Special Report

Best Pop Songs of the Year

Rich Polk / Getty Images

Thousands of new songs were released this past year, reaching listeners via radio, streaming services, and even old-fashioned physical media. Fewer than 500 songs accomplished the feat of charting on the Billboard Hot 100, however. These are among the most exceptional pop songs of the year.

Looking back on 2019, these songs stand out as the year’s soundtrack. We’ve heard them while shopping, on our commute, or each time we turned on the radio. In a genre where fans are always on the lookout for the next best thing, these are the songs that may stand the test of time.

24/7 Tempo has identified the best pop songs of the year based on Billboard Hot 100 chart performance. These are the year’s best based on radio airplay, sales data, and streaming.

Some of the year’s best pop songs are by well-established pop superstars, who have a long history of releasing hit music. Artists such as Taylor Swift, Drake, and Lady Gaga all make the list — sometimes with more than one song — illustrating their ongoing popularity among music fans. These musicians have released some of the most popular pop albums of all time.

Numerous newer artists debuted big hits this year as well. Billie Eilish released her first album “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?,” garnering major critical praise and legions of new fans. Lil Nas X also became a household name due in part to a song he originally recorded himself as a 19-year-old and uploaded to Soundcloud. These are 2019’s youngest pop stars.

Click here to see the best pop songs of the year.

24/7 Tempo identified the best pop songs of the year based on the top ranking tracks on Billboard’s Hot 100 Year-End Chart. This chart ranks the year’s most popular songs based on radio airplay and sales data as measured by Nielsen Music, as well as online streaming activity. Total Spotify plays refers to the total number of times each song has been streamed on music service Spotify as of Dec. 6, 2019.

Source: Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images

40. Panini
> Artist: Lil Nas X
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 5 (23 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 347.6 million

Lil Nas X proved to be more than a one-hit wonder with his “Old Town Road” follow-up, “Panini.” The song is reportedly the first ever recorded by the 20-year-old rapper in a professional studio, as opposed to at home.

[in-text-ad]

Source: Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images

39. You Need To Calm Down
> Artist: Taylor Swift
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 2 (21 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 282.0 million

Taylor Swift released her LGBTQ-friendly single “You Need to Calm Down” during Pride month. While not everybody was thrilled with the song — some viewed its message and accompanying video as a form of cultural appropriation on Swift’s part — it managed to soar to No. 2 on the Hot 100 and became the best-performing single from the diva’s seventh studio album, “Lover.”

Source: Gustavo Caballero / Getty Images for BET

38. Money
> Artist: Cardi B
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 13 (26 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 269.1 million

Cardi B was among the year’s biggest names in music, thanks in part to her single “Money.” The rapper performed the track at the 61st Grammy Awards and won the award for Best Hip Hop at the 2019 MTV VMAs, also thanks to the song’s visually sophisticated music video.

Source: Christopher Polk / Getty Images

37. Please Me
> Artist: Cardi B & Bruno Mars
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 3 (20 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 216.8 million

Cardi B scored another hit with her follow-up single to “Money,” “Please Me.” The song is a collaboration with singer Bruno Mars and appeared on numerous pop, hip hop, and dance charts.

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

36. Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored
> Artist: Ariana Grande
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 2 (20 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 482.5 million

“Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored” is the final single released from Ariana Grande’s chart-topping album “Thank U, Next.” The song features lyrics from *NSYNC’s “It Makes Me Ill” and was co-written by one-time *NSYNC collaborator Max Martin (writer and producer of “It’s Gonna Be Me”), making it a gem for fans of either act.

Source: John Lamparski / Getty Images

35. Speechless
> Artist: Dan + Shay
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 24 (40 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 191.2 million

The country music duo of Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney scored a hit with “Speechless,” inspired by their feelings when seeing their wives on the days of their weddings. The song not only reached the No. 24 position on the Hot 100, but also No. 17 on the radio airplay pop chart and No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart.

[in-text-ad]

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

34. Money In The Grave
> Artist: Drake ft. Rick Ross
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 7 (23 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 343.1 million

Drake — who surpassed The Beatles in 2019 to become the artist with the second-most Hot 100 top 10 hits, behind only Madonna — reached No. 7 on the chart with his song “Money in the Grave.” Drake included the song as part of his two-song “The Best in the World Pack” release in celebration of the Toronto Raptors winning the NBA Championship.

