My Top 40 Songs of 2016

30.  Major Lazer – “Cold Water” (feat. Justin Bieber & MØ)

A powerhouse collaboration to kick-off the wait for Major Lazer’s new album, this song managed to blend together some emotional moments along with two very different styles of music.  The choruses are more of the softer side and relaxing, while the drops let themselves go a lot more.

As much as it pains me, Justin Bieber’s come in to his own as a dance vocalist and this is probably his best.  The turn from MØ near the end seals it as a good tune, very much in the form of “Lean On”, but maybe just a little more refined.

29.  M.O. – “Who Do You Think Of”

British girl bands probably have a tough time right now getting past the chart juggernaut that is Little Mix, but this tune from M.O. proved there’s other girls making fun tunes that are just as good.

It’s pretty standard stuff really, but the chorus and the beat that goes along with it really stands out among the white noise of the radio.  It deserved to be a little more respected IMO.

28.  Jonas Blue – “By Your Side” (feat. RAYE)

This is perhaps the latest entry to this top 40, with the song only being released just over a month ago. I hadn’t been a fan of Jonas Blue’s other songs, such as the remix of “Fast Car” by Tracey Chapman that subsituted emotion for soulless beats, but this is where he embraces a typical dance song structure – and it works perfectly.

RAYE’s vocals are suited ideally for this sort of track, and the drop is memorable and fun, while the echoing lines of the verses add a hook that adds to everything very well. It’s a good tune and shows what more we can expect from this relative newcomer.

27.  Tiësto & KSHMR – “Secrets” (feat. Vassy)

The fact that Tiësto is still putting out dance music at the age of 47 that’s continues to beat the competition is testament to his talent, and “Secrets” makes a big room effort that’s more poppy than you’d expect.

Having a song like this is a masterstroke, appealing to those that prefer different types of dance music and blending them together to pack a dancefloor. A great song and always fun on a night out!

26.  Galantis – “Firebird” (feat. Dragonette)

Dragonette and lead vocalist Martina Sorbara have to be one of my favourite featured artists, and they always seem to pop up on songs that are good anyway.

Here they appeared on my re-listen of Galantis’ Pharmacy, and on this very atmospheric song – one that’s rather darker than what I’d expected – there’s a good mix between trying something different and keeping the energetic style that makes Galantis so good.

25. Tobu – “Hope” (2014)

This instrumental dance track has the musical characteristics of being happy and sad at the same time, which is a massive draw for me when it comes to tunes. But what makes this special is the way it builds through the song to drops that manage to do a tremendous job of keeping things light and airy whilst having the darker sounds behind it too.

24. Parade of Lights – “Feeling Electric” [2015]

This year’s token FIFA soundtrack song is one that is traditionally “big” and aims to capture the imagination in as little time as possible. It builds up fantastically before the synthesised drop kicks the song into life and sets it on a great course already.

It very much touches on the Imagine Dragons style of subdued verses building into loud, anthemic, sing-along choruses and it does it surprisingly well too. It might not be the world’s best song, but it’s one that serves its place well – and isn’t too bad to listen to while pottering about a menus waiting for an electronic kickabout.

23. Tove Lo – “Cool Girl”

Some songs just have an attractive atmosphere to them, and this is one that draws you in from the first listen. It’s slow, it’s sultry and it’s memorable – and then there’s the chorus where the bass drops in and adds another layer to it.

Tove Lo’s solo stuff might not be quite the genius she’s displayed when writing or featuring for others, but “Cool Girl” shows that she does keep some good tunes to play with herself (to borrow a term fitting of her album Lady Wood).

22. Tujamo – “Drop That Low (When I Dip)”

Tujamo hasn’t really broken through in the way that he could have, but this song shows that there’s a lot of ability there to produce some great music. This song has an ominous darkness to its chorus which clashes nicely with the horns in the build-ups to make a very interesting listen that deserves its place on this list.

21. Zara Larsson – “Ain’t My Fault”

Zara Larsson’s second solo single was pretty much as good as her first, with a solid bassline driving through a lustful song that was a treat to listen to. It’s got a wide array of sounds, from school bells to text tones, running through it – but it never seems too cluttered, and it’s probably why it’s so interesting to listen to: as you’ll hear something different in it every time you hear it.

This is perhaps where Larsson proved she’ll be around for a while – showing she can sing, do a little bit of a rap, and make some fun music too.

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