As always, all of the songs featured on the list were released as a single this year. I’ve tried to keep them all as “official” as possible, although the idea of the traditional “single” is rapidly becoming a grey area in music — a conversation for another time.
Check out the full list below, and then listen to the Spotify playlist at the very end to hear all 50 singles. (Well, minus a few — some songs still haven’t hit Spotify stateside.)
And if you haven’t yet, check out the Top 20 Albums of 2013.
50. Selena Gomez, “Slow Down”
Princess Gomez practices mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and it’s so amez-zing.
49. Katy Perry, “Roar”
A touching homage to Sara Bareilles.
48. Duke Dumont, “Need U (100%)”
One of the best examples of early ’90’s revivalism done right.
47. Lady Gaga, “Applause”
46. Charli XCX, “SuperLove”
The goth-pop princess delights us with an uncharacteristically bouncy slice of ear candy.
45. Little Mix, “Move”
The UK’s leading girl group on the rise makes a convincing case for superstardom.
44. Rihanna, “Stay (feat. Mikky Ekko)”
#PhuckYoEDM: RiRi defies radio standards and makes slow burn balladry happen in early 2013.
43. Pet Shop Boys, “Thursday (feat. Example)”
The Pet Shop Boys remain cool, nearly thirty years later.
42. Röyksopp, “Running To The Sea (feat. Susanne Sundfør)”
Chilly, Scandinavian, sublime.
41. Chelsea Lankes, “Ghost”
A pop newcomer’s haunting, heartbreaking introduction to the scene.
40. Avril Lavigne, “Rock N Roll”
She’s still the motherfuckin’ princess.
39. Rihanna, “What Now”
“The more I swear I’m happy, the more that I’m feeling alone.”
38. Kelly Rowland, “Kisses Down Low”
We arched our backs all year long. #BuyKissesDownLowOniTunes
37. Say Lou Lou, “Better In The Dark”
Lush, breathy synth-pop from next year’s most promising sister act.
36. Bright Light, Bright Light, “Moves”
Tender, pulsating heartbreak.
35. Cassadee Pope, “Wasting All These Tears”
At last, a Voice winner with a song worthy of the title.
34. AlunaGeorge, “Attracting Flies”
Shade sounds sweet across a bubbly dance beat.
33. Miley Cyrus, “We Can’t Stop”
Miley gets turnt on sizzurp, twerks and ignites outrage across the entire world.
32. Lorde, “Team”
Lorde invites misfits and rebels to join her club — consider it to the sonically superior sequel to “Royals.”
31. The Weeknd, “Belong To The World”
Only The Weeknd could make an ode to a stripper into a moody, cinematic masterpiece.
30. Demi Lovato, “Heart Attack”
Dr. Demi gets our hearts racing with a surge of girly power-pop flirtation.
29. Ciara, “I’m Out (feat. Nicki Minaj)”
CiCi and Nicki fight Instagram haters and encourage sisterhood on a new ladies’ anthem for the modern age.
28. Kylie Minogue, “Skirt”
Kylie makes the wait a little easier with a sexy dance floor tease.
27. Britney Spears, “Perfume”
Britney grabs her Circus Fantasy and marks her territory with one of her most earnestly crooned ballad in years.
26. Lady Gaga, “Do What U Want (feat. R. Kelly)”
25. Girls’ Generation, “I Got A Boy”
The reigning K-pop Kweens stay forward-thinking with a giddy, genre-defying pop smash.
24. Iggy Azelea, “Work”
Iggy’s got the sheeeeet to prove why she’s the industry’s most exciting new female rapper.
23. Selena Gomez, “Come & Get It”
Selena dabbles in Eastern influences, gets sexy and pisses off Lorde while doing so.
22. Kelly Clarkson, “Underneath The Tree”
Kellegend provides us with the best holiday tune since “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”
21. Zendaya, “Replay”
The next teen queen crashes the party with a Cassie-like electro-R&B smash.
20. Katy B, “5 AM”
Bleary-eyed late night depression on the dance floor.
19. John Newman, “Losing Sleep”
The male answer to Adele leaves us with a haunting plea.
18. CHVRCHES, “The Mother We Share”
Synth-pop perfection from start to finish.
17. Tegan & Sara, “I Was A Fool”
No one does a break-up quite like Tegan & Sara.
16. Drake, “Hold On, We’re Going Home”
Sweet, smooth seduction — and a hilarious meme.
15. Sevyn Streeter, “It Won’t Stop”
The summer’s smoothest R&B groove.
14. The Saturdays, “Disco Love”
I mean, they reference “…Baby One More Time.”
13. The Dolls, “Summer Of ’93”
Talk about summertime sadness.
12. Ciara, “Body Party”
CiCi gets freaky in the record booth with Future. (He reads!)
11. Betty Who, “Somebody Loves You”
Big time euphoria from pop’s next big thing.