Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Best Singles of 2016

I'm back just as 2016 is over. And as Tove Lo forewarned us in last year's best single, our relationship with this godforsaken year has basically just been a TI-I-I-IMEBOMB. But now that it's done, and we look back at the pop music, it's hard to be cynical when some of the best songs ever have come out.

So, I'm here to pick out the 50 best singles that were released in 2016. All of these are solid 10/10s and a few surprises have come through. So get ready to listen to ALL THE POP HITS (and I'll also be identifying each of their BEST BITS)

50. "Burnt Out" by Tom Aspaul

This year's list kicks off with Tom Aspaul. Along with making one of the best EPs of the year, Tom has also been one of the premiere songwriters of the past 3 years, having cornered the chill deep house sound in pop without being too retro. It's great to have one of his own songs in the end of the year list, especially when "Burnt Out" could have almost been a Mutya Keisha Siobhan hit (just imagine...)
Best Bit: "We're Burnt Out, like a star/ dragging me back to you and my heart aches"
Because we've all been there and that's a line only Tom could really pull off.

49. "Love On Me" by Galantis & Hook N Sling

EDM has firmly been abandoned and the dance community has embraced the trop-pop sound that was so much fun towards the end of 2015. However, like many other things, 2016 made this trend sound so banal and unimpressive, especially when you consider the endless covers that throw a marimba and think it's a good song. Galantis, on the other hand, have been on the cutting edge of forward thinking dance-pop hybrids since 2015 and "Love On Me" is one of those rare songs that sounds like it was a blast to make as much as it is to listen to.
Best Bit: The transition at 0:48 when it turns from a standard Galantis banger into a waterpark theme song, complete with a xylophone refrain!

48. "UDSM" by KLOE

KLOE could have used this song title as a double entendre, coupled with a bondage themed video. Regardless, "UDSM" takes KLOE's signature vocal chopping and morph it into a dark pop hit for the rising superstar. 2017 should be a good year for her and KLOE's Twitter is also really great so make sure to check that out.
Best Bit: I recently realized that KLOE actually says the words of the chorus within the first few lines of the song, and that just shows a strength of songwriting that is extraordinary. However, the best bit is by far the line "You don't care and you don't see / cuz I've heard that you've been fucking that girl Emily", because we all know that bitch Emily...

47. "The Sound" by The 1975

The 1975's newfound success can be attributed to learning one of the basic principles of pop: you can't go wrong with throwing in a house piano at an already fun retro-leaning bop. The second person perspective and lyrical content are still some of the best things about The 1975 and are put on full display in "The Sound". There is something special about a band that can have their superstar moment during the often disappointing sophomore album deal.
Best Bit: With lines like "A sycophantic prophetic Socratic junkie wannabe" and "a simple epicurean philosophy", the best bit is probably the lyrics as whole. Funny how vocabulary and metaphors can turn a cliche pop track into something really amazing.

46. "One Dance" by Drake featuring WizKid & Kyla

I am not a fan of Drake. His sad boy rapping sounds like whining to me and his lyrics about square roots of 69 are more nauseating than clever. However, even I have to admit when someone comes up with a good song, and when you consider its impact on the charts, you can see why this dancehall pop song stuck as the song of the summer.
Best Bit: Kyla's wistful vocals add some depth to the song that Drake can't muster but the relentless beat is definitely the best part of "One Dance".

45. "Cool Me Down" by Margaret

This Polish pop singer accomplished two really amazing things. First off, Margaret managed to create the perfect Rihanna single without even trying, with "Cool Me Down" being a perfect global hit paired with sassy lyrics. But what's even more impressive is that "Cool Me Down" is such a good pop song, Poland made a petition to have Margaret represent them at Eurovision. Let me say that again. AN ENTIRE COUNTRY MADE A PETITION FOR "COOL ME DOWN". Now that's a good pop song.
Best Bit:  For the song, it's the line "I'm dancing like flames and nothing can cool me down". But for the video, it has to be when Margaret dances in front of a CGI WHALE.

