With the first hit songs of 2017 being released, let's take a look back at some of the head-bopping and toe-tapping highlights of 2016!
BEST SONG OF 2016: "The Sound" - The 1975
This might be the sneakiest song, album, and band. The 1975 have successfully worked their way to the top of the charts with their incredibly bubbly tunes. While other artists have done the same, by creating some similarly catchy grooves, The 1975 has managed to do this while degrading the majority of their “fanbase.” It’s a wonderful example of the public not actually listening to the lyrics. Most would tell you that “The Sound” is a love song, when it is actually about being shallow, needy, and conceited. While this could seem like a cruel joke, The 1975 don’t let themselves off the hook either. “The Sound” also addresses the clichés that surround the band and its members.
The rest of the album, “I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It,” addresses similar themes, and contain harsh lyrics hidden behind the bubble-gum masquerade.
THE BEST SONGS OF 2016
"Heathens" - Twenty One Pilots
Twenty One Pilots is the biggest band in the world right now. Selling out venue after venue. Releasing chart topping single after chart topping single. At this point, it appears the duo from Ohio can do no wrong. The only struggle is having to pick which song or single is their best. While they also released a beautiful cover of My Chemical Romance’s “Cancer” this year, “Heathens” easily became their biggest hit of the year. Being tied to the superhero hype machine solidified its undeniable success.
Heathen’s has an interesting blend of visceral tones, a minor key, and an almost nursery-rhyme-like melody for the chorus. It’s catchy, cool, and a little bit creepy. It perfectly captures the tone that Warner Bros. tried to achieve with Suicide Squad.
"Hello" - Adele
Adele has already solidified as one of the best vocalists of her generation. It’d be hard for anyone to follow up an album like 21, yet Adele has managed to step back into the spotlight with “25.” This could be another big year for Adele at the Grammy’s, and “Hello” was the powerful spark to the success of this heavily celebrated album.
"Starboy" - The Weeknd
The Weeknd continues to prove that he is a force to be reckoned with. He teamed up with electronic music legends, Daft Punk, for two of his singles off of his new album. One of those songs being a track that emulates the groove ofMichael Jackson, and the other being prideful anthem with a relentless beat. Starboy is the Steve McQueen of pop singles in 2016. There’s a effortless sense of style, cool, and swagger. The song is an anti-hero; there’s a lot of reasons we should’t, but we can’t help but love it.
"Redbone" - Childish Gambino
If we had to give an award to the entertainer of the year, it would probably go to Donald Glover. His show “Atlanta” and his album “Awaken, My Love!” are some of the most intriguing works in their respective mediums. While many expected a new hip-hop record from Childish Gambino, but his new album turned out to be a funk record. It was loved by some, hated by others, and just caused a lot of questions. One of the biggest issues was being unable to tell where Glover’s voice started or ended. We’ve never heard him like this, so we are diving into uncharted territory.
What really sold us on the record was Glover’s live performance of the song “Redbone” on The Tonight Show. The performance showed off his range, and laid to rest any questions or reservations we had of Glover becoming a new-funk superstar.
"Sabotage/Home" - Kings Kaleidoscope
While most Christian bands do everything they can to simplify their music for church settings, Kings Kaleidoscope doesn’t shy away from using their creative gifts to their fullest extent. “Sabotage/Home” is busy with layered guitar licks, a constantly running bass line, and boisterous horn section.
The song is a bold declaration against our views on success and ambition, and calls into question what we should hold most dear and important. The song provides an interesting challenge to the listener, but does so with such confidence and determination, that it’s hard not to buy in. There is strength to be found in the weakness and vulnerability of the lyrics that is complimented by the groove and relentlessness of the music itself.