Havana, Be The One, Faking It, ...Ready For It?, Can't Do and New Rules are all great tracks! It's great that artists that looked like they may underperform (i.e. Camila and Dua) ended up smashing in 2017!
040. Katy Perry ft. Skip Marley - Chained To The Rhythm
Katy has always been a bit hi and miss with me and this era is no exception, but the purposeful pop she started down the route of showed some promise for me. It's very chilled but also feels very full. The chorus is just very uplifting, despite the lyrical content, and was absolutely one of my sounds of the summer. Katy was a bit of a surprise addition to this years Glastonbury line up and this was an absolute belter out in the sunshine. I think I like it best when she puts some more thought into her music rather than just does generic pop.
039. NEIKED ft. Mimi - Call Me
NEIKED had a big hit on my end of year chart last year with Sexual.. they can't quite replicate that success this time around but they do have a decent stab at it with this funky follow up. Mimi's voice is sweet and compelling and beautiful in its falsetto nature, and again they put out a song that's catchy as hell. It doesn't pack quite as much of a punch but it's still catchy enough to have been on rotation and become a new booty call hit!
038. Justin Bieber & Bloodpop - Friends
This year, Biebs unleashed the sexier, dirtier, more dangerous older brother of Sorry upon the world. I think Sorry won me over more because it sounded more fresh and was unashamedly pop, this tries to cover that up a little but is still incredibly catchy. I love the lyrics on this one, they're more leftfield, straight in with a lie asking about the Mother of a girl he likes to cover up his real motives. Also, 'actually, don't answer that' is a sign of real fun songwriting. This took me a little while to get my head around, but the chorus soon won me over, it's simple but incredibly effective.
037. Sigrid - Strangers
This one on the other hand took no time at all, and doesn't hide it's pop nature under any bushels, though it does not quite let on how balls to the wall pop stomper it is until the second chorus. It's actually a bit shy in the beginning, Sigrid using the more delicate part of her voice to great effect, before letting rip in the chorus which is a pure pop delight. In the aforementioned second chorus, there's no going back as the beat finally drops, the sound is FULL and we're treated to a second chorus which is even faster, even more catchy and full of 'whoop' which we all know is the sign of a great pop song. A real one to watch!
036. Rita Ora - Anywhere
Rita Ora has had a funny pop career really, no new album in years, very infrequent single releases, but still maintaining success. She's been a bit more present this year and it culminated in one of the best received songs of her career, the dreamy Anywhere. After the bloopy, quite empty, but not bad Your Song, she goes the opposite way and gives us a pop treat where it feels like the music takes over you completely. The chorus is is not demanding, it doesn't stretch her, but it just hits the nail completely on the head somehow. It's just effortless, and one of her best efforts in a long time.
035. Little Mix ft. Stormzy - Power
It's been (another) great year for Little Mix and they made plenty of great choices, releasing obvious album standout Power with man of the moment Stormzy. I love how he comes on board and listened to the lyrics and complies. Many raps could be lifted from one song to the next as their content is irrelevant. Stormzy singing about how girls can wear the trousers and have the power adds so much weight, I really appreciated the addition and considering it was already a complete banger, it's great. It's such a demanding song to sing, really stretching the girls ranges but on radio that really makes you pay attention. It's sexy, it's cheeky, it's daring, it's just BIG.
034. Paramore - Told You So
Paramore had a bit of a switch up in sound this year, trading their early angry Elmo efforts for a bit of disco and funky guitar. The verses on this are just DIVINE and it literally kicks off from the first millisecond with the staccato FOR. ALL. I. KNOW and then the wonderful cascading down of notes of the second line. It's a really striking verse. I'm not as sold on the chorus which is a bit repetitive but to be honest by that point it's already got me. The instrumentation is really effective and gripping and I love that they have taken such a big chance in evolving their sound. For me, I wish Rose Coloured Boy had been the second single as it is yet more funky but this evolution into a more produced sound as showcased here really excited me.