44. "Shout Out to My Ex" by Little Mix

While Little Mix has been on the forefront of the girl group game, "Shout Out to My Ex" does not exactly sound like a Little Mix hit. This may be due to the fact that it sounds like a G.R.L. hit. Regardless, both of those songs were amazing and Little Mix has another great single coming out soon that will likely make next year's best song list!
Best Bit: The line "You made my heart break and that made me who I am" is quite resonant, but this is likely due to Camille Purcell writing this song (and many other amazing songs this year, she's one to watch for sure).

43. "Tilted" by Christine and the Queens

While this song was technically released in 2014 as "Christine", I have never stopped loving it. So it was a miracle when Christine finally released "Tilted" and it became the enigmatic singer's breakthrough (although the French version is definitely superior). "Tilted" also reminds me of all the best features of my alt-pop faves: Florence and the Machine's unique voice, Marina and the Diamonds' genius lyricism, and Christine and the Queens' instant cool factor. Imagine if they came together and made the greatest girl group since the Sugababes!
Best Bit: The French breakdown that remains from the original version is exactly why Christine is the one of the best new superstars around.

42. "Taped Up Heart" by KREAM featuring Clara Mae

With the rise of the Chainsmokers, the market for sad dance songs featuring female vocalists is much greater. On the other hand, the Chainsmokers have made mediocre songs that fit this category. "Taped Up Heart" shows just how amazing trap music and Swedish songwriting combined can be. Although KREAM roped in ex Ace of Bass member Clara Mae for this song, if you close your eyes and just imagine, you can almost hear how this song was made for Tove Lo. Some food for thought there.
Best Bit: "All I want to do is go to sleep / with my taped up heart and my open bottle" Something straight from a cynic's private journal. Cynicism also works well in pop music I'll have you know.

41. "One Strike" by All Saints

In terms of come backs of this year, All Saints blew everyone out of the water. "One Strike" is magical in that it sounds like a simultaneous contemporary and classic hit single. It's also special in that I can't imagine any other group singing it. Truly one of the best parts of 2016.
Best Bit: Considering this song was written about Nicole Appleton's breakup, the best part has to be her lines during the bridge that are able to very personal as well as relatable. Especially the "I had everything that you needed" bit.

40. "That's So Us" by Allie X

The fact that Allie X has come up with the first real love song on this list just shows how sad 2016 was. But that doesn't take away from the brilliance of the romance detailed in "That's So Us". A hipster love song about cool kids and how they care about each other. Allie X's new album is shaping up to be another very special Collxtion and I believe Allie could become the pop savior to shake things up in the coming years.
Best Bits: The "You make me not wanna die" line is objectively the best part but what really sticks is the "We're both a lot to handle / I'm a Leo, you're a Cancer" line in the chorus. When your pop song is astrologically accurate, you know you have a winner.

39. "You Don't Know Love" by Olly Murs

There's something to be said when you manage to create your best single 5 albums into your career. It also helps that "You Don't Know Love" is basically Carly Rae Jepsen's millennium-defining duo marathon anthem "Run Away With Me". It's also lucky for Olly that he got Camille Purcell to write it for him. Could we suggest your next single be based off Icona Pop's "I Love It" next time Olly?
Best Bit: The "lies lies lies / love dies dies dies / good bye bye bye" rhyming bit really sticks with you so good job Olly and Camille.

38. "Last Dance" by Dua Lipa

And here we have the first entry by 2016's breakout star. "Last Dance" remains just as mystical and starry as the first time I heard it. A gypsy sounding banger that mixes Dua Lipa's knack for creating a dark atmosphere with her husky voice with lovelorn lyrics. But what makes "Last Dance" really amazing is how it sounds like no other song out there.
Best Bit: The piano banging chorus is certainly the best part. "Dive in this romance" is one of the best lines in a love song ever.

37. "Rockabye" by Clean Bandit featuring Sean Paul & Anne-Marie

Here we have one of the best surprises of 2016: an Ace of Bass leaning trop-pop song about a single mom taking care of her son with some classical strings thrown in for kicks. Clean Bandit have always been a reliable force when it comes to making innovative pop songs but the fact that "Rockabye" has spent the past two months at number 1 in the UK. It also signals Anne-Marie's superstar moment, as she really carries the song from start to finish. And we can't forget about featuring artist extraordinaire of 2016, Sean Paul. "Rockabye" definitely wins the award for best collaboration of the year.
Best Bit: Sean Paul's "DAILY STRUGGLE", because it sums up 2016 better than any way we know.

