Oh 68 songs huh?! That could be a record for this little annual list I got going here. Although this year was painstakingly shitty (I haven't heard many people talking about it), I have to say it has been one of the best years for music that I can remember. I won’t get into the whole “2016, worst year ever!” (again, more people should voice their opinion about it.), although I just kinda did. I will say, the music released this year did help to get through all the awful happenings (that no one is talking about) like icons dying, Harambe, Donald Trump plus Lebron James and Ronaldo winning championships. But to take a quote that is surely circling the internet on some terrible meme, “Music has the power to bring us together and expresses what language can’t. Also, music is a drug you can't overdose on.” Those are all awful and I guarantee someone just got inspired. If not, go ahead and make that into a meme, post it on someone’s (not mine) Facebook wall and ruin their day. Anyway, why am I still talking, check out the best songs of 2016. Best Year Ever. Oh and I've added a Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page with everything on there so you can listen at your leisure. Happy Christmas. x
68. CLIFF MARTINEZ - DON'T FORGET ME WHEN YOU ARE FAMOUS
67. JACQUES GREENE - AFTERGLOW
66. HINDS - AND I WILL SEND YOU FLOWERS BACK
65. Jessy Lanza - It means I love you
64. kAYTRANADA - LITE SPOTS
63. JOHN BELTRAN - MOTHER
62. CROSS RECORD - LEMON
61. DAVID BOWIE - GIRL LOVES ME
60. KEVIN MORBY - I Have Been To The Mountain
59. CARLA DaL FORNO - WHAT YOU GONNA DO NOW?
58. BABYFATHER - GREEZEBLOC
57. 18+ - GLOW
56. KENDRICK LAMAR - UNTITLED 02|06.23.2014
55. THE BALUSTRADE ENSEMBLE - TEEmING
54. ANOHNI - VIOLENT MEN
53. STEVE HAUSCHILDT - STRANDS
52. RYUiCHI SAKAMOTO, ALVA NOTO - CARRYING GLASS
51. JOHN roberts - PLASTIC RASH
50. YVES TUMOR - CIERVO
49. WILSON TANNER - BEFORE lotus
48. WHITNEY - NO WOMAN
47. Soft hair- LYING HAS TO STOP
46. KAITLYN AURELIA SMITH - WHEN I TRY, I'M FULL
45. YVES TUMOR - LIMERENCE
44. MARK PRITCHARD, BIBIO - GIVE IT YOUR CHOIR
43. YOUNG THUG - HARAMBE
42. ABSTRAXION - JUST WHAT I'VE ALWAYS WANTED
41. FIS - ROOT COLLARS
40. Calibre - Groove seeker
39. KANYE WEST - FML
38. DE LA SOUL, SNOOP DOG - PAIN
37. JAMES BLAKE, BON IVER - I NEED A FOREST FIRE
36. SAD CITY - AGAIN
35. JOHN BELTRAN - EVERYTHING AT ONCE
34. KYLE DIXON, MICHAEL STEIN - A KISS
33. A TRIBE CALLED QUEST - WE THE PEOPLE...
32. frank ocean - ivy
31. MURCOF, VANESSA WAGNER - AVRIL 14TH
30. LAMBCHOP - DIRECTIONS TO THE CAN
29. DRAKE, PARTYNEXTDOOR - WITH YOU
28. KAITLYN AURELIA SMITH - EXISTENCE IN THE UNFURLING
27. ALEX SOMERS - FELL
26. KENDRICK LAMAR - UNTITLED 07|2014-2016
25. MARK ERNESTUS' NDAGGA RHYThM FORCE - YERMANDE
24. RADIOHEAD - GLASS EYES
23. RYUICHI SAKAMOTO, ALVA NOTO - THE REVENANT THEME (alva noto remodel)
22. HUERCO S. - A SEA OF LOVE
21. BABYFATHER - SHOOK
20. DE LA SOUL, LITTLE DRAGON - DRAWN
19. ANOHNI - MARROW
18. DEATH GRIPS - EH
17. NICOLAS JAAR - NO
16. DAVID BOWIE - LAZARUS
15. DRAKE - CONTROLLA
14. LAMBCHOP - THE HUSTLE
13. SERPENTWITHFEET - FOUR ETHERS
12. A$AP MOB - YAMBORHINI HIGH
11. GOLD PANDA - SONG FOR A DEAD FRIEND
10. CARLA DaL FORNO - FAST MOVING CARS
Slow spaced out dark synth jam here. Reminding me a bit of HTRK, which is always a good thing. Miss dal Forno is a very beautiful girl and her voice and songs make her a triple threat. I have no problem calling her beautiful although I feel like some feminist out there will get offended and be like “Oh why can’t she just be an artist who makes great music, why does he need to bring her looks into it?!”. Shut up.
9. YVES TUMOR- THAT FEELING WHEN YOU WALK AWAY
Another slow jam here, coming from my breakout artist of the year. I saw him at Unsound Festival in October and he was running around bare ass with only an apron on all night. I had no idea who he was until I walked into one of the rooms and there he was screaming into a microphone with his butt all up in the crowd's face. It was hot and sweaty and I just kept thinking “Fuck, this music is great but my god, if I was bare ass right now this room would be empty and quarantined”.
