Top 40 was a aberrant abode in 2018 — a place area the year’s longest-running Billboard No. 1 hit had two chords and zero choruses or accessible hooks, and added No. 1s included a three-movement psych-rap odyssey, an Afrobeat-trap protest song and an R&B celebrity Burn Book ballad. The analogue of pop music is consistently changing, but the aftermost 12 months in accurate acquainted like a alteration year, a augury of a approaching area the music boilerplate is abutting to bugged from the angle of area we were a decade ago.
Luckily, that additionally fabricated this one of the best agitative years for singles on the archive and in our own claimed playlists in contempo anamnesis — one in which the bigger hits were additionally some of the best arduous and rewarding, and in which the added accepted pop songs that did breach through on a massive calibration acquainted fresher than they acquire in a continued time. And of course, below the surface, affluence of fringier artists were creating lesser-heard jams that alleged aback to the since-forgotten past — or predicted an akin added alluring future.
From the “Shallow” to “The Middle” to the accomplished of “High Hopes,” music was arresting at all levels in 2018. Actuality are the Billboard staff’s 100 admired songs of the year.
100. Maroon 5 feat. Cardi B, “Girls Like You”
What does a adventurous guitar riff additional Adam Levine’s bland tones additional a Cardi B carol equal? An accessible Hot 100 blueprint acknowledgment and adorable accoutrement on 2018 pop radio. Afterwards contempo attempts at a crossover accident with Kendrick Lamar (“Don’t Appetite a Know”) and Future (“Cold”) found mixed results, Maroon 5 begin an blueprint with a rapper that absolutely worked. Yes, it’s a tamer Cardi B than we’re acclimated to from the Invasion of Privacy star, but her accession elevates “Girls” from standard Maroon 5 activity to a jam that girls (and guys) of all cast can get behind. — DENISE WARNER
99. Jessie Reyez, “Body Count”
Reyez got us from the aboriginal bandage of this account of adventurous independence: “You don’t acquire to acquaint me ’bout your body count/ I don’t charge to apperceive your exes’ names.” Built-in in Canada to Colombian parents, Reyez explores all levels of affect on her acute acoustic jam. She posses a articulation that can be aggressive and caressing; a appearance that traverses rap, pop and R&B; and enough cross-over abode to snag a coveted achievement aperture at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards. — LEILA COBO
98. Adolescent Fathers, “In My View”
U.K. trio Young Fathers have been chipping abroad at cast restrictions aback their 2013 debut, and on this beforehand distinct from their third LP, Cocoa Sugar, they alloy pop, gospel, hip hop and bedrock until it all folds into an undefinable-but-all-consuming three account and 15 seconds. The song’s multi-layered appearance is akin by the calibration of its lyrics: the adventure of a man grappling with ego and materialism, aberrant amidst visions of his funeral, biblical references and a adventurous adeptness struggle. — ERIC FRANKENBERG
97. Avril Lavigne, “Head Aloft Water”
“Here’s to never growing up,” Lavigne sang bristles years ago on her aftermost flat album. “Here’s to aloof aggravating to breach alive,” she basically sings on this year’s improvement single, which capacity a low moment in her attempt with Lyme ache aback she had “accepted death.” Lavigne is not absolutely the aforementioned artisan we larboard aback in 2013: She’s trading Hot Topic for abounding Galadriel gowns, annoying guitars for pianos and strings — could she accomplish it any added obvious? Yet her celerity from a aphotic atom is as aloof arresting as her drunk-on-whatever misadventures, and her lyrics about axis to God in a time of crisis acquire fabricated “Head Aloft Water” the absurd centermost of the Sk8er-girlz-and-Christian-radio Venn diagram. — NOLAN FEENEY
96. Afterlife Cab for Cutie, “Gold Rush”
When the Singularity occurs, don’t be abashed if the robots acquire Ben Gibbard’s emotionally abandoned voice. What they won’t be able to carbon is his aptitude for autograph songs that accomplish accident complete so goddamned irresistible. Set to a annular tambourine-stomp sample of Yoko Ono’s 1971 groover “Mind Train,” “Gold Rush” sounds like it’s accession from accession era as Gibbard laments the perpetually alteration skyline of his Seattle hometown and the animosity of denial that they inspire. “It seems I never chock-full accident you/ As every dive becomes article new/ And all our ghosts get swept away/ It didn’t acclimated to be this way,” he sings amidst piano flourishes and Beatle-esque harmonies of “Stay… Breach the same.” Of course, he’s not aloof singing about buildings. — FRANK DIGIACOMO
95. Nicki Minaj, “Barbie Dreams”
“Barbie Dreams,” the atrociously funny third clue on Nicki Minaj’s fourth album, Queen, was the one that got anybody talking. The song was aggressive by the Notorious B.I.G.’s abominable “Just Playing (Dreams),” from his acceptance album, 1994’s Accessible to Die. Nicki’s song appearance the aforementioned angle and James Brown “Blues and Pants” sample, but while Biggie’s ran through all of the R&B females he capital to beddy-bye with, Nicki uses her verses to fizz some acclaimed rappers (and one football player). “Drake account a hundred milli, consistently affairs me shit/ But I don’t apperceive if the bobcat wet or if he arrant and shit,” she spits, afore activity afterwards Meek Mill, Lil Uzi Vert and abounding added collaborators and contemporaries. Diss track? No, sayeth the queen, admitting whether or not that lessened the bite of the slaps she delivered is still up for debate. — CHRISTINE WERTHMAN
94. Mallrat, “Groceries”
Thousands of songs acquire been accounting about the adventure of accepting a crush. But what about the annoyance? Aussie alt-pop newcomer Mallrat bottles up aggressive animosity (“I anticipate we’re declared to be,” “I’m Absence Independent”) in this sticky, finger-snapping acoustic highlight from acceptance EP, In the Sky, about the asinine things we acquaint ourselves aback we like accession — but ambition we didn’t. There’s article alluring about the way she trills “if you wanna get groceries” (what could be added mundane, or added personal?), dancing about her affections with both acidity and swagger. Article like a chat is advance amidst the addendum — beatific guitar strums adumbration at alpha love; Mallrat responds with a shrug. — TATIANA CIRISANO
93. Low, “Disarray”
It may or may not be the end of the angel as we apperceive it, but it absolutely starts with an earthquake: From the aboriginal bass tremor and Geiger adverse synth-scratch of Low’s “Disarray,” you can acquaint the Apple is abashed below you and adeptness never be abiding again. Few would’ve angry to these Northwest slowcore veterans of a division aeon to accommodate the year’s best arresting sonic encapsulation of 2018 tumult, but no complete this year was either added abating or added alarming than the accumulation declaring in apparitional three-part harmony: “Before it avalanche into absolute disarray/ You’ll acquire to apprentice to animate a adapted way.” In added words: It adeptness be time for akin Lenny Bruce to alpha getting a little bit afraid. — ANDREW UNTERBERGER
92. Becky G & Natti Natasha, “Sin Pajama”
The angle of two girls accomplishing annoying things has been about non-existent in Latin music. “Sin Pijama” (“No Pajamas”) upends the angel of the nice girl, with stars Becky G and Natti Natasha unapologetically swapping lines like “I’ve consistently been a lady, but I’m a baggage in bed.” The actuality that “Sin pajama” is an conspicuously addictive pop-reggaetón clue abandoned helps its cause. — L.C.
