It’s never easy to pick the best songs of any time period — there are always songs that rise above the common herd of new music without attaining top status. That’s where Disc 2 comes in. It’s a place to record that second tier of great tunes aren’t quite great enough on their own to make the A list, but are still worth preserving. Indie rock, power pop, punk, soul, noise, folk, art songs, and space music are all represented on our Best of 2016 Part 2 playlist. Here are a few highlights. Scroll down for the full list.
Growing Up: Songs about being young were more frequent this year of the Millenial, by young and not so young artists. And The Kids probably have the most to say on that topic so we included a second track by the band — “I Dropped Out,” a song about dropping out of high school. “Cool Kids” by Shana Falana celebrates people being themselves and breaking out of the narrow strictures of socially acceptable pursuits. “Dis Generation” has something to say about generations X, Y, and Z, but it’s mostly about hip hop. And of course there’s Bowie’s classic hit “Young Americans,” in Susan Hyatt’s well-enunciated cover.
More Hip Hop/R&B: Tribe Called Quest and Frank Ocean both had big records. Frank’s record was a little hard to pin down but we chose “Pink + White” as our commemorative single for this year. He is so smooth, that Frank Ocean — like the surface of a swimming pool on a cloudless day. That said, we especially enjoyed the entrance of Kaytranada into the field. His “Together” has a pleasantly upbeat pop vibe and Aluna’s vocals are irresistible.
Internationale: We love hearing new music from around the world. Thank you, UK, Canada, Russia, Iceland, New Zealand, Denmark, and of course, the good old USA, for rocking our world in 2016.
Best of 2016
Shana Falana – Cool Kids
Honeyblood – Ready for the Magic
James Leonard Hewitson – The Screen
Origami Horses – Smiler
And The Kids – I Dropped Out
Shy Kids – Rockets
A Tribe Called Quest – Dis Generation
Starfinder – If I Were You
Pinkshinyultrablast – The Cherry Pit
Frank Ocean – Pink + White
Andy Svarthol – Ofbirta
Kaytranada – Together (feat. AlunaGeorge and Goldlink)
Rare Essence – Hold Me Down (feat. Miss Kim)
Jamie Lidell – Building A Beginning
Way Zen – Relics of the Heart
Julia Jacklin – Leadlight
Agnes Obel – Familiar
John K Samson – Select All Delete
Susan Hyatt – Young Americans (cover)