8. CLARK - INF INF INF INF
I love music that takes you in different directions and evokes a bevy of feelings. This Clark song starts off with some Aphex Twin-like drum things and then takes a left turn into a soft focus dreamscape fantasy land where I’m able to describe music with Pitchfork-like precision instead of a 5th grader on a sugar rush.
7. ILLUM SPHERE - RED GLASS
Love this god damn track so much and it’s the only one in this list that I’ve actually played in a DJ set. It’s got lots of good shit going on. I love the dichotomy of delicate sounds against that tougher techno kick and Omar S inspired synth strings (that's about as much of an RA review you're gonna get outta me). There’s an end of the night whimsical feeling about this track and that’s exactly where I played it during my sets. Desired effect achieved. Everyone leaves with a smile.
6. A TRIBE CALLED QUEST - WHATEVA WILL BE
This was easily the standout track on what turned out to be an incredible album. It’s not the one that’s gonna get the most radio play or the one you hear in the club (not our clubs, I’m talking about the bottle service ones where Drake hangs out.) but it’s definitely the one that has the best low slung groove, bassline and flow. The type of shit that brings me right back to those early 90’s Tribe classics. Jarobi’s verse is impeccable and makes me wonder why he wasn’t rapping on the previous albums! Word on the street is that Phife Dawg is coming out with a posthumous solo album next year, so look out for that!
5. RADIOHEAD - DECKS DARK
Still my favorite band after all these years. I was just listening to The xx and Burial and thinking how underwhelming their music sounds to me now. It hasn’t stood the test of time very well and I feel bad about that (for some reason). Especially for Burial. I used to be such a fan boy but man, the new stuff just sounds dated to me. I think he’s just playing video games all day. Look at me critiquing Burial like some big shot music journalist. The guy is still a legend, whatever, just wasn’t into his last few releases. I’m basically having an argument with myself right now (early onset dementia settling in). What the fuck are we talking about….Radiohead! yes….and always delivering. Having said that, every time they release a new album I hold my breath and pray that they haven’t lost their touch. Maybe that’s my pessimistic/never get my hopes up attitude, but it works for me and they have yet to disappoint. They stay active in between albums and are constantly keeping their ear to the ground, picking up on new trends in music yet somehow finding a way to inevitably create their own. Managing to come up with new sounds, fresh ideas and those stunning moments that leaves you on the verge of tears with a huge smile on your face, is not easy. The last minute of Decks Dark does exactly that. It had me smiling from ear to ear, eyes closed in a cab ride to the airport the first time I heard it. I kept playing it on repeat over and over again, completely oblivious to anything happening in the real world that driver had to grab my arm to tell me we had arrived. Quite poetic and deep, huh? One step removed from looking out the window pretending I was in a movie (insert eye rolling emoji here).
4. HUERCO S. - HEAR ME OUT
Speaking of closing your eyes and drifting off into your own movie…This album and song in particular have been a staple and essential listening in my year of travels, heartache, headache, love gained, love lost and nearly every emotion life threw at me. It’s one of the most calming and soothing soundtracks you can ask for. It’s essentially the musical equivalent to xanax.
Easily in my all time list of best ambient albums, Huerco S. takes you on a proper journey, in a time when that word is used way too frequently to describe music.
3. CLAMS CASINO - BACK TO YOU - INSTRUMENTAL
I had this in my list of favorite songs and every time it came on I would always have to stop what I was doing and check what it was again. Slowly but surely it moved its way from just an entry in a playlist to one of my favorite songs of the year. At the 1 min 45 second mark was precisely where I would lose my shit and say to myself, “This is the type of music I want to make.”. So until that happens (never), please enjoy this song by Clams Casino.
2. MARK PRITCHARD, THOM YORKE - BEAUTIFUL people
Not sure why this song wasn’t on more end of the year lists. I feel like it may have flew under the radar somehow. Not sure how a song featuring Thom Yorke on vocals is capable of doing that. Perhaps the people making these lists have questionable taste in music? I’ll leave that up to you. This song is breathtaking and could easily be the best song of the year if it wasn’t for the emotional rollercoaster the next track took me on…
1. FRANK OCEAN - SEIGFRIED
So this is a classic case of a song that you overlooked multiple times that did nothing for you and then one day you are sitting in the kitchen cutting up an avocado when it comes on and you literally have to put the knife down and start crying. That’s as emo as it gets right there, kids. It felt like my life changed at that moment. I think I may have even tweeted that (unacceptable). Yeah, whatever, this song is stunning. I was listening to the lyrics like a 17 yr old again, saying to myself “OMG that’s totally me! That’s how I feel! I am connecting with this song.”
Ok, you need to relax...
But wait, the lyrics...“Maybe I should move, and settle. Two kids and a swimming pool. I’m not brave.” That line, tears. Just me, an avocado and a face full of man tears. Who lives like this? I do. Best fucking song of the year hands down not even close.