Source: Mark Metcalfe / Getty Images

33. Youngblood
> Artist: 5 Seconds Of Summer
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 7 (48 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 826.0 million

“Youngblood” is the best-performing song by Australian band 5 Seconds Of Summer of the group’s 14 songs to chart in the Hot 100. The song also reached the No. 1 position on the U.S. Mainstream Top 40, which tracks the top-played songs on pop radio.

Source: Tabatha Fireman / Getty Images

32. Better Now
> Artist: Post Malone
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 3 (52 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 1086.1 million

Post Malone’s song “Better Now” spent a full year’s time on the Hot 100, peaking at No. 3. The single, in which Post laments his loss of an ex, earned the musician a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Solo Performance.

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Nicholas Hunt / Getty Images

31. ZEZE
> Artist: Kodak Black ft. Travis Scott & Offset
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 2 (25 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 555.9 million

“ZEZE” is the highest-charting song by Florida native Kodak Black. The song, which features Travis Scott & Offset, climbed to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song appeared on Black’s album “Dying to Live,” which went to No.1 on the Billboard 200.

Source: Paul Morigi / Getty Images

30. Goodbyes
> Artist: Post Malone ft. Young Thug
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 3 (21 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 482.1 million

Post Malone teamed up with rapper Young Thug for “Goodbyes,” which peaked at No. 3 in July of this past year. The hard-edged breakup song was released with a similarly explicit music video in which Malone is stabbed and returns as a zombie.

[in-text-ad]

Source: Gregg DeGuire / Getty Images

29. If I Can’t Have You
> Artist: Shawn Mendes
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 2 (23 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 410.0 million

Until his single “Senorita” with Camila Cabello topped the Billboard Hot 100 last August, the pop-rock tune “If I Can’t Have You” had been the highest charting single for Shawn Mendes, the 21-year-old Grammy-nominated singer from Canada. The song debuted at No. 2 in May, denied the top spot by the monster hit “Old Town Road.”

Source: Lisa Lake / Getty Images

28. Ran$om
> Artist: Lil Tecca
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 4 (29 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 469.2 million

Lil Tecca, a 17-year-old rapper born Tyler Sharpe in Queens, New York, topped the Billboard Rhythmic chart earlier this year with “Ran$om,” which peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Ran$om” was streamed tens of millions of times in the weeks after its release.

Source: Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

27. Someone You Loved
> Artist: Lewis Capaldi
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 1 (29 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 800.9 million

Lewis Capaldi’s “Someone You Loved” spent three weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100 in early November. The sad ballad from the 23-year-old Scottish singer-songwriter was his first chart-topper. The song got a boost in October when it was played during a segment of “Dancing With the Stars.”

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Bennett Raglin / Getty Images

26. Drip Too Hard
> Artist: Lil Baby & Gunna
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 4 (35 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 531.5 million

The 25-year-old Atlanta rapper Lil Baby did time for petty crimes, but after his release from jail in 2017, he embarked on a successful rap career. His collaboration with Gunna, “Drip Too Hard,” was Lil Baby’s second song to reach No. 1 on Billboard’s Streaming Songs chart after his Drake collaboration, “Yes Indeed.”

Source: Sterling Munksgard / Shutterstock.com

25. Middle Child
> Artist: J. Cole
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 4 (27 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 466.0 million

“Middle Child” is the biggest single yet for reluctant celebrity J. Cole from North Carolina, rising to No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in February and No. 2 on Billboard’s MainstreamR&B/Hip-Hop chart.

[in-text-ad]

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

24. Suge
> Artist: DaBaby
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 7 (39 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 266.0 million

DaBaby was born Jonathan Kirk in Cleveland, Ohio, but he moved to Charlotte, North Carolina. The 28-year-old has had his problems with the law over the years. Even so, the rapper has carved out a successful career, including the single “Suge,” which climbed to No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Source: Mike Coppola / Getty Images

23. Sweet But Psycho
> Artist: Ava Max
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 10 (36 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 779.6 million

“Sweet But Psycho” was the breakthrough single for pop singer-songwriter Ava Max, a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It reached No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, though it peaked at No. 1 in six countries. The video is a send-up of slasher movies, with Max wielding an axe and knife and taking revenge on boyfriends.

Source: Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

22. Girls Like You
> Artist: Maroon 5 ft. Cardi B
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 1 (52 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 979.1 million

The rockers from Los Angeles scored the latest of their four Billboard 100 chart-toppers, collaborating with rap star Cardi B on “Girls Like You.” The song about female empowerment spent seven weeks atop the Hot 100. Its video — which features cameos from Jennifer Lopez, Ellen DeGeneres, and Camila Cabello — received 2 billion views in less than 10 months.

