Rob Sheffield's Top 25 Songs of 2016

Beyoncé's ultimate kiss-off, Rae Sremmurd's sublime Beatles ode and other standout tracks from the year that was

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Britney Spears,
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15. Britney Spears, "Private Show"

This sorely underappreciated single might seem like a dippy song about humping a stripper pole, but it's so much more – it's Britney's Black Mirror, maybe also her Westworld. She thinks she's sharing an intimate lapdance moment with her guy, begging him to close the curtains – until she notices there's an audience eyeballing her. For Britney, that's life as she knows it. (Brit's exegesis: "'Private Show' is inevitably a sexy song and it promotes feeling sexy and girls feeling alive and I think that's fun for girls.") The fact that the single really was a private show – i.e. nobody bought it or even noticed it came out – just adds to the mise en scene.

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