When talking about so far at Billboard , it's hard to avoid the fact that the chart year has only had 24 editions of the Hot , and Drake has been No. It's the most that any one artist has dominated the listing's top spot in a year's first six months this decade -- though shout-out to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' combined 11 weeks on top in the first half of -- and it essentially leaves the non-Drake part of the field wide open when it comes to discussing the year's best and biggest singles.
But that's fine. Beyond the Drakening, has been a year of pleasant surprises on the charts: All-Star teamups we didn't see coming, previously unknown artists coming out with left-field hits, and a handful of big-name comebacks taking us to unexpected new places, all of which made the predictability at pop's highest level forgivable. And besides, those two Drake songs are pretty great too: You'll see them both below as we recount our 50 favorite songs of so far, with a Spotify playlist of all 50 at the bottom.
The moment fans have been waiting for since Timberlake and Stapleton collaborated at the CMA Awards finally came in , and it's as special as that instant-classic performance. Not only did the song take JT and Chris' bromance to the next level, it made it very clear that their CMA team-up was no fluke.
Jade Bird, "Lottery". Singer-songwriter Jade Bird's brilliance lies in her ability to mesh her British roots with Americana style to create a unique genre Britana? Snail Mail, "Pristine". Some indie anthems you know are gonna be special from the first chord, and "Pristine" -- the early masterwork of year-old singer-songwriter Lindsey Jordan -- is undoubtedly on that list, stunning from its opening strums and its first lyric the title, just so you immediately know she means business.
Drake, "Look Alive". I was in the mirror looking at myself, and I got to winding that motherfucker up and hitting that motherfucker. A stretch, perhaps, but the power of country music has normalized stranger wordings, and the chorus to "Singles You Up" is an absolute rush, clever and rousing enough to get you singing along to it like the first time you fully grasped what "Friends in Low Places" was supposed to mean. In this seven-minute-long all-star remix, lengthy enough to incorporate superstars Nicky Jam, Bad Bunny, and Ozuna in addition to Casper Magico, Darell and Nio Garcia , men are the ones who are wronged and get even.
Arctic Monkeys, "Four Out of Five". Great on his own, especially here, with some expert wordplay on his verses and an infectious, boastful flow. Leon Bridges, "Bad Bad News". Jessie Reyez, "Body Count". She's got so much swagger that you can almost hear her mischievous smile beaming through the speakers. Hayley Kiyoko, "Curious". Tension is the key element on Kiyoko's should-have-been-bigger first single from her debut album, Expectations.
Not just the sexual kind, though there's plenty of that in this story of a girl trying to ignore the obvious spark she has with Kiyoko. Not just in in the spare, throbbing beat, which hums along in the verses before erupting during a trunk-rattling hook. No, the real tension is in Kiyoko's own narration: confrontational but still playing it cool, petty with just enough plausible deniability, caring deeply while pretending you don't care at all.
Rarely does such a surefire banger -- with strut-worthy lines about feeling like a supermodel on the dancefloor -- pack such emotional nuance too. Its most arresting attribute? Parquet Courts, "Wide Awake". It sounds less like a mental breakthrough than a manic episode, but it's still exhilarating enough in its jagged, zig-zagging jamminess that even Ellen DeGeneres had to get movin'-and-a-groovin' to it on daytime television. A lot can be accomplished in only two minutes. Christine and the Queens feat. Cardi B, "Be Careful".
John Mayer, "New Light". The formula of established EDM stars partnering with up-and-coming pop singers is so proven that even big-name vocalists have been getting in on the action in recent years. The world didn't need any more songs that involve spelling out the title in the chorus, but this one earned it.
Juicy J pays respects to the fallen Lil Peep while also making messy amateur pornography. Shawn Mendes, "Lost in Japan". BTS, "Fake Love". Gone was the brooding Johnny Depp look that made him teen crush-worthy, and in came the suave, handsome rocker look with more bite than initially led on. Camila Cabello, "Never Be the Same". Us, too. Charlie Puth feat. Kehlani, "Done for Me". This song puts a modern-day twist on Wham! As long as he keeps turning his heartbreak into bops, he might not be in a hurry. Kali Uchis feat. Funk icon Bootsy Collins provides the Afrofuturistic vibes, while Tyler, the Creator adds a dose of hard edge.
Migos, "Stir Fry". Twenty years after the Beastie Boys threatened to stir fry you in their wok, another iconic trio comes back with a banger to get you craving Panda Express. Another year, another Hot No. Ella Mai, "Boo'd Up".
Kim Petras, "Heart to Break". The gleeful self-sabotage is backed by candy-colored bloops and zapping synth lines that whiz around a punching beat, a concoction produced by Cirkut and Dr. Yes, that Dr. Luke, a fact that all of us -- including Kim herself, and the people who associate with her professionally -- will have to do our own reckoning with. Kacey Musgraves, "High Horse". It breezes in and out like an intriguing stranger sauntering through a pool party. And fans have been so consumed with the song's immaculate results that even stories about how the thing got put together have gone viral.
There's no telling how many young lives he could've touched if he had. Talk about capturing the cultural zeitgeist. The invite was accepted: "No Tears" debuted at No. Drake parachutes into his sweet spot: broad encouragement for women working too hard to deal with men like him. These celebrities need not be nice either. It really is a short life. Will either be at No. Read on to find out. The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard. To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.
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