That’s right, it’s that time of the year where I list down the best the past year has bestowed upon us.
Given what an shit show 2016 has been, I took solace in knowing if the world was going to end (and on numerous occasions it really did look that way) then at least the soundtrack to civilization’s demise was going to be a pretty good one.
Tiny little disclaimer here: This list is going to include some songs that weren’t technically released as singles but entered the singles chart during the year because of that pesky new rule about streaming numbers counting towards actual sales.
Okay, enough delaying! Here are my 50 best songs of 2016.
50. Gwen Stefani – Make Me Like You
I waited years for new music by Gwen and though her album didn’t really match her earlier efforts, this song was a pleasant surprise. The ‘live’ music video was also a great touch.
49. All Saints – One Strike
Everything felt, looked and sounded different this time for the women of All Saints and One Strike is exactly how you make a comeback.
48. Foxes – Cruel
The standout track from Foxes’ All I Need album (who I never really listened to before this year) so you can imagine my delight when she released it as a single. Hurrah!
47. Bryson Tiller – Exchange
Everyone except me seems to be bowled over by Bryson Tiller, I mean he’s okay but that’s it. Out of all the songs I heard from Tiller, Exchange was easily the strongest.
46. MNEK – At Night (I Think About You)
After producing for the likes of Beyoncé, Madonna and JoJo, MNEK used his Midas touch for himself and released this bona fide banger.
45. Christine & The Queens – Tilted
She really is the Queen of French bops.
44. Adele – Send My Love (To Your New Lover)
What do you get when you mix Adele with Max Martin? POP PERFECTION.
43. Mura Masa – What If I Go?
I’m not familiar with a lot of Mura Masa’s stuff, but after Radio 1 played it constantly I grew to love What if I Go during the first half of the year.
42. Aluna George ft. Popcaan – I’m In Control
I’m gutted Aluna George hasn’t become a big star, but with help from dancehall and bashment legend Popcaan, she released probably her best song to date.
41. Fergie – M.I.LF. $
Fergie’s solo comeback appears to annoyingly still be stuck in limbo. However, during the spring of 2016 things seemed to be moving in the right direction. With cameos from Kim Kardashian, Chrissy Teigen and Ciara, Fergie and her fellow MILFS gave the slogan Got Milk? a much needed revamp.
40. Drake ft. Kyla & Wizkid – One Dance
Drake’s One Dance became 2016’s song of the summer when it spent near enough 20 weeks at Number 1 thanks to that pesky new streaming rule. I was just glad Kyla’s neglected 2008 anthem Do You Mind (which One Dance samples) finally got some love.
39. Kanye West – Famous
Who knew that one lyric about Taylor Swift could open up such a messy and endless can of worms?
38. Snakehips ft. Zayn Malik – Cruel
Zayn’s excellent debut album Mind of Mine may have been lacking in your face bangers, but he was more than happy to fill that void when he teamed up with Snakehips.
37. Lady GaGa – Perfect Illusion
I’m in the minority here when I say I still really enjoy this song. I dismissed it when it first came out but that key change really is everything.
36. Beyoncé – Hold Up
Beyoncé might not do singles anymore but that doesn’t mean she’s stopped blessing us excellent anthems about fuckboys.
35. Sia ft. Kendrick Lamar – The Greatest
The tribute to Orlando really did it for me. What a Queen.
34. Nick Jonas ft. Tove Lo – Close
One of my favourite sex bops of the year. This is also the first of two appearances Tove Lo makes on my list!
33. Ariana Grande – Dangerous Woman
Putting aside the dire music video (and the mysterious second visual which never saw the light of day), Ariana ditched the cute girl next-door image for the lead single from her third album.
32. Olly Murs – You Don’t Know Love
I don’t particularly care for Olly Murs but even I can’t deny this was a great pop song – even if it did come across as a watered down version of Run Away With Me.
31. Fifth Harmony – That’s My Girl
Awful music video but great to listen to when you’re strutting down the street.
30. Drake ft. Rihanna – Too Good
[Music video not available – BOO!]
One of those songs that became a single because of streaming, Drake and Rihanna teamed up once again (their third time, I think?) on Too Good. And when the outcome is this good, its clear to see why they keep working together.
29. NAO – Fool To Love
I had the pleasure of seeing NAO twice in concert this year. Both times when she performed this song it sounded incredible.
28. Tove Lo – Cool Girl
I’m relatively new to Tove Lo and if this is what she is offering them take my money now woman. Take it all.
27. Shawn Mendes – Treat You Better
Men with guitars usually suck. Not in this case though.
26. Adele – Water Under The Bridge
Yes, I know it wasn’t technically released as a single but Adele really should have released it. Plus I played it almost every day, so it makes my list.
25. Ariana Grande ft. Nicki Minaj – Side to Side
It still irks me that this song was more successful than a certain other Ariana Grande song released this year – more on that later.
