Ryan Milowicki

101 Biggest Hits of 2016! #10-1


Welcome back to the 101 Biggest Hits of 2016! The last week and a half has all boiled down to this, the final ten songs of the countdown! Here are links to all previous installments, in case you’ve missed any:

There are sure to be some surprises, so let’s get started with song #10!

#10: Cake By The Ocean by DNCE
Peak: #9       2016 Weeks on Chart: 38         Points: 2901
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 18

Remember how random it was when Nick Jonas had his big comeback in 2014? Well, multiply that feeling by two and you might have an approximation of this year’s “Cake By The Ocean” phenomenon. On its steady rise to the Top 10, DNCE’s debut single wound up outscoring any song in Nick’s or the Jonas Brothers’ discography. By virtue of his time with his brothers as well as his solo appearance on the Camp Rock soundtrack, Joe Jonas joined Paul McCartney (The Beatles, Wings) and Paul Carrack (Ace, Mike + The Mechanics) as the only artists in Hot 100 history to reach the Top 10 as a solo act and with two other groups.

#9: I Took A Pill In Ibiza by Mike Posner
Peak: #4      2016 Weeks on Chart: 37         Points: 2935
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 15

Over 5 years since his last appearance to the Top 40, Mike Posner scored 2016’s most unlikely hit with “I Took A Pill In Ibiza.” His original recording of the song is an acoustic ballad, far too slow for commercial success. However, thanks to an infectious remix-ex-machina from Norwegian producers Seeb, “I Took A Pill In Ibiza” became a massive hit, setting new career highs for Posner in both peak position, weeks on the Hot 100, and year-end ranking. The song was also nominated for Song of the Year at the upcoming 2017 Grammy Awards, cementing Posner’s whirlwind of a comeback.

#8: Work by Rihanna f/Drake
Peak: #1 (for 9 weeks)     2016 Weeks on Chart: 36     Points: 3058
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 4

Old friends Rihanna and Drake scored two more hits by pairing up this year. While “Too Good” was unable to reach the Top 10, the ubiquitous “Work” spent a full two months atop the Hot 100. Impressively, “Work” is only half of both artists’ representation in the Top 10 of my countdown. The last time an artist had two songs in my year-end Top 10 was 2013, when Macklemore & Ryan Lewis did so with “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us.” Much rarer is two artists doing so in the same year, which hasn’t happened since 2009, when Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift each turned the trick.

#7: Panda by Desiigner
Peak: #1 (for 2 weeks)        2016 Weeks on Chart: 40         Points: 3132
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 6

Born in 1997, Desiigner (née Sidney Selby) became the most recently-born owner of a Hot 100 Number One single, surpassing Lorde. With a hook featured in Kanye West’s “Pt. 2,” “Panda” became a viral sensation, rocketing to the top of the charts in remarkable fashion for a debut effort. Despite “I got broads in Atlanta” becoming the year’s most quotable rap line, Desiigner was snubbed when the nominees for the Best New Artist Grammy award were announced.

#6: One Dance by Drake f/WizKid & Kyla
Peak: #1 (for 10 weeks)      2016 Weeks on Chart: 36        Points: 3193
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 3

When “Hotline Bling” stalled at #2 on the charts this winter, there was plenty of speculation as to whether Drake had blown his best chance of hitting Number One when he delayed posting the viral video to YouTube. Any thoughts of such a fate quickly dissipated with the release of “One Dance.” Spending ten weeks at the summit, Drake’s Latin-infused hit checked off yet another milestone for the Canadian as he continues to rewrite the record books.

#5: Love Yourself by Justin Bieber
Peak: #1 (for 2 weeks)       2016 Weeks on Chart: 37      Points: 3198
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 1

Thanks in part to its spending the entirety of December in the Top Five, Billboard declared “Love Yourself” the biggest hit of 2016. It certainly was one of the most unavoidable songs of the year and spent over 25 weeks this year atop my rankings, but ultimately Bieber’s third consecutive Number One hit failed to spend enough weeks on the chart to win my countdown. At #5, this is the lowest I’ve placed a Billboard year-end Number One since I ranked Kesha’s “Tik Tok” #10 in 2010.

#4: Cheap Thrills by Sia f/Sean Paul
Peak: #1 (for 4 weeks)     2016 Weeks on Chart: 44     Points: 3244
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 11

If “most unlikely hit of 2016” extends to featured artists, who had Sean Paul hitting Number One when this year began? The mid-2000s icon hadn’t even hit the Top 10 since the beginning of 2010 (featured on Jay Sean’s “Do You Remember”), but the tropical revival in pop music suddenly made Sean Paul a coveted commodity again. After several massive hits, Sia finally earned her first Number One single with “Cheap Thrills,” making her (at 41 years old) the oldest artist to earn their first chart-topper since Carlos Santana (52) changed the world forever with “Smooth” in 1999.

