Welcome back everyone! Today the countdown continues with songs 40-31 of the 101 Biggest Hits of 2015! If this is your first time checking in on the countdown, please read this for the process by which I ranked the songs you are about to see! Let’s pick up where we left off with song #40!
#40: Renegades by X Ambassadors
Peak: #17 2015 Weeks on Chart: 35 Points: 1713
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 54
Qualifying as the year’s biggest sleeper hit, “Renegades” had a very circuitous route to the Top 20. Based on my points system, any song’s “maximum” point value is the number of weeks it spent on the chart times 100, if it had spent every week at #1. X Ambassadors’ first Top 40 hit is the only song on this countdown whose point total was less than half of its maximum value. In short, “Renegades” spent the majority of its chart run under spot #50 on the Hot 100, but rode steadily increasing airplay and universal exposure in a series of Jeep ads to persevere and become a huge hit in its own right.
#39: Bitch Better Have My Money by Rihanna
Peak: #15 2015 Weeks on Chart: 23 Points: 1717
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 48
The 2010s decade continues to see Rihanna pursue an edgier side of pop as she works to shed her once-innocent teenage persona. Her darkest single since the 1-2 punch of “S&M” and “Birthday Cake” in 2011 (you’ll have to confirm your age to watch the video), “Bitch Better Have My Money” earned the same fate as 2013’s “Pour It Up,” which logged an impressive chart run in the shadow of larger hit “Stay.” In this case though, Rihanna’s latest hit actually outperformed “FourFiveSeconds” in these rankings. Her album Anti is still yet to have a firm release date, but I have a good hunch that she’ll be able to continue her impressive career-long streak of hits in 2016.
#38: Lips Are Movin by Meghan Trainor
Peak: #4 2015 Weeks on Chart: 21 Points: 1740
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 22
Here starts a three-song streak of successful 2014 holdovers, singles which chart highly on this countdown for consecutive years. Given the unenviable task of following up the 8-week #1 hit “All About That Bass,” “Lips Are Movin” moved Meghan Trainor squarely out of one-hit wonder territory, giving her a second Top 5 hit in as many tries. At the time of its success, there were only four recorded songs available from her Title EP. All four reached the Hot 100 in some capacity, making Trainor the first artist ever to have 100% of their recorded material chart with at least three songs to their credit.
#37: I’m Not The Only One by Sam Smith
Peak: #5 2015 Weeks on Chart: 22 Points: 1779
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 26
For my money’s worth, I contend that “I’m Not The Only One” is still the best song Sam Smith has recorded thus far in his young career, and its chart legs is a testimony that I might not be alone in this opinion. After reaching its #5 peak in late December, the midtempo ballad held extremely well, lasting well into May. The comparative lack of success of “Lay Me Down” and his James Bond theme “Writing’s On The Wall” makes this his highest entry on the countdown this year.
#36: All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor
Peak: #5 (#1 in 2014) 2015 Weeks on Chart: 24 Points: 1787
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 28
Not content with an eight-week stay at #1 and a Top 30 placement on my 2014 countdown, “All About That Bass” strung together an equally long chart run in 2015. Eventually racking up nearly a full year on the Hot 100, it managed to outpace Trainor’s four other appearances on the 2015 countdown. Those five entries this year are tied for second-most with Taylor Swift, and trailing only the massive year of Drake. Another side note: “All About That Bass” recently became one of 12 music videos in history to register 1 billion views on YouTube.
#35: Somebody by Natalie La Rose f/Jeremih
Peak: #10 2015 Weeks on Chart: 26 Points: 1853
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 41
Less of a sample and more of an interpolation, Dutch singer Natalie La Rose’s “Somebody” took the basic melody of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and gave it the 2015 treatment: modernizing the lyrics and adding a DJ Mustard-esque beat. The debut single surprisingly made it all the way to the Top 10 mainly on the strength of radio airplay, and gave us yet another breakout 2015 artist who sadly is unlikely to ever replicate the same level of success in future years.
#34: Elastic Heart by Sia
Peak: #17 2015 Weeks on Chart: 30 Points: 1854
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 52
Originally recorded as a duet between Sia and The Weeknd in 2013 for the Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack, “Elastic Heart” was re-recorded for one voice and was chosen as the follow-up single to “Chandelier.” Pairing “Chandelier” music video star Maddie Ziegler with Shia LaBeouf, the video for “Elastic Heart” was controversial, much-discussed, and bizarre enough to make its song a more-than-adequate continuation of Sia’s success. Radio caught on to “Elastic Heart” much later than the music video took hold, enabling it to spend an impressive 30 weeks on the Hot 100.
#33: Hey Mama by David Guetta f/Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha & AfroJack
Peak: #8 2015 Weeks on Chart: 24 Points: 1907
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 31
To quote Obi-Wan Kenobi (more or less), “David Guetta: Now that’s a name I’ve not heard in a long time, a long time.” Three years ago to be exact, when “Titanium” became his third consecutive Top 10 hit and Guetta was the face of popular dance music. It just goes to show you how fleeting success is in his genre, but as the lead single from Listen, “Hey Mama” returned the Frenchman to the Top 10 and also helped Dutch DJ AfroJack reach the region for the first time since he produced Pitbull’s “Give Me Everything” in 2011.
#32: Time Of Our Lives by Pitbull & Ne-Yo
Peak: #9 2015 Weeks on Chart: 26 Points: 1922
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 39
Speaking of “Give Me Everything,” Ne-Yo only had one Top 40 hit between his featured role in Pitbull’s biggest career hit and 2015. But out of nowhere, Ne-Yo had two Top 20 visits this year, between the aforementioned “She Knows” and his latest team-up with Pitbull. Thematically similar to “Give Me Everything,” “Time Of Our Lives” promoted Ne-Yo to a lead artist role and extended Pitbull’s streak of years appearing on this countdown to an impressive seven. Other than their two hits together, the pair has an additional combined total of 19 Top 10 hits between them.
#31: Bad Blood by Taylor Swift f/Kendrick Lamar
Peak: #1 (for 1 week) 2015 Weeks on Chart: 24 Points: 1967
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 15
The 1989 album version of “Bad Blood” spent one week at #80 on the Hot 100 in 2014 concurrent to the album’s robust first-week sales. Nearly six months later, a vastly-retooled version of the song featuring Kendrick Lamar and a music video with a who’s who of celebrity cameos were released to immediate commercial success. Within two weeks of re-entering the Hot 100, it went to #1, a spot it would only claim for one week. Despite a relatively short chart run for a #1 hit, “Bad Blood” nonetheless was Swift’s third chart-topper from 1989 and further cemented her finalized transition from country to pure pop.
A big thank you again to everybody for reading the latest installment in the 101 Biggest Hits of 2015! We’re now in the homestretch of the countdown, so check back tomorrow for songs 30-21, as we march ever closer in our quest to uncover the songs that defined this past year!