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Bryan Steffy / Getty Images

21. No Guidance
> Artist: Chris Brown ft. Drake
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 5 (25 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 311.3 million

“No Guidance” from Chris Brown featuring Drake rose to No. 5 in October and was Brown’s 16th chart-topper on Billboard’s Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop chart. The song was nominated for Best R&B Grammy and was the 17th Grammy nomination for the 30-year-old musician.

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images for CBS RADIO

20. Better
> Artist: Khalid
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 8 (48 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 605.4 million

Khalid, six-time Grammy Award nominated R&B singer, has had five top 10 hits, and his single “Better” climbed to No. 8 in April. “Better” was one of three songs from the Florida native to top the Billboard Hot R&B Songs chart.

[in-text-ad]

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

19. Shallow
> Artist: Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 1 (45 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 946.7 million

The accolades were many for “Shallow,” a collaboration between Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, who performed it in the movie “A Star is Born.” The Billboard Hot 100 chart-topper won the Oscar for Best Original Song, Grammy Awards for Best Song Written for Visual Media and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, and a Golden Globe for Best Original Song – Motion Picture

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

18. Going Bad
> Artist: Meek Mill ft. Drake
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 6 (37 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 508.5 million

Meek Mill has had a troubled history, spending time in jail and $30 million in legal expenses over the last decade. Even so, the Philadelphia-born rapper (born Robert Rihmeek Williams) has built a successful singing career. “Going Bad” is his first song to reach the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, surging to No. 6. The song features Canadian rapper Drake, and the video includes appearances by, among others, T.I., Nipsey Hussle, Mustard, and YK Osiris.

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

17. Eastside
> Artist: Benny Blanco, Halsey & Khalid
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 9 (52 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 869.9 million

Benny Blanco, collaborating with Halsey and Khalid, had his highest-charting single on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Eastside.” Blanco also earned his first Mainstream Top 40 chart-topper as a credited artist. He’s previously had success as a co-writer and co-producer for songs for artists such as Britney Spears, Kesha, Katy Perry, Taio Cruz, Gym Class Heroes, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, and Major Lazer.

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Christopher Polk / Getty Images

16. I Don’t Care
> Artist: Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 2 (29 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 787.9 million

It’s unsurprising that a collaboration by pop superstars Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber would become a hit. “I Don’t Care” — a part of Sheeran’s collaboration album, “No. 6 Collaborations Project” — peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100 in May 2019, though it failed to overtake “Old Town Road.”

Source: Mike Windle / Getty Images

15. Senorita
> Artist: Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 1 (23 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 1031.2 million

“Senorita,” which paired Canadian native Shawn Mendes with Camila Cabello, topped the Billboard Hot 100 last August. The song was Mendes’ biggest single to date and his first No. 1 hit. The song’s smoldering video has had more than 800 million views.

[in-text-ad]

Source: Gerardo Mora / Getty Images

14. Dancing With A Stranger
> Artist: Sam Smith & Normani
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 7 (45 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 552.6 million

English singer Sam Smith released his collaboration with American singer Normani, “Dancing With a Stranger,” in early 2019. The breakup track spent 45 total weeks on the Hot 100, peaking at No. 7, and was the most played song on radio worldwide for 2019.

Source: Emma McIntyre / Getty Images

13. Truth Hurts
> Artist: Lizzo
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 1 (30 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 443.7 million

Detroit-born rapper/songwriter Lizzo, born Melissa Viviane Jefferson, scored her first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in September with “Truth Hurts.” The single also topped the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Song chart.

12. Thank U, Next
> Artist: Ariana Grande
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 1 (28 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 965.4 million

“Thank U, Next” peaked at No. 1 in November 2018, but it held the top position into 2019. The endlessly catchy single was certified 5x Multi-Platinum in February 2019 by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Mike Coppola / Getty Images

11. High Hopes
> Artist: Panic! At The Disco
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 4 (52 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 727.5 million

The Las Vegas-based emo-pop group Panic! At The Disco posted its highest-charting single in January with “High Hopes,” which rose to No. 4. “High Hopes” was the group’s second top 10 success, following “I Write Sins Not Tragedies,” which reached No. 7 in 2006. “High Hopes” was one of the singles from the band’s album “Pray For the Wicked,” which went to No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

Source: Mike Coppola / Getty Images

10. Sucker
> Artist: Jonas Brothers
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 1 (38 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 584.6 million

The Jonas Brothers scored their sole No. 1 hit to date this year with “Sucker,” which peaked on the Hot 100 on March 16. The song was the group’s first single following a six-year hiatus, proving that good things come to those who wait. “Sucker” has been nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the Grammys.

