This year has had its fair share of ups and downs, but one thing has been a guaranteed constant—music.
Certainly not disappointing in the pop music category, 2017 brought us some of the best bangers (along with some of the biggest breakouts of future pop stars). Let’s take a look and a listen at a handful of our favorite jams from these past 365 days.
50. ‘Lovers’ – Anna of the North
This Norwegian artist has had a promising start. Anna Lotterud (aka Anna of the North) debuted her first album ‘Lovers’ in September; all the indie-pop goodness deemed it a necessary addition to our playlists. The title track is one of our favorites of the year, and we hope it’s one of yours, too.
49. ‘Symphony’ – Clean Bandit ft. Zara Larsson
Zara Larsson is the popstar we need in our lives. ‘Symphony’ is the first No. 1 song for the singer, and we can understand why—the chorus is constantly stuck in our heads. There’s no doubt 2018 will be an even bigger year for Zara if every track is as addictive as this one.
48. ‘It Ain’t Me’ – Kygo ft. Selena Gomez
Kygo is known for serving up the most memorable bangers, and ‘It Ain’t Me’ is exactly that. Featuring Selena Gomez, she gives the song the greatest twist, along with a beat we can’t forget and a deeper meaning we can’t help but relish in.
47. ‘I Dare You’ – The xx
Do you remember when ‘Angels’ by The xx was the indie jam that took over our playlists in 2012? Well, they’re back with another haunting tune that might be even better. ‘I Dare You’ is the third single off the group’s third album ‘I See You’, and it garners our attention in the best way.
46. ‘I Don’t Wanna Dance’ – COIN
Nashville native band COIN put out their sophomore album ‘How Will You Know If You Never Try’ earlier this year, and ‘I Don’t Wanna Dance’ is a prime example of what the LP is all about—fun, vibrant beats that make you feel like you’re at an eternal dance party.
45. ‘Surrender’ – WALK THE MOON
Now, we know ‘Shut Up and Dance’ was the tune of everyone’s summers for a few years, but WALK THE MOON have given us something a little bit different in 2017. ‘Surrender’ embraces the same type of sound the band established with their previous album, but somehow it comes across in a unique manner.
44. ‘Paper Love’ – Allie X
Dark-pop princess Allie X searches deep for the meaning behind choosing someone who hurts you over and over again in her song ‘Paper Love’. With an affinity for weirdness, Allie X still finds a way to remain one of the coolest pop stars out there.
43. ‘Higher Ground’ – ODESZA ft. Naomi Wild
When you need to find the ideal electronic pop song, search no further than ODESZA. In September, the duo released their third album ‘A Moment Apart’, and we think ‘Higher Ground’ is one of their most innovative tracks yet. We can’t help but feel like we’re floating on a cloud while listening to this hazy yet dreamy record.
42. ‘Sorry Not Sorry’ – Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato rocked our worlds with ‘Sorry Not Sorry’, an unapologetic, empowering anthem. Not making excuses for any of her self-indulgent actions, the singer reminds us it’s okay to just do you and block out the haters.
41. ‘Glue’ – Fickle Friends
Get ready for the 2018 takeover from Fickle Friends. They’re set to unveil their album ‘You Are Someone Else’ early next year, and we’re eagerly waiting it after hearing their uplifting electro-pop single ‘Glue’. Reminding us of addicting, enthralling, new love, this record is one of the band’s best.
40. ‘Havana’ – Camila Cabello ft. Young Thug
It’s refreshing to see a musician embrace their roots and exemplify that in their music. Camila Cabello took pop music by the reigns when she invaded our radios with ‘Havana’; not to mention the music video is adorably funny, making the track all the more appealing.
39. ‘1000 Nights’ – Frenship
Electro-pop duo Frenship set out to make one of the more booming tracks of the year. Consisting of James Sunderland and Brett Hite, the pair makes a great musical act—especially with ‘1000 Nights’. It has a chorus that’ll put you under its spell.
38. ‘Boys’ – Charli XCX
Charli XCX had boys on her mind this year with her single aptly titled ‘Boys’. It’s straight to the point—a cutesy, bubbly pop record that makes us feel that “butterflies in the stomach” feeling. The music video makes it even more enticing, featuring some of Hollywood’s most lovable hunks.
37. ‘Breathe’ – Astrid S
What’s not to love about super cute popstar Astrid S? The second singer on the list that hails from Norway, she continues to make the country proud after her EP ‘Party’s Over’ landed on the charts. ‘Breathe’ is the lead single, and it packs a mighty punch.