24. Zayn Malik – Pillowtalk
Zayn’s first solo offering was a bold statement that he was, A) No longer in a boyband pandering to the tween market and B) enjoyed sex a lot.
23. Zara Larsson – Ain’t My Fault
2017 needs to be the year Zara Larsson becomes the pop superstar she is so clearly meant to be.
22. Dua Lipa – Blow Ya Mind (Mwah)
Model turned disinterested singer Dua Lipa came to my attention after Twitter lauded her as the second coming during the first half of 2016. With bops like this I can see why.
21. Carly Rae Jepsen – Higher
Not technically a single but taken from Carly’s brilliant E•MO•TION Side B offering, it would have been criminal if I didn’t include this faultless pop song.
20. Sia ft. Sean Paul – Cheap Thrills
How do you make an already great song into an even greater one? Get Sean Paul to feature on it, of course.
19. MO – Final Song
Remember when I said MNEK produced bangers? Well this is one of them.
18. Meghan Trainor – NO
She is beyond awful but let’s not pretend like we weren’t all bopping along to this song in early 2016.
17. Britney Spears ft. Tinashe – Slumber Party
Name a more iconic duo… I’ll wait. (Also, the song gave us Britney’s best video in years)
16. Bruno Mars – 24K Magic
While other popstars were making political statements with their music, Bruno was just here to give us a good time and my God did we need it this year.
15. Kelly Clarkson – Piece By Piece (Idol Version)
The greatest pop music moment of the year. This is not up for discussion.
14. Chance The Rapper ft. 2 Chainz & Lil Wayne – No Problem
In a year that saw so much darkness, Chance The Rapper really was a beacon of much needed light.
13. Dua Lipa – Hotter Than Hell
Released during the first heat wave of the year back in May, Dua captured the feelings of an entire nation and the unlucky sods that had to use the Central Line throughout the summer, urgh.
12. Zayn Malik – Like I Would
Correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t Befour meant to be the follow up to Pillowtalk but quickly got changed for Like I Would? Anyway, Zayn gave us the bop we were all craving.
11. Tinashe – Company
2016 was meant to be the year of Tinashe. Sadly her Joyride took her everywhere except on the road to superstardom. However, that didn’t stop her from releasing a number of singles with this anthem to the NSA generation being the best of a great bunch.
THE TOP 10
10. Beyoncé – Sorry
A song so good it turned the world into Angela Lansbury trying to find out who ‘Becky with the good hair’ was.
9. Britney Spears ft. G Eazy – Make Me
The music video may have been a colossal disappointment (I didn’t mind it as much-just sayin’) but the song ushered in a refocused and revitalised Britney Spears. It also made me realise just how hot G- Eazy is, like damn.
8. JoJo ft. Wiz Khlifa – Fuck Apologies
The first official single from JoJo, whom you could say I’m a bit fond of, from her third studio album joined Leave (Get Out) and Too Little Too Late to complete the Holy Trinity of fuckboy anthems.
7. Rihanna – Kiss It Better
Could this be Rihanna’s best ballad? I think so.
6. Fifth Harmony ft. Ty Dolla $ign – Work From Home
A power bottom banger for the ages. I loved this song from the first moment I heard it. After reaching 2,000 plays on my iTunes earlier this week, I love it even more.
5. Mabel – Thinking of You
This song just came out of nowhere and hit me like a ton of bricks. That’s all I can really say about it.
4. NAO – Girlfriend
Remember when I said I got to see NAO in concert twice this year? Well, the first time I saw her she debuted this track and it has stuck with me since. The way the beat stops and then kicks in again during the chorus. Amazing. And the electric guitar solo in the middle eight is otherworldly.
3. Rihanna ft. Drake – Work
Rihanna was at the helm of dancehall (or at least elements of it) crossing over into pop (or what many people called ~tropical house~) this year and Work was just what Rihanna needed to put her ANTI album campaign back on track.
2. Beyoncé – Formation
If you didn’t already know, Beyoncé did not come to play with you hoes, she came to slay bitch. And my God Formation slayed everything and everyone in it’s path.
1. Ariana Grande – Into You
It should come as no surprise that this song is, for me, the best song of 2016. What makes Into You stand head and shoulders above anything else this year? The intro, the relentless production, the ‘Lih-tle dangerous’ stem, the middle eight. I could really go on and on but what can I say that hasn’t already been said about this modern masterpiece?
Without a shadow of a doubt Into You is one of the greatest pop songs of the decade and it will forever be a crime that this song wasn’t a bigger hit when it posessed all the necessary credentials. I mean, how can a song like Closer be number one but not this?!
Whew! Okay that’s your lot. From 50-1 these are the best songs of 2016, according to little old me.
Now please spare a thought for me as I get started on my best albums of the year.
Seriously, I spoil you guys.