The future of music

30 Best Pop Songs of All Time

December 6, 2023
Best pop songs

I’ve put together a vibrant and diverse collection of pop songs that define the genre’s evolving landscape.

This article is your guide to the catchy melodies, upbeat rhythms, and timeless classics that continue to shape the world of pop music.

Best pop songs of all time

  • “Thriller” by Michael Jackson
  • “Take On Me” by A-ha
  • “Beat It” by Michael Jackson
  • “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen
  • “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” by Beyoncé
  • “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift
  • “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele
  • “Far Away” by Nickelback
  • “Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears
  • “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston

1. “Thriller” by Michael Jackson

MJ is always regarded as the undisputed King of Pop.

And his 1983 smash hit proves just as much.

The storyline takes everyone to a dreamland. 

Even though many artists have released similar tracks, none can match the mass appeal of “Thriller.”

2. “Take On Me” by A-ha

This pop song is about the struggles to make your feelings known. 

The singer is the shy type who struggles to communicate with a romantic interest.

But deep down, he knows opportunities like this don’t come knocking twice.  

“Say after me/It’s no better to be safe than sorry,” he asserts.  

3. “Beat It” by Michael Jackson 

Michael Jackson is a legend of the pop music genre.

And his iconic dance-rock song finds him contemplating right and wrong. 

The song’s lyrics can be interpreted in many ways. 

But whatever your version, there’s no denying it is one of the greatest pop songs of all time. 

4. “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen 

“Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy/But here’s my number, so call me, maybe.”

Anybody from the 2012 summer will remember the iconic lines from Carly Rae Jepsen’s award-winning pop song. 

In this one, the singer implores a romantic interest to make a move.

It is a sincere love confession and one of the best songs about love at first sight

This one’s for all the flirtatious guys in the building.  

5. “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” by Beyoncé 

Beyoncé’s single lady anthem had to be on this list.

She weighs in on women’s personal stories when talking about marriage proposals. 

The hit won 3 Grammy Awards, topped the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and was one of the greatest songs of 2008. 

6. “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s pop song talks about shaking off all the negativity from one’s life. 

Celebrity life can be overwhelming. 

And the song’s lyrics express Swift’s message to her haters and critics.

We got you, Taylor.

Just be yourself. 

7. “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele

Adele’s breakup anthem comes to mind in any conversation about classic pop songs. 

And the lyrics paint the picture of a failed relationship.

Adele’s sweet voice is soothing. 

And that’s probably one of the reasons for her meteoric rise in the pop music scene. 

Rolling in the Deep” stayed on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart for 65 weeks.  

8. “Far Away” by Nickelback 

Nothing will ever destroy the strong bond you share if you truly love someone. 

Nickelback’s song emphasizes the same message with lyrics about true love.

When you love someone, you will be willing to sacrifice everything to be with them. 

It doesn’t matter if you are separated by distance or if you have those bad times.

True love endures. 

9. “Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears

“Baby One More Time” is the debut single from Britney Spears’ 1999 album of the same name. 

And it describes the stress we’ve all had post-breakup. 

The world-famous hit topped multiple charts and became the best-selling single in the UK in 1999. 

10. “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston 

But why is it #10?

Just a quick reminder that we don’t list these songs in any particular order. 

Whitney Houston’s song is an affirmation of undying love.

Even though they are breaking up, she wants the addressee to know that she will always love him. 

A classic tribute to a loved one. 

11. “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga shot to worldwide fame with her 2009 The Fame album. 

And “Poker Face” was one of the most notable songs from the studio album. 

The dreamy synth and Gaga’s voice place it higher in the list of the greatest pop songs.

Give it a listen and hear the risqué metaphors about Gaga’s sexual experiences. 

It’s a little erotic, this one. 

So, don’t say we didn’t warn you. 

12. “Firework” by Katy Perry

Katy Perry’s “Firework” is a self-empowerment anthem everybody needs at least once in their lifetime. 

It’s about making the moment count by showing the world your true potential. 

The powerful message has made it a staple in the pop music arena.  

13. “Someone Like You” by Adele

Adele never disappoints with her musical compositions, even when describing painful heartbreaks.

And in this one, she confronts her ex-lover long after he has moved on. 

She struggles to move forward and hopes to find a loving, caring partner like her ex-lover. 

Listen to Adele’s emotional confession if you have one of those moments.

14. “22” by Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s pop anthem is for carefree youths aged 22 years old. 

The song resonates with many listeners experiencing the confusion of the youth stage. 

Perhaps “everything will be alright if we just keep dancing like we’re twenty-two.” 

15. “Imagine” by John Lennon

John Lennon’s song is as good as most of the hits you will hear from the Fab Four.

It is a sincere plea for peace in a chaotic world.

16. “Gangnam Style” by PSY

PSY’s “Gangnam Style” is hard to ignore when talking about the best pop songs of all time. 

It is about the culture adopted by the Gangnam guys. 

“Gangnam Style” has been sung, imitated, and choreographed by many artists. 

And it remains one of the best pop songs ever. 