#3: Needed Me by Rihanna
Peak: #7          2016 Weeks on Chart: 45         Points: 3259
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 13

“Needed Me” serves as the best representation of the difference between my chart analysis methods compared to those of Billboard. Though Rihanna’s DJ Mustard production was much less omnipresent than “Work,” it spent two more months on the chart. And as you’ve no doubt learned, consistency and longevity are the hallmarks of my research. No song spent more weeks on the Hot 100 in 2016 than “Needed Me,” and its reward is Rihanna’s highest-ever placement on my year-end rankings. It’s also Rihanna’s 39th entry in my countdowns since her first appearance in 2005 with “Pon De Replay,” moving her out of a tie with Drake and Lil Wayne for the most all-time.

#2: Stressed Out by Twenty One Pilots
Peak: #2        2016 Weeks on Chart: 40         Points: 3376
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 5

Twenty One Pilots very nearly won the coveted title of Biggest Hit of 2016. Their breakout hit “Stressed Out” passed “Love Yourself” in Week 38 of my analysis and held onto the top spot for 12 weeks. There is no fate crueler in my research than losing the Number One spot in December, but such was the fate of “Stressed Out.” It seems utterly poetic that in a year defined by successful duos, Twenty One Pilots were nudged out by the only duo that could claim to challenge their level of success this year…

#1: Don’t Let Me Down by The Chainsmokers f/Daya
Peak: #3      2016 Weeks on Chart: 44       Points: 3595
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 8

“Don’t Let Me Down” is the biggest hit of 2016. This is bound to surprise many people, as many wouldn’t even consider it the biggest Chainsmokers hit of the year. Indeed, “Closer” has a good shot at eventually surpassing the points total of “Don’t Let Me Down” as it works through the second half of its run. But with its February release date, “Don’t Let Me Down” was perfectly poised to take advantage of the entirety of the 2016 calendar.

Billboard disagreed with me that a song peaking at #3 could be the year-end champion, and ranked “Don’t Let Me Down” 8th in their own rankings. That’s the lowest Billboard has placed my year-end winner since 1999, when 702’s “Where My Girls At?” checked in at #11 on Billboard’s rankings. While the song that finished Number One might be surprising, it’s no shock at all that 2016 belonged to The Chainsmokers.


With that, the 101 Biggest Hits of 2016 have come to a close! Special congratulations go out to Daya, who at 18 years old already has her first year-end title. For the 59th straight year my countdown had a first-time winner, as no artist has ever won multiple titles. Will that change next year? The only way to find out is to continue following the Hot 100, and you can bet that I’ll have the answers waiting for you. Thanks to everyone for reading this year’s installment of the 101 Biggest Hits countdown, and here’s to an equally interesting 2017!


101 Biggest Hits of 2016! #20-11

Welcome back to the 101 Biggest Hits of 2016! In today’s penultimate edition of the countdown, songs 20 through 11 will be revealed. Here are links to all previous installments, in case you’ve missed any:

Let’s get started with song #20!

#20: Low Life by Future f/The Weeknd
Peak: #18       2016 Weeks on Chart: 35         Points: 2301
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 30

Arguably the hit with the least mainstream crossover potential this year, Future’s ode to nights of debauchery put together one of 2016’s longest chart runs. “Low Life” granted Future his highest countdown ranking to date and gave The Weeknd his final hit with his trademark hairdo. Reaching just #18 on the Hot 100, it became the lowest-peaking song to reach my year-end Top 20 since the #24-peaking “Haven’t Met You Yet” by Michael Buble checked in as the 17th-biggest hit of 2010.

#19: Heathens by Twenty One Pilots
Peak: #2      2016 Weeks on Chart: 26         Points: 2410
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 21

You know that you had a good year when your lowest of three countdown entries checks in at #19. The fellas from Twenty One Pilots were fortunate enough to score the lead single from the Suicide Squad soundtrack, and “Heathens” quickly matched their career-high peak at #2 (same as “Stressed Out”).

#18: Me, Myself & I by G-Eazy & Bebe Rexha
Peak: #7       2016 Weeks on Chart: 31       Points: 2501
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 19

After a slew of bottom-dwelling chart hits last year, G-Eazy finally hit it big in 2016 with “Me, Myself & I.” It can easily be argued that the Bebe Rexha hook, not G-Eazy’s verses, was the catalyst leading to its run to the Top 10, as the singer earned her second Top 10 credit to date (following last year’s “Hey Mama” by David Guetta). The fact that “Me, Myself & I” was featured on the most recent Kidz Bop album indicates that this was about as family-friendly as a rap song gets.

#17: Ride by Twenty One Pilots
Peak: #5        2016 Weeks on Chart: 39         Points: 2762
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 20

The Columbus duo was more than able to build off their breakthrough “Stressed Out” success with the followup “Ride.” Its nine-month chart run featured a slow and steady climb into the Top 10 before becoming Twenty One Pilots’ second consecutive Top 5 hit. Their 2016 success, paired with the similar year enjoyed by The Chainsmokers, showed that this year belonged to the duos.

#16: My House by Flo Rida
Peak: #4           2016 Weeks on Chart: 34        Points: 2770
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 14

Flo Rida continues to prove his reputation as an omnipresent figure on the Hot 100. His rate of output has slowed since his rise to stardom in 2008, but he is still more than good for at least one transcedent hit a year. This year, that honor belonged to “My House,” which quickly worked its way into the house playlist of every stadium and ballpark in the country. In a genre where most artists split their time between solo efforts and featured credits, every single one of Flo Rida’s 12 countdown entries to date have listed him as the lead artist.

