2017 was a groundbreaking year in pop music in which an exciting new generation of young artists bolstered by streaming challenged the big stars and their stale album rollouts to create the most interesting Top 40 music we’ve heard in years.
This was less a year for the Katy Perrys and the Taylor Swifts than the Cardi Bs and the Khalids, as musicians that began 2017 as no-name artists or Soundcloud oddities are finishing as the year’s best-selling artists. It wasn’t all bad news for big names this year, though, with some pros releasing excellent work that cemented their place at the top of their respective genres, like Kendrick Lamar with his outstanding DAMN singles, and DJ Khaled with the playground exuberance of his posse cuts.
USA TODAY worked with BuzzAngle Music and Mediabase to pull the 50 biggestsongs by the numbers (taking into account sales and streaming) released in 2017. Then, we ranked them, starting with the year’s most disappointing best-sellers, and working our way through the list to determine 2017’s defining singles.
Below, see our ranking of the 50 biggest songs of 2017, ordered from worst to best.
50. Swang, Rae Sremmurd
Sales rank: No. 45 out of 50
Slim Jimmy and Swae Lee’s cringeworthy follow-up to their 2016 hit Black Beatles doesn’t even come close to its predecessor.
49. Believer, Imagine Dragons
Sales rank. No. 10
Coming from arguably the biggest rock band of 2017, this Imagine Dragons hit is a plodding chore.
48. Perfect, Ed Sheeran
Sales rank: No. 42
This is Sheeran at his schmaltziest, and even the remix’s Beyonce guest feature couldn’t elevate Perfect beyond his worst single of the year.
47. Now Or Never, Halsey
Sales rank: 46
Just listen to Rihanna’s Needed Me instead of this skim-milk ripoff.
46. Bounce Back, Big Sean
Sales rank: No….