[in-text-ad]

Source: Paul Morigi / Getty Images

9. Sicko Mode
> Artist: Travis Scott
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 1 (52 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 879.1 million

“Sicko Mode” was the first single by 28-year-old Houston hip-hop artist and producer Travis Scott to reach the Billboard 100 summit, which it did in December. Scott, born Jacques Webster, has had seven top 10 hits.

Source: C Flanigan / Getty Images

8. Talk
> Artist: Khalid
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 3 (42 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 504.9 million

The cherry on top of singer Khalid’s successful 2019 was undoubtedly his single “Talk,” which peaked at No. 3 on the Hot 100 in June. The bouncy track features production by British electronic duo Disclosure and has been nominated for Record of the Year at the Grammys.

7. 7 Rings
> Artist: Ariana Grande
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 1 (33 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 957.6 million

Ariana Grande’s “7 Rings” reached the No. 1 spot on the Hot 100 in February 2019 and stayed there for the next two months. The track — which reinterprets Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “My Favorite Things” — has been nominated for Record of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance at the Grammys.

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Stuart C. Wilson / Getty Images

6. Happier
> Artist: Marshmello & Bastille
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 2 (52 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 1031.6 million

Masked DJ Marshmello has collaborated with musicians, including Chris Browne, Kahlid, and Selena Gomez. His biggest hit to date is the song “Happier,” which was created in collaboration with the British indie pop band Bastille and peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100 in February 2019. Bastille frontman Dan Smith told the BBC that he had originally written the track for Justin Bieber but was eventually convinced to record it himself.

Source: Rich Fury / Getty Images

5. Wow.
> Artist: Post Malone
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 2 (44 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 773.7 million

Rapper, singer, and songwriter Post Malone has succeeded in blending hip-hop, pop, trap, and rock into his repertoire to become one of the biggest stars in pop music. The Dallas native and six-time Grammy Award nominee has had nine top 10 hits, including “Wow.,” which peaked at No. 2 in April.

[in-text-ad]

Source: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

4. Bad Guy
> Artist: Billie Eilish
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 1 (35 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 1.00 billion

Among the past year’s greatest success stories is that of teenager Billie Eilish, who rose to fame with a repertoire of songs she wrote along with her brother Finneas. The most popular of these is “Bad Guy,” which shot to No. 1 in August 2019. The single won both critical and popular praise — it’s been streamed more than 1 billion times on Spotify — and has been nominated for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Solo Performance at the Grammys.

Source: Christopher Polk / Getty Images

3. Without Me
> Artist: Halsey
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 1 (52 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 872.6 million

New Jersey wild child Halsey, born Ashley Nicolette Frangipane, notched her first chart-topper in January. The song spent two weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100. The 25-year-old, who took her name from a New York City subway stop, has had five top 10 hits

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

2. Sunflower (Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse)
> Artist: Post Malone & Swae Lee
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 1 (53 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 1.23 billion

Post Malone’s best performing song to date is a collaboration with rapper Swae Lee from the soundtrack to the movie “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse.” The song peaked at No. 1 on the Hot 100 in January of 2019 and spent a lengthy total of 53 weeks on the chart. “Sunflower” has been nominated for both Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 62nd Grammy Awards.

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

1. Old Town Road
> Artist: Lil Nas X Featuring Billy Ray Cyrus
> Billboard Hot 100 peak position: 1 (39 weeks total)
> Total Spotify plays: 805.8 million

“Old Town Road” dominated the pop charts in 2019 and occupied the top position on the Billboard Hot 100 for a record 19 weeks. The song features the quirky pairing of Atlanta-based rapper Lil Nas X (born Montero Lamar Hill) and country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, whose previously most successful single was “Achy Breaky Heart,” which climbed to No. 4 in 1992.

Smart Investors Are Quietly Loading Up on These “Dividend Legends”

If you want your portfolio to pay you cash like clockwork, it’s time to stop blindly following conventional wisdom like relying on Dividend Aristocrats. There’s a better option, and we want to show you. We’re offering a brand-new report on 2 stocks we believe offer the rare combination of a high dividend yield and significant stock appreciation upside. If you’re tired of feeling one step behind in this market, this free report is a must-read for you.

Click here to download your FREE copy of “2 Dividend Legends to Hold Forever” and start improving your portfolio today.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.