#15: Can’t Stop The Feeling! by Justin Timberlake
Peak: #1 (for 1 week)       2016 Weeks on Chart: 32      Points: 2825
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 9

As successful as Justin Timberlake’s career has been in every facet of entertainment, it’s hard to believe that he entered 2016 nine years removed from his last Number One hit (a featured credit on Timbaland’s “Give It To Me” in April of 2007). But in typical Timberlake mastermind fashion, he released “Can’t Stop The Feeling” off the Trolls soundtrack a full six months before the release of the film. It debuted at Number One with ease, enjoyed a lengthy chart run, and even received a healthy bump when Trolls hit theaters in November. Like Pharrell’s “Happy,” an Oscar nomination seems to loom in Timberlake’s near future.

#14: Sorry by Justin Bieber
Peak: #1 (for 3 weeks)     2016 Weeks on Chart: 35     Points: 2834
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 2

After finally earning his first chart-topper with “What Do You Mean?”, Justin Bieber more than made up for lost time with a massive 2016. He quickly earned his second Number One hit with “Sorry,” which spent two months in the runner-up position before finally reaching the top. Since its run in the Top Five began in December, Billboard gave “Sorry” a healthy boost in its rankings, listing Bieber’s hit as the second-biggest hit of 2016. A 12-point disparity this high in the countdown is certainly rare, but the differences are going to continue as we edge closer to the top.

#13: 7 Years by Lukas Graham
Peak: #2          2016 Weeks on Chart: 36         Points: 2835
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 12

My favorite trivia tidbit about the 2016 Hot 100 is that two acts from Denmark reached #2 on the chart this year. Besides the aforementioned MØ’s featured credit on Major Lazer’s “Cold Water,” Danish band Lukas Graham scored their first US hit with “7 Years.” The midtempo ballad about growing older narrowly missed out on topping the charts, but the track received the coveted double nomination for Record and Song of the Year at the 2017 Grammy Awards.

#12: Work From Home by Fifth Harmony f/Ty Dolla Sign
Peak: #4        2016 Weeks on Chart: 34         Points: 2838
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 16

After the massive success of “Worth It” last year, Fifth Harmony took things one step further with “Work From Home.” One of two hits this year to feature a chorus with multiple “Work”s strung together, “Work From Home” became the quintet’s first Top 10 single, spending several months just a hair behind Rihanna’s similarly-titled effort. Now that Camila Cabello has left the group (and earned two Top 20 hits on her own), it’s unclear whether the group has another big hit in their future.

#11: This Is What You Came For by Calvin Harris f/Rihanna
Peak: #3      2016 Weeks on Chart: 32       Points: 2851
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 17

In 2011, Rihanna and Calvin Harris ushered in the era of EDM dominance on the pop charts when their collaboration “We Found Love” spent 10 weeks atop the chart. The fabric of pop music has changed greatly since the pair first teamed up, but they reunited this year to bring listeners “This Is What You Came For.” It wasn’t as revolutionary as the first time you heard “We Found Love,” but the similarly bouncy track became a massive hit this summer. And by virtue of Harris and Rihanna switching lead and featured roles, “This Is What You Came For” became Calvin Harris’ highest-peaking Hot 100 hit as lead artist.


The countdown comes to a close tomorrow, as the ten biggest hits of 2016 are revealed! If you’ve already seen Billboard’s year-end chart, I can assure you that there are some major differences in how the end of the list plays out!

Until then,


101 Biggest Hits of 2016! #30-21

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!

Until then,


101 Biggest Hits of 2016! #40-31

Welcome back to the 101 Biggest Hits of 2016! Today I’ll reveal songs 40 through 31 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 #40!

#40: Dangerous Woman by Ariana Grande
Peak: #8       2016 Weeks on Chart: 21         Points: 1728
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 36

Ariana Grande inked her name in Hot 100 history when lead single “Dangerous Woman” debuted at #10 this spring. “Dangerous Woman” became her third straight lead single to debut inside the Top 10, joining 2013’s “The Way” and 2014’s “Problem.” No other artist in the history of the Hot 100 has ever turned that trick with three straight albums. The achievement sparked a fruitful chart run for not just “Dangerous Woman,” but for the subsequent singles as well.

#39: One Call Away by Charlie Puth
Peak: #12      2016 Weeks on Chart: 24         Points: 1737
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 43

Released late in 2015, “One Call Away” became a staple of adult contemporary radio throughout the year. Furthermore, it proved that Charlie Puth was in fact capable of carrying a hit all by himself, following successful pairings with Wiz Khalifa and Meghan Trainor. He dipped back into the duet well on “We Don’t Talk Anymore” and “Nothing But Trouble,” but successfully entrenched himself in the lexicon of contemporary pop stars.