033. Kris Kross Amsterdam & Conor Maynard ft. Ty Dolla $ign - Are You Sure?
Conor Maynard was not the name on everyone's lips this year but man he released some bangers! This one has stuck wit me for most of the year, it's so simple in its delivery but it's so. damn. catchy. The chorus is definitely the best bit but the 'who do you love? Are you sure?' lyric is so captivating and almost catches you off guard.The whole song is catchy, with the exception of the unneeded Ty, but the simplistic chorus is a master class in the idea of less is more, just nails it.
032. Jennifer Hudson - Remember Me
Something completely different now, a very raw and authentic ballad from someone who delivers vocal every damn time (that's just on record, never mind live). This really took me by surprise as I haven't been sold on her solo material too much before but this hit me in the feels and the chorus is absolutely spectacular, especially the latter half. It's the kind of song in which you can feel that every word is meant. The middle 8 when the vocals let rip is a great example of the ebb and flow of the song which expands and expands and then brings it back down to a Jennifer's gorgeous lower register which closes the song out, an emotional rollercoaster.
031. Kelly Clarkson - Love So Soft
Another American Idol, another vocal powerhouse and someone who stepped up in terms of the maturity of her output this year. Obviously Kelly has had some of that kind of material before, but she's got by a lot on radio friendly pop rock hits. This is a step away from that to the kind of music she wants to do, as far as I can see. It's so funky and so different for radio and I'm pissed it was not really given a chance in the UK. I love the emptiness of the chorus and Kelly playing with her voice on 'sure gonna cost YA'. It's not experimental exactly but it is for Kelly and I love some of the choices she makes and especially that massive whistle note as the last chorus explodes. Really exciting direction from Kelly.
"Chained to the Rhythm" is a great song, and is added to the ever-growing list of quality pop singles from Katy. "Friends" felt like a poor man's "Sorry," but I did enjoy it. "Anywhere" is brilliant.
"Power" is a big tune indeed! I've said before that Little Mix are head and shoulders above the current crop of girl groups, and "Power" is yet another song that proves just that - no other girl group in the world could pull off such an anthem with the girls' level of conviction.
"Love So Soft" is funky, soulful, and so, so encapsulating. The chorus is really a big climactic moment, and it's experimental enough that it doesn't sound like anything on mainstream radio these days. It's the kind of song Kelly should be singing at this stage of her career, but even with the more 'mature' sound, she never loses her sense of wittiness and playfulness.
"Love yourself so that love will not be a stranger when it comes, and it will come."
JSparksFan wrote:" "Power" is a big tune indeed! I've said before that Little Mix are head and shoulders above the current crop of girl groups, and "Power" is yet another song that proves just that - no other girl group in the world could pull off such an anthem with the girls' level of conviction. .
049. Anastacia - Caught In The Middle 047. Martin Garrix & David Guetta ft. Jamie Scott & Romy Dya - So Far Away 046. Dua Lipa - Be The One 044. Taylor Swift - ... Ready For It? 041. Dua Lipa - New Rules 040. Katy Perry ft. Skip Marley - Chained To The Rhythm 037. Sigrid - Strangers 036. Rita Ora - Anywhere 031. Kelly Clarkson - Love So Soft
"Anywhere" is a pop gem, definitely my favorite one of the latest two groups. "Chained To The Rhythm", "New Rules" and "...Ready For It?" are really strong too. "Strangers" by Sigrid only got on my playlist this week, so she may appear on my list next year
Loooove 'Strangers', it probably just missed my 2017 countdown but I'm sure will do well in 2018. Interesting it is next to 'Anywhere' as they remind me of each in other in that they're just incredible (cool) pop songs!
