"Shape of You" is great! I benefitted from the fact that it never had a chance of being overexposed here, so I wasn't subject to hearing it every day for six months straight like you and your UK posse probably were. It wasn't quite the best offering from Ed this era, though.
I really thought "Boys" was mediocre the first time I played it. Surprisingly, even the video couldn't win me over at first. Eventually its charms sunk its teeth into my ears, and there was no looking back when that happened.
Starting this new batch is X Factor winner James Arthur, who has had a decent amount of success with his new album, but really off the back of just the one massive single from it, which is a shame as the follow up material was decent. This impactful midtempo was one of my favourites from the LP, it's charm for me is in its melody being repeated between verse and chorus, but for the verses an octave lower. The chorus is therefore automatically given more power and presence as James really lets rip to sing it. He really does have a stunning voice, I'm glad he's finally got his ducks in a row as he is a decent musician.
069. Sia - Move Your Body
A song now from the very first moment of the year now, which has done well to remain a favourite right til the end, Sia has had a very successful time of it and though this never made a big mark in the UK, the incredibly catchy chorus made a mark on me, it really gives me Eurovision vibes and Shakira could have had a big hit if she had recorded this as a lead single. For me, the chorus does outshine the rest of the song, but what a chorus it is, and unmistakably Sia on vocals. A bop.
068. ALMA - Chasing Highs
Another song which would have benefitted from being released later in the year, as I originally had it a lot higher, I think I have just heard it that little bit too much. Not denying it's still incredibly catchy though and a great introduction to the UK for this Finnish pop star after Dye My Hair acted as her gateway. It's generic, but she is not, and I think that worked in her favour. She has popped up on a lot of great songs this year, and indeed three in my chart already. I hope in the next year we get a great album from her and an out there single which can trouble the top of my charts. I am sure I will still be singing this for years to come though, catchy!
067. Lady Gaga - The Cure
Speaking of catchy, Gaga realised this year that there was still stock in appealing to the pop masses and gave the gays exactly what they wanted, an unashamed pop hit single. It was a good move I think, and stands her in decent stead going forward. That said, it's far from my favourite she has ever done and I much preferred Perfect Illusion. I know I am in the minority though, the verses are just okay, the chorus though has some sort of magic, a real vibe and atmosphere. I love the little falsetto notes she throws in, and the whole delivery. Good move, Gags.
066. Royal Blood - I Only Lie When I Love You
Royal Blood continue to make catchy, hook laden rock music, and this is one of the best examples from their latest album, absolutely one of the highlights of what was a brilliant Glastonbury set too. I think even for the poppies of music fans, Royal Blood are an easy listen as they are so melodic and catchy.. I love the simple melody and the catchy drums, plus the big yeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaah in the backing vocals. Glad Radio One supported this so much.
065. Dua Lipa ft. Miguel - Lost In Your Light
Category is... Underrared Bops 1. Dua was starting to garner such success off the back of Blow Your Mind and Scared To Be Lonely and then... this banger flops?! Thank god she had New Rules (and Be The One again) up her sleeve as I would have hated to have lost her. Sure, this is a lot more subtle than some of her other pop hits but it's still clearly a pop gem. I love the production, I love Miguel's vocal on it (and how it suits and mixes with Dua's), there's a lot to love. I guess maybe the chorus blends into the background a little too much for it to be a balls to the wall hit but sometimes there is wonder in subtlety, and the verses are plenty good enough for me. Great background music!
064. Matt Terry - Sucker For You
Category is... Underrated Bops 2.. though actually I was one of the underraters at first. Thought this was a really poor and basic choice for a first single proper. And actually, based on his susprisongly excellent album, there are better choices. But I have grown to really really enjoy this. It's current, he can really really sing and I like the production touches which from time to time give me a little Clean Bandit. The highlight is probably the vocals at the end when she does his trademark falsetto squeal, it just hits at the right time. Listen, this song is never going to be the most remarkable on paper, but is it a completely serviceable and replayable bop? Yes it is. .
