No surprise that Julia Michaels' debut single is one of the most acutely written pop songs of the year -- an ode to highly flawed mutual dependence, unstable but unsubstitutable -- since she's already spent a half-decade behind the scenes establishing some of top 40's most distinctive and distinguished penmanship. Slightly more unexpected is how similarly flawless the song's vocal delivery is: quivering through lyrics like "When I'm down I get real down/ When I'm high I don't come down" with the appropriate sense of vertigo, and then tip-toeing down the staccato violin scales of "You don't judge me/ Coz if you did, ba-by-I-would-judge-you-too..." like she was in turn-of-the-century Destiny's Child. -- A.U.
14. Future, "Mask Off"
Future’s “Mask Off” -- whose catchy refrain is based around an (appropriately) addictive “Percocets, molly, Percocets” chant and whose cooing Metro Boomin-produced beat samples Tommy Butler’s “Prison Song” -- became 2017's flute rap MVP, in a surprisingly crowded pool of candidates. In a year where Future released two full-length LPs before even hitting March Madness, "Mask Off" set itself apart from the rest of Future’s catalog with a hellacious visual starring Amber Rose and a subsequent fire-breathing remix featuring Kendrick Lamar, following their Coachella Weekend 1 duet, making the trap smash Future's biggest Hot 100 hit yet as a lead artist. -- A.P.
13. Miley Cyrus, "Malibu"
Whereas previous incarnations of Miley Cyrus seemed all about proving she was grown-up, badass and/or weird, the Miley Cyrus of "Malibu" doesn't sound like she's selling us anything – she's simply sharing her soul, and for the first time in years, the former Hannah Montana sounds satisfied. While there's a long history of California representing utopia in American pop, the happiness of "Malibu" isn't frothy or mindless – the ache in Miley's voice reveals her current beachside bliss is a hard-fought victory, and it gives the song an emotional heft missing from most odes to romantic domesticity. -- J. Lynch
12. DJ Khaled feat. Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper & Lil Wayne, "I'm the One"
With Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper, Quavo and Lil Wayne all on the same song, it’s almost impossible for that kind of collaboration to not become instant gold. And fortunately, DJ Khaled didn’t miss a step with his star-studded lineup, pairing the song's unmissable hook with a bouncy beat that entwines all four superstars in flawless fashion. Instead of overlapping them, Khaled lined up each artist with their own distinct verses -- with Bieber, of course, brilliantly taking the lead on the wavy chorus, tying it all together -- allowing their individual musical personalities to shine in the process. It's so downright fun it’s hard to not fall for at least one of the dudes on the track; or, at the very least, be singing “oh way oh, eh oh eh oh” to yourself for the rest of the day. -- T.W.