Last year, I created a list of 50 songs that I thought shaped my 2015. This year, I had a hard time narrowing it down to just 50, so I lengthened it to 75 songs. Like I’ve stated before, my music taste is definitely all over the place, and so is this playlist. If you’re curious to see what my favorite songs were of the year, read along!
This was originally an attempt to order them by release date, but it got a little messed up throughout writing this. Each song is linked to YouTube. Enjoy!
House On Fire – Sia. After hearing this song for the first time, it instantly became one of my favorites off of This is Acting. I later found out that Jack Anotonoff co-wrote it, and now it all makes sense.
Work – Rihanna. Alright, I will admit that I originally did not like this song at all, but after hearing it throughout the entire year of 2016, it eventually grew on me immensely. I love anything that Drake and Rihanna collab on.
Do You Remember – St. Lucia. I really loved this album, Matter, and St. Lucia’s sound compared to their first album really grew on me. I think that this song and the rest of the album was a perfect one to jam out to all summer.
Formation -Beyoncé. If this isn’t on your list of best songs of the year, did you really live through 2016? Seriously, I’m obsessed with this song and Lemonade made me way more of a Beyoncé fan.
Coalesce (Synesthesia Pt. II) – Jack Garratt. Jack is definitely one of my favorite breakout acts of the year and his live show is unlike anything I have ever seen before. This song wasn’t my favorite right away, but it definitely started to stand out to me towards the end of the year.
A Change of Heart – The 1975. This track is arguably my favorite song by the 1975, ever. There’s something so beautiful about the release of a song during a time where you need it most and that’s exactly what this song did for me. Now I love screaming the words when I see them perform it live when it used to give me all the (sad) feels.
Work from Home – Fifth Harmony. Like Formation, I’m not sure anyone can say that this isn’t one of the best songs of 2016. It is SO catchy and it definitely got Fifth Harmony over that hump in their career to be taken seriously. I think this song make them unstoppable.
The Sound – The 1975. If you read my review on The 1975’s second album, you know that initially, I wasn’t too fond on it. However, I was always obsessed with this song and forever will be. If I could choose my anthem for 2016, it’d be this.
Cliff – Låpsley. Another one of my favorite breakout artists of the year, this (barely) 21-year-old had an amazing 2016 and I had a hard time choosing my favorite song off of her debut album, Long Way Home. Listen to her if you haven’t!
Gone – Day Wave. Talk about some of my favorite synth pop this year. I’m obsessed with every song that Day Wave has released and I had a blast seeing them perform at Lolla bright at early on the main stage.
Where the Hell Are My Friends – LANY. I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t too into this band when they started, but their newer releases have got me jamming for the past few months, specifically this track. I’m obsessed with the song’s concept about being alone on a Friday night with wine and the internet, because, isn’t that all of us in our truest form? At least LANY was able to admit it.
Conquerer – Aurora. The cutest little fairy princess to ever live is Aurora. I am so obsessed with her as a human and her performance at Lolla was easily one of my favorites. I think this song encompasses who she is as an artist perfectly and is also a perfect representation of her debut album as a whole.
Almost Makes Me Wish For Rain – Lucius. I’m kicking myself for not listening to Lucius for the first time earlier than the beginning of November. I am SO in love with their sound and this song has easily become one of my favorite releases of the year. It is so catchy and I love the 80s vibe. I almost think that they are a combination of HAIM and Carly Rae Jepsen.
Show Me Love – Hundred Waters ft. Chance the Rapper. Another song that weirdly didn’t seem to get much recognition until the end of this year, but it is SO good. I love the mix of the softness with Chance’s voice and the message of the song is really beautiful.
Gold – Kiiara. When I first heard this song, I was beyond confused, along with the rest of us (I still don’t know what the beginning of the song really is). But it definitely grew on me because I feel like it sounds like nothing else that is out right now.
Falling and You Caught Me – Folded Like Fabric. With only two EPs on Spotify, I feel like this group magically appeared on the internet out of thin air. I really love this song and the rest of their discography and I find their sound to be really interesting.
LIKE I WOULD – Zayn. Although I did not like the majority of Zayn’s debut album, Mind of Mine, I will still rock out to this song without shame. I think it’s so catchy and probably the best song on his album.
Needed Me – Rihanna. I was never too interested in Rihanna until Anti came out and this song is probably my favorite from the album. I feel like it captures everything Rihanna is as an artist in one song.