36. "Parachute" by Kaiser Chiefs

At the beginning of 2016, I realized that 2015 was the sole year where a elegant banger by Xenomania didn't end up being in the end of the year list. They were dark days. Then Kaiser Chiefs came along with the promise of a Xenomania produced album and released "Parachute". In terms of Xeno-excellence, I can't necessarily call it original but if a band can recreate the stunning brilliance of "The Loving Kind", you can't help but get chills.
Best Bit: The pre-chorus is all shades of amazing, mixing Girls Aloud and Kylie Minogue at their most magical.

35. "Wasn't My Fault" by Christie & The Dream Beats

Zara Larsson narrowly missed out on this year's list with her subtle take on stealing a girl's man. But Christie & The Dream Beats said fuck off to subtlety and created a Kelly Clarkson banger that openly discussed how it's totally cool to steal your friend's man. Seriously, we need more songs like this in the pop sphere. (There are also 3 different versions of the song, with the Moonlight version being a personal favorite.)
Best Bits: Definitely the part in the chorus where Christie states "But what I supposed to do? I was there, he was there, LOOKING GORGEOUS" If that isn't a good enough excuse to steal someone's man, I don't know what is.

34. "Me & The Sea" by Full Of Keys

The award for the most Pisces song of the year is a coveted yet often under appreciated title in pop music. It has to balance heartbreaking romance with a sweeping gesture of melancholy. This year, Full Of Keys takes that honor with the ballad banger "Me & The Sea", an ode to the ocean and how it will always be there for you. You can't go wrong with that sentiment.
Best Bit: "Oh it's the perfect company, it is the only friend I need" YOU CAN'T GET MORE PISCENE THAN THAT!

33. "Hardcore Heartbreak" by Cilia

Cilia was the winner of last year's Pisces prize and she has not stopped making amazing music. "Hardcore Heartbreak" is not only an amazing title, it is a classic Scandinavian power pop song with a monster chorus. At this rate, we could have an incredible debut album by Cilia in 2023.
Best Bit: The middle eight is a gargantuan slice of pop music that would make Christina jealous.

32. "Hole In My Soul" by Kaiser Chiefs

While "Parachute" sounds like a pop hit for Girls Aloud (#NEVERFORGET), but "Hole In My Soul" is the Xenomania banger created just for Kaiser Chiefs. It also sounds like it was meant to play on the dance floor of a wedding. And sometimes all you need in life is a wedding banger.
Best Bit: In the last chorus, Ricky changes up the last line to "There's a hole in my soul, that a galaxy could fit through", a smart pop move that effectively keeps you coming back for more.

31. "My Girl" by The Fooo Conspiracy

The fall of One Direction left a huge hole in the boy band market. Luckily, Sweden was always ready to step up to the plate. The Fooo Conspiracy made three consecutively smart and modern electropop singles this year, with "My Girl" being the cream of the crop thanks to the saxophone. Their upcoming single is sure to be a hit at Melodifestivalen 2017.
Best Bit: Every time the saxophone riff comes on. We can't help but think that that's the part Erik Hassle wrote, another Swedish pop star who has been doing great this year.

30. "The Greatest" by Sia featuring Kendrick Lamar

"Cheap Thrills" almost made it on the list but it was "The Greatest" that proved to be the greatest Sia song. At a time when life has proven to be unbearable, we are lucky to have Sia in our lives for the overcoming adversity anthems we need to survive. The video is also a wonderful representation of Sia's artistry at its finest.
Best Bit: When Sia screams at the end of the pre-chorus into the chorus, that "NO NO NO" is just great.

29. "The Pop Kids" by Pet Shop Boys

Having been in the game for decades, it's remarkable that the Pet Shop Boys continue to create pop singles that are witty, smart, and charismatic in more ways than we can count. Considering "The Pop Kids" is a celebration of pop lovers, we had to include it on our list. Every time you hear it, it will remind you of all the fun that pop music brought you when you were younger and how much fun it still makes you now.
Best Bit: "WE LOVE THE POP HITS, AND QUOTED THE BEST BITS" The line that started it all...