#38: Oui by Jeremih
Peak: #19       2016 Weeks on Chart: 27       Points: 1739
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 55

It seems like Jeremih is good for a massive solo hit once every two or three years. After his breakout “Birthday Sex” in 2009, we had to wait two years for the Top 5 hit “Down On Me” in 2011. That was followed three years later by 2014’s Top 10 smash “Don’t Tell ‘Em.” 2016 brought “Oui,” a slow-burn R&B hit centered around a clever bit of wordplay (“There’s no we [oui] without you [U] and I”). While it didn’t reach the Top 10 like the aforementioned hits, “Oui” spent over six months on the chart and actually outlasted and outscored “Birthday Sex.”

#37: Gold by Kiiara
Peak: #13            2016 Weeks on Chart: 27         Points: 1741
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 52

One of 44 newcomers to the countdown this year, Kiiara blended EDM and trap on her debut single “Gold.” Released in the summer of 2015, it earned its first mainstream exposure when it was selected as the featured song in an ad for the Apple Watch. It eventually caught on and became a huge sleeper hit, peaking at #13 nearly 18 months after its initial release.

#36: Don’t by Bryson Tiller
Peak: #13          2016 Weeks on Chart: 23        Points: 1742
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 35

As mentioned in the blurb about his other entry “Exchange,” Bryson Tiller was the breakout star in the hip-hop and R&B genres this year, winning both Best New Artist and Best R&B Artist at the 2016 BET Awards. “Don’t” knocked on the door of the Top 10 throughout the entire winter and maintained its momentum even with “Exchange” enjoying a similarly successful chart run.

#35: Let Me Love You by DJ Snake f/Justin Bieber
Peak: #4       2016 Weeks on Chart: 19      Points: 1767
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 47

My initial appraisal of DJ Snake as a novelty act following the breakout of “Turn Down For What” in 2014 has been proven utterly false. In addition to logging his fifth countdown entry with “Let Me Love You,” DJ Snake also earned a Top 10 for the third consecutive year, including his work with Major Lazer on “Lean On.” Interestingly enough, Justin Bieber featured on both hits this year for DJ Snake and Major Lazer, helping swell the young Canadian’s number of appearances on the countdown this year to an impressive five.

#34: Unsteady by X Ambassadors
Peak: #20     2016 Weeks on Chart: 31     Points: 1819
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 67

If you thought “Renegades” was destined to be X Ambassadors’ only big hit, the band made 2016 their mission to prove you wrong. In addition to their appearance on the Suicide Squad revue “Sucker For Pain,” X Ambassadors reached the Top 20 for a second time with “Unsteady.” Featured on the soundtrack to the film Me Before You, the ballad worked its way up the charts extremely gradually, taking over six months to reach its peak. This slow and steady chart run actually led to “Unsteady” outperforming “Renegades” in both total points and countdown ranking.

#33: Roses by The Chainsmokers f/Rozes
Peak: #6            2016 Weeks on Chart: 23         Points: 1832
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 27

When “Roses” began its chart run in late 2015, I was more amused than anything. “Good for them,” I thought of the duo then best-known for novelty hit “#SELFIE.” Little did I know that The Chainsmokers were on their way to becoming the most dominant act of 2016. In rare fashion, each subsequent Chainsmokers single this year peaked higher than its predecessor, with the #6 peak of “Roses” being usurped by the #3 peak of “Don’t Let Me Down” and eventual chart-topper “Closer.”

#31 (tie): Let It Go by James Bay
Peak: #16        2016 Weeks on Chart: 34         Points: 1880
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 44

The longest path to hit status this year belonged to James Bay’s “Let It Go.” Initially released in September 2014, the ballad enjoyed international success in 2015, reaching the Top 10 in the U.K., Australia and New Zealand. 15 months later it began its own chart run stateside, initiating a slow rise into the Top 20. Aided by consistent adult contemporary radio airplay, “Let It Go” remained inside the Top 40 for several months.

#31 (tie): Stitches by Shawn Mendes
Peak: #6 (#4 in 2015)      2016 Weeks on Chart: 23       Points: 1880
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 23

The biggest Vine crossover star to date, Shawn Mendes cemented his Hot 100 star status with a massively successful 2016. “Stitches” turned the exceedingly rare trick of finishing in my year-end Top 50 in back-to-back years as it put the finishing touches on a full 52-week run, virtually the longest stay permitted by current chart rules. Mendes has logged three additional Top 40 hits since “Stitches,” including one which you’ll see tomorrow, but none of them have come close to reaching its lofty heights.


Three segments remain in the 101 Biggest Hits of 2016, so I’ll see you back tomorrow for the revealing of songs 30 through 21!

Until then,


101 Biggest Hits of 2016! #70-61


Welcome back to the 101 Biggest Hits of 2016! On today’s menu, I will reveal songs 70 through 61 on the countdown. If you missed any previous installment, here’s where you can catch up:

Let’s get things started with song #70!

#70: Die A Happy Man by Thomas Rhett
Peak: #21       2016 Weeks on Chart: 18         Points: 1223
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 64

One of the biggest country hits of the decade by an artist not named Florida Georgia Line, “Die A Happy Man” cemented Thomas Rhett as one of country’s brightest stars. Even with its first two chart months were logged at the end of 2015, “Die A Happy Man” gave Rhett his highest-ever appearance on my countdown.

