Top 20 Songs of 2016
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1. Closer- The Chainsmokers feat. Halsey
Hands down The Chainsmokers produced the song of the year. The retro dance song featuring Halsey took over the second half of 2016 and was played on pretty much every pop radio station, as well as one of the most played songs on Spotify. The song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for 12 consecutive weeks.
2. Panda- Desiigner
The first of Desiigner’s two hits had a huge presence on social media and topped the Billboard Hot 100 in April thanks to its catchy repetition. St. John’s has a unique, and somewhat special, connection to this artist due to his performance at Tip Off where he caused mass chaos by calling everyone to the court after performing the smash. Desiigner and “Panda” will forever be written into St. John’s Tip Off history.
3. Formation- Beyonce
The unapologetic megahit from the surprise “Lemonade” album simply “slayed” 2016 with the legendary line “I’ve got hot sauce in my bag.” It debuted at number nine on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as making it to international charts. The music video’s choreography, storyline and aesthetic referenced Louisiana Creole culture, police brutality and black pride. Beyonce never fails to deliver and “Formation” is the perfect example of that.
4. Hymn For The Weekend- Coldplay feat. Beyonce
A new sound from Coldplay, but definitely a good one. The song reached number six on the UK Singles Chart and also made it to international charts. If songs could be colors, “Hymn For The Weekend” would be a rainbow. Asking Beyonce to be on the song was a great choice, having an angelic voice mix with deep instrumentals and a huge chorus makes the song addictive.
5. Gemini Feed- Banks
The queen of alt-pop stole the show with her mysterious and danceable song “Gemini Feed” from “The Altar” album. Known for her dark and catchy songs, Banks took it up a notch with this one hitting the nail on the head starting the chorus with “And to think you would get me to the altar, like I follow you around like a dog that needs water.”
6. Somebody Else- The 1975
After a long wait, The 1975 released their second album in 2016 which included their most moody yet most mature song so far in their career, “Somebody Else.” Matt Healy’s haunting vocals along with the background humming and deep sounds makes for the ultimate synth-pop sound driven by the first line of the chorus: “I don’t want your body but I need to think about you with somebody else.” Truly a song for the years.
7. Million Reasons- Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga made her comeback in 2016 after spending some time in other endeavors. The song made it to 52 on the Billboard Hot 100, and rightfully so, as it explores “heartbreak and hope” behind country driven tones. Her vocal range far surpasses one’s ability to truly grasp her talent. 2017 looks bright for Lady Gaga with hopefully more singles from the “Joanne” album.
8. Everything You’ve Come To Expect- The Last Shadow Puppets
“Tiger eyelashes, summer wine, goosebump soup and honey pie” lyrically explains the ethereal sound of this song from Miles Kane and Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner. The music video depicts Kane and Turner buried in beach sand up to their neck with a bride dancing around them as the sun sets, creating a memorable piece of music with a beautiful story to accompany it.
9. Out Of The Woods- Taylor Swift
Swift’s “1989” album might have dropped in 2015, but with the release of the “Out Of The Woods” music video on New Year’s Day the song left its mark on 2016. The sixth single from the album shows Swift’s versatility, not exactly her classical pop sound, as the song builds with vocals, percussion and synth beats. It is arguably her best song emotionally and visually.
10. Famous- Kanye West
The most controversial song and music video of the year goes to, of course, Kanye West. Sculptures of celebrities including Taylor Swift, Bill Cosby, Donald Trump, Caitlyn Jenner and more accompanying West in bed for the music video added to the songs’ contentious lyrics and addictive backing beats. Kanye West never disappoints.
1. Hold Up – Beyonce
Yet another one of Beyonce’s unannounced visual albums, “Lemonade,” dictated much of pop culture in 2016. With a subtle reggae beat and telling lyrics about her husband cheating on her — her initial reaction to “be crazy” rather than “looking jealous” — “Hold Up” was one of the most talked about songs of last year. The video was just as captivating, as Beyonce ran around in a flowy, mustard dress, causing havoc with a baseball bat.
2. Work – Rihanna
One word, repeated over 70 times. It doesn’t sound like it’d be the song to dominate the charts, but Rihanna’s “Work” did just that. She sings it in her native Barbadian dialect, inciting jokes among the English-speaking masses that it was gibberish — but there was no denying that it made everyone want to give twerking a try. Drake’s feature in the song and appearance in the racy video gave it an extra-something, even sparking rumors of their relationship beyond their hit-making collaborations.
3. Safari – J Balvin, Pharrell and Bia
The collaboration between the Colombian reggaetonero, J Balvin, music producer, Pharrell, and newcomer female MC, BIA, gave us “Safari.” The international chart-topping song manages to transport you to a beach somewhere in the Caribbean while sipping a piña colada. The smooth reggaeton beat compliments J Balvin’s cool-toned rap and BIA’s sensual one, with Pharrell’s only lines “vente conmigo, sola conmigo” tying it all together.
4. Let Me Love You – DJ Snake feat. Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber had a big year last year, making a full-on comeback with many collaborations and singles becoming instant hits. “Let Me Love You” is one of those hits, which appeared on DJ Snake’s album, “Encore.” The song has a well balanced mix of electro, vocals from Bieber and drums that have a hint of dancehall in them — making for a fun but cool EDM pop song — one that doesn’t get irritating after only three plays.
5. Black Beatles – Rae Sremmurd feat. Gucci Mane
“Young bull livin’ like an old geezer,” those are some of the lyrics from Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles,” in which they make a case for themselves being the black-version of the iconic 1960s rock band, The Beatles. The party favorite even came with its own Mannequin Challenge, with everyone from professional football teams to the former First Lady, Michelle Obama, doing their own versions of it.
6. Heathens – Twenty One Pilots
Twenty One Pilots’ “Heathens” was one of the theme songs for “Suicide Squad,” which explains the villainous undertones of the song. The eerie song’s lyrics are up for interpretation, however, there’s no doubt that it warns people of judging someone without knowing who they actually are, as they sing “You’ll have some weird people sitting next to you / You’ll think “how did I get here, sitting next to you?”
7. All I Ask – Adele
Adele embarked on a huge international tour of her latest album, “25,” last year — all the while, releasing chart-topping singles and captivating audiences with her raw talent. “All I Ask” was one of her first singles, and rightly so, as the goose bumps inducing ballad featured her usual heartfelt and nostalgic lyrics of love and loss, while showcasing vocals that give many artists a run for their money.
8. Scars To Your Beautiful – Alessia Cara
In a time where people praise celebrities and Instagrammers who alter their appearance to appeal to the masses, Alessia Cara’s song, “Scars To Your Beautiful,” is a breath of fresh air. The pop song is an anthem for women who feel pressured to be perfect, but should be reminded that “beauty goes deeper than the surface.”
9. All Time Low – Jon Bellion
Jon Bellion, best known for writing hits for artists like Eminem and Jason Derulo, is now writing his own hits — “All Time Low” being his biggest one so far. Bellion uses a mix of Hip Hop, R&B and rock in his music, which makes for unique sounding songs that are as fun to dance to as they are to relax to. “All Time Low” is an example of his genius, with a beat that feels like a modern-kind of funk.
10. Cheap Thrills – Sia feat. Sean Paul
If you ask me, Sia and Sean Paul, achieved the ultimate college weekend theme song with “Cheap Thrills.” The catchy pop song with a reggae flow speaks to broke college kids everywhere who are looking for a good time with no money to spend, “I don’t need no money / As long as I can feel the beat.”