Year End Top 100: 2016 – 30 to 21

30 – Boyfriend by Tegan and Sara


When they uttered the words “But I don’t want to be your secret anymore”, it was game over. *drops mic*. I discovered Tegan and Sara a few years ago and featured “Closer” on my annual list. Despite their enormous catalog, I’ve never considered giving it a listen. But when you’ve populated your playlist with the usual suspects, you have the time to revisit the toys you’ve ignored. Tegan and Sara was one of them. I’m glad to have rekindled my relationship with their music. I now know better than to deprioritize their releases.

29 – Cake by the Ocean by DNCE


Nick Jonas has had tremendous success outside of the Jonas Brothers and now Joe Jonas has managed the same. If the group had a single entitled “Toothbrush”, it’s not difficult to grasp that you can also have one named “Cake by the Ocean”. Of course, the intention was to write about sex by the beach. But as fate would have it, incorrectly blurting out the phrase led to the beautiful disaster that is #29 on the list.

28 – Side to Side by Ariana Grande featuring Nicki Minaj


Most of my work colleagues who do spinning actually commented that this would not be an appropriate song for the activity. The video, however, suggests otherwise. In any case, this song is a slow creeper and the ultimate grower. Offhand, it doesn’t sound like a hit but the more you listen to it, the better it gets.

27 – Don’t Let Me Down by The Chainsmokers featuring Daya


Am I the only one who prefers “Don’t Let Me Down” to “Closer”? Among all their recent releases, this sounds the most different, and I don’t mean it in a bad way. I hope this serves as an inspiration for the group to grow and go outside what seems to be their newly found comfort zone.

26 – My Church by Marren Morris


There is no better song for a music lover than one expressing deep affection for it. “My Church” is country but the emotion is universal. It reminds me so much of having a good time singing to your favorite songs, while away from the worries of city life.

25 – Freedom by Beyonce featuring Kendrick Lamar


“Freedom” has too much star power for one track. And unlike most superstar collaborations that under-delivered (Rihanna + Shakira, Iggy Azalea + Britney Spears or Taylor Swift + John Mayer), the sound of the two mesh well. There are no two artists more qualified to sing such a relevant and timely anthem.

24 – Shout Out to My Ex by Little Mix


Zayn Malik not only delivered one of the top breakout efforts of 2016, but inspired one of the biggest heartbreak hits as well. Little Mix did not let Fifth Harmony keep the crown for long. “Shout Out to My Ex” continues their string of fresh, fun and empowering hits. I’d like to give out a shout out to my exes, but that would not be sincere.

23 – Kids by OneRepublic


Who wouldn’t want to be a kid again? No worries and actions have little consequences. The irony of aging is we learn more about the world but tend to live life less. OneRepublic acknowledges how great the past is but refuses to live in it. Of course, if living in the past means a replay of 2016, then I’d be more than happy to.

22 – Starboy by The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk


Many careers collapse after the third album release. The sophomore one can rely on the debut’s success. But a remarkable third, which tends to dictate longevity, demands brilliance. The Weeknd acknowledged the constraints of stardom and the complacency it breeds and used it as the perfect launch pad for his new set, “Starboy”. With it, he transforms and communicates his reinvention to the world. And even if he ends up underperforming, that is still a career ended, vs thousands of careers that never even begun.

21 – Waves by Miguel


For a music fan, one of life’s biggest letdowns is trying to get affirmation from your friends that they are gushing over the same song you are raving about and then for them to not even know it exists. That is the tragedy of the single “Waves”. The track is sexual but doesn’t leaving you feeling dirty, not even one bit. It’s carefree, inspired and divine. I have yet to meet someone, who after hearing it a first time, reacted negatively.

Other Links:

100 to 91:

90 to 81:

80 to 71:

70 to 61:

60 to 51:

50 to 41:

40 to 31:



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