best pop songs of all time are as varied and attention-grabbing as the artists who sing them. Topically, the cover everything from love and sex to heartbreak and survival—and just about every topic in between. We went back more than three decades (note those sick ‘80s songs) and found the very best of the genre. There are plenty of party songs to dance to, as well as the top guilty-pleasure karaoke songs, some unforgettable one-hit wonders and more.
1. “Firework” by Katy Perry; songs of all time
Part dance floor anthem, part inspirational power song, “Firework” was Katy Perry’s third release off 2010’s Teenage Dream and a huge elevation point in her career. It won MTV’s 2011 VMA for Video of the Year and earned two Grammy nominations, and all the hoopla around Seth Rogen and James Franco’s The Interview gave it another boost of publicity in 2014.
2. “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars; songs of all time
Mars supplied the vocals for this track produced by Britain’s Ronson for the duo’s fourth collaboration. It cleaned up at the 2015 Grammys, including winning Record of the Year, and became the third most-watched video ever on YouTube. It was also featured in every single commercial of the past year, probably.
3. “Party in the U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus; songs of all time
This song hails from a different era of Cyrus before she did whatever it was she did with Robin Thicke at the VMAs and back when she was just being Miley. Anyone who claims not to know the words (or belt them out and roll the windows down whenever the song’s on the radio) cannot be trusted—they’re flat-out lying.
3. “Sorry” by Justin Bieber; songs of all time
Taking a hiatus from making music to focus on growing up a little, the Biebs came back with Purpose in 2015. “Sorry,” the second single from the album was mixed by Skrillex—and in a stroke of genius and surprising modesty, he excluded himself from the music video and focused on an oft-imitated squad of dancers instead.
4. “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen; songs of all time
This song made 2012 the year of the cheesy pickup line after Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez’s lip-sync sesh catapulted the earworm onto the radio. Jepson hasn’t had as big of a hit since, but she has facilitated millions of hasty flirtations and phone number solicitations. Thanks, Carly Rae!
5. “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” by Beyoncé; songs of all time
The anthem of single gals everywhere, the opus made Beyhive converts out of every last hold-out. No one could resist that Queen Bey’s leotard and signature dance moves, and Kanye West was right: “Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time!”
6. “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele; songs of all time
English sensation exploded to international fame with this tune, released when she was just 21 years old—though her voice carries the expertise of a woman decades older. High-reaching vocals, a bone-chilling opening note and ever-relatable subject matter of tarnished love scored Adele two Grammy Awards as fans around the world cried to the breakup anthem.