Saturday, December 24, 2016

Top 10 BEST Top 10 Hit Songs of 2016

I don't need no stinking introduction. But here, click on this link and you can see my top 10 WORST of the year.

#10. Panda - Desiigner

I still have no idea how this song hit #1, but it did. Somehow. And honestly, as weird and nonsensical as it is, I can kinda see why it struck a chord with so many people. It may be a bit of a ripoff of The Future in certain ways, but there's a solid beat, pretty great vocalizing, and a ton of personality. In the end, the lyrics (which I still have no clue what they mean) aren't enough of a detriment to keep this off my top 10, because love it or hate it, this song leaves a pretty strong impression. I'm still not entirely sure how much I like it, but when it comes on I almost always have to listen to it all the way through. And I can't say that about almost any other hit song this year.

#9. Cake By The Ocean - DNCE

Another example of style over substance, this song appeals to me on a strictly auditory level. The lyrics are a mess, mixing metaphors and generally just being ridiculous in every way, but the opening riff is one of the best of any hit from 2016, the verses and choruses are catchy, and it always gets me tapping my foot and singing along. As much as I enjoy music with actual depth, sometimes (particularly with newer pop music) that's just not a realistic expectation. And while I would love to say that a song about eating desserts near a large body of water has more to offer than just being an earworm, I honestly wouldn't even want it to be any other way. It's fun to listen to, and that's really all it needed to be.

#8. Heathens - Twenty One Pilots

Although this song does have that unfortunate connection to one of the worst movies I saw in 2016 (Suicide Squad...ugh), I've luckily been able to distance it from that and see it as the grim and catchy alt-rock inspired gem that it is. Lyrically, yet again, this song doesn't have too much to offer (there really weren't many good lyrical hit songs this year), but the dark tone and insanely catchy rhythms keep it in my mind long after it's over. It has a weirdly haunting quality to it that I like, and is far, far more effective at capturing a complex atmospheric tone that the movie failed miserably at doing itself.

#7. Send My Love (To Your New Lover) - Adele

With Hello not eligible for the list due to it originally hitting the top 10 at the end of last year, I had to find some other way to insert Adele into my list, and this was the only other way. In all seriousness though, this is a pretty solid track and I enjoy that - in spite of being yet another heartbreak/found-somebody-new song - this one doesn't have the same home wrecker vibe as several of her others. I love that she actually takes part in the writing and production side of her music, and of course her voice is as amazing here as ever. She's one of the defining musical talents of the 21st century, and while this isn't among her greatest songs, is still pretty fantastic.

#6. Closer - The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey

I'm going to be totally honest here: I enjoy this song, but still have no idea at all how it was able to be this massive of a hit. This song was number one for roughly 3 months, making it possibly the biggest hit of the entire year. A super catchy chorus, solid lyrics, and memorable music. I can sing along to the entire chorus, which is very rare for me with new songs, and I have the distinct feeling most people could probably do the same. I didn't like this song very much the first couple times I heard it, but it's stuck with me. And now I like it more and more every time I hear it, in spite of being relatively unimpressed with it on a fairly base level. It's nothing exceptional, but weirdly, addictively listenable.

#5. My House - Flo Rida

I never would've guessed going into this list that I would have put a Flo Rida song in my top 10, but here it is sitting in my top 5. And I think maybe it's just out of sheer relief in a lot of ways. I have become so accustomed to hearing rappers feel the need to endlessly rap about banging bitches up in the clubs, smoking [insert slang for pot], and showing off how many cars and gold bricks they have that I've come to appreciate the simplicity of a "we don't need to go out to a club, let's just have a party at my house" song. It's a dumb thing to care about, sure, but this is an excellent house party song (that's only slightly materialistic) with a good chorus that I can't help but to enjoy, in spite of his weak singing. And I got this from a Flo Rida song. Who knew.

#4. Can't Stop The Feeling - Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake is one of the most likable personalities of the past few decades, and this is one of the most fun songs he's ever done. While I can definitely see why others might find a lot to hate about music this shallow and bubbly, god DAMN if this isn't one of the most catchy songs of the year, and a completely charming and entertaining track that will always make me want to dance -- and I'm not the dancing type. This is just a lovable goofy song that isn't trying to be anything more than it is, as it was a song from the animated Trolls movie and quite simply needed to be catchy and fun. If I believed in guilty pleasures, this would definitely be one for me.

#3. Starboy - The Weeknd ft. Daft Punk

I'm not the world's biggest fan of The Weeknd, but he is among my favorite modern pop acts and the combination of him and Daft Punk was always bound to be something pretty special. It's pretty dark and the perfect hybrid of their respective musical styles, which is always ideal with a crossover. Daft Punk are geniuses at cresting memorable and effective complementary music, and the way The Weeknd's high-pitched voice cuts through the techno soul funk backing track makes me wish they would collaborate further. It's musical synergy, and while I still prefer Can't Feel My Face, this is definitely one of the best songs he's perfored on, or that they've provided music for.

#2. Stressed Out - Twenty One Pilots

I've said it before (not on'll just have to take my word for it), but this is basically the millenial anthem. I don't often associate myself with this current generation, due to my curmudgeonly nature and general distaste for people who are easily offended, but this song really does speak to me and millions of others in this generation on a very personal level. This is one of the most lyrically-interesting pop songs of the past several years, touching upon even the smallest details that get overlooked about our memories, expectations, and insecurities -- the rambling lyric about candles and the particular scents that will only matter to specific individuals, for example. The lyrics are clever, intelligent, the chorus is FANTASTIC, and nearly everything this song touches upon is drenched in both meaningful nostalgia and issues only this current generation can fully relate to. It's a pop rock hip-hop hybrid that I can definitely see maintaining popularity and perhaps even accumulating a bigger following throughout the years. But now it's time to reveal my favorite top 10 hit song of 2016. It was a close call, but in the end I had to go with...

#1. I Took A Pill In Ibiza - Mike Posner (SeeB remix)

It's completely bizarre to me that a remix of a song could wind up being not only a far bigger hit than the original, but also so much better. This is a lyrical gem, from the emotionally devastating perspective of a washed-up pop singer rife with internalized pain which is revealed through an experience surrounding a joyless drug trip. The original version of the song while still lyrically powerful, was much less interesting to listen to, as the remix succeeded in capturing the crippling loneliness of a man who was once on top in the most appropriate of musical settings: essentially reworking the song with a club beat. There's something truly painful and alienating about listening to someone pour their heart out overtop a thumping bassline that paints an effective portrait of a man trapped in a life of materialism and emotional hollowness, desperate to be heard by anyone who could listen. This song is truly haunting, never glamorizing this lonely scenario as you see in every other club-oriented song you'll ever hear. This song makes you truly feel bad for someone who's been rich and successful and still feels empty inside. It's nearly every person's dream to achieve material wealth (at least to some degree), and this song manages to make that seem totally undesirable and in no way the solution to far deeper emotional issues -- the struggle to find joy feels totally hopeless. Listening to this one on a surface level, it's a solid and catchy track with some great techno composition, but it's made absoutely great by these soul-crushing lyrics. It was a tough choice picking this over Stressed Out, but this song damn near makes me cry every time I hear it and I feel that dramatic bite gave it the upperhand. Possibly the best song of the year, top 10 or not.

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