Top 30 Songs of Summer 2016

It was a summer I will cherish for years. Memories of Portugal, Spain and a plethora of festivals/concerts/sets will never leave me. The past couple times I’ve done a songs of the summer list, I’ve only included songs from the year in question. I’ve asked different questions in 2016, so the songs herein are from whenever. Here are the songs that helped soundtrack my unforgettable summer:

30. Ryan Hemsworth – Surrounded

 

29. That Poppy – American Kids

 

28. Biffy Clyro – Friends and Enemies

 

27. Daughter – Doing The Right Thing/How

 

26. The Joy Formidable – Liana

 

25. One Republic – Kids

 

24. Ofelia K – I Love My Lawyer

 

23. Bob Moses – Tearing Me Up

 

22. The Tragically Hip – The Depression Suite

 

Bonus: Grimes – Go

 

21. Catfish and The Bottlemen – 7

 

20. Fidlar – Cheap Beer

 

19. Broods – Freak of Nature f. Tove Lo/1000x/Bedroom Door

 

18. Bear’s Den – Gabriel

 

Bonus: Wolf Alice – Soapy Water

 

17. Kanye – Fade/Waves/Saint Pablo

 

16. Glass Animals – Youth

 

15. Band of Horses – Casual Party

 

14. Gareth Emery – Reckless

 

13. Britney Spears – Make Me/Love Me Down

 

12. John Grant – Marz

 

11. The Chainsmokers – Roses

 

Bonus: The Vaccines – Post Break-Up Sex/A Lack of Understanding

 

10. Benjamin Francis Leftwich – Some Other Arms

Slow-tempo magic. I adore this song.

 

9. Dan Deacon – When I Was Done Dying

The sound of flight. Of rebirth. Of mice and men and death back then. The sound of making anew, and birds as your crew.

 

8. The 1975 – Loving Someone

Loving Someone really came alive as I saw the band twice this summer, thrice overall this year. The chorus is massive.

 

7. Marshmello – Alone

Undeniably dope, Alone is one monster dance track.

 

6. Hana – Clay/Underwater/White

I fell in love with Hana’s music this summer. These 3 songs are why.

 

5. The 1975 – A Change of Heart

It’s been several months since I first heard this track, and I cannot escape it. It remains indomitable. One of the best songs of the year, hands down.

 

4. Two Door Cinema Club – Cigarettes In The Theatre

When I experienced this song at Nos Alive in Lisbon, the crowd went mental. Out of the countless songs and sets I’ve heard live, this ranks at the top for/of memorable performances. An already fabulous song made immortal.

 

3. Jamie XX – Gosh

I threw all kinds of shapes and danced like my body was a singular fit conniption. I saw Gosh at two different festivals this summer, on back-to-back nights, in Portugal and Spain, and the music took me to another place both times. A place where my body and the beat were present, but where my mind moved to nether regions. I will never forget that transportation.

 

2. Villagers – Nothing Arrived (Acoustic)

I waited for something, and something died, so I waited for nothing, and nothing arrived.

 

1. The 1975 – You

I didn’t know You.

I heard the song live thrice this year, though it didn’t immediately clutch claws into my arm and smack me upside the head. Only on the last occasion did I get an inkling. But I didn’t really know You until…

I found You in Barcelona.

I was walking down Passeig de Sant Joan to the Arc de Triomf and the sun was grinning cheekily behind marshmallow-white clouds. I saw a man blowing soap bubbles for passers by, children rapt by the disappearing orbs, a rollerblading girl with strawberry blonde hair dressed in a black tank-top and black shorts, and I found You there.

I locked into You as my over-ear headphones carried the message. I sat and smiled, I walked and smiled, and the sounds that held my face muscles in place encouraged — necessitated — the abandonment of everything. Everything but You.

It takes a bit more. More than any or most or pretty much all other songs to do what You did.

To add marvel to the day. To forge some clarity amidst the fray. To let me see the shadows shake hands with the brightness. To take a moment. To make that moment linger. To reveal a layer or two, about me, about You.

You did all that.

The Final Countdown: Top 20 Songs of 2015

The best of the best. I’ve an unwavering adoration for every song that follows. My favourite songs of 2015:

20. A Silent Film – Tomorrow

I played this tune a lllllllot in the spring months. Regretfully, it’s been criminally underappreciated/underheard. This is an epic alt-pop movie of a song.

 

19. Leon Bridges – River

Only came to my ears in December, but it was immediately compelling. Musically sparse, emotionally monumental.

 

Bonus: Twenty One Pilots – Holding On To You

Where was I when this came out three years ago? I’ve no answer for that, and I’m ashamed I missed this beast for so long.

 

18. Twenty One Pilots – Stressed Out/Ride

I’m not surprised Twenty One Pilots have become as big as they are. Schizo-pop has the ability to cross over if done well, and this duo¬†does it exceedingly so. “Stressed Out” and “Ride” are absurdly catchy.

 

17. The Helio Sequence – Battle Lines

My favourite song from The Helio Sequence’s latest, eponymous record. Summers and Weikel have a preternatural ability to infuse emotion in their (always melodic and gorgeous) songs. “Battle Lines” is a giant exhale, a sanctuary of serenity. Time always seems to stand still when I listen to the best of The Helio Sequence. They remain one of my most treasured bands.

 

16. AWOLNATION – Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)/I Am

Aaron Bruno and company are masters at Shizo-pop. “Hollow Moon” is a delicious slice of modern alt-pop, the type of song that appeals to the masses and gives classes in hook construction. Bruno is also a star at crafting interesting vocal harmonies; this is ever-apparent on the succulent “I Am”.

 

15. Marina and The Diamonds – I’m A Ruin

Far and away my favourite song on her latest LP. “I’m A Ruin” was a staple song for me throughout the year, and it’s among the very best that Marina Diamandis has ever released.

