Tuesday, 27 December 2016

My Favourite Tunes of 2016

Favourite songs of 2016

For me, 2016 was a year where my opportunities to check out new music diminished somewhat. Having limited internet (and having to share that source with the 2 other people in the family home) since my previous service was cut off back in January meant that I haven't been able to listen to music/browse YouTube all that often as I've had to keep in mind the dwindling data balance. It's amazing how much data gets chewed up watching videos!

Regardless of that, I've still managed to rustle up a list of my favourite tunes of 2016. Just like last year, my favourite song of the year comes from an Australian....and that tune is the one I'm starting this post with (the rest of my faves are in random order):

Matt Corby - Sooth Lady Wine

This track from Matt's long overdue/long awaited debut album Telluric (aka my favourite album of 2016) was love at first listen. Sure, it sounds very much like he was smoking the herb a lot whilst creating it & the rest of the album, but there's something about this chilled out bit of psych that I just love. I mentioned back in April's Monthly Happy List that I was loving it at the time & that love affair continued right throughout the year, so naturally I'm declaring this my #1 song of 2016. The amount of times I've had this on repeat since April....I've lost count.

Thomston feat Wafia - Window Seat

This Trans-Tasman track (he's Kiwi, she's an Aussie) was another one I dug upon the first or 2nd listen. From what I can gather, it's a relationship failure kind of song, with each side laying the blame on each other & their respective faults. I remember sitting in my London hotel room just listening to this song on repeat & falling in love with the chorus instrumental/beat, as well as the overall groove of the track. Speaking of Wafia....

Wafia - Heartburn

I utterly detest anything Kardashian-related, I will give props to Kylie Jenner for (apparently) linking this song to her zillion followers because it is a gorgeous tune. (Although you might've heard it through various other mediums as well.) If you're looking for a good heartbreak tune, I can't recommend this track from an up & coming Brisbane singer/songwriter enough.

Zara Larsson - Lush Life

Until recently, I thought this young Swedish Rihanna sound-alike was gonna end up a one-hit wonder, then she hit a 1-2 pop punch with Ain't My Fault & I Would Like. Although I like neither of those tracks (is it just me, or does anybody else find it sad when young female singers go down the sex-related path in their musical endeavours?), this absolute earworm was a winner for me this year. I had the chorus stuck in my head so many times throughout 2016 it wasn't funny. This is probably my 2nd or 3rd fave song of the year, although I don't like the alternate video for it tbh.

James Blake - Radio Silence

Although I found James' 3rd album The Colour In Anything rather disappointing & all-filler-not-a-lot-of-killer (at 17 tracks long, listening becomes tedious after a while & I would've trimmed at least 7 or 8 songs from it if I were him), this opening track slowly but surely won me over...so much so that it's my 2nd favourite tune of the year. I think I first heard it around the end of 2015 & wasn't fussed on it at the time; but fast forward to mid-2016 & around the time of the album's release, I heard it once again & really fell in love with the simple piano/bass/synth-led instrumental. That bass is so damn good & has made me keep this track on repeat since purchasing the album. I find James' music meditative, if a little repetitive; but it's that repetition that gives his music a kind of hypnotic quality IMO.

Adele - Send My Love (To Your New Lover)

I haven't liked a song from Adele since either Cold Shoulder or her cover of Bob Dylan's Make You Feel My Love, so to hear her do something like this (which I consider to be somewhat of a departure from her usual balladry) was kinda cool. This ode to her former lover is all about making peace with that past relationship & I think we can all relate to that theme in some kind of way.

DNCE - Cake By The Ocean

Talk about taking forever to become a hit! I first heard this in September 2015 & had no idea who the fuck was behind it until it started charting in mid-2016. I also had no idea what the fuck "cake by the ocean" meant until I asked a couple of fellow music-loving friends about it - apparently the producers behind this song had no clue what "sex on the beach" meant, so named it "cake by the ocean" instead. DNCE (led by Joe Jonas) decided to keep the song title as some sort of band in-joke. I guess it worked because it became a worldwide smash! If you haven't heard it by now (and if you haven't, get out from under that rock), check it out.

Broods - Free

Kiwi brother-sister duo Broods came out firing with this first single from their 2nd album around the middle of 2016 & I liked the hard & crunchy-ish sound of it. The chorus gives me life.

Drake feat Rihanna - Too Good
Whilst I thought One Dance was shit (and Fake Love for that matter), this track about relationship ennui hit the musical sweet spot IMO. Unfortunately I can't find a video nor a proper actual version of this song (fuck all the YouTubers & their fake videos!), but I'm pretty sure music lovers know how this song goes. Is it strange that I don't like it when Drizzy features on RiRi's songs, yet reverse the combination & it somehow works for me? (For example, I can't stand Work or What's My Name, but gimme Take Care or this song & I'm all over it.)


Dami Im - The Sound of Silence

The Temper Trap - Thick As Thieves
Didn't like anything from their previous album, but this title track from their 3rd album was dark, atmospheric & promising in sound.

KT Tunstall - Evil Eye
This would've made it into the main list had I listened to it a lot more. As far as I'm concerned, my favourite Scottish singer-songwriter returned to her usual catchy form here. I'm still kicking myself for not buying KIN (her 5th album & the album from which this song hails) whilst I was in Honolulu because now I can't get it here...unless I want to pay $30 for an imported copy. (Before anyone suggests Spotify, soz but I like the physical medium.)

Remi feat Sampa The Great - For Good
Good reggae-infused track from 2 up & coming African-Aussie rappers. The video really doesn't fit the sunny vibe of the song, but I like Sampa's verse on this.

Beyoncé - Freedom, Sorry & Hold Up
Queen B yet again showed us why she's the mistress of the stealth album with Lemonade blowing people's minds in 2016 & keeping us wondering just who is "Becky with the good hair" & "what's worse, looking jealous or crazy?". Mixing the personal & the political, Lemonade explored themes of infidelity, sexuality, empowerment & race & without a doubt was probably on a few top album lists of 2016. Whilst I don't consider myself to be a huge fan of my fellow Virgo (more like a casual fan), these 3 songs (plus Don't Hurt Yourself & perhaps Formation) are, IMO, the best on that album. Freedom in particular uplifts me - Ima keep on runnin' cos a winner don't quit on themselves 💙💙

Zayn - BeFoUr + Niall Horan - This Town
I don't know whether I ought to call these additions guilty pleasures or good pop tunes deserving of a place in this list. I'm not a fan of anything 1D in the slightest, but I have to (a) hand it to Zayn for having the balls to go solo because the solo stuff I've heard from him beats anything 1D ever did (especially the tune I've mentioned here) & (b) also hand it to Niall for creating a beautifully sentimental song & also beating anything he did in 1D.

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What were your favourite songs of 2016?

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