36. ‘Pineapple Skies’ – Miguel
Miguel makes us feel hopeful in his latest track ‘Pineapple Skies’ from his recent album ‘War & Leisure.’ Sending off R&B vibes and a little bit of dance floor club harmonies, it’s no surprise this track slipped into our top 50 with no trouble at all.
35. ‘Feel It Still’ – Portugal. The Man
We love a good guitar riff and Portugal. The Man doesn’t disappoint in their hit ‘Feel It Still’. The band’s popularity has been well-deserved as ‘Woodstock’—the group’s eighth studio album—steadily climbs the charts. Interesting audiences with sounds that remind us of the Black Keys, they’re enough reason to embrace the pop-rock genre with open arms.
34. ‘YOU’ – Morgan Saint
The rise of Morgan Saint has been an interesting one. After recently being signed with Epic Records, her debut single ‘YOU’ establishes a very individual sound that takes us on a pixie-dream journey. With her original sense of style and persona, Morgan Saint is destined to be a true popstar.
33. ‘Back to You’ – Louis Tomlinson ft. Bebe Rexha and Digital Farm Animals
Louis Tomlinson accepted the role of most dynamic songwriter while in One Direction, which made us thrilled to hear what he would create while on his own. ‘Back to You’ is the followup to his EDM-inspired track ‘Just Hold On‘—sweetly dedicated to his late mother who passed away just last year. Featuring Bebe Rexha and Digital Farm Animals, Louis explores the dance-pop genre, mixed with a combination of tooth-achingly sweet lyrics that had fans backing him up all the way.
32. ‘hold on’ – flor
If you’re searching for a high-energy, indie-pop song that’ll bring you up, we’ve found the best track for you: ‘hold on’ by indie band flor is everything you’d want in a song when you’re down in the dumps. With stellar hooks and unforgettable melodies, ‘hold on’ will carry us throughout the rest of the year.
31. ‘What About Us’ – P!nk
P!nk is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the charts, and she doesn’t shy away from that domination with her powerhouse record ‘What About Us’. Containing a message of heartbreak, pain, but also hope, P!nk lets us have a look into the possibility of what the future might be like.
30. ‘Strip That Down’ – Liam Payne ft. Quavo
Liam Payne made his debut as a solo artist with this radio-friendly tune. ‘Strip That Down’ rocked the airwaves for months, allowing us a sneak peek into the One Direction member’s potential solo career. His fans eagerly await the arrival of his upcoming album, which is said to be coming sometime in January.
29. ‘Los Ageless’ – St. Vincent
Always one for eccentricity, St. Vincent reinvented herself to accommodate the image of her fifth studio release ‘MASSEDUCTION’. ‘Los Ageless’ is a certified banger, with the help of all-star producer Jack Antonoff; it gives indie-pop a whole new meaning.
28. ‘Moonlight’ – Grace Vanderwaal
Can you believe Grace Vanderwaal is only 13? She’s wise beyond her years and has the work ethic of someone who’s been in the industry for decades. After winning the eleventh season of ‘America’s Got Talent’, Grace quickly hopped on board with Columbia Records and her debut song ‘Just the Beginning’ was born. ‘Moonlight’ made for an amazing follow-up single choice, showing off the kid’s exceptional vocal and musical talent.
27. ‘Too Good At Goodbyes’ – Sam Smith
Sam Smith dominated the game back in 2014 with his breakout debut album ‘In The Lonely Hour’, and now he’s back and better than ever with his second LP ‘The Thrill of It All’. He gave us a snippet of what his next steps would be like when he offered us ‘Too Good At Goodbyes’ on a silver platter, spoiling us with a soul-crushing, choir-heavy slow jam.
26. ‘Fake Happy’ – Paramore
Who isn’t a Paramore fan? We didn’t know what to expect from the band after their last LP back in 2013, but it ended up being perfection. ‘Fake Happy’ delves into the idea of pretending you’re fine when you’re not—something we’re sure everyone can relate to.
25. ‘Alone’ – Jessie Ware
We have to give love to the power ballads, and this one just can’t be ignored. With the voice of an edgy, soulful queen, Jessie Ware lifts us up in this track titled ‘Alone’ off her follow-up album ‘Glasshouse’ after an extensive break from music.
24. ‘Don’t Delete the Kisses’ – Wolf Alice
This isn’t exactly your typical bubblegum pop band—Wolf Alice aren’t pop at all, if we’re being honest, as they stay true to grunge rock through and through. But ‘Don’t Delete the Kisses’ is probably their most pop-like track, and we’d be lying if we said this wasn’t on repeat all summer, making us believe in the possibility of young love.
