At the dawn of the new millennium, all the rules for pop went out the window. Defined in the previous two decades by the likes of Michael Jackson and Madonna on up to the boy bands and girl singers of the late ‘90s, a changing music landscape and critical definition of the word meant that the sound of pop suddenly cast a much wider net than any time before.
It’s an age we’re really still living through. And so, for this list, we’ve taken a long listen to some of the biggest bangers of the last 20-plus years and did what feels nearly impossible: we’ve ranked them. As a genre, pop has always been nebulously defined, so while we’ve excluded rock, country and hip-hop, you’ll find R&B jams, dance-floor fillers and insanely catchy earworms not even the snootiest of snobs can deny. These are the best pop songs of the 21st century.
🎉 The best party songs ever made
🎸 The best classic rock songs
🎤 The best karaoke songs
🎶 The best ’80s songs
🎵 The best ’90s songs