#69: Lost Boy by Ruth B
Peak: #24      2016 Weeks on Chart: 22         Points: 1229
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 76

“Lost Boy” has one of the most bizarre and unlikely paths to becoming a hit in recent memory. It began as a six-second Vine inspired by ABC Disney drama Once Upon A Time in November 2014, consisting simply of Ruth B singing what would become the first line of its chorus. Inspired by positive fan reaction, she turned the Vine into a full-length song. It took nearly a year from its release to reach the Hot 100, then embarked on a lengthy road to reaching the Top 40 and becoming one of the biggest sleeper hits of the year. I should probably time capsule this paragraph and revisit it ten years from now, I imagine it will serve as a perfect reminder of something that reeks of 2016.

#68: Here by Alessia Cara
Peak: #5       2016 Weeks on Chart: 15       Points: 1233
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 39

I delved into Alessia Cara’s busy 2016 in the entry for “Scars To Your Beautiful,” but all of her 2016 success traces back directly to “Here.” It reached its #5 peak in January after over 20 weeks on the Hot 100, making it one of the longest ascents of the year. The success of “Here” helped  Cara’s debut album Know-It-All reach the Top 10 on Billboard’s albums chart.

#67: Sorry by Beyoncé
Peak: #11            2016 Weeks on Chart: 20         Points: 1239
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 71

Beyoncé’s Lemonade project became one of four albums this year to see all of its tracks reach the Hot 100 (the others being The Weeknd’s Starboy, Drake’s Views, and J. Cole’s 4 Your Eyez Only). However, most of the Lemonade songs failed to spend more than three or four weeks on the chart. “Sorry” debuted at its peak of #11, trailing only “Formation” at #10, but it was able to sustain a 20-week run on the Hot 100 despite not improving upon its lofty debut.

#66: Starboy by The Weeknd f/Daft Punk
Peak: #2            2016 Weeks on Chart: 13         Points: 1245
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 58

Speaking of Starboy, the title track to The Weeknd’s album arrived on the Hot 100 two months before the album officially launched. In recruiting Daft Punk to lend a hand, “Starboy” became the duo’s second hit to peak at #2 in the past four years, following their lead credit on 2013’s “Get Lucky.” At the time of printing, “Starboy” still sits in the runner-up position, so there’s still a sporting chance for The Weeknd to earn his third Number One hit, and for the French pair to score their first chart-topper nearly 20 years after first appearing on the Hot 100 with “Around The World.”

#65: Same Old Love by Selena Gomez
Peak: #5       2016 Weeks on Chart: 15      Points: 1246
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 40

As “Same Old Love” reached its #5 peak in January, Selena Gomez got her 2016 off and running similar to her enormously successful 2015 campaign. She had two more Top 40 hits off Revival in 2016 with “Hands To Myself” and “Kill Em With Kindness,” both of which were featured in frequently-seen commercials. Her duet with Charlie Puth also hit it big this year, but more on that when it arrives on the countdown.

#64: What Do You Mean? by Justin Bieber
Peak: #5 (#1 in 2015)     2016 Weeks on Chart: 16     Points: 1285
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 31

One would have assumed that Justin Bieber’s first career Number One hit would have more lasting fanfare. In somewhat of an embarrassment of riches, “What Do You Mean?” was quickly overshadowed in Bieber’s catalog by “Sorry” and “Love Yourself.” Nonetheless, it spent a solid four months finishing up its run in 2016 and initiating Bieber’s momentous year on the chart.

#63: Hymn For The Weekend by Coldplay
Peak: #25            2016 Weeks on Chart: 23         Points: 1299
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 73

One of 2016’s unsung heroes is the Norwegian production duo Seeb. They shot to recognition with their remix of Mike Posner’s “I Took A Pill In Ibiza,” they brought new life to Coldplay’s “Hymn For The Weekend.” Despite not getting the amount of Super Bowl-aided buzz as previous single “Adventure Of A Lifetime,” it actually spent more time on the Hot 100, due in no small part to the dancefloor-ready remix.

#62: Down In The DM by Yo Gotti f/Nicki Minaj
Peak: #13            2016 Weeks on Chart: 19         Points: 1319
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 69

Going right next to “Lost Boy” in my 2016 time capsule is Yo Gotti’s modernist classic “Down In The DM.” A fable about social networking, specifically Instagram direct messages, Snapchat, and Facetime, this lead single from The Art Of Hustle became one of the year’s biggest novelty hits. The Nicki Minaj remix not only helped “Down In The DM” reach a higher peak, but it ensure that Minaj would make a countdown appearance for her 7th consecutive year.

#61: Luv by Tory Lanez
Peak: #19         2016 Weeks on Chart: 22       Points: 1368
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 70

As the second single from Tory Lanez’s debut I Told You, “Luv” built well off the success of “Say It.” Slightly more uptempo than its predecessor, “Luv” was able to crack the Top 20, a rare feat for an R&B song without pop radio airplay. It spent fewer weeks on the Hot 100 than “Say It” but established Tory Lanez as 2016’s breakout star for R&B.


