I do these every year, for some reason. Here are my 50 favourite singles from the last twelve months.
For context, here’s what I’ve previously put at NUMBER ONE…
2008: Sweet About Me – Gabriella Cilmi
2009: Battlefield – Jordin Sparks (should have been My Life Would Suck Without You)
2010: Teenage Dream – Katy Perry
2011: Till The World Ends – Britney Spears
2012: Wings – Little Mix
2013: Heart Attack – Demi Lovato
2014: Into The Blue – Kylie Minogue
All right let’s get this over with.
50. I’m A Ruin – Marina And The Diamonds
There were about 93 promo singles released from the Froot album before its release but this one made the biggest impact up here (*taps head*) and in here (*taps heart, smiles solemnly*). Watch on YouTube
49. Double Tap – Jordin Sparks
The woman behind one of the greatest singles of the 21st Century returned with a song about someone who thinks you’re hot but won’t like your photos on Instagram. What a thunderous bellend.
48. Worth It (featuring Kid Ink) – Fifth Harmony
I know this song is ultimately rather bad (it’s no Sledgehammer, let’s be real) but, like, I just can’t help myself…? Also FLASHBACK TO: Me in a club trying to sassily whip my hair around to this, despite not having nearly enough hair. Watch on YouTube
47. Lighthouse – G.R.L.
46. Break A Sweat – Becky G
Almost offensively basic, but completely irresistible. Watch on YouTube
45. Do It Again (featuring Chris Brown & Tyga) – Pia Mia
It sounds like THE SUN. Watch on YouTube
44. Alive – Sia
Would have sounded shit on the Adele album it was originally written for, but in Sia’s hands it can do no wrong. Watch on YouTube
43. Living Without You – Tulisa
WARNING: If Tulisa being above Sia on a year-end list offends you then you’re probably not going to like the amount of Rita Ora still to come.
42. Thunder – Leona Lewis
In a year devoid of Rebecca Ferguson music (THAT BILLIE HOLIDAY ALBUM DOESN’T COUNT), this went some way to filling the gap. Shame only 8 people bought it, though. Watch on YouTube
41. I Want You To Know (featuring Selena Gomez) – Zedd
The “I’m better under your reflection” bit is just lovely. Watch on YouTube
40. Kiss Me – Olly Murs
Simultaneously one the country’s worst presenters and best popstars. Watch on YouTube
39. Champagne Kisses – Jessie Ware
I adore Jessie Ware but she doesn’t do #uplifting very often, does she? Maybe that’s what makes this so special. Watch on YouTube
38. Heartbeat Song – Kelly Clarkson
The most basic of bops in the Kellycanon but a belter nonetheless. Best bit: the lead-in to the second chorus. I seem to remember doing a Dubsmash to that. Sorry to all who received it. Watch on YouTube
37. Talk Me Down – Troye Sivan
There’s nothing like feeling a song perfectly ~gets~ you and then realising its writer/singer was born in NINETEEN NINETY FIVE and looks about 11.
36. Love Me Like You – Little Mix
I really didn’t warm to this for at least four weeks but I think the X Factor performance where they segued it into Black Magic really bolstered its appeal. But it loses half a point for that “Christmas Mix”. Watch on YouTube
35. Poison – Rita Ora
The first of three COUNT THEM THREE appearances on the list for a woman I’ve really warmed to this year. Kate Nash wrote this, you know. Watch on YouTube
34. Talking Body – Tove Lo
Tove does a fantastic line in songs about fucking, doesn’t she? Watch on YouTube
33. Wings – Delta Goodrem
Who knew that what July 2015 really needed was a Delta Goodrem banger? WHO KNEW DELTA GOODREM BANGERS WERE POSSIBLE?
32. Leave A Trace – CHVRCHES
I always forget how good CHVRCHES are, and then they come back with a complete album of brilliance and I am SLAIN. Watch on YouTube
31. Sorry – Justin Bieber
Please God fuck off with the “OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M STARTING TO LIKE JUSTIN BIEBER SONGS!!!111!!1!” Facebook posts – have you people completely forgotten about Beauty And A Beat? For SHAME. Watch on YouTube
30. Hands To Myself – Selena Gomez
“CAN’T KEEP MY HANDS TO MYSELF! … I mean I could, but why would I want to?” is lyric that scores 1,495,848 out of 10. Watch on YouTube
29. Wildest Dreams – Taylor Swift
Still annoyed that the radio edit in the video is not available to download. Watch on YouTube
28. Piece By Piece – Kelly Clarkson
The sequel-of-sorts to Because Of You, the single mix of Piece By Piece is very, very good but if they’d just released the original album edit, it would have been about 23 places higher up this list.
27. WILD – Troye Sivan
I didn’t adore the whole EP as much as I know a lot of other people did but THIS SONG, MAN, FUCKING HELL. Watch on YouTube
26. Love Me Like You Do – Ellie Goudling
The best song from a movie since Britney Spears’ Ooh La La (joking… ish). Watch on YouTube
25. Perfect – One Direction
And One Direction’s annual winter ballads can be ranked thusly: 1) Story Of My Life, 2) Perfect AKA THIS ONE, 3) Gotta Be You, 4) Night Changes, 5) Little Things.
24. King – Years & Years
Premiered in January, this was the first great song of 2015 and is still ace nearly 12 months later. Watch on YouTube
23. I Really Like You – Carly Rae Jepsen
The perfect bridge between the bubblegum bonkersness of Call Me Maybe and the kind of beautifully-produced, 80s-tinted ~vibes~ of parent album Emotion. Also: Tom Hanks. Watch on YouTube
22. Doing It (featuring Rita Ora) – Charli XCX
Will Rita Ora collaborate with literally anyone? Whatever works.
