My Top 40 Songs of 2016

10. 99 Souls – “The Girl is Mine” (feat. Destiny’s Child) [2015]

From a relatively unknown Destiny’s Child track, this song spins together an unforgettable dance tune that has been a resounding success. The song chops up the original and places it perfectly together in a way that maximises its connection to a simple and memorable beat. It’s hard not to listen to this over and over again, and that’s why it appears so high up this list.

9. SOPHIE – “Nothing More to Say / Eeehhh” [2015]

SOPHIE tunes are somewhat exuberant and involved, but that’s something I really like – and a reason why this is so, so good. This blend of two songs running together evokes a skill that LCD Soundsystem’s brilliant “45:33” did so well, mixing the beats and feelings of two rather different pieces of music together so that they’re linked together.

It’s a very memorable beat, and ideal for something like a run, and that’s why it’s always a joy when it appears on shuffle.

8. Tinie Tempah – “Girls Like” (feat. Zara Larsson)

Zara Larsson might be one of the next big things in pop music, but here she takes a back seat to a real staple of the UK charts over the years: Tinie Tempah. Back to his best with another big tune, but with a more electronic beat behind it, this is a real crowd-pleaser that certainly got people going at T in the Park this year. A great song that’s super catchy, everything adds up to a pop classic that will stand out when looking back on 2016.

7. Major Lazer – “Light It Up” (feat. Nyla & Fuse ODG) [2015]

Major Lazer’s finest from his last album was this tune, which goes for the jugular in terms of danceability and proves that they can still do the basics well. It’s packed full of fun, with the vocals fighting over drumlines, synths and bells before the trumpet-driven chorus gives way to the dancefloor.

This didn’t have the same impact on the charts as “Lean On” or “Cold Water”, but when you strip back the star power of those two other songs you’re left with “Light It Up” being the most interesting one of the lot.

6. Drake – “Too Good” (feat. Rihanna)

“One Dance” is probably going to be one of 2016’s songs that go down in history with its record-breaking run at Number 1, but “Too Good” is the song that should be noted as Drake’s best.

Normally I’m not a fan of his style or his singing ability, but here he takes it up a notch – with a crooning style that doesn’t sound too forced over the Popcaan-provided beat. Rihanna comes in and does a start turn as the other half of this duet about a love gone astray, and for a modern pop song it hits a bit harder than normal.

It may not be the biggest song of the year, but for me it was one of the freshest songs that managed to hit at the ol’ heartstrings like they should.

5. Tobu & Itro – “Magic” [2014]

This song, much like “Hope” earlier on this list, comes packed full of sheer synthy happiness – but still has the hint of emotional regret or sadness packed into it. The difference here is that the drop is so much stronger and always bowls you over when it kicks off. The energy of the song is immense and it’s impossible not to feel a little more pumped up or happy when it gets going.

An ideal song if you need a pick-me-up, it truly is something “Magic”.

4. Alan Walker – “Faded” [2015]

Alan Walker burst onto the scene this year and set himself up as one of the new big names in dance music, and this tour-de-force is one very strong argument for that. “Faded” does an amazing job of being a rather dark song, but being juxtaposed with the soaring, and slowly-delivered synths and the beautiful vocals of Iselin Solheim.

This did very well in the charts this year, and even though I’d hear it all the time it was still worth listening to when I could get the chance, so it’s testament to it’s enduring brilliance that it’s this high on this year’s list.

3. MØ – “Final Song”

“Final Song” is a fantastic solo effort from MØ, whose name is now synonymous with great dance tracks (normally with Major Lazer).

This tune is packed with emotion, and has such a relatable story to it. It’s echoey and bare verses contrast amazingly with the loud and brash chorus which make it a fantastic combination to listen to.

What really made this song special though was a remix that drew out the poppiest elements and fused them with some dance to make it a dancefloor hit that you can’t listen to enough.

Between both versions of the song, this was my most played track of the year and it’s a credit to its writing and style that it worked so well both as a darker and more emotional original and a happy, fast-paced dance remix.

2. The Naked and Famous – “Higher”

One of the year’s finest for 2016 has to be The Naked and Famous’ “Higher”, the lead track of their fantastic album Simple Forms and a tune that’ll last with me for a long time.

“Higher” is packed full of drama, as we’d expect of the band that brought us the atmospheric highs and lows of songs like “Young Blood” and “Punching in a Dream”. But what makes it so special is that it keeps a positive spin on it all, making it more accessible to listeners to feel the same joy and heartbreak out of it all.

It’s a fun listen and always puts me through a bit of a rollercoaster of emotion, which is exactly what a great song will do.

This is a fantastic song and that’s why it sat proudly atop the list for this year, just until a week or two ago…

1. Snakehips – “All My Friends” (feat. Tinashe & Chance the Rapper) [2015]

My favourite song of all-time is also called “All My Friends”, and it’s taken a damn fine effort here to make this song even nearly as likeable.

This song bottles up all the emotions you have of a night out that doesn’t go to plan, for whatever reason. No matter if nights out aren’t the best, you spend time with those around you and that’s what matters in the end.

It’s not uplifting, and the beautiful melodies and fantastic vocals of both Tinashe and Chance the Rapper hide the bleak message behind their star power, but it’s an intoxicating song that leaves you wanting to listen again and again.

A highlight from my trip to Amsterdam was hearing this played in a rather fitting setting which made it all the more powerful to me, and I’ve barely been able to stop listening to it since then.

It’s a brilliant song that I know will resonate through the years, and that’s why it’s my top song of 2016.

Here is the full playlist of songs on this list available through Spotify:

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