That’s all for today! Tomorrow we’ll reach the halfway point of the countdown, so I’ll see you for a Christmas Eve edition of the 101 Biggest Hits with songs 60-51!

Until then,


101 Biggest Hits of 2016! #90-81

Welcome back to the 101 Biggest Hits of 2016! On today’s menu, I will reveal songs 90 through 81 on the countdown. If you missed any previous installment, here’s where you can catch up:

Let’s get things started with song #90!

#90: Scars To Your Beautiful by Alessia Cara
Peak: #13     2016 Weeks on Chart: 16         Points: 993
Billboard Year-End Ranking: Not Ranked

After “Here” became a huge sleeper hit this winter, Alessia Cara proceeded to have a busy 2016. Official followup single “Wild Things” reached a #50 peak but came up 10 places short of a spot in this countdown. Current single “Scars To Your Beautiful” failed to crack the Top 10 but has come much closer to equaling the runaway success of “Here.” Cara was also recently tapped to sing the end credits version of “How Far I’ll Go” from the Disney film Moana, which peaked at #88 earlier this month.

#88 (tie): OOOUUU by Young M.A
Peak: #19      2016 Weeks on Chart: 16         Points: 1011
Billboard Year-End Ranking: Not Ranked

I’ve always considered 1,000 points the threshold for a bona fide year-end hit, and 89 songs fit that bill in 2016. Starting us off beyond the threshold is newcomer Young M.A, who began the year in obscurity but finished it sharing screentime with Nicki Minaj, DJ Khaled, and others in a much-seen Beats by Dre commercial. “OOOUUU” was a critically-acclaimed debut single, checking in at #11 on Rolling Stone’s best-of-the-year list.

#88 (tie): No Limit by Usher f/Young Thug
Peak: #32     2016 Weeks on Chart: 20         Points: 1011
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 90

Pop music’s iron man, Usher increased his span of countdown appearances to a whopping 20 years with “No Limit.” Featuring Young Thug, “No Limit” furthers Usher’s late-career progression deeper into the niched adult hip-hop and R&B market. His megahit “DJ Got Us Fallin In Love” days may be over, but his remarkable consistency continues on tracks like this and last year’s “I Don’t Mind.”

#87: In The Name Of Love by Martin Garrix & Bebe Rexha
Peak: #24            2016 Weeks on Chart: 18         Points: 1021
Billboard Year-End Ranking: Not Ranked

A prime candidate for one-hit wonderdom could easily have been teen Dutch DJ Martin Garrix, who stormed the charts in 2014 with the brilliantly strange “Animals.” However, along with the rest of the EDM genre, Garrix was able to soften his trademark sound in 2016, and the end result netted him another Top 40 hit with “In The Name Of Love.” Where “Animals” was essentially an instrumental, this new single features vocals from popular choice Bebe Rexha.

#86: Chill Bill by Rob $tone f/J.Davis & Spooks
Peak: #29            2016 Weeks on Chart: 20         Points: 1028
Billboard Year-End Ranking: Not Ranked

Three newcomers teamed up to create one of the year’s most unlikely hits. As its play-on-words title might suggest, “Chill Bill” utilizes a whistling sample from “Twisted Nerve,” a song made famous from its use in Kill Bill, Vol. 1.

#85: Hide Away by Daya
Peak: #23            2016 Weeks on Chart: 15         Points: 1030
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 84

Certainly one of the candidates for 2016’s Rookie Of The Year, Pittsburgh teen Daya scores three entries on this year’s countdown. Her debut single “Hide Away” began its chart run late last year, which ultimately siphoned away the points necessary to catch up with her other entries in the rankings.

#84: Ex’s & Oh’s by Elle King
Peak: #14 (#10 in 2015)     2016 Weeks on Chart: 15       Points: 1044
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 63

One of 2015’s biggest sleeper hits, “Ex’s & Oh’s” continued its strong run through the first four months of 2016. Elle King had a relatively quiet 2016 after her smash hit faded off the charts, as her contribution to the Ghostbusters soundtrack failed to reach the Hot 100. However, on country radio she helped Dierks Bentley score a solid hit on the duet “Different For Girls.”

#83: Pop Style by Drake f/The Throne
Peak: #16            2016 Weeks on Chart: 20         Points: 1061
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 82

Drake had an immensely successful 2016, between every song on Views charting to several standalone releases and featuring on several massive hits. In fact, he placed no fewer than 8 songs in this countdown, leaving him one shy of the all-time record (Lil Wayne showed up 9 times in 2008). “Pop Style” was one of the promotional singles which eventually turned up on Views, and if your 2011-12 rap tastes are still intact, it shouldn’t take long to realize that The Throne is the de facto name assumed by the pairing of Kanye West and Jay Z.

#82: When We Were Young by Adele
Peak: #14            2016 Weeks on Chart: 17         Points: 1071
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 83

Though its first-week sales were truly gargantuan, Adele’s 25 album will likely go down in history as a slightly less successful album than 21. That didn’t stop it from having a slew of successful singles, but its tracklist failed to generate the three #1 hits from 21. Of all of them, my personal favorite was “When We Were Young,” which built slowly and steadily to an excellent final chorus.

