In the final part of our 2016 Awards, we give you the countdown of our 25 favourite songs of 2016. They are a stunning collection of tracks spanning various genres which have all made an impact on us in one way or the other.
Humorously fun and straightforward punk from Oakland newcomers.
Glowed Up (Featuring. Anderson .Paak)
Mellow, glistening synths ride over a deep groove from two of 2016’s brightest new stars.
23. Anderson .Paak
The Waters (Featuring. BJ The Chicago Kid)
Relaxed and soulful Kendrick Lamar-influenced track combines jazz, soul and hip hop to pin together an album of beautifully created genre spanning music.
22. The Orwells
They Put A Body In The Bayou
Second track from Chicago indie misfits The Orwells’ soon to be released third album is a matured, energy filled song made for mosh pits.
21. PJ Harvey
The Community of Hope
First song on PJ Harvey’’s ninth album, written about housing crisis’ in America was recently slammed by Washington politicians but nevertheless, it’s a terrific interpretation of the current state of affairs in America right now.
20. Chance The Rapper
No Problem (Featuring. Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz)
Standout track from new album Coloring Book, No Problem is a five minute gospel inspired masterpiece with guest appearances from heavyweights Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz.
19. Mumford & Sons and Baaba Maal
There Will Be Time
Recorded in Johannesburg in one day, There Will Be Time is a stadium filler combining an anthemic chorus with textured vocals from Senegalese artist Baaba Maal.
18. The Big Moon
Simple, subtle fuzz-rock from all-female London four piece who are gradually gaining popularity as one of the biggest upcoming bands in the country.
Jangly, 80’s inspired rock pop which combines singer Tom Ogden’s vocals and distorted guitar to create one of the most popular songs of the year.
16. Jamie T
Power Over Men
Three minute documentation showing a man being drawn into the chaos of a particular woman and the hold she has over him. It’s a delightfully mature single showing the distance the Wimbledon troubadour has come in the last 10 years.
The standout song from upcoming London band INHEAVEN lays down a refreshingly youthful message with impactful drum beats and snarling vocals.
14. Michael Kiwanuka
Black Man In A White World
The political yet personal song from his Mercury Prize nominated second album sees Kiwanuka’s dancing vocals over the top of repetitive backing vocals which hammer home the message of alienation in the current music industry.
13. Father John Misty
Real Love Baby
A humble and honest ballad from the bearded, ex-Fleet Foxes drummer, Real Love Baby is a mellow yet harmonious single detailing the sacrifices people make for love.
RiRi’s star song from her new album, it sees her and former beau Drake in a deep, meaningful connection. With a dancehall vibe and Drake’s longing lyrics, the single is a sultry pop seduction.
11. Kings of Leon
Waste A Moment
Instant pleaser from the Followill clan, Waste A Moment shows the importance of taking time out from general life. Singer Caleb Followill’s spiky vocals in the verse contrast with a stadium-ready chorus to show Kings of Leon back at their best for the first time since 2008’s Only by the Night.
10. Biffy Clyro
Medicine sees singer Simon Neil pen some of the most beautiful lyrics of the bands career so far.“Help me, why can’t this be love? / Tell me why can’t this be enough?” details the unwanted breakdown of a previous relationship. Musically, the song is simple but the journey told by Neil as he moves on from the relationship, is done so perfectly that the song will forever be one of the bands most understated records.
9. The Last Shadow Puppets
Sweet Dreams, TN
The lively duo of Arctic Monkeys Frontman Alex Turner and long-time friend Miles Kane returned in 2016 with beautifully orchestrated album Everything You’ve Come To Expect. Sweet Dreams, TN is the most personal song on the album, showing Turner in full Elvis mode, crooning to current girlfriend Taylor Bagley who was raised in Tennessee. With a staccato drum beat and heavily orchestral background, Sweet Dreams, TN provides style to an album full of wit and jovialness.
8. Drake Featuring WizKid and Kyla
You must have been living in a cave if you hadn’t heard One Dance in 2016. The dancehall slow jam is the first song to reach over one billion streams on Spotify, remained at No.1 in the UK charts for 15 weeks and crowned Drake the most important figure in R&B in the world. The seduction between Drake and Kyla reaches a pinnacle when Kyla asks “I need to know, where do you wanna go? / Cause if you’re down, I’ll take it slow / Make you lose control”. Make no mistake, this is Drake at full stride, in his element, seducing everyone that steps in his way.
7. The 1975
With one of the catchiest choruses of 2016, the synth funk giant that is The Sound embraces all that is good with music. With a repetitive chorus, the verses see Matt Healy at his lyrical best – “It’s not about reciprocation, it’s just all about me / A sycophantic, prophetic, Socratic junkie wannabe” is narcissism at it’s finest. With Adam Hann’s rippling solo towards the end, the band create a carnival in just over four minutes of pure bliss.
6. Lady Gaga
2016 saw the return of the eccentric yet brilliant Lady Gaga who released surprise country-inspired album Joanne. Million Reasons sees Gaga at her most vulnerable.“I’ve got a hundred million reasons to walk away” sings Gaga, a line of which highlights the struggles she’s had to go through both artistically and personally. “I try to make the worse seem better” shows she’s still fighting, with the message of the song highlighting the importance her fans have on keeping her going.It is one of the best vocal performances on a song in years and highlights the flexibility of one of the world’s most intriguing artists.
5. The Stone Roses
All For One
After 20 years without releasing anything, Ian Brown and co returned with one of the catchiest songs of the year. Main lyrics “All for one / One for all / If we all join hands we’ll make a wall”, call out for unity and highlight the band’s own personal friendship – something fans are surely pleased to see. It’s a glorious anthem and has left fans purring at the prospect of a new album.
4. Christine & The Queens
The song that exposed her to the world, Héloïse Letissier aka Christine & The Queens channels sexuality and personal uniqueness to deliver a beautiful three minute message that it’s ok to be who you choose “I’m actually good / Can’t help it if we’re tilted”. The song was originally written in French and called Christine before being partly rerecorded in English and charted at No. 20. Live performances and the video have shown Héloïse to be one of the most original artists in the world right now.
3. Glass Animals
A startlingly beautiful story of told from the perspective of a mother to her son “Boy, when I left you you were young / I was gone, but not my love.” Mixed with youthful humour “Funny friends that make you laugh / Any maybe you’re just a little bit dappy”, the Oxford indie-rock four piece layer synths, owl samples and warm vocals which together flow so beautifully it highlights an incredible leap for the band since debut album Zaba.
Man sees the Mercury Prize winning MC, showing his more humorous side combined with loyalty to his label and grime collective Boy Better Know “It’s Boy Better know ’til I die.” At full flow, he is brutally honest to a former star “Back then you was a real top boy / But right now fam nobody cares”. Lines “Better do your research / You don’t wanna hear my verse come after your verse”, is Skepta at full confidence – he knows how special this year has been and the song captures the personality of the rapper more than any song on the album.
Burn the Witch
The first single from new album A Moon Shaped Pool, Burn the Witch is claustrophobic and paranoid. Lines “Stay in the shadows / Cheer the gallows / This is a round up” highlight a Big Brother society, perhaps highlighting the current society we find ourselves in now. “Avoid all eye contact / Do not react / Shoot the messenger / This is a low-flying panic attack” shows Them Yorke at his most paranoid. Combined with a chilling string section and Trumpton style video, this is Radiohead at their most politically creative. In a year of chaos, this song is a deserving winner of Song of the Year 2016.