Since you don’t care, and no one is going to read this, here are my 16 picks for Best Songs of 2016.
16. “Youth” – Glass Animals
Honestly, you probably are already scrolling down my list to see if our tastes align. But the reason I listened to this song so much in 2016 is because I feel like there’s a thousand things rushing at me on the chorus. A controlled high, but an unfamiliar one.
15. “Dang!” – Mac Miller feat. Anderson .Paak
Whatever. You don’t care that this song has one of the best beats of 2016, that Anderson .Paak almost singlehandedly raised up this Mac Miller joint with some type of ’70s funky soul. The brass, the sax, the flow, the lowkey disco feel, dang! You don’t care that Mac “just eat pussy, other people need food.” You don’t care about the trippy breakdown or breezy outro.
14. “Fuck With Myself” – Banks
I know you’re not reading this, but if you were, you’d know that I’d listen to Banks’ “Fuck With Myself” whenever I needed a little ego boost. 2016 is the year where I truly stopping giving certain fucks. When I wasn’t feeling myself, I’d pop on this song and Banks would, ever-so darkly and moodily, remind me that “my love’s so good, so I fuck with myself more than anybody else.”
13. “Alaska” – Maggie Rogers
I’m pretty pissed that it took me most of the year to discover this song. It’s about hiking on a glacier in Alaska and leaving the past in the past, which I’ve done before. Not only do the lyrics apply so accurately to my life that it’s creepy, but the beat is so acoustic feeling that you almost forget that there’s electro elements. Not to mention the harmonies. Ah, the sweet, unconventional upper-register harmonies.
12. “Glowed Up” – Kaytranada feat. Anderson .Paak
Since you’re not reading this — you’re not even on my website, even — I might as well just put this out there that “Glowed Up” represented my entire April. There’s something otherworldly in the alien-esque voice swiveling underneath the heavy mechanical beat, something that comforted me as I adjusted to a new world in another corporate job. There’s also something comforting in the throbbing, brash synths and cooler-than-you feeling in Anderson .Paak’s raspy storytelling. April vibes, man.
11. “Be Alright” – Ariana Grande
This is that dance-in-your-kitchen-after-a-taxing-day jam. No matter how shitty you’re feeling, this song will get you out of it, if you let it. It’s the best song with a xylophone this year, and surprisingly, there’s been a lot of xylophone this year.
10. “We Don’t Talk Anymore” – Charlie Puth feat. Selena Gomez
You’re on a different website right now, pretending to read one of their articles, but just know that I get what people say about Charlie Puth. They call him Charlie Poop. Anyway, if you know me, you know that I’m a ride-or-die Selena Gomez fan, so I checked out this joint when I found out she was on it, and as soon as I heard the tricky acoustic guitar riff in the beginning, I was hooked. You try playing that!! From the tropical, bouncy chorus to the extremely genuine feel that Gomez gives the lyrics, it’s a bop.
9. “You Don’t Know My Heart” – Rachel Platten
This chorus goes hard! I wish everyone listened to Rachel Platten’s Wildfire album, but there’s nothing I can really do to change your mind. This song is about Rachel’s fight with her sister, which is so relatable *rubs elbow obnoxiously on your arm with a smirk*. I love the explosion of sounds, the sense of urgency and the tenor sax that honks up a storm. I kind of want to mosh to this song.
8. “The Greatest” – Sia
I should probably be spending my time writing something more constructive that I’m getting paid to do, but I like writing about these songs, so I’m gonna keep going. Sia knows how to write a hit with a dark, twisted edge. “The Greatest” is an upbeat, motivating anthem but there’s a little bit of desperation in there. When she’s saying “I’m free to be the greatest here tonight,” which, by the way, has great inner-phrase rhyming, she’s building ego off a pinch of hope.
7. “Crying in Public” – Chairlift
“Crying in Public” is about a love that so all-consuming that you can’t hide it, no matter where you are. It takes over and isolates you, so the next time it makes you cry on the train, you won’t even notice. Caroline from Chairlift sings so sweetly on this ballad, and I love the underwater distortion, the bright pulses and the warbled bass among it all.
6. “Aftergold” – Big Wild feat. Tove Stryke
Dance. Dance. Dance. This song is a symphony of tropical sounds. The instrumental stands on its own, but when he added Tove Stryke to the mix, I was happy I could finally sing along to one of my fave tracks of the year.
5. “Colour Sum” – Chelsea Jade
If you’ve been reading things I’ve written since 2011, which, like, why would you, you’d know that I’m a fangirl for Chelsea Jade. She just has no bad songs. “Colour Sum,” with its throbbing bass and her cave of layered vocals, makes my heart burst. Probably because it’s about sex.
4. “Everybody Wants to Love You” – Japanese Breakfast
The chorus is everything in this tune, which pulls some light-as-a-feather-stiff-as-a-board wackiness and makes me float every time I hear it. It’s the call and response. It’s the group-sung “Everybody want to love you.” It’s the lyrics: “Will you lend me your toothbrush? / Will you make me breakfast in bed? / Ask me to get married / And then make me breakfast again!”
3. “Easier Said” – Sunflower Bean
Ugh, I’m barely following myself, but Sunflower Bean is easily one of my most listened-to songs of 2016. I dig the easygoing synth that gushes out warmth like a hot-air vent. And the reverbed AF beach guitar going crazy all over it. I love the melancholic vocals and the depressing lyrics. “Easier said than done / I hear you right the first time.” Everything about this song will make it timeless for me.
2. “Same Ol’ Mistakes” – Rihanna
This Tame Impala cover was unexpected on Rihanna’s ANTI, but it quickly became my favorite. It’s six minutes and 37 seconds long, which is great, because I never want it to end. With a menacing Scarface-esque counter-melody, rubberband bass and a celestial vocal echo, “Same Ol’ Mistakes” takes me to a different place. The lyrics urge me to take risks, dare to be uncomfortable, not settle for how things are going. “Stop thinking you’re the only option.” There’s so much more out there.
1. “All Night” – Beyoncé
Sometimes I start crying as soon as I hear the Outkast trumpet samples. When I caught Bey’s Formation Tour in Queens this year, she revealed that “All Night” is her favorite song to perform, further solidifying it as my favorite track off Lemonade. After an album’s worth of internal struggle, fighting true love, battling with acceptance and finding forgiveness, “All Night” is all about redemption. “And my torturer became my remedy.”
Here’s a Spotify playlist of all the stuff I listened to this year on repeat.