Sorry about that, am in Qatar currently and posted the wrong set before when I was on the 15 minutes free WiFi on the plane Normal service resumes tomorrow when I catch up on all your charts
030. Martin Garrix & Dua Lipa - Scared To Be Lonely
I wouldn’t say Martin Garrix had a particularly big year but he definitely had a great one, this the third of his singles to make my countdown, and all midtempo bops! Dua certainly had more success and she’s a large part of this songs appeal too, her deep now recognisable vocal narrating brilliantly the story of a relationship of convenience. The drum beat that builds the tempo slightly in the chorus under Dua’s storytelling climax ‘is it just our bodies?’ Is the highlight of the song. It’s very relatable, very affecting, quite intense, a real highlight for me this year.
029. Rudimental ft. James Arthur - Sun Comes Up
Certainly an unexpected artist on a dance hit now, James Arthur is best known for balladry and anguish and Rudimental for their floor fillers, so not a match you might have foreseen, or the one you would have predicted would pull the drum and bass act from their sophomore success slump. But this is such an anthem. James’ voice as it turns out lends itself equally to uptempo and though the whole thing is still pretty chilled, it’s still a hands in the air moment. ‘Suddenly the sun comes up..’ is one of my favourite refrains of the year, it somehow just screams like a chilled warm summer evening, and the rest of the song is pretty handy too!
028. Saara - Superpowers
Now I reckon not many will know this tune but if you’re a fan of pop music, I really suggest you have a listen. This popped up on a random Spotify playlist and I really was taken from the first listen. It’s quite Eurovision (as in, could win it) but is classy not cheesy. It’s a fairytale story sung by a girl with a cute, unique voice and a brilliantly thumping post chorus ‘when was the last time you and I did something for the first time?’ The lyrics throw back to images of childhood, growing until you get older and your activities change, but the longing staying the same. It’s a really well put together pop single and it would be great if more people knew of it!
027. David Guetta & Afrojack ft. Charli XCX & French Montana - Dirty Sexy Money
This one popped up at the latter end of the year but still did some damage in terms of play count as I’ve found it to be a really great gymspiration tune. This was Guetta back to going all out but without necessarily sounding generic. The whole thing sounds very Charli, but not as experimental as her mixtapes - just a hint. The verses are quite sombre, the bridges ramp up the pace and percussion and the chorus just GIVES it to you, boom boom boom boom. I prefer Charli on her more commercial projects and she certainly serves it here. Montana can stay, his verse is cute, but Charlotte show steals.
026. J Balvin ft. Willy William & Beyonce - Mi Gente
Bey has been a bit like Charli of late, in that we see two sides to her, one more easily marketable than the other. While I’ve not been swept away by arty Bey, usually commercial Bey does more for me, Runnin’ being a good case in point. That said, Walk on Water and the B version of Perfect do very little for me, so I was delighted to hear she was guesting on this, a track I already enjoyed. She can’t take credit for the hypnotising melody which is just superb, but she improves the song tenfold, her deep vocals and her added lyrics giving us a new sparkle, new personality that wasn’t there before. Another gym and dancefloor triumph
025. Fickle Friends - Hello Hello
I think I said earlier that Fickle Friends were one of my best 2017 discoveries and this was one of the earliest and best tracks I found. I love the electronic sound with pop influence, reminding me of new Paramore or the 1975. The melodies are all enticing, Hannah’s voice is sweet but not sickly and the whole thing hurriedly but excitedly draws you into a big stadium chorus culminating in the catchy ‘Can I have the boy I wanted? Hello hello’. This is a great song with outstanding production value from a band I enjoyed finding this year.
024. Shawn Mendes - There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back
Be still my beating heart. I love Shawn and his voice is gorgeous and he’s delivered consistent midtempo and ballad brilliance. This is more in the land of his Camila collab - an out and out banger. So catchy, so good - his voice starts off deep and incredibly sexy, finding it’s way around the mysterious verses, the bridge amps both the intrigue and the vocal pitch up ending in a scratchy, deliberately strained cry before he enters the pulsating chorus. His voice and all it’s different variations really really sell this, though it helps that the chorus is speedy and catchy and memorable. He uses his voice again in the middle 8, singing it deep and low before repeating it an octave higher. He’s so talented and this was yet another success story from him.
