Year In Music 2016

What Was Your No. 1 Spotify Song of the Year? A Billboard Staff Roundtable

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The end of the year always brings with it a time for reflection on the year that was, and for music writers, that mostly entails an abundance of list-making, ranking our favorites from the last 12 months. These lists usually involve a lot of soul-searching, a lot of joyous and painful remembrances, and a lot of guilt over those songs and albums inevitably left behind. What they don't involve, for the most part, is science: When it comes to determining your personal year-end lists, there usually isn't much room for cold, hard data.

That is, until now. This year, Spotify has done listeners the favor of making their year-end lists for them, with Your Top Songs of 2016 playlists (personalized for each user) removing emotion, memory and bias from the equation. Of course, the process is still an imprecise one -- Spotify's catalog is not yet perfect, leading to a couple superstar-sized holes in our playlists, and the exact formula they've used to determine our favorite songs of the year is a bit blurry -- but it's an interesting way to reveal our 2016 favorites that we might not even realize are our favorites, even those first released well before 2016.

Read on to see ten of our staffers reveal what Spotify says their No. 1 song of the year was, as well as one song from their playlist that they never would've expected to see there.

?Lyndsey Havens, Editorial Assistant

Top song: Sufjan Stevens, "Should Have Known Better"

No idea how that got on there: The Lonely Island feat. Adam Levine, "I'm So Humble"
¯\_(?)_/¯

Jason Lipshutz, Music Editor 

Top song: Rico Nasty feat. Lil Yachty, "Hey Arnold (Remix)" 

No idea how that got on there: Fitz & the Tantrums, "Handclap"
Chalk it up to playlist malleability: “Handclap” sorta works in a pop, rock or dance collection. It also just sorta works on its own; damn you, Fitz, and your maddeningly catchy tantrums.

?
Joe Lynch, Senior Writer

Top song: RuPaul, "Cover Girl"

No idea how that got on there: Buddy Collette, "I Want to Be Happy"
My initial reaction was "Wait, who is Buddy Collette? Is he jazz or something?" Turns out: Yes, and I apparently listened to his flute playing on "I Want to Be Happy" quite a bit this year. At press time, I haven't forgotten about this song again.

Chris Payne, Staff Writer 

Top song: The 1975, "A Change of Heart"

No idea how that got on there: Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Snow (Hey Oh)" 

I used to always think the Red Hot Chili Peppers were annoying and overexposed (hah!), and mostly rejected them without listening too closely. I was out at Coachella this year with a group of people who played their hits a lot (and did a lot of cocaine, while out in California, how about that!) and after hearing this particular song for the third or fourth time, I started to think, “Wow, the production and little nuances of this song are actually kind of awesome.” So that translated to me going back on Spotify a lot later on, listening to those keyboards come in during the second verse. Rick Rubin is really good at things; who would have thought!

Adelle Platon, Staff Writer

Top song: Bas, "Clouds Never Get Old"

No idea how that got on there: Kanye West, "I Love Kanye"
Remarkably, this was my No. 2 song on Spotify, which came as a shock to me since my speakers were smoking after playing out "Ultralight Beam," "Father, Stretch My Hands," "Famous" and "Fade" off his The Life of Pablo album. Regardless of his headline-grabbing antics, I guess it's a subliminal sign that deep down, this hip-hop head still really does love Kanye.

Leslie Richin, Social Media Editor

Top song: Aerosmith, "Sweet Emotion"

No Idea how that got on there: Harold Faltermeyer and Steve Stevens, "Top Gun Anthem"
What can I say? My fiancé really likes the film.

Kevin Rutherford, Chart Manager (Social, Streaming, Rock)

Top song: Ghost, "Square Hammer"

No idea how that got on there: Rob Zombie, "Dragula"
Between this and Ghost, should I be worried? Whatever. It’s #onbrand for 2016.

Andrew Unterberger, Senior Associate Editor

Top song: Kvelertak, "1985"

No idea how that got on there: Foo Fighters, "The Neverending Sigh"
Couldn't have been that neverending, I had no memory of this song even existing.

Taylor Weatherby, Associate Editor

Top song: The Chainsmokers feat. Tritonal and Emily Warren, "Until You Were Gone"

No idea how that got on there: Niall Horan, "This Town" (Tiesto Remix)
Not surprised that "This Town" made my year-end list, but what did catch me off guard was the fact that it was via the Tiesto remix. I don’t think I could count the amount of times I’ve listened to that version on even one hand, as it’s not nearly as enjoyable as the charming original. And I was shocked to see that only one Mumford & Sons song was included, considering I probably listened to the band’s entire discography at least 10 times after seeing them live -- also at that Firefly.

Natalie Weiner, Associate Editor

Top song: Ciara, "Body Party"

Songs about sex are so often basic and/or gross, but “Body Party” presents the topic at its best: fun and blushing and sweet, with enough heat to (hopefully) bring to mind some recent bedroom festivities of one’s own. The video translates its theme quite literally, as a party featuring many bodies (including but not limited to Ludacris and Trinidad James) evolves into one of only two. Thanks to Mike Will’s familiar yet fresh flip, though, the song alone is charming enough to lift one’s spirits even without the promise of a boudoir-ready Ciara or ATL-style turn up — even if the only body in the room is yours.

No idea how that got on there: Jadakiss feat. Styles P, "Synergy"

The vast majority of the songs on my Spotify-offered playlist are ones that I did, in fact, listen to a bazillion times throughout the year. Some, though, are results of brief binges — like this one, off Jadakiss’s last album Top 5 Dead Or Alive. It’s triumphant, unfiltered New York hip-hop, courtesy of 2/3 of The Lox and the iconic Just Blaze, and as a result there are few better soundtracks to mean-mugging your way through crowded city streets.

Billboard Year in Music 2016