Every number 1 of 2017 ranked from best to worst

number 1s line
By Alex

Thanks to a handful of mega-popular singles aided by mega-successful promo campaigns, 2017 has seen a pretty meagre amount of number 1s. 15, to be exact. Typically, it’s a mixed bunch. The music-consuming public doesn’t always get it right and, as a result, we’ve had some real stinkers clogging up the charts this year, stinkers like…

15. I’m The One – DJ Khaled ft Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper, Lil Wayne
Perhaps it’s just a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth, but even if you cut some of the needless names from DJ Khaled’s vapid ‘I’m The One’, you’d still be left with a turd. A gnawing, irritating track that’s more a roll call of the ubiquitous DJ’s famous friends than a proper song, ‘I’m The One’ is a lazy, self-congratulating, nepotistic pile of garbage.

14. Too Good At Goodbyes – Sam Smith
Another weepy heartbreak single from unlucky-in-love Sam Smith, ‘Too Good At Goodbyes’ is a turgid swamp of poor-me lyrics and nauseating warbling. Smith’s winning formula is still the same bland and painfully boring combination of cliches sung over plodding piano, his tried and tested method for earning a fast buck. A grotesque, wobbly-lipped love ballad, let’s try and leave this kind of shit in 2017.

13. Bridge Over Troubled Water – Artists For Grenfell
It’s difficult to criticise a charity single, but ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’, a track cobbled together from the only musicians available at short notice, is pretty dreadful. Intended as a heartfelt tribute to the lives lost in the tragic fire that ravaged Grenfell Tower earlier this year, it’s a schmaltzy, bare-minimum effort saved only by an original rap from Stormzy. Though its intentions are noble, as Lowkey and Mai Khalil proved just a few weeks later, with a little more time and effort, there are better and far more interesting ways to mourn the lives we lost that horrible night in June.

12. rockstar – Post Malone ft 21 Savage
A slow-burning rap track that hit the number one spot thanks to some seriously underhand tactics. After Republic Records uploaded the audio to YouTube, it cut out the verses and instead just looped the far catchier chorus for three and a half minutes. As YouTube hits count towards a track’s chart placing, some have attributed this manipulative move as the reason for the song’s success. But cynical marketing plot or no, ‘rockstar’ is still little more than mediocre rap filler.

11. Perfect Duet – Ed Sheeran and Beyoncé
The most calculated release of the year, Ed Sheeran knew exactly what he was doing when he roped in Beyoncé to guest star on this sickly love song right before Christmas. Beyoncé was equally cunning, surely pissed off she hadn’t had a US number one single for over 10 years and gladly lending her vocals to a surefire hit. With their forces combined, ‘Perfect Duet’ soared to the top of the charts in the US and the UK where it went on to become this year’s Christmas number 1. Bring back Mr Blobby tbh.
Read our full review here.

10. Wild Thoughts – DJ Khaled ft Rihanna and Bryson Tiller
DJ Khaled proves there’s more to him than irritating pop nonsense (see number 15) and being a shit meme. ‘Wild Thoughts’ is one of the year’s sexiest tracks, thanks entirely to Rihanna and her filthy sex-kitten drawl. In fact, Rihanna is the only memorable part of Khaled’s sweaty sex jam, a track that scored her another number 1 single but paled in comparison to her far superior solo work.
Read our full review here.

9. Sign Of The Times – Harry Styles
One Direction wonderkid Harry Styles gives up the tween bops in favour or drawn-out dad rock on his debut single, an unexpectedly long and grown up track that made him the second member of 1D to snag a number one. ‘Sign Of The Times’ may mark Styles as a serious solo artist, but it’s a largely lifeless affair that lacks the fun and charisma of his debut album. Allegedly inspired by Brexit, Trump and Black Lives Matter, Styles gets muddled on his first solo outing, a track that would be more befitting of one of his duller ex-bandmates.
Read our full review here.

8. Shape Of You – Ed Sheeran
Is it dreadful or is it a masterpiece? This was the question on our lips when we heard Ed Sheeran’s all-conquering ‘Shape Of You’, a song originally written for Rihanna but ultimately kept for himself. Still, there’s no doubt Rihanna would have turned it down, its saccharine, white boy rap contrary to just about everything she stands for. That said, there’s no denying ‘Shape Of You’ is an infectious tune but, as I learned from the norovirus that kicked the shit out of me last year, infectious doesn’t always equal good.

7. Symphony – Clean Bandit ft Zara Larrson
Another catchy pop tune from Clean Bandit, this time with Zara Larrson on vocal duties. ‘Symphony’ evolves from a brooding orchestral hum into a polished dance track before our eyes, Clean Bandit burying the strings beneath a bubbly up-tempo arrangement. It’s not the most innovative thing Clean Bandit have come up with, but in a year where decent number ones were thin on the ground, we were just glad to have a break from Ed Sheeran.

6. Havana – Camilla Cabello ft Young Thug
After a couple of so-so singles that failed to establish Cabello as a pop megastar, ‘Havana’ was the track that finally showed the former Fifth Harmony singer was a force to be reckoned with. A catchy summer single that paid homage to her Cuban roots, Cabello found her feet with this sizzling solo song. Young Thug pops up to offer a helping hand, but Cabello needs no help on her breakout single, a track that spotlights her strengths and proves she’s more than one fifth of a mediocre pop band.
Read our full review here.

5. Feels – Calvin Harris ft Pharrell, Katy Perry and Big Sean
The second-best song of the summer, were it not for ‘Despacito’, ‘Feels’ would surely have ruled the airwaves all season long. Calvin Harris makes a convincing transition from just-press-play EDM button pusher to disco-funk DJ, with Pharrell, Big Sean and Katy Perry making for fun playmates on this easy-going tropical romp.

4. Rockabye – Clean Bandit ft Anne Marie and Sean Paul
Last year’s Christmas number one held on to the top spot well into the New Year, Clean Bandit, Anne-Marie and Sean Paul proving a winning combination on ‘Rockabye’, a track dedicated to struggling single moms. A purposeful and – in a year that continued to see thousands affected by austerity – fitting start to 2017, ‘Rockabye’ is head and shoulders above the Christmas number one that followed (see number 11).

3. Look What You Made Me Do – Taylor Swift
A shiver of sparse electronics and hissing percussion, ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ transformed Taylor Swift from damsel in distress to wicked queen with a little help from – of all people – Right Said Fred. A rebuttal to her haters, Swift doesn’t so much defend her reputation as trash it further, diving into her wicked alter ego with pantomime-villain glee. A ludicrous and narcissistic foray into soap opera pop, Taylor Swift revamped her image on her sparse and polarising comeback.
Read our full review here.

2. Despacito Remix – Daddy Yankee and Luis Fonsi ft Justin Bieber
The Latin pop behemoth that dominated the summer, ‘Despacito’ was the holiday anthem it was impossible not to love. Having already conquered half the world, all it took was a little Justin Bieber seasoning for the Spanish-language bop to triumph in the West too, ruling the charts and spawning a spate of copy-cat singles (hi ‘Reggaeton Lento’). Your mates love it, your boss loves it, your mom loves it and – admit it – you bloody love it too.

1. New Rules – Dua Lipa
Far and away the best number one of the year, for a while it looked as though ‘New Rules’ would stall outside the top ten, denying ascending star Dua Lipa the smash hit she deserved. But slowly, ‘New Rules’ hauled its way to the top of the charts, spurred on by its stylish girl-power video and a surge of goodwill from social media. An unexpected hit, ‘New Rules’ propelled Dua Lipa from underground pop star to the mainstream sensation she was born to be – and long may her reign continue.

@alexsnorris

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