023. Niall Horan - Too Much To Ask
Be still my beating heart... again. My ever favourite of 1D surprised everyone but me with his mature but cool, credible material this year - and this was my favourite slice. For me it’s the first time he REALLY uses his voice, particularly on the second verse and bridge, he is pushing himself and creating magic as he does. He’s nowhere near Louis in terms of vocal capability (though the two are often called the weakest) and I’m glad he proves himself here. I love the melody of the bridges but the chorus is my favourite part, it’s definitely safe but it’s an earworm and the lyric ‘my shadows dancing without you for the first time’is heartbreaking. He really established himself as a genuine and credible entertainer this year, and he’s writing and sounding good.
022. MK - 17
This is one of those songs which climbed up a few places every time I revisited the draft. It’s insanely catchy. Essentially it’s just a repeated piece of music over and over but it’s such a good one and production uses it so wisely that it doesn’t tire. When the chorus really punches in on ‘I’m gonna... FIGHT FOR YOU’ I can’t help to lift my hands in pure euphoria - only one hand if I’m driving mind. MK has made many great singles and made many successes of other songs- for me this absolutely one of his catchiest yet and I’m glad to see it succeed
021. Jax Jones ft. Ina Wroldsen - Breathe
And lastly for today, a slice of moody dance from Jax Jones. I’ve liked Ina ever since her involvement in the Saturdays days and she’s had a hand both vocally in otherwise in some of my top dance hits of the last few years. Vocally here, she fits in a treat. The verses are dark with minimal production, the bridges lift it as the melody follows it upwards and we are awarded the genius line ‘i don’t know how many Da Da Dums I can take’ (a line we very cleverly return back to soon) before the chorus takes you in, very cool, very assured and as I said very clever as it returns back to a refrain of dum dum Da dum dums.. Ina’s vocal flies as the melody varies towards the end of the song and helps make the whole thing sexy, exciting and enticing..
"Scared to Be Lonely" is lovely, and was a great prelude to "New Rules". "Mi Gente" is a keeper even without Beyoncé; for me, she only improves the song marginally.
Hmm...I don't think I've ever seen anyone praise Shawn's voice before. He does give a passionate performance on "There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back," though, and I think it's another one of his ever-growing solid singles.
Now I can get behind the praise for Niall's vocal on "Too Much to Ask". The emotion is palpable, the storytelling is convincing - it's definitely a big moment for him.
So I'm guessing this image might give you a heart attack?
"Love yourself so that love will not be a stranger when it comes, and it will come."
Such an underrated anthem! Both the regular version and the George Kwali remix were in regular rotation for me this year. Astrid S is a voice I didn’t know much of but Blonde have released some fantastic tunes over the years. I love Astrid’s vocal, sultry and quiet to begin with but let loose in the pleading chorus ‘I just want 24 hours or even less if that’s too much’ - what a lyric. I love the emotional nature of the song, another tears on the dance floor triumph.
019. Everything Everything - Desire
EE have had another very brilliant singles year but it’s here this poll option dips out.. The sound is bold, the guitars are deep and brash, the lyrics are bonkers as ever but it’s the thundering falsetto chorus consisting of almost only the one word which seals the deal. EE are always interesting, sometimes that unique experience can go either way with me but this is catchy, bright and memorable, a smash.
018. Lorde - Green Light
This song is so unmistakably Lorde (the vocal, the verses) and yet so unlike her too, which is surely what you want in a sophomore era, not just more of the same. The chorus is way more pop than she’s ever given us but man, does she know how to do it right. Definitely one of the big pop moments of the year but with enough in the build up that’s uniquely Ella to keep her as cool as she’s ever been. A complete Glastonbury highlight too, I jumped like MAD. But not my no.1!
