Welcome back to the 101 Biggest Hits of 2016! We’re halfway through the countdown, so today’s post will cover songs 50 through 41. If you missed any previous installments, here’s where you can catch up:
Let’s get started with song #50!
#50: For Free by DJ Khaled f/Drake
Peak: #13 2016 Weeks on Chart: 20 Points: 1515
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 59
Despite being a nearly omnipresent figure in pop culture, most of DJ Khaled’s recent forays on the Hot 100 have failed to become massive hits. That changed in 2016 when several of his Major Key singles became Top 40 hits. The most successful of these was the Drake-featuring “For Free,” which became DJ Khaled’s first appearance in my year-end rankings since 2011’s “I’m On One,” still his only Top 10 hit to date.
#49: Don’t Mind by Kent Jones
Peak: #8 2016 Weeks on Chart: 20 Points: 1516
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 48
One of 2016’s most delightfully bizarre Top 10 hits was Kent Jones’ viral “Don’t Mind.” Thematically similar to Pitbull’s “International Love,” the song describes the singer’s lack of racial favoritism when it comes to beautiful women. Interestingly, “Don’t Mind”‘s pre-chorus is a lyrical interpolation of Barry White’s 1994 (yes, 1994) Top 20 hit “Practice What You Preach,” making it by far the most unlikely sample of 2016.
#48: Jumpman by Drake & Future
Peak: #12 2016 Weeks on Chart: 20 Points: 1574
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 37
Despite never reaching the Top 10, “Jumpman” managed to impressively reach this year’s countdown after also making an appearance last year. A viral Beats commercial featuring Taylor Swift wiping out on a treadmill while singing the song inspired a revival in its popularity, helping “Jumpman” eclipse 30 weeks on the Hot 100.
#47: 2 Phones by Kevin Gates
Peak: #17 2016 Weeks on Chart: 25 Points: 1617
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 57
Kevin Gates pulled off a difficult trick in 2016, as both of his huge hits shared chart space during their simultaneous runs. Although “Really Really” peaked far lower than “2 Phones,” neither song really suffered from competing with themselves. Both songs spent over 6 months on the chart, but “2 Phones” became a signature hit for Gates, reaching the Top 20 and helping his debut studio album Islah reach #2 on the Billboard albums chart.
#46: Into You by Ariana Grande
Peak: #13 2016 Weeks on Chart: 24 Points: 1629
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 51
The only Dangerous Woman single to not reach the Top 10 was actually Ariana Grande’s longest-lasting Hot 100 hit this year. “Into You” was the most uptempo of her 2016 hits and seemed poised to outperform the album’s title track. However, Ariana sabotaged herself with the immediate success of “Side To Side,” which shot into the Top 10 right as “Into You” reached its #13 peak, inadvertently starting its chart decline.
#45: We Don’t Talk Anymore by Charlie Puth f/Selena Gomez
Peak: #9 2016 Weeks on Chart: 24 Points: 1646
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 50
Fresh off his breakthrough featured success on Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again,” Charlie Puth found his niche on adult contemporary radio. After “Marvin Gaye” reached the Top 40 last fall, Puth outperformed the track with each of his two subsequent singles. “One Call Away” is higher up the countdown, and followup “We Don’t Talk Anymore” became his first Top 10 hit as lead artist. Pairing up with Selena Gomez, the airy duet became a radio staple throughout the late summer and early fall months.
#44: H.O.L.Y. by Florida Georgia Line
Peak: #14 2016 Weeks on Chart: 22 Points: 1661
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 49
Now five years into their coup on modern country music, Florida Georgia Line shows no sign of slowing down. With their ballad “H.O.L.Y.”, the duo has now registered the highest-ranking country song on my countdown in three of the last four years. In a chart era where it’s harder and harder for country songs to become crossover hits, Florida Georgia Line is batting .750, as nine of their twelve singles to date have cracked the Top 40.
#43: Exchange by Bryson Tiller
Peak: #26 2016 Weeks on Chart: 27 Points: 1698
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 53
Bryson Tiller was this year’s breakout hip-hop artist with his blend of rap and R&B sensibilities. Spurred by the massive success of his first two singles, Tiller won both Best New Artist and Best R&B Artist at the 2016 BET Awards. “Exchange” was unable to match the peak position of debut single “Don’t,” but both songs spent over 30 weeks on the Hot 100, making for an impressive 1-2 debut punch.
#42: Never Forget You by Zara Larsson & MNEK
Peak: #13 2016 Weeks on Chart: 23 Points: 1702
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 46
Swedish teen Zara Larsson became one of the year’s biggest rising stars, gracing the Hot 100 with a trio of hits. “Never Forget You” became a sleeper hit this summer, striking a balance between the pop and EDM trends which dominated 2016. The success of “Never Forget You” led to the subsequent charting of “Lush Life” (which was released several months prior worldwide) and “Ain’t My Fault,” each of which became minor hits stateside.
#41: Hello by Adele
Peak: #1 (for 10 weeks) 2016 Weeks on Chart: 19 Points: 1714
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 7
Here stands one of the largest discrepancies ever between Billboard and my own rankings, due in part to two compounding factors. Firstly, Billboard began its 2016 analysis a full five weeks before I began mine, and “Hello” was at Number One for all five of those weeks. Additionally, Billboard values peak position more highly than I do, so my unweighted point system will always undercut Billboard’s ranking of chart-toppers. It might seem sacrilegious to have one of the year’s seminal hits so low on these rankings but there are two simple truths. Seven of its ten weeks at Number One came in 2015, and its descent down the chart was notably swifter than any of Adele’s previous hits. The influx of Prince songs on the chart following his passing knocked “Hello” from the Hot 100 entirely after just 26 total charting weeks, nearly 20 weeks fewer than any of Adele’s three previous Number One hits.
Only 40 songs remain on the 101 Biggest Hits of 2016, so be sure to check back tomorrow as I start chipping away at this final push on the countdown!