Tracks of the Year 2016 10 – 1

30-11 here.

10 Radiohead, ‘Present Tense’

9 Kitten, ‘Fall On Me’

8 Radiohead, ‘The Numbers’

7 Sturgill Simpson, ‘Breakers Roar’

6 The Monkees, ‘Me And Magdalena’

5 Beyoncé, ‘Hold Up’

4 Frank Ocean, ‘Ivy’

3 Radiohead, ‘True Love Waits’

2 Radiohead, ‘Daydreaming’

1 Radiohead, ‘Burn The Witch’

(Previous winners: 2008 Fleet Foxes, ‘White Winter Hymnal’; 2009 Yeah Yeah Yeahs, ‘Heads Will Roll’; 2010 Janelle Monáe, ‘Cold War’; 2011 Metronomy, ‘The Bay’; 2012 Tame Impala, ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’; 2013 Daft Punk, Get Lucky’; 2014 Taylor Swift, ‘Shake It Off’; 2015 Beach House, ‘Elegy To The Void’.)

Tracks of the Year 2016 30-11

Well, this is awkward. The release of a properly great Radiohead album in 2016 has, inevitably, clogged up my list of best tracks of the year, to the point where other music was in danger of getting sidelined. I seriously toyed with doing two charts – Radiohead and The Rest – but instead decided to expand my usual top 20 into a top 30, to give me a little room to breathe.

First, the nearly-but-not-quite list: ‘No Woman’ by Whitney; ‘Pool Party’ by Julia Jacklin; ‘Hands Up’ by Blood Orange; ‘Your Best American Girl’ by Mitski; ‘Really Doe’ by Danny Brown; ‘Black Beatles’ by Rae Sremmurd; ‘Two Kids’ by Laura Gibson’; ‘Subways’ by The Avalanches; ‘On Hold’ by The xx; ‘Formation’ and ‘Sorry’ by Beyoncé; ‘Starving’ by Hailee Steinfeld and Grey featuring Zedd; ‘Ultralight Beam’ by Kanye West; ‘Düsseldorf’ by Teleman; ‘Higher’ and ‘Work’ by Rihanna; ‘Fill In The Blank’ by Car Seat Headrest; ‘Boyfriend’ by Tegan & Sarah; ‘Cranes In The Sky’ by Solange; ‘Shut Up Kiss Me’ by Angel Olsen; ‘If I Knew’ by Bat For Lashes; ‘The Pop Kids’ by Pet Shop Boys; and a load of others, including all of the tracks on ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ that haven’t made it into the final 30.

CJ’s top 5 is ‘Cheap Thrills’ by Sia featuring Sean Paul; ‘Cake By The Ocean’ by DNCE; ‘I Took A Pill In Ibiza’ by Mike Posner; ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’ by James Arthur; and ‘Shout Out To My Ex’ by Little Mix. This year there’s no overlap between our lists, about which we’re both probably quite pleased.

30 Drive-By Truckers, ‘Ramon Casiano’
29 Miranda Lambert, ‘Vice’
28 Heron Oblivion, ‘Oriar’
27 Christine and The Queens, ‘Tilted’
26 Agnes Obel, ‘Familiar’
25 Margo Price, ‘Hands of Time’
24 Leonard Cohen, ‘You Want It Darker’
23 Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, ‘I Need You’
22 D.R.A.M. feat. Lil Yachty, ‘Broccoli’
21 Ariana Grande feat. Nicki Minaj, ‘Side To Side’

20 Bon Iver, ’33 “GOD”‘
19 Radiohead, ‘Decks Dark’
18 M83 feat. Man Lan, ‘Go!’
17 Neiked feat. Dyo, ‘Sexual’
16 Dua Lipa, ‘Blow Your Mind (Mwah)’
15 Chance the Rapper feat. 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne, ‘No Problem’
14 Weyes Blood, ‘Do You Need My Love’
13 Radiohead, ‘Identikit’
12 Fifth Harmony feat. Ty Dolla $ign, ‘Work From Home’
11 The Last Shadow Puppets, ‘Miracle Aligner’

Albums of the Year 2016

In my Albums of the Year post at the end of 2015 I identified that the availability of streaming services was making a significant difference to the way in which I consumed music. One year later I’m still with Apple Music, and listening to more albums than ever before. The time available to listen to them hasn’t expanded, though, so in consequence there’s something of a long tail: for a civilian I’ve listened to a lot of new albums this year, but in many cases no more than once. I still haven’t decided whether this is a good or bad thing for the music industry, or for me.

Anyway, my top tracks of the year will be along shortly, but I’ll cover the albums first. Near misses this year from Christine and the Queens, Drive-By Truckers, Kanye West, Thee Oh Sees, The Avalanches, Sturgill Simpson, David Bowie, Frank Ocean, Margo Price, Modern Studies, Rihanna, Heron Oblivion, Margo Price, Steve Mason, Blood Orange, M83, Agnes Obel, Ben Watt, Suede, Whitney, and Laura Gibson.

10 Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop, ‘Love Letter for Fire’

9 case/lang/veirs, ‘case/lang/veirs’

8 Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, ‘Skeleton Tree’

7 King Creosote, ‘Astronaut Meets Appleman’

6 Anderson .Paak, ‘Malibu’

5 Bon Iver, ’22, A Million’

4 Teenage Fanclub, ‘Here’

3 Leonard Cohen, ‘You Want It Darker’

2 Beyoncé, ‘Lemonade’

1 Radiohead, ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’

(Previous winners: 2008 TV On The Radio, ‘Dear Science’; 2009 Animal Collective, ‘Merriweather Post Pavilion’; 2010 Beach House, ‘Teen Dream’; 2011 Bon Iver, ‘Bon Iver’; 2012 Tame Impala, ‘Lonerism’; 2013 Vampire Weekend, ‘Modern Vampires of the City’; 2014 La Roux, ‘Trouble In Paradise’; 2015 Sufjan Stevens, ‘Carrie & Lowell’.)

