Best of 2016… So Far

2016 is more than halfway over and what better way to launch a blog dedicated to music than to do a quick survey of the land. I haven’t heard everything, I’d like to, so if your favorite project is nowhere to be seen it might not have been snubbed, or it might have been, let me know. These are 20 of the songs that have gotten heavy rotation throughout my year so far, not ranked. So without further ado here is my 20 Best Songs of 2016… So Far.

Alicia Keys “In Common”

Alicia Keys strips down to basics and delivers a tropical house smash with In Common. It’s inspiring for artist as talented as Keys to take chances at this stage in her career and see them pay off so nicely. [4/5]

Anderson .Paak “Am I Wrong”

Anderson .Paak has been around hanging around the cusp of breaking big for a few years now, .Paak was actually at one time the house drummer on American Idol. But with 2016’s Malibu .Paak has firmly catapulted himself into the limelight. [4/5]

ANOHNI “Drone Bomb Me”

Drone Bomb Me is a political electropop masterpiece. ANOHNI delivers a topical dance track that’s emotional weight is as astounding as it’s replay value. [4.5/5]

Beyonce “Freedom”

Beyoncé set the world aflame this year when she dropped Lemonade earlier this year. A concept album executed so flawlessly that rumors began swirling about the inevitable divorce that would surely follow an album tackling infidelity, insecurity, and identity so honestly. [5/5]

Chairlift “Moth to the Flame”

Brooklyn duo Chairlift return after a four-year hiatus that saw the band members working with artist like Das Racist, and Beyoncé as well as releasing solo projects. On the band’s third album, Moth, Chairlift delivers another batch of inspired electropop.

 

Chance the Rapper “Same Drugs”

Chance the Rapper is arguably the most genuine artist making music in 2016. And Same Drugs is the kind of gut-wrenchingly honest song that only works because Chance is true to himself, and it shows all throughout Coloring Book. [5/5]

Crows “Whisper”

Rock music has been stagnant in my opinion for a few years now. But with Whisper, the band Crows are able to create a little hope for the future. Whisper is powerful, it’s dirty and  it’s infectious. I look forward to future releases from Crows, and so should you. [4.5/5]

D.R.A.M. “Broccoli”

It takes a special record to captivate the streets and the charts, while being wholly original. D.R.A.M. doesn’t just reinvent the wheel with Broccoli he makes it obsolete on his way into the stratosphere. [4/5]

David Bowie “Lazarus”

It’s hard not to get emotion about Blackstar once you realize its an album about dying from a terminally ill David Bowie. However Bowie managed to create this album in the state he was in is stupefying to even consider. Blackstar is the ultimate swan song for the ultimate artist. [5/5]

Desiigner “Panda”

There’s not a lot of depth to Desiigner’s Panda, or the rapper himself, he sounds like a carbon copy of Future. However it’s hard to ignore how hard this song hits. If you were awake in 2016 you no doubt have spent hours, if not days, trying to scrub “I got broads in Atlanta” out of your memory. [4/5]

Father John Misty “Real Love Baby”

Father John Misty cleans up an earlier demo in order to ease the wait following last years stellar I Love You, Honeybear. But Real Love Baby is more than just your average leftover track, it’s chorus begs to be played over and over at max volume. Father John Misty is at the forefront of an exciting new wave of music. [5/5]

Francis and the Lights “Friends”

Francis and the Lights and Bon Iver try to out autocroon one another here on Friends. The two sound like they were separated at birth, so its only fitting they get together at some point and create something as good as Friends. [4/5]

Frank Ocean “Nikes”

Frank Ocean finally released the Chinese Democracy of R&B albums when he unleashed not only one but two albums over the span of 6 days. Blond and a separate visual album somehow managed to shatter expectations so high they were comical. [5/5]

Iggy Pop “Gardenia”

Legendary punk godfather Iggy Pop teams up with Josh Homme and delivers a surprise stunner with Post Pop Depression. Homme channels David Bowie in an effort to bring out the magic those two created in the 70’s to gratifying results. [4/5]

Isaac Gracie “Terrified”

Isaac Gracie wows on the bare bones track Terrified. For a batch of songs that sound like they were recorded in a hallway with an iPhone Gracie’s Songs from My Bedroom EP is both devastating and hopeful all at once. [4/5]

James Blake “I Need a Forest Fire”

2016 is apparently the year of unexpected celebrity deaths and Bon Iver features. Justin Vernon and James Blake pair so effortlessly, and to such fantastic results on I Need a Forest Fire that it’s surprising they haven’t paired up permanently a la Simon & Garfunkel. [4/5]

Kanye West “Real Friends”

Few people on Earth generate the kind of buzz that Kanye West does anytime he begins to build steam. The first single from The Life of Pablo sent expectations to the moon, and sent critics of the artist, who claimed he had nothing left to say back into the shadows.

[5/5]

Michael Kiwanuka “Black Man in a White World”

Michael Kiwanuka returns after a four-year hiatus with an inspired, and topical set of songs. Kiwanuka manages to put large complex social issues at the heart of an incredibly personal exploration across Love & Hate. [4/5]

Radiohead “Burn the Witch”

After erasing their entire online presence earlier this year Radiohead dropped Burn the Witch and all was forgiven. Radiohead move away from traditional guitar driven tracks for the whole orchestra here. If A Moon Shaped Pool hasn’t found its way entire your life yet, seek it out as Radiohead deliver their best album since In Rainbows. [4.5/5]

Sturgill Simpson “In Bloom”

Simpson treads into unprecedented territory by throwing a country twang on an iconic 90’s grunge track. While it may seem blasphemous to take on Nirvana with a steel guitar, Simpson’s earnest soulful take will win over the most devout Cobain purist. [4/5]

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