063. Zara Larsson ft. Ty Dolla $ign - So Good
Category is... Underrated Bops 3! This is very much a Dua 'Lost In..' story.. meant to be the hit to lead the album but it does absolutely nothing, I can't see why.. I mean yes again compared to Lush Life and I Would Like it's more subdued, but don't we want a bit of variety from our pop girls? I love that this has a bit of an old skool throwback rnb vibe, it's so laid back but still packs a punch, I love how the pace alternates, particularly in the 'you know I'm the only one who..' pre-chorus, which feels like it's going straight into the chorus, but then it tricks you and slows down again with more verse. I just find the whole song really interesting. Again maybe the chorus is the basic bit, but there's still the vocal gymnastics as it builds and gets higher. Underrated tbh.
062. Niall Horan - Slow Hands
Perhaps the first actual surprise fall from the poll as a couple of you thought this would top the chart. Far from it, but I still think it's great and am really glad Niall took a chance and delivered something that people didn't expect of him.. a sexy jam! There's been a real confident in Niall this year that I don't think we have seen in him before and I am so glad for him that this has been one of the biggest and most enduring hits of the solo output from the lads. The production is swanky and he comes in with real swagger in his vocals. I guess the downside is that while i love it's assurance and think it's a great car radio song, it's not one I necessarily gravitate too all too often of my own accord.
061. Zedd ft. Alessia Cara - Stay
And last for today, something I didn't think we would see, Alessia venturing out into the dance arena. Unsurprisingly, she did great. I love how empty this song is, production wise and that the chorus doesn't do much outside of the notes she hits with her vocals. My favourite bit though is definitely the bridge, where she sings of being on the sofa, drinking rum and cola, very catchy but the lyrics feel generic because of her involvement? Catchy, great vocals, not throwing the kitchen sink, a staple for me this year, again probably higher if it had have been more recent.
"Move Your Body" has such a maddeningly electric chorus. I think it's one of Sia's best singles, which says something for someone who's been the 'queen of the hook' for the last seven years.
"The Cure" is terrific. Gaga's voice makes the song great for me. I kinda paid dust to Dua's songs that aren't "New Rules" or "Scared to Be Lonely," but I'm listening to "Lost in Your Light" now and it's as solid as I remember it.
Look at me ranking "Slow Hands" higher than you did! I agree that Niall definitely sounds more sure of himself on this one and "Too Much to Ask" than he does, say on, "This Town".
You spoke to the emptiness of "Stay," and that's what's turned me off from the song. It's too...vacuum-like.
I thought you'd like 'Slow Hands' more than that! It's such a great song, one of my favourite solo 1D tracks
Stay is also great, Alessia sounds good on it! The Cure, Sucker For You and So Good are all pretty disappointing in my opinion and Lost In Your Light has a disappointing chorus but great verses in my opinion.
096. Carly Rae Jepsen - Cut To The Feeling 087. James Arthur - Safe Inside 083. Zara Larsson - Only You (KREAM Remix) 081. Ed Sheeran - Perfect 079. Clean Bandit & Marina & The Diamonds - Disconnect 078. Anne-Marie - Ciao Adios 076. Robin Bengtsson - I Can't Go On 075. Martin Garrix & Troye Sivan - There For You 073. Ed Sheeran - Shape Of You 070. James Arthur - Can I Be Him? 069. Sia - Move Your Body 067. Lady Gaga - The Cure 063. Zara Larsson ft. Ty Dolla $ign - So Good 062. Niall Horan - Slow Hands 061. Zedd ft. Alessia Cara - Stay
Fantastic list so far! Very pleased to see "Disconnect" here. A shame they didn't push it as a proper single, as it's definitely on a similar level like "Rockaybe" and "I Miss You". The bolded ones are highlight for me as well this year, so very happy to see them all in your countdown.