17. “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson 

Kelly Clarkson not only found relief in her broken relationship but also gave us a classic piece about the entire ordeal. 

This is the definition of infectious lyrics. 

Instantly explosive, the song earned Clarkson a Grammy Award in the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance category. 

It also pushed her musical career to new heights. 

18. “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” by Kylie Minogue

Kylie Minogue’s pop song talks about a love obsession. 

She can’t get this one person off her mind. 

Don’t blame us if the repetitive ‘La la la la la la la la’ line sticks in your head. 

19. “Bootylicious” by Destiny’s Child 

Surely, you should already know what the song’s title is about.

This smash hit welcomed the 2000s era of pop music. 

And it still gets many pop lovers excited. 

Join the party if you’re beautiful and proud of your body. 

20. “Hung Up” by Madonna

How could we ignore the Queen of Pop?

It’s not like we couldn’t have a long list of pop songs written by Madonna.

It’s only that “Hung Up” is the first one we could think of because it is a brilliant disco banger. 

The only bad thing about this song is that we never know if Madonna’s love gets requited. 

Has anyone got a clue? 

21. “Levitating” by Dua Lipa 

Dua Lipa gave us countless bangers in her 2020 Future Nostalgia studio album. 

But “Levitating” is that recognizable, easily memorable song that sticks in any listener’s mind. 

It is as timeless as its composer. 

And the feel-good vibe expressed throughout the narration keeps everyone excited. 

Go ahead and have fun with this masterpiece. 

22. “Happy” by Pharell Williams

Some call it a children’s lullaby

But this feel-good anthem is one of the best pop songs in history. 

Only Pharell Williams could keep his listeners anxious and entertained at the same time. 

And the powerful message has never lost relevance in the chaotic world.

No matter how hard it gets, just cheer up.

23. “Titanium” by David Guetta ft. Sia

If we were to describe “Titanium” in one word, we would call it elevating. 

A few were surprised by the song’s massive success in the pop music scene. 

But for many, that was expected from a collaboration between a decorated French Dj and a successful songwriter.

It’s no secret many pop lovers only remember Sia from this song. 

24. “No Tears Left To Cry” by Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande never stops to amaze her fans with creatively written lyrics. 

And she scored highly with her 2018 self-lifting pop song. 

The narration only gets better with Ariana’s “I’m pickin’ it up (Yeah), pickin’ it up (Yeah)” refrain.

25. “Sorry” by Justin Bieber

It’s never too late to apologize, or is it, Justin?

Apparently, Bieber’s song isn’t an actual apology for misconduct. 

It’s about personal regret only the singer knows.

Of course, many people interpret the lyrics differently.

And that’s the beauty of pop music. 

26. “Drivers License” by Olivia Rodrigo

Olivia Rodrigo brings feel-good vibes with her soprano voice, quite like the Adeles and Lordes of this generation

And her heartfelt lyrics in her chart-topping “Drivers License” tells the same story.

The heartbreak anthem is a timeless classic with the power to grab anyone’s attention. 

You can weep, wail, or sing along to the lyrics.

But there’s no doubt it is one of the greatest pop songs for Gen Z. 

27. “Good As Hell” by Lizzo

How about some refreshing masterpiece to get over a failed relationship?

It would appear the addressee is battling a series of self-esteem issues. 

So, the idea is to uplift anyone sailing in the same boat. 

This could be the one to help you get over a toxic lover.

28. “Party In The U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus

What would complement a celebration much better than a Miley Cyrus party anthem? 

In this one, the Tennessee-born American singer captures the memories of her trip to Los Angeles in pursuit of a career breakthrough. 

While in LA, she misses home, friends, and family. 

But a taste of good music from the likes of Britney Spears takes all her troubles away. 

29. “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars

This is one of the best dance songs of all time

And anyone who loves Bruno Mars will want to jam to the tune. 

It is a party track for those naughty nighttime grooving, boozing, and socializing sessions. 

Want some coca to lift the mood?

Mars has a little trick up his sleeve.

30. “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X

Is it a country rap song?

Or a hip-hop song?

Maybe it lies in between.

If you remember the summer of 2019, you’ll recall a certain Georgian-born 21-year-old rapper taking the music industry by storm. 

That was Lil Nas X announcing his grand entry into the global music scene. 

Nas X says his song “represents the path to success.”

And we think that’s the best way to complete our list of the top pop songs of all time. 

“Yeah, I’m gonna take my horse to the old town road.” 

Best Pop Songs Of All Time – Final Thoughts 

There are countless music genres, from rock to jazz to rap.

But none has become as successful as pop.

It can be challenging to describe what pop music is all about.

But there’s no denying that it is the quintessential music genre everybody raves about.

Over the decades, pop music has evolved to suit the digital era.

And today, many pop artists borrow heavily from other genres and subgenres like hip hop. 

This list of the 30 greatest pop songs of all time is in no way conclusive.  

But it highlights some of the greatest hits you may want to play if you love pop music. 

Consider having them on your playlist as you search for the best pop songs in history. 

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Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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