28. "Somebody Else" by The 1975

Songs over 5 minutes long tend to be held back by a boring build up leading to an unsatisfactory chorus and you feel like everyone has let you down. "Somebody Else" on the other hand remains consistently fantastic by constantly morphing into something new. In the end, The 1975 have made a timeless pop ballad that surprised me by how much I was drawn to it.
Best Bit: "I don't want your body, but I hate to think about you with somebody else" The 1975 show just how well they can tune into the human psyche.

27. "Boy Problems" by Carly Rae Jepsen

Is it really a surprise that the impact of the Pop Holy Scripture E•MO•TION by the actual incarnation of about 5 different deities Carly Rae Jepsen has trickled into 2016? No, it shouldn't be. "Boy Problems" was a standout when we first heard it and if one good thing were to happen this year, it's that Carly Rae Jepsen has maintained her consistency as a pop goddess.
Best Bit: The conversational singing throughout the song is all shades of Gwen Stefani amazingness.

26. "That's My Girl" by Fifth Harmony

Fifth Harmony surprised everyone by not only becoming the best girl group to come out of America in a decade, but also producing more than one amazing single from one album. "That's My Girl" is great in that it mixes all the kitschy elements from their earlier hits with actual girl group swagger that makes their appeal universal and credible. And when they name check Destiny's Child, you really believe that Fifth Harmony has found their confidence.
Best Bit: I thought it would be Normani's pre-chorus rap but the best bit is Lauren going "You've been down before, you've been hurt before, you got up before, you'll be good to go" Now that is what makes a #GirlGroupHit

25. "True Disaster" by Tove Lo

Here comes the sad-pop siren of Sweden Tove Lo with another on brand hurricane of anti-romantic synth pop. When making this list, I had originally placed "True Disaster" higher up, but it kept proving too relentless of a banger to ignore. This one sounds especially Swedish, with the chugging synths drawing from the best of Robyn. Speaking of Robyn, can 2017 please bring her back to the spotlight? I'm sure Tove would love a duet on Lady Wood Part 2.
Best Bit: "Keep playing my heartstrings faster and faster, you could be just what I want, MY TRUE DISASTER!" The chorus is almost "Habits" level smash you over the head with its brilliance level amazing.

24. "Perfect Illusion" by Lady Gaga

Out of all the tracks that were somehow scrounged up for Joanne, "Perfect Illusion" is the one that stands out as the most Gaga at its heart. When you consider all the shit she had to deal with, we can understand the frustration that could have led to "Perfect Illusion", but I can't help but think how amazing a happier Gaga album would sound like. Nonetheless, PI remains a simple yet addictive addition to her discography, up there with "Born This Way" and "Edge of Glory". Sorry Monster haters.
Best Bit: Lady Gaga's bridges have always been her best work and "Perfect Illusion" is no exception. The "Where are you? Cos I can't see, but I feel you watching me" line is really really great.

23. "Tears" by Clean Bandit featuring Louisa Johnson

Every time I hear "Tears", I can imagine Gloria Gaynor wishing this could have been the sequel to "I Will Survive." Even the way it starts as a disco ballad before ramping to a disco banger is iconic. Louisa Johnson could just be the best female solo winner the X Factor has seen since Leona Lewis. And that Clean Bandit album is shaping up to be extraordinary also.
Best Bit: When the song explodes after the middle 8, you can't help but wail along to Louisa's "I DON'T NEED YOU TO CALL ME TONIGHT, I DON'T NEED YOU TO SEE IF I'M ALL RIIIIIIGHT"

22. "Kiss You Better" by Rihanna

It's been 4 years since a truly amazing Rihanna single came along. But "Kiss You Better" is within Rihanna's top 10 singles EVER and remains a shining sultry cabaret rock highlight on ANTI. But perhaps more importantly, it is Teddy Sinclair aka Natalia Kills' greatest contribution to pop music. How about that.
Best Bit: "MAN FUCK YO PRIDE" Has a more Rihanna lyric ever been uttered before? The answer is no.

