Top 100 Best Pop Songs Of 2012

2012 was marked by breakthroughs into the pop mainstream of alternative pop and K-Pop. It was a strong year for increased variety in hit pop music.

1
Carly Rae Jepsen - "Call Me Maybe"

Courtesy Interscope

A slice of mainstream pop perfection introduced Canadian singer-songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen to pop fans around the world. "Call Me Maybe" spent nine weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Song.

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2
Taylor Swift - "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"

Taylor Swift -
Taylor Swift - "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together". Courtesy Big Machine

What happens when one of the biggest country crossover stars of all time meets Max Martin, one of the world's top pop music alchemists? It's an ultra-catchy song with all the cleverness of Taylor Swift's lyrical genius. "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" became her first #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and earned a Grammy Award nomination for Record of the Year.

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3
Psy - "Gangnam Style"

Psy -
Psy - "Gangnam Style". Courtesy YG Entertainment

This was not exactly the form that most would have thought the K-Pop breakthrough in the US would take. However, "Gangnam Style" is irresistible in melody and the accompanying video charmed the entire world. Psy's dance for the song may someday go the way of the Macarena, but for now it was one of the most distinctive pop music creations of 2012.

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4
Kelly Clarkson - "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)"

Kelly Clarkson -
Kelly Clarkson - "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)". Courtesy RCA

Kelly Clarkson celebrated 10 years as a pop star with one of the biggest hits of her career. Based on the quotation from German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, "That which does not kill us makes us stronger," the song is upbeat and empowering anchored by one of the best pop voices in the industry.

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5
Gotye - "Somebody That I Used To Know" featuring Kimbra

Gotye -
Gotye - "Somebody That I Used To Know". Courtesy Universal Republic

No one really saw this hit coming. Gotye had previously earned a level of acclaim from alternative pop fans at home in Australia, but it was this song that brought him international stardom. The song is a clever breakup song seen from both the male and female viewpoint. Gotye's beautiful arrangement brings delicate percussion to the forefront. He struggled to find a follow up hit, but "Somebody That I Used To Know" will be remembered for many years to come.

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6
fun. - "Some Nights"

fun. -
fun. - "Some Nights". Courtesy Fueled By Ramen

Alternative pop band fun. had a stunning pop chart debut with the #1 smash "We Are Young." However, an argument can be made that the lyrical angst of their follow up hit was even better. Nate Ruess and company proved they plan to stay around for some time to come. "Some Nights" sold more than 3.5 million copies and reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

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7
Ed Sheeran - "The A Team"

Ed Sheeran -
Ed Sheeran - "The A Team". Courtesy Atlantic Records

It took some time for pop radio to discover this gem, but singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran's breakthrough is a delicate pop gem. This is the era in which pop ballads are nearly absent on the radio, but "The A Team" could not be denied. It is the tragic tale of the downfall of a young female drug addict accompanied by a gorgeous arrangement that marks the introduction of a major talent.

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8
Grimes - "Oblivion"

Grimes - Visions
Grimes - Visions. Courtesy 4AD

While alternative pop crashed its way to the top of mainstream pop radio airplay charts, there were some powerful alternative singles that were missed. 24 year old Canadian Claire Boucher, aka Grimes, was one major talent that was overlooked. "Oblivion" packs somewhat obtuse lyrics into a beautiful, quirky electronic arrangement that is instantly memorable. Don't miss the approach to female empowerment in the accompanying video to complete Grimes' artistic vision.

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9
Calvin Harris - "Feel So Close"

Calvin Harris -
Calvin Harris - "Feel So Close". Courtesy Columbia Records

Calvin Harris finally became familiar to US pop audiences through his work on Rihanna's massive hit "We Found Love" last year. For his first solo hit Calvin Harris chose himself for the distinctive vocals which became a deserved favorite among DJs and remixers. The simple, intimate lyric coupled with Calvin Harris' striking neo-disco arrangements became one of the most memorable dance hits of the year.

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10
Adele - "Skyfall"

Adele -
Adele - "Skyfall". Courtesy Columbia

Over the last decade it had seemed like James Bond themes had gotten a bit derailed and became forgettable. However, this year when it was revealed Adele would be writing and performing the theme for the newest Bond film Skyfall, hopes soared. She did not disappoint and with a thoroughly contemporary approach to the classic James Bond sound, she delivered one of the venerable film series' top songs ever.

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11
Icona Pop - "I Love It"

Icona Pop - Iconic
Icona Pop - Iconic. Courtesy Ten Records

Swedish pop duo Icona Pop blasted into the international pop music scene this year with a bracing song that grabbed our attention and refused to let go. "I Love It" has gained a toehold on the US dance chart. Meanwhile, watch for it to head for the mainstream pop charts in 2013.

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12
Demi Lovato - "Give Your Heart a Break"

Demi Lovato -
Demi Lovato - "Give Your Heart a Break". Courtesy Hollywood Records

Despite her strong following among Disney pop fans, Demi Lovato had been nearly ignored by mainstream pop radio until this year. "Give Your Heart a Break" is an instant classic pop song co-written by Songwriters Hall of Fame member Billy Steinberg. It went all the way to #1 at mainstream pop radio and helped earn Demi Lovato a solid base among adult pop fans.

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13
Ke$ha - "Die Young"

Ke$ha -
Ke$ha - "Die Young". Courtesy RCA

Ke$ha proved her debut album was no fluke when this first single from the Warrior project went straight into the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song's lyrics generated some controversy in the face of the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy, but it bears Ke$ha's trademark irreverence and humor.

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14
Ellie Goulding - "Anything Could Happen"

Ellie Goulding -
Ellie Goulding - "Anything Could Happen". Courtesy Interscope

Ellie Goulding earned a major pop breakthrough in the US in 2012. She followed it with this first single from her second album Halcyon. It is an expansive electropop track that grows in power each time it is heard. The song could well convince any listener that, "Anything Could Happen."

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15
Rihanna - "Where Have You Been"

Rihanna -
Rihanna - "Where Have You Been". Courtesy Def Jam

The breeziness in sound here makes "Where Have You Been" sound deceptively simple. The dancefloor smash contains one of Rihanna's most effortlessly appealing vocals. It was a #1 dance hit on both sides of the Atlantic and rose clear to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

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16
Nicki Minaj - "Starships"

Nicki Minaj -
Nicki Minaj - "Starships". Courtesy Cash Money

Star rapper Nicki Minaj joined forces with producer RedOne and the pair went over the top together in a dance pop gem. The song spent more than 20 consecutive weeks in the top 10 in the US and proved one of the top party tracks of the year. It has sold nearly four million copies in the US alone.

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17
Justin Bieber - "Beauty and a Beat" featuring Nicki Minaj

Justin Bieber -
Justin Bieber - "Beauty and a Beat" featuring Nicki Minaj. Courtesy Schoolboy Records

Justin Bieber's top 5 pop smash is a collaboration with pop genius Max Martin, rising dance star Zedd and an inimitable rap from Nicki Minaj. Although saved for the third single from Believe, it is the most memorable track from the album.

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18
Fiona Apple - "Every Single Night"

Fiona Apple -
Fiona Apple - "Every Single Night". Courtesy Epic

Fiona Apple's first single release in six years is a powerful return to form. The intensity of the song simultaneously repels and attracts listeners. However, her exploration of internal turmoil will not be easily forgotten.

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19
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis - "Thrift Shop" featuring Wanz

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis -
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis - "Thrift Shop" featuring Wanz. Courtesy Macklemore

Ben Haggerty, aka Macklemore, is one of the major independent music success stories of 2012. His debut full-length album The Heist hit #2 on the overall album chart while topping both rap and R&B albums. The song "Thrift Shop" is his breakthrough into the pop mainstream with a catchy, humorous tribute to bargain shopping at the local thrift shop.

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20
Ellie Goulding - "Lights"

Ellie Goulding -
Ellie Goulding - "Lights". Courtesy Interscope

It took it a long time, the third longest period to reach the top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 ever by a female artist, but once "Lights" caught on it couldn't be stopped until finally peaking at #2. The mix of alternative, folk, and electropop remains one of the more distinctive sounds of 2012.

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21
Pitbull - "Back In Time"

Pitbull -
Pitbull - "Back In Time". Courtesy RCA

Pitbull, did reach "Back In Time" for this hit from the Men In Black 3 movie soundtrack. Grabbing a hook from Mickey and Sylvia's 1950s hit "Love Is Strange," the song was a distinctive dance floor hit. "Back IN Time" was a top 10 pop smash around the world.

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22
Lana Del Rey - "Ride"

Lana Del Rey -
Lana Del Rey - "Ride". Courtesy Interscope

While the pop music establishment in the US remains resistant, Lana Del Rey was one of the top pop artists of the year in the UK. "Ride" expands her sound to dig deeper into the themes of loneliness and disassociation in Lana Del Rey's work. The accompanying video is a mini-movie that is one of her top video achievements to date.

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23
Nero - "Promises"

Nero - Welcome Reality
Nero - Welcome Reality. Courtesy Island

Nero are key architects of the dubstep movement. "Promises" climbed to #1 at home in the UK and was nominated for an Ivor Novello Award for Best Contemporary Song. The song became familiar for US pop music fans after being featured in an HP laptop TV commercial.

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24
Miguel - "Adorn"

Miguel - Kaleidoscope Dream
Miguel - Kaleidoscope Dream. Courtesy RCA

Miguel's "Adorn" instantly joins the ranks of timeless sexy R&B jams like Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing." He claims that he was inspired by dreams to write the song. "Adorn" received a Grammy Award nomination for Song of the Year. Hitting #1 on the R&B chart it was one of the top 10 R&B hits of the year.

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25
One Direction - "What Makes You Beautiful"

One Direction -
One Direction - "What Makes You Beautiful". Courtesy Syco

The song that introduced boy band One Direction to US pop music fans remains their best so far. The group are also one of the top achievements of the UK version of . One Direction were inescapable by the fall of 2012, and the perky, catchy pop of "What Makes You Beautiful" is a key reason why.

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26
David Guetta - "Titanium" featuring Sia

David Guetta featuring Sia -
David Guetta featuring Sia - "Titanium". Courtesy Virgin

"Titanium" was a major success both for dance music producer and artist David Guetta as well as Australian singer-songwriter Sia. The soaring chorus and vocal filled dancefloors around the world. Reportedly Sia initially wrote the song's chorus intending it to be recorded by Alicia Keys.

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27
Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen - "Good Time"

Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen -
Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen - "Good Time". Courtesy Universal Republic

For those who thought Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen were fated to be one hit wonders, "Good Time" proved them wrong. It is an effortlessly upbeat summer pop anthem that closed out the summer of 2012 for many pop fans.

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28
Pink - "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)"

Pink -
Pink - "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)". Courtesy RCA

To lead off her sixth studio album and first to reach #1 on the charts, Pink put together this breakup anthem that became an instant pop smash. It became her 12th top 10 pop hit in the US. It was another major pop success in the year for producer Greg Kurstin after his work with Kelly Clarkson.

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29
Frank Ocean - "Thinkin Bout You"

Frank Ocean -
Frank Ocean - "Thinkin Bout You". Courtesy Def Jam

Rapper Frank Ocean's debut album was one of the most eagerly awaited in 2012, and Channel Orange did not disappoint. "Thinkin Bout You" is atmospheric R&B that explores the emotions swirling around a relationship just out of reach. The song climbed into the top 10 of the R&B chart while giving Frank Ocean his first top 40 pop hit.

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30
Katy Perry - "Wide Awake"

Katy Perry -
Katy Perry - "Wide Awake". Courtesy Capitol Records

Katy Perry addressed her breakup with Russell Brand in song. "Wide Awake" is a celebration of the personal strength required to learn from past mistakes and move forward. The accompanying video is one of the top achievements in Katy Perry's career thus far.

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31
The Lumineers - "Ho Hey"

The Lumineers -
The Lumineers - "Ho Hey". Courtesy Dualtone

American band the Lumineers led the folk rock invasion of the mainstream pop charts this year. Advertising use of the song helped it cross over from topping the alternative and rock songs chart to become a top 3 pop hit.

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32
Of Monsters and Men - "Little Talks"

Of Monsters and Men -
Of Monsters and Men - "Little Talks". Courtesy Republic

Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men are part of the folk-rock eruption into pop charts around the world. "Little Talks" climbed to #1 on the alternative songs chart in the US while becoming a top 10 hit around the world.

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33
Jason Mraz - "I Won't Give Up"

Jason Mraz -
Jason Mraz - "I Won't Give Up". Courtesy Atlantic Records

Jason Mraz introduced his album length exploration of the positive side of relationships on with this single. It is a tribute to life long perseverance. He wrote the songs for the album while participating in activist efforts around the world. "I Won't Give Up" landed in the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, adult pop radio, and adult contemporary charts.

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34
Train - "Drive By"

Train -
Train - "Drive By". Courtesy Sony

Pop rock band Train returned to the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 for a third time with this hit. The group collaborated with the Norwegian duo Espen Lind and Amund Bjorklund, the same team behind the massive hit "Hey, Soul Sister."

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35
Taylor Swift - "Safe and Sound" featuring The Civil Wars

Taylor Swift and the Civil Wars -
Taylor Swift and the Civil Wars - "Safe and Sound". Courtesy Big Machine

It was a busy year for Taylor Swift. She was asked to contribute music to the soundtrack for the film The Hunger Games and this was the standout. She collaborated with folk duo The Civil Wars for this dark ballad that expanded Taylor Swift's range. "Safe and Sound" received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song.

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36
The Wanted - "Glad You Came"

The Wanted -
The Wanted - "Glad You Came". Courtesy Mercury Records

The Wanted began the British boy band invasion of 2012 with this ultra-catchy dance pop hit. The song rode character filled vocals and a sexual double entendre to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

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37
Alex Clare - "Too Close"

Alex Clare -
Alex Clare - "Too Close". Courtesy Island Records

Alex Clare was best known as a former boyfriend to Amy Winehouse until the use of "Too Close" in a Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 commercial turned him into a pop star. The atmospheric electronics of the song caught the attention of viewers and brought Alex Clare to the top of pop charts around the world after his record label had given up on the possibility of success.

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38
Phillip Phillips - "Home"

Phillip Phillips -
Phillip Phillips - "Home". Courtesy Universal

Phillip Phillips emerged as the winner on the 11th season of American Idol. His "coronation" song "Home" is one of the most memorable and successful in the history of the show. Produced and co-written by Drew Pearson, the song climbed pop radio charts after being used extensively in TV coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Ultimately "Home" reached #1 at adult pop radio and #2 on the rock songs chart.

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39
Bruce Springsteen - "We Take Care Of Our Own"

Bruce Springsteen -
Bruce Springsteen - "We Take Care Of Our Own". Courtesy Columbia Records

When first hearing it, Bruce Springsteen's "We Take Care Of Our Own" sounds like a simple flag waving rocker. However, the true meaning of the song is much more complex. "We Take Care Of Our Own" was used extensively by Barack Obama's successful 2012 presidential campaign and introduced the critically acclaimed album Wrecking Ball.

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40
Usher - "Climax"

Usher -
Usher - "Climax". Courtesy RCA

As a change of pace from the dance pop of his most recent hits, Usher returned to slow burn R&B in collaboration with producer Diplo on "Climax." It was one of Usher's most entrancing hits in recent years. The song was promoted primarily to R&B radio but also reached the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100.

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41
Nicki Minaj - "Beez In the Trap" featuring 2 Chainz

Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded
Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. Courtesy Cash Money

As an alternative to the massive production behind her major pop hits on the year, Nicki Minaj stripped things down for the engaging track "Beez In the Trap." The result was a top 10 rap hit acclaimed by critics. The song still reached the top 50 on the Billboard Hot 100 but it was mainly aimed at her fans that are attracted to the cleverness of Nicki Minaj's raps.

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42
Swedish House Mafia - "Don't You Worry Child" featuring John Martin

Swedish House Mafia -
Swedish House Mafia - "Don't You Worry Child" featuring John Martin. Courtesy Astralwerks

The biggest hit yet by the dance music super group Swedish House Mafia is unfortunately likely their last. The trio have announced plans to go separate ways following the release of "Don't You Worry Child." The song has received a Grammy Award nomination for Dance Recording of the Year while topping dance charts in both the US and the UK.

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43
Carrie Underwood - "Blown Away"

Carrie Underwood - Blown Away
Carrie Underwood - Blown Away. Courtesy Sony Nashville

If Carrie Underwood decided to pursue pop stardom, this is how her music might sound. Although it leans toward pop and rock, "Blown Away" did not deter country fans. It has received 2 Grammy Award nominations in country music while also reaching the top 40 at adult pop radio.

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44
Alicia Keys - "Girl On Fire" featuring Nicki Minaj

Alicia Keys -
Alicia Keys - "Girl On Fire" featuring Nicki Minaj. Courtesy RCA

Alicia Keys used the birth of her son Egypt and marriage to producer Swizz Beatz to help inspire this triumphant return to the pop spotlight. The song is centered on a theme of female empowerment. It is Alicia Keys' biggest pop hit single in five years.

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45
Neon Trees - "Everybody Talks"

Neon Trees -
Neon Trees - "Everybody Talks". Courtesy Mercury Records

Singles by Neon Trees do not become hits quickly. Their first hit "Animal" experienced a long slow climb to the upper reaches of pop charts and "Everybody Talks" followed the same pattern in climbing even higher. Ultimately the song hit #1 at adult pop radio while becoming the group's first top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.

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46
Calvin Harris - "Let's Go" featuring Ne-Yo

Calvin Harris -
Calvin Harris - "Let's Go" featuring Ne-Yo. Courtesy Ultra

Dance music producer and artists Calvin Harris continued his hot streak with this breezy Ne-Yo collaboration. "Let's Go" became his third consecutive #2 pop hit in the UK. On these shores it climbed into the top 20 while receiving a Grammy Award nomination for Best Dance Recording.

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47
Cher Lloyd - "Want U Back"

Cher Lloyd -
Cher Lloyd - "Want U Back". Courtesy Syco

Former competitor Cher Lloyd was introduced to US audiences with this R&B influenced pop jam. It is infused by an appealingly aggressive attitude. The song has sold nearly two million copies in the US and reached the top 10 on mainstream pop radio.

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48
Maroon 5 - "Payphone" featuring Wiz Khalifa

Maroon 5 -
Maroon 5 - "Payphone" featuring Wiz Khalifa. Courtesy A&M / Octone

Maroon 5 introduced a new generation to the nearly defunct "payphone" with one of the catchiest pop choruses of the year. The song spent a frustrating six weeks at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 while failing to reach #1 and holding a place in the top 10 for its first 19 weeks on the chart. "Payphone" became the group's first #1 hit in the UK.

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49
Imagine Dragons - "It's Time"

Imagine Dragons - Night Visions
Imagine Dragons - Night Visions. Courtesy Interscope

Imagine Dragons were part of the wave of alternative pop bands that rode into the mainstream pop charts in 2012. After signing to major label Interscope and working closely with British producer Alex Da Kid, the group saw "It's Time" climb the charts peaking inside the top 5 on both the alternative and rock songs charts.

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50
will.i.am - "Scream and Shout" featuring Britney Spears

will.i.am -
will.i.am - "Scream and Shout" featuring Britney Spears. Courtesy Interscope

It took a superstar collaboration, but will.i.am finally earned his first major solo pop chart hit with this lead in for the solo album #willpower. Britney Spears adopts a British accent and the result was an instant pop hit debuting at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100.

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51
OneRepublic - "Feel Again"

OneRepublic -
OneRepublic - "Feel Again". Courtesy Interscope

OneRepublic dug deeper into gospel influences for this uplifting pop hit. This is the first single from the group's upcoming third studio album Native due in early 2013. "Feel Again" reached the top 10 at adult pop radio.

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52
Passion Pit - "Take a Walk"

Passion Pit - Gossamer
Passion Pit - Gossamer. Courtesy Columbia

Indie rock band Passion Pit made inroads toward the mainstream in 2012 with their single "Take a Walk." Use of the song in a Taco Bell commercial helped expand the band's audience. "Take a Walk" was a top 10 hit at both alternative and rock radio.

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53
Kendrick Lamar - "Swimming Pools (Drank)"

Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid m.A.A.d. City
Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid m.A.A.d. City. Courtesy Interscope

With the release of his first major label album, Kendrick Lamar became one of the most critically acclaimed rap artists of 2012. "Swimming Pools (Drank)" climbed into the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 while reaching #1 on the rap songs chart.

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54
Bruno Mars - "Locked Out of Heaven"

Bruno Mars -
Bruno Mars - "Locked Out of Heaven". Courtesy Elektra

Bruno Mars took an uptempo route for the first single from his second solo album Unorthodox Jukebox. The result was his fourth #1 hit single. Part of the song was cited for having a resemblance to music by the Police and the voice of Sting.

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55
Taylor Swift - "I Knew You Were Trouble"

Taylor Swift -
Taylor Swift - "I Knew You Were Trouble". Courtesy Big Machine

Taylor Swift stretches stylistically into the edge of dubstep territory on this second major pop hit from the album Red. She proves that she is serious about exploring pop territory that reaches far beyond her country roots.

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56
Karmin - "Brokenhearted"

Karmin -
Karmin - "Brokenhearted". Courtesy Epic

Known initially for cover versions of pop-rap hits, the duo Karmin broke into the pop mainstream with this hit single. The song includes rapping from Amy Heidemann and production by Dr. Luke. "Brokenhearted" reached #1 on the dance chart while climbing into the top 10 at mainstream pop radio.

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57
Kelly Clarkson - "Catch My Breath"

Kelly Clarkson -
Kelly Clarkson - "Catch My Breath". Courtesy RCA

Kelly Clarkson wrapped up her first decade as a pop star with the release of a greatest hits collection. "Catch My Breath" helped introduce the package. The song celebrates her past and her vision for the future.

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58
Pink - "Try"

Pink -
Pink - "Try". Courtesy RCA

In an era in which ballads are a rare commodity at pop radio, Pink chose "Try" as the second single from her The Truth About Love album. It was publicized by a beautiful video featuring Pink and a male dancer exploring the paths of a relationship through dance.

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59
Olly Murs - "Heart Skips a Beat" featuring Chiddy Bang

Olly Murs - My Heart Skips a Beat
Olly Murs - My Heart Skips a Beat. Courtesy Columbia Records

Former contestant Olly Murs is a major pop star at home in the UK. "Heart Skips a Beat" was his second of four #1 hit singles at home. Here in the US the song's charm helped Olly Murs make his first appearance on US charts. He will receive a major promotional push in the spring of 2013, but "Heart Skips a Beat" remains a perfect introduction to Olly Murs.

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60
Nelly Furtado - "Big Hoops (The Bigger the Better)"

Nelly Furtado -
Nelly Furtado - "Big Hoops (The Bigger The Better)". Courtesy Interscope

Nelly Furtado never fails to explore new territory as a pop artist. "Big Hoops (The Bigger the Better)" digs deep into the realm of club music and closes with a fierce drum and bass breakdown. The song was a top 10 dance hit single in the US.

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61
Katy Perry - "Part Of Me"

Katy Perry -
Katy Perry - "Part Of Me". Courtesy Capitol

"Part Of Me" was a left over song from the sessions the produced Katy Perry's album . However, after the breakup of her marriage with Russell Brand, the song seemed to acquire new resonance. The song debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 becoming Katy Perry's seventh chart topping hit over all.

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62
Chris Brown - "Turn Up the Music"

Chris Brown -
Chris Brown - "Turn Up the Music". Courtesy RCA

For the first single from his album Fortune, Chris Brown headed strongly into pop-dance territory. After he performed the song at the Grammy Awards, "Turn Up the Music" debuted inside the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.

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63
Skrillex - "Bangarang" featuring Sirah

Skrillex -
Skrillex - "Bangarang" featuring Sirah. Courtesy Atlantic

DJ and dance music producer Skrillex continued his journey into mainstream territory with the release of the single "Bangarang." It was certified gold for sales in the US and made appearances on pop singles charts around the world.

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64
M.I.A. - "Bad Girls"

M.I.A. -
M.I.A. - "Bad Girls". Courtesy Mercury Records

"Bad Girls" first made an appearance on M.I.A.'s Vicki Leekx mixtape. The new version was released in early 2012 featuring her trademark worldbeat dance sound. The accompanying music video was one of the most acclaimed of the year featuring Middle Eastern women drag racing.

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65
Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T and 2 Chainz - "Mercy"

Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T, and 2 Chainz -
Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T, and 2 Chainz - "Mercy". Courtesy G.O.O.D. Music

"Mercy" served as the lead single from the GOOD Music label compilation album Cruel Summer. The song combines Southern rap with elements from dancehall. "Mercy" peaked at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 while reaching #1 on both the rap songs and R&B songs charts.

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66
Andy Grammer - "Fine By Me"

Andy Grammer - Andy Grammer
Andy Grammer - Andy Grammer. Courtesy S-Curve

Few pop artists create as effortlessly upbeat and cheerful music as singer-songwriter Andy Grammer. "Fine By Me" was co-written with producer Matt Radosevich. It hit the top 10 at adult pop radio on the way to being certified gold for sales.

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67
Muse - "Madness"

Muse -
Muse - "Madness". Courtesy Warner Bros.

UK rock band Muse introduced their sixth studio album The 2nd Law with the single "Madness." It was acclaimed for bringing a slinky, sexual element to the band's rock. "Madness" topped the alternative and rock songs charts while receiving a Grammy Award nomination for Best Rock Song.

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68
Gym Class Heroes - "The Fighter" featuring Ryan Tedder

Gym Class Heroes -
Gym Class Heroes - "The Fighter" featuring Ryan Tedder. Courtesy Fueled By Ramen

"The Fighter" became the third consecutive top 40 pop hit single from the album The Papercut Chronicles II for Gym Class Heroes. The accompanying music video features training footage of US Olympic gymnast John Orozco.

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69
Kelly Clarkson - "Dark Side"

Kelly Clarkson - Stronger
Kelly Clarkson - Stronger. Courtesy RCA

Kelly Clarkson's "Dark Side" was created with the same team that helped create the #1 smash "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)." The accompanying music video received an MTV Video Music Awards nomination for Best Video With a Message. "Dark Side" hit #1 on the dance chart and the top 10 on the adult pop radio chart.

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70
Maroon 5 - "One More Night"

Maroon 5 -
Maroon 5 - "One More Night". Courtesy A&M / Octone

Maroon 5 added reggae touches to their light pop approach on the single "One More Night." The result was one of the biggest commercial successes of 2012. "One More Night" ruled the Billboard Hot 100 chart for nine weeks. It has sold more than three million copies to date.

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71
Nicki Minaj - "Pound the Alarm"

Nicki Minaj -
Nicki Minaj - "Pound the Alarm". Courtesy Cash Money

Following the success of the hit single "Starships," Nicki Minaj released this second RedOne collaboration as a single. "Pound the Alarm" features an even heavier beat than "Starships." The result was a #1 dance hit and a top 15 peak on the Billboard Hot 100.

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72
No Doubt - "Settle Down"

No Doubt -
No Doubt - "Settle Down". Courtesy Interscope

The band No Doubt returned in 2012 with their first new music in a decade. "Settle Down" fits well with the group's classic music possessing a similar sound. The song reached the top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 but failed to become the major hit some expected from the band.

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73
Rihanna - "Diamonds"

Rihanna -
Rihanna - "Diamonds". Courtesy Def Jam

With a nod to the sound of Lana Del Rey, Rihanna returned to the top of the pop charts with "Diamonds." She collaborated with a superstar collection of songwriters including Sia, Stargate, and Benny Blanco. It is the lead single from Rihanna's first #1 hit album .

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74
Flo Rida - "Whistle"

Flo Rida -
Flo Rida - "Whistle". Courtesy Atlantic

Rapper Flo Rida continued to generate major pop hit singles throughout 2012. "Whistle" featured thinly veiled sexual references but followed his approach of steering clear of explicit references that would turn off a mainstream pop audience. The result was a #1 pop hit single around the world and sales exceeding three million in the US alone.

