50: The Weeknd/Daft Punk “Starboy”
I’d put the composition of this collaboration at 80% The Weeknd status quo and 20% Daft Punk. It feels more open than past singles from The Weeknd, but nothing radically different.
House so empty, need a centerpiece
Twenty racks a table cut from ebony
Cut that ivory into skinny pieces
49: Teenage Fan Club “I’m In Love”
Teenage Fan Club embrace sweet harmonies and soaring melodies, wearing giddy pop perfection unabashedly.
It feels good
With you next to me
That's enough, that's enough
48: Beyoncé “All Night”
Much deserves to be said about Lemonade, Beyoncé’s most ambitious and most accomplished album to date. It’s a long lyrical journey from doubt to awareness to anger; ramifications to reconciliation to resolution (you have to change planes at least two times). The album’s penultimate song grants a second chance but the emotions of the journey are all evident here.
True love never has to hide
I'll trade your broken wings for mine
I've seen your scars and kissed your crime
47: School of Seven Bells “Ablaze”
Several musicians released swansong albums in 2016. For School of Seven Bells it was Alejandra Deheza’s task to finish the album she started with band-mate Ben Curtis after his untimely death in 2013. She’s transformed what started as the band’s fourth album into a eulogy for Curtis and for the band.
How could I have known
The god of my youth
Would come crashing down on my heart?
46: Twenty-One Pilots “Heathens”
I’m unsure whether I should consider 21P’s music to be earnest or pretentious. Regardless, this track from Suicide Squad has sufficient drive to distract from the lyrics.
Just because we check the guns at the door
Doesn't mean our brains will change from hand grenades
45: Phantogram “You Don’t Get Me High Any More”
The song could have come straight out of Garbage’s Version 2.0 recording sessions. That’s a pretty big compliment coming from me.
Walk with me to the end
Stare with me into the abyss
Do you feel like letting go?
44: Ladyhawke “A Love Song”
Over three albums, Ladyhawke has celebrated an 80s electronic pop sound without sounding unoriginal. There’s no denying the Kim Wilde influence here, but it feels inspired more than derivative.
This could be my life, but it's only words
To make me feel right when the meaning's blurred
You've opened my eyes to the oldest tale of time
43: Jane Siberry “Dante”
Jane Siberry’s return to that name, to the elegant music, soaring vocals and syncopated rhythms is a joy to behold.
A flash went up your spine
Instead you said, no one, no one nobody, nobody
No one ever taught you but you know
42: Coleman Hell “2 Heads”
Every year a song like this, seductive, thumping, more rock than dance or pop, sneaks in. This is this year’s.
There must be something in the water
And there must be something about your daughter
She said our love ain't nothing but a monster
41: Pageantry “Vicious Wishes”
I stumbled across this months ago and the George Harrison/Jeff Lynne guitars and rubber soul sound still make me smile.
Oh I wish that I had time to illuminate you with a tragic punchline
When you asked if I was fine as if all I ever really needed was time
But I don't bleed that way