017. Disciples - On My Mind
Another now that’s perfectly pop but simultaneously effortless and cool. One of the simplest hits of the year but ultimately one of the most effective, just a gigantic yet minimalist chorus. So so catchy and I love the singers vocals especially in the verses, though I confess I don’t know who it is. I got into the follow up Jealousy far too late but these production gurus kept this in my head and heart from year start to end.
016. Fall Out Boy - The Last Of The Real Ones
FOB don’t tend to crop up in the actual charts too much in these days, at least not in my neck of the woods, however they are no stranger to my end of year charts, making the top 3 with The Phoenix recently. This is another fast paced stomper in similar vein, though it starts more midtempo. It’s when the chorus smashes in with ‘I’m the last of a dying breed’ that things really crank up, SUCH a monster chorus and includes the genius lyric ‘I wonder if your therapist knows everything about me’. They deliver at least one amazing single per era and this is that song.
015. DJ Khaled ft. Rihanna & Bryson Tiller - Wild Thoughts
Not necessarily the type of song that might always chart so highly for me but just try to deny this tune. I’m a fan of the Santana original sampled and put a killer Rihanna verse on top of it and who am I to argue? Bryson Tiller also puts in a great turn, though for me it’s Rih’s song. This is one of the few songs that I’ve heard absolutely thousands of times but has an incredible enduring appeal, not at all bored. Banger!
014. Charlie Puth - How Long
I’ve been a fan of much of Charlie’s work - the likes of Dangerously and We Don’t Talk Anymore charting highly for me in previous editions - but even I did not expect him to become THE male pop star really turning it out in 2017. This tune has a ridiculous groove and funk to it that I simply didn’t expect him to bring. The song has great story, amazing melody and one of my favourite song features, a song with a successful ‘quieter’ chorus (ala Maroon 5’s Obs More Nighr, where the chorus takes things down a notch but still bangs). It’s got falsetto, it’s got drama, it’s got great ad lib, it’s really got it all. It’s QUITE similar to Attention, though thankfully different enough. If this came first, it might have been higher!
013. Clean Bandit ft. Julia Michaels - I Miss You
I have loved just about everything Clean Bandit have released, and this marked a real turn of pace for them. It’s a mid tempo/ballad in the sense Symphony was, but it never quite explodes in the same way. But for me, that’s a GOOD thing considering it’s the follow up. I like the way it just maintains its tempo, with just subtle production changes each chorus instead of ramping up entirely. It’s effectively a Julia Michaels track with more interesting production. I think like many people I was a bit underwhelmed with it at first but I feel the absolute opposite now, it’s a glorious, gorgeous midtempo masterpiece that I’m glad they got their hands on. The bridge is divine!
012. Snakehips ft. Anne-Marie - Either Way
It seems my ‘vibe’ this year has been ballad to midtempo ‘dance’ numbers. I don’t really consider this dance but I think Snakehips as a producer gets put into that category. Whatever it is, this is STUNNING. Anne-Marie has 100% been one of my voices of the year, I get the criticism that she sounds a bit try hard Rihanna but I like that edge in her voice. However I like it even more in falsetto where it does feel more honest. She sounds absolutely beautiful and the song never tries too hard, it’s cool and it’s not going to push the boat out just for you. The chorus is another simple, minimalist but catchy one and I’m surprised this wasn’t another hit for the pair of them.
011. Nick Jonas - Find You
And last but not least, one of my favourite male popstars who was doing it for me in so many ways before Charlie P came along, had another stellar and underrated singles year. This song is so chill and relies initially on just a simple plucking of the guitar and Nick’s soft vocal approach. He will never be the greatest singer but the verses sit in the part of his voice the suits him best. When the chorus gives the whole thing a bit of tempo and a bit of a boost, there’s a sudden atmosphere that the production is brilliant at creating. Key to this song is melody and the line ‘but I never really know just where to find you’ is a dynamite line that acts as the motif for the song, appearing in both verse and chorus. If this set hasn’t made it completely clear, simplicity has done a great deal for me this year, if you can make your song simple but ultimately catchy as hell, winner.