Miracle Aligner – The Last Shadow Puppets. Alex Turner can honestly do no wrong in my eyes and this song is a perfect representation of this. Definitely my favorite song off The Last Shadow Puppets’ album, Everything You’ve Come to Expect.
Bourbon – Gallant. 100% of one of my favorite songs of the year and I am so bummed that I still haven’t seen Gallant live. I’m hoping that he’s on the Lolla 2017 lineup: Mamby on the Beach got him in 2016.
Sleep on the Floor – The Lumineers. Have you seen the music video for this yet? Amazing. I love this song (and album) to tears and think it’s their best sound yet.
Capsize – Frenship. I first heard this song in June I believe and I was hooked on it. I always listened to it while going for runs near the lake, so despite the song being somewhat sad, I have such a good memory associated with it.
Xo – Nightly. I think everyone can relate to the concept of having feelings for someone but having to make the decision to end things and having to constantly be in this weird middle between a relationship or nothing, which is why I love this song.
I Need a Forest Fire – James Blake. Besides that line in the background that sounds like he’s singing “Avocado,” I love this song. I could never really get into James Blake’s music, but this song is amazing.
G Train – Thirdstory. After seeing Thirdstory open up for Tori Kelly last May, I was hooked. Despite having only three songs on Spotify, the band got a lot of recognition for their amazing covers on YouTube and had a tour this past fall. I had a chance to see them at Lincoln Hall and their cover of T.Swift’s “Style” was beyond amazing.
Loudspeaker – MUNA. I’ve written about these women at least three times before this, so you must know how much I love them. I am so in love with the message of this song and making sure you let your voice be heard, which is what we need from more female musicians nowadays! Their debut album is on sale in February.
River – Bishop Briggs. Talk about a powerful voice!!!!!!! Bishop (real name Sarah) is only 24 and this single has been all over the place this summer. If you don’t think you’ve heard it, I’m sure you have.
Sleeping in a Car – The Staves. A song that I can barely listen to without wanting to cry because it’s so beautiful. I got to see The Staves perform in June and they had some of the most beautiful voices I’ve ever heard.
Raging – Kygo ft. Kodaline. I loved Kodaline immensely after the release of their debut album, but that love faded a lot after not liking their second album all that much. This song definitely made me a fan of theirs again and I found that the lead singer’s voice fits really well with an EDM track and I think the collaboration is interesting.
One Dance – Drake. Need I say anything about this song? I feel like everyone I’ve ever met loves this song, and I can say the same.
Final Song – MØ. I think this was one of the best alternative pop releases of the year, the song is so much fun and I love that she made herself her own artist after the success of “Lean On,” a collab with Major Lazer. Her new song “Drum” is great, too.
Life Itself – Glass Animals. I was never the biggest Glass Animals fan solely because I could never understand what they were saying, but I really love their new sound that came through with this album and this song specifically.
Stuck – The Aces. These girls are all super young, I believe all under 20 years old and I am so excited to see where they go next. They recently got signed to Red Bull Records, so I’m assuming that they are currently working on an album. This song is so catchy and has a great vibe.
Girls @ – Joey Purp ft. Chance the Rapper. Rap is NOT my thing, but this song is so unbelievably catchy and I am obsessed with the beat, plus having Chance the Rapper featured doesn’t hurt. I went to go see Joey Purp at the Bottom Lounge for a North Coast Music Festival After show and Chance appeared to sing this song. It was amazing!
Dangerous Woman – Ariana Grande. This song and album made me a huge fan of Ariana Grande and I wish that other tracks on the album were getting more attention than “Side to Side” (I hate that song). But yeah, I would argue that this is one of the best songs of the year.
We Don’t Talk Anymore – Selena Gomez & Charlie Puth. Even though I’m not the biggest Selena Gomez fan for a number of reasons, this is definitely one of my favorite songs of the year because it’s SO CATCHY!!! I find the concept of the song to be really relatable and I think that Puth and Gomez did a good job at making it a universal idea that actually makes you think, while still having it be a catchy song.
No Problem – Chance the Rapper. While I’m the first to admit that I wasn’t super familiar with Chance the Rapper before the release of Coloring Book, I’ve grown to really love and respect what he does and I think this song was the perfect representation of his album, and now he’s nominated for seven Grammies!
I Love You Always Forever – Betty Who. I love this artist and I remember hearing this song growing up and her cover of the song is amazing and she made it super modern compared to the original song, which was released in 1996 by Donna Lewis. Talk about a 20 year difference.
Perfect Strangers – Jonas Blue. Something about this song is so catchy and I really love the beat. Just the overall idea of the song about living in the moment and trying not to think about the outcome of a situation is really great to me, too.