23. ‘Love’ – Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey is the ultimate queen of our desperate, lovestruck hearts. Following her album ‘Honeymoon’, Lana came back with the heart-wrenching ballad ‘Love’. It slashed a hole in our chests, providing us with the reminiscent feeling of being free and in love.
22. ‘Young, Dumb & Broke’ – Khalid
With his debut album ‘American Teen‘ going platinum, Khalid is every R&B-pop dream. Spending time as Lorde’s European opening act for her world tour, he gained a massive amount of attention. Khalid uses ‘Young, Dumb & Broke’ as a way to encapsulate what his whole album is like.
21. ‘Love You Like That’ – Dagny
If you haven’t heard of Dagny, you’re really missing out. The Norwegian singer has released banger after banger since 2016 and her EP ‘Ultraviolet’. ‘Love You Like That’ is just another addictive single from the songstress that has us dying to hear what she’ll come out with next.
20. ‘Bellyache’ – Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish has been gaining a massive amount of attention, a huge feat for a mere 15-year-old with the voice of an angel and artistry that’s comparable to musicians twice her age. ‘Bellyache’ is one of the first singles from the teenager, who says the track is actually about murder—yeah, we’re a bit shocked as well. But with an unforgettable beat, ‘Bellyache’ can be anything you want it to be about.
19. ‘John Wayne’ – Lady Gaga
Technically this song was released in 2016—but it didn’t start to reach the radio waves until early 2017 so it makes the cut, right? Lady Gaga has always served us bop after bop, and her Grammy nominated album ‘Joanne’ is loaded with them. ‘John Wayne’ is a high-energy, pop-rock jam that never fails to make us want to get up out of our seats and dance.
18. ‘Most Girls’ – Hailee Steinfeld
It’s definitely been the year of the woman—feminism is more important now than ever, and Hailee Steinfeld delivered one of the most iconic feminist anthems of 2017. ‘Most Girls’ reminds us of the critical message that we should bring other women up instead of tearing them down.
17. ‘Surround Me’ – Léon
The title track from Léon‘s latest EP, ‘Surround Me’ has left us stunned. The boisterous ballad mixed with bits of uptempo beats makes for the ideal summer single to put on repeat when we’re feeling down—it’s sure to lift up your mood.
16. ‘Take Me’ – Aly & AJ
After a decade-long break, Aly & AJ finally returned and gave us ‘Take Me’, the dream-pop banger we never knew we needed. We didn’t think it was possible for them to top ‘Potential Breakup Song’, but they just might have done it with this eighties-inspired track.
15. ‘Hero’ – George Maple
Hot off the heels of her tour with superstar act Lorde, George Maple has been at her busiest. Her debut album ‘Lover’ was released in October and gave us a chance to peek into her complex, creative mind. ‘Hero’ perfectly combines the dance-pop elements she applies throughout her LP and earns her a spot as one of our favorite artists of 2017.
14. ‘1-800-273-8255’ – Logic ft. Alessia Cara and Khalid
‘1-800-273-8255’ left a permanent mark on many listeners, with Logic centering on the fact that suicide is never the answer and that it’ill get better no matter what you’re experiencing. With the title of the song actually being the number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the organization has seen record numbers in calls and a significant increase since last year.
13. ‘I Know A Place’ – MUNA
After touring with the one and only Harry Styles, MUNA seems to have cemented a pretty reliable fanbase. Audiences immediately loved them after giving their music a listen, and ‘I Know A Place’ has become one of their most popular tracks. Focusing on the idea that safe spaces exist for anyone willing to be themselves, the song becomes even more meaningful—not to mention it’s one of the catchiest tunes we’ve heard in a while.
12. ‘Castle On the Hill’ – Ed Sheeran
It’s hard to believe Ed Sheeran is now one of the most in-demand male artists—it seems like just yesterday he was a struggling musician trying to make it big in London. After taking a year-long social media break, Ed epically returned to announce he was coming back with his third album ‘÷’ and released one of his first singles from the LP titled ‘Castle On The Hill.’ The song reminisces on his teenage years, which ultimately makes us nostalgic for those good old, worry-free high school days.
11. ‘Dusk Till Dawn’ – Zayn ft. Sia
Zayn has been pretty notorious for just dropping off the face of the earth, leaving fans yearning for new music. He finally gave us what we wanted with this dark-pop jam featuring megastar vocalist Sia. Even though we’re still waiting for Z2, we’ll keep this on repeat until then.