I feel a bit bad for Louisa Johnson, very talented girl, pretty big pop star, been gifted great material - so why isn't she a bigger name than she is? She's our Zara! It's pretty criminal that this never even made the top 40 (I've heard that it is the highest selling single of the year not to hit the top 40 but I am not sure how true that is...), after So Good didn't do too badly I had high hopes for this as the quality is good. It's very sultry, very sassy, almost a bit dark. I love how a lot of it is delivered in a low vocal including an initial quiet chorus before she repeats it it an octave higher and absolutely belts it out, such is the power of her vocal. It's got a cute Eastern influence and for me this kind of inventive pop deserves more reward. .
059. MDNR x Scissor Sisters - SWERLK
Speaking of different pop, Scissor Sisters returned with something a bit unique in 2017 (though I suppose it's not too dissimilar to their own previous attempt. Lets Have a Kiki). Like that song, this is outrageously camp, unashamedly gay and a bit reminiscent of the kind of music that drag queens make these days. But man is it catchy. It's a ridiculous concept, mixing swirl, twerk, work and twirl and coining a brand new phrase but it's earworm as hell and will be the anthem for many a pride celebration for years to come I am sure.
058. Calvin Harris ft. Kehlani & L'il Yachty - Faking It
I've been a bit all over the shop with the new Calvin era. I really liked Slide, wasn't oversold on the Ariana one, loved Feels, feel like another one passed me by (called Rollin maybe?) and was underwhelmed with this one... until I started hearing it regularly on the radio.. and now I'm a big fan of it! The verses are incredibly catchy and are my favourite bit of the song (especially once it kicks in with 'I say I'm okay, but..') but the chorus has really grown on me too. I really like how it seems to break down and go slower with the why you why you why you part but it's a false start and it immediately picks up pace again.. nice production touch, Calvin took a risk with his switch up in sound but for the most part singles wise, it paid off for me
057. Camila Cabello ft. Young Thug - Havana
i didn't want to like Camila and was much more in the Fifth Harmony camp, in which she was never was my favourite component part. But this year 5H - who have had some absolutely mammoth end of year hits for me - turned out some absolute dirge while... Camila bought the hits. The facts are the facts. This has been a monster hit both here and elsewhere and it's easy to see why. Launching straight into the chorus, Camila transports you to a smoky jazz club in Havana and serves vocals all the way. Really impressed with how she handled it live too. Her singles don't seem very cohesive as yet so we could be in for a messy genrebending albums, but she's serving the singles,
056. Nothing But Thieves - Sorry
A second entry for this band which tells me I really listen to the Broken Machine album. The verse showcases the singers lovely voice and beautiful falsetto but once again the chorus is what stands out for me here. 'maybe I'm defensive or maybe I'm dumb, I'm sorry, so sorry, for what I've done' - it's just a really beautiful catchy melody that Radio 1 have stuck in my head throughout the year. It's a world away from 'Amsterdam', the single I charted before, and I like that versatility. A beautiful mid tempo.
055. Ed Sheeran - Castle On The Hill
i thought this might end up higher but I have liked quite a bit of music this year. When these songs first came out at the very start of the year, I preferred Shape Of You. But upon listening to them both recently, it became apparent to me that this song had the most replay value. I appreciated that Ed didn't come back with any ballads but two very different upbeat lead singles. I knew straight away this was going to be a big number at Glastonbury, it's a stadium anthem designed for events like that. I think he opened with it, I remember it was great, but I was drunk. I like the 110mph attitude of it, especially when you consider its singing about driving fast through country roads. I like its melancholy tone especially in the middle 8 talking about the friends he had and the positions they are in now. The chorus is absolutely rip roaring and it has remained a favourite from the get go. That said, there were songs I preferred and so with one vote, this is another poll option to crash out.
054. Oh Wonder - Ultralife
this song bursts with beauty from the very first second, I really like their style, often singing the same lines and the same melody but because their voices are wildly different, to great effect. It seems like a country/Irish ditty with beautiful verses that burst to life in an uncharacteristically upbeat chorus. It's just a real ray of sunshine. I had the pleasure of seeing this band live at Sziget this year and they were so sweet, humble and grateful. Some of the stuff they do is a little too slow for me to fully Love so this foray into a little more upbeat material was right up my alley. The vocals are gorgeous and the melodies divine. Recommend, listen below!
053. Camila Cabello - Crying In The Club
More Cabello already, and it's the lesser loved single that she has sadly removed from the album. Personally I think it's the slightly better of the two, though that is not a view I held initially, when I thought it was boring with only a Christina sample gimmick going for it. I don't know how I missed the brilliant catchy bridge, the sultry vocals or the catchy plods of the production, but I am pleased to say it grew on me big. I do think she still has an absolute monster hit up her sleeve that will cement me as a Cabefan rather than a casual listener, but I'm glad I realised the worth in this.
052. Maroon 5 ft. SZA - What Lovers Do
No surprise to see this song charting given it borrows so heavily from a massive hit on my chart last year, Sexual. For me it's different enough to still be brilliant but obviously not quite unique enough for me to give it points for as much brilliance. It's catchy as hell though and my favourite thing they have done in a while for sure. I liked Cold, but not as much. I do feel like Adam has got a bit lazy though? Even on this song it is definitely SZA who takes all the risks and sounds the most interesting, she definitely adds a lot to it for me. Still, if you're asking for catchy pop songs, did M5 deliver? Absolutely.
051. Mollie King - Hair Down
And last for today, the new nations sweetheart, fifth placed Strictly contestant the gorgeous Miss Mollie King. Okay so I know this missed the top 100 and it's not as mature or polished as Back To You was, but hear me out. It's a mess. But a hot mess. A glorious mess. A kitchen sink attempt but one that KNOWS it is, so it's allowed. It doesn't all work, her vocal doesn't carry the verses very well and they feel a bit stilted BUT, when this track is on fire, it's really on fire. I adore the bridges, which is when her voice really works for the song, the speed of the delivery, the sass (like me now, how you like me now, now I'm back now I'm back nanana, how you like me now, I bet you love me now...) and when the nana chorus and the full trumpet kitchen sink effect all kick in together, for me it's a real burst of joy. And mollie using football metaphors will never not be the epitome of things I love and make me laugh. Look, overall, I know it's messy, but a joyful, catchy, bright and brash kind of mess... and I kinda love it!
"Havana" is magnificent, with one of the most lethal hooks I've ever heard.
"Castle on the Hill" was the more 'Ed' of the two lead singles, and I definitely enjoyed it. Good storytelling from him. "Crying in the Club" has a fantastic chorus, and I'm still bewildered that the song flopped. It's not quite up there with "Havana" for me, but it's not far off either.
I didn't give "What Lovers Do" the number of plays early on as I should have. I heard it once and wrote it off, but I shouldn't have. It's rather good, and has grown on me quite a bit. I think both Adam and SZA do a good job on it.
058. Calvin Harris ft. Kehlani & L'il Yachty - Faking It 057. Camila Cabello ft. Young Thug - Havana 055. Ed Sheeran - Castle On The Hill 053. Camila Cabello - Crying In The Club 052. Maroon 5 ft. SZA - What Lovers Do
Really enjoy these from the last group. Good to see someone else enjoying "Crying In The Club" more than "Havana".
050. The Vamps & Martin Jensen - Middle Of The Night
Following the surprising success of longevity of their Maloma collaboration 'All Night', the Vamps thought they would try and recreate the success this year with the Martin Jensen assisted 'Middle Of The Night' ... and it was even better. You can see the bones of this song being a beautiful, almost chilling ballad/midtempo, but MJ's tinkering gives the whole thing a totally different tone and it totally works. My favourite bit (other than him giving the thing a bit of pace with heavy drums crashing in for the second verse) are the bones of the melody for the part of the song the title comes from 'so when I call in the middle of the night and I'm choking on the words cause I miss you...' - amazing pop melody and a real standout moment for me. I would like to hear the 'original' version of this but I am not mad at what we got given. Tears on the dancefloor done right.
