Year End Top 100: 2016 – 40 to 31

40 – Closer by The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey


The most divisive entry on this list comes care of The Chainsmokers. Let’s admit it! We hate it because 1) it got overplayed and 2) it was consumed by all. No radio station or club shied away from it. But thinking about it rationally and independent of how others felt about it, the song is a beautiful, EDM ballad. And yes, in my humble opinion, superior to the 60 entries ranked from 41 to 100. You can burn me at the stake!

39 – 24K Magic by Bruno Mars


Bruno Mars is in the same league as that of Justin Timberlake, Beyonce and Kanye West. He is an artist capable of evolving, pushing the envelope and consistently generating an overwhelmingly favorable reaction from the audiences. “24K Magic” continues his throwback funk that helped bring “Treasure” and “Uptown Funk” to mainstream success. I wonder when he’ll mess up. Let us forgive him and forget his his participation in the atrocity that is “Bubble Butt”.

38 – Rockabye by Clean Bandit featuring Anne-Marie and Sean Paul


Pleasant surprise but I never thought single motherhood would be a song’s topic and still hit it off with mainstream audiences. To be fair, I am unsure how many are aware that “Rockabye” is about it but it would be nice to believe and not ask more. If this track did anything, it was to establish that Clean Bandit is not going anywhere soon and that Sean Paul’s comeback might be here to stay. Two successful features in a row!

37  – Never Be Like You by Flume featuring Kai


Flume describes his second album as a departure from “festival music” to “headphone music”. ” Funny enough, despite my inability to elaborate, the description makes sense. Or am I just too lazy to come up with a proper description? Anyway, the beat is romantic and the vocals are haunting. Great songs make the lyrics work, diminishing what would otherwise be perceived as obsessive and unhealthy, bordering on deranged.

36 – All Night by Chance the Rapper featuring Knox Fortune


Hip-hop never sounded so upbeat and meaningful until Chance the Rapper came. I never took him seriously at first. I intently follow Madonna and he was featured alongside Mike Tyson on her track “Iconic”. Even though I consider her divine, that song is trash compared to any single track from Chance the Rapper’s “The Coloring Book”. “All Night” is one of my personal favorites, having all the fun in the world while indulging in alcohol. In his case, it would include not being taken advantage of because of his status. The latter, I only wish I could relate.

35 – Million Reasons by Lady Gaga


Lady Gaga has managed a complete turnaround of her image. She used to be the queen of the dance floor and would be the fashion icon for meat. Since then, she has demonstrated her vocal chops and is becoming quite the balladeer. Her catalog now includes trademark gems such as “Brown Eyes”, “Speechless”, “You and I” and now, “Million Reasons”. I know she doesn’t have to resort to publicity stunts nowadays. But gosh, the video is goddamn awful! Gotye would’ve sang “You didn’t have to stoop so low”.

34 – Drunk Drivers / Killer Whales by Car Seat Headrest


Either drink too little or too much, nothing in between. Otherwise, it brings you to a level of inhibition where you have the mental faculty to re-evaluate the state of your life. That is can of worms we do not want to open! That is how I feel about “Drunk Drivers / Killer Whales”. Special shout out to some of my favorite lines from the song – “I have become such a negative person”, “We are not a proud race. It’s not a race at all. We’re just trying. I’m only trying to get home” and “There’s no comfort in responsibility. Drunk drivers. Drunk drivers”. PS no to drunk driving!

33 – Cranes in the Sky by Solange


I cannot fathom how immense the pressure of being related to the biggest music superstar of this generation is. If it’s worth anything, Solange could not have handled it any better. No gimmicks, nothing flashy – just straight up, classic R&B. Through “Cranes in the Sky”, she has managed to suck us all in and partake in her journey of alleviating pain. It’s minimalist, understated and brilliant all at the same time. Unfortunately for Haylie Duff and Hilary Duff, they will not be the best living sibling music tandem.

32 – Ultralight Beam by Kanye West


If there was any doubt that gospel and hip-hop do not mesh well, “Ultralight Beam” would be the perfect way to disprove it. It’s an injustice that the song is unheard of for music fans. The only consolation is a general consensus among critics that this is one of the highlight releases of 2016. Can we blame Kanye for it tanking? Yes. But we know better than to let his rowdy behavior get in the way of appreciating genius.

31 – Starving by Hailee Steinfeld featuring Grey and Zedd


Hailee Steinfeld broke out of her relatively reserved shell with “Starving”. No question, this is her most playful and daring single to date. Let’s wait and see if she eventually follows in the footsteps of Christina Aguilera or Miley Cyrus. But for now, this gave us the most teasing and flirtatious hook up track of 2016, used or imagined to be used.

Other Links:

100 to 91:

90 to 81:

80 to 71:

70 to 61:

60 to 51:

50 to 41:

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