21. Confident – Demi Lovato
Took me a while to grow into this song but it’s brilliant; taking Demi’s usual self-empowerment schtick and giving it a balls-to-the-wall, dare I say CONFIDENT makeover. Watch on YouTube
20. Hold My Hand – Jess Glynne
OH THIS IS JUST SO LOVELY. I wish the first half of the chorus was slightly better, but it’s my favourite of Glynne’s many (many, many) Number Ones so far. Watch on YouTube
19. Body On Me (featuring Chris Brown) – Rita Ora
Less Chris Brown would have gone a long way but Body On Me is kind of song Rita should be making; a slick, R’n’B-meets-pop grower that sounds like it could be a hit anywhere in the world.
18. Better Love – Foxes
The introduction of a global New Music Friday has made ‘on air/on sale’ the norm very quickly, which is great for top-flight pop artists but terrible news for mid-level acts like Foxes, who sadly only got as far as No104 with this. Watch on YouTube
17. What Do You Mean? – Justin Bieber
Look I don’t want to cheapen a very, very good pop song and objectify someone who had his privacy violated quite spectacularly this year, but good God he looks hot in the video, doesn’t he?
16. Sax – Fleur East
AKA the song that enabled Fleur to give the season’s best X Factor performance for the second year in a row. Watch on YouTube
15. Sparks – Hilary Duff
All ‘live’ performances of this are verging on barbaric but who cares – THE QUEEN HAS RETURNED.
14. Shine – Years & Years
I really didn’t think this sounded like a Number One single but I was quite happily proven wrong. Watch on YouTube
(Update: OH HANG ON NO I WASN’T, it peaked at No2)
13. Timebomb – Tove Lo
That topline in the verses takes some getting used to, but once you’re in, this is a magnificent track. The video is also very nicely done. Watch on YouTube
12. One Last Time – Ariana Grande
Its message is basically, “I know I was a prick but if we could bang tonight, that would be fab” – ONLY MORE EMOTIONAL. Ariana at her best, and 94x better than Focus. Watch on YouTube
11. Good For You (featuring A$AP Rocky) – Selena Gomez
I love this quote from Justin Tranter (who co-wrote this and several other great songs this year): “[Selena]’s not out there doing a thousand runs and melismas, but her tone and her intent is at the highest level you could ask for.” Sounds wishy-washy but it’s so true: imagine Demi Lovato singing this. It would be catastropic. Good For You was such an unexpected, risky turn for Selena to take, and for the first time she really sounds like she’s in the right lane. Watch on YouTube
10. Your Type – Carly Rae Jepsen
For those who like their devastating, unrequited love set to music you can dance to. P-E-R-F-E-C-T.
09. Hello – Adele
If your song’s going to clock in at just shy of five minutes, it’d better be freaking worth it. Hello is worth it. One of those rare occasions where the most successful thing is also the best thing.
08. Body Talk – Foxes
The fact her second album will probably tank upon its release in early 2016 is unfortunate, because Foxes really has put out some incredible songs this year. Body Talk is her finest moment to date; pairing emotional angst with a toe-tappable beat to create the kind of feeling you only get when pop music is done right.
07. Moments – Tove Lo
“I’M NOT THE FLAWLESS ONE, I’VE NEVER BEEN! BUT AYYYYE HAVE MY MOMENTS, AYYYYE HAVE MY MOMENTS!” Those chorus harmonies may never get old.
06. Mine – Phoebe Ryan
The “I’ll pull it together and fix myself eventually” bit is one of my favourite pop moments of this whole year. It’s easy to take Mine lightly and let it pass you by, but properly soak it in and it’s just completely, heartachingly gorgeous.
05. Cool For The Summer – Demi Lovato
It’s a shame the whole album wasn’t as good as this monumental ball-buster of a banger, but w-h-a-t-a-s-o-n-g. The last minute – and in particular the last 13 seconds – is/are the best of Demi’s entire career. As someone who’s been with her since Don’t Forget, I don’t say that lightly.
04. Black Magic – Little Mix
It’s veeeery risky for a girlband to let two years pass between albums, but Black Magic was the perfect song with which to launch Album 3. Nothing too clever, nothing too tastemaker-pleasing… just a really fucking FUN 182 seconds.
03. Love Myself – Hailee Steinfeld
It’s obviously about wanking but there’s more to it than that: Love Myself, again co-written by Justin Tranter, is a perfect pick-yourself-up #empowerment anthem for those times when Jessie J’s overwrought wailing just won’t cut it (which, admittedly, is all the times).
02. Run Away With Me – Carly Rae Jepsen
I don’t even KNOW how many times I drunk-cried to this over the summer (that’s a lie, it was four. Four times.) Wistful, oddly euphoric, perfect.
01. Style – Taylor Swift
I was initially unsure of whether or not to put this song right at the top purely because, being part of an album that was huge at the tail end of 2014, it almost feels like as if it “happened” well before it was finally serviced as an individual single in February. But Style was incredible then, and it’s incredible now. The chorus, the patient verses, the way it puts a positive spin on a turbulent romance… It can do no wrong.
It feels like Taylor’s popularity has been dented a bit this year: maybe it’s that the world and its media can’t stand it when a young female gets too successful (see also: Jennifer Lawrence), maybe it’s because she has the audacity to be pretty and not thick, or maybe it’s just that someone’s shortcomings are much more glaringly obvious when they’re on such a high pedestal (Lord knows the Nicki Minaj incident was far from her finest moment). But as the writer and singer of the best album (and possibly single) of this whole decade so far, she’s still very much in ~style~ for me.
Oh God, and for what it’s worth this song’s iTunes play count for me is 661, which is an average of 1.6 times a day since I added it. I LIKE IT, basically.