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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Hype Starts Here's Top 100 Songs of 2016 (100-71)

100. 1959 by Hamilton Laithauser + Rostam***
        1959 sounds like a lost piece of music from an old Disney fairytale, strings dripping with romance while guest vocalist Angel Deradoorian coos serenely.

99. Good Grief by Bastille
        Bastille proves once again that they know just how to make a guitar-led pop song that jumps out of your speakers, its simple lyrics of lost love becoming a sort of wounded rallying cry.

98. Parking Lot by Anderson .Paak
        Anderson .Paak tracks tend to take it easy and lay back in the cut, but not Parking Lot, a jaunty call to your feet that almost hop scotches into and out of existence.

97. Bored to Death by Blink-182***
        The power chords, rousing choruses, and juvenile complaints are all back and have hardly aged a day. If you can admit that, deep down, you've actually missed Blink-182, then turn this one up.

96. Shut Up Kiss Me by Angel Olsen
        Angel Olsen is done playing games, the simple urgency of Shut Up Kiss Me's drums-and-guitar interplay matching perfectly with her comedically plain-spoken lyrics.

95. Vorel by Russian Circles
        Another ass-kicker from a band that seems incapable of anything less, Vorel is six hard hitting minutes of instrumental metal, steering heedlessly from one merciless movement to the next.

94. The Numbers by Radiohead***
        Where most of A Moon Shaped Pool consists of hushed heartbreak, The Numbers carries itself with sneaky swagger, slowly moving and growing to its climatic orchestral break down.

93. Just Am by Deakin
        It's no secret that the members of Animal Collective prefer their tunes with a healthy dose of psychedelics, and Just Am is the trippiest track from Deakin's latest, a down-tempo daze that seems to almost sparkle.

92. Disintegration Anxiety by Explosions in the Sky
        Disintegration Anxiety represents a change in Explosions in the Sky's much-beloved sound, trimming their normative song length down to a mere 4 minutes, and creating an earworm that's both jittery and light.

90. *tie* Normal American Kids and Cry All Day by Wilco***
        All these years recording and touring seem to have worn Jeff Tweedy awfully thin, but he wears his world-weary exhaustion well, strumming serenely while barely raising his voice beyond a whisper on North American Kids, picking up the pace ever so slightly on Cry All Day without losing the track's tender emotional core.

89. Conceptual Romance by Jenny Hval
        Formless and expansive, this highlight from Jenny Hval's latest almost forgets to even be a song, floating about and eschewing traditional song structures while it fills the room around you.

88. CHEETAHT2 [Ld spectrum] by Aphex Twin
        The first few seconds of CHEETAHT2 [Ld spectrum] serve as a sort of mission statement, swapping out the jam-packed mania of most Aphex Twin tracks for a dark, hard-driving electronica that continues throughout.

87. Gasoline and Mirrors by Bibio***
        Riding atop synth bubbles that seem to float into the air, Gasoline and Mirrors is Bibio's most blissful track in years, a warm, contented energy accompanying its every move.

86. Chimes Broken by Holy Fuck
        While the title that this Toronto four-piece decided upon often makes their music difficult to discuss in public, Holy Fuck is a perfect description of Chimes Broken, a taut, muscly charge into increasing darkness.

85. Wren Tails by Bibio
        A comely lo-fi guitar instrumental that lasts all of a minute and a half, Wren Tails might register more as an interlude than a proper song, but the emotion that it squeezes into its miniature frame should be celebrated on its own.

84. The Answer by Savages***
        A wrought, balled-fists banger from an album full of them, the lead off track from Savages' Adore Life is wall-to-wall sizzling guitars, pounding drums, and disarmingly direct lovelorn chants.

83. Feel No Ways by Drake
        Drake is at his best the furthest his music gets away from hip hop, as on Feel No Ways, a crisp, 80's leaning pop jam that suits his mellow baritone voice like a glove.

82. No by Nicolas Jaar
        Nicolas Jaar songs often feel like they're taking place in another world entirely, as is the case with No, a psychedelic gallop whose mid-tempo sway proves intoxicating.

81. The Winter Hymn by Pantha Du Prince***
        Misleadingly titled, The Winter Hymn is one of the warmest songs of Pantha Du Prince's career, a lilting, glimmering cloud of sounds that spreads out to the size of whatever room in occupies.

79. *tie* Underwater and Pool by Porches
        Songs this simple rarely sound as though their creators are straining to get them out, but such is the case with this pair of Porches tracks, Underwater's synths wheezing as though they can barely operate in the song's deep-blue 80's aesthetic, while title track Pools clears out space for vocalist Aaron Maine's morose croon as the walls close in around him.

78. Way Up by Jamila Woods***
        The numbers on Jamila Woods' break-out album HEAVN have a unique way of pairing beatific sounds with troubling and unfettered lyrics about the history of race in America, and album closer Way Up does them all one better by adding a militant drum beat beneath its otherwise lush, plush sound world.

77. Be Apart by Porches
        Where the aforementioned Pool (#79) allows Aaron Maine ample space to wallow in his sadness, Be Apart's synth punches are in attack mode, seeming to wear our vocalist down to numbs.

76. (Joe Gets Kicked Out of School for Using) Drugs With Friends (But Says This Isn't a Problem) by Car Seat Headrest***
        The funniest song from the funniest album of 2016, frontman Will Toledo tells the story of a loopy but decidedly not trippy experience with acid, with lazy joke-making transitioning seamlessly into a torch-carrying anthem.

74. *tie* Drone Bomb Me and Watch Me by ANOHNI
        The confrontational bravery of ANOHNI's lyrics is just as remarkable as it is unsettling, Drone Bomb Me finding intimacy and allure in violence as its electronic pulse peaks and valleys, while Watch Me sends shivers down spines with its accusations of omnipresent surveillance as the production builds and crests into something positively enormous.

73. Because I'm Me by The Avalanches
        Effervescent, unbridled joy isn't often what people look to hip hop for, but on Because I'm Me the tandem couldn't be more winning, The Avalanches' ever-excitable sampling riding along perfectly underneath a steady, driving flow.

72. Mota by Russian Circles***
        Decidedly more patient and spacious than most Russian Circles tracks, Mota's dueling guitars wrestle for control of the song, one distorted and angular, the other clear-eyed and star gazing. Needless the say, the former wins by TKO.

71. Nights by Frank Ocean
        A perfect showcase for all the things that make Ocean such a singular talent, his slippery rap-singing riding smoothly atop a gold-tinted beat while his lyrics inspire consideration and laughter in equal measure

***-Pictured Artist

Highlighted songs and album titles denote links to music unavailable on Spotify

Hype Starts Here's Top 50 Albums of 2016

Hype Starts Here's Top 100 Songs of 2016

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