Unlike the Billboard Hot 100 year-end roundup which is solely based on sales and airplay, this list is handpicked by Billboard staff. For instance, their selection for No. 1 only managed to peak at No. 20 on the prestigious chart.
The publication’s complete list consists of their 100 favorite songs of the year, covering a wide ranges of genres and artists. Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Shawn Mendes, Demi Lovato and Lady Gage all made the list, just not the upper echelon. Find out below which songs rose to the Top 10. Their top pick might surprise you. I certainly was taken aback.
Billboard’s Top 10 Songs Of 2017
10. Portugal. The Man, “Feel It Still”
9. The Weeknd feat. Daft Punk, “I Feel It Coming”
8. Harry Styles, “Sign of the Times”
7. J Balvin & Willy William feat. Beyonce, “Mi Gente” (Remix)
6. Kendrick Lamar, “HUMBLE.”
5. Lil Uzi Vert, “XO TOUR Llif3”
4. Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee feat. Justin Bieber, “Despacito” (Remix)
3. Calvin Harris feat. Frank Ocean & Migos, “Slide”
2. Cardi B, “Bodak Yellow”
1. Selena Gomez, “Bad Liar”
Why was “Bad Liar” chosen as their favorite. Read below to learn the publication’s reasoning.
To check out Billboard’s picks for the Top 100 songs of 2017, click here.
Imagine reading this headline five years ago: “Selena Gomez Samples Talking Heads’ ‘Psycho Killer’ on Best Song of the Year.” The unlikeliness of “Bad Liar” is a testament to the way in which the always-evolving Gomez has matured her approach to pop since the days in which her albums were credited to herself “& the Scene.” Her 2015 album Revival showed continued refinement of her vocal technique, but “Bad Liar” gets all the way there: Gomez flutters through syllables and doubles back on her own assertions to demonstrate the vulnerability she feels around her crush. She also doesn’t overplay her hand when she needs to yearn: “Ooooh, you’re taking up a fraction of my mind,” she admits, careful not to wail but gritting her teeth as she unveils a deep secret. It’s a commanding performance, full of the type of nuance that most singers would steamroll over while trying to sing their lungs out; credit Gomez as well as songwriters Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter, who know exactly the kind of phrasings that help their collaborator excel.
But then there’s that sample, a bass creep that became iconic in Talking Heads’ catalog and helped underscore the idiosyncratic dread of their first hit single 40 years ago. On both “Psycho Killer” and “Bad Liar,” it provides an foundation of anxiety — but whereas David Byrne makes that nervousness oversized and cartoonish on “Killer,” Gomez turns the tension inward on lines like “Your touch like a happy pill/ But still all we do is fear.” She can’t help trying to work toward a happy ending, even when one isn’t possible. Byrne has publicly co-signed “Bad Liar,” which, among other things, honors the quirk that Talking Heads baked into their music — that pop can be bizarre and irresistible at the same time, whether played at CBGB’s in ’77 or on top 40 in 2017.
That said, “Bad Liar” was not a huge hit in 2017; it wasn’t even Gomez’s biggest hit (“It Ain’t Me,” her single with Kygo, aimed dead-center at modern pop and dominated radio). Yet “Bad Liar” was the most interesting and enjoyable song on top 40 radio this year, a weird little moment of frustrated melody and imperfect romance that may prove to be a high point in Gomez’s increasingly fascinating career. On paper, “Bad Liar” doesn’t make much sense, but that’s why it doesn’t exist on paper. — J. Lipshutz