049. Anastacia - Caught In The Middle
For me, Anastacia has been a little hit and miss in recent years. Songs like Stupid Little Things really piqued my interest, others like the male-covers album didn't do so much for me. This is much more classic Ana to my ears, like she has tried to recreate the sound around some of her biggest hits, but without copying them.. a return to 'sprock' maybe? (though I am sure her dedicated fans will disagree ). Her voice comes straight in, unmistakable and strong in tone as ever, and it feels like a typical Ana number, but then almost immediately things pick up pace and the instrumentation and production kick in before we are treated to a kick ass chorus (a little repetitive but still incredibly catchy). It sounds like it could have dominated the radio back in 'her era' so it's a shame it hasn't now because it is absolutely worthy of doing so. Cracking pop song, just what I want from her.
048. Una Healy - Battlelines
Yes, shocker... someone from the same band has charted higher than my darling pop princess Mollie! I was not at all sure Una's material would be up my street, and some of it doesn't spark a fire inside of me. But a LOT more of it than I thought did, and this is probably the best exception. It's undoubtedly Una, singer-songwriter fare, but it's melody choices really draw you in and set this song apart from many in the same lane. Her voice sounds divine on it and this should have been ALL over Radio 2 (perhaps it was, I'm still clinging onto Radio 1). I doubt many people will have checked this out and I think many would be pleasantly surprised if they did. Very very catchy country-pop.
047. Martin Garrix & David Guetta ft. Jamie Scott & Romy Dya - So Far Away
This is a very recent addition and it wasn't originally on the list at all. Then I decided to remove someone from the 100-91 section to make room for it, and every time I have posted an update it's been 'no, you know what, it deserves higher' - now is it's moment! It marked the pleasant and surprise return of Jamie Scott who throughout the years has written many songs for other artists and had a bit of a stab at releasing himself. Looks like he still won't score a big hit but he deserves to.. he sounds absolutely divine. Like 'There For You' and 'Scared To Be Lonely', Garrix has really mastered subtle, midtempo dance music, it's kind of been one of my sounds of the year, I'm really drawn to them. Romy Dya I don't know but sounds lovely too (especially at the close when she uses her deeper voice). The breakdown, honestly, I could do without it, but it does set it apart and make it truly Garrix. My favourite part is definitely the 'oohhhhhh love' chorus which sounds quite gospel in part and really, really works when you get both tones together. A triumph.
046. Dua Lipa - Be The One
This song feels SO OLD and yet was such a huge song this year with it's inevitable re-release. Considering it was ignored first time around, it ended up being such an important song for Dua, a complete radio staple and secured her place in the industry where 'Lost In Your Light' failed to make a dent. I love the chorus, a seeming never ending flow of thought delivered at pace and with beautiful harmony. The verses are probably the highlight 'seeing blue, seeing blue, seeing blue oh and I see everything in red' - so catchy and builds up to the aforementioned chorus. It just oozes cool but manages to be an unashamedly catchy pop tune at the same time. Top effort.
045. Sigala ft. Ella Eyre - Came Here For Love
Ella Eyre seems to absolutely shine on featured releases like these. Her tone is just so excellent for dance music and it is no exception over the steel drums and tropical instrumentation we now know from Sigala. The chorus is an absolute balls to the wall affair, no subtlety whatsoever with Eyre's bellowing voice and the massive production. Honestly, earlier in the year this was a lot higher for me, it's one of those songs that suffered from me putting it on every playlist I had and got a bit overexposed. But I can't argue that it's not an absolutely superb dance track, it really does have all the ingredients. Favourite part: when Ella absolutely lets rips in the chorus with 'IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII want you to reach out'. Glad this was a hit for her as follow up 'Ego' wasn't really given a chance despite being cute.
