for Post Malone’s raspy vocals. He sings about regressing back to old habits, “running in circles” with a former lover. The artist’s demeanor is much calmer—the single exhibiting a soothing vibe that leads us down a road of meaningful nostalgia.
22. “Blinding Lights” – The Weeknd
We got “Can’t Feel My Face” out of our heads just in time for The Weeknd to return with “Blinding Lights.” This high-energy 80s-inspired track is true to the artist’s desire to expand his already impressive discography. The synths and booming electronic drum beats are nostalgia-inducing, reminding us of the times when bands like A-ha and Wham! invaded the radiowaves.
21. “Fuck it I love you” – Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey has been hailed as one of the greatest songwriters of our generation. She angelically sings about deep-rooted love in old Hollywood style—and because of that, her appeal remains unmatched. “Fuck it I love you” is much more than a typical love song. She delves deeper, sinking into the dark side of the L.A. lifestyle—but somehow she manages to make it sound dreamy. The track’s sound is exceedingly different than her usual style—fast-paced but still taking the time to mean something.
20. “Love You For A Long Time” – Maggie Rogers
Maggie Rogers made a song for the lovebirds, the ones so ready for love and the ones longing for it. “Love You For A Long Time” is an uplifting, sunshine-filled track that makes us want to breathe in fresh air and search for constellations in the night sky. Maggie always manages to catapult us into a transcendental state, and here, she allows us to wonder what true love could possibly feel like.
19. “Harmony Hall” – Vampire Weekend
The otherworldly guitar strings that open Vampire Weekend’s “Harmony Hall” transport us to another dimension. The band’s resurgence into the music scene with their fourth LP Father of the Bride was a long-awaited one. As their lead single, it lasts for a daring five minutes and can be interpreted in many ways—from the hateful changes overtaking U.S. society to questioning ourselves through an existential crisis. Vampire Weekend is good like that—they make us ask the important questions.
18. “Bags” – Clairo
Clairo became known for her bedroom-pop bangers. Now she’s adding her own twist to indie-pop instead. Her breakthrough single “Bags” became an instant hit as she openly croons about her first relationship experience with a girl. While it sheds light on her openness in her sexuality, it also shows her becoming comfortable with someone else. That vulnerability shines through as she faces the unpredictability of a relationship and allowing it to flourish instead of becoming a victim of self-sabotage.
17. “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings” – Caroline Polachek
“So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings” is a fairly relatable thing to say to a crush—only Caroline Polachek would understand. The song doesn’t have to be just for your latest infatuation—it can be for your forlorn ex-relationship as well. Caroline sings about being lonely, longing for her former lover, begging them to not remind her of their hotness because it quite literally hurts her heart. We get it, girl.
16. “Sucker” – Jonas Brothers
Dedicated Jonas Brothers fans were elated when the sibling trio decided to make an epic comeback this year. “Sucker” is their first single since 2013—and the beginning of a brand new era. They initially tried to kickstart their return to music nearly six years ago but eventually separated due to “creative differences.” That time away from each other allowed them to pursue solo projects and grow individually. With “Sucker,” they showed off their signature pop-rock style that all loyal Jo-Bro fans know so well.
15. “Adore You” – Harry Styles
It’s not everyday a singer creates an imaginary island to promote a new single—so when Harry Styles went that extra mile to announce his next track “Adore You,” we couldn’t resist its appeal. As the second single from his sophomore album Fine Line, “Adore You” is a groovy lovesick bop that had us begging for more—and delivered a slight shift in Harry’s style of music.
14. “Gone” – Charli XCX feat. Christine and the Queens
Ever since her mixtape Pop 2, Charli XCX has been known for her out-of-the-box collaborations. From rappers like CupcakKe to dark-pop singers like Sky Ferreira, her features keep growing. On “Gone,” she goes the extra mile with French artist Christine and the Queens. The pair exchange feelings of despair and loneliness, bouncing off a crystal clear club beat. Ultimately, it helps erase those isolating emotions, making us want to dance it off and forget about feeling alone.
13. “Frail State Of Mind” – The 1975
The 1975 have never shied away from addressing controversial issues. From politics to societal dilemmas, frontman Matty Healy is always speaking his mind. Mental health takes precedence as well especially in their electro-heavy single “Frail State Of Mind.” Focusing on social anxiety, Matty sadly admits “I always get this way sometimes/You lot just leave/I’ll stay behind/I’m sorry ’bout my frail state of mind.” It’s the mantra every anxiety-riddled individual internally says to themselves—and The 1975’s ability to convey in just one chorus is unbeatable.
12. “Juice” – Lizzo
2019 started out with this banger invading the radiowaves. Lizzo’s rise was one to be reckoned with and a track like “Juice” set her apart from the typical pop star of today. She gloats about guys “sliding into her DMs” and how she’s the “whole damn meal.” It’s the self-confident anthem we needed in our lives to uplift a soon-to-be chaotic year.
11. “You Need To Calm Down” – Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift had become notorious for being exclusively silent on political and social issues—a controversial choice especially in a time where a high-profile star like herself could influence an entire community. “You Need To Calm Down” was one of Taylor’s first steps into very opinionated territory. She references GLAAD and claims hating “never made anyone less gay.” Not only does she call out homophobia, but she also takes into account her own personal haters—the ones who criticize her own life choices because of her own caliber of fame. It’s one of our first glimpses into Taylor’s new era of self-discovery and standing up herself.
