The 10 best Toronto songs on the Billboard charts, ranked
What a time to be alive. Tunes by Drake, The Weeknd and a trifecta of Toronto YouTube sensations occupy nearly a third of this week’s Billboard Hot 100, including 10 of the top 20 slots. Here, we rank the songs that are doing the city proud, from first to worst.
1. Drake – “Hotline Bling”
Billboard position: 3
We’ll admit that the #6God’s old-man dance moves and Nintendo backing beats were never the underdog in this race, but what other song inspired a holiday sweater and wrapping paper, launched 1,000 Vines, and spawned a Saturday Night Live spoof featuring a (God help us) frontrunner for the next president of the United States?
2. The Weekend – “Can’t Feel My Face”
Billboard position: 17
If this inescapable song of the summer feels like old news, that’s because the whole city’s been blasting it since it came out—and for good reason. Its irresistible bass grooves and Michael Jackson aesthetic catapulted The Weeknd from Toronto secret to worldwide phenom.
3. Justin Bieber – “Sorry”
Billboard position: 2
This song is ostensibly about begging a lover for forgiveness. In reality, it’s a sonic embodiment of JB’s rebranding—a wide-reaching mea culpa for his bratty behaviour over the last few years. Considering nearly every song on his new album has a spot on the Hot 100, listeners seem to have made up their mind: apology accepted.
4. Alessia Cara – “Here”
Billboard position: 10
In 2015, this 19-year-old Bramptonian scored a Def Jam deal, performed on Jimmy Fallon and released her debut LP—all on the strength of this smoky, anti-social anthem. Its Winehouse-ian vibes haven’t broken the Internet (though 23 million clicks is nothing to sneeze at), but Cara’s tone is fresher and more sophisticated than any teen idol since T. Swift.
5. Justin Bieber – “What Do You Mean?”
Billboard position: 5
When Bieber returned to the charts with this first single off Purpose, the Internet couldn’t decide whether the song was all about consent or just downright creepy. WHAT DOES HE MEAN?
6. The Weeknd – “The Hills”
Billboard position: 6
“The Hills” is dark, devious and disturbingly hypnotic—in other words, classic Abel Tesfaye. He villainously warbles about a lusty, drug-fuelled affair over shrieks and a deep, body-shaking bass line. It’s unsavoury and appalling, and we can’t stop listening.
7. Justin Bieber – “I’ll Show You”
Billboard position: 19
The Biebs channels his inner Weeknd on this sexy, Skrillex-produced single that melds R&B with EDM. Its premise—“I did some dumb stuff, I’m not perfect, I’ll change”—should sound particularly familiar to a city that endured four years of Rob Ford.
8. Drake and Future – “Jumpman”
Billboard position: 16
The song is one big inside joke: it’s named after the logo on Michael Jordan–branded apparel, the chorus reads like a meta-commentary on Drizzy’s under-wraps collab with Future, and its verses are filled with layers of references for super-fans to get lost in. Oh, and it spawned a game.
9. Shawn Mendes – “Stitches”
Billboard position: 7
Mendes’ biggest hit to date is also a a breakup song, though it’s more melodramatic than flippant. If it’s hard to believe a fresh-faced 17-year-old from Pickering can be this heartbroken, it’s probably because singer-songwriter Teddy Geiger and two others wrote this tune for him.
10. Justin Bieber – “Love Yourself”
Billboard position: 5
Don’t be fooled by the track’s seemingly self esteem–boosting title; the minimalist guitar-and-vocal ballad, co-written with English troubadour Ed Sheeran, is actually a bitter laundry list of everything the writers hate about their exes (presumably Selena Gomez on the Biebs’ end and Ellie Goulding on Sheeran’s). We like to think the Stratford superstar has a different four-letter word in mind when he sings “love yourself.”