Sexual – NEIKED. I don’t know much about this artist or where this song came from, but I do know that everyone I know who have heard this song love it as much as I do, and that’s saying something. It’s definitely one of the most upbeat, catchy, stuck in your head tunes of the year.
Sex – Eden. Like the previous song, this one appeared to me out of nowhere but I quickly became obsessed with it. I find the genre of the song to be a mix between indie pop and electronic and the way that the singer manipulates the production on the vocals is really interesting to me.
Fade – Kanye West. As much as I really can’t stand Kanye West, I can’t deny that this is an amazing song. I didn’t really pay attention to The Life of Pablo when it came out: I’ve probably only heard the entire album once or twice, but this song just grew on me recently.
You Don’t Get Me High Anymore – Phantogram. I never really got into Phantogram too much previously, but I am obsessed with this song and I started listening to their music a lot more after this song was released. I think it’s a really interesting song and I like how the song is played out like a story.
Alaska – Maggie Rogers. I’ve been trying to figure out my absolute favorite song from 2016, and I have to say that it’s this song. I love it so much because it’s unlike anything I’ve ever heard before and I’m never sick of it. Those are two qualities that make you fall in love with a song.
False Alarm – Matoma. I am really picky with the type of EDM / Dance music that I like, but I surprisingly like this song and it has a really great beat. It has this sense of timelessness and made me start listening to the artist’s other music.
Fool’s Gold – Dagny, BORNS. Dagny, a Norwegian singer, caught my attention earlier this year, so I was really excited to hear this collaboration with Børns, another one of my favorites. I’m surprised that this song didn’t get more popular this year because it’s definitely radio friendly.
Nothing’s Real – Shura. I would love to see Shura on tour next year for this album and I’m hoping I’ll get the chance! I’m really impressed with the vibe of her debut album, Nothing’s Real, and the title track off the album reminds me so much of Michael Jackson.
Someone That Loves You – HONNE. I missed an opportunity to see HONNE just a couple blocks from where I live a few months ago, and I’m still bummed because I love this song so much. I think the feature from Izzy Bizu also makes this song a lot stronger.
Closer – The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey. Cue the eye rolls, but I don’t care! This song came out in late July and I’m STILL not sick of listening to it. Something about this song is so timeless to me and I have so much fun when I hear it when I’m out. Regardless of the artists’ ability to perform the song or whatever controversy that The Chainsmokers are always surrounded by, I think I will always love this song.
This Is What You Came For – Calvin Harris and Rihanna. I originally loved this song so much because it was so influenced by Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris’ relationship and I ended up loving it even more after I found out that Swift wrote it. It’s an interesting song in regards to lyric content and I would love to hear Swift record her own version.
Blow Your Mind (Mwah) – Dua Lipa. As if I don’t talk about her enough, this song is definitely Dua Lipa’s strongest single to date and for sure sent her over the edge in regards of finding more success in the states while getting ready to release her debut album. It’s straight pop perfection.
She’s Casual – The Hunna. I really love this band and I think that they’ve been influenced by other artists I like, which is interesting. I love all of the songs on their album but I think this one is my favorite.
Blood and Tears – Joseph. I had the opportunity to see these sisters in concert, and one of them introduced this song by discussing how a relationship is hard work and how love should be with someone who you want to go through all of the hard times with in order to get to the end, which is a really beautiful message to me and is why I love this song so much.
Amerika – Young the Giant. I really appreciate the background to this story (the band member’s were inspired to write the song about their families’ experiences as immigrants), and I really love the ability to make a song political without it being too obvious. I think this song does that perfectly.
Cool Girl – Tove Lo. I was never particularly a fan of Tove Lo’s before the release of this single and her second album, but I was instantly impressed with this song the second I heard it. I found her concept behind the song (it’s inspired by the movie Gone Girl), to be really cool and transparent in the song and I appreciated her ability to tell that story through the song.
Stories – Khushi. Another one of those mysterious songs that appear on my Spotify…I’ve been listening to this song nonstop for the past couple months and I’m not entirely sure I even understand all the words that he says. Regardless, it’s a really catchy tune that has a great beat.
Let Me Love You – DJ Snake ft. Justin Bieber. I honestly hate myself for having a song on this list with Justin Bieber, but this is such !! a !! good !! song !! While I didn’t like his song Cold Water w/ Major Lazer, he definitely made up for it by releasing this song.