044. Taylor Swift - ... Ready For It?
Lots of different opinion over what Taylor's best single from the era is. Lots of people seem to be plumping for Gorgeous, which I don't like at all. Look What You Made Me Do had elements of great, top of her game Taylor and elements of cut that out you're making me cringe Taylor. This one is the one for me, ticks all the boxes. Incredibly bold bassline, catchy verses with clever self-referential and charismastic lyrics (I love 'he can be my jailer, why'd you do this Taylor? every love in comparison is a failure, I forget their names now..) into a much more classic Taylor Swift back-in-the-day bridge and the audacity to have a chorus just of her speaking the words '... are you ready for it?'. I think the whole thing is brave, without alienating old fans too much because there are hints of old Taylor in here too. Definitely the best thing she did this era.
043. Everything Everything - Can't Do
I've had a strange relationship with EE. I caught them by accident at my first ever Glastonbury just trying to shelter from the sun, adored their song 'My Keys, Yr Bf' but found the rest of their set hideously dull, so thought I didn't like them. Then every album since then they have provided me real bangers, to the point if I see them now the set is just full of hits I love. And this is no exception at all. Straight from the off it's incredibly catchy but it's the 'it's up to me, it's up to me' bridge that things really kick in and it's an absolute earworm. Add to that the wonderful falsetto singalong chorus and boom, it's another favourite for this band from me. They just deliver at least something I adore each era. They're weird, but still manage to keep not too far leftfield to as still be completely mainstream. Hard to not find this catchy!
042. Little Mix x CNCO - Reggaeton Lento (Remix)
I can't say I was too excited when I found out that Little Mix were going to try and take advantage of the Despacito hot reggaeton trend to try and score a hit and introduce us to a new boyband but... now I forgive them. It's brilliant. Leigh-Anne leads us in with a sexy and sultry vocal and by the time we are introduced to CNCO, I am fully on board, they provide good harmony and a nice juxtaposition from the girls vocals. It's just a real pop gem, I like the use of the the drums to punctuate the song, I like the girls indivudual falsettos, I love Leigh's 'lovin make me sick, make me sick, you're my doctor' line but I think what I like most is that (unlike say, the brilliant but kitchen sink 'Power', this never actually tries that hard. It's quite carefree and subtle in it's approach, but packs a punch regardless. Really decent pop.
041. Dua Lipa - New Rules
One of the most iconic tracks of the year to end today, creator of so many tweets and memes and owner of one of the greatest videos of the year too. I spoke about Be The One being an important Dua hit, this is THE important Dua hit and surely now her signature song. It's great from start to finish but of course the chorus listing the rules is the pinnacle, the moment the song really comes into it's own. It's one of those songs you know from first listen will be a success, I remember when Dua's album came out this was the one (despite no promo) that climbed the charts and rightfully indicated to her team that it was the one to release. Classy, catchy, with a hint of cool but a desire to make you lose yours.
dua <3 dont know why, but i love her so much, shes great. both be the one and new rules are amazing. ready for it is also great, took time to grow on me, but i loce the messy structure. it wouldve been a huge hit if the whole song was like the ...in the middle of the night, in my dreams part
"Caught in the Middle" is sub-par by Ana's standards; "Be the One" is pretty good.
"Came Here for Love" is more my flavour. Such a huge chorus propped up by a great melody. I definitely agree "...Ready for It?" is better than "Look What You Made Me Do," and "Gorgeous". Like you pointed out, "...Ready for It?" saw the most natural progression of the three. I could do without ever hearing "Gorgeous" again, to be frank.
"New Rules" was a certified bop on the first play for me, too! I think it was my introduction to solo Dua; I had only heard "Scared to Be Lonely" from her before that point, if my memory serves me right. I'm happy that it's now taking off in the US. Would be great if it could go Top 10 there.