These are the 40 current songs that the world is hearing. They are the current definition of pop music.
16 year old Lorde is something very different from the typical teen pop star. She hails from New Zealand, writes her own songs, and has a very distinctive, slightly brooding, approach to music and life. "Royals" is an arresting song with a minimalist production that is highly addictive. Quickly championed by alternative radio, the song has turned the 16 year old into one of the biggest female alternative pop stars in more than a decade.
Miley Cyrus followed her controversial MTV Video Music Awards performance with this big emotional ballad. Slow songs are still a bit sparse on the radio, but "Wrecking Ball" is leading the charge to re-establish the dramatic pop ballad's place in mainstream pop.
Young Swedish dance music master Avicii shocked dance music fans in the spring of 2013 at the annual Ultra Music Festival with this song and others that represented a blending of traditional electronic dance music with country music sounds. Some fans were offended while others found the change exciting. The ultimate result is that "Wake Me Up," with vocals from American soul singer Aloe Blacc became one of the biggest worldwide pop hits of the year.
Drake joins one of the top pop music trends of the year by embracing retro soul music here. He says it is an homage of sorts to the 1980s work of Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones. This is an elegant lead in to Drake's third solo album Nothing Was the Same which delivered one of the biggest first week sales totals of the year.
Jay-Z's "Holy Grail" is a highly personal rap song. It features beautiful chorus vocals from Justin Timberlake. The fascinating music video shows Jay-Z as almost a Citizen Kane type character. He is trapped by his fame in a dark, gloomy mansion surrounded by vaguely disturbing imagery and the metaphor of Mike Tyson's fall from grace on a TV.
The Brooklyn based electronic pop duo Capital Cities began their musical career as commercial jingle writers. That might explain their sure hand with a catchy pop melody. "Safe and Sound" first emerged as a hit on the alternative chart, but the style of the song is pure pop.
Lady Gaga introduces her Artpop project with this meditation on her relationship to her fans. The song has received very mixed reviews, but it does present a catchy dance beat that sent the song instantly up dance music charts. "Applause" is Lady Gaga's 12th top 10 pop hit.
Eminem, like many major artists in 2013, is looking back to put together a retro rap hit. Working with Rick Rubin he has recreated the sound of old school rap by artists like Run-DMC and updated it for contemporary ears. Fueled by a Beastie Boys snippet and samples from Billy Squier's "The Stroke," this new single sounds almost festive.
"Summertime Sadness" is one of the biggest surprise pop hits of summer 2013. It was first released as a track on Lana Del Rey's album Born To Die released in January 2012. However, a showy house remix of the song by Cedric Gervais caught the attention and imagination of pop radio programmers. "Summertime Sadness" quickly became one of the top moody summer themed pop hits of all time.