21. "Final Song" by MØ

ALL RIGHT, WE'RE DONE HERE. SAID SO. Just kidding. But MØ did create the international song of the summer and has cemented her position as queen of summer bangers. Between the help she got from Charli XCX, MNEK, and Noonie Bao, MØ looks set to meet the high expectations set by the pop community.
Best Bit: In the last chorus, just when the beat fakes you out into thinking the song is over, it comes back just as relentless as before.

20. "Starboy" by The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk

"Starboy" was one of the most unexpected hit songs of the year and the fact that The Weeknd came up with it is even more surprising. Luckily, it accomplishes the task of making the Weeknd seem like he enjoys pop music, and can incorporate his dark twist no matter which French robots he's working with. Even more importantly, The Weeknd has won the title of best male vocals, considering the rest of the songs on this list are sung by females. Do better in 2017 men!
Best Bit: In the chorus, when the beat changes from a light toe-tapping to throwing a bucket against the wall.

19. "In My Blood" by The Veronicas

The Veronicas' newest lead single was inspired by Kylie Minogue. ANY single inspired by Kylie Minogue deserves a spot on this list. Especially when it has a romantic chorus followed by a robotic breakdown. Based on this and follow up single "On Your Side", it's another album to look forward to in 2017.
Best Bit: The "We don't have to wait all night / to know if this is really love" line is truly incendiary.

18. "Just Say" by KDA featuring Tinashe

Tinashe released many songs this past year, from sultry bedroom bangers to retro-leaning 90's jams, and even a Scissors Sisters & Nicola Roberts written song that is well worth your listen. But none of them really compare to her KDA collaboration, a cool house banger that pairs a nonstop pop hook with Tinashe's dissonant vocals to great effect.
Best Bit: The hey's that join in for the final chorus push the song into uncharted territory: the rare house-pop hybrid whose beauty is in its simplicity.

17. "I Know A Place" by MUNA

There were many songs this year that sought to give strength to the world after tragedy hit. MUNA created the best one by simply adding beautiful lyrics to an instantly tremendous pop song. I honestly can't listen to this song without crying and MUNA was the perfect band to write and perform it. These women can be proud in knowing their music has left a lasting impact on the world.
Best Bit: The pre chorus has to be one of the most beautifully written piece of music of the year: "But I can tell when you get nervous, if in being yourself means feeling unworthy, when it's hard to love with a heart that's hurting, BUT IF YOU WANT TO GO OUT DANCING, I KNOW A PLACE" Literally breathtaking.

16. "Fool's Gold" by Dagny featuring BØRNS

I loved "Fool's Gold" from the first moment I heard it. Mainly because it sounded like what a 2016 Girls Aloud song sounds like. But in the end it served to introduce Dagny as the global Norwegian superstar that she deserves to be. But in all honesty, her song "Too Young" would have easily landed in the top 3. Here's hoping for 2017!
Best Bit: The bit where Dagny goes "I-I-I-I painted you in go-o-old" Honestly, the best use of gold in a song, even if it's technically fake...

15. "Blow Your Mind (Mwah)" by Dua Lipa

The latest Dua Lipa single was a sassy love song disguised as a kiss off. A category of songs that we also need more of. "Blow Your Mind" also serves to remind us of the importance of parentheses. I can't think of a better use of them since the days of Shania Twain. Just another reason why Dua Lipa saved pop in 2016.
Best Bit: Do we even have to say it? "MWAH"

14. "Cool Girl" by Tove Lo

When Tove discussed how her new music would be a dark electro techno, I couldn't really decide what to expect. Instead, when "Cool Girl" came around, it changed our entire perspective on how pop could sound. It takes a special artist to literally change the whole pop game for the better, but I knew Tove Lo had it from the very beginning.
Best Bit: "Fuck if I knew how to put it romantic, speaking my truth there's no need to panic"
Rhyming romantic and panic must be the Toviest thing to happen to any Tove.

