The best song of the year may just be below.
10. Dounia – SAW IT FIRST
Dounia’s voice is so captivating and it’s never more so on this dark, dancehall-tinged moment SAW IT FIRST. It’s haunting but could also grab attention on the dancefloor which a rare combination.
9. Easy Life – Earth
Easy Life are a British collective that are coming up and rightfully so. Earth is an organic, soulful rap track that moves along at an effortless pace. There’s something that just feels so right about these guys.
8. Phebe Starr – Bad News
Australian singer/songwriter Phebe Starr has a few pop gems under her belt now but Bad News may be her best yet. Finding a damning, off-kilter lane, Bad News is surprisingly charming.
7. King Princess – Prophet
King Princess has announced her debut album Cheap Queen and unleashed a very strong track Prophet. The blues-drenched slow-mover houses the work of an old school with all the right forward-thinking values.
6. Sam Bluer – Naughty
Aussie popstar-in-waiting Sam Bluer is back with his first drop of the year and it’s his most daring yet. Naughty is an infidelity bop sweetened by some clever vocal manipulation and synth-work. Bluer is once again a convincing frontman proving he’s got what it’s got to break into the Kim Petras/Troye Sivan/Charli XCX crowd.
5. Hayley Kiyoko – I Wish
Hayley Kiyoko is about to break that underrated tag with her new cut I Wish. It’s T.Swift-endorsed and it’s a woozy, spell-casting bop that showcases her voice better than ever before.
4. Sam Smith – How Do You Sleep?
When Sam Smith released his second album we critiqued him for not doing something more youthful and representative of his himself. Well, he’s finally done it. How Do You Sleep? is hardly upbeat but it’s a supreme Max Martin cut that features Smith’s best visual work yet. It feels like he’s truly arriving as an artist.
3. Shura – the stage
We’re a month away from Shura’s sophomore album Forevher and she’s delivered the third track from it The Stage. It’s her boldest moment from the record yet, giving us stomping keys straight out of Elton John’s songbook and production that leans towards Tame Impala’s pop work.
2. Beyoncé – Brown Skin Girl (Feat. Blue Ivy, Wizkid & SAINt Jhn)
Beyoncé’s Lion King-inspired album The Gift houses a few endearing moments but none more so than Blue Ivy’s intro to Brown Skin Girl. This heritage-celebrating cut features a rhythmic Wizkid verse and inspired Bey bars shouting out Lupita Nyong’o and Kelly Rowland.
1. Charli XCX – Gone (Feat. Christine & The Queens)
As you’d expect from these two, Gone instant pop gold, giving us that characteristic XCX pop stomp alongside Chris’ intensity. There’s a definite PC Music wobble to the production but this isn’t a sugary moment for Charli. Instead, she gives us one of her most confident moments, turning social anxiety into a forceful, muscular display.
Get more of this on the daily on our Top Tunes playlist: