Fifth Harmony made working from home a full-on party; Ariana Grande commanded us to the dance floor; and Taylor Swift returned with two new songs — though she didn’t sing either of them. But 2016 will always be the year Beyoncé ordered us to get in formation. Below, EW’s list of the 100 best songs of 2016. To hear all these songs in one place, subscribe to our playlist here.
100. The Chainsmokers feat. Halsey, “Closer”
Are Chainsmokers the LMFAO of 2016? Possibly. Does closer rhyme with Rover and corner? Not really. Is this song a total goddamn earworm? Absolutely. Sometimes a track comes along that bypasses all your filters and objective ideas of what constitutes “good music”; it just makes you sing like you actually care about mattresses in Boulder, and dance like no one can see your Spotify streams. —Leah Greenblatt
99. Dirty Projectors, “Keep Your Name”
Dirty Projectors’ mastermind Dave Longstreth channels Kanye West’s recent outré attitude — the two collaborated on 2015’s “FourFiveSeconds” — with this warped, woozy loosie, the art-rock band’s first new music since 2012’s Swing Lo Magellan. —Eric Renner Brown
98. Holychild feat. Kate Nash, “Rotten Teeth”
Who knew railing against the patriarchy could be such a blast? Frontwoman Liz Nistico and British singer Kate Nash commiserate about the impossible expectations women face on a cavity-inducing indie-pop riot that crackles and pops with verve and wit. “I can never be the girl I want to be,” Nistico sings, yet somehow everyone can feel her pain. —Nolan Feeney
97. Twin Peaks, “Walk to the One You Love”
With this year’s Down In Heaven, the ragtag Chicago rock group busted out of the garage, trading in scuzzy simplicity for the strut of golden-era Rolling Stones. Spunky horns, plucky piano, and lackadaisical guitars guide the album’s upbeat opener. —E.R.B.
96. Tourist, “Run”
You may know William Phillips best as a co-writer of Sam Smith’s Grammy-winning song “Stay With Me.” But under the moniker Tourist, he’s shown himself to be an adventurous conjurer of electronic sounds; this standout track from his debut album, U, crackles and fizzes and twitches non-stop for four minutes, yet it still exudes a meditative vibe nonetheless. –Kevin O’Donnell
95. Fujiya and Miyagi, “Freudian Slips”
This Brighton, England-based crew of groovemasters have long perfected the studied minimalism of krautrock pioneers Can and Neu!. “Freudian Slips” is something else: it starts as a quiet examination on psychoanalysis—”An involuntary slip, or an unconscious wish?” singer David Best whispers—but then launches into the stratosphere mid-way through, thanks to one insanely great synth melody. –K.O.
94. Weezer, “King of the World”
If he could do whatever he wanted, Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo sings over chugging, pop-punk power chords on “King of the World,” he’d take his lover and “ride a Greyhound all the way to the Galapagos.” Weezer wear their nerd-rock charm with pride — and with songs this good, who can blame ‘em? —E.R.B.
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93. DJ Shadow, “Nobody Speak”
The best instrumental off the seminal producer’s The Mountain Will Fall also sports some of the few verses Run the Jewels — the duo comprised of Killer Mike and El-P — delivered in 2016. —E.R.B.
92. Bibi Bourelly, “Ego”
The German songwriter behind Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money” introduced herself as an artist with this wrenching, soulful stunner, where she quips, “I’m 19 years old with a big ego/Got holes in my pants but a sick flow.” Set against handclaps and gentle guitar strums, Bourelly’s raw vocals slink about like a cabaret star — even when she’s singing, “You got me f—ed up.” –Jessica Goodman
91. NxWorries, “Lyk Dis”
For NxWorries, 2016 breakout Anderson .Paak teamed with the producer Knxwledge to make Yes Lawd!, a collection of soulful beats and even more soulful vocals. Its key track is lush, sensual, and dirty as hell — don’t play this one around the kids. —E.R.B.
90. Holy F—, “Caught Up”
Five minutes of throbbing bass, squealing vocals, and a monster guitar riff add up to the year’s most urgent punk-funk anthem. –K.O.
89. Parquet Courts, “Berlin Got Blurry”
With a Jonathan Richman-esque eye for detail and sharp post-punk riffs, the best indie-rock band in the land delivers a drunken travelogue worth tapping your feet to. —Ray Rahman
88. Delorean, “Epic”
The Barcelona-based quartet crafted five minutes of blissed-out electro-pop escapism — in a year when we needed it more than ever. –K.O.
87. Captain Cuts feat. Nateur, “Love Like We Used To”
Whether they’re remixing divas like Britney Spears and Ellie Goulding or crafting alt-pop hits like Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance,” this songwriter-producer trio know how to get people moving. They put the skills they’ve been honing to good use on this groovy funk workout, which doubles as their official artist debut. Good luck trying to sit still. —N.F.
86. OneRepublic, “Kids”
True story: Ryan Tedder, the OneRepublic frontman who’s written hits for Beyoncé, Kelly Clarkson and others, came up with this song’s irresistible vocal hook one random day and instantly sang it into his phone. He’s spun that moment into one of his band’s boldest and most adventurous songs to date. And that massive chorus wouldn’t sound out of place on a peak U2 record. —K.O.
85. The Avett Brothers, “Ain’t No Man”
The North Carolina roots-rockers have worked with studio jedi master Rick Rubin since 2009, but it’s this year’s True Sadness that finally glows with the producer’s prowess. “Man” retains the band’s boozy, old-timey strings longtime fans love yet throws itself into the 21st century with bright production. —Madison Vain
84. Tyler Glenn, “Midnight”
The Neon Trees frontman’s solo debut has no shortage of its emotional moments — it chronicles his split from the Mormon Church following an anti-gay policy change — yet this piano ballad makes for one gripping centerpiece. Glenn sounds at once mournful and excited as he ponders life outside of the institution he called home for more than 30 years. “God! I could never be like you!” he belts. “I can’t change, I can’t change, and I don’t want to.” We don’t want him to, either. —N.F.
83. Dolly Parton, “I’m Sixteen”
“It goes to show you’re never old/Unless you choose to be,” 70-year-old Dolly Parton exclaims over cotton-candy sweet folk instrumentation, a highlight from her 43rd(!) album Pure + Simple. “And I will be sixteen forever!” We don’t doubt it. —M.V.
82. Sampha, “Blood On Me”
”I swear they smell the blood on me/I hear them coming for me,” British singer-songwriter Sampha sings. It’s a desperate plea, and the music behind it — a heady swirl of wind-chime atmospherics and a throbbing low-end — matches the mood. The best cut yet from an artist who’s just getting started. —M.V.
81. Jim James, “Here in Spirit”
The My Morning Jacket frontman digs deep into retro soul and funk styles, yet his message about the importance of activism has never been more current. –K.O.
80. Gallant, “Bourbon”
“But I’m shaking, I need it like bourbon in my coffee cup,” the 23-year-old R&B artist sings. He’s lamenting a lost love, but with that silky smooth voice and throwback, Seal-esque style, “Bourbon” may induce similar withdrawals in you once it’s over. —M.V.
79. Whitney, “Golden Days”
“Those golden days snuck away from us,” Julien Ehrlich yearns over extravagant horns and slide guitar. But like much of Light Upon the Lake, the impressive debut from indie-rock group Whitney, “Golden Days” radiates warmth despite such chilly subject matter. —E.R.B.
78. D∆WN, “Not Above That”
Anytime a woman sings about bedroom power dynamics it feels provocative, but with D∆WN on this track, it feels vital and political. And the howling atmospherics and skittering Machinedrum-produced beat come on like an extraterrestrial force beamed down from outer space. —M.V.
77. DJ Khaled feat. Kendrick Lamar, Big Sean and Betty Wright, “Holy Key”
Kendrick Lamar is the best rapper alive, Big Sean is one of the game’s most underappreciated artists, Betty Wright is a soul veteran, and DJ Khaled is hip-hop’s lifestyle juggernaut. Throw ‘em all together, and you have a breathlessly grandiose monster song with a message. —R.R.
76. Dierks Bentley, “Black”
Monogamy got a whole lot sexier this year thanks to this Dierks Bentley cut, where he brags about familiar hands that “know just where to go.”—M.V.