91. serpentwithfeet, “Bless Ur Heart”
Little in 2018 bright like serpentwithfeet: theatrical, textured with vibrato, literary, accommodating to abandon anatomy to get at added and scarier emotions. “Bless ur heart” closes the 2018 anthology soil, and the acquaintance of the song is perpetually surprising. Josiah White has one of those choir that is added exhilarant for its idiosyncrasies and imperfections than for its bland patches, and it’s hard to brainstorm anyone abroad carrying his lyrics. The aboriginal carol is clay in miniature, aerial from apish account and accent into a beeline dive to the affection of the matter, area he makes it plain: “Boy, whoever reads about how abundant I admire you/ I achievement my words accompany them article new, article new.” — ROSS SCARANO
90. Valee feat. Jeremih, “Womp Womp”
In a year aback abounding rap newcomers were accurate by adventuresome absurdity and sad-eyed earnestness, none accustomed with the blazon of bash that Valee delivered with “Womp Womp,” his carnal collab with adolescent Chicagoan Jeremih. The G.O.O.D Music signee, whose rap appearance his characterization bang-up Kanye West called “the best accepted in rap,” finds a way to aberration and angle words into his breeze to fit the beat, (“T-shirt VLONE, leave the auto runnin’ won’t be long/ Chinese food, wonton, I adeptness as able-bodied try that one time”) while Jeremih sets the accent with his adaptable vocals. A low burner that went off in the summer months. — DAN RYS
89. Ezra Furman, “Suck the Blood From My Wound”
The advance clue from indie singer-songwriter Ezra Furman’s Transangelic Exodus launches appropriate into the album’s blithely camp backstory: A man and his queer, outlaw angel lover get abaft the caster and go on the lam in a dystopian future. Furman’s vocals on the cinematic, Springsteenian rocker are aflutter yet urgent, as if they’re absolutely acquainted the action adjoin The Man is as hopeless as it is necessary. — JOE LYNCH
88. Marshmello & Bastille, “Happier”
Ignore the appellation and the production: “Happier” may resemble an upbeat jam with its animated exhausted drop, but Marshmello and Bastille’s collaborative accomplishment tells a sad adventure about letting go of a accord afore one activity is accessible for it to end (“The angel of you actuality with accession else, able-bodied it’s bistro me up inside,” sings frontman Dan Smith). The affecting music video absolutely embraces the affliction that comes with loss, and it helped actuate the song to a aiguille of No. 3 on the Hot 100 — the best mark yet for either artist. — ALEXA BIANCHI
87. IU, “BBIBBI”
If BTS accepted that acquainted K-pop can cantankerous over, IU makes the case for acutely claimed K-pop. Korea’s chart-topping accuser IU delivers a admonishing attempt to haters and critics with this deceptively candied and animated R&B cut, which finds her giving a “yellow C-A-R-D” to those who boldness and borrow on someone’s privacy. The distinct not abandoned comments on IU’s adventures in the accessible life, but it doubles as a accepted empowerment anthem, knowing and acknowledging one’s account and claimed rights. — JEFF BENJAMIN
86. Rina Sawayama, “Cherry”
In a year aback the cultural chat about gender and animal alteration became added nuanced than ever, Japan-born, U.K.-bred Rina Sawayama’s blemish disco-pop distinct “Cherry” feels accompanying animate and casual, alienated the abreast accouterment of past sexual-experimentation pop anthems. As she sings, “Holding assimilate feelings/ I’m not acclimated to activity / ‘Cause, oh, they accomplish me feel alive,” Sawayama’s articulation shoots skyward, bond altogether with her anew apparent abandon and accepting of herself as a pansexual woman. — ERIC FRANKENBERG
85. Bebe Rexha, “I’m a Mess”
“I’m a Mess” is a acceptable admonition that Bebe Rexha is able of arresting gold alfresco of collaborations, too. The clue is accompanying self-deprecating and optimistic, congenital about Rexha’s self-assurances on the choir that aggregate will about-face out all appropriate — afterwards all, her therapist said so. Rexha scored her aboriginal abandoned top 40 hit with the able cut, acknowledgment in allotment to a well-choreographed music video (which transported admirers into an batty asylum), an active achievement of the clue at the 2018 MTV EMAs and an akin added buzzworthy one at the Victoria’s Abstruse Appearance Show. She’s since been lighting up the Jingle Brawl circuit, with “Mess” accouterment her best befalling yet to flash all on her own. — GAB GINSBERG
84. FISHER, “Losing It”
One of brawl music’s best agitative acts of 2018 can be begin Bottomward Under: Fisher, the pro-surfer-turned-pro-DJ-producer who’s lit up festivals and endless clubs with “Losing It.” The exhilarant abode distinct has been played out by hundreds of touring acts, including Skrillex and Tiësto, in accession to BBC Radio 1 curators like Annie Nightingale and MistaJam. The song has additionally spent a whopping 15 weeks and counting on Billboard’s Hot Dance/Electronic Songs blueprint and continues to acceleration through the ranks, so we’re acceptable activity to be losing it to this one able-bodied into 2019. — DAVID RISHTY
83. Khalid, 6LACK & Ty Dolla $ign, “OTW”
From the angle of anxious freelancers everywhere, 2018 was the year of Ty Dolla $ign, who lent his pen, voice and affection for abominable quotables to your admired artists. Produced by R&B-Drake’s abstruse weapon Nineteen85, “OTW” is the complete of Khalid accepting on Ty’s level, roughing up his angel aloof a bit but endlessly abbreviate of accurate R&B lothario behavior, like acrimonious out lingerie. (Ty’s got that covered.) Atlanta’s 6lack contributes, too — providing a courage in numbers that restores, if abandoned briefly, the august activity of ’90s R&B groups. — R.S.
82. Lauv, “I Like Me Better”
In a time aback hip-hop dominates the Hot 100 chart, it’s attenuate to see a candied and innocent pop-rock adulation song shine. But Lauv crafted a absorbing carol that resonated with added than aloof admirers of To All the Boys I’ve Admired Before thanks to a bouncy, instantly apparent riff, the singer’s afire carol and swoon-worthy adulation like “I like me better when I’m with you.” The song helped Lauv snag the No. 1 atom on the Arising Artists Chart and able the top 40 of the Year-End Hot 100 chart, but conceivably added importantly, it additionally accepted that courage isn’t absolutely asleep in 2018. — TAYLOR WEATHERBY
81. The Interrupters, “She’s Kerosene”
A ska song activity top bristles in 2018? We weren’t assured it, and frankly, the Interrupters weren’t, either: “It’s like we acquire a bench at the table we didn’t akin apperceive was there for us,” guitarist Kevin Bivona told Billboard, calling in from a Warped Bout parking lot back in July. Aback that interview, the L.A. punks’ damaging distinct rose to No. 4 on the Addition Songs chart, authoritative them the aboriginal female-fronted ska bandage aback No Agnosticism about two decades ago to arise so high. On the abruptness hit, frontwoman Aimee “Interrupter” Allen — who’d been through the aloft characterization ringer as a abandoned artisan some 15 years beforehand — fights her way out of an calumniating relationship among snake-charmer-succinct guitar grooves and group-vocal fireworks. — CHRIS PAYNE
80. BlocBoy JB feat. Drake, “Look Alive”
Though Drake is the world’s bigger hip-hop star, he still spends ample time in the trenches aloof for advancing talent. For his aboriginal 2018 co-sign, he teamed with Memphis’ BlocBoy JB on “Look Alive.” BlocBoy’s carol about claim an NRA endorsement with afresh warnings that if you cantankerous this pair, he’ll “spray ‘em aloof like Febreze” and “got circuit like Sugar Ray Robinson.” Drizzy doesn’t lay in as hard, but he alternating with added bite (“’Cause I told them that we put that bits abaft us, but I lied”) for those who anticipate he’s veered too soft lately. His best bar — “I’ve been gone since, like, July, n—as actin’ like I died” — was at already a able angle about his accent to the hip-hop adventurous and conceivably a adumbration about the ages that his Scorpion album would later set the alive angel ablaze. — TREVOR ANDERSON
79. Sakima feat. RoboKid, “Apps”
“If I’m the abandoned allegation on your map/ You gotta annul all those added apps,” starts English singer-songwriter Sakima on this anguish grunge-pop team-up with L.A.-based producer Robokid. The cold, brownish abrading of the clue transforms the best millennial of conversations — chief it’s time to annul OkCupid, Grindr, Tinder and the like before affective assimilate a added courting — into a advantageous sex-dungeon manifesto. — PATRICK CROWLEY
78. Sharon Van Etten, “Comeback Kid”
Sharon Van Etten’s aboriginal distinct off her accessible album, 2019’s Remind Me Tomorrow, is an acquisitive acknowledgment for a rocker who lived a accomplished lot of activity — and started a family, and launched an acting career — in the four years aback 2014’s absorbed and wry Are We There. “Comeback Kid” sees Van Etten benign synths, active bang and a best feel over the guitar-led indie-rock she ahead perfected. She grabs the microphone and holds bound to it while authoritative a comedy for a abode in the aforementioned agreeable pantheon of jailbait spirit as Patti Smith and Joan Jett — and, unsurprisingly, she nails it. — HILARY HUGHES
“Te Bote” was built-in while Hurricane Maria was accidental through Puerto Rico. Conceivably that’s why Casper Magico and Nio Garcia’s song is so abounding of angelic acrimony at a cheating lover: “I kicked you out,” they sing plaintively, beneath than a minute in. On the song’s seven-minute remix, the refrain gets afresh by a arrangement of bedfellow artists — including superstars Nicky Jam, Bad Bunny and Ozuna — which understandably angry the song into a massive hit. — SUZETTE FERNANDEZ
The year’s best barbarous encapsulation — not counting fictional onstage Grammy incidents, anyhow — of the way addiction drives you to moments you could never akin brainstorm actuality at the centermost of otherwise. Not absorbed to any accessible activity or accustomed any aloft promotional push, the piano carol feels like an accurate agreeable apology, Lovato’s voice aural as breakable as her boldness as she absolutely tells her parents, admirers and approaching adventurous accomplice the aftermost activity they appetite to hear. Moments like her abashed “I wanna be a role model/ But I’m abandoned human” acceptance didn’t charge any real-life brushes with tragedy for added backpack or resonance, but acutely and all too poetically, the world got one anyway. — A.U.
75. Metro Boomin feat. 21 Savage, “Don’t Appear Out the House”
For the aboriginal 25 abnormal or so, it seems aboveboard enough: A cinematic, hardly abominable Metro Boomin exhausted fabricated all the added apocalyptic by the looming attendance of a 21 Savage carol on the horizon. But in a year in which mid-song exhausted changes have come roaring aback into fashion, Metro and Savage amalgamate for one of the best jarring: The exhausted drops off a bluff to abutment an ASMR-esque verse, in which Savage delivers the abandoned activity that could accomplish his attendance akin added like a abhorrence cine — him whispering about killing you, and how, precisely, he’s activity to do it. I almost don’t need to acquaint you, but yes, this song did come out the anniversary of Halloween this year. — D.R.
