Welcome back to the 101 Biggest Hits of 2016! Today I’ll reveal songs 30 through 21 as we march closer and closer to the end of the countdown. If you missed any previous installments, here’s where you can catch up:
Let’s get started with song #30!
#30: Controlla by Drake
Peak: #16 2016 Weeks on Chart: 26 Points: 1923
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 41
Drake continues to break seemingly every established rule and tenet of chart success. His 2016 mission was to disprove the age-old formula of one single at a time. For decades, the pattern was to release a new single as the current single began to dwindle, in order to maintain a chart presence without affecting the impact of each individual song. For Drake however, he spent the spring and summer of 2016 with no fewer than four songs simultaneously in the Top 40. Despite never being the most known of his tracks on the chart at any given time, “Controlla” easily reached the Top 20 and became one of his remarkable eight entries on this countdown.
#29: Just Like Fire by Pink
Peak: #10 2016 Weeks on Chart: 26 Points: 1924
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 33
Every time you wonder if Pink’s Hot 100 career is dwindling to a close, she always seems to come back and have a big year. Off the top of my head, she has overcome this belief at least three other times (2007, 2010, 2013). This year, a movie gig spurred her comeback, as “Just Like Fire” from Alice Through The Looking Glass became her first Top 10 hit since the aforementioned 2013 campaign. Her duet with Kenny Chesney later in the year indicated that Adult Contemporary has become her lone avenue to hit singles.
#28: Cold Water by Major Lazer f/Justin Bieber & MØ
Peak: #2 2016 Weeks on Chart: 21 Points: 1933
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 25
After “Light It Up” failed to recapture the lightning-in-a-bottle success of “Lean On,” Major Lazer went back to basics this summer, starting with the re-recruitment of Danish singer MØ. After previously working together on “Where Are U Now,” Diplo brought Justin Bieber back with him to Major Lazer, completing a star-studded cast for “Cold Water.” Debuting at #2, it instantly became the trio’s highest-peaking hit to date, and while it likely won’t outlast “Lean On,” it became a satisfyingly massive followup success.
#27: Closer by The Chainsmokers f/Halsey
Peak: #1 (for 12 weeks) 2016 Weeks on Chart: 20 Points: 1978
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 10
Apologies to those who thought that “Closer” would appear higher on this countdown. After all, the unavoidable “Closer” spent a 2016-best 12 weeks at Number One, and there is an existing precedent for such songs finishing atop my rankings (including “Uptown Funk” last year). However, given just 20 weeks to chart in 2016, The Chainsmokers’ smash hit simply did not have enough time to crest the upper threshold of my rankings. As a consolation prize though, “Closer” earned more points in its first 20 chart weeks than any song in Hot 100 history.
#26: Pillowtalk by Zayn
Peak: #1 (for 1 week) 2016 Weeks on Chart: 24 Points: 2097
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 22
When it debuted atop the chart in February, “Pillowtalk” became just the 25th song in the history of the Hot 100 to begin its stay at Number One. Additionally, Zayn took just one week to accomplish something his chaps in One Direction never could, namely achieve a Number One single in America. One last fun fact: the last artist from a disbanded group to hit Number One with their first single? That would be George Harrison, whose “My Sweet Lord” topped the Hot 100 in December 1970.
#25: Broccoli by D.R.A.M. f/Lil Yachty
Peak: #5 2016 Weeks on Chart: 27 Points: 2135
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 34
Another nomination for “most unlikely hit of 2016” goes to D.R.A.M. and his wonderfully wacky “Broccoli.” Its instrumental sounds like something off the Super Nintendo, and the lyrics namecheck such icons of American culture as cutrate phone provider Metro PCS. Somehow, despite (because of?) all these quirks, the song became an instant smash, steadily rocketing into the Top 10 and becoming one of the biggest debut chart efforts for a hip-hop artist ever.
#24: Send My Love (To Your New Lover) by Adele
Peak: #8 2016 Weeks on Chart: 26 Points: 2160
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 26
Adele broke from her longstanding power ballad tradition with the third single off 25. Easily the most uptempo song to date in her catalog of hits, “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” was an instant success, ultimately reaching the Top 10 over the summer. It spent a few more weeks on the chart than “Hello” and nearly caught up on total points, impressive considering it didn’t have the 1,000 point head start “Hello” got with its ten-week stay at Number One.
#23: Too Good by Drake f/Rihanna
Peak: #14 2016 Weeks on Chart: 29 Points: 2161
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 29
Scratching and clawing for chart space with “Controlla” was Drake’s “Too Good,” also off Views and debuting on the chart in the same week. Thanks to some help from Rihanna, “Too Good” was able to peak slightly higher and lasted a few weeks longer. Even more compelling than Drake’s multitude of simultaneous chart hits was the fact that “Too Good” wasn’t even the only Drake/Rihanna pairing in the Top 20 this spring. I doubt you’ll be surprised to learn that “Work” will be seen higher on this countdown.
#22: I Hate U, I Love U by Gnash f/Olivia O’Brien
Peak: #10 2016 Weeks on Chart: 35 Points: 2221
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 38
The most downtempo ballad of the year, “I Hate U, I Love U” ultimately became one of 2016’s biggest sleeper hits. Taking over 20 weeks to reach the Top 10, this maiden chart hit for both Gnash and Olivia O’Brien is still on the Hot 100 as of printing, well into its ninth chart month. Its prospects on the streaming side of the charts were buoyed by a popular remix which bumped the tempo up ever so slightly with subtle tropical undertones.
#21: Treat You Better by Shawn Mendes
Peak: #6 2016 Weeks on Chart: 28 Points: 2289
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 28
Just barely 18 years old, Shawn Mendes is already the owner of two of the biggest hits of the 2010s decade. Following the titanic chart run of “Stitches,” followup effort “Treat You Better” has lagged only slightly behind the giant footsteps of its predecessor. Peaking inside the Top 10, “Treat You Better” is still well entrenched in the Top 40 as the calendar switches over to 2017, and has more than a sporting chance to knock on the door of 40 weeks on the Hot 100.
Tomorrow will be the penultimate edition of the 101 Biggest Hits of 2016, with songs 20 through 11 on the docket!