Graveclothes – Birdtalker. Another song that I heard later in the year, but that doesn’t mean I love it any less! I really love the authenticity of this song (and the band, nonetheless), and I always can appreciate a good folk/indie track.
Solo – Frank Ocean. While I only liked a handful of songs off of Blonde, this is definitely my favorite one. It was between Solo and Ivy for awhile, but Solo took the lead. I’m still listening to this song nearly every day since the album dropped over the summer.
Caroline – Aminé. Arguably my second favorite song of the year, there is no song like this one that I’ve heard in awhile and again, I’m not really into hip-hop, but there is something so genuine and fun about this song that I don’t see ho anyone couldn’t enjoy it.
Rising Water – James Vincent McMorrow. After I listened to this album all the way through, Rising Water was quickly my favorite song on the album and made me a fan of James because of it.
Tomorrow – Shakey Graves. I love a good raspy voice, which is heavily featured throughout this track. I find the lyrics to be so unbelievably beautiful and sweet in this song and I’m really eager to hear more music from him.
Fountain of Youth – Local Natives. I love a good song with a political message, and Local Native have been anything but neutral in regards of politics in America this year (I wrote a story about it, check it out here). I’ve always liked Local Natives to an extent, but this song made me a much bigger fan.
Turn it Around – The Head and the Heart. I have to admit that when I listened to The Head and the Heart’s third album, Signs of Light, for the first time, I was sort of disappointed because I wasn’t moved by any of the songs. But obviously, I listened to the album again (and again) and quickly realized how much I love this song and it became one of my favorites from them out of their entire discography.
Lethargy – Bastille. I had a ton of friends feel indifferent towards this album, but I strongly believe that it’s Bastille’s best work so far. I love nearly every single song on the album, but Lethargy is easily my favorite and I think it’s an amazing representation of the band’s artistry wrapped up in 4 minutes of genius. So good!
Patience – Bad Suns. Another one of my favorite songs of the year, I really love this song, and the rest of the album, so much that I had to include another song from the album in this list. One of my favorite albums of the year, for sure!
Bleeding Heart – Regina Spektor. I’ve always admired Regina Spektor as an artist, but I’ve never really been THAT into all of her music until I listened to her newest album, and now I am such a dedicated fan! I love this song and was happy to see a release from her this year.
Daft Pretty Boys – Bad Suns. Like I just said, I had to include another song from Bad Suns’ album Disappear Here to this list because I couldn’t just settle for one song to be featured.
Fuck With Myself – Banks. I know that Banks has a huge fanbase and they’re known to be super dedicated, and I personally never really understood the hype – then I listened to this song. It’s so good and different and UNIQUE and I appreciate a woman being fearless in her musicianship. Side note, check out how strange the music video is here.
Painting (Masterpiece) – Lewis Del Mar. I was so lucky to win a pair of tickets to see Lewis Del Mar in October and hearing this song live is what made me fall in love with it so much. They have a really interesting vibe in their music and I like that I can’t pinpoint their genre or style: I feel like they just make music for the intentions of performing it, which is really cool.
Feel Love – From Indian Lakes. My favorite band!! This is definitely my favorite song off of From Indian Lakes’ fourth album, Everything Feels Better Now. Like I haven’t said it enough, go listen to them!!!
Think About You – Léon. I’ve been following Léon for almost a year now and I’m really happy to see where she’s gone during 2016. I think this song is so beautiful and genuine and just feels so real in the most uncomplicated of ways. We think about people and what they are doing even if we don’t want to be or shouldn’t be, and she’s not afraid to admit that in her music. “I wonder if you’re out, if you are drinking / It’s late, I know / But baby I ain’t wasted, can’t you call me?”
The Greatest – Sia. SIA!!!! My girl. I was so excited to see a random release from Sia earlier this year and the decision to collaborate with Kendrick Lamar was so awesome to me, not to mention that the music video is absolutely beautiful.
Penthouse Floor – John Legend ft. Chance the Rapper. Ohh. Man. I was beyond shocked when I heard about this release and SO eager to hear it, and boy, I was seriously impressed when I heard it for the first time. I’ve really never been one to listen to John Legend, for no apparent reason, but this song made me a fan and I ended up listening to the rest of his album, which I really enjoyed. The verse with Chance definitely doesn’t hurt, either.
There you have it: my favorite seventy five songs of the year. This took me FOREVER to write and at times, I felt like my brain was turning to mush and I probably said “it’s so catchy” one too many times throughout this post, but I had a ton of fun writing it. If you’re interested in hearing this playlist, follow it on Spotify! I’m already looking forward to writing about my favorite songs of 2017.