74. Justin Timberlake feat. Chris Stapleton, “Say Something”
Ever aback Justin Timberlake appeared with Chris Stapleton at the 2015 CMAs to accomplish a assortment of “Drink You Away” and “Tennessee Whiskey,” admirers acquire been clamoring for added accord from the duo. Timberlake delivered on his Man of the Woods anthology with “Say Something,” and it’s aggregate a Timberton stan could want: Stapleton’s abrasive vocals allegory with Timberlake’s boy-band-honed croon, affluence of twangy guitar and a arch sing-along chorus. Hopefully abutting time, we’ll get an absolute album. — D.W.
DAYTONA opener “If You Apperceive You Know” begins like gas stove about to burn as Pusha T prepares to set the hip-hop mural ablaze. What follows the instantly iconic bead is the Virginia Beach aerial in ancient elder mode, crafting accomplished exhausted schemes to afresh abode his adolescent antagonism as “boys” and adequate the boodle of his hard-fought battles over the years. Consider it accession asset of acumen from the trapper-turned-rapper and get “busy earning stripes like a tiger’s skin.” — BRYAN KRESS
72. Empress Of, “When I’m With Him”
L.A.’s Lorely Rodriguez wrote and produced her absolute aboriginal anthology by herself but brought in collaborators for her additional anthology of abstracted electro-pop, this year’s Us. Adjoin a accomplishments of balmy synthesizers, a blue guitar sample and a boom bend created by producers Jim-E Stack and Dan Nigro, Rodriguez alloyed English and Spanish lyrics to actualize a contemplative pop song about falling out of love. “I don’t apperceive how to adulation now, I pretend/ Aback I’m with him,” she sings, across-the-board through the words with a sigh. It should complete sad, because the accountable matter, but her articulation is too afire and the music too adroit to accord the affliction about to stick. — C.W.
71. Parquet Courts, “Wide Awake”
Parquet Courts acquire a fever, and the abandoned cure is added timbales! If jailbait and disco had a babyish and fed it a abiding diet of Adderall, it would complete like “Wide Awake,” the New York rockers’ joyous, active admiration to the backward ‘70s and aboriginal ’80s. With its blue bassline, Dollar Abundance guitar licks and hyper-caffeinated Latin percussion, it’s a song that could affect sharp-elbowed crazy dancing akin in the staunchest of wallflowers. No cocaine required. — F.D.
70. Post Malone, “Better Now”
From the insta-chorus that bliss off Post’s best addictive hit to date to the skittery Frank Dukes exhausted that’s 90 percent of the crossover smash’s agreeable bed, “Better Now” is an uncut dosage of the singer-rapper’s attenuate gifts. The MC who swears he’s not one is in abounding bivouac access here, aggregate his congenital pop sensibilities and adulation for singer-songwriter accordance with the absolute dosage of hip-hop swagger. Hell, Taylor Swift said she was “so anxious of that song, that hook.” Plus, “I promise/ I affirm to you I’ll be okay/ You’re abandoned the adulation of my life,” is one of the best baller adventures of affliction in rap (or pop) history. — GIL KAUFMAN
69. Pentagon, “Shine”
Beginning with a antic piano melody and co-writer E’Dawn allowance his throat, “Shine” is a acting adulation acknowledgment delivered with a faculty of campiness. Driven by arbitrary assumption and artful chants, the South Korean boy band’s 10 associates alternating amidst absorbing verses and boisterous raps. The song not abandoned became Pentagon’s aboriginal Top 10 access on the Angel Digital Song Sales blueprint in April, but it also became Pentagon’s final distinct with E’Dawn; he larboard the act afterwards in the year afterwards his publicized accord with HyunA acquired affray with aloft characterization Cube Entertainment. — TAMAR HERMAN
68. Kali Uchis feat. Jorja Smith, “Tyrant”
Kali Uchis and Jorja Smith anniversary abandoned notable R&B affection debuts this year with Isolation and Absent & Found, respectively. By abutting armament on “Tyrant”, the two arising stars showed aloof how able-bodied they accompaniment one accession — and how abundant their attendance is a benefaction for the genre. The song’s constant backbeat helps backpack the weight of the song, while Jorja’s buttery carol elevates the clue instead of activity like an afterthought. “Don’t lose this/ We acquire it all,” Smith sings, and at atomic in the moment, she’s not wrong. — LYNDSEY HAVENS
67. Kane Brown, “Lose It”
With two Country Airplay No. 1s in his abridged (2017’s “What Ifs” and “Heaven”), Kane Brown caked his abode as a Nashville hitmaker with this lead distinct from his green LP. The banjo-tinged rocker “Lose It” is according genitalia windows-down jam and amorous adulation letter, with verses that appearance off Brown’s absorbing range. And while it wasn’t his aboriginal blueprint topper, “Lose It” concluded Florida Georgia Bandage and Bebe Rexha’s record-setting 50-week run atop the Hot Country Songs tally, proving that Billboard’s November awning star is no one-album wonder. — T.W.
66. Nicky Jam & J Balvin, “X”
Nicky Jam and J Balvin’s “X” fuses dancehall and reggae, consistent in a fresh new Caribbean sound. Originally accounting by J Balvin for his buddy Nicky Jam — who in angry asked Balvin to arise on the song — the track’s now-instantly apparent angle and signature brawl move aggressive legions of admirers to booty on “X” challenges, affective the clue to No 1 on Billboard’s Latin Airplay chart. — S.F.
65. Arctic Monkeys, “Four Out of Five”
As the purveyors of the fabulous Tranquility Base Auberge and Casino on the band’s anthology of the aforementioned name, shape-shifting bedrock vagabonds Arctic Monkeys don’t assume decidedly agog on over-booking the joint. At a advisedly arid pace, Alex Turner serves as the assuming bout adviser to the affected area on advance distinct “Four Out of Five,” throwing out fizz phrases like “it’s the abode to go” with a disengagement that reads like a “I went to the lunar resort and all I got was this t-shirt” souvenir. It’s a atramentous comment on our Yelp-dependent society that would predictably advance abounding to get captious at a marvel of animal progress. — B.K.
64. J. Cole, “K.O.D.”
This is what you anxiety flipping fan expectation: J. Cole, avant-garde apotheosis of the acquainted rapper, alpha the appellation clue and opener-in-earnest to fifth LP KOD with a Baron Push-like avowal of his drug-game accomplishment (“Ten keys from a division brick/ Bentley from his mama’s whip”). Of course, it’s not that straightforward: The brain-sticking burden is bound appear to be about amidst acerb and self-effacing, as Cole spends the verses aloof about his cachet and smacking bottomward his critics, afore switching the accountable to the chest-puffed biologic dealers he grew up around, with the affected parallels speaking for themselves. No cast bald for the beat, though: a stripped-down but assertive knocker that gives the lyric both the amaze and the force it all calls for. — A.U.
63. Hayley Kiyoko, “Curious”
“I’m aloof curious, is it serious?” taunts Hayley Kiyoko on this rubbery, able pop jam. But don’t be bamboozled by her faux-chill: Hayley wants answers. To the tune of euphoric, icy synths and aerobatics verses that leave the bald minimum of amplitude to bolt your breath, the California singer-songwriter (and fan-appointed Lesbian Jesus) appropriately mocks and flirts with the babe in question, flipping the calligraphy with a distinct line: “You say you capital me, but you’re sleeping with him.” The standout of her acceptance anthology Expectations, “Curious” excels by adventuresome to be specific — from its acicular references (“did you booty him to the berth in Santa Monica?”) to its same-sex pronouns — while its all-embracing tongue-in-cheek vibe keeps the altercation on the brawl floor. — T.C.
62. Kanye West, “Ghost Town”
Leave it to his aesthetic soulmate Kid Cudi to accidentally bright the prevailing anecdotal of coach Kanye West’s 2018: “I’ve been aggravating to accomplish you adulation me/ But aggregate I do aloof takes you added from me.” Kanye spent the year accident the artifice as he acquainted like he was accession it all out, and Ye climax “Ghost Town” mirrors that breach all too brilliantly. With its bouncing organs, glottal guitars and archetypal Kanye cast of scumbag gospel, the song about feels like “Runaway,” but sadder, older, realer — this isn’t the complete of Yeezus aggressive his demons, it’s the complete of him announcement his abandonment with a smile. “Nothing hurts anymore, I feel kinda free!” yells the song’s blemish ablaze 070 Shake from the added side, and it’s both the best boastful and best alarming activity you’ll apprehend all year. — A.U.
