2016 was been a wild one, across the board. But luckily, the music world has been overall exemplary. After some serious filing down, we were able to sift through the hits, to find our favorite tracks from the past year. Some artists have been around for sometime, and others had their debut year, but at the end of the day, these acts are all doing what they love, which is producing quality music. We hope you enjoy our top tracks and that you all have safe and awesome New Years celebrations -- see you in 2017! Enjoy!
1) "Dog Years" by Maggie Rogers
Maggie Rogers, a Brooklyn based artist who just had the year of her life, is a name to remember. Maggie is probably best known for her song “Alaska”, which by itself could have launched her career, but was only enhanced when it was played for Pharrell in his Masterclass at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute where his reaction was: “I’ve never heard anything that sounds like that. That’s a drug for me.” Fortunately, this gave Maggie an outlet we were all hoping for in bringing her music into our homes. While “Alaska” is brilliant, our favorite song of hers thus far is “Dog Years”. The way she mixes sounds under her unique voice is something refreshing to the music industry. It sounds so raw and genuine when she sings, which is only heightened by her lyrical depth.
2) "Same Drugs" by Chance the Rapper
One’s bound to lead a thoroughly impressive life with the first name Chancelor, and Chance the Rapper’s musical intelligence is nothing shy of greatness. Immediately upon release in May, Chance’s third mixtape, "Coloring Book", gained universal praise stacked with incredible tracks and phenomenal production. The sixth track’s intimacy begins with a sole piano, and grows incrementally by incorporating gospel-inspired vocals, drum beats, strings, and so on. Age effects change, and Chance dances with Wendy in reflecting on the past while realizing the present.
3) “ILYSB” by LANY
“ILYSB” (I Love You So Bad) is beautiful and sure to make you feel cool, nostalgic, and sexy all at the same time. Taking it a step further, LANY released “ILYSB – Stripped”, which is a slower, vocal rendition of the song that the world deserved. Even though LANY released their latest album, “kinda”, more recently than this song, it deserves all the recognition it can get, and more. Not only does LANY put on a killer live show, but their coolness exudes style and lyrical finesse.
Released as a single in early July, before “Farewell, Starlite!”’s full-album release in September, Francis and the Lights joined forces with Bon Iver & Kanye West, plus producers such as Rostam Batmanglij, Ariel Rechtshaid and Cashmere Cat (to name a few) to crank out a killer track, “Friends.” The synthetic sounds and whimsical beats really create something. The entire album is gold, but this track is such a powerhouse it’s unfair. Advice: blast this song in the car with windows down (slow-motion-wind-in-your-hair style), or in some real quality earbuds (not the cheap ones).
5) "The Middle" by Wet
“The Middle” exemplifies Wet’s ever-cool aspirational pop music. Earlier this year we were lucky enough to photograph Wet as they mesmerized the crowd with a performance that can only be described as magical (check out our article here). The talent and vocal range of lead singer Kelly Zutrau is a beauty that must be listened to. “The Middle” is one of their most recent songs and captures the essence of emotion in a two-minute time frame. It’s simple depth in the beat and a tempo change between the chorus and bridge of the song, takes you for an addictive ride. Not only should you be listening to “The Middle” but Wet’s entire discography.
6) “Aloha” by Møme ft. Merryn Jeann
The French DJ Møme broke out in huge success with his track “Aloha” featuring the mesmerizing voice of Australia’s vocalist Merryn Jeann. The duo’s roots extend from Nice, FR to Byron Bay, AUS, and their song has covered the globe from pole to pole. If you don’t already know this track, you’re welcome. You should learn something real while listening, and maybe… even a few good dance moves.
Jenna Pemkowski teamed up with producer Memorecks to create a powerhouse album called “Follow”. One song on this album, “Bruce Wayne” stands out instantly. Jenna’s voice flows perfectly over Memorecks’ beat creating a song that is meant to repeat. Guaranteed, the first time you listen to it will not be the last of the day. Memorecks’ already solidifying himself, but keep an eye out for Jenna Pemkowski, as her voice is meant for greatness, with this track as her amazing jumping-off point.
First start with a collaborative feat for the ages, then remix it further by one of EDM’s most recognizable names, and you get this beast of a track. Skrillex’s remix of “Show Me Love” is an ultimate feel good song, and gets any crowd on their feet. From house party, to beach bash, this crew knows how to release a great song, and we know you’ll love it just as much. The beats on the backend, keep me the poppy vocals aloft for a great time.
9) “Tilted” by Christine and the Queens
“Tilted” is as gorgeous as it is unique. Christine and the Queens is a vocal phenomenon who uses her French style and background to dive in and out of multiple languages while creating songs with silky melodies and insanely catchy verses. This track is addictive as hell; it lures in the listener so they can hear the deep-rooted sexuality and pureness within the lyrics.
The true beauty of HONNE’s style is that, they’re combining an electronic style of keys, drums and other instruments with emotional lyrics, which in turn produces a deeply sexy sound. And what better way to keep that going, then add Ms. Izzy Bizu into the mix. This trio produces a sultry song which will result in repetition; playing it over, and over, and over again. Make sure to listen to their Late Night Version of the track, and read our piece on the act with shots from a gig in Brooklyn earlier this year!