 

14. GRL – Lighthouse

One of the very best pop songs of the year.

 

13. Pure Bathing Culture – Pray For Rain

Portland strikes again. “Pray For Rain” is a hazy, sultry, foot-stomper and snare-pop romper. “Is it pleasure, is it pain, did you pray for rain?”

 

12. Best Coast – California Nights/Feeling OK

Mega-sized hits, both of them. “California Nights”: tempered, pensive, exploratory. “Feeling OK”: propulsive, energetic, incessant.

 

11. Bad Suns – Cardiac Arrest

I went nuts singing and air-drumming this slinky, sexy, sunny-day-at-the-beach anthem last year.

 

10. Houndmouth – Sedona

A grower. And how. Each time I heard “Sedona”, I liked it more. Eventually, I heard the simple truth that became obvious: “Sedona” is one of the best songs of 2015.

 

9. Glass Animals – Pools

One of the coolest songs of the year. One of the sexiest. The oddest. The warmest. The slipperiest. The slithery-est. The roam-freely-in-the-jungle-est. The earwormy-est. The sing-a-long-inside-your-yawn-est. Glass Animals, with only one album under their belts, are a band to be reckoned with. “Pools” is brilliant. (The video is too.)

 

Bonus: Broods – Superstar/Sleep Baby Sleep/L.A.F.

Slept like a baby on these tracks last year, but made up for it early in 2015 with copious plays. All three tracks are sensational pop songs, and I could’ve linked a few more from Broods’ first LP/EP. Extremely impressive work from the bro-sis Notts.

 

Depending on the day, each of the following songs could be my number one song of the year, such is how I value them. As it happens, today, this is how I’ve ranked them…

 

8. Chvrches – Leave A Trace/Never Ending Circles

Blissful, bombastic pop made by a group without peer. Chvrches dropped hit after hit on their debut, and apparently they felt like continuity was the best way forward, as their second LP moves along with nary an off-point blip on the radar. “Leave A Trace” is stunning. They couldn’t have come up with a better lead single. The staggering thing is, “Never Ending Circles” is just as good. Chvrches are well on their way to headlining duties as one of the biggest bands on the planet. I don’t think there’s a better pop-music-making group around.

 

7. Metric – The Shade

Although Metric might have something to say about that. Six albums in, Metric keeps getting better. Which is just preposterous. When I first heard “Gimme Sympathy”, I thought that’d be their pinnacle. It still shines bright enough to light up a galaxy, but “The Shade” is its equal. That’s astonishing. Without a shadow of a doubt, Metric have cemented their place as one of Canada’s best bands of all-time. I adore their way with melody. More than anything else, they care about the quality of a song, an eternally endearing quality if there ever was one.

 

6. Day Wave – Drag

That I have “Drag” this high is a surprise in a sense. It came out of nowhere. But day after day, week after week, it spoke to me. After it spoke, it sung, and clung to the strings of the beating organ in my chest. The clinging of the strings, the singing shaped like wings, and the body finds a soul to squeeze.

 

5. Purity Ring – push pull

I remember hearing this song in January and knowing right away that it’d be one of my favourite songs of the year. The thought held true, and “push pull” remains an obsession. This is electronic music drawn on a hip-hop canvas and doused with an angelic aura. It’s Purity Ring’s best song to date. “I built a constellation lair, out of the moles that hovered there, a fever billowed in the wind, and I bade the sky therein…” is one of my favourite lyrics of the year.

 

4. Miguel РCoffee/Leaves

“Coffee” is my favourite Miguel song to date. And it’s probably the best song on Miguel’s latest. But the feeling that “Leaves” induces compels me just as much, and that’s why I think it’s worthy to keep company with the lead single. FWIW, the non-explicit version of “Coffee” is a lot more captivating than the explicit one (and the version featuring Wale). “Leaves” is based off a simple guitar lick, and is carried through the seasons by Miguel’s alluring vocal. In both songs, Miguel found a way to elicit emotions and make them clear, even if they pull in different directions. He’s at the peak of his powers here, and I get lost in that zenith each and every time I hear these songs.

 

3. Tame Impala – The Less I Know The Better

I’m fucking flabbergasted at how good this song is. I could describe the way I’ve been struck with awe by this majestic piece of music, but I feel like I should let the tune stand for itself, so the less I say, the better.

 

2. Wolf Alice – Bros

I love “Bros”. It’s a romantic love. A familial one. A familiar one. Each and every second of this song is a second in which I’m enthralled. “Ohhh, jump the 43, are you wild like me? Raised by wolves and other beasts, I tell you all the time, I’m not mad. You tell me all the time, I got plans…” is a lyric I hold so, so dearly. With one song (and a teflon-strong debut album), Wolf Alice have made waves without water. In a couple years, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see them headlining arenas around the world.

 

1. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – The Ballad Of The Mighty I

This is my favourite Noel Gallagher song in almost twenty years. No big deal right. It’d be a stretch to say that Noel’s getting better with age as the music he penned for Oasis will live forever, but the fact that his material has not dipped in quality is truly amazing. I chalk it up to an obvious and simple sentiment: Noel Gallagher is one of the very few people on this earth that was born to write music. And not just any old music, but consistently catchy, consistently excellent, consistently melodic music. I believe that Mr. Gallagher is probably the best songwriter walking the earth right now. It’s also not a surprise that “The Ballad of The Mighty I”, the best and my favourite song from Noel’s most recent album, was made with a hand from the incomparable Johnny Marr. But make no mistake, Noel is captaining this ship. His vocal is stunning. The musical composition is transcendent. When you put them together, you get best-song-of-the-year type stuff. Noel Gallagher is a living legend. D’you know what I mean?