Follow Billboard. All rights reserved. Stars of ten years ago, like the Jonas Brothers and Lady Gaga, have been rubbing elbows not only with modern-day marquee names like Ariana Grande and Post Malone, but with breakout artists like Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X, who may end up setting the pace for pop's next decade. It's all combined to make this final year of the s one of the least-predictable pre-summer seasons we've had in a long time. Check out our 50 favorites from so far below. The members of K-pop's reigning girl group don't just transcend language barriers with their highest-charting U. But when a song comes out with this many guns blazing -- literally, their choreography involves a move that resembles a bazooka firing -- how could they take the energy any higher?
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From pop comebacks to international acts finding crossover success to gorgeous ballads and irresistible dancefloor bait, was quite the year. Here are the songs we couldn't stop playing this year. Think the vulnerable voice of Nina Simone waxing poetic about the ills of millennial dating. Following in the footsteps of international kings like Burna Boy and WizKid, Rema's crisp, charming vocals float over a bouncy rhythm that blends Afropop and hip-hop to create three minutes and 15 seconds of sheer joy. Sex sells, but Rapsody has never been one to conform to hip-hop's misogynistic views of women. Angel Olsen's lush, throaty voice connects with an eerie, '80s-leaning production to create a musical masterpiece. One of the most ubiquitous songs of came from pop's newest power couple. Hate it or love it, Shawn and Camila make magic together. DaBaby covers common rap tropes, yes, but it's his signature breathless, rapid-fire flow matching the high-energy beats he cruises on that sets hi, apart from his contemporaries.
G enre is dead; all hail the new masters of global, category-defying hits from artists old and new. Rendered in minimalist, twanging piano chords and tightly-wound vocals, it swings from breathy devastation to high notes of carefully controlled keening. It also marks her return after nearly three years of absence from music, foreshadowing a new openness in work to come. While California hip-hop has witnessed a fearsome revival over the last few years, its community was struck by tragedy when Nipsey Hussle, one of its titans and fiercest advocates, was shot dead in Crenshaw in March. The song distills reggaeton to its purest composite parts, with Guaynaa locking into an infectious flow and gliding over the complicated syllables with the ease of an Olympic skier. He fanned the flames of an online cowboy craze and boosted his reach with a social media fluency, a cunning sense of humor, and a perfectly-chosen saddle partner in Billy Ray Cyrus. That is to say, it sounds like the future of global pop music. Write to Raisa Bruner at raisa.
Follow Billboard. All rights reserved. The past and the future combined in , a year of satisfying comebacks from veteran artists and exciting breakouts from newer ones. Read the list below, with a Spotify playlist of all at the bottom. An unlikely combination of three very different alt-leaning acts, "I've Been Waiting" is far more seamless than it has any right to be, finding common ground in the artists' shared pop sensibilities. As it toggles between vocals from all three, it's impossible to tell where the verses stop and the chorus starts -- it's all hooks, really, a song where every part feels like That Part. In a more just world , this would've been the song to get the late Lil Peep his first Hot top 40 hit. Now please, get off his lawn. There are a lot of "what ifs" when a relationship ends, but the title of Lady Antebellum's latest heart-wrenching hit has to be one of the scariest.