Expectations were sky-high for the first single from One Direction’s first member to go solo, and by breaking away from shiny pop-rock, new R&B disciple Zayn Malik delivered. “Pillowtalk” is a classic example of grown-up child star screaming “I’m having sex now!” into a microphone, but the single convincingly smolders during its drum-heavy hook, and Zayn’s quivering proclamations of “seeing the pain, seeing the pleasure” successfully break him free of his boy-band roots – and introduced him to the top of the Hot 100 before any of his former bandmates. — J. Lipshutz
36. Fat Joe & Remy Ma feat. French Montana & Infared, "All the Way Up"
Fat Joe and Remy Ma brought back the Terror Squad glory days of 2000s New York hip-hop with their anthemic hit "All The Way Up," co-starring Infared and French Montana. The infectious hit not only soundtracked graduations and had acting legend Samuel L. Jackson singing along at the 2016 BET Awards, it also soared to No. 9 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart, thanks to a remix from a usually low-key Jay Z. — A.P.
35. Lady Gaga, "Million Reasons"
Lady Gaga’s power ballad “Million Reasons” speaks to a universal human ache, to make the same mistakes yet again in the fairy-tale hope that the result will finally go our way this time, since it would be so sweet if they did. They won’t, of course, and her traffic-stopping vocal delivery perfectly encapsulates our longing for the impossible. — RENA GROSS
34. Justin Bieber, "Love Yourself"
A muted, beatless breakup ballad whose general saltiness guarantees it's now definitely too late for Justin Bieber to say sorry, "Love Yourself" became the year's biggest Hot 100 hit on the strength of classic I'm-not-obsessing-you're-obsessing lyrics like "I didn't wanna write a song/ 'Coz I didn't want anyone thinking I still care/ I don't." But rather than come off as the gentleman protesting too much, the song's impressively relaxed vibe ensures that it's just enough — Bieb and buddy Ed Sheeran simply stating the facts, while the trumpet solo takes care of the rest. — A.U.
33. Justin Timberlake, "Can't Stop the Feeling!"