10. ‘Malibu’ – Miley Cyrus
After her last two albums, ‘Bangerz’ and ‘Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz’, we didn’t know what to anticipate from the former ‘Hannah Montana’ star. ‘Malibu’ was undoubtedly different from her past dancehall club bangers, but we’re not complaining. We were nothing but stoked to hear this Miley blast from the past, as she went back to her roots of true pop music and threw in a bit of country vibes into the mix.
9. ‘That’s What I Like’ – Bruno Mars
What would this list be without the king himself, Bruno Mars? He easily slid into our top 10 with his flawless hit ‘That’s What I Like’—and we can’t fail to mention that it’s also recently Grammy nominated. Bruno will always be one of music’s top performers, never failing to provide us with the highest quality music that makes us want to dance our little hearts out.
8. ‘Don’t Take The Money’ – Bleachers
Jack Antonoff is known for some of the best pop songs in the business—if you’ve heard it on the radio, Jack’s probably the mastermind behind it. But the Bleachers frontman doesn’t give all his best work away to every pop star; he saves some for himself too. ‘Don’t Take The Money’ is the first single off the band’s second album ‘Gone Now’ and captures the best eighties sound you could possibly imagine. With booming guitar notes and enthusiastic lyrics, this song quickly became one of our favorites of the year.
7. ‘Want You Back’ – Haim
It’s been a while since we heard from the sister trio Haim. ‘Want You Back’ gave us everything we missed from the insanely cool siblings: their dreamy classic-rock sound blessing our ears. With 2017 being the year many artists came out of hiding after what feels like a lifetime of creating new music, we’re extremely excited to see Este, Danielle and Alana back on the scene.
6. ‘Call It What You Want’ – Taylor Swift
We were all patiently awaiting T-Swift‘s epic return to music, especially after her sudden disappearance from the public eye for months. ‘Call It What You Want’ is one of Taylor’s more personal songs off her sixth album ‘Reputation’ and approaches the synth-pop genre like a pro, making Swifty even more untouchable.
5. ‘Slow Hands’ – Niall Horan
Niall Horan was always one of the most dynamic members of One Direction, often showing off his ability to play the guitar and write music for the world’s most popular boyband. He only further proved his talent after debuting his own solo album that showcased his folk-pop style beautifully—’Flicker’ is so uniquely Niall. ‘Slow Hands’ is the catchy single that ultimately won over the general public and became the No. 1 song on U.S. radio.
4. ‘New Rules’ – Dua Lipa
On the long list of 2017 feminist bops, this one surely takes the cake. Dua Lipa has had a strong debut—her self-titled album landed high on the U.K. charts, and she’s beginning to really break the U.S. with the help from her catchy hit ‘New Rules’. We couldn’t get this song out of our heads this year, counting down each one of Dua’s three commandments without hesitation when going through our worst breakups.
3. ‘Homemade Dynamite (Remix)’ – Lorde ft. Khalid, Post Malone and SZA
Lorde has had a phenomenal year, which included the release of her highly-anticipated sophomore album ‘Melodrama’. Besides the fact that the LP was nominated for a Grammy for Album of the Year, she dazzled us yet again with her one-of-a-kind artistic skills. Her original track ‘Homemade Dynamite’ was groundbreaking, but her recently-released remix of the song featuring Khalid, Post Malone, and SZA left us all with our jaws dropped.
2. ‘Praying’ – Kesha
Kesha‘s comeback was one for the ages. Following her highly-publicized lawsuit against her former producer Dr. Luke, it seemed like the songstress could conquer anything. The extremely vulnerable and telling track ‘Praying’ is the first single off her fourth and recently Grammy-nominated album ‘Rainbow’. Proving she’s a force to be reckoned with, Kesha came back with a life-changing story to share—but also with a vengeance.
1. ‘Sign of the Times’ – Harry Styles
The expectation for Harry Styles‘ solo career has always been high, the media constantly circulating rumors about his potential debut and what it’d be reminiscent of. ‘Sign of the Times’ was the last thing many music critics expected; an almost six-minute-long ballad gracing the radio waves wasn’t exactly the norm. But Harry defied those odds and established his old school rock sound in typical Harry fashion. It makes us excited for his future in music and what unique, game-changing tracks he’ll come up with later—but for now, ‘Sign of the Times’ remains our favorite tune of the year.