Tracks of the Year 2016 10 – 1

10 Rihanna and Kanye West and Paul McCartney, ‘FourFiveSeconds’

9 Beach House, ‘Somewhere Tonight’

8 Father John Misty, ‘Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)’

7 Ezra Furman, ‘Body Was Made’

6 Adele, ‘When We Were Young’

5 Carly Rae Jepsen, ‘Run Away With Me’

4 Tame Impala, ‘Let It Happen’

3 Sufjan Stevens, ‘No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross’

2 Sufjan Stevens, ‘Fourth of July’

1 Beach House, ‘Elegy To The Void’

(Previous winners: 2008 Fleet Foxes, ‘White Winter Hymnal’; 2009 Yeah Yeah Yeahs, ‘Heads Will Roll’; 2010 Janelle Monáe, ‘Cold War’; 2011 Metronomy, ‘The Bay’; 2012 Tame Impala, ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’; 2013 Daft Punk, Get Lucky’; 2014 Taylor Swift, ‘Shake It Off’.)

Tracks of the Year 2015 20 – 11

As ever, a lengthy list of honourable mentions: ‘A Heart Like Hers’ by Mac DeMarco; ‘The Hills’ by The Weeknd; ‘Your Type’ by Carly Rae Jepsen; ‘Dead Fox’, ‘Depreston’, and ‘Pedestrian At Best’ by Courtney Barnett; ‘Silhouette’ and ‘Feel You’ by Julia Holter; ‘Love Yourself’ and ‘Sorry’ by Justin Bieber; ‘Flesh Without Blood’ and ‘Kill V. Maim’ by Grimes; ‘Delirious’ by Susanne Sundfør; ‘Detroit’ by Gaz Coombes; ‘Hotline Bling’ by Drake; ‘I Loved You’ by Blonde; ‘Trap Queen’ by Fetty Wap; ‘How Could You Babe’ by Tobias Jesso Jr; Should Have Known Better’ by Sufjan Stevens; ‘These Walls’ by Kendrick Lamar; ‘Lean On’ by Major Lazer & DJ Snake featuring MØ; ‘Fan The Flames’ by Sheer Mag; ‘Late To The Party’ by Kacey Musgraves; and a ton of others.

CJ’s top 5 – no particular order – is ‘Shut Up And Dance’ by Walk The Moon; ‘Cheerleader’ by OMI; ‘Want To Want Me’ by Jason Derulo; ‘Love Yourself’ by Justin Bieber; and ‘Style’ by Taylor Swift (which I’m counting as 2014, or it might have been in my list as well).

20 Jamie xx, ‘Loud Places’

19 Florence + The Machine, ‘Ship To Wreck’

18 Maroon 5, ‘Sugar’

17 Beach House, ‘Space Song’

16 Little Mix, ‘Black Magic’

15 Car Seat Headrest, ‘Something Soon’

14 Carly Rae Jepsen, ‘Boy Problems’

13 Empress Of, ‘Standard’

12 Kendrick Lamar, ‘Alright’

11 Kamasi Washington, ‘The Rhythm Changes’

Albums of the Year 2015

61zOHmSd1cL._AA160_The ready availability of streaming services – as an Apple fanboy of 25 years’ standing I’ve thrown my lot in with them – has made my annual music review much more difficult to compile. In previous years, I would just need to run through the albums I’d already bought, perhaps sweep up a couple I’d missed from the critics’ end-of-year lists, and pick my favourites. In the last couple of months, though, I’ve listened to a huge number of albums and tracks, albeit perhaps I’ve not spent as much time with each individual piece of music as I would have done before. Whether this is good for the music business, or for me, I suppose we’ll find out in due course.

514g9Rm-aTL._AA160_Anyway, my tracks of the year tomorrow, but first my top 10 albums. (Near misses this year for ‘Red Kite’ by Sarah Cracknell, ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ by Kendrick Lamar, ‘Another One’ by MacDeMarco, ‘Ivy Tripp’ by Waxahatchee, ‘In Colour’ by Jamie xx, ‘Goon’ by Tobias Jesso Jr., and ‘I Love You, Honeybear’ by Father John Misty. And not-quite-so near misses for nonetheless excellent albums by Car Seat Headrest, Ezra Furman, Floating Points, Joanna Newsom, Gaz Coombes, Jason Isbell, Lana Del Rey, Bill Ryder-Jones, Chris Stapleton, Sleater-Kinney, and Kacey Musgraves.)

10 CHVRCHES, ‘Every Open Eye’

9 Tame Impala, ‘Currents’

8 Susanne Sundfør, ‘Ten Love Songs’

7 Courtney Barnett, ‘Sometimes I Sit And Think…’

6 Carly Rae Jepsen, ‘Emotion’

5 Blur, ‘The Magic Whip’

4 Beach House, ‘Depression Cherry’

3 Grimes, ‘Art Angels’

2 Beach House, ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’

1 Sufjan Stevens, ‘Carrie & Lowell’

(Previous winners: 2008 TV On The Radio, ‘Dear Science’; 2009 Animal Collective, ‘Merriweather Post Pavilion’; 2010 Beach House, ‘Teen Dream’; 2011 Bon Iver, ‘Bon Iver’; 2012 Tame Impala, ‘Lonerism’; 2013 Vampire Weekend, ‘Modern Vampires of the City’; 2014 La Roux, ‘Trouble In Paradise’.)