10. “7 rings” – Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande dominated just like she did last year. When “7 rings” followed up “thank u, next” as the singer’s next single, it had a lot to live up to—but ultimately further launched her already successful run. Just like “thank u, next” it reveals Ariana’s ever-growing inner strength—how she’s learned to love herself and find hope in tough times. The pop star once again proved her pop talent with an illustrious tune about sticking by your friends and trusting yourself.
9. “Sunflower” – Post Malone feat. Swae Lee
Post Malone has an edge for making addicting music—mix that with Swae Lee’s soft vocals and the dreamy track “Sunflower” was created. Originally featured in the animated feature film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, the song reached new heights for the collaborating duo—it remained in the top 10 of Billboard’s R&B chart for 45 weeks. Just like any feel-good track, it brings a sunshine-filled attitude to any dreary day. It helped uplift those dark times in 2019—and hopefully, a future collab will bring even more positivity to 2020.
8. “Now I’m In It” – Haim
The fast-paced ranting in Haim‘s “Now I’m In It” has been stuck in our heads since its release—but it contains much more than an addicting chorus. The track delves into the sisters’ own issues with depression and struggling to come to terms with normal life away from worldwide tours. Just like the single’s title, the high-energy beat and obsessive lyric-chanting make us feel like our minds are racing, unable to process rational thoughts without chaotic second-guessing. And frankly, that’s what it makes it so good.
7. “Motivation” – Normani
Normani‘s talent shined bright during her time in Fifth Harmony, and this year as she took on a solo career of her own, she proved herself as pop powerhouse. “Motivation” is perfection—intertwining blasting trumpets with dance-addicting lyrics. The singer often cites Beyoncé as one of her role models and with a single like this, she shows the potential of someday reaching that kind of success.
6. “Number One Fan” – MUNA
We all need a good pick-me-up after a tough day. Luckily, MUNA is here to save the day. “Number One Fan” is the ultimate motivational anthem. The lyrics help us proclaim we’re our biggest fans—they even cleverly incorporate the word “stan” into the track. It offers a valuable lesson: You should be your biggest supporter. The group’s lead single from their second LP Saves The World is everything we need to build up our confidence and make us question why we ever doubted ourselves in the first place. Its catchy beat makes us want to dance and step out into the world without the least bit of fear.
5. “Lights Up” – Harry Styles
Harry Styles’ comeback has been a long-awaited one. With his first single in two years, he delivered something completely different than his debut album. “Lights Up” is mysterious as Harry asks a simple but complex question: “Do you know who you are?” The words could be taken a number of ways—are we sure of ourselves while navigating a sometimes judgemental world or is it Harry himself unveiling a side we’ve never seen before? The singer is usually quite discreet, basking in revealing as little as possible about his personal life. But maybe this song has launched the pop star down a path of creative and personal freedom, gradually lifting the cover from his often enigmatic demeanor.
4. “Lover” – Taylor Swift
While the majority of Taylor Swift’s seventh album is lovey-dovey pop, its title track takes the cake as the most sentimental. “Lover” echoes in a far-off empty stadium, Taylor’s vocals reverberating through poetic lyrics. We’ve listened to her sing heartwrenching breakup songs, ones that rip out our hearts and make us question the meaning of love. If Taylor can’t find it, why should we? But with “Lover” there’s a sense of hope, she’s finally found that so-called “love” with her new significant other as she recalls all the domestic bliss. It’s tooth-achingly sweet but also features some of the pop star’s most heartfelt lyrics yet.
3. “bad guy” – Billie Eilish
It’s hard to believe Billie Eilish is only 17-years-old. With her knack for creating pop hits, God only knows what kind of success she’ll achieve in her true prime. “bad guy” is one of the leading singles from her debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? that quickly became a chart-topper. Most of her tracks are written alongside her singer-songwriter brother FINNEAS—but there’s no denying Billie’s star power balances it out. As our no. 3 song, “bad guy” is unique pop music personified with a dash of clever lyrics that bring it all home.
2. “Old Town Road” – Lil Nas X feat. Billy Ray Cyrus
Lil Nas X’s spent 19 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart—maybe not what you’d expect from a country-rap song. But the remix featuring Billy Ray Cyrus really shook up the music industry. Lil Nas X was originally a viral sensation, making videos on social media as a way to become an instant celebrity. With “Old Town Road,” he achieved something unbelievable. The song was an immediate social media trend—it was featured in TiK ToK videos, trending memes, and anything viral you can think of. His rise is almost unheard of, making it one for the record books.
1. “Truth Hurts” – Lizzo
2019 was the year of Lizzo. She brought unadulterated joy to any who would listen—her charisma, spunk, and tenacity were infectious to witness. This year, her rise finally happened and it was well-deserved. Her track “Truth Hurts” has been out for nearly two years—before her extremely successful run. The song is outspoken as Lizzo questions in the very first line, “Why men great ’til they gotta be great?” She brings a whole lot of sass, wondering why her significant other can’t keep up their end of the deal. She ultimately decides she won’t let those half-assed efforts affect her career. Strength and power resonate throughout the single. (Not to mention the lyrics are catchy as hell.) If you didn’t catch yourself mouthing the words to this one whenever it played on the radio, we’ll find that hard to believe. Now Lizzo is stepping into 2020 with her most successful single nominated for a Grammy—and in our opinion, it’s a for sure winner.