The first six months of 2016 have brought new releases from heavy-hitters like Kanye West, Beyoncé, Drake, and Rihanna, dazzling debuts from newcomers like Gallant and Bibi Bourelly, and welcome returns from Maxwell and James Blake. Ahead, EW’s music team picks the 20 best songs of the year so far. For more on the year in music so far, check out our list of best albums from 2016 (so far), and pick up Entertainment Weekly’s new Ultimate Summer Preview Issue, on newsstands Friday, or available to buy here now.
20.”Vroom Vroom,” Charli XCX
While other divas are mining the ’80s and ’90s for inspiration, Charli XCX recruited avant-pop beatsmith SOPHIE for the year’s most futuristic banger. –Nolan Feeney
19. “The Sound,” The 1975
The U.K. quartet prove they’re a rock band to be reckoned with thanks to this blend of ’80s-style gloss, ’90s indie pop, and stadium-size hooks. A total earworm. –-Madison Vain
18. “Into the Night,” Cardiknox
The duo break through with an uplifter about setting your phone to silent and leaving your worries behind—with a gloriously ginormous hook. –Kevin O’Donnell
17. “Boyfriend,” Tegan and Sara
Make it Facebook official already: The pair sing about the pitfalls of commitment, but it’s worth going steady with their sweet synth-pop. –N.F.
16. “Sally,” Bibi Bourelly
The 21-year-old German who helped write Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money” cements her solo-artist status with a soulful, guitar-powered hit that’s perfect for a weekend full of debauchery. –Jessica Goodman
15. “Feel No Ways,” Drake
Queen Bey slays the competition with a spring-loaded black-pride anthem that has plenty of kick on its own—no need for extra hot sauce. –N.F.