61. Christine and the Queens, “Doesn’t Matter”
Christine and the Queens, one of France’s finest exports, appear the acclaimed green anthology Chris this year. The accompanist built-in Héloïse Letissier has alleged standout clue “Doesn’t Matter” her “crisis” song, acknowledgment that it is “a cathedral, with a accent as bounden as white stone.” Atop a anesthetic “Mickey”-esque beat, Chris — the change of Letissier’s Christine date appearance — questions whether a college adeptness exists (“If I acquire in God, and if God does exist”) and hints at dizzying affliction (“’Cause the baleful thoughts that are still in my head/Give her that abominable side-smile aback I lay in bed”). Things get akin added absorbing on the bridge, aback she introduces a circuitous appearance accepted as a “sun stealer.” As she explained on the Song Exploder podcast, Chris wants that creature, who represents hope, to run abroad with the sun and never appear back, because she’d like to wallow abandoned in her anguish for aloof one moment, please. — G.G.
60. Marshmello & Anne-Marie, “Friends”
Want us to spell it out for you? This adventurous song is a blast. British pop star Anne-Marie brings the attitude, bluntly cogent her wannabe admirer that they are annihilation added than buds, while ooey-gooey brawl ambassador Marshmello brings the antic snare-forward beat, tricking you into cerebration the friend-zone aborigine is accepting let bottomward accessible (he’s not). In accession to actuality such a fun acquire that radio accent couldn’t ruin it, this bop adeptness aloof be the best top 40 spelling assignment aback Gwen Stefani accomplished us how abounding Ns are in bananas. — KATIE ATKINSON
59. Chris Stapleton, “Broken Halos”
In 2018, Chris Stapleton assuredly got the No. 1 country radio hit he apparently should’ve snagged ages ago. And why not “Broken Halos”? The centerpiece of a adorable brace of back-to-basics country annal from the accomplished year-and-a-half, From A Room Vols. 1 and 2, “Broken Halos” stands as a almighty admonition to booty affection amidst tragedy and the accident of admired ones (“Don’t go attractive for the reasons… we’re not meant to apperceive the answers”). It’s a affect applicative aloft the angel — including the Nashville scene, in the deathwatch of aftermost year’s Route 91 Harvest anniversary shooting. — KEVIN RUTHERFORD
58. Carly Rae Jepsen, “Party For One”
Carly Rae Jepsen has standards, abuse it, and she won’t achieve for annihilation beneath than the affectionate of adulation she fought for in aftermost year’s “Cut to the Feeling” or the collywobbles that fabricated 2012’s “Call Me Maybe” such a relatable smash. With “Party For One,” the aboriginal aftertaste of her awful advancing Affect follow-up, Jepsen is all about accurate and allegorical self-love: She’d rather brawl abandoned and accomplish adulation to herself than decay accession minute with a actuality who isn’t absorbed on accepting on her beat. It’s their loss, but definitely our gain. — H.H.
57. Boygenius, “Me and My Dog”
One of the sweetest adeptness of 2018 was the foundation of boygenius, the all-too-perfect supergroup of indie singer-songwriters Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus. Their self-titled, six-track EP’s magnum composition is its additional track, “Me & My Dog,” which plays magically into anniversary member’s strengths while never declining to lose clue of its adumbration or its feeling. Bridgers runs point, aperture with two verses about actuality so in adulation with her accomplice that she forgets to eat and sleep, architecture to the penultimate bandage they all sing, “I wanna be emaciated” — a acknowledgment that the accord in catechism may not acquire been perfect, but it’s bigger than the alternative. And what about the dog? The final bandage finds the leash adulatory they could escape on a spaceship, with annihilation but their pup “and an absurd view.” — XANDER ZELLNER
56. Backstreet Boys, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”
The Backstreet Boys’ 2018 blueprint improvement is one of the year’s best abrupt — and acceptable — surprises. And while this midtempo address to a lover is a throwback, it’s not to the ’90s: It goes aback akin further to draw on the atmospheric fist-pumpers of the ’80s, with ablaze synths and an insistent, thudding exhausted that complements their still-immaculate harmonies and that delicious, impossible-to-sing-along-to falsetto. — J. Lynch
55. Cardi B, “Be Careful”
Back in January, a YouTube concert video of Cardi B akin in which the Bronx rapper paraphrased lyrics from Beyonce’s “Don’t Hurt Yourself” (‘You do that bits again, you gon’ lose your wife”) that were interpreted as a admonishing to superstar bedmate Offset that she would not put up with a cheating spouse. Aloof a few months later, she appear her own castigation to those who would fuck with her heart. But area Bey’s admonishing to Jay-Z was a bang of unfiltered acerbity and adulterated Jack White guitar, Cardi’s “Be Careful” is a musically cooler, emotionally added circuitous activity — and (at the accident of abaft the Beyhive) a added honest one, too. Yeah, Cardi’s spitting acrimony — “You accomplish me sick” is a afresh burden — but not ambuscade the hurt: “My affection is like a amalgamation with a breakable characterization on it/ Be careful with me,” she sings to the man she admits she still adores. In the deathwatch of her and Offset’s contempo break-up, conceivably accession wasn’t listening. — F.D.
54. Foster the People, “Sit Abutting to Me”
Some songs you apprehend on the radio complete like such accustomed fits that the artisan abaft them seems to acquire absurd the cipher for all pop music. But if the blueprint for a hit were as simple as that — and this song’s narrative: “Hey! Hey you! Aloof appear sit here. Let’s see what happens afterwards you aloof like, sit here” — Foster the Bodies would acceptable acquire had a laid-back, head-boppable accident already a anniversary instead of already every eight years. However they begin it, and whether or not they can echo it, the compound for “Sit Abutting to Me” accepted a champ in 2018: “It’s a feel acceptable song that everybody aloof feels acceptable about,” said no beneath an ascendancy than my 60-year-old dad aback I asked him to explain why he loves this song so much. — JAYME KLOCK
53. James Bay, “Pink Lemonade”
What do you do aback you adeptness a brace of hits, “Hold Aback the River” and “Let It Go,” that acutely blueprint you a adamant beforehand to singer-songwriter superstardom, conceivably as the abutting Ed Sheeran? If you’re James Bay, you cut your hair, bung the acoustic in the closet and address the best Strokes song aback “Under Awning of Darkness,” complete with a chugging, barn rock-y guitar riff, a memorable bassline and afire vocals. Bay may actual able-bodied morph afresh appear anthology three, so adore his anew bedazzled, adequate attending and complete while you can. — K.R.
52. Florence The Machine, “Hunger”
Florence the Machine’s specialty is chest-thumping, seratonin-spiking motivational anthems for the new millennium — and “Hunger” is no barring to the attitude accustomed by “Dog Canicule Are Over,” “Shake It Off” and “You’ve Got the Love” afore it. The advance distinct off 2018’s Aerial As Hopes has Florence Welch aerial over abrasive revelations — this time about attractive for adulation in the amiss places and clearing for what one finds instead — and bathrobe them up in with euphoric, string-laden blueprint and a simple choir absolute for amphitheatre sing-alongs. — H.H.
51. Mitski, “Nobody”
In 193 seconds, indie-rock powerhouse Mitski sings the chat “Nobody” 34 times. It’s this repetition, admitting the track’s bright disco beat, that makes the outsider’s canticle feel so isolating (and, aback commutual with its surreal music video, disorienting). And it’s not aloof the song’s titular mantra that proves so annoying — Mitski’s calm yet admiring charge throughout the clue eases the adviser into a bound abstraction of bareness alongside her. — E.F.
In the few years aback 16-year-old Billie Eilish started absolution music, she’s armed herself with an armory of breakable ballads, anxious bangers and ukulele-plucked spoken-word stories. But on the apocalyptic “You Should See Me In A Crown,” she creates a amalgam of her softer and harder selves as the atomic clue seesaws amidst a bare-bones exhausted and bass blitz. With four accompanying Hot 100 hits as the year draws to a close, this boyhood queen needs no added acme — she already has the alt-pop throne. — L.H.
49. Charlie Puth feat. Kehlani, “Done For Me”
Puth channels mid-’80s Wham! on this Voicenotes strutter, from to the opening keyboard riff bottomward to his affable accelerate into falsetto and the bad-tempered attitude. He’s walking away, but Kehlani has her own angry thoughts on the matter, authoritative it bright that she’s fed up with aggravating to abate his unfounded annoyance (though the video pairs Kehlani with a woman in a abstracted adventure line). Puth and Kehlani’s chemistry, akin stronger actuality than on their 2015 awning of Drake’s “Hotline Bling,” lifts the animated clue into article abundant added than a alone cornball throwback. — MELINDA NEWMAN
48. Silk City feat. Dua Lipa, “Electricity”
It’s no abruptness that super-producers Diplo and Mark Ronson accomplish a abundant team, nor is it hasty that the anew formed duo concluded up breaking into the Hot 100 aural their aboriginal few singles. “Electricity” is a supercharged groover that appearance one of 2018’s unwavering hitmakers: Dua Lipa, who turns admirers into dancers with her standout vocals and ample hooks. The song’s mild music video may booty abode in the dark, but bumping this hit at any abode activity is affirmed to ablaze up the room. — D.R.
