26 December 2016

top 50 of 2016 | 30-21

30. Midnight To Monaco - "One In A Million"

LA's Midnight to Monaco describes themselves on their Facebook page as "taking '50s doo wop harmony into the future," which is not a description I'd have come up with to describe them, but it certainly works. Who'd have thought "futuristic greaser" could be a coherent aesthetic?

29. Metronomy ft. Robyn - "Hang Me Out To Dry"

What an odd little song this is. A jangly, syncopated hook sung by one of the most recognizable and respected voices in modern dance music, bookended repeatedly by soft, glowing, murmured verses that occasionally pace into the same ferocity of the chorus. Robyn is such a powerful force, and her talents are put to very interesting use here.

28. ROOM8 ft. Christina - "Better Than Music"

Just a few years ago, all a song had to do to garner comparisons to '80s music is have a drum machine or a synth motif, regardless of the spirit with which this devices were used. Recent years have seen the rise of artists who actually get '80s pop music, love it unironically, and are producing tracks with modern equipment that capture the spirit of late-'80s dance-pop albums. ROOM8 absolutely is one of those artists, and although this track doesn't have the dancefloor fire of 2014's brilliant "Visions Of You," it is a glorious pop song. (Further up this list will appear one more song that I think captures this same spirit only slightly better than this track. Tease tease!)

27. Eric Prydz ft. Rob Swine - "Breathe"

When Eric Prydz released 2004's "Call On Me," he quite literally changed the course of retro dance music. He finally released a proper album this year, and this gorgeous downtempo banger was my favorite.

26. Bastille - "Good Grief"

I lost one of my best friends a few weeks ago. This list was already completed by the time he died, but I found it fortuitous that I'd included this great song about the confusion that comes with grieving. There are more emotions to the process than anger and sadness, and this song really explores them well.

25. Ricky Montgomery - "Don't Know How"

Everybody has felt the scourge of unrequited attraction. I love the way Montgomery chooses to present his feelings, as a multitude of ways in which he might feel important to this person, almost as a way to get back at them for the feelings he's had to suffer through on his own. It's nice to hear a song like this that doesn't feel too Nice Guy™. The video is probably my favorite of the year.

24. Shura - "What's It Gonna Be?"

The underground hit "Touch" overshadowed this follow-up single from British singer Shura's debut album, which is a shame, because it's just a beautiful song.

23. Bruno Mars - "Versace On The Floor"

I'm not a Bruno Mars fan. I find his persona irritating and his music mostly very, very basic. The production on this song is such a damn perfect slap of nostalgia, even if it shows the limitations of his voice (which results in some seriously cringy moments).

22. Sia - "The Greatest"

If one could pin Sia's songwriting abilities to a specific "knack," it would be turning tragedy into art. She wrote this in the wake of the tragic Pulse nightclub shooting, and it respectfully and meaningfully captures the feelings many of us dealt with in its wake.

21. Lindstrøm - "Closing Shot"

Pure post-disco fun.