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75
The Script - "Hall Of Fame" featuring will.i.am

The Script -
The Script - "Hall Of Fame" featuring will.i.am. Courtesy Phonogenic

Following a series of downbeat pop hits, the band the Script turned in a positive direction with this will.i.am collaboration. It was a positive new direction for the band. "Hall Of Fame" became their first #1 hit single in the UK. The song also reached the top 15 on both rock songs and adult pop radio charts.

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76
R. Kelly - "Share My Love"

R. Kelly -
R. Kelly - "Share My Love". Courtesy RCA

Despite all of the controversy that follows him, R. Kelly remains one of the most talented R&B vocalists in the music industry. "Share My Love" is part of his continued exploration of traditional R&B elements. Many compared the song to Michael Jackson's Off the Wall era.

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77
Carly Rae Jepsen - "This Kiss"

Carly Rae Jepsen -
Carly Rae Jepsen - "This Kiss". Courtesy Schoolboy Records

"This Kiss" finds Carly Rae Jepsen exploring 80s style synth pop. It included co-writing credits from LMFAO's RedFoo. The song is a small mainstream pop gem.

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78
Madonna - "Girl Gone Wild"

Madonna -
Madonna - "Girl Gone Wild". Courtesy Interscope

"Girl Gone Wild" is a collaboration between Madonna and dance music producer Benny Benassi. The song generated controversy due to its title's similarity to the video series Girls Gone Wild. Some praised it for similarity to past Madonna hits while others viewed that as a weakness. "Girl Gone Wild" topped the dance chart but failed to break into the Billboard Hot 100.

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79
B.o.B. - "So Good"

B.o.B. -
B.o.B. - "So Good". Courtesy Atlantic

B.o.B. name drops great artists on the single "So Good" including Michelangelo, Picasso, and Gershwin. "So Good" was released as the second single from the Strange Clouds album. It was certified platinum and peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100.

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80
Young the Giant - "Cough Syrup"

Young the Giant - Young the Giant
Young the Giant - Young the Giant. Courtesy Roadrunner

Indie rock band Young the Giant have made a swift rise into public acclaim. "Cough Syrup" is the second top 5 alternative hit from the group's self-titled debut album. The song dates back to a 2008 EP by the group titled Shake My Hand. Darren Criss covered the song on the TV show Glee. "Cough Syrup" reached the top 30 of the adult pop radio chart.

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81
Jennifer Lopez - "Dance Again" featuring Pitbull

Jennifer Lopez -
Jennifer Lopez - "Dance Again" featuring Pitbull. Courtesy Epic

One of the benefits for Jennifer Lopez of her tenure as a judge on American Idol is her return to major success on the pop charts. "Dance Again" features production from RedOne as well as featured rapping from Pitbull. The music video for the song debuted on American Idol. "Dance Again" topped the dance chart in the US while rising into the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100.

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82
Linkin Park - "Burn It Down"

Linkin Park -
Linkin Park - "Burn It Down". Courtesy Warner Bros.

"Burn It Down" introduced Living Things, the fifth studio album from rock band Linkin Park. The song topped both the alternative and rock songs charts. It was celebrated as a strong addition to the group's catalogue of singles.

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83
One Direction - "One Thing"

One Direction -
One Direction - "One Thing". Courtesy Syco

"One Thing" is the second single released by boy band One Direction in the US. It incorporates rock elements into the group's mainstream pop sound. Some critics found strong similarities to the classic Backstreet Boys hit "I Want It That Way."

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84
Rita Ora - "How We Do (Party)"

Rita Ora -
Rita Ora - "How We Do (Party)". Courtesy Roc Nation

British artist Rita Ora is a protege of rapper and record executive Jay-Z. Her first two singles both went to #1 at home in the UK. "How We Do (Party)" crossed the Atlantic scoring with dance audiences hitting #1 on the dance chart while also rising to #22 at mainstream pop radio.

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85
Justin Bieber - "As Long As You Love Me" featuring Big Sean

Justin Bieber -
Justin Bieber - "As Long As You Love Me" featuring Big Sean. Courtesy Schoolboy Records

Justin Bieber incorporated trendy dubstep sounds on "As Long As You Love Me." He collaborated with veteran R&B producer and songwriter Rodney Jerkins. The song became one of the biggest mainstream hits of Justin Bieber's career peaking at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100.

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86
Chris Brown - "Don't Wake Me Up"

Chris Brown -
Chris Brown - "Don't Wake Me Up". Courtesy RCA

Chris Brown's "Don't Wake Me Up" continues to explore pop dance territory. For the song he collaborated with dance music producers Benny Benassi and William Orbit. Reportedly the song was originally intended for Madonna's album .

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87
Taylor Swift - "Ronan"

Taylor Swift -
Taylor Swift - "Ronan". Courtesy Big Machine

"Ronan" is a poignant song Taylor Swift contributed to the September 2012 Stand Up To Cancer telethon. It was co-written with Maya Thompson, the mother of a young boy who succumbed to cancer at the age of four.