47. Ariana Grande, “Breathin”
A alarming agitator attack. A bawling break-up. A cyclone engagement. The accidental of a admired one. Endless criticism on amusing media. This would all be abundant to send anyone into a agitated spiral, but Ariana Grande (who baffled all of this and abundant added in 2018) created an canticle to advice get herself and others through afflicting times. Aloof aback you’re anticipate you’re extensive a breaking point, this euphoric-yet-meditative dance-pop mantra reminds us that we already acquire a lifeline: Just accumulate breathin’ and breathin’ and breathin’… and breathin’. — BIANCA GRACIE
46. Lana Del Rey, “Mariners Apartment Complex”
Lana Del Rey’s articulation has consistently had a adorable effect, but on “Mariners Apartment Complex,” the pop siren actively wants to abeyance her accountable into a contented state: “You lose your way, aloof booty my hand/ You’re absent at sea, afresh I’ll command your baiter to me again,” she asserts. For a song about agreement actual acceptance in another, Del Rey entrusted alt-pop admired Jack Antonoff, who arranges a adorable carpeting of guitar strums and piano melodies to accompaniment the spell she casts, consistent in one of the best absolutely developed singles of her career. — JASON LIPSHUTZ
45. Rae Sremmurd feat. Juicy J, “Powerglide”
As Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi told Billboard this spring, Rae Sremmurd’s apocalyptic banger “Powerglide,” from the duo’s amateur album SR3MM, all started with a sample. Ambassador Mally Mall, a.k.a. Jamal Rashid, played the brothers an active clue based about Three 6 Mafia’s “Side 2 Side” at his Encino Hills studio. Swae threw on some sing-rap verses and a choir that celebrates cars, girls, money — and the powerglide. No, not the automated transmission. As Swae said, powerglide was “just like a dope-ass chat … It seems like you’re fucking amphibian or aerial or something.” Jxmmi additionally bankrupt in with a bound composed, aggressively delivered verse, admitting it was abandoned applicable that they brought in Juicy J, whom the two met at a party, to action a balladry masterclass and akin an “RIP Lil Peep” shoutout. — C.W.
From the aperture carnal guitar riff to the afresh piano chords of the chorus, this aerial country-pop jam tells a active adventure acknowledgment to the tiny agreeable capacity — her “half-drunk smile,” his “half an ounce” — brindled throughout. The babe in the feel-good country accident adeptness acquire anticipation the hotel key was the best gift she got out of her aerial one-night stand, but it turns out it’s this slyly developed song instead. — K.A.
43. Red Velvet, “Bad Boy”
Femme fatales and bad boys go duke in duke — at least, that’s the end point of this attenuated adventurous of cat and mouse. This K-pop babe group, accepted for their beautiful yet complete duality, immerses you beeline abroad in their angry soundscapes, bushing this R&B jam with intricate details such a a siren onomatopoeia, clacking aerial heels and harmonies to spare. It’s the latest affidavit that, in pop music, it’s not adverse to be badass and bendable at once. — CAITLIN KELLEY
42. Drake, “In My Feelings”
Thank Yeezus. Sure, it wasn’t Ye’s annus mirabilis — musically or culturally — but his altercation with frenemy Drake partly inspired social media’s top tune of the year, “In My Feelings.” Aloft the board, it has all the capacity of a Drake smash: half-sung, half-rapped vocals; a adapted adornment from a newcomer (in this case, the bearding City Girls); lyrics that authored endless Instagram captions; and babyish God, that title. Akin cynics who lamented the nod to New Orleans animation music as aloof accession brand in Aubrey “culture vulture” Graham’s passport were no agnosticism sucked into the song’s assured summer brawl claiming crafted by actor Shiggy. If you didn’t adept it this year, don’t fret: The dance ensured that “Feelings” will be a basic at bells receptions and ancestors reunions for years to come. — T.A.
41. Teyana Taylor, “WTP”
The year that saw Pose bring brawl adeptness absoluteness to TV additionally gave us “WTP,” Teyana Taylor’s alluring address to the agilely affecting anomalous scene. Taylor silkily croons over a adaptable bass bandage and a adorable sample of Ellis D and Boom Boom’s 1989 abode clue “Work This Pussy,” while agnostic rapper Mykki Blanco assumes the role of tart-tongued amphitheater commentator, acceptable us that Taylor is a “mo-ther fu-cking DIVA.” An audio atom from Octavia St. Laurent from the 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning serves as a coda, advantageous accolade to one of Harlem brawl culture’s backward icons. — J. Lynch
40. Mac Miller, “Self Care”
It’s difficult to abstracted the advised bulletin abaft “Self Care” from the absoluteness of the Pittsburgh rapper’s abortive accidental in September. From eerily clear-sighted confined that would comedy out in headlines to the angel of Miller abstraction “Momento Mori” into his casket lid in the music video, every aspect of the song now seems to adumbration at tragedy. “Self Care” was consistently a cautionary account of falling too abysmal in the chase for close peace, but it’s the accident of Miller that gives an unshakeable coercion to the bulletin about accolade conservancy aloft your vices. — B.K.
39. Khalid & Normani, “Love Lies”
The best affectionate of allure is generally the subtlest — something Khalid and Normani apperceive well on “Love Lies.” The Love, Simon soundtrack standout depicts the aboriginal stages of a amative tug o’ war as both ally put abreast their hesitations about jumping into a new relationship. The singers comedy the roles well, with Normani’s croaking come-hither vocals billowing like smoke as Khalid asks “Are you bottomward for the ride?” in his signature chapped tone. Clearly anybody was — the song peaked at No. 9 on the Hot 100. — B.G.
38. Juice WRLD, “Lucid Dreams”
The blueprint for “Lucid Dreams” isn’t annihilation new — it pairs bleared accumulation accent by an acoustic guitar (borrowed from Sting’s “Shape of My Heart”) with aphotic lyrics about arresting with a access heart. What is new, though, is that a SoundCloud rapper begin his way to top 40 radio (and hit No. 7 on Billboard’s Pop Songs chart) thanks to the song’s crossover abode via its almighty adapted courage and acutely addictive chorus. Whether arrant through the speakers at a club or on headphones in your bedroom, “Lucid Dreams” is a speak-your-truth soundtrack for anyone’s half-conscious reality. — L.H.
37. The 1975, “Give Yourself a Try”
Sincerity is alarming to The 1975, but activity alfresco is fucking petrifying, so frontman Matty Healy’s aloof accomplished dipping into the aloft to accost the latter. A Abrupt Inquiry Into Online Relationships advance distinct “Give Yourself a Try” is a anxiety to admit one’s self-worth and become a allotment of the world, and its emotional artlessness is about as abominable as the complete of its distorted, acute guitar riff crackling out of the speakers. It’s about Healy’s own isolation, of course, but additionally about his fans, and additionally about everyone, which is why his free-associative lyrics about whiskey and babyish boomers and the absence of ambience in avant-garde Internet chat consistently bead out in time to not afflict the simple address of the chorus. “If you’re so clever, afresh why are you on your own tonight?” a adapted Manchester bedrock icon famously asked aback in 1986. Three decades later, Healy adeptness not absolutely acquire the answer, but abuse if he isn’t at atomic trying. — A.U.
36. 5 Abnormal of Summer, “Youngblood”
5OS delivered the appurtenances with the appellation clue of their glossiest, best radio-friendly anthology to date. With its shouty angle and galloping pop-punk bassline, “Youngblood” was an aberration amidst the trap-infused hip-hop and breathy-voiced arctic accordance that prevailed at the top of the charts this year. Yet the song was massive and avant-garde abundant to fit in on radio alongside those added sounds — and become the Australian four-piece’s bigger Hot 100 hit to date, peaking at No. 7. — P.C.
35. Taylor Swift, “Delicate”
Of the abounding instances where Swift referenced her accessible angel on 2017’s blockbuster reputation LP, it was her acknowledgment that “My reputation’s never been worse,” from fourth distinct “Delicate,” that was the best affecting. While some of the album’s added hits, including improvement accident “Look What You Fabricated Me Do,” came off as a claiming to her haters, “Delicate” presented the altruism hidden abaft her defensiveness, while the song’s vocoder-drenched vocals and agilely bouncing exhausted — address of co-producers Max Martin and Shellback — fabricated Swift’s latest electro-pop agreement feel like her aliment and butter. It wasn’t her bigger Hot 100 hit, peaking at No. 12, but “Delicate” boring became a pop radio mainstay in 2018, because it’s such a aerial acquire and such a relatable sentiment. Isn’t it, isn’t it, isn’t it? — BECKY KAMINSKY
34. Migos, “Stir Fry”
The anesthetic bazaar exhausted on this insta-classic Migos smash was assured in a year aback the leash had beginning artefact about every week. The busy, polyrhythmic bed — one exhausted ringmaster Pharrell Williams sat on for about a decade — whips in deep-vein bass, whistles, animated hi-hats and a chopped and busted departure of the allurement from the Mowhawks’ 1968 anxiety archetypal “Champ.” The affable meal is nothing, though, afterwards the group’s signature leash flow, including standout curve like Offset’s twisty, affected boast, “I gotta accumulate watching out through my bird eye/ No casket, bead asleep beginning and I got asleep guys.” Some songs affect you to move, “Stir Fry” defies you to sit still. — G.K.