13. "Elizabeth Taylor" by Clare Maguire

A piano ballad has never affected me as much as "Elizabeth Taylor". Clare Maguire knew that a torch ballad like this required the type of vulnerability and emotion that not many people like to experience. The use of Liz as a metaphor was just the cherry on top. Simply magnificent.
Best Bit: "I've loved, I've lost, and loved again / but here I am, here I stand" Now you won't be hearing that kind of sensitivity from Katy Perry now will you?

12. "Boyfriend" by Tegan & Sara

"Boyfriend" is a quick burst of pop brilliance that reminds me of how "I Love It" used it's 2 minutes and 35 seconds to the greatest effect. But Tegan & Sara have out done anything they have ever accomplished, as "Boyfriend" mixes all the pre-pop elements that got T&S the fans they have today with the post-Heartthrob elements that took them to the upper pop echelon. The blurring of gender lines only highlights the universality of frustrated romance that "Boyfriend" so skillfully details.
Best Bit: "You kiss me like your boyfriend / you call me up like you would your best friend" The entire chorus is pretty much covers an entire decade of fizzy 80's synth pop. And the "I don't wanna be your secret anymore" brings the bite that we all love from Tegan & Sara.

11. "Formation" by Beyoncé

The transition of Beyoncé from pop's golden girl to its most surprising and enigmatic chanteuse has been one of the best things about the 2010's in terms of anything. 2016 has only brought Bey into the non-mainstream even more. "Formation"'s cultural impact was immense but at its heart, it's a monster of a pop song that survived being a Tidal-exclusive. Just wait until you hear the final top 10!
Best Bit: It's honestly the bouncy synths that start off the song because you know Beyoncé's about fuck shit up.

10. "False Alarm" by Matoma & Becky Hill

Here we have the tropical lilt-pop song of the year. It basically oozes sunshine and pineapples and margaritas. And hopefully, it's the very last one we ever have to hear again. Because while Matoma's production is one of the most convincing out there (sorry, not sorry Kygo), it is Becky Hill's truly stunning vocal melody that overcame the tropical cliches and brought this song to the top 10.
Best Bit: The first line "I heard sirens in my head, from the first time that we met" is the best opening you will find on this list. Good job Becky!

9. "Reminds me" by Noonie Bao

Noonie Bao continues her reign as the premiere singer-songwriter in the world right now, having exceeded both Tove Lo and Charli XCX (for whom she wrote a lot of songs). Her skills can be seen here especially when you consider that Noonie has created a POP WALTZ (aka written in 3/4 time). And if you look at this list, you might be wondering "Where is the drama? Where is the heartache?" Noonie has brought it all in "Reminds me", the type of rare love song that lets you dwell in the pain of familiarity.
Best Bit: The ramp up to the sitar explosion of a chorus is devastatingly beautiful. The line "I could give myself away, to someone new and be ok, but I just want the pain to stay" has all the ingredients to an epic love story written in so many words. Noonie is definitely one of my favorite pop stars and I can't wait to see what else she has to bring in 2017.

8. "Work From Home" by Fifth Harmony featuring Ty Dolla $ign

What more can we say about this arena-sized girl group bop? The Rugrats-esque banger is by far the best thing Fifth Harmony could have ever hoped to produce. And we now know that Fifth Harmony will never produce anything like this considering they lost Camilla. But oh well, we'll always remember this night shift overtime anthem, at least until the next girl group from America decides to step up to the plate.
Best Bit: "Work work work work work work work" Sorry Rihanna, but this is how you do a monotonously brilliant chorus.

7. "New Romantics" by Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift shat all over this amazing song by creating the most half-hearted, basic tour video I have ever seen. In the end, no one could forget how amazing the best song off 1989 truly is, but wow, did Taylor botch this one up. We expect better from you in 2017 T. Swift (and that includes not going into hip hop).
Best Bit: "The best people in life are free" This is simultaneously very profound, and very misleading as the tickets for that tour were ridiculous. But oh well, it was worth it to see "New Romantics".

6. "New Friends" by RABBII

New Friends may not necessarily be better than New Romantics as people, but it is certainly better as pop songs. RABBII succeeded in perfecting spooky pop music with this absolutely manic song. Seriously, it shape shifts throughout, starting as a quiet dirge of a song before the four on the floor beat kicks in and culminating in a breakdown that would make Robyn proud. If all of their singles are this poptastic, RABBII could be a huge force to be reckoned with.
Best Bit: "I HAVE MISSED YOU AT THE CLUB" I said it once and I'll say it again, this is honestly the lyric of the year.

