Ten Best Songs Of 2016: Kanye West, Chance The Rapper, David Bowie & More
The listomania continues even if you are sick of it. We gave you the top 10 albums yesterday and now here are our top 10 songs of 2016. There are a few surprises, but also included are songs from Kanye West, Chance The Rapper, David Bowie, Kaytranada and more.
10. RUFUS/ RUFUS Du Sol - Innerbloom:
The Australian group broke out with their sophomore LP Bloom this year, performing at festivals like Coachella, Panorama and Glastonbury. Though they are known for the summery, indie-dance songs that feel like they were important directly from the Australian coast, no song captured the hearts and minds of fans and fellow artists quite like "Innerbloom."
9. D.R.A.M. feat. Lil Yachty - Broccoli:
Sometimes less is more in music. Writing incredibly complex songs can please the mind intellectually, but sometimes something simpler can be the perfect recipe for a great song. 2016 breakout star D.R.A.M. delivered that on the cheerful and buoyant party jam "Broccoli" that became an unexpected hit.
Is Lil Yachty going to wow you with lyrical genius? Probably never. However his verse adds another carefree element to this song.
8. Vince Staples - Prima Donna
The 7-track project examined the trappings of fame and all of the fake material benefits that come along with it. The title track is the most scathing rebuttal of his rise to prominence, asking "is it real," but also admitting he has been broke and doesn't want to go back to that. In the outro he takes the attention off of himself and onto problems with society as a whole, rapping, "Fed up with the gun violence / Fed up with the old rules / Fed up with the youth dyin'" It is a harsh, but realistic look at himself and the world around him.
7. Kaytranada feat. Carl Craig - Got It Good
This match seems like it needed to happen a long time ago. Carl Craig has seen his career come back to life in 2016 collaborating with modern DJs and producers across r&b and house, leading to some new original music. It is hard to pick one track off of Kaytranada's nearly flawless debut album 99.9%, but this encapsulates everything that is great about it. Craig's soulful vocals with a strong hook glide over crisp percussion and soothing backing vocals. Everything fits just right.
6. Childish Gambino - Redbone
Donald Glover is a rapper who just released an album without any rap on it. This complete change could have been a giant failure, but it wasn't at all, channeling classic 1970's funk and some of the swagger and sex of 1990's r&b from others such as D'Angelo. The album traverses many different sounds and era, but "Redbone" is the standout With Gambino's high-pitched, raspy voice, the slow-moving funky beat and luxurious hook.
5. Kid Cudi feat. Pharrell - Surfin
Kid Cudi announced his triumphant return to the upper echelon of music with Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin'. In his grand finale, "Surfin," he capped off a long 87-minute album with the pronouncement of his independence, "I ain't riding no waves, too busy making my own waves." Over a horn-filled beat from Pharrell, who crafted two of the best on this entire LP, it has the strongest hooks on this album and embodies Cudi's free spirit.
4. A Tribe Called Quest - We The People
18 years later, Tribe still has it. Their comeback album We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service hit our top 10 and many others. "We The People" was the main introduction with its booming snares and percussion and the pure anger coming from the rap group about the current state of affairs in the United States. Even after being out of the game for 18 years, their rhymes remain as relevant as ever as they rap about racism, homophobia, xenophobia and Islamophobia that pervade society.
3. David Bowie - Lazarus
David Bowie's Blackstar was his final gift to the world. With only seven songs, any one of them could be selected as one of the best of the year, but the symbolism on "Lazarus" is as powerful as it gets on this album. This was his most anti-pop LP yet and Bowie's melancholic voice brings home the theme of his impending death. It is his final farewell for what has been one of the titans of pop music over the past 50 years. The saxophone is yet another wrinkle for the always changing artist.
2. Chance The Rapper feat. Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz - No Problem
Some of the other songs may have become favorites to Chance fans, but "No Problem" has been the standout single from our number album of 2016 from the start and remains it to this day. His rebuke of the major label machine has been a constant throughout his career. Now having reached his current status, he can look down from the mountaintop and scold executives who don't want no problem with him or else.
1. Kanye West feat. Chance The Rapper, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin & The-Dream - Ultralight Beam
Kanye West's Life Of Pablo just didn't make the cut on our top 10, but his "Ultralight Beam" was the crown jewel from the album and a year in music. As the first song on TLOP, it beckons a totally different direction with the LP, incorporating gospel and soul into this powerful ode to god and a hopeful prayer for the world.
Kanye's references to god and the scripture have been made throughout his discography and are usually in some of his best songs like "Jesus Walks" and "All of the Lights." "Ultralight Beam" falls right into that category with Chance's smooth voice crushing his verse.