33. Panic! At the Disco, “High Hopes”
It took about a dozen people to address and aftermath the ornate, relentlessly boastful “High Hopes,” a actuality that adeptness affect some hand-wringing about the accompaniment of adroitness today. But on his aboriginal top 10 hit in over a decade, Panic! administrator Brendon Urie and his absurd bandage of collaborators — which accommodate aloof singer-songwriter Jenny Owen Youngs (Ingrid Michaelson, Pitbull) and ascent hitmaker Tayla Parx (Ariana Grande, Janelle Monáe) — managed to accomplish a song that doesn’t aloof complete seamless, it additionally absolutely celebrates the weirdos and oddballs whose access to the music industry is annihilation but business as usual. — N.F.
32. Lil Babyish & Gunna, “Drip Too Hard”
The aboriginal time you apprehend “Drip Too Hard,” Lil Baby’s words are so effortless, his adeptness to move up, bottomward and artifice about the exhausted — a bound best guitar bend produced by Turbo — so confident, the absolute carol sounds like it should be the chorus. Afresh Gunna drops in to accommodate one of the added active and appropriate watch-related similes of the year: “I feel like a child, I got boogers in the face.” Beneath than two account and thirty abnormal in, you’re extensive for the echo button to feel the blitz again. — R.S.
31. Halsey, “Without Me”
It’s about Shakespearean how a year that started with G-Eazy and Halsey’s ride-or-die “Him & I” ascent the archive ends with the latter’s belittling “Without Me,” which is additionally her best Hot 100 abandoned assuming to date. Ambassador Louis Bell, best accepted for his assignment with Post Malone, sets the amphitheatre with an appropriately glum, pop&B loop, but as with best aftereffect tracks, it’s the lyrics that do the best damage. Halsey plays both affectionate and atrocious (“Tell me how’s it feel sitting up there/ Activity so aerial but too far abroad to authority me”) before landing a bang with the hook: “Does it anytime get lonely/ Thinking you could live without me?” What aggressive such a apathetic slice? The acknowledgment comes in the abrupt but allegorical baptize of Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River” in the bridge. Like that 2002 classic, “Without Me” should go bottomward as one of this era’s best cutting-but-classy animus tunes. — T.A.
30. Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar, Approaching & James Blake, “King’s Dead”
As was accurate of about the entire Black Panther album, it didn’t have to be this good. But this four-man aggregation absitively to dig in both on the All-Star cut and its imminently .gif-able video, adorning what could’ve been star-power-driven OST accompaniment to one of the year’s best jaw-dropping rap singles. Jay Bedrock is the anchor, Approaching is the amphitheatre stealer, James Blake is… available… but the absolute star unquestionably charcoal Lamar, abstention cartage with his impossibly agile spitting, catastrophe the marquee cut on a soundtrack to a billion-dollar blur authorization aural like an alien prodigy still acquisitive to accomplish an consequence at open-mic night. King’s dead, continued animate Baron Kendrick. — A.U.
29. Kim Petras, “Heart to Break”
“Heart To Break” is a song about the arch blazon of affect — the activity of actuality so hopelessly adherent to accession abroad that akin if the accomplished things cataclysmically, it would still be account it — and Kim Petras, a German accompanist whose Scandinavian-influenced electro-pop sounds cryogenically arctic from 2010, possesses the blazon of athrill articulate access bald to appropriately aback that commitment. Artlessly put, Petras sings the applesauce out of the “Heart To Break” hook, cutting to the top of her annals and cartoon out her syllables (“I approved to fiiiiiiight, but I can’t hellllllllp it”) with a lung-deflating fervor. No added choir this year has been added fun to sing forth with in a high-as-helium falsetto, and because of it, Petras became one of underground pop’s best advance belief this year. — J. Lipshutz
28. Lil Wayne feat. Swizz Beatz, “Uproar”
What bigger way to advertise the reintroduction of Weezy F. Babyish than by flipping a lift from G Dep’s turn-of-the-century Bad Boy archetypal “Special Delivery”? From the aboriginal staccato piano punches, Swizz sets up this head-nodder for Wayne, and the Adolescent Money MC is abundant too accomplished to absence his adventitious to accomplishment the alley-oop. His charge starts off accidental and offhand but abandoned grows in acuteness as the song picks up momentum, and he still finds time to blooper in curve amidst the carelessness that confute the added anecdotal that consumes and propels Tha Carter V: “Then the sun die, the night is adolescent though/ The chunk still flash in the rough, yo.” — D.R.
27. The Carters, “Apeshit”
In 2017, aback Jay-Z became the aboriginal rapper inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, he tweeted out a account of the MCs who aggressive him, including his wife: “B a rapper too!” On this boisterous highlight from the duo’s collaborative album, Aggregate Is Love, Beyoncé fulfills that afterlife — that is, if you’re not already counting the tongue-twisting verses of her aboriginal accumulation days. Over a exhausted that sounds like a amplitude base anxiety arrangement melting down, she adopts the auger flows of what was originally a Migos track, and demonstrates an accessible accomplishment in hip-hop’s ascendant styles (something akin her bedmate doesn’t consistently cull off). It’s a added adorable abruptness than a accomplished anthology bottomward out of boilerplate on a Saturday night. — N.F.
26. Robyn, “Missing U”
Robyn’s adeptness to about-face heart-sinking tragedy into fist-pumping celebration can’t be overstated, and eight years after Body Talk made her a bandage pop icon, she alternating in abounding aftereffect with 2018’s “Missing U.” Her improvement hit was accounting anon afterwards the accident of longtime acquaintance and assistant Christian Falk, but it additionally doubles as a love letter to her fans who missed her so abundant amidst projects. This apricot alliance of tragedy and unshakeable adulation makes for a abstract re-introduction for pop’s abiding queen of sad. — E.F.
Bursting with anapestic agreeable imagery, “Malamente” is an absurd combination of bull handclaps, acceptable flamenco sounds and abreast R&B production. The aboriginal distinct from the Spanish star’s advance additional album, El Mal Querer, the song was accounting by Rosalía forth with ambassador El Guincho and her ex, C. Tangana. The stylistic blow makes the 25-year-old a trailblazer of a cast that leans added on the senses than on an exact blueprint that can be grasped, and “Malamente” with its all-embracing accumulation of sounds, is a dive into alien waters. — PAMELA BUSTIOS
24. Shawn Mendes, “Lost in Japan”
Would you fly aloft the angel for the angel of your eye? If so, let Shawn Mendes’ heartwarming “Lost in Japan” soundtrack your adventure to paradise. Dripping in R&B swagger, Mendes pilots his way aloft the map to prove it’s added than aloof a accord that he can’t get off his mind: “I’m a brace hundred afar from Japan, and I/ I was cerebration I could fly to your auberge tonight.” Afterwards acceptable the hearts of admirers with the original, Mendes afresh enlisted Zedd for a chill remix, sending the song aerial aback into the blast — and up the Hot 100. — CARL LAMARRE
23. Camila Cabello, “Never Be the Same”
The aloft Fifth Harmony singer’s “Havana” aftereffect begin pop success but didn’t bout its predecessor’s Hot 100 showing, blockage at No. 6 — possibly because it’s so affably weird. Cabello switches from her everyman singing annals to her falsetto throughout, while a benumbed electro bombinate runs through the anesthetic mid-tempo. Cabello, who co-wrote the track, is chemically adapted afterwards a hit of her man’s adulation in a achievement that is as exhilarant as the “nicotine, heroin, morphine” to which she compares her emotions. A remix featuring Kane Brown as her affiliation accomplice amps up the romance. — M.N.
22. BTS, “Fake Love”
The group’s Love Yourself anthology alternation can be apparent as a acceptable anecdotal arc, and this celebrated accident is the allotment in the adventure where the bandage mines the base of despair, bareness and heartbreak. So it acquainted accustomed that the K-pop superstars sonically pushed themselves to new places as well, wallowing in the all-overs of this track’s emo-rap accordance and its bawl chorus. It’s not abundant for BTS to pen accession breakdown song — the absolute tragedy, they say, is the faculty of cocky absent in the accident of a bootless love. — C.K.
21. Drake, “God’s Plan”
The success of “God’s Plan,” Drake’s advantageously affected distinct — and one of Scorpion’s shiniest gems — can’t be overstated. Appear aloof 19 canicule into 2018, the feel-(mostly)-good hip-hop jam went on to become Drake’s longest-leading Hot 100 No. 1 at 11 weeks, allowance Toronto’s music baron breach blueprint annal ahead captivated by Michael Jackson and The Beatles. So what makes “God’s Plan” so special? Artlessly that it’s all aloof so Drake — from the track’s endlessly quotables lines and PG-rated references (“don’t cull up at 6 AM to bundle with me”) to its groan-worthy shout-outs to “the broskis” and his mom. Of course, all this was helped forth by a viral (and instantly meme-able) music video directed by adolescent Canadian Karena Evans, in which a chummy, animated Drake gives abroad about $1 actor to bodies on the streets of Miami. But let’s be honest: The actuality that Drake can acclaim his affairs to all-powerful action afterwards anyone batting an eye says added about his actual superstardom than any blueprint almanac or accolade anytime could. — T.C.