5. "Real Love" by Florrie

The love I felt for this Florrie single was instant, as it is with most Florrie singles. "Real Love" is the ballad banger of your dreams, a ballad banger that no one thought could possibly exist, but you're listening to it as we speak. I've all but given up on a full Florrie album but with singles and choruses as well crafted as this, it makes me think that everything will be ok.
Best Bit: The shouting of "LOVE" in the chorus is classic Florrie genius. It injects that extra bit of romance and made me fall back in love with all of Florrie's music.

4. "Never Ever" by Röyksopp featuring Susanne Sunder

You don't hear songs like "Never Ever" being made anymore. And that is truly sad, because from one listen to the storm of synthesizers that Röyksopp have assembled it's easy to see just how amazing pop music can be. Susanne also does an amazing job creating one of the most emotive vocals of the year. And if it couldn't get any better, there is a version that is 1:35 longer! The only other thing I can say is: Imagine if this was Kylie Minogue's next single. *Proceeds to faint*
Best Bit: The throw your hands in the air while crying on the dance floor bit at the end deserves every music award the world can muster.

3. "Into You" by Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande finally feels like the global popstar her fans and reputation demanded. In a lot of ways, her reinvention from sassy diva to dark pop diva feels very Britney esque, something that suits her very well when you consider the dance floor dominator that is "Into You". From the first pulsations to the very end of the killer chorus, I couldn't help but think any song could really top this. But there were, and that's how you know it's a good year for music.
Best Bit: That line "A little less conversation and a little more touch my body" is extremely Max Martinian, so at least his stuff with Ariana was worth dealing with his other nonsense in 2016.

2. "What's It Gonna Be?" by Shura

Earlier this year, I detailed the criteria that Taylor Swift needed to fulfill in order to create the pop culture-bending music video that a teen romance anthem like "New Romantics". We all saw how that turned out... Shura, on the other hand, followed our exact directions and came up with a video that not only paired well with "What's It Gonna Be?"'s beauty, but also it unlocked the true potential of the song and highlighted Shura as an artist who just gets IT. Seriously, this video is amazing in more ways than I can count. Congratulations on music video of the year and second best single! 
Best Bit: The exuberance of the chorus as Shura sings "I don't wanna give you up!" was one of the most joyous parts of 2016 for us.

But every time I think of the Best Song of 2016 and ask "WHAT'S IT GONNA BE?", there could only be one choice and that is...

1. "Hotter Than Hell" by Dua Lipa

From the first listen, I already knew we had found the single of the year with "Hotter Than Hell". With the two major trends in 2016 pop being moody R&B incorporating chopped up vocals and sunny tropical house, I was waiting for a song that would be able to combine the two in a way that served to highlight the strengths of both. Dua Lipa gave that to us and more with this literal scorcher of a song. And what's strange is, the song is a self-empowerment anthem of the darkest kind. At its core, it rings true like any Kelly or Katy song from the past decade, but Dua wove in her own signature brand of magical wickedness to create a comprehensive imagery of an evil siren taking all of her victims away.
Imagery that only a few pop artists can compose at the beginning of their career, and even fewer that can turn it into a global phenomenon.
Best Bit: The line "I'm the realest it gets" pretty much sums up the appeal of "Hotter Than Hell". It lives as a powerful song that managed to sound exactly like a 2016 hit, became a 2016 hit, and will continue on as a pop monster for years to come. Some days I listen to it and hear Dua asking "Am I the answer to your prayers?" And out of all the artists in 2016, she really has been the only one that answered them with a pop song worthy of actually prayers. Congratulations to Dua Lipa on being an amazing pop artist, creating "Hotter Than Hell", and readying her debut album which is sure to set the world ablaze in 2017!

Well that was fun! If you want to hear all these amazing songs, here is a Spotify playlist with all of them together. Apologies about the lack of "Formation" and "New Romantics" but you can take that up with Beyoncé & Taylor...

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