Year End Top 100: 2016 – 60 to 51

60 – Dangerous Woman by Ariana Grande


“Dangerous Woman” is dangerous territory for Ariana. For one, she has no vocal collaborator. This is neither hip-hop nor EDM. And the sultriness and maturity she projects is unprecedented.  In the end, it’s a gamble that paid off. I’m happy for her and all artists who take risks and become less manufactured.

59 – 22 (OVER S∞∞N) by Bon Iver


For my own personal taste, I find the stylings in the title pretentious. But it doesn’t matter if the record sounds authentic and honest. All the time, talent shows demand “soul” and “character” in an artist’s voice and delivery. I find the comment generic and lazy. But if I had to put my finger on someone who excels at it, Justin Vernon would be the guy, effortlessly conveying and embodying such “soul” and “character”. This song is for 2016 – it will all be over soon!

58 – Happy by Mitski


I’ve listened to many renditions of “Happy” – from that of Square Head to Alexia to Pharrell and even Ashanti. But Mitski’s is the most depressing by far. Not depressing in the “why-did-she-have-to-release-such-an-awful track” depressing. If I had to judge among the five, I’d award it to Ashanti’s. But it’s more of “happy-has-left-me-and-I-have-no-more-use-for-a-heart” kind of depressing. It’s minimalist and understated but screams of brilliance and genius.

57 – A Change of Heart by The 1975


The 1975 not only sustained their popularity but managed to establish their artistic credibility with one album release. My respect has increased exponentially in the course of 2016 for the group.”A Change of Heart” has made falling out of love feel so simple and peaceful, with a relaxed and calm beat, coupled with beautifully written lyrics. If only we kept our chill the same way The 1975 did here. We are train wrecks and disasters, tragic ones, compared to this.

56 – Hold Up by Beyonce


With “Lemonade”, Beyonce lets her guard down, shows the world her insecurities and doesn’t filter her thoughts for a second. She didn’t need to. She’s the biggest music superstar today. But maybe that’s what brought her there. With her weaknesses out in the open, she ends up drawing an immense amount of power letting her craft her own narrative. “Hold Up” is the least bit formulaic in terms of beat construction and verses, but the rollercoaster emotion it contemplates of being jealous or crazy is universal and surprisingly unheard.

55 – Magnetised by Tom Odell


It blows my mind that this world has undiscovered gems such as Tom Odell’s captivating voice or his overwhelmingly heartbreaking lyrics. He has yet to breakout in mainstream music but I would go as far as compare his abilities to Sam Smith’s. Yes, I went there.

54 – Pillowtalk by ZAYN


The initial solo efforts from three of the members of One Direction (Niall, Louis and Zayn) are promising. In count, that is more members generating hits compared to other boy bands in my lifetime. And to the song that started it all, “Pillowtalk” showcases ZAYN’s vocal range that I never knew existed before. They are strong together, but maybe stronger apart.

53 – Tears by Clean Bandit featuring Louisa Johnson


I wrote off Clean Bandit too early. I thought, after “Rather Be”, we would not be hearing from them anymore. But they came in 2016 strong. “Tears” fits perfectly in the 90s dance music era but sounds just as great today.

52 – Bang My Head by David Guetta featuring Fetty Wap and Sia


David Guetta helped catapult Sia’s career to the forefront. Since then, she has managed to outpace him in popularity and respect. With “Bang My Head”, Sia helps David Guetta reignite the fire that he has lost with audiences. This remix, which features Fetty Wap, storms through life’s depressions with powerful and raging beats that make you feel you can overcome adversities the same way Sia has. You probably won’t.

51 – Lake by the Ocean by Maxwell


Every year, a sensual, sexy and R&B offering comes out. This year, it’s courtesy of music veteran Maxwell. I have heard great things about the album. Quite frankly, I have not listened to it. But if this goodness extends to all the tracks, then Miguel better watch his back. Of course, doing it in a lake by the ocean sounds more romantic than what it might actually be. If you imagine it, let alone do it, I’ll bet you’d be disgusted.

Other Links:

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