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88
Train - "50 Ways To Say Goodbye"

Train -
Train - "50 Ways To Say Goodbye". Courtesy Columbia

Pop-rock band Train climbed into the top 10 at adult pop radio for a 12th time with this second single from the album California 37. The humorous lyrics continued the buoyant feel of current single by the band.

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89
Ne-Yo - "Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)"

Ne-Yo - Let Me Love You
Ne-Yo - Let Me Love You "(Until You Learn To Love Yourself)". Courtesy Motown

Ne-Yo collaborated with Sia and Stargate for a pop dance introduction to his album R.E.D. The song provides a positive, uplifting message. The song topped the UK pop singles chart while becoming Ne-Yo's sixth top 10 hit in the US, his first since 2008.

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90
Nicki Minaj - "Va Va Voom"

Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded
Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. Courtesy Cash Money

With collaboration from Dr. Luke, Nicki Minaj explored once again in dance pop directions with "Va Va Voom." It hit #3 on the UK pop singles chart while quickly climbing into the top 40 on both the US dance chart and the Billboard Hot 100.

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91
Pitbull - "Don't Stop the Party" featuring TJR

Pitbull -
Pitbull - "Don't Stop the Party". Courtesy RCA

Pitbull has built himself a reputation as one of the current kings of party music. "Don't Stop the Party" emerged out of a previous song "Funky Vodka" written by TJR. The song closed the year climbing both the dance chart and pop chart.

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92
Bridgit Mendler - "Ready Or Not"

Bridgit Mendler -
Bridgit Mendler - "Ready Or Not". Courtesy Hollywood Records

Bridgit Mendler is the latest in a long line of singers emerging from the Disney music factory. "Ready Or Not," the first single from her debut solo album Hello My Name Is..., is her first pop radio hit. The song has been praised for being a girl anthem with strong vocals from Bridgit Mendler.

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93
Calvin Harris - "Sweet Nothing" featuring Florence Welch

Calvin Harris -
Calvin Harris - "Sweet Nothing" featuring Florence and the Machine. Courtesy Ultra

Dance music producer and artist Calvin Harris joined forces with Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine on this song. It was co-written by the pair and became Calvin Harris' first #1 pop hit single in the UK since 2009 and followed a string of four consecutive songs that peaked at #2. In the US "Sweet Nothing" topped the dance chart and became Calvin Harris' third top 40 pop hit from the album 18 Months.

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94
Big Time Rush - "Windows Down"

Big Time Rush -
Big Time Rush - "Windows Down". Courtesy Columbia

Nickelodeon network boy band Big Time Rush aimed for a summer pop anthem with the song "Windows Down." It is pure pop fun that peaked inside the Billboard Hot 100. The group explored a more adult power pop sound on the song.

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95
Justin Bieber - "Boyfriend"

Justin Bieber - Boyfriend option 1
Justin Bieber - Boyfriend option 1. Courtesy Island Records

Justin Bieber's single "Boyfriend" barely missed out on becoming his first #1 pop hit single. It debuted at #2 just behind fun's huge hit "We Are Young." The song represented an effort at moving into more adult territory as the first single from the album Believe.

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96
Usher - "Scream"

Usher -
Usher - "Scream". Courtesy RCA

Usher collaborated with pop master Max Martin and his team to create this pop dance hit. Usher considers it the celebratory dance companion to his earlier sultry, sexy hit "Climax." "Scream" became his 18th top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.

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97
Karmin - "Hello"

Karmin -
Karmin - "Hello". Courtesy Epic

"Hello" is the title song from Karmin's major label debut EP also titled Hello. It was produced by Norwegian duo Stargate. "Hello" topped the dance chart while climbing inside the top 20 at mainstream pop radio.

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98
Flo Rida - "I Cry"

Flo Rida -
Flo Rida - "I Cry". Courtesy Atlantic Records

Flo Rida's "I Cry" is built around sampling from Brenda Russell's 1988 hit single "Piano In the Dark" by way of the dance recording "Cry (Just a Little)" by the Bingo Players. Despite some complaints from critics "I Cry" has become an instant commercial success It is Flo Rida's ninth top 10 pop hit single and the fourth from the album Wild Ones.

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99
Christina Aguilera - "Your Body"

Christina Aguilera -
Christina Aguilera - "Your Body". Courtesy RCA

"Your Body" was intended to be a major pop comeback single for Christina Aguilera. However, despite strong critical reviews it only reached #34 on the Billboard Hot 100. "Your Body" did become a significant dance hit peaking at #1 on the dance chart.

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100
Chris Rene - "Young Homie"

Chris Rene -
Chris Rene - "Young Homie". Courtesy Epic

Thus far Chris Rene is the only contestant from to experience significant chart success. He wrote the song "Young Homie" and used it for his audition for the show. Following the show the soulful song was released as a single. It peaked at #26 on mainstream pop radio.

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