#81: Black Beatles by Rae Sremmurd f/Gucci Mane
Peak: #1 (for 6 weeks)     2016 Weeks on Chart: 14         Points: 1076
Billboard Year-End Ranking: Not Ranked

The definitive viral hit of 2016 belonged to none other than the boys behind “No Flex Zone” and “No Type.” As the fortuitous backdrop for the ubiquitous Mannequin Challenge, “Black Beatles” helped Rae Sremmurd defy expectations and garner their first career #1 hit. Since its reign at the top began in November, Billboard’s early cutoff for year-end consideration precluded the track from appearing on its own list. As such, “Black Beatles” is the highest-ranked song on my countdown to not have a comparable Billboard year-end ranking.


That’s all for today! The song will keep getting bigger and bigger as the subsequent parts of the countdown come around, so be sure to keep checking in over the next week or so. A big thanks to everyone for joining me for songs 90-81 of the 101 Biggest Hits of 2016, and I’ll see you here tomorrow for songs 80-71!

Until then,


101 Biggest Hits of 2016! #101-91

The Hot 100 chart released by Billboard this morning was dated December 31, so that means another year of chart research has come to a conclusion! If you are new this year to my Hot 100 chart rankings, here’s a quick primer on my project.

To rank each year’s most popular songs objectively without any genre bias or favoritism towards the earlier months of the year, I devised a point system back in 2011 which grades and orders songs as fairly as possible. This is a basic rundown of how it all works:

  • Every week, Billboard releases the Hot 100, cataloging the most popular songs based on airplay, digital sales, YouTube presence, and online streaming.
  • When the new chart comes out every Tuesday, I analyze the chart and update my running totals for each song that has charted in 2016.
  • A week at #1 on the chart gains a song 100 points, a week at #2 gets 99 points, and so on down to 1 point for a week at #100.

2016 brought extreme parity to the Hot 100, and a bunched-up crowd at the top brought several changes to the year-end rankings in the year’s final weeks. To put things in perspective, 2013’s winner “Radioactive” held a 1,037 point lead over the second-place finisher. This year, 16 songs finished inside that margin of victory. The big takeaway? Points were at a premium this year, and the winning total is the lowest in nearly 10 years according to my research.

Today I will reveal songs 101-91, with another 10 songs being unveiled each day. Before we get started though, here are some of the songs you won’t be seeing in this countdown. First, here are the songs which reached the Top 10 in 2016, but were unable to accrue enough points to secure a spot:

  • Don’t Wanna Know by Maroon 5 f/Kendrick Lamar (866 points, #106)
  • Summer Sixteen by Drake (836 points, #108)
  • Fake Love by Drake (698 points, #132)
  • Bad Things by MGK & Camila Cabello (439 points, #181)
  • Piece By Piece by Kelly Clarkson (406 points, #189)
  • Formation by Beyoncé (323 points, #218)
  • I Don’t Wanna Live Forever by Zayn & Taylor Swift (95 points, #327)
  • Deja Vu by J. Cole (94 points, #328)

There is a bit of difference between the way Billboard itself tabulates its Top 100 songs of the year and the calculations I make. For this second list, here’s a quick look at the songs Billboard included in its list that didn’t make my countdown. Each song’s placement on my own year-end rankings will show up in parentheses.

  • #79: Wildest Dreams by Taylor Swift (#118)
  • #81: On My Mind by Ellie Goulding (#121)
  • #85: Lean On by Major Lazer & DJ Snake f/MØ (#119)
  • #86: I Know What You Did Last Summer by Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello (#102)
  • #88: Watch Me by Silento (#146)
  • #95: Adventure Of A Lifetime by Coldplay (#110)
  • #97: Wicked by Future (#103)
  • #99: See You Again by Wiz Khalifa f/Charlie Puth (#127)
  • #100: Perfect by One Direction (#149)

Without further ado, let’s begin the countdown with #101!

#101: Antidote by Travis Scott
Peak: #16            2016 Weeks on Chart: 12         Points: 902
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 75

Getting us started this year is Travis Scott, who I first learned of when he was arrested for inciting panic at 2015’s Lollapalooza. He’s recovered nicely since then, scoring his first career Top 40 hit with the enigmatic “Antidote.” A slew of feature credits has ensued, and his current single “Pick Up The Phone” with Young Thug is finishing up a more than satisfactory followup run.

#100: Really Really by Kevin Gates
Peak: #46     2016 Weeks on Chart: 26         Points: 923
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 92

Kevin Gates had put out no fewer than 13 mixtapes prior to his breakout in 2016 with debut album Islah. Lead single “2 Phones” will be seen later in the countdown, but “Really Really” was a noteworthy chart achievement in its own right. Showing remarkable longevity despite a middling peak of 46, it became the lowest-peaking song to ever reach my year-end Top 100.

#99: All In My Head (Flex) by Fifth Harmony f/Fetty Wap
Peak: #24      2016 Weeks on Chart: 18         Points: 936
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 93

“All In My Head” served as a followup effort for both the girls from Fifth Harmony (fresh off their massive success with “Worth It” and “Work From Home”) and Fetty Wap (2015’s breakout artist with four appearances in last year’s countdown). Unfortunately for both parties, this tropical song started fast but was unable to gain sturdy footing, failing to reach the 20-week threshold closely associated with a lasting chart hit.

#98: Can’t Feel My Face by The Weeknd
Peak: #15 (#1 in 2015)     2016 Weeks on Chart: 14         Points: 948
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 72

Finishing in the year-end Top 20 last year, “Can’t Feel My Face” continued its mighty chart run well into 2016. In joining the elite fraternity of two-time countdown appearances, along with concurrent hit “The Hills,” The Weeknd’s smash effectively bridged the gap between Beauty Behind The Madness and Starboy.

#97: 24K Magic by Bruno Mars
Peak: #4            2016 Weeks on Chart: 10         Points: 957
Billboard Year-End Ranking: Not Ranked

The lead single from the album of the same name, Bruno Mars’ solo return to the charts was extremely efficient with its paucity of 2016 chart weeks. In fact, “24K Magic” became the first song to reach my year-end Top 100 with just 10 weeks logged since Pink’s #1 smash “Raise Your Glass” did the same in 2010. Currently stalling at its peak of #4, “Magic” is at risk of becoming the first Bruno Mars lead album single to fail to reach #1 on the charts.

#96: Cut It by O.T. Genasis f/Young Dolph
Peak: #35            2016 Weeks on Chart: 20         Points: 959
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 91

Last year in my analysis of “CoCo,” I wrote that O.T. Genasis was destined to become a one-hit wonder. It seemed a safe bet at the time, but he went and proved me wrong in a big way with “Cut It.” Featuring an enormously catchy piano riff and another swath of double meanings, O.T. scored his second Top 40 hit in as many tries. We’ll have to see if he can make it a three-peat in 2017.

#95: Humble And Kind by Tim McGraw
Peak: #30            2016 Weeks on Chart: 20         Points: 962
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 96

Arguably the most successful and consistent crossover county artist in Hot 100 history, Tim McGraw extended his remarkable chart record in 2016 with the critically-acclaimed “Humble And Kind.” Since first hitting the charts with “Indian Outlaw” in 1994, McGraw has logged 14 entries in my yearly Top 100, a highly impressive feat for someone in the country genre.

#94: All The Way Up by Fat Joe, Remy Ma & Jay Z f/French Montana & Infared
Peak: #27            2016 Weeks on Chart: 20         Points: 978
Billboard Year-End Ranking: 87

It’s been twelve long years since Fat Joe and Remy Ma graced this countdown. As co-members of Terror Squad, their #1 hit “Lean Back” was one of the biggest hits of 2004. Fat Joe had a slew of hits before 2004, most notably the Ashanti-featuring “What’s Luv?,” but hadn’t had a Top 40 hit since 2008. That all changed with “All The Way Up,” one of the most irresistible hip-hop tracks of the year. In any other year, this would have been the most unlikely comeback song, but there are amazingly several more contenders scattered throughout this countdown.

#93: Juju On Dat Beat (TZ Anthem) by Zay Hilfigerrr & Zayion McCall
Peak: #5            2016 Weeks on Chart: 12         Points: 984
Billboard Year-End Ranking: Not Ranked

Much like gunslingers in the Old West, there typically isn’t room for two viral hits on the charts at once. However, this fall proved to be a massive exception, as “Juju On Dat Beat” held court simultaneously with the Mannequin Challenge-fed “Black Beatles.” Ultimately, this debut single for Zay and Zayion fell just shy of the pace set by Rae Sremmurd, but a #5 peak and an extended stay in the Top 10 is a more than enjoyable fate.

#92: Caroline by Aminé
Peak: #12            2016 Weeks on Chart: 15         Points: 988
Billboard Year-End Ranking: Not Ranked

One of 2016’s dozens of newcomers (more research on that forthcoming), Aminé struck gold with his debut single inspired partially by the lyrical target of Outkast’s 2004 hit “Roses.” “Caroline” is one of many examples of a changing tide in Hot 100 metrics, as songs driven by going viral on streaming providers like Spotify are starting to excel without mainstream radio exposure.

#91: Setting The World On Fire by Kenny Chesney f/Pink
Peak: #29            2016 Weeks on Chart: 20         Points: 989
Billboard Year-End Ranking: Not Ranked

Throughout her nearly 20-year career, Pink has paired up with a wide variety of recording artists, from Christina Aguilera, Lil Kim and Mya on 2001’s “Lady Marmalade” to Fun frontman Nate Ruess on 2013’s “Just Give Me A Reason.” As she continues the adult contemporary radio phase of her career, she lent a hand to country superstar Kenny Chesney on “Setting The World On Fire.” The end result was probably the most centrist single to date for either artist. While this gave it a lasting home on adult radio stations, it prevented a prolonged run on either the country or pop charts.


That’s all for today! The song will keep getting bigger and bigger as the subsequent parts of the countdown come around, so be sure to keep checking in over the next week or so. A big thanks to everyone for joining me for songs 101-91 of the 101 Biggest Hits of 2016, and I’ll see you here tomorrow for songs 90-81!

Until then,