Last year I also took a stab at putting together a 'songs of the year' list as a part of "Tuesday Tunes" (because let's be fair: that is the way I listen to most of my music nowadays), and this year shall be no different as I take a look back at my favourites from the year (and I may have tried to get some popular music in there too, but I likes what I likes).
They are in order, so today I will start with the #20-11 of my songs of the year, and then on Thursday (in lieu of the "Throwback Tracks") I will give you my #10-1 of the year, as well as an Apple Music Playlist for the whole deal.
This was a super tough list for me to put together this year, as I found, heard, and had a lot of really great music thrust upon me this year, so I largely went off of the idea of creating a list of tracks that I have found myself continuing to listen to over the course of the year, or that have particularly stuck with me to the point that I am actively getting people to listen to them outside of Tuesday Tunes.
Anyway, without further ado, here are the first 10:
20) "To the Brim" - Jennifer Kamikazi
Starting off my Top 20 Songs of 2016 is this beautifully spare track from Jennifer Kamikazi. "To The Brim" is literally just Kamikazi's vocals over a deceptively engaging acoustic guitar. Her debut EP Wildflower came out in November 2016, and is wonderful from top to bottom, but there's just nothing that can take the luster off of the first song of hers I had ever heard.
This is definitely one of those tracks that I have to be in a certain mood to listen to, but there have been a few occasions since I first discovered "To The Brim" that I have set the song on repeat and just chilled.
19) "Neverending" - Little Coyote
Somehow, "Neverending" did not end up on my shortlist for these articles, and then this morning as I was getting my day going, I just through my music onto shuffle and Little Coyote popped on a couple of songs in, and I almost knocked myself out whilest facepalming.
This weird and amazing debut single was such a surprise, and for whatever reason, whenever I hear it, I basically just listen to it a few times in a row to really take in the layers, and of course, start singing along with that chorus (I honestly think it's hard not to).
Now I realize the video came out very late in 2015, but the single was released in 2016...so I'm OK with it (and it's my list...so....bam).
18) "Avalanche" - Bad Sounds
Anyone who has spent any time reading "Tuesday Tunes" is well aware that I love retro-infused sounds that do something new, and that fits Bad Sounds single "Avalanche" to a T--it's such a fun mashup of genres, all fuzzed over with a little bit of 70s psychedelic that...man that bass riff....
I just...I just can't get over how good of a line that is, combining with a whole slough of sounds (and those oddly spoke-sung vocals) perfectly melding together into one of my favourite songs of the year.
17) "I Wish I Was Sober" - Frightened Rabbit
The first time I talked about Frightened Rabbit was here (with a live performance of this track...this video wasn't out yet)
"I Wish I Was Sober" is off of Scottish indie-folk band Frightened Rabbit's fifth studio album Painting of a Panic Attack that came out in April, and was featured on an episode of Roadies this summer...and...it is one of the prettiest folk songs of 2016 (even with the dark subject matter). This is such a great "late night" song, and I have gone to it on more than one occasion as I am winding down an evening.
You won't want to use it for an "end of night" track (as it does build into something more sweeping than where it starts) but...this is a song that I hope I eventually do know the lyrics to, as I want it there for me for late night drives, or rides home.
16) "Nightlife" - Old Daisy
This combination of alt-pop and folk just clicks into my head all the time since I first featured it on Tuesday Tunes. While I'm doing chores, or travelling, or really anything, I have found that this song just ends up in my head, and I'm singing it to myself.
I think that this is one of the best songs of 2016 if you are looking for a pick-me-up, as (like I said in the original article) it is hard not to get a smile on your face while listening to "Nightlife".
15) "Golden Ticket" - Highasakite
"Golden Ticket" by Norwegian Indie Pop Group Highasakite is easily one of the best pop songs of 2016, that feels like it fits in just about every playlist I have built: the vocals are fun, the beat maintains a great (and not oppressive) energy that would be absolutely perfect if I were still spinning for a middle-to-end of the night transition song.
Weirdly enough, for a mid-tempo dance track, I also find myself singing along to it's chorus every time it comes up, and then have to explain myself (as still, no one seems to know "Golden Ticket"...)
14) "Paralyzed" - Chelsea Lankes
This was the best "summer love" pop song of 2016 as far as I'm concerned. I'm not the biggest pop music fan, but "Paralyzed" is positively addictive thanks to Lankes' stunning vocals, all put over a hazy, downtempo backing that just makes you want to sway along with your crush.
I unabashedly know every word to "Paralyzed" at this point, because I have had it on repeat on more than one occasion, and it's easily one of the best pop songs of 2016.
13) "Dream" - Tessa Violet
Speaking of indie pop tracks of 2016 that I just can't seem to get out of my head, "Dreams" has come to dominate a few of my personal late-year playlists and, much like "Paralyzed" is another song that I am unashamed to say I know (pretty much) every word to.
This is still all about the fact that I cannot keep a smile off of my face when I hear Violet wax about longing, loss, and love....not to mention the fact that this is one of the best videos of the year as well (because really, Violet is a YouTube star, so videos are important).
12) "Lost in the Sauce" - Translee
As I said in the original article, despite the fact that I do listen to a fair amount of rap/hip-hop, I don't generally add those tracks into "Tuesday Tunes" as I do not have the same connections and/or ear for indie hip hop that I do with other genres, but every once in a while I get turned onto something that I just cannot help but share, and that is "Lost in the Sauce" by Translee.
He calls it "Conversational Rap" and he's right; this is not what your are going to be hearing on the radio (especially where I live, because you haven't heard Drake in the past five minutes...)but, this deserves more listeners and fans. It floats along on piano, a simple bassline, some gospel-style hits, and then Translee's excellent vocals and lyrics.
Seriously, rap fans...who...got lost and are reading this largely indie rock/folk/pop/dance article? You really do need to give Translee and his album M.A.O.T.P. a listen.
11) "I'm So Humble" - The Lonely Island
I know this is a little weird, but I have always (always) loved The Lonely Island, since The 'Bu days, so when Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping was coming out, I knew I was in for something enjoyable, because if nothing else, these three guys are some of the best satirical song writers of all-time.
Take "I'm So Humble" (featuring Adam Levine, because why not): it is a pitch-perfect satire of both a hype song, and the humblebrag, combined with being a damn catchy, and well constructed pop song in its' own right. That vocal loop as the back-beat is one of my favourite rhythms of the year, and I have to say, I have probably heard this song 50 times (off and on) and I still chuckle.
That's why it's here.
There we have it; the first half of my Top 20 Songs of 2016.
I will see you again on Thursday with the second half of the list, as well as the Top 20 Playlist