Hitmaker Justin Tranter’s Top 10 Favorite Pop Songs of All Time


Hitmaker Justin Tranter’s Top 10 Favorite Pop Songs of All Time


Having co-penned Selena Gomez’s Sultry Billboard #1, “Good For You,” LA-based hitmaker Justin Tranter has an undeniable understanding of what makes a song stick. He’s written for Kelly Clarkson, Fall Out Boy, Nicole Scherzinger, Fifth Harmony, DNCE and has recently been working with Gwen Stefani on her forthcoming solo album—major. We asked Tranter to dive into his repertoire of pop influences and pull together a list of 10 songs that’ve made an impact on his music-making today.

“10 favorite pop songs? Damn, this was so hard to do—I almost cried 12 different times trying to make this list. Do I choose as a geeky music student with a degree in songwriting or do I choose on ‘hit’ status as a pop songwriter? I ended up just picking 10 chic songs that have a special place in my little ol’ heart. Here are 10 of my faves in no particular order.”

1. “Money Changes Everything” – Cyndi Lauper

“This had to make the list for some many reasons, but I’ll just go with the fact that She’s So Unusual is one of the best pop albums of all time, so why not choose the opening track. This whole album was probably played in my Brooklyn loft 275 times, while me and my friends assembled jewelry for three years straight.”

2. “I Love You Always Forever” – Donna Lewis

“The ethereal vocal, the poetic verse lyrics and a hook that’s so dumb it’s actually brilliant? Sign me up. All day. And let this pop moment take me right back to high school with my friend Soozi driving me to the mall, blasting this song on cassette.”

3. “Open Your Heart” – Madonna

“The video is burned in my mind from childhood. To this day, there is still a big part of me that wants to quit the music biz, lose a billion lbs and be a peep show super star.”

4. “Unusual You” – Britney Spears

“One of my favorite things to do when this song came out was to play it for my ultra-hip friends, have them fall in love with it, and then break the news that they were now Britney Spears fans.”

5. “Missing You” – Tina Turner

“John Waite was the original co-writer and performer of this song. A dude being so desperate and vulnerable in pop music rarely happens, but I’m choosing Tina’s version because voice honey, voice.”

6. “Maneater” – Nelly Furtado

“The beat. Ruins lives. Me and Dan Crean, drummer of Semi Precious Weapons, used to blast this in our tour van much to the other members’ horror.”

7. “Nothing Compares 2U” – Sinéad O’Conner

“This is the first cassette I went and bought myself. It’s a magical song penned by the one and only Prince and perfectly performed by one of the most underrated vocalists ever.”

8. “Celebrity Skin” – Hole

“Courtney Love is a very important part of Rock ‘N’ Roll royalty and history in my opinion, but pop means popular and this amazing song was Hole’s highest charting hit. So fuck yes, let’s wake up in our makeup.”

9. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” – Whitney Houston

“Do I really have to explain anything? Whitney’s perfect voice. An amazing song written by a fabulous husband-and-wife duo. Correct. Boom.”

10. “Don’t Speak” – No Doubt

“I truly think Gwen is one of the best lyricists of all time. Her brutal honesty, her conversational whit and her fearlessness to expose her realest thoughts is more than inspiring. Getting to work with her and watch this process happen in real life is mind blowing.”