20. Tyga feat. Offset, “Taste”
Just as the ink was dehydration on critics’ claims that his career was done, Tyga stampeded his way aback into the beginning of hip-hop with summer anthem “Taste.” With ambassador D.A. Doman crafting the song’s crisp, unshakeable beat, Tyga provided the aforementioned assured ability that already fabricated him the activity of the party (“Three actor cash, anxiety me Rain Man/ Money like a shower, that’s my rain dance”). To complete his comeback, the rapper recruited Offset for a baking carol that helped the song peak at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, proving that this Tyga absolutely has nine lives. — C.L
19. Bruno Mars & Cardi B, “Finesse” (Remix)
This new-jack-swinging Bruno Mars & Cardi B hit is best declared by its one-word title. The aboriginal clue was on Mars’ 2017 24K Magic album, and Cardi helped booty the remix to animated new heights (including the Hot 100 top five) with her can’t-tell-me-nothin’ addition carol and closing “got it goin’ on” ad libs. Afterwards the latter’s brash agreeable addition on the No. 1 hit “Bodak Yellow,” this was the aboriginal crossover hit to put the more antic ancillary of her faculty of amusement on display. The aggregate of Mars’ cornball R&B commutual with Cardi’s Rosie Perez-channeling bluster — all set adjoin a pitch-perfect In Living Color music-video accomplishments — was undeniable. — K.A.
18. Janelle Monáe, “Make Me Feel”
With this light, bubbles anxiety jam about actuality an “emotional animal bender,” Janelle Monáe evokes Prince’s “Kiss” — with a brand of approval from the Purple One himself, who she says formed on what became her Dirty Computer LP before his 2016 afterlife — and refracts it through Little Dragon-esque warped synth-pop. (Think the Minneapolis complete demography a vacation in Sweden.) Aback it climaxes in a access of frenetic, breakable riffing, Monae elicits a James Brown-worthy “Good God!” afore the song comes to an all-too-sudden end, which leaves you extensive for echo about immediately. — J. Lynch
This year sparked some of the best absorbing collaborations in Latin music history, including hip-hop superstar Drake bond up with Bad Bunny for the baking “MIA.” The two artists abashed admirers aback the distinct dropped, with Drake affected his Spanish-speaking abilities as he did in Romeo Santos’ “Odio” a brace years earlier. The communicable reggaetón track, with romantic-meets-kinky lyrics jumped 9-1 on the Hot Latin Songs blueprint in backward October, acceptable both Bad Bunny and Drake’s additional No. 1 on the chart. — JESSICA ROIZ
16. Baron Princess, “1950”
Annotating her own now-signature choir on Genius, Baron Princess bidding attendant atheism at her own doe-eyed sentiments. “It’s so funny it was aloof a moment in time but it feels like forever,” she explained of the activity abaft it. “It was aloof a moment in time but I feel like that’s aback the best songs appear out.” True, and “1950” is about as acceptable an archetype as you could ask for: It’s a song whose lyrics lead with emotion and let argumentation bolt up if and aback it feels like it — and is all the added acute for it. It shouldn’t accomplish faculty for a anomalous carol to acculturate a year aback a accessible and accessible expression of same-sex lovelike this would’ve been unthinkable, but it ends up authoritative faculty as a accolade to the hard-earned change of gay affair in art — and additionally an admiration to the song itself, whose apathetic alt-pop amplitude sounds at home in 2018 but could’ve appear from about any time in music history. “It wasn’t forever,” the singer-songwriter wrote in that aforementioned annotation. “I don’t anticipate anythings forever.” The song’s bad evidence of that one. — A.U.
15. Kendrick Lamar & SZA, “All the Stars”
Last year was arguably Kendrick Lamar’s best year anytime — he denticulate his aboriginal abandoned No. 1 on the Hot 100 with “Humble”, its ancestor album DAMN. had one of the bigger debuts ever and Billboard’s staff akin voted the LP as our admired anthology of the year. But he about akin his 2017 success this year afterwards akin absolution a abandoned anthology of his own, acknowledgment to his assignment curating the Atramentous Panther soundtrack. Admitting the anthology featured an all-embracing arrangement of Afrobeat- and dancehall-inspired tracks for the film, the constellations really accumbent for the set’s standout advance single, “All the Stars” with SZA. The abreast R&B-pop hit combines Kendrick’s glossy verses with SZA front and centermost on the chorus, consistent in the year’s best across-the-board radio hits. Luckily, the clue got a music video to bout — a beauteous visual that nods to Atramentous Panther’s themes while additionally advantageous admiration to African culture. — X.Z.
14. Ariana Grande, “No Tears Larboard to Cry”
One of the best blood-tingling moments in pop this year occurs 15 abnormal into Ariana Grande’s “No Tears Left To Cry,” the superstar’s aboriginal release to chase the baleful bombing alfresco of her Manchester concert in May 2017. Grande begins by befitting her articulation abeyant aerial aloft a comfortable bed of synthesizers, declaring in her best aerial tone, that she’s all cried out. She sounds exhausted, and for a few seconds, we’re in abundance for a downtempo return. But afresh Grande hunkers down, the clip quickens — she’s pickin’ it up, she’s pickin’ it up, absolutely — and “No Tears Left To Cry” unfurls as a much-needed moment of uplift. The accumulation from Max Martin and Ilya cautiously crackles as Grande accordance out to the tongue-popping bang and coos “shut… your… mouth” to her naysayers. As a reintroduction in the deathwatch of tragedy, “No Tears Left To Cry” was advised to bless the healing adeptness of music, and it does so carefully and efficiently. Afterwards a quarter-minute exhalation, it was time for Grande to let the ablaze aback in. — J. Lipshutz
13. John Mayer, “New Light”
Is “New Light” the best un-John Mayer distinct John Mayer has anytime created, or is this aloof John Mayer activity abounding Mayer? Lest we balloon in the era of Mayer bawl on Frank Ocean advance or touring with the Dead, he was aboriginal a crowned prince of developed contemporary, acceptation the aerial yacht bedrock he adopted in 2018 is alone a bouncier abstain from his “Your Anatomy Is a Wonderland” origins. What is adapted about “New Light,” abreast from the actuality that it was produced by Jay-Z’s go-to guy No I.D., is that Mayer is aptitude harder into his dweebish agreeable persona and seeing the amusement in it. “Pushing 40 in the acquaintance zone/ We allocution and afresh you airing abroad every day,” he frowns in his best rejected-nice-guy voice. “New Light” isn’t absolutely giving us a aboriginal Mayer: It’s aloof alluringly amplifying the Mayer he’s been all along. — C.W.
12. Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa, “One Kiss”
Here’s a new rule: Chase the hard-earned success of your affection activity with a sun-kissed loosie alongside Calvin Harris. Khalid and Frank Ocean were already believers, and already her 2017 self-titled acceptance fabricated her a common star, Dua Lipa aloft the stakes with this steamy, Harris-assisted Euro-house banger. “One Kiss” was a bona fide Song of the Summer adversary in the U.K., topping the Singles Blueprint for eight after weeks; in America, it became a athletic Top 40 staple, proving that one big-time brawl ambassador could still approach Ibiza at 3 a.m. on pop radio played in L.A. cartage jams. — C.P.
11. Sheck Wes, “Mo Bamba”
Who would anytime assumption that a song committed to an Orlando Magic advancement centermost would end up acceptable one of 2018’s wildest bangers? Sheck Wes abandoned “Mo Bamba” aftermost June, but the disorderly sleeper hit (it ailing at No. 6 on the Hot 100 and is still blind in the top 10) didn’t aces up acceleration until this year, aback it unmercifully barged into every distinct abode party, music anniversary and bougie club imaginable. As anon as those jingly synths access through the speakers like your adjacency ice chrism truck, anybody has no best but to lose their fucking minds and blast into the brawl attic while shouting for Ali to bustle up and accompany the mothafuckin’ dope. — B.G.
10. Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey, “The Middle”
As Florida Georgia Bandage and Bebe Rexha disqualified the Hot Country Songs blueprint with their 2017 country-pop collab “Meant to Be,” Zedd, Grey and Maren Morris abandoned a added dance-leaning cross-genre grenade that became 2018’s additional such all-over crossover smash. Admitting Morris had already fabricated after-effects in the country world, her assertive vocals on the ridiculously hooky clue alien her to a accomplished new admirers in the pop and EDM spheres as “The Middle” rocketed to No. 5 on the Hot 100. While Zedd is no stranger to the charts’ top tier, “The Middle” is arguably his best acclaimed hit to date, acknowledgment to its belt-out choir and ablaze axe-chop exhausted drop. And the Recording Academy agrees: The song becoming all three performers their aboriginal almanac of the year and song of the year nominations at next year’s Grammys. — T.W.
9. Kacey Musgraves, “High Horse”
Kacey Musgraves has consistently atramentous alfresco the curve of the country music establishment, from her analytical portraits of alone activity (“Merry Go ‘Round”) to her you-do-you embrace of the LGBTQ association and recreational drugs (“Follow Your Arrow”). On her third LP, Golden Hour, she’s as active with her sounds as she’s been with her lyrics. Here, she gallops out of Nashville and active beeline for the discotheque, giving admirers a glittery, hair-flipping conditioning that feels as calmly worn-in as her stripped-down acoustic work. In a year with no curtailment of attempts to abduction a “Dolly on the dancefloor” vibe, Musgraves rolls through new sonic area with the affluence of a tumbleweed. — N.F.
8. Troye Sivan, “My My My!”
Dance-pop adeptness not acquire been a ascendant force in 2018, but Troye Sivan angry out one of the genre’s best agitated delights with lead Bloom single “My My My!” Sivan is tentative, candied and amorous on the bubbles verses, but aback he hits the chorus, it’s an animating blitz of aerial synths and animal joy that provides a little bit of electro heaven on earth. Coupled with the bold, unapologetic delineation of aforementioned sex aphrodisia in the music video, “My My My!” is a almighty dosage of anomalous liberation. — J. Lynch
7. Developed Gaga & Bradley Cooper, “Shallow”
From the minute Developed Gaga launched into her “ahhhhhahhhhaaaahhhhhohhhhhahhhhhahhhhhhhh” in the first A Ablaze Is Born trailer, the angel knew that this song would be huge — we aloof didn’t apperceive what it absolutely was absolutely yet. That primal scream angry out to be from the movie’s affecting aerial point: the Gaga-Bradley Cooper affiliation “Shallow.” Aback Jackson Maine (Cooper) invites Ally (Gaga) on date to accomplish the song she’d cautiously previewed for him the night before, both absolute and fabulous audiences feel the electricity and action of the music and the moment. “Shallow” works on several levels — as a anecdotal cilia in the blur (from its parking lot beginnings, to the big acceptance and the anxiety of Ally’s abandoned career) and as aloof a abuse good, Grammy-nominated hit behindhand of its blur origin. Gaga calmly flexes both her added alto and her aerial register, while Cooper proves to be a athletic partner, with his country-rock complete bond accurately with chastening on their harmonies. But it’s the way the song flawlessly builds to to the acme of Gaga’s scream that makes it absolutely show-stopping. Already you apprehend it, you’ll never stop faaall-ling for it forth with them. — D.W.
6. Childish Gambino, “This Is America”
Donald Glover dropped this heady distinct the aforementioned weekend he hosted SNL and bristles canicule afore he starred as intergalactic rogue Lando Calrissian in the awful anticipated, afresh absolutely dissed Solo: A Ablaze Wars Story. And yet all anybody could allocution about was this bracing mash-up of hollers and dark, cutting rhythms, which pokes a feel into the accessible anguish of ancestral abandon in America. A hip-hop amend to Marvin Gaye’s iconic ’70s protest canticle “What’s Activity On,” Gambino’s animating distinct (and its bucket-of-ice-water-to-the-face video) juxtaposes the action to “party aloof for free” with the austere absoluteness of a badge accompaniment (“You aloof a atramentous man in this world/ You aloof a barcode”) in a blue borsch that feeds both anatomy and soul. — G.K.
5. Drake, “Nice For What”
Drake can usually get the attic affective on his own, but for party-starter “Nice for What,” he alleged in reinforcements. The song starts with a sample of the queen of New Orleans bounce, Big Freedia, allurement “who mothafuckin’ representin’ in actuality tonight.” Afresh Drake slides in with a anxiety to “get your mothafuckin’ cycle on,” accession New Orleans hat-tip — this one to the Big Tymers and their 2000 archetypal “Get Your Cycle On.” Ambassador Murda Beatz had already adored the song with a pitched-up cast of the arch of Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor,” but Drake’s aggregation then invited New Orleans ambassador BlaqNmilD to chop up the song akin added and add in that added animation beat, which makes the accomplished activity go crazy. Meanwhile, Drake does his accepted Drake stuff, giving backdrop to women who pay their bills, don’t charge men to succeed and aloof appetite to go out with their girls to the club (“And you showin’ off, but it’s all right/It’s a abbreviate life”). But in a hasty turn, neither brawl chic nor quotable lyric fabricated “Nice for What” such an constant hit: The abstruse is all in that beat, which bounced it to a No. 1 acceptance on the Hot 100 and kept it up there for eight weeks. — C.W.
4. Ariana Grande, “Thank U, Next”
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened” is a tired, tight-lipped affect — unless you’re Ariana Grande and you cast the script. With “thank u, next,” Grande put an allotment circuit on the old adage: Aural canicule of the end of her assurance to Pete Davidson, the pop star hit the flat to almanac the abrasive single. She laid out what she abstruse from all her celebrity exes in its verses, including how to love, how to be accommodating and how to action (and alleviate from) pain. Over a dank progression accountable to ‘90s R&B, she gives acclaim area it’s due, angrily name-checking Big Sean, Ricky Alvarez, Mac Miller and Davidson, for whom she’s abnormally “thankful.” Grande took the aerial alley all the way to the top of the Hot 100, as “thank u, next” became her aboriginal clue to hit No. 1 on the chart. — H.H.
3. Ella Mai, “Boo’d Up”
In a angel of viral campaigns and carpeting marketing, few songs balloon up from Internet limbo to hit cachet artlessly because, well, bodies actually like it. That’s the trick, if you can akin anxiety it that, behind British breakout Ella Mai and “Boo’d Up,” which abandoned in February 2017 but languished for over a year, until a domino aftereffect of bistro and radio requests triggered a apathetic but abiding advance to No. 5 on the Hot 100. Best R&B successes today accord to one of two camps: the trap-leaning, AutoTune-saturated style of abreast hip-hop or the wavy, aerial vibe of quiet storm. “Boo’d” — aggressive by Johnny Gill’s Babyface-penned 1992 hit “There U Go” — captures the aerial homesickness of decades past, anchored by Mai’s bland and cottony vocals. Plus, that cool choir (“Ba-do, boo’d up / Biddy-da-do, boo’d up”) cleverly plays off a baby sound and is aloof too fun not to sing forth with. Add it all up, and you’ve got cross-generational accident that’s an ideal backdrop for aboriginal kisses and 25th anniversaries alike. — T.A.
2. Travis Scott, “Sicko Mode”
“Sicko Mode,” because the allotment you anticipate is the bead is almost akin center up the rollercoaster. “Sicko Mode,” because the abandoned anthology that outdid Astroworld’s first-week numbers in 2018 is by the guy who contributes a angle and a carol actuality and still can’t get a affection credit. “Sicko Mode,” because the best angle accompanist in hip-hop abandoned gets a two-word stutter. “Sicko Mode,” because they’re trumpeting the accession of winter in the average of August, like they were the producers of Game of Thrones. “Sicko Mode,” because DON’T STOP POP THAT. “Sicko Mode,” because the music video is brain-warping abundant for you to acquire a lyric like “She anticipation it was the ocean/ It’s aloof the pool” at face value. “Sicko Mode,” because not akin James Harden and Clint Capela go on you with the pick-and-roll this hard. “Sicko Mode,” because the abandoned added guy who can stitch calm a five-minute, three-part blow beforehand like this and still acquire it go to No. 1 acclimated to be in The Beatles. “Sicko Mode,” because cipher likes Jamba Juice that much. “Sicko Mode,” because they approved to appearance us. — A.U.
1. Cardi B, J Balvin & Bad Bunny, “I Like It”
There’s a moment at the actual alpha of Cardi B, Bad Bunny and J Balvin’s bilingual song-of-the-summer adversary — six-and-a-half abnormal in, to be exact — area the exhausted snaps, the bass bliss bottomward the door, and you aloof apperceive that you’re in for a hit. It abandoned gets better: Enter a revved-up Cardi, advertisement out her admired things (Diamonds! Blinged-out watches! Halal!) in a clear half-yell like a Bronx-bred Julie Andrews, followed by two of Latin trap’s bigger stars bushing in the gaps in thick, slurring Spanish. There are agreeable gems (“They anxiety me Cardi B/ I run this bits like cardio!”), ad-libs abounding (Balvin: ¡Wooh! Bunny: ¡Rrrah!), and abundant all-overs of timbales to leave you dizzy. The after-effects acquire been predictably historic: The clue became Cardi’s additional No. 1 on the Hot 100, authoritative her the aboriginal changeable rapper anytime to hit the top aperture twice. (With “Girls Like You,” she’s now done it three times.)
With her acclaimed fairytale come-up, Cardi would be the one to inject new adventure into coil wealth, a hip-hop attitude as time-honored as the cast itself. In the year and a bisected aback “Bodak Yellow” debuted, watching Cardi appetite in her newfound celebrity cachet somehow still hasn’t gotten old — if what she wants are Balenciagas, the ones that attending like socks, who are we to abjure her? And there’s article world-shifting about seeing the Afro-Caribbean Cardi and her reggaetón co-stars animate Peter Rodriguez’s half-a-century-old boogaloo hit, a cast that was built-in in Cardi’s built-in New York. “I never anticipation it was activity to aftermost for 50 years,” the now 86-year-old Rodriguez told Billboard, and his awe at the carnivorous, unifying, ever-surprising mural of music in 2018 speaks for anybody — who would acquire advancing the Latin allurement access currently overtaking the world, or that a “regular degular shmegular babe from the Bronx” would become one of hip-hop’s bigger superstars? The angel is Cardi’s for the demography in